By Jeff Kazmierski – Copy Editor
By now we’ve all heard about the recent Pew poll that indicated a growing number of Americans believe, against all available evidence, that President Obama is not a Christian, but is instead a (gasp!) Muslim. Or that he’s a “secret Muslim,” whatever that is.This, despite the fact that he has been known to drink beer and eat pork spareribs, both of which are decidedly un-Islamic, and that he has never been observed praying toward Mecca. He has, however, been known to attend Christian churches in Chicago (remember the Jeremiah Wright furor during the election?). On the other hand, he does have that funny sounding name, so maybe the doubters have a point.
Not likely, though.
I found this statistic quite amusing, needless to say. To be honest, I really didn’t want to believe that Americans could be that ignorant. So, I decided to go digging and see what other sorts of dumb things 20 percent of my countrymen believe.
I wasn’t prepared for what I found.
For example, according to a Gallup poll from 2005, 21 percent of Americans believe witches and witchcraft are real. Now, I enjoy a good sword-and-sorcery story as much as the next Harry Potter fan, but I have enough grounding in the real world to know the difference between fantasy and reality.
Science? Who needs it? Even though Nicholas Copernicus disproved it nearly four hundred years ago, a 1999 Gallup poll showed 20 percent of us still believe the sun goes around the earth. Alert NASA! They’ve been doing it wrong!
We’re shockingly ignorant about our own history, too. A 1999 Gallup poll showed nearly 20 percent of us don’t know which country we declared independence from in 1776. It was England, by the way.
I apologize for this next statistic; it’s just gross. A 2009 survey conducted by the Water Safety and Health Council found that one in five Americans admitted to urinating in public pools. And you thought it was the sun keeping the water warm.
And last but certainly not least, 20 percent of Americans think the lottery is a sound financial investment, according to the Consumer Federation of America and the Financial Planning Association. Good news for state lottery managers, at least.
So basically, one in five Americans is a historically ignorant heliocentrist who buys lottery tickets instead of mutual funds, is afraid of witches and pees in the pool. And who believes our (Christian) president is really a Muslim in disguise.
If there was ever an argument for increased education funding, this is it.
What’s worse than all these alarming statistics, of course, is the fact that for a growing number of Americans, the question of Obama’s religion actually seems to matter.
It makes no difference to them that he took an oath upon assuming the presidency, wherein he swore to protect and defend the Constitution. It makes no difference to them that that same Constitution protects all religions, not just the ones they agree with. These things don’t matter. He’s different. He has an Arabic-sounding name, so he must be a Muslim, and that means we can’t trust him.
That, to me, is the most tragic aspect of this whole charade.
It makes no difference to me if Obama is a Christian or a Muslim. He’s my president, and he took the same oath as every president before him. That’s the standard by which he should be judged, not which God he prays to and which direction he faces when he does it.
Because it’s the only one that matters.