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The Varsavsky Foundation
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The political blog of a social entrepreneur


Can The US Elect A Muslim/Atheist now Christian President?

Bruce Feiler the best selling author of a series of wonderful non religious books about religion such as Abraham and Walking the Bible has a provocative post in his blog today entitled Muslim Blood in the White House? In this post Bruce, an expert in religious relations describes Obama´s complex family background and wonders if somebody who was partly raised as a Muslim can be elected president in a country that is at war with Muslims. Moreover the subject becomes more complicated by Obama´s own description of his upbringing which was a complicated mix of Islam, Atheism and Christianity.

Obama — whose father, stepfather, brother and grandfather were Muslims — explained his own first name, Barack, in “Dreams”: “It means ‘Blessed.’ In Arabic. My grandfather was a Muslim.” In his second memoir, “The Audacity of Hope,” Obama added: “Although my father had been raised a Muslim, by the time he met my mother he was a confirmed atheist.”

Being an agnostic Jew myself (would not call myself an atheist Jew cause atheist has that militant anti god component that I don´t endorse) and knowing how strongly most Americans feel about religion I cannot think of a least popular combination for a Presidential candidate than having a Muslim/Atheist background. I think this issue is likely to be raised again and again in the election, especially by whoever his Republican opponent is should Obama make it to the Presidential race. Unfortunately most American´s are quite xenophobic, if Kerry got hit for liking the French, what will happen to Obama Hussein Barack? Frankly I think this is sad because I think that Obama´s unique cultural heritage will make him more sensitive to racial and human relations.

Posted on January 29, 2007