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The Rant

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The truth finally comes out: President Barack Obamais a Muslim. Ha! I knew it all along, even though one of the most controversial tidbits during his campaign was when the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Trinity Church of Christ made some comments that the media took out of context to use against Obama, who was a member there. But now something like one in five Americans thinks he is Muslim. That's because they are either not paying attention, or they are ignorant or both. What does he need to do? Go on television in a pork-chop-eating contest?

And what would it matter if he were a Muslim? America is not a Christian nation, like so many Tea Partiers and anti-Muslim people would have everyone believe. It is a multicultural country with lots of different religions, which is why building a cultural center with a worship space inside near the site of the 9/11 attacks is really no different than building a Baptist church there. The people who want to build the center didn't fly the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center buildings. Some very radical people who happened to practice the same religion did that. Just like there are Catholic priests who are very good and wonderful people and there are some who like to engage in sex with little boys. And then there are Christians like Timothy McVeigh.

When did Americans become intolerant to the point of being dangerous? Or has it always been like this? You'd think the days of the Ku Klux Klan burning crosses on black people's and Jews' property would have taught everyone a few lessons, but apparently all is fair to some when it comes to 9/11 and Muslims. And at the Klan's peak, their main targets were Catholics. So we'd better be careful and use history as a guide when it comes to religious intolerance.

We even went as far as to wage war on Iraq after 9/11, a country that had nothing to do with the events of that day. And speaking of which, has anyone noticed the less than enthusiastic media coverage of that war finally ending and the combat soldiers coming home?

I saw a segment on a news show earlier this week about parents who buy their teen-age daughters clothes at a discount store and then tear out the labels so the kids wouldn't know where they were purchased. The kids were mortified and said they wouldn't tell their friends that the clothes weren't "designer" brands. Brats.

The point is that this "news" segment was far longer than the coverage of the war ending. And the mosque story has certainly overshadowed news about some of these men and women seeing their spouses for the first time in years and, in some cases, even seeing their children for the first time. Yes, the United States will keep soldiers in Iraq for generations to come, but we also still have them in Japan and in other countries with whom we engaged in war decades ago. The war is over.

And speaking of history and intolerance, let's not forget that after Pearl Harbor was bombed, hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans of Japanese heritage were forced to evacuate their homes and were sent to internment camps. Do we want to return to those days? Unfortunately, there are some people who probably think all American Muslims should be rounded up in the same way.

The worst part about the mosque controversy is the creepy way it has entered the political battlefield. How many commercials aired during the recent Tennessee primary election in which the candidates said they wouldn't allow a mosque to be built in Tennessee and that they would stand up to the "Pelosi liberals?" This was fueled not only by the proposed New York City Islamic center and mosque but also by the mosque that was proposed in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. You can imagine what those planners are dealing with. The new commercials airing for the November election are just as bad. I especially like the "pro-God and pro-gun" faction. Does that mean they take their guns to church?

A dear friend said it best to me the other day. He said that ideally he wishes they wouldn't build the mosque so close to the area known as Ground Zero, because he understands the sensitivity, but that it was not up to him, so whatever happens with it happens. If only other people could be that level-headed, instead of rubbernecking for the news cameras with an angry vengeance over something that is not going to have any real effect on their lives.

When I was very young, my family belonged to a church that taught us that every person who didn't belong to that particular faith was destined for hell, and hell would be like holding your hand on a hot stove burner for eternity. I can't imagine what they must have thought about Muslims. I don't even want to know.

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