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Columnist: Myths about muslims

Larry Summerour

Contributing columnist

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If we look at the American culture of today, it is most conspicuous that there are many myths about Muslims.

Let me preface my thoughts by saying that President Obama is not a Muslim. Several months ago, my wife and I had lunch with a friend of ours in Marietta. During our lunch she told us that President Obama is a practicing Muslim. When I asked her where she got that erroneous viewpoint, she said she heard it on Fox News.

I never listen to Fox News. Being a Theodore Roosevelt progressive, Fox is not my cup of tea. However, I went on to explain to her that the president is a Christian. Even if he were a Muslim, he would still have the constitutional right to be president.

The constitution does not have a religious litmus test to determine who can and cannot be president. That includes atheists and agnostics.

One prevalent myth is that Muslims in general are radical Jihadists. Yes, there are some Muslim extremists who want to murder people who will not convert to Islam. However, they are in the minority. Most Muslims in this world work hard, pay their taxes and seek civility.

One of the most dangerous ideas is to categorize people. The Nazis unfortunately categorized Jews as people who want to destroy German culture. When I was a child growing up in the segregated South, I was told that blacks were inferior to whites; that blacks are basically lazy and stupid.

One of my favorite people, the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said that we should judge people by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. That should also apply to religion. There have been times in American history where Catholics were discriminated against. There were many people who voted against President Kennedy simply because he was Catholic.

We also see discrimination against gay people. In my opinion, most gay people are good citizens. To categorize gay people in general as being a bunch of perverts is erroneous.

I had a cousin who was gay. He was a certified public accountant, attended church regularly and was very patriotic. He represents most gay people in this country.

Again, we need to remember that all law abiding American citizens and their rights are protected by the constitution. This is what makes America great. Our courageous soldiers — men and women — died so that all of us should be able to pursue happiness.

In closing, those who say that Muslims are not welcome in this country are not patriotic. Again, the constitution does not have a litmus test concerning religion. In other words, America should be open to welcoming Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, atheists and agnostics.

Larry Summerour of Troup County is a retired pastor who enjoys political commentary.