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March 07, 2008

Political maelstrom

Kareem_flag It seems that I have stepped into the political maelstrom forming as the November elections approach.  Rocky has asked about how the Republicans are trying to portray Obama as a Muslim and how it might affect the race. 

I don’t think it should affect the race because -- it shouldn’t affect the race.  Sen. Obama chose the Christian faith at a time when that decision was an issue in his life.  He has remained committed to his Christianity.  So in terms of religion, he is no different from any other candidate. 

The office of the president of the United States is not supposed to be administered in a manner that indulges the president’s religious beliefs.  The aspect of separation of church and state makes it possible for all of us to get along in terms of politics and public policy.  We must thank the Founding Fathers for their wisdom in this matter.  It is my hope that Sen. Obama's middle name or his father’s name do not create issues that have no place in the campaign.  Obama is 100% American, and I see no reason to fault his patriotism.

Regarding my blog on Mbenga –- I did not try to suggest that liberty and freedom are not accessible in other nations.  I simply was expressing my joy in knowing that those rights and privileges are still accessible in the U.S.A. 


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In the interest of truth I disagree with people trying to portray Obama as believing something other than what he actually believes. However, also in the interest of truth, I do not see how Mr. Obama's expressed beliefs objectively reflect Christianity at the most basic level. What do I mean? Mr. Obama has publicly affirmed that he does not know what will happen to him when he dies. Yet, in the Bible, Jesus promises eternal life as a gift — without equivocation— to all who believe in Him. I point to John 5:24-25; 6:47 and John 3:16-18 as clear examples. How can Mr. Obama call himself a believer in Christ when he doubts Jesus' essential message? Here's Jesus' words: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life." Notice it says "believe" (i.e. persuaded, convinced of Jesus' promise). How can you believe Jesus and simultaneously doubt His promise?


hi kareem a question for you, if you had to pick the one most valuable lesson that you learned from bruce lee and john wooden what would it be?

really enjoy your blog

the todster from long beach


I agree with you 100%. But you must admit it is idealistic to expect that everyone can vote without bias -- be it with regards to color, religion, gender, etc. We're still a long way from shaking off those specters.

Akello Aman

Mr. Jabbar,

You could not be more right on this issue. To suggest that Mr. Obama is somehow less "American" because of his name is not only foolish, but mean spirited. As you have stated his religion is Christianity. Only liars and evil doers would try to make him (Mr. Obama), anything other than what he professes to be. However, if he were Muslim, or a follower of any other faith, his qualifications for office would still be intact.

We, as Americans must stop giving lip service regarding the home of the brave and land of the free. Because what is on display to rest of the world is that Americans fear too much of nothing and that freedom is a concept not even we believe in.

In fact, if we really love freedom and believe in freedom, let it begin with freeing ourselves of foolish things!!!

Thank you for this blog. Not only were you Mr. Jabbar the best center to ever play the game. But, many of us are aware of your wisdom.

Thank you, Kello Aman

alyce rocco

Posted by: Al | March 07, 2008 at 08:46 PM: I disagree with you. I believe Senator and Mrs.Obama reflect their faith in their actions. Such as "love thy neighbor as thyself", "judge not lest ye be judged" and "do unto others as you would have done unto you".

I am not of any religious affiliation and I know very many Muslims who behave in a more Christian manner than some Christians I know. One of the reasons I support Senator Obama is because even though he choose to be Christian, he was exposed to the Muslim culture as a child. He knows: we are more alike than we are different. He will be a fair president to citizens of all faiths.

I am sick and tired of the culture of hate lead by our Christian leaders, especially Muslim hatred. I have felt we have not moved far from the days when Malcolm X was defending his faith: "We did not bomb any churches".


