I sometimes wonder why the personal attacks against President Barack Obama are particularly virulent in our religious community. "He is not one of us," and a host of other contrivances are marshaled as rationalizations for his repudiation at every turