Giving the Hajj sermon in Mecca. Muqtedar Khan explains:
The Hajj sermon this year – one of the highlights of the three-day pilgrimage that millions of Muslims make to Mecca every year – has received special attention in the media all over the Muslim world. Excerpts from the sermon, which condemn terrorism and extremism and advocate moderation, have been reproduced in hundreds of newspapers. Videos of the sermon with English subtitles are circulating widely by email and have been posted on YouTube. It seems that the Muslim world has embraced the message enthusiastically.
Will American doubters pay attention?
Via Washington Post, On Faith
add a comment »
Last week, we highlighted the Pope’s stance on the right to health care, and noted how, if he’d been an advocate in America, conservative commentators would probably have labeled him a “socialist” or “communist” for his views, such as a “right to health,” an embrace of “health justice” and social justice, and the obligation of governments to ensure all their citizens receive needed care.
Anew roundup of quotes from these pundits just stark a contrast there is between Pope’s teachings and their rhetoric:
We have a right to health care? Really? God doesn’t give health care. Man provides health care. So how can it be a right? If you are endowed by your creator with certain inalienable rights, how can a God-given right be health care? Unless Jesus comes down and starts to open up a clinic and heal us himself, there cannot be a right to health care – because the rights come from God.
The far left is trying to create a huge federal apparatus that will promote income redistribution and ‘social justice.’ Also, the left sees a major opportunity to knock out Judeo-Christian traditions, replacing them with a secular philosophy.
All you need to know about government run health care was that Vladimir Lenin had the brainchild.
These pundits have not hesitated to lash out against faith leaders who defend key tenets like social justice, but it seems so far not one has stepped up to condemn the Pope, or even try to explain away his statements.
Excuse the cliche, but the silence is deafening. Particularly for Catholic pundits and politicians like Newt Gingrich who put their faith at the forefront of their public image. If they sincerely believe government involvement in healthcare is an evil on par with Stalinism and Nazism, don’t they have an obligation to speak up when the most prominent religious leader in the world full-throatedly endorses it?
add a comment »
Two studies from Kelly Garret and Eric Nisbet at Ohio State University shed some light on the anti-Muslim fervor that broke out this summer surrounding the Park 51 project.
The first study surveyed participants’ exposure to false rumors about the Islamic center, and then measured their responsiveness to the truth. The results were fairly disappointing:
Overall, only 35 percent of the participants who previously encountered and believed the rumor held more accurate beliefs after reading a rebuttal, and even fewer – about 28 percent – were moved to reject the rumor.
Given that these anti-Muslim rumors are so difficult to dislodge once people have heard them, the best strategy may be to cut them off before they gain momentum. Garret and Nisbett’s second study helps identify how this misinformation gets to the public in the first place. Again, their findings are predictably disheartening:
People who said they relied heavily on Fox News, either online or on television, were more aware of the false rumors about the mosque and were more likely to believe these rumors compared to those with low reliance on Fox.
Reliance on conservative talk radio had a similar effect on users as did Fox News. Those with a heavy reliance on conservative talk radio heard on average two rumors, compared to 1.5 rumors for those with a low reliance – an increase of 33 percent.
These numbers support Justin Elliot’s comprehensive timeline of Park 51 media coverage, which documents how the political agenda of a small group of right-wing activists combined with the conservative echo chamber turned this uncontroversial local issue into a media firestorm.
As these studies reveal, the nationwide opposition to the Park 51 project was never a good indication of informed public opinion about the project. It was the product of a coordinated smear campaign by conservative activists and media to stir up fear to generate ratings and score political points.
add a comment »
…or much worse if we were to apply the rhetoric of last year’s health care reform debate!
Because an individual’s health is a “precious asset” to society as well as to himself, governments and other agencies should seek to protect it by “dedicating the equipment, resources and energy so that the greatest number of people can have access.”
Via Think Progress
add a comment »
Dan mentioned the new Public Religion Research Institute poll yesterday. One particular finding caught my eye:
There is a strong relationship between how Americans perceive Obama’s faith and their views toward him….among Americans who say Obama’s beliefs are very different from their own, nearly 8-in-10 say they have a very (51%) or mostly (27%) unfavorable view of him.
Although the poll doesn’t directly assign causation, my instinct is that Americans’ opinions of Obama’s beliefs don’t influence their opinion of him generally, but rather their political opinions of him drive their views of his beliefs.
From even the beginnings of the 2008 campaign, Obama’s opponents have been attempting to ‘otherize’ him, to paint him as fundamentally different from “real Americans.” His education, international upbringing, organizing background, race, “celebrity,” etc. have all been incorporated into attacks at some point. His faith just serves as another opportunity to sow confusion and mistrust. While focusing on elected official’s religions isn’t a new political tactic, this time it feels like a more extreme version. After all, right-wing media have embarked on a sustained campaign to convince their audience that the President is a Muslim, and two-thirds of Republicans and Tea Partiers think Islam is incompatible with American values.
Thinking recently, both Bush and Kerry’s opponents used their faiths to highlight their positions on social issues, with each side arguing the other was either too religious or not religious enough. But neither alleged that their opponent was actively lying about his faith altogether.
These types of attacks seem more akin to a much older style of politics, more like the anti-Catholicism President Kennedy faced or the anti-Semitism directed at Jewish leaders for most of our country’s history.
I’d be interested to know if there’s any good data from these earlier periods to see how influential religious attacks were and how it compares to today.
add a comment »