Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Obama continues pushback on smear. Letter of support from religious leaders.


Sen. Barack Obama's Senate office gathered a dozen religious leaders--a cross section of faiths-- to sign a letter deploring the false "outrageous charges" about his early schooling in Indonesia made in conservative outlets. The first report was published as Obama launches a White House run.

· Setting the record straight, the letter said "Senator Obama never attended a radical Madrassa nor was he ever educated in a wahabi school. In the years he lived in Indonesia as a child, from ages 6 to 10, he attended a neighboring Catholic school for two years and then a public school."

January 23, 2007

An Open Letter to the Religious Community:

Many of you have seen hateful emails, blog postings and reports circulating on the Internet and in the media about Senator Barack Obama and his religious upbringing. These outrageous charges began as reports of his potential candidacy for President emerged and, as has become a shameful custom of modern politics, it has swirled through cyberspace with a vengeance and now has been picked up as fact by Fox News and some partisan commentators.

We are writing to deplore this despicable tactic and set the record straight. We have had enough of the slash and burn politics calculated to divide us as children of God.

We must come together as one nation, and see our stake in each other as Americans. The bitter, destructive politics that have so riven our country in recent years cannot stand. As American leaders of different faiths who have worked cooperatively and greatly respect all of the 2008 candidates in both parties, we do not offer this statement as an endorsement of any individual candidate. However, certain moral standards should infuse our national dialogue, and the recent attacks on Sen. Obama violate values at the heart of this dialogue. The false and malicious attacks levied at him are anathema to all of our faith traditions, and we condemn them outright.

The facts below are no mystery. Senator Obama wrote openly about his life in his autobiography, Dreams from my Father. We take Senator Obama’s long-cited and uncontested description of his educational and faith journey at face value.

· Senator Obama never attended a radical Madrassa nor was he ever educated in a wahabi school. In the years he lived in Indonesia as a child, from ages 6 to 10, he attended a neighboring Catholic school for two years and then a public school.

· Senator Obama was not raised in a religious household.

· Senator Obama became a Christian long before he entered politics. While working as a young community organizer in the mid-1980s, working with a consortium of churches in a depressed neighborhood of Chicago, he became a Christian and became active in Trinity United Church of Christ. He, his wife and family are still active members of Trinity today.

It is important that we take a stand today against this willful, malicious attempt to mislead and inflame - and against any further attempts to use political attacks to divide the religious community. We ask that you share this letter widely, and help us beat back these hideous tactics, whatever their source. As people of faith, we cannot allow divisive attacks like these to stand.

Dr. Robert W. Edgar

General Secretary

National Council of Churches USA
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner
Salam Al-Marayati

Executive Director

Muslim Public Affairs Council

Rev. Stephen J. Thurston


National Baptist Convention of America

The Rt. Rev. Preston W. Williams

President, Global Council of Bishops

African Methodist Episcopal Church

Sister Simone Campbell, SSS

Executive Director

NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

The Rev. John H. Thomas

General Minister and President

United Church of Christ

Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy


Interfaith Alliance

Rabbi Jill Jacobs

Director of Education

Jewish Funds for Justice

Alexia Kelley

Executive Director

Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good


I wonder if those smearing Obama know that its a sin to tell a lie.....

boo hoo..Unfortunately Hussein OsamaObama left his notebook back at the Madrassa. LOL

THis guy is such a complete fraud...Why not run Tom Cruise?

Lunacrats will forever find the vacuous but physically appealing their saviors..

Sadly, as you can tell from the above message, some don't want to know the truth.

Most children don't make the choice of where they go to school so why should it even matter where he attended. What should matter is what is in his heart and what kind of leader he is.

If Obama was really interested in helping out America, he would wait in the wings to run as VP, prove his youth and take his turn as President at another time. Obama is very good, but he is a little too full of himself.

I wonder if Terese knows its a sin to support abortion? Its also a sin to have Tony Rezko buy your backyard!

We have been told multiple times, even by the President, that the war on terror isn't a war against Islam. Yet, the right-wing press continues to promote the idea that the war is about Christian versus Muslim values - I would bet that for every outrageous passage in the Quran, you can find an equally outrageous passage in the Bible. I fear the right-wing press more than the possibility of a terrorist coming over here to blow me up.

It's also immoral to support a party (Republican) who lied us into war, stripped us of our rights, stole our money to use for their own gain, deny working folks a living wage, deny Americans health care while paying for it for people in Iraq, ignore science regarding climate change, and always on the side of big business at the expense of working men and woman?

What is wrong with Republicans who support such sick people and policies? Who are they? Why do they hate our country and people so much?

If you want to know how phony this is just google all entries of the article and notice that the term radical Muslim first describes his father. Someone realized that he never knew his father after age 2 so the article changes to referring to his stepfather as the radical Muslim. Also note the article in Insight the loony Moonie mag that blames the Clinton camp has no byline and not one identifiable source. Will Rogers was right, don"t believe anything you read.

Thankfully Obama is intelligent enough to separate church and state to make decisions for the common good, and not just cater to a bunch of arcane religious lunatics of all 'faiths'. Always remember, no relion, no 'god'. Maybe you can try 'praying' to dragons and unicorns too, along with all the other mythological nonsense, in a worhtless attempt to make the world a better place.

Barack Obama had no more control over what name he was given at birth or where he was educated as a child than any of the rest of us had. Yet so much is being made of his name it is ridiculous. Muhamad Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabar were not given those names at birth, they chose them when they became Muslim converts yet they are revered sports icons. If Obama was scoring 25 points a night for the Bulls instead of being a politician would anyone give a damn what his name was? NO! This only goes to prove that predjudice and racism are still alive and well in this country. Is Obama too young and inexperienced to run this country? Maybe. But that and not his name or where he went to school is what he should be being evaluated on. What is his character made of? Has he driven off any bridges while drunk causing the death of a young woman? Is he an adulterer with several mistresses hidden in a closet? Is he entangled in any shady realestate deals? Most importantly what does he envision as a solution to turn this country around and get the troops out of Iraq without destabilizing the country?

Why is it that Rethuglicans always run Crooks, Liers, War Profiteers, and can't seem to win a race unless they have 3 to 5 times the money as their Democratic opponents, Especially when they use 90% of their corporate lobbyist's greed mill contributions on nothing but smear campaigns? I'm not sure they know how to win anything on their platform alone.

Obama is 100% right to fight back early and hard against bold-faced lies.

Generation X and younger are facing a barrage of disinformation that my generation (50-something) cannot remember in our lifetimes.

Our lives, liberty and the future of mankind depend on the informed political choices we make in the next few years.

Amazing. Obama is preaching that we should unite as people and the conservatives don't seem to like that very much.

yeah they cant stand obama but they can stand a dry drunk and coke head that couldnt do his duty to his country even after daddy got him in the national guard yeah thats there hero waz a bunch of putzes

This is just typical of how the radical right works. They dont care a bit about this country..all they care about is gaining power and truth, and the US be damned!
You are wasting your time talking to them They are ideologues preaching a hate just like that of the radical Muslims.

Obama should go after both Insight and Fox legally. Their aspersions are libelous. They presented misinformation as fact and have harmed Obama.

Why are you blaming the "right" for this... wasn't it Hillary's campaign that shed light on the topic - whether real or imagined?

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on January 24, 2007 11:10 PM.

Obama "has never been a Muslim." Obama's Gibbs' memo on madrassa smear. was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet column: Clinton's 'shock and awe' blitz. Obama's hideout. is the next entry in this blog.

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