You’d think that going to a Christian church all his life would be enough to dissuade people from thinking that Barack Obama was Muslim, but apparently it’s not. He provided his long form birth certificate, so that shut most of the birthers up, but I don’t think there’s a long form Christianity certificate, so the Muslim rumor persists. That middle name is just a nagging problem for him.
As a side note, I wouldn’t personally care if the President of the United States were Muslim. Most Muslims are actually as good as their Christian and Jewish counterparts, following similar moral and ethical rules, exhibiting similar moral and ethical tendencies (or not, as the hypocritical case may be). They live their lives to serve God as they understand Him/Her/It, and they often wish the radical and suicidal sects of their religion would STFU. Just like a lot of Christians wish Fred Phelps would.
Anyway, back to Barack Hussein Obama’s name.
So, sure. Hussein is of Arabic origin, dating back to the prophet Mohammed’s grandson. But did you know that Barack is actually Jewish in origin? That’s right - just like Adam, Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Elijah, and Jesus. Barack is a derivative of Barak, who was a Judaic hero in the Book of Judges. He helped the prophetess Deborah free Israel from the Canaanite king Jabin, and Jabin’s captain, Sisera. Here’s a truncated selection from Judges 4 for your edification:
“And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, when Ehud was dead. And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor; the captain of whose host was Sisera, which dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he mightily oppressed the children of Israel.
Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time. She dwelt under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for judgment.
And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Kedeshnaphtali, and said unto him, ‘Hath not the Lord God of Israel commanded, saying, ‘Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand.’
And Barak said unto her, ‘If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go.’
And she said, ‘I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.’ And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh. And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh; and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet: and Deborah went up with him.
Now Heber the Kenite, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, had severed himself from the Kenites, and pitched his tent unto the plain of Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh. And they shewed Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Tabor. And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles unto the river of Kishon.
And Deborah said unto Barak, ‘Up; for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisera into thine hand: is not the Lord gone out before thee?’ So Barak went down from mount Tabor, and ten thousand men after him. And the Lord discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet. But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left.”
For a few passages here we get the account of how Sisera dies while he’s hiding in Jael, wife of Heber’s tent - she basically murders him in his sleep by driving a spike through his head. Afterward: “And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples.”
Then, in Judges 5, Deborah and Barak sing a song together (Judges was a musical, don’t you know?), and that’s the last we hear of either of them.
But Barack Obama’s first name is in the Bible, okay? It’s Judeo-Christian in origin (specifically, Old Testament Jewish).
Now, what about Newt Leroy Gingrich’s name? Is it in the Bible?
Not exactly. The closest thing I could find is a passage from Leviticus wherein some versions of the Bible interchange newt for lizard or salamander. As in: “Of the animals that move along the ground, these are unclean for you: the weasel, the rat, any kind of great lizard, the gecko, the monitor lizard, the wall lizard (sometimes newt), the skink and the chameleon. Of all those that move along the ground, these are unclean for you.”
My conclusion is this: we should toss aside any of these “Obama is a Muslim” arguments because, unfortunate middle names aside (Hussein vs. Leroy), the two top contenders for the 2012 Presidential election have their names in the Bible. One is a reluctant hero of ancient Israel. The other is something that crawls along the ground and is unclean.
(Yes, I know his full name is Newton. Just go with it.)
Incidentally, when people refer to Jesus H. Christ, do you think that maybe the H stands for….
Nah. Couldn’t be.
Right this very moment it’s morning, a couple of days before Thanksgiving, and I am at the beach on an impromptu mini-vacation with my family. Madeleine and Eli are watching an AWFUL show on Nickelodeon - and are positively riveted. Aida is getting ready to go to Starbucks to bring back a bunch of coffee and tea and pastries. And I am sitting on the hotel room bed sharing a poem with you.
I slated this poem several days ago as something to share with you in case too many days had lapsed and I still hadn’t posted a podcast or this other “essay” I’m working on, and when I scheduled it, I didn’t realize the irony involved with the way I was timing the poem.
As we all sit down to Thanksgiving in a couple of days, let this poem serve as a reminder that some people don’t feel as if they have anything to be thankful for - and who knows , maybe they don’t.
I do. Now. But apparently, at some point in my life, things were a little more bleak.
This poem appeared in Snake Nation Review a couple of years ago. I wrote it years before that.
Dinner In Nod
I see that it’s some sort of meal underway, that they bake
Some sort of fulfillment of truth they must make
But you can only make certain kinds of sandwiches
With just lettuce and lunchmeat
After they armed me with the best weapons to be found
They sent me to the cupboard to search for my crown
But it seems that I’ve lost my way
Between my bed and the kitchen
For years they have served in one house with one cook
Rejoicing and singing and using one recipe book
While I chose to find myself a more substantial dinner
Among the roaches, the rats, the whores, and the sinners
But one can only fend off smaller rodents
With a butter knife
And it’s hard to eat gravy
When it’s become this cold
Now I cannot start my fire in this rain
And I cannot feel rejoiceful in this pain
If their truth was so true, God, please explain
Why my sandwich is all soggy and why I feel so much like Cain
I can’t grow anything, God
I’m not able