Tech & The Web

The ‘Real’ Obama?

The emails almost always begin one of two ways: either, “Is this true?” or, “Why hasn’t the media reported the truth about Obama?”

In other words, people either think we haven’t heard of it and want us to look into it for them, or they have already decided that it must be true and because we don’t make mention of it in every single newscast we put on the air, we must be engaging in some sort of conspiracy of silence to keep this “critical” information from the public.

They concern two widely-circulated chain emails about Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama. One of them contains a lot of allegations about Obama himself while the other is a very negative portrayal of Obama’s church.

But let’s look at the “truth” of the emails.

In the first, everything from his parents to his middle name to his “real” intentions are suggested:

“Who is Barack Obama?

Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black MUSLIM from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHEIST from Wichita, Kansas.

Obama’s parents met at the University of Hawaii. When Obama was two years old, his parents divorced. Hi s father returned to Kenya. His mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL Muslim from Indonesia.?
When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocate to Indonesia. Obama attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta. He also spent two years in a Catholic school.

Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim.
He is quick to point out that, “He was once a Muslim, but that he also attended Catholic school.”

Obama’s political handlers are attempting to make it appear that
that he is not a radical.

Obama’s introduction to Islam came via his father, and that this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any direct influence over his son’s education.

Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was enrolled in a Wahabi school in Jakarta.

Wahabism is the RADICAL teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now waging Jihad against the western world. Since it is politically expedient to be a CHRISTIAN when seeking major public office in the United States, Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an attempt to downplay his Muslim background. ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn into office he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Koran.

Barack Hussein Obama will NOT recite the Pledge of Allegiance nor will he show any reverence for our flag. While others place their hands over their hearts, Obama turns his back to the flag and slouches.

Let us all remain alert concerning Obama’s expected presidential candidacy.
The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level – through the President of the United States, one of their own!!!!”

This email also mentions that the writer — who’s always anonymous – “even checked with Snopes.com,” then reports that it is factual. “Check it out for yourself,” it challenges, likely hoping that those who receive it will just take the writer’s word for it instead.

Bad move. Because those who do take the time to visit snopes.com quickly discover that this email is labeled false by the myth-busting site.

The fact that the words Muslim and atheist are typed in all caps clearly indicates that the email originates from a religious activist; this could be a sign that a right-wing evangelical is behind the email. In any case, it calls into question the background of the writer and suggests that there is religious discrimination at work.

The mention of Obama’s middle name, Hussein, is a similar attack, because it focuses more attention on his religious background. Hussein is a common name in Arabic countries. Kenya, his father’s country of origin, happens to be an Islamic country. To a rational person who wants to vote based on issues, a candidate’s name should mean nothing, as long as it can be found on the ballot.

According to FactCheck.org, CNN debunked the part about Obama attending a radical Wahabi school, when it sent a reporter inside to see whether Obama’s elementary school really taught radical religious extremism. It didn’t.

It also points out that it was Democratic House Member Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first and only Muslim member of Congress, who was sworn into office with his hand on a Koran instead of a Bible. Barack Obama used his own Bible, a fact so easily checked and confirmed from newspaper accounts and photographs.

The bit about the Pledge of Allegiance, which sometimes is the sole focus of another chain email, involves a photo published in Time magazine that shows Barack Obama not holding his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem, not the recitation of the pledge.

Then there’s the email about Obama’s church, which starts off by explaining that Obama mentioned the church of which he is a member on Oprah. Well if Oprah is involved, then it must be true!

The facts it claims to have found about the church are deemed “very alarming:”

“Barack Obama is a member of this church and is running for President of the U.S. If you look at the first page of their web site, you will learn that this congregation has a non-negotiable commitment to Africa. No where is AMERICA even mentioned. Notice too, what color you will need to be if you should want to join Obama’s church…_ B-L-A-C-K!!!_ Doesn’t look like his choice of religion has improved much over his (former?) Muslim upbringing. Are you aware that Obama’s middle name is Mohammed? Strip away his nice looks, the big smile and smooth talk and what do you get? Certainly a racist, as plainly defined by the stated position of his church! And possibly a covert worshiper of the Muslim faith, even today. This guy desires to rule over America while his loyalty is totally vested in a Black Africa!”

The email then adds, “I cannot believe this has not been all over the TV and newspapers.”

Perhaps the writer should have stopped to think that there might be a reason this “truth” wasn’t being reported: because it is anything but.

This one doesn’t even get his much-publicized middle name right. And it doesn’t get much better from there.

The church does describe itself as “unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian.” Personally, I think it’s a shame that a black Christian should think he would need to be ashamed or apologize for it, but maybe that’s just me. In any case, the church’s website indicates a commitment to educate blacks. But it is not a “blacks-only” — or should that be “B-L-A-C-K-S-only” — church.

FactCheck.org quotes Theology Professor Martin Marty of the University of Chicago Divinity School, who is white, who says he and his wife attend occasionally, and “like all other non-blacks, are enthusiastically welcomed.”

As FactCheck correctly points out, there is a big difference between a black church that is “pro-black,” as this church seems to be, and one that is “anti-white,” which it seems not to be. If it were “anti-white,” one might expect Obama himself, whose mother is white, to have been rejected from the moment he stepped foot inside.

No one, not one of the people who want to demand “answers” about why the media is “hiding” the alleged facts of these emails, would be satisfied with a media report that contained this many errors and exaggerations. Yet an email full of allegations appears and people eat it up like a rich dessert.

Politics should be about issues, not attacks based on lies. I hope whoever is spreading this crap is exposed. We have much more important things to worry about.

5 Comments

  1. Anything I receive via email I automatically assume is false. Even things I get from my most trusted friends go into the “look into this some more” file. Email is just too easy, and telling the truth is just too hard. The two things are natural enemies.

  2. I haven’t seen either email (Thank God!), but I agree that people will forward the most amazingly stupid and easily checked “facts” without doing any checking. About a decade ago I made the decision not to forward anything I received as a forward unless I personally knew the contents to be true.

    So, if I know the soldier fighting in Iraq who has asked for school supplies to be sent, or I was in attendance when some well-known person said/did something ridiculous, I will forward that. Otherwise, I’m a dead-end on the email turnpike. I don’t even bother to correct the sender anymore most of the time. I actually lost what I thought was a good friend once when I did that because she was so offended that I’d “check up on her” rather than trusting what she wrote.

    The gist of it is that some people really will believe anything. Arguing with them puts you in the camp with the rest of the Bad Guys Involved in the Big Coverup. My response is usually a cocked eyebrow, a disbelieving “Really?” and a change of subject to the weather or sports.

  3. If his father were really a practicing Muslim, he couldn’t have married an atheist, that would be against his religion. And if she were an atheist, she wouldn’t be marrying believing or “radical” Muslim men, either.

  4. Anyone who’s been on the Internet for a few years knows that most such emails are false.

    I’d like to think so, Donna, but you’d be amazed at how many people who unfortunately still seem to believe everything that they read! 🙂

  5. Thanks for this. I’ve received that first email so many times, and I did check Snopes. Anyone who’s been on the Internet for a few years knows that most such emails are false.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.