Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths which I find impractical, and more appalling in the fact this the book came after 9-11 which I thought was the ultimate symbol that the ecumenical "all roads lead to Heaven so let's love each other and our different religious perspectives" mindset that was preached so dogmatically in the 90's has no place in the real world.
However, in today's article of note, Feiler's push for an embrace of all perspectives is secondary to some interesting points that I had never heard:
-In 1860, in the midst of tensions surrounding the Civil War, it was widely believed in the United States that Abraham Lincoln was Catholic. Coming on the heels of decades of anti-Catholic sentiment, the rumors seem to have had two roots: The first was the ambiguous nature of Lincoln's upbringing in Illinois, where Jesuits were very active, leading to the notion that Lincoln had been baptized a Catholic; the other was that Lincoln represented a prominent critic of the Church. The rumors were widely repeated by Lincoln's political opponents.
-In 1940, in the midst of tensions surrounding World War II as well as economic hardship from the Great Depression, it was widely believed in the United States that Franklin Roosevelt was Jewish. Coming on the heels of decades of anti-Jewish sentiment, the rumors seem to have had several roots: The first was the ambiguous origins of Roosevelt's earliest American ancestors, who came from Holland in the 17th century; the second was the abundance of Jewish appointees to Roosevelt's administrations in New York and Washington. The rumors were widely repeated by Roosevelt's political opponents.
And then all of this to establish Feiler's main point which I happen to agree with:
-In 2010, in the midst of tensions surrounding wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as economic hardship from the Great Recession, it is widely believed in the United States that Barack Obama is Muslim. Coming on the heels of decades of anti-Muslim sentiment, the rumors seem to have had several roots: The first is the ambiguous nature of Obama's upbringing, in which his father was a Muslim and he spent formative time as a child in a Muslim country; the second is Obama's vocal outreach to the Muslim world and his support of the rights of Muslim Americans. The rumors have been widely repeated by Obama's political opponents.
Now it is probable that there are some nuances that Feiler is avoiding that would complicate his point, but overall it should give one a second thought about what exactly this whole "Obama is a Muslim" debacle is about.