Sunday, August 22, 2010


I am currently obsessed with the Franklin Graham story (see below). I am hoping that the good Reverend's words are widely picked up on, and seen in the subversively evil political sense they were intended.

It's not a leap of right-wing logic to move from the Obama as Muslim dog whistles to Obama as Muslim Apostate. The beauty of that conceptualization is that it is something politicians (i.e. Graham) of a certain ilk can say out loud in a reasonable tone and still sound sane. "Yes, he was born a Muslim, but at least he says that he renounced Mohammed years ago." And then you wait for your followers to gleefully make the next move.

I looked around for the origin of the Obama as Apostate meme, and it seems to have originated in a piece by Defense consultant Edward Luttwak titled 'President Apostate?' which was printed in the NYT in May 2008. Here are a couple excerpts.

"As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mother’s Christian background is irrelevant."

"His conversion, however, was a crime in Muslim eyes; it is “irtidad” or “ridda,” usually translated from the Arabic as “apostasy,” but with connotations of rebellion and treason. Indeed, it is the worst of all crimes that a Muslim can commit, worse than murder (which the victim’s family may choose to forgive). With few exceptions, the jurists of all Sunni and Shiite schools prescribe execution for all adults who leave the faith not under duress; the recommended punishment is beheading at the hands of a cleric, although in recent years there have been both stonings and hangings."

"Because no government is likely to allow the prosecution of a President Obama — not even those of Iran and Saudi Arabia, the only two countries where Islamic religious courts dominate over secular law — another provision of Muslim law is perhaps more relevant: it prohibits punishment for any Muslim who kills any apostate, and effectively prohibits interference with such a killing."

The Luttwak piece has been having a healthy revival over the past couple of days. No doubt.

On topic: Tengrain at the excellent Mock, Paper, Scissors.


  1. I'm going to have to agree with you on this latest "Obama is a Muslim" angle. It follows the Fox News pattern, where it's not just one dog whistle, it's a whole section of the orchestra devoted to dog whistles. Graham is playing the Baritone Dog Whistle.

  2. And we wonder why the canines have run amuck of late.