Saturday, June 21, 2008

One nation, under God

The New York Times reports that conservative 527 groups are having trouble raising money to defame Barack Obama. The Times cites as an example a group dedicated to unmasking Obama as a Muslim:

The second spot highlights a Roman Catholic elementary school roster from Indonesia showing that Mr. Obama registered as a Muslim. The campaign said that the notation was probably made because Mr. Obama’s stepfather was nominally a Muslim but that the candidate had never been a Muslim. He is a committed Christian. (link)

I'd like to think I'm a pragmatist, so I understand that given the political climate in the U.S. since 2001, Obama has to quash the rumor that he is a Muslim. But wouldn't it be nice if instead he could engage his opponents in a debate over whether we really want to live in a nation in which a candidate for office, or any person, has to prove what his or her religion is, or isn't. Isn't a religious test contrary to just about everything we are supposed to stand for as Americans?

Some people would answer that question differently than I would. But I think the debate would do us all good.

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