“I think the president's problem is that he was born a Muslim. His father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim. His father gave him an Islamic name. Now it's obvious that the president has renounced the Prophet Muhammad and he has renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That's what he says he has done. I cannot say that he hasn't. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said.”When religionists talk about semen...
Personally, I’m stuck on the word seed. Graham meant it in the Biblical (or Koranical) sense, but when I hear about a “seed passing through” in the context of an American president, I can’t help but see Monica Lewinsky and her “semen-stained blue dress.”Is the author of this piece — Leslie Savan —paying enough attention the the way she is expressing contempt for Muslim beliefs? I didn't know you could do that in The Nation. I mean, I agree that religion originates within the mind of a human being (and not in some guy's testicles!). I agree with James Madison:
Regardless of what the Muslim world may or may not believe, this whole seed fixation is profoundly un-American. It says that genealogy is destiny, that a man is Muslim regardless of what he espouses or believes. It’s all about descent—and nauseatingly close to the “one drop rule” of the post-Reconstruction South. That rule held that if a person had any African or Indian ancestry whatsoever, he or she was classified as “colored” and subject to anti-miscegenation laws, voter disenfranchisement, and segregation at large. At least eighteen states adopted some form of the rule; Virginia’s 1924 law, for instance, was called the Racial Integrity Act.
... "... religion or the duty which we owe to our Creator and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction..." The Religion then of every man must be left to the conviction and conscience of every man...This is one of several arguments for freedom of religion and the separation of church and state that were influential in the development of rights in America. It isn't the way everyone in the world thinks about religion, but it is presented by Madison as "a fundamental and undeniable truth." Of course, under that truth, you are free to believe that religion arrived via semen. And we're also free to laugh at such a ridiculous belief.
Another point. Graham didn't "claim that Obama is a Muslim." So ironically, it's false to say that he did. If you want to write an article lambasting people for making false claims, be careful that you don't make any false claims. (Savan has a grievance against whoever wrote that headline.)
And I'm wondering who did say Obama's a Muslim? But no one has to say it for people to come to think it. So it's fair to say that statements like Graham's have a causal relation to what people will answer when a pollster asks them "What is Obama's religion?"
So... is anyone doing anything bad? I think so, but you talk now. I'll come back to this discussion later.