Al, I wish you would use a dictionary to verify the difference between the words "believe" and "know." We on Earth believe that we know what happens to us after death, but only God KNOWS. Fortunately, Mr. Obama has the humilty to recognize the difference between belief and knowledge and lacks, at least in this respect, the arrogance to mistake the difference between a presidential candidate and God.

mary CA

Sad, that many still can not view humans without labels.

I invite you to join Obama supporters for a Blog Action Day on March 15th or 19th for a cyberspace march for peace in conjunction with rallies, pot lucks, marches being held around the country on the anniversary of 5 years since we entered Iraq to look for WMD that were not there.

With Senator Clinton, McCain and others pushing to go into Iran, the time to make our collective voices heard is now. Senator Obama counts the human cost of war and will not quickly rush us into wars that are not needed.

Jon K.

It says explicitly in the Constitution that there "shall be no test of faith" to obtain office.

I am deeply spiritual and consider myself a non-orthodox Christian; however, the paranoia generated by and pandered to the Christian "Right" is absolutely unnerving.

By the way, Hillary Clinton is running a dirty campaign and she feels content trying to turn this election into one of hopelessness.


Hi Kareem,

Of course you are correct that the Republican's attempts to portray Obama as a Muslim shouldn't affect the race. But shouldn't isn't the same as won't.

I recently received an email from one of my evangelical Christian relatives titled "FOR ALL TO KNOW....WHO IS BARACK OBAMA." Virtually everything in it was false--even the claim that these alleged facts were verified by snopes.com. (If you actually go to snopes.com to check it out, you will find a detailed analysis of this email which refutes virtually everything in it.)

It is actually this email that prompted me to learn more about Barack Obama so that I could respond to my misguided relatives. Having learned about Sen. Obama, I now support him for President of the United States.

This email is but one example of the right's attempts to play to people's fears. I saw Sean Hannity on TV claim that he was only repeating Sen. Obama's middle name because, well, isn't that the way we always refer to our presidents? What could possibly be wrong with that? Rush Limbaugh claims he Innocently confuses Obama's with Osama Bin Laden.

These are all calculated attempts by the right to undermine Barack Obama. They know that while Americans may elect a woman or a black, they won't in the current climate elect a Muslim. So in their desperate do-anything attempt to win, they will try to smear Sen. Obama with falsehoods that play to people's fears. In their ethics, truth and integrity don't matter, only winning does.

As someone who is tired of the lack of integrity in politics, as exemplified by the smear email I received, I find Barack Obama to be a refreshing change.

David G.

My impression of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been formed more by his books than his achievements on the court. So for me his name brings to mind someone who cares about young men on a reservation and a person who is humble enough to learn from them and write about it. It also makes me think of the accomplishments of African Americans who have been overlooked. If his faith is part of what makes him not just do good things but do them the right way--and I strongly suspect it is--then I, a Christian, should not just tolerate that but give thanks for it. I would be especially thankful to find such a person in the White House.

jim kalember

Kareem--like you, I'm UCLA ('68), so I was there, and like you, I left a lucrative career and now teach way out on the the Navajo Rez in Tuba City, AZ. I hope your visibility rises dramatically, because over time you have been both prescient and compassionate in your politics. The rise of Obama is further validation, and I hope you can lend your voice to his vision of opportunity. You are spot on, Islam is not the issue. The real issue is the attempt by conservatives to create neo-feudalism in the US, moving us to a 3rd world oligarchy dominated by incredibly rich people enjoying corporate welfare. They are attempting to destroy public education and opportunity. Please help us take the $324,000 we spend each minute on the contrived war and help the children of this country to have hope and dreams that can come true. And basketball after 60 is indeed possible. Thanks for all you do, and maybe Howland can take them all the way this year!


I think you can be Christian without believing that the bible is scientifically accurate. If you believe there were dinasaurs how can you deny evolution? Christ's teaching however goes beyond historical accuracy. The "golden rule" seems to have been forgotten by today's so called Christians. How else can one explain the poverty, killing and homelessness in the richest country on earth?



Thanks for responding to my question.

