UPDATED: C4P to Beliefnet: All Religions Are Welcome in the Palin Revolution
Aziz Poonawalla at Beliefnet picked up on the blog post by Dan Gilgoff last week that accused Palin supporters of attacking Gov. Bobby Jindal on religious grounds. Gilgoff based his post on two comments left in the comment section of a prior blog post about Jindal’s personal faith — comments that I firmly believe were made by leftist sock puppets in an attempt to divide and create acrimony in the conservative movement. Those comments have the added bonus of making conservatives look like intolerant religious extremists and racists. I don’t think I’m too far out on a limb in my opinion on this issue given what’s already happened elsewhere.
Most of the contributors at C4P like both Palin and Jindal, and I for one would be happy to have both of them on the national stage. Beliefnet, however, has decided to further the media narrative that Palin supporters are religious extremists (and racists) who opposed Barack Obama because they believed internet fabrications that Obama is actually a Muslim.
When Colin Powell endorsed Obama on Meet the Press, the only point on which I agreed with him was when he asked, Why would it matter even if he was a Muslim? It wouldn’t have matter at all, of course. A person’s personal religious beliefs do not affect my vote, nor does their skin color, their gender, their sexual orientation, the actions of their children, or their party affiliation. What matters is the person and their principles.
However that’s a far cry from claiming that Palin herself would sanction such a strategy (though Palin’s near-incitement against Obama on the campaign trail was simply obscene).
This argument that Gov. Palin smeared President Obama on the campaign trail — and attempted to incite people against him when she pointed out his association with Bill Ayers — is simply not true. She did no such thing. She pointed out that Obama associated himself with a white, domestic terrorist, and asked that voters consider that when looking at the candidates. During the campaign, I sat back and watched the media turn that into a narrative that she was inciting crowds into angry, racist mobs. It really was an amazing thing to watch the media create that narrative from the very first story, the facts of which have never been verified by anyone other than that reporter (and, in fact, that story — and the ones that followed — have been largely disproven by the Secret Service due to their inability to find any evidence to back it up).
There are extremists or fringe elements in every crowd, and a person with a video camera can always find someone to say something intolerant. But those people are not representative of the population in general, or of conservatives, as a whole.
Ali Hasan, the founder of Muslims for America, didn’t like the Governor’s choice of words on Obama’s association with Ayers, but said that:
“I think [the McCain campaign] didn’t use her right. They didn’t allow her to be who she is.”
Who she is, Hasan says, is a conservative governor who has focused on fiscal issues and corruption during her time in AK. Ironically, he claimed, Palin stayed away from the social issues as governor that have become her signature on the national stage. “I’ve never heard her say anything purely anti-Muslim,” he said. “If she keeps it focused on fiscal corruption, we’ll be with her.”
At a campaign rally last fall, some liberal documentary filmmakers asked Gov. Palin about her attitude toward Muslims. She had this to say (at 3:35 into the clip):
Eileen Flynn commented on this supposed smearing of Jindal by Palin supporters and noted that:
Palin, whose own faith was maligned and at times misrepresented in the media, should not be blamed for something she has not done.
It seems clear to me that both Gov. Palin’s and President Obama’s personal faiths and beliefs were misrepresented and attacked during the campaign by the media and by fringe elements on all sides of the political spectrum.
Let’s make sure that the same thing doesn’t happen to Gov. Jindal. When you see posts such as Beliefnet’s (or comments in blogs attacking or smearing either one of them), politely defend both Gov. Palin and Gov. Jindal. Don’t sit back and let them, and us, be smeared.
UPDATED by Mel: Mr. Poonawalla added an update to his post:
UPDATE: Conservatives 4 Palin mount an impassioned defense of Palin as someone who harbors no anti-muslim sentiment. From what I’ve seen and heard of Palin, I agree with them. The issue is not what Palin does but what (a minority of) people who support her might do. But as I also said, the “jindal muslim” meme is probably not limited to conservatives but also the work of some leftists who think it’s satirical and embarrassing to the GOP; thats playing with fire and such knowing defamation is arguably worse than ignorant racism.