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By Charing Ball

Apparently there are a lot of people who still believe that President Obama is a Muslim.

This little tidbit of foolishness comes courtesy of a poll released by the Pew Research Center, which suggested that 12 per cent, or one in five Americans surveyed, believe that Obama is an undercover brother – of Islam.  While the poll suggests that the Muslim believing respondents are conservative Republicans (no surprises there), there are some Democrats as well as Independents, who also subscribe to this asinine belief.

I wonder if these folks, who believe that Obama is a Muslim, also are the same folks, who believe that Obama is a Kenyan-born, Nazi Socialist?  If so, how does that work? That must be one hell of an internal struggle happening inside of his head.

Anyway, our Nazi-Muslim-Socialist president has been, once again, placed on the hot seat to speak to his religious practices – an “issue,” which should have been, as we say on the streets, deaded after the 2008 campaign, when pictures of a Turban-wearing Obama arose and he was asked repeatedly to downplay any connection he might have had to Islam. Two years later, the White House is still making statements about the President’s devotion to Christianity and his proclivity to “pray every day”[tag: cbs news link].

The timing of this poll, as well as all the media attention, couldn’t have been more perfect as it coincides with Obama’s initial statements on the so-called “ground zero mosque,” in which he sort of defended the rights of the Islamic cultural center to be built in the vicinity of Ground Zero. And in true opportunistic fashion, some within the ultra-radical conservative right have used this little meme as a desperate and twisted attempt further play on the fears of an Islamization of America.

This latest perpetrator is Reverend Franklin Graham, son of famed Evangelist Preacher Billy Graham, who told CNN  that “I think the President’s problem is that he was born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name.”

Graham may have a point as it appears that the reverence for religious intolerance doesn’t fall from the xenophobic tree.  But even now as Papa Graham, now well into his golden years, has come to his senses and has made an about face in regards to some of his most controversial beliefs, it seems that the rest of us still have a hard time leaving the decision of who and what folks choose to worship, up to the only entity that matters – and that’s the man upstairs.

Just for the record, if Obama says that he is not Muslim than I believe he’s not Muslim. I mean, he eats pork for goodness sake so that is more than enough evidence for me.  And personally, I wouldn’t care if he prayed to the God of Eye from the planet Nebula just as long as he has some sort of plan to fix the economy, end these two costly wars on terror and get me out of student loan debt.

What bothers me the most is that these questions about Obama’s faith are beginning to sound like slurs for something a little more dubious.  Since the September 11th attacks, Islam has not only been distorted and demonized by some for political gain but the mere mention of the religion has conjured up images of fanaticism and terror attacks in the minds of ordinary citizens.  Because of this, calling someone a Muslim, in some circles, is almost the equivalent of calling somebody a racial epithet.

And while Obama should be free to express his own preference for his devotion, as defined in our Constitution, he should not feel subjected to participating in conversations, which are both irrelevant and irresponsible. At this point, the best thing Obama can do is to either question the merits of the discussion or to say nothing at all.  After all, it’s nobody’s business.

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