I have tried to stay neutral in the political race, mainly by keeping my political opinions relatively quiet. I pastor a wonderful church made up of both Democrats and Republicans, fine people who sincerely embrace Christ and his Word. My own political affiliation is independent. In West Virginia, that means that I am registered without a party affiliation. My allegiences are higher than either party for the sake of my congregation.
I am discouraged, however, to see some of my fellow WVians falling for the most elementary political fallacies. Several months ago, West Virginia made national news through "man on the street" interviews that made us look very bad. No doubt, the media picked the interviews that portrayed us in the poorest light. Here is an example of those sorts of interviews.
Today, I ran into one of those folks and heard it with my own ears, and I was amazed. She was not a member of my congregation. The topic of conversation was today's inauguration. Quickly, she asserted that Obama was a Muslim. I could not resist correcting her. "No he is not," I said. "He has publicly stated over and again that he believes himself to be a Christian." We have no valid reason to suspect that he is a Muslim, even if that mattered as a qualification for POTUS. Though I suspect his definition of "Christian" and mine are quite different, I run into supposed "Christians" every day whose definitions are very different from mine.
She continued "But he looks like a Muslim." I responded, "What does that mean? There are millions of blacks all across America. Does being black make one a Muslim?" I stopped short of telling her that such a statement was blatently racist. She finished with the assertion that "he does not salute the flag." Once again, I responded, "One picture has accidently captured Obama before he had a chance to salute during the pledge of allegience. Such an argument cannot be made from a single picture." The fact that she so quickly moved from one desparate reason to reject Obama to the next was revealing.
I think many are looking for excuses to not embrace Obama for reasons that hearken back to a darker time in our nation's history. This is shameful. West Virginia has once again demonstrated that many of us are behind the curve. There may be many legitimate reasons to prefer that someone else be president, but please, oh, please! Fellow West Virginians! Let them be good, accurate, well-reasoned, and unprejudiced!