Now that Barack Obama is the official Democratic Party nominee for president, I hope Fox TV commentator Ann Coulter will live up to her given name (more on that below) and be gracious enough to stop referring to him as B. Hussein Obama.
Coulter, the author and conservative provocateur, is not particularly well known for being gracious. The Observer of London christened her “the Republican Michael Moore,” and did not mean it as a compliment to Michael Moore or Republicans.
Obviously, Coulter is trying in her sly way to associate Obama’s middle name with Saddam Hussein. How clever. It won’t work. This is a nation that elected men with such middle names as Gamaliel, Milhous and Rudolph. This also is the home of Elvis, Madonna, Oprah and Rush. We love unusual names.
Coulter’s name-calling isn’t just an example of her contempt for Obama’s candidacy or our credulity. It’s another slur in her anti-Muslim crusade. Coulter has a well-documented history of making outlandish and unconscionable anti-Muslim remarks.
In her 2004 book, “How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must): The World According to Ann Coulter,” she wrote: “I am often asked if I still think we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity. The answer is: Now more than ever!”
Maybe she doesn’t believe any of the hate and ridicule she trades in. Maybe she’s just trying to get on TV and sell books. Maybe she’s just a huckster and not a bigot. Whatever her motivation, she should have the grace to stop.
The fact that Obama, like Coulter, is a Christian isn’t the point. Coulter’s attempts to disparage Obama and Islam offend Democrats and Muslims. They should also offend Christians and all “fair and balanced” people of faith, including John Sydney McCain III (no, Ms. Coulter, J. Sydney McCain is not Australian; he’s not even Panamanian).
McCain was named for his father, a U.S. Navy admiral (from the Arabic ami:r-al-bahr, meaning “ruler of the seas”).
Obama was named for his father, a Harvard-trained economist. Like many of his fellow Americans, Obama’s first and middle names have biblical roots, as author David E. Scheim explains in an On Faith guest column.
Interestingly, the names Barack, John and Ann all have biblical roots in Semitic languages.
Barack comes from the Arabic word baracka, which like its Hebrew cousin baruch means “blessed.”
John comes from the Hebrew word Yohannan, which means “God is gracious.”
Ann is a form of Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel and a Hebrew name. Ann means “favored grace” or “gracious.”
Now that either Barack or John will be our next president, maybe Ann will favor us with her grace.