Posts Tagged “barack hussein obama”

New Yorker cartoon cover w/ObamasHere’s yet another news item of the “water is wet” variety. As the Los Angeles Times reports, Republicans in the deep south remain convinced President Barack Obama is a Muslim (WebCite cached article):

fter years of battling false claims and viral emails alleging that he is a Muslim, President Obama hasn’t gotten far among Republican voters in Alabama and Mississippi – about half still believe he is Muslim and about 1 in 4 believes his parents’ interracial marriage should have been illegal, a new poll shows. …

The poll of Mississippi Republicans found that 52% said they believed Obama is a Muslim, 36% weren’t sure and only 12% said they believed he is a Christian. He fared slightly better in Alabama, where 45% said he is a Muslim, 41% weren’t sure, and 14% said he is a Christian.

Recalling his childhood, Obama has said his family did not go to church every week, but said his faith grew as he got older and that his Christian beliefs have guided his career in public service.

People retain this irrational belief — in spite of the fact that both Obama himself, and politicians of both parties, have all said that he’s a Christian — because of something known as the “backfire effect.” This is a psychological phenomenon in which people retain untrue notions despite having their falsehood demonstrated, and in fact, they become even more intractably attached to the incorrect belief. I’ve blogged on this effect before. None of the researchers who’ve noted this phenomenon have offered any explanation for how it happens. My guess is, it results from the emotional attachment people have to their irrational beliefs; when faced with compelling evidence they’re false, they simply retrench and continue to tell themselves it’s true, because they can’t handle the emotional pain that would follow from letting go of the (false) belief. They really and truly prefer to lie to themselves, and others, rather than just admit they were wrong.

It’s like when a child plugs his ears, clamps his or her eyes shut, and yammers, so that s/he doesn’t have to hear something s/he’d rather not have to hear. In other words … it’s childish. Yes, folks, this means the Republican party in the deep south is populated mainly by little children who need to fucking grow the hell up for once and get over it already.

As for the legality of interracial marriage, that was established decades ago, by the US Supreme Court, in its decision in Loving v. Virginia (1967). I suppose people can believe anything they want to about it, including that it should be illegal, but it is legal nevertheless and it will remain legal indefinitely, in spite of their belief. Mature adults would just accept that fact and move on with their lives … but the GOP in the deep south is far too juvenile to do that, apparently.

Hat tip: Lordrag at Pulling to the Left on Delphi Forums.

Photo credit: New Yorker cover courtesy of scriptingnews, via Flickr.

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President Obama recently made some remarks about Islam, while on his international tour, as the Los Angeles Times reports:

President Barack Obama, making his first official visit to a Muslim-majority nation, declared today that the United States “is not, and will never be, at war with Islam.”

The ringing affirmation of partnership came during a speech to Turkey’s parliament but was clearly addressed to a far wider audience: the entire Muslim world. The speech was widely watched outside Turkey’s borders, with live coverage on Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, the largest Arabic-language satellite channels. …

“Let me say this as clearly as I can,” Obama told lawmakers and assembled officials and dignitaries. “The United States is not, and never will be, at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical.”

On a personal note, the U.S. leader noted that many Americans had ties with Islam through family connections or by living in and visiting Muslim countries.

“I know, because I am one of them,” he said. Obama’s father was a Muslim from Kenya, and he lived for a time in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation.

Gazing around the ornate chamber, the president said the relationship with the Muslim world must encompass more than the fight against terrorism.

While these remarks are exactly the sort one would expect of any US president, given the necessity of diplomacy and international relations — and are really not much different from other comments his predecessor has made on many occasions — Obama’s remarks will, unfortunately, be viewed by folks on the Right as an affirmation that he is, truly, a Muslim. It’s a claim they’ve been making for a couple of years now (e.g. by the immature, hyperreligious, raging Debbie Schlussel) and it continues to be sounded throughout the Right-wing world, even though it is not true. Many independent fact-checking organizations have reached the conclusion that the Right’s “Obama is a Muslim” mantra is false; these include Snopes, FactCheck, About.Com Urban Legends, WaPo FactChecker, and more. Even the conservative Washington Times referred to the belief that Obama is a Muslim as a “myth” that too many Americans refuse to part with.

Oh, and in case you aren’t clear on it, Obama also is, in fact, a “natural-born citizen” of the US. Really. Honest. No lie.

Sadly, there are just too many Americans these days who are too immature to accept certain truths that they would prefer to be so, when they aren’t. Especially on the Right. Irrational, even insane beliefs, are — in a perverse sense — comforting to people, and they will not part with them. Obama’s remarks about his father’s religious heritage, and America’s relations with Islamic nations, will be viewed by these people as confirmation of their (incorrect) belief. An emotional desire for something to be true, however, is not a justification for believing it, when it’s verifiably false.

In fact, incorrect beliefs about Obama’s nature and plans, can actually be deadly, as my next blog entry points out.

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