Dear Birthers: It’s time to stop.

I really try to stay away from political topics that don’t have anything to do with stewardship, ranting only to my husband (who usually shares my opinions and rants right along with me) or parents.  A few close friends might get a a glimpse of my opinions every once in a while, but really, when it comes to politics, I consider myself a follower of Christ.  If you ask me to narrow it down more, you’ll probably get Green.  If I’m feeling particularly ornery at that moment, I say “Socialist.”  But usually, Follower of Christ suits me just fine.

I voted for Barack Obama for President.  Just as an FYI, I didn’t vote for him for US Senator from Illinois, and if I’d lived in the right district in Illinois when he ran for Senator in the General Assembly, I probably wouldn’t have voted for him then either.  But those were the days when I was pretty much a single-issue (more or less) voter and thought that the Republican party was the Chosen Party of God.  I was young,  get over it.

But back to voting for him for President.  The fact is, I thought he would make a good President and that he was a man of good character.  I still think those things.  On the other hand, I was also perfectly willing to vote for John McCain for President, up until he chose Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate.  McCain could have chosen several other women who have experience in US government–Elizabeth Dole, Christine Todd Whitman, or Kay Bailey Hutchison would have been excellent choices for the Republican ticket.  McCain was, and is, in my opinion, a man of decent character and would have made a good president.  But I wasn’t willing to vote for him knowing that, should something happen to him, Sarah Palin could become President of the United States.

Now that you know this, I hope it shows you that what I’m about to say next isn’t based on me being a Democrat who is standing up for my party, because I’m not.  I’m standing up against a lie, and I’m called to do so as a Follower of Christ.

You all know about the controversy over President Obama’s birth certificate and his eligibility to be President, or lack thereof.  (If you don’t, I have to ask how you’ve avoided it, because I avoid the news like the plague, and even *I* know about the controversy)  Orly Taitz and the people who agree with her, called the Birthers, think that Obama’s birth certificate from Hawaii isn’t real and that he was born outside the United States (I think Kenya, to be specific, since his father is Kenyan), and was therefor ineligible to run for President of the United States.  Hawaiian officials have said time and time and time again that the birth certificate Mr. Obama provided is a legitimate birth certificate from the State of Hawaii, making him a US citizen, but that didn’t seem to satisfy Birthers.  They continued to doubt and wanted to see the long form of the birth certificate.

Well, the White House released the long form yesterday.  The President shouldn’t have had to do that, but at this point, I think quite a few people were hoping that that would finally put the controversy to rest.

Apparently not:

Even after the White House released the long-form certificate of Obama’s birth, birther leader Orly Taitz—who has filed unsuccessful lawsuits seeking to obtain access to Obama’s birth certificate—sought to cast doubt on the document’s authenticity, suggesting that in 1961, Hawaiian officials would have classified Obama as “Negro” rather than using designation “African,” which suggests, in her view, a more contemporary concern for “political correctness.”

So now here’s my rant about the situation.

First, Ms. Taitz’s ability to read is in doubt.  The above paragraph is talking about President Obama, and nowhere on the birth certificate does it show his race.  It shows the races of his parents, Stanley Ann Dunham and Barack Hussein Obama I, which are listed as Caucasian and African, respectively:

What Taitz seems to be saying here is that “African” is too “Politically correct” to be a term used for race in 1961.  The problem with this is that hospital records, to my knowledge, aren’t politically correct, no matter what year or cultural standards.  So while she sees the term “African” to be more politically correct than the term “Negro,” (hinting that the long form is a forgery) and assumes that the hospital would have just put “Negro” in as the President’s father’s race, it’s more likely that when Stanley Dunham was admitted to the hospital, she and the President’s father were asked to fill out a bunch of forms that asked a lot of questions, and he filled in the race blank with “African.”  Because he is from Africa.  Duh.

However, even if the President had been born in Kenya, as the Birthers are so fond of saying, he would still be a United States citizen by birth.  The following paragraphs, taken from U.S. Citizenship Acquired by Birth Abroad, describe how US citizenship is passed on to a child born outside the United States to at least one parent who is a US citizen.  I’m including the description of the laws for legitimate — and as much as I find it distasteful and it pains me to write this — illegitimate children:

Introduction The laws regarding the transmission of United States citizenship to children born outside the United States can be very complex. A distinction is made between legitimate and illegitimate childen for the purposes of citizenship eligibility. In addition, the laws that were in effect at the time of the child’s birth determine whether citizenship is transmitted in a particular case. Finally, depending upon when the child was born, he or she may have been subject to certain conditions subsequent, which were required for retention of citizenship….

