I remember how those words, spoken by then candidate Barack Obama, caused such and an up-roar in America.
Yesterday, as violent uprisings spread throughout the Arab world, I thought to myself these same exact words, used to describe attitudes of Americans in small midwestern towns, could also be used to describe the Islamists storming our embassy in Egypt and Libya.
What does it mean to “cling” to one’s religion? Well obviously it’s not a flattering comment (that’s why so many people got pissed). It’s kind of the opposite of saying people are getting strength from their religion. It conjured up images of angry, white (only because a black man said it); uneducated families huddled around their own prejudiced thoughts while holding a bible in one hand and shotgun in the other.
What Barack Obama was saying was that when times are tough, especially economically, people grab onto these two things (religion and guns), not as a means to get them through difficult times, but as a way of nullifying what they believe to be socio-economic injustice. I may not have all that you have, but I have Jesus Christ and a semi-automatic hand gun – and that trumps everything!
Those extremists storming our embassy have been on jelly-side down side of the socioeconomic sandwich for generations – for many of them, the only thing they have is their God and their religion.
Insult that, or demean it in any way, and they see it as an attempt to take away the one thing they believe they have that is superior to all things material, their God.