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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

When A Christian Can Reach Out to Muslims - America Wins

While there is a possibility that someone in the Clinton camp may have deliberately circulated a photo of Obama to make people think he is a Muslim when he is in fact a Christian, I think it shows that Mr. Obama is a Christian who can reach out to Muslims and other faiths.

This ability by an American leader – to reach across religious lines - is something incredibly valuable in our future domestic and foreign policy. Our country was founded on the principle of treating all religions equally.

Recent polls confirm the need for this. Researchers say that many Americans change religions just as we change spouses and jobs. America needs a leader that can reach out to all religions worldwide, including Muslims. That is what that photo means to me. Even Bush has “gone tribal” in dress, and gotten into the cultural swing when on the world Presidential tour.

On the international front, it turns out that Pakistan blocked the Internet over YouTube–and shut down YouTube on the Global Net over something they deemed offensive that most of us didn’t even know existed. It raises the issue of internet control when any country can shut down a website for a country (and the world) over one item out of billions someone doesn’t like. Imagine if the Internet was shut down every time someone posted something stupid about the Pope. A change is needed in the Global Internet Protocol to prevent future “YouTube” and other website censorship by governments.

Finally, and important, it turns out that high Mideast Oil prices are also hurting the Middle Class and poor in the Mideast – causing riots and more instability in an already unstable region. People feel their governments are corrupt and the oil wealth is not “trickling down” to them. It’s true. Part of the problem is that countries like Syria allows Monopolies on imports—one company/family controls oil; one controls food, etc.

This poses major trouble ahead for the U.S. But it is also a major opportunity for economic changes that need to be addressed to eliminate the import monopolies that make people pay too much for basics like food, clothing, etc. The next American President must seize this challenge and opportunity.

I believe Mr. Obama does have the unique credentials and broad appeal to meet these global challenges and find solutions. The ability to reach out across religious as well as racial lines instead of “my way or the highway” will be the next President’s greatest strength.

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