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Drew Keane
Works at Georgia Southern University
Attended Georgia Southern University
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Drew Keane

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Seventy-five years ago, Marian Anderson made history when she sang to crowd of 75,000 at the Lincoln Memorial. The Daughters of the American Revolution had denied her the use of Constitution Hall.
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Drew Keane

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A better question is "Who cares what the bible says about sexuality?"
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Drew Keane

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Undermining Christianity for instant political gratification

A month ago I once again visited the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC., and I am grateful for knowing that I could never become accustomed to the horror and the ongoing evidence. It is impossible to miss the signs that are found throughout the museum: “Think about what you saw”. The next time you see injustice, think about you saw. The statement calls for action. One cannot hear and see and remain silent in the face of injustice and hate.

The religious belief of President Obama has once again become a topic for questioning and marginalizing by some, notably in the last few days by Senator Rick Santorum and The Reverend Franklin Graham. Santorum accuses the President of ‘phony theology” not based on the Bible and Rev. Graham says that the President is the “son of Islam.” Graham told the Morning Joe panel that he and Santorum share the same moral beliefs, and that he's confident Santorum is a fellow Christian. "His values are so clear on moral issues, no question about it."

Those who have made repeated claims that the President is a Muslim may be appealing to a particular segment of society and in the case of Rick Santorum galvanizing his political base. But there is something remarkably myopic and destructive about these assertions, and not only because it a personal affront to the President. I am a convert to Christianity, millions worldwide are Christian converts coming from various traditions. People have been transformed, and in many instances abandoned traditions and cultural norms in which they have been steeped. Many have been disowned by family because of their decision. Converts to Christianity have made a conscious choice. President Obama has repeatedly made clear that he is a Christian. He has said, “I am a Christian by choice” When one does this, it is an examination of one’s inherited beliefs and makes a conscious decision to choose otherwise. The President has.

There are issues here that I believe have the potential to be irreparably damaging to the missionary impulse that historically has been an essential part of Christianity. If it is fair game to challenge the President's Christianity then what is there to stop the Church and members of the Church from challenging anyone who is a convert to Christianity? The problem with challenging the President is that it will never only be about the President, and whatever political or religious capital one might gain, instant gratification of sorts, this will also bring with it many of the perils of such gratification; it will be at the cost of something substantially greater, viz. a cornerstone of Christianity. It is to assert that if one says that he or she grew up as a Muslim, or as a Hindu or as a Buddhist or for that matter any other religious tradition, in parts of the word where those traditions are dominant, and converted to Christianity, then in a way one cannot take his or her word for granted. Inherited Christianity trumps conversion, particularly if there is political capital to be generated. So then what is the value of the missionary impulse? Challenging the President's Christianity indeed undermines what many missionaries seek to do. Those who challenge the President's Christianity do not have a vision that moves beyond what is immediately apparent to them, but rather what fits their particular ideology at this time. Indeed they are willing to tarnish the missionary past, a history that has it own challenges, and sacrifice the future of the missionary endeavor for the sake of a present “victory” casting dispersions, with language of derision and sharp invectives.

Anyone with a principled belief must include the capacity, willingness and compulsion to challenge assertions that are simply odious and unprincipled. Not to do so is to align oneself with those who seek to denigrate and vilify for self righteous gain and political expediency. But there is heavy price to pay for such inaction. Most Christian denominations have been deafening silent in the face of Franklin Graham’s comments, and none of the Republican candidates past or present have spoken against Rick Santorum’s assertions. This voicelessness is particularly conspicuous given that the candidates have been tearing each other apart on practically everything else. Now what conclusion might one draw here on such silence?
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My friends say I talk funny
Education
  • Georgia Southern University
    M.A., English, 2009 - 2011
  • Johnson University
    B.A., Literature; Biblical Studies, 2005 - 2009
  • Woodland High School
    2001 - 2005
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Instructor of English and Composition
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  • Georgia Southern University
    Visiting Instructor, 2010 - present
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