When I heard that Madonna referred to Barack Obama as a "black Muslim" after endorsing him during a concert in Washington, D.C., on Monday, I found it hilarious.
"Now, it's so amazing and incredible to think that we have an African-American in the White House ... we have a black Muslim in the White House," she said. "... It means there is hope in this country, and Obama is fighting for gay rights, so support the man."
I thought this was a clever way to call out those individuals who have attacked the president not for his policies but because they view him as "other." But not everyone agrees. Since her unconventional endorsement of the president on Monday, Madonna has taken heat. Did the pop star realize that Obama isn't actually a Muslim, some media outlets wondered. Has her comment confused the public about Obama's religious background, which is Christian?
"I was being ironic on stage. Yes, I know Obama is not a Muslim - though I know that plenty of people in this country think he is. And what if he were?" Madonna explained in a statement. "The point I was making is that a good man is a good man, no matter who he prays to. I don't care what religion Obama is - nor should anyone else in America."
I think that's a great point. While Obama's politics are relevant, his religious and racial background shouldn't matter. However, I doubt that many Americans actually believe that the president is a Muslim. I know that certain polls have found that some Americans say they're confused about the president's religion, but I think most of these people are only saying they 're confused. I think they know that Obama identifies as a Christian. He even wrote about it in his memoir, Dreams From My Father. In a post-9/11 world, though, it's more acceptable for bigots to say they take issue with the president's religion or create controversies about his birthplace than to say they simply don't want a man with African ancestry leading the nation.