I think you're right that it shouldn't have any effect on the race. I worry about this country that voted twice for our current administration, and is easily swayed by ridiculousness like the 'swiftboat' slime during the last election.

I am one of those who believes that Obama's diverse background is an invaluable asset for an American President to have, especially in these times.

On the other hand, my Republican friends have this view that anything that makes people in the Middle East jump for joy is not good for our country. Now, I can certainly see the ignorance of that argument. But will the people?

One thing is going to be for sure in this election. People will not be blinded by prosperity. These are now tough economic times and almost everyone is feeling it. The Republicans can throw out all kinds of things to incite fear, but nothing creates more fear than the prospect of not being able to pay the mortgage, not being able to feed the kids, not having health care, etc. And that's the predicament millions of Americans are facing.

Now Republicans are trying to manipulate the Democratic race by voting for Hillary. That's about as slimy as it gets, we can't put anything past them.

I think Hillary would be smart to just drop out of the race, and allow the Democratic party to unify against the Republicans. Republicans are reveling in the divisiveness of this Obama/Hillary battle. Hillary is doing the Republicans work for them. She seems to have a knack for that.


You're absolutely right. His religion should not be a factor.
But his lying should be, You can find many of his lies on YouTube. for instance Obama claimed in a speech that he was conceived during the Civil Rights Movement in the south in 1964. but in fact was born in 1961. He plants fainters in his audience to try and capture a messiah persona. He is in deep with The Rockefellers. His wife got a huge bonus from the Rockefellers during Obama's first year as Senator. And then there is the Antion Rezko deal. So, go ahead and vote for this lying globalist traitor and remember you had a choice to save America and you ignored it. Ron Paul is the only candidate that would have saved us.


Response to Karen from Al:

Thanks for the thought provoking response. In fact, I did use a dictionary definition. The standard scholarly Greek dictionary used in New Testament and other studies defines ‘pisteuo’ (the biblical word ‘believe’) as “be convinced of somth.” (Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, Danker, p. 660). Having said that you really have struck at the core of this issue. Why? Because when a perfect Person (i.e. Jesus) tells you that something is true, then believing Him and knowing it come out pretty much the same, no? However, we can also become convinced of a falsehood from an untrustworthy person. That’s how cons and scams work. So, it comes down to who or Whom you believe. On the mere human level we tend to believe some people more than others, and others not at all. By the way, ‘believe’ means the same thing in any language (i.e. to be convinced that something is true). In other words, we don’t believe until we’ve become convinced. In our culture, however, we use the phrase “I believe” almost as a synonym for “I think” in contexts where we’re really not sure of something (examples: “I believe he went to Notre Dame.” or “I believe she’s never been married.”) Biblically, and logically, “believe” means to have no doubt. So, in our casual speech we have wrongly introduced the notion of ‘doubt’ into the word ‘believe’. Now, we can and do doubt on our way to believing. But, believe means that we’ve been persuaded or convinced—doubt has been removed.


Response to Alyce from Al:

Thank you for responding. I agree with you that sometimes people of other belief systems can act more Christianly at times than some who claim Christianity. But, I’m making another point. Philosophically, what I wrote can apply to anyone claiming to belong to any group. For example, if you heard an atheist say, “I’m an atheist who believes in God”, you would probably say to yourself, “I don’t think that person quite understands atheism”. Here’s what Jesus said about eternal life: "... I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?" (John 11:25b-26). He also said, “In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2-3).

Now, here’s Obama’s words from a larger conversation with his daughter about life after death:

“I wondered whether I should have told her the truth, that I wasn't sure what happens when we die, any more than I was sure of where the soul resides or what existed before the Big Bang.” — Barack Obama (Time, book excerpt, Oct 15, 2006)

I believe Mr. Obama when he says he doesn’t know. But, that’s precisely what puts him at odds with Jesus. Jesus said He did know! And, promised that reality to all who believed in Him (see John 3:16-18; 5:24-25; 6:47; 11:25-27).

