By Fedwa Wazwaz, Engage Minnesota
I like to read books on self-help and psycho-therapy. Recently, I read a book called Stop Walking on Eggshells by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreger. In the book, Kreger and Mason talk about projection as “denying one’s own unpleasant traits, behaviors, or feelings by attributing them (often in an accusing way) to someone else” and then attacking that person for those traits.
In their interview with psychotherapist Elyce M. Benham, projection is defined as “gazing at yourself in a hand-held mirror. When you think you look ugly, you turn the mirror around. Voila! Now the homely face in the mirror belongs to somebody else.” Mason and Kreger refer to this projection game as “Tag, You’re It.”
In the past weeks, there have been a series of attacks against Barack Obama based on statements made by his spiritual adviser, Jeremiah Wright.
As a Muslim who’s heard a deluge of inflammatory and racist language directed at my faith and my Arabic ethnicity by the leaders of the Republican Party and White Evangelical leaders, I can sympathize.
Wright is certainly not the only spiritual adviser who has made inflammatory remarks. Let me share a few from the other side of the mirror.
Rev. Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son and successor, and a participant in the current president’s inauguration, declared Islam a “very evil and wicked religion.”
Franklin Graham still stands by his words and his defamation of Islam. Is the Republican Party willing to disassociate themselves from his church?
In an appearance on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity & Colmes” program, Christian Coalition founder and television evangelist Pat Robertson attacked Islam and the Prophet Muhammad. About Muhammad, Robertson said: “This man was an absolute wild-eyed fanatic. He was a robber and a brigand. And to say that these terrorists distort Islam, they’re carrying out Islam. I mean, this man [Muhammad] was a killer. And to think that this is a peaceful religion is fraudulent.” Robertson also called Islam “a monumental scam.”
Neither Hannity nor Colmes called Robertson a racist or a bigot. Recently, in interviews with Black leaders about Jeremiah Wright, Hannity has insisted that Robertson and Falwell are not racist, and has defended Falwell as a mother bear would her cub.
After tragic events of September 11, the Rev. Jerry Falwell attacked the Prophet Muhammad on the CBS program 60 Minutes. He called Muhammad a “terrorist,” and came to the defense of Southern Baptist pastor Jerry Vines. It was Vines who, at the denomination’s convention, at which President Bush spoke via satellite, declared that Muhammad was a “demon-possessed pedophile” and that Islam teaches the destruction of all non-Muslims.
These are not the words of the KKK or some outcast group. These are influential White Christian leaders within America that share a close relationship with the President, his administration, and many Republican leaders.
In addition, recently John McCain accepted the support of John Hagee, a White Evangelical preacher who is constantly bashing Islam to build his church.
Hagee’s fearmongering and hatemongering can be read in his book Jerusalem Countdown, where he warns the world about a war between Islam and the West. “This is a religious war that Islam cannot and must not win,” he writes. “The end of the world as we know it is rapidly approaching… Rejoice and be exceedingly glad the best is yet to be.”
We hear similar comments from the Rev. Rod Parsley, of the World Harvest Church of Columbus, a supersize Pentecostal institution. He is another spiritual adviser of McCain’s, who called upon Christians to wage a “war” against the “false religion” of Islam with the aim of destroying it. Senator McCain hailed him as a spiritual adviser.
I would like to publicly ask the Republican Party and John McCain to condemn Graham, Falwell, Robertson, Vines, Hagee, and Parsley. What is the difference between the views of Hagee and Louis Farrakhan? Why is it okay to blame the attacks of 9/11 on all Muslims en masse, but it is outrageous for Wright to blame America?
I am not convinced the outrage is over the inflammatory words of Jeremiah Wright.
Those outraged: Please turn the mirror around and look at it.
Tag, you’re it.