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Sweet column: Onward Christian Obama.

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WASHINGTON — The Obama campaign has produced a second ad targeted to a minority audience stressing his Christianity, on Tuesday releasing a Spanish language radio spot to run in Nevada, one of the early presidential vote states. Why the emphasis on Obama’s Christianity? Is there a worry that in some precincts there is confusion about his faith because of the Islamic heritage of his father and stepfather?


The Nevada Spanish language spot: A narrator says, “Let us tell you Barack Obama is a Christian man committed to our community, his wife and his daughters,” according to the English translation provided by the Obama campaign.

A July ad aimed at African Americans in South Carolina, another early primary state: A narrator says, “It’s Barack Obama time. A Christian family man, community organizer, civil rights lawyer, courageous legislator, and U.S. senator who’s told the truth as a soldier for justice.”

This stress on Obama’s religion leads me to surmise that there is some concern within the campaign that is answered by highlighting Obama’s Christian faith, that it is part of his biography that needs bolstering.

Obama often makes reference to his church in speeches touching on many matters. Doing it in a targeted radio ad signals some deliberate thought behind the inclusion. Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ and he took the title of his second book, Audacity of Hope, from a sermon by his minister, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Early on in the campaign I thought Obama — his middle name is Hussein — cleared up questions, triggered by the Islamic heritage of his father and stepfather, about whether he was raised a Muslim. Obama was not raised a Muslim. His campaign, effectively I thought discredited stories he attended a madrassa while a youngster in Jakarta, Indonesia. He did not.

13 Comments

You said "leads me to surmise?"

Come on, Lynn, you are much smarter than you pretend. You know the hate-mongers continue to state as matter-of-fact allegations that Barack Obama is a Muslim. Since he is now introducing himself to a new audience which has not read Dreams From My Father or followed the early madrassa disinformation campaign, setting the basic facts straight is critical, especially with voters for whom faith is important.

You're absolutely correct that the early questions about his faith and madrassas, originally raised by Fox News, were cleared up. That did not prevent Katie Couric from later making obtuse references that would have resurrected these lies. Taking into account the bloodthirsty media in this country and devious opposition out to get Obama, disposing at least of this canard is simple prudence.

Was it necessary to highlight his middle name? It seemed a last-second additive to the rest of your story. Just curious.

The Obama campaign needs to get across the fact that he is Christian. So many Americans fear Muslims and that fear is being used by right wing operatives against Obama. Emails are still being circulated labeling him a radical Muslim based on his middle name and his father and step-father's religion. Many people believe these emails. It is an issue that must be addressed.

His campaign cleared it up for the news junkies already addicted to 24X7 campaign coverage, but that leaves the remaining - 95%? - of potential voters.

Remember Lord Beaverbrook? "Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em, tell 'em, then tell 'em what you told 'em." Because if you don't, they'll forget. Even assuming they were listening the first time.

I understand why they are doing it. I had a lady come to me at work to clarify that obama was not Iranian as her friends were speculating. I offcourse set her straight but you can see need to define themselves in this area conclusively because if there is any lingering doubts about his religion, then he is finished as a candidate. But obviously you knew that. Why you decided to put that tone into your article is beyond me.

I suppose if Fox News had not told the world that Senator Obama was a Muslim terrorist, he would not have to be telling people he is actually a Christian. Some people (on the Internet) are not only calling him an Islamic Muslim Terrorist, but also an Arab.

I am surprised he has not said the heck with the people, for all the smear tactics used against him. He has to tolerate the racist KKK "lynch him" comments on his You Tube channel (since turned off) prove that he is "black" enough for persons of color, deal with people calling his mother "white trash", prove to 'white' voters that he will not cater to African/Americans and deal with slander and libel from Ron Paul supporters.

In addition he has to prove he has as much (or more) elected experience as Senator Clinton, deal with her nose-in-air patronizing attitude and be called "uppity" by Salon.com. Give the guy a break. That he is still in the race does show his character as an excellent leader.

This man is a moron tool of the Clinton campaign and in no way fit for President, Christian or not.

“We’ve got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we’re not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous problems there.” Barack Hussein Obama comments about our presence in Afghanistan, 8/13/07. Can anybody be this stupid? Only from Illinois. Way to go Prairie Staters

Why should Senator Obama's religion matter? Muslims voted for Christian George Bush.

Well, Ms Sweet, let a South Carolinian address your (again? again??) query regarding Barack Obama's faith--or, by some accounts, the lack of a benign and certifiably American one:

Poisonous labels can kill ya. Especially the oblique "terrorist" tag in post 9/11 America. The anointing of a candidate, over and over again, as "Hussein, the product of a Muslim madrassa", surely requires an antidote.

Truth serum, perhaps?

So, his campaign (wisely) keeps administering doses as necessary.

It's little different than, say, a woman running who has to keep proving how tough she is ("I'll see your naive negotiations and raise you two irresponsible nukes!") to counteract the potentially lethal "a girlie girl who won't push the button" label. Hormone therapy. Testosterone drip.

In a poisonous environment defined by pseudo-religious hype, the Obama campaign does what it must: The truth, administered every four to six hours as necessary until the symptoms cease.

I would surmise that most of the Hispanics in Nevada are first generation, and thus, more religious. Obama's never run away from his faith, so why not use it in introducing himself to this population. He's all about ' what unites us', and him being a husband and father is something common that any community could relate to. I see nothing wrong.

Alyce, its not the FOXnews, etc. doing the dirty work. Its the National Association of Black Journalists, the Al Sharpton's, the Maxine Water's, etc. who are asking Obama if he's "black enough". Point the fingers where they need to be pointed, please. Its the Mary Mitchell's and Suzanne Malveaux's of the world who keep harping on being "black enough".

There are alot of Black Professionals and so-called self-appointed spokesmen who are a scared of a Obama presidency. JEALOUSY and worrying about your own personal influences, power, and financial losses, can make people do desperate things.

I dislike any politician who wears his religion out on his sleeve - particularly prostheletizing, holier-than thou types like O-Bomb-A. Just another reason for people to vote against him.

Are we crazy to be voting for someone with a name like Obama Hussein" ? The name alsone should disqualify this candidate. Add to that his total lack of experience in anything remotely government-related, his total lack of foreign diplomacy knowlege, even at the high school level. One more thing, once a muslim, ALWAYS a muslim. You cannot denouce your muslim faith. And yes, I believe he attended the madrassas in Indonesia. I shudder to think some people are even entertaining the thought of electing this moron. Heaven help us!

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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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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 14, 2007 6:47 PM.

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