Tom Foreman | BIO
Reporter's Note: President Obama is going to India next month. I went to Indiana last winter, so…well, I guess there is really no connection. Here is today’s letter.
Dear Mr. President,
We’ve chatted here before about your religion and I’ve made it clear that I trust you when you say you’re Christian. I do not really understand why so many people think you are a secret-ninja-Muslim, or whatever it is they think.
After all, I know plenty of people for whom the only evidence of their faith is what they say about it, or their once a year visit to church on Christmas to mumble during the prayers and look at their shoes a lot. Despite that, I don’t see the neighbors organizing an Inquisition.
So with all of that said, I want to believe your staff when they suggest your schedule of stops in India will be dictated entirely by your work, not some political fear of visiting a Sikh holy site where you’d be forced to where a head-covering. I want to think that as President of the United States you would be both strong and principled enough to call such crass political worries nonsense and beneath the dignity of the office.
Now, considering the accusations that are continually lobbed at you over your faith, I can also understand that you would not want to unnecessarily pour more gasoline onto that barbeque. But sometimes I think the appearance of running from something is actually more damning than standing and addressing it.
To that end, your man Gibbs should have said plainly from the get-go, “President Obama has no fear about wearing a headdress that shows respect to the beliefs of others, especially when they are his hosts in another country. To the contrary, he believes it shows the strength and openness of our own culture. Wearing a head covering at this site would no more make him Sikh than wearing a Yankees cap would make me a shortstop. And by the way, Sikhs are not Muslim, just in case you’re wondering.”
Don’t let this one twist in the wind much longer. If you are not going to the Golden Temple, and it really has nothing to do with the head covering issue, say it loud and often. And if it does have something to do with that…oh, don’t even tell me. I can’t take it.
Call if you get a moment, although it sounds like you’re pretty busy now, so I’ll understand if you can’t.
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