To the editor:

In regard to a letter printed June 27, 2008:

Once again I find I cannot ignore a letter to your newspaper that is full of information grounded in rumor and smear tactics by…? I don’t know. Remember the swift boat ads that sunk John Kerry? Much of the same, bald-faced lies that influence many people too lazy or too disinterested to research before voting.

Mr. James Austin, in your letter I see between the lines racism. Maybe you don’t know it, but it is there when you stated, and I quote, “Mr. Obama, a real Christian? His father was a black African Muslim, his mother a white atheist.” Also, in regards for his pride in being of African heritage, you slur all African Americans when you say, “A guy who got a white girl pregnant and deserted her?” (Is this not the fear of all fathers of white girls?) Mr. Obama’s father was black, but he did marry Obama’s mother.

Now, let me get this straight. Are you the kind of Christian who believes that another cannot embrace Christianity because his father was black, his mother was an atheist, and he also is black? If you knew anything true about Barack Obama’s history, you would know these facts: Mr. Obama worked closely with Chicago churches to help the very, very poor and disadvantaged people of those Chicago communities, for an annual salary of only $13,000 a year. I do not know who paid this salary, but I don’t think he was getting rich. He did this instead of entering a very lucrative law practice. I don’t know too many Christians who have committed themselves to helping others, as Jesus Christ himself taught us to do, to such a degree. He attended that Trinity Church of Christ in Chicago for over 20 years, and 16 years ago walked down the aisle and committed himself to Christ. In an interview with Christianity Today, he states “I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Maybe you should read that interview, it is online. While you are doing that, I have some other reading that may help you to not slander someone else, such as Mr. Obama’s books Dreams From My Father, and Audacity of Hope.

Mr. Obama did attend that church in Chicago. I know that the message in many black churches might not be the same we hear in our “white centrist” churches around Brownwood. Are there any black people in your congregation, Mr. Austin? As Dwight Hopkins, a professor at the University of Chicago Divinity School says, the message in many black churches can “sound a lot different to white audiences. Some white people hear it as racism in reverse,” says Dr. Hopkins, while “black people hear, “Yes, we are somebody, we’re also made in God’s image.”

I wonder how Jesus would perceive the use of His name in our political arguments? Not very positively, I would guess. I am glad that John McCain seems to have a little more integrity. At least he is sticking to the issues and has not, so far, slandered his opponent by publicizing the many lies that have gone about on the Internet or questioned his belief in God and Christ.

By the way, Mr. Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. I don’t think you could consider that a non-productive job, or as being paid by the taxpayer. Mr. Obama is also a best selling author. I don’t think all his books were paid for with taxpayers’ money. You make it sound like being paid to be a legislator is a shameful thing.

And I am not even going to give that “hasn’t come out of the closet yet” Muslim remark the dignity of a reply. Puhleeze!

Shawn Loudermilk

Early