The Video and The President

Obama Time CoverRecently a friend sent me a plea to pray for President Obama.  Attached to that plea was a link to a YouTube video that tries to prove how unpatriotic and dangerous the President is.  Below is my response to her.

. . . this video is a major piece of propaganda.  The editing in it isn’t even clever.  You can take sound bites from almost anyone, string them together and make them say what you want them to.  So much of what is said in here isn’t controversial if you know the context, but the editing makes it controversial.  The words that introduce each section set the viewer up to believe what the editor wants you to believe.  Case in point—Obama dresses as a Muslim followed by footage of him in traditional African clothes.  They are not traditional Muslim clothes, they are traditional African clothes.  His heritage is half African.  If his heritage were Scottish and he was wearing a kilt no one would think twice about it.

As for loving the sound of the Muslim call to worship—he spent a significant part of his formative years in Indonesia, the largest (by population) Muslim nation in the world.  I’d almost bet that when he hears a call to worship, it reminds him of his childhood.  As for the whole deal on bowing to a Muslim ruler . . . he was being culturally appropriate in how he greeted a ruler in that ruler’s nation.  Why didn’t he shake hands with Queen Elizabeth the same way?  It wasn’t culturally appropriate for her.

He visited a mosque.  Big deal. I’ve visited mosques.  I’ve visited cathedrals.  That makes me neither Muslim nor Catholic.  He points out all the contributions Muslims have made to math, science, and literature over the centuries.  So what?  Atheists, Buddhists, and Zoroastrians have also made contributions in those areas.  We don’t seem threatened by that.

He points out that the US is no longer a christian nation.  We aren’t.  Our foundation is still based on christian principles, but to call ourselves a christian nation either insults God or waters down Christianity.  The sheer geographical size of our nation and its general welcome of all people regardless of color or creed would in itself make the reality that the USA is home to many, many Muslims logical.

Are we at war with Islam or are we at war with terrorists who are Muslims?  There is a vast difference.  Yes, Islam has tenets that are disturbing and leaders who would take over the world given the opportunity; I’m not naive about that.  However, equating terrorists with people who cannot imagine being anything but Muslim because of the family they were born into is tantamount to equating all Caucasians with white supremacists because of their skin color.  (Yes, it’s a limited analogy.)

I think the crux of the matter is that we have a President who is a Third Culture Kid (TCK).  A TCK is defined as a person who has spent a significant part of his/her developmental years in a culture other than his/her parents’ culture.  The TCK builds relationships to all the cultures while not having full ownership in any.  Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar backgrounds.  (Pollock and Van Reken, 1999)  If you look at Obama through that filter, who he is and what he does make a lot more sense.

The furor recorded in the video montage over him not wearing the American flag pin makes sense when you understand TCKs.  They are fiercely patriotic, but they are rarely nationalistic.  Patriotism says, “I want my country to do right and to be right.”  Patriotism believes right makes might.  Nationalism on the other hand says, “My country is right no matter what.”  Nationalism believes might makes right.  I believe the President is patriotic but not nationalistic.  It’s easy to confuse the two.  His West Point speech highlights his patriotism.  During that speech he even challenges the cadets to have a right makes might attitude.

Do I think President Obama is always right?  Not a chance.  Do I think he needs to be held accountable for his words and actions?  Absolutely.  Do I think he is often misunderstood?  Without a doubt. (Aren’t we all at one time or another?  He just gets to be misunderstood by more people more often.)  Do I think we need to pray for him?  Certainly.  Even if God didn’t tell us to, we would still be right in praying for him.

I intentionally have not posted a link to the video.  I have full confidence that you’re intelligent;  if you really want to see it, you’ll find it.  I don’t want it associated with my website.  It’s not truthfully informative, it’s propaganda that is going viral.  My purpose in writing is to present a filter not tainted by hate and fear.  I hope I’ve succeeded.  And I hope I’ve succeeded without losing any friends.

image courtesy of MyEyeSees

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