JC Lewis, Jr

Hey Cap: Nice entry in regard to Obama and his muslim name, I agree, it has nothing to do with running for the presidency, but! since you mentioned his christian faith, we can question his pastor Jeremiah Wright and the separatist church the Obama family is a member of.

That is a concern and Obama should address that.
JC Lewis, Jr.
Moreno Valley, CA


Being a Republican, I am not an Obama supporter but the to-do made over his middle name and his photo in ethnic dress is just entirely too much. For cryin' in a bucket. It's not like he picked his middle name and who can blame someone for wearing ethnic clothes? Sheesh.

glenn egelko

A basketball question.

If the three point shot was not part of the game and you were part of a rules committee considering its implemenation today, would you approve it? Look forward to your response.

Glenn Egelko

The comments to this entry are closed.

Captain Kareem

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is considered by many fans and sportswriters to be the greatest basketball player of all time. The 7-foot-2 Hall of Fame center, famous for his indefensible skyhook, dominated the NBA for 20 years, first with the Milwaukee Bucks then with the Los Angeles Lakers. Before that he was the star of the UCLA Bruins teams that won three consecutive NCAA championships. Kareem was the NBA's MVP six times, a 19-time all-star and set the NBA all-time records in nine categories. He is the NBA's all-time leading scorer with 38,387 points, a record that may never be broken.

Since retiring as a player in 1989, Kareem has balanced his love of basketball with his love of history. In 2002 he led a USBL team, the Oklahoma Storm, to a championship. Since 2005, he has been the special assistant coach for the Lakers, working with Andrew Bynum.

In 2008 he was chosen The Greatest Player in College Basketball History.

Kareem also remains intellectually active, authoring six bestselling history books intended to popularize the contributions of African-Americans to American culture and history. His books include "Black Profiles in Courage: A Legacy of African-American Achievement"; "Brothers in Arms: The Epic Story of the 761st Tank Battalion, WWII's Forgotten Heroes"; "A Season on the Reservation," which chronicles his time teaching basketball and history on an Apache Indian reservation in White River, Ariz.; and the current New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestseller, "On the Shoulders of Giants: My Journey Through the Harlem Renaissance."

His audio adaptation, "On the Shoulders of Giants: My Audio & Musical Journey through the Harlem Renaissance," is a four-volume compilation read by Bob Costas, Avery Brooks, Jesse L. Martin, and Stanley Crouch, and features private and fascinating conversations with dozens of icons, including Coach John Wooden, Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Samuel L. Jackson, Maya Angelou, Quincy Jones and Billy Crystal. He has also been written to L.A. Times, under the Sports section.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been appearing on various radio stations and TV shows, as well as the most relevant websites talking about his life and his new audio book, On the Shoulders of Giants.

All images are property of www.iconomy.com unless otherwise stated. All info copyrighted and owned by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is not replicated without permission.

Come meet Kareem at the NBA Store on 5th Avenue: Friday, May 16th, from 3:15pm - 4:15pm.

Kareem_READ The American Library Association (ALA) is pleased to announce that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has joined the popular Celebrity READ poster series. The Celebrity READ poster campaign is one of the most effective ways to encourage people to get a good education, improve their reading skills, and to read for sheer enjoyment.
Mr. Abdul-Jabbar is the 2008 Honorary Chair Library Card Sign-up Month, which takes place in September. He will also appear at the American Library’s National Convention on June 28th and 29th at the Long Beach Convention Center to sign his poster.

To purchase Mr. Abdul-Jabbar's poster and to view the entire line of Celebrity READ Posters, please click here. now!

Kareem_jersey Join the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Fan Club
and win a chance to receive a prize from my official store !

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ESPN names Kareem The Greatest Player In College Basketball History

Check the latest about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Go to KareemAbdulJabbar.com for more news.
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