The 1940 Statute also provided for more stringent requirements for prior residence where, at the time of the child’s birth, one of the parents was a U.S. citizen and the other was an alien. On or after January 13, 1941, in the case of a child born to a U.S. citizen parent and an alien parent, the U.S. citizen parent had to have resided in the United States or its outlying possessions for 10 years, at least 5 of which were after attaining the age of 16 years in order to transmit U.S. citizenship to the child.

In 1946, Congress modified the requirement slightly but only for the benefit of U.S. citizens who had served honorably in the U.S. armed forces during World War II. The U.S. parent’s prior residence requirement could be satisfied by residence in the U.S. for 10 years, at least five of which were after attaining the age of 12 years if the U.S. citizen parent had served honorably in the U.S. armed forces after December 7, 1941 but before December 31, 1946.

On December 24, 1952, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 (the “1952 Statute”) became effective. As under the previous statute, where both parents were U.S. citizens, one parent would have to have resided in the United States prior to the child’s birth in order to transmit U.S. citizenship. The meaning of residence previously applied under the 1940 Statute was essentially the same as under the 1952 Statute.

In the case of a child born to one U.S. citizen parent and one alien parent, the U.S. citizen parent now had only to be physically present in the United States or its outlying possessions prior to the child’s birth for 10 years, at least 5 of which were after the age of 14. “Physical presence” was different from the concept of “residence” which had applied under the previous statute. The physical presence requirement could be satisfied by mere presence in the United States even if the person had not established a legal residence there….

The 1952 Statute provided that an illegitimate child acquired U.S. citizenship from a U.S. citizen mother if the mother was a U.S. citizen at the time of the child’s birth and had been physicially present in the United States or one of its outlying possessions for a continuous period of one year. This provision did not adversely affect the status of anyone who had previously acquired U.S. citizenship. This provision is still in effect.

As the above birth certificate lists Ms. Dunham’s place of birth in Wichita, Kansas, there is no doubt that she is a US citizen, and so that status was passed on to her son, and would have been even if he had been born in Kenya.

I want to mention one more thing about Taitz’s beliefs about who should be eligible for the presidency:

Taitz says she’s not giving up her fight. She also claims Obama isn’t a “natural born citizen” because she uses a standard that requires both parents to be American citizens — a misreading of the Constitution which if enforced would have rendered several other American Presidents ineligible.

Under Taitz’s misreading of the Constitution, Presidents Jackson, Jefferson, Buchanan,  Arthur, Wilson, and Hoover would have been disqualified from the Presidency because they each had at least one parent who was not a US citizen, and  in the case of Jackson, two immigrant parents.

Birthers, you have asked for proof of President Obama’s citizenship, and you have received it.  I’m under no delusion that you will accept the proof you’ve been given, in light of the rebuttals that have shown up around the internet in the past 24 hours.  However, you have your proof, and your perception of the facts does not make the facts untrue.  And so, Birthers, it’s time to stop telling people that President Obama isn’t a United States citizen; if you do so, you are willfully and deliberately spreading a lie.  For those of you who claim to be Christians, remember that the Ninth Commandment is “Thou shall not bear false witness.”

Dear Birthers: It’s time to stop lying.

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About faithenvironmentcollide

Child of God. Follower of Christ. Wife to Jeff. Mom to Liam. Environmental steward. Writer. Reader. Researcher. View all posts by faithenvironmentcollide

2 responses to “Dear Birthers: It’s time to stop.

  • K.W. Leslie

    It’s not false witness to believe lies; it’s false witness to claim “This is true” when you know it’s not. And the problem is that Birthers honestly do believe the President is not an American. They can’t prove it, but they just know it. Kinda like a Mormon with a burning sensation: They just know. Evidence doesn’t matter.

    Personally, I think Obama should have ignored it, just like Bush ignored questions about his youthful cocaine use. Like he said, he has better things to do.

    • faithenvironmentcollide

      Well, that’s why I said that their perception of the facts doesn’t make the facts untrue. If they want to continue to believe a lie, that’s one thing; but to continue to spread that lie, in the face of factual evidence to the contrary, makes them all a bunch of liars.

      In one sense, I think he should have ignored it too. However, with some state legislatures trying to pass laws that disqualify presidential candidates on those states’ ballots without a presentation of the long form birth certificate in those states, I think it as probably needed. I’d really like to see someone sue those states if any of them pass those laws. Presidential vetting shouldn’t take place at the state level.

      Uh… end rant. And thanks for the comment, K. As always, it’s thought provoking. 😀

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