I got an email from an old friend in Wyoming today. It disturbed me.
I’ll include the text of the original email here and my response to it below that. I was writing primarily to a Christian friend of mine, and I write to her in that context, so forgive me if it’s a little long on religion for some readers.
On Oct 9, 2008, at 12:54 PM, ***** wrote:
—– Original Message —–
More on the special subject that keeps our blood pressures high.
Been around but you should read this one more time especially if you are a Democrat.
Think you know who this man is?
This possible President of the United States !! Read Below and ask yourselves, is this REALLY someone we can see as the President of our great nation!!!!
Below are a few lines from Obama’s books; In HIS words!
From Dreams of My Father: ‘I ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites.’
From Dreams of My Father : ‘I found a solace in nursing a pervasive sense of grievance and animosity against my mother’s race.’
From Dreams of My Father: ‘There was something about him that made me wary, a little too sure of himself, maybe. And white.’
From Dreams of My Father: ‘It remained necessary to prove which side youwere on, to show your loyalty to the black masses, to strike out and namenames.’
From Dreams of My Father: ‘I never emulate white men and brown men whose fates didn’t speak to my own. It was into my father’s image, the black man, son of Africa , that I’d packed all the attributes I sought in myself , the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, DuBois and Mandela.’
And FINALLY the Most Damming one of ALL of them!!!
From Audacity of Hope: ‘I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.’
* If you have never forwarded an e-mail, now is the time to Do so!!!! We CANNOT have someone with this type of mentality running our GREAT nation!! I don’t care whether you a Democrat or a Conservative. We CANNOT turn ourselves over to this type of character in a President. PLEASE help spread the word!
To others who received and/or sent this note,
I received this email with some dismay, so I’m responding. To not respond would be disrespectful. I respect the person who sent it, and since I’ve been invited into the conversation, I’ll put in my two cents.
I highly, highly recommend that each of you get this book and read it. At least go and find the quotations and check their context. I challenge you to read Dreams From My Father and still think that these out of context excerpts represent the man who wrote it. It’s at the library if you’re concerned about sending money his way.
Until you do that, though, let me set some context.
The first excerpts about race have to do with the struggles of a biracial young man to find his identity in a world where he didn’t seem to belong anywhere. There were periods of his youth where he was angry (anyone not have those periods in their own youth?), and where he got into trouble in a search for who he is. These quotes relate to different times when as a teenager he got off-track. He is admitting that he was off-track in the book, and it is duplicitous to present these quotations as though he’s saying that’s how he feels and what he stands for.
It would be simple to pull lines out of context from the Holy Bible itself and make it look like a crazy rant, but if you actually read it, a different picture emerges. Anything can be pulled out of context and turned against itself.
It’s irresponsible to forward a fear-mongering note like this without having read the book. If anyone else has read it and wants to have a discussion of it, I welcome that – it’s the work of democracy to kick these ideas around and respectfully forge our way forward as a nation.
As for standing with the Muslims, it is the job of Christians to stand with all persecuted people when they are persecuted unfairly, as some Christians stood with Jews in southern France during the holocaust (told beautifully in the book “Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed”) Read what Jesus had to say in the Sermon on the Mount. These are our instructions, and Obama in this part of the book is talking about unfair persecution of a religion within our country. Friends, if we’ve stopped believing in religious freedom, we have ceased to be America. If we will only stand up to defend people who agree with us, we have nothing left to be proud of. What Obama refers to in this quotation is a scenario where Muslims were being attacked for being Muslim. What would you do in that situation? I’d like to think I would come to their defense, as a Christian and an American.
Thanks to everyone in the country who is participating in the dialog. It’s our job as Americans. It’s what democracy looks like. Since I received this email from someone I love and respect, I’m responding with a heartfelt and I hope helpful contribution to the conversation that was started.
God bless us all,