I wrote this letter to my uncle today in response to a chain letter email sent to my mom which amounted to nothing more than citing the history of National Prayer day and how Obama has failed to recognize it anymore.
Dear Uncle Tom,
This is your nephew Robert replying to this email after you “scared” my mom into showing it to me. Quite frankly, I think it’s sad that Christians and right-wingers are more worried about this kind of bullshit than the real politics happening across the country. Anyone willing to take a moment to stop and realize that this happened over two years ago can see that Obama still hasn’t turned us into a Muslim Nation and should be able to see this email for exactly what it really is: extremist right-wing and Christian fear mongering. In June 2007 when Obama declared the nation was no longer a Christian Nation, he wasn’t doing anything wrong. In fact, all he was really doing was abiding to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. Here is a direct quote from the First Amendment(perhaps you’re familiar?): “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” And in case the meaning isn’t clear, here is a direct quote from a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, Jan. 1 1802, to the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut: “Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.” Honestly, though, the true problems do lie within laws and not arbitrary holiday’s for prayer, as I think even God would scoff at them, recognizing them as nothing more than a silly political appeal. And so, I find it hard to get angry or even care about the fact that Obama did pray with a group of 50,000 law-abiding, peaceful, American Muslim citizens–a group of people whom have been on the losing side of relentless discrimination for the past decade in light of the events which took place on September 11, 2001. After all, both instances cited in this email were in effort towards achieving the same goal. It’s not about making us no longer a Christian Nation(which we technically never were) or about making us a Muslim Nation, nor is it about making us a Religious Nation or a Secular Nation, but a Nation United, tolerant and accepting of one another’s beliefs and values. Extremism and terrorism are far from specific to only the Islam faith, and so it is extremely unfair and ignorant to hold such a thing against the individual Muslim as many Americans do out of blind hate. Forget not the Crusades which lasted for centuries, or for some more recent examples, the several instances of violent Christian Militias in out very own country just in these past few years(http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/us/30militia.html) or the anti-homosexual campaigns led by the Westboro Baptist Church(http://www.godhatesfags.com/index.html), claiming that God is punishing our country for not making sodomy illegal–a favorite slogan of theirs to use when picketing the funerals of our dead soldiers. So long as religion and faith exists, there will people who will use their divine inspiration for an infinite spectrum of causes, whether they be charitable and helping, such as many church-run homeless shelters, soup kitchens and used clothing stores are, or greed driven, violent pursuits in the name of God. And, of course, there will always be the byproduct of panic and fear, and those who will knowingly or unknowingly continue to spread these unwarranted, primeval feelings along every step of the way–I’m looking at you Billy Cooper, whomever you are!