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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Colin Powell On Patriotism and Muslim-Americans

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.”

Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian.

But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America.

Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?

Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards -- Purple Heart, Bronze Star -- showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old.

And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross; it didn’t have the Star of David; it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life.

-Colin Powell on Meet The Press

Quote taken from Meet the Press transcript.



Blogger Georgia Mountain Man said...

A breath of fresh air from a Republican party that has long descended into the smutty, stale air of politics. If Gen. Powell says Obama isn't connected to terrorists, then he isn't. After all, he should know. Gen. Powell is a statesman, and there are so few left on both sides of the aisle.

5:25 AM

Blogger Cat's Dad said...

Yeah, what would be the problem if a candidate were Muslim? We have no problem in America with viewing women as property, do we?

I didn't read Powell to say that Obama's not associated with terrorists, because he knows Obama is associated with William Ayers, who did terroristic-type acts. Powell simply said Republicans shouldn't mention it--it's un-American and politically incorrect.

It doesn't change the facts--only indicates Powell's spin.

9:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cat's dad

Your reading of the Qu'ran and classical Muslim jurisprudence may be that women are property (and this reading may even be the most objectively reasonable!), but it's hard to see the relevance of that to either the majority of American Muslims, or to some elementary-school enrollment documents from the late 1960s.

I'm sure you would object to Muslims telling you what the Bible says and how it's properly understood. So use a little Golden Rule and refrain from doing the same to others.

If a Muslim candidate ran for office, you'd be justified to ask him about whether he thought women were property, or whether he thought death was a reasonable punishment for apostasy. If a Jew ran for office, you'd be justified to ask if he wore mixed fibres. Christians running for office should be asked where they come down on the God/Caesar divide.

But in asking those questions, you'd damn well better listen to the answers. Maybe the Muslim and the Jew and the Christian don't subscribe to your reading of their faiths, but it's dishonest to hold them to anything except what they profess.

11:07 AM

Blogger Cat's Dad said...


I'm not sure if you're lecturing me, commending me, or what, but I pretty much agree with you.

Except, I'd say that a politician's public record trumps what he professes about his religion, to the extent that it impacts public policy, legislation, etc.

A politician's as likely to lie about faith convictions as about other stuff.

No need for profanity on this blog, friend.

8:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I was lecturing you.

If the politican's public record is bad, isn't that reason enough to discount him? I'm not going to vote for someone who supports, keeping with our example, a court decision reducing women's legal status.

Maybe his reasons are religious; maybe they're ideological; maybe it was cynical pandering. But I don't really care.

What I'm getting at is that (as far as politics goes) religious views are most of the time, and religious labels are all of the time, crude approximations to things which needn't be approximated.

10:43 PM

Blogger Cat's Dad said...


After linking to your blog, I conclude you're on a different plane somewhere above mine, so I'll just say I agree.

If a candidate is Muslim, or claims any faith, we shouldn't assume the individual to be a fervent one who views the world according to that religion/faith's orthodox doctrines.

9:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Overlook all of Obama's muslim connections if you want, but if after the election you find out that you have been wrong, it will be too late. Why was he concerned with supporting the losing candidate in Africa? mom2

6:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Too late'? What, exactly, is your nightmare scenario?

8:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

cooper, my scenario can be as valid as yours. Does the Bible stand on the same ground as the Muslim holy book? Not in my view. What is the fastest growing religion in the world? Where are things headed? mom2

12:38 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know your scenario, that's why I asked. I didn't offer one myself, I was just curious as to what you had meant by it being 'too late'.

I'm not sure of the relevance of the Bible/Qu'ran comparison here.

Is your fear that Islam will win (in whatever sense) by force of demography? Then this particular election isn't nearly as pivotal as you make it out to be. It's not like an Obama win would cause a massive conversion to Islam, or a sudden increase Muslim fecundity or something.

If one is committed to maintaing a democracy which has a deep respect for the rights of all, then one needn't fear being in the minority. That's a Baptist foundational principle, and indeed a foundational principle of the American republic.

3:22 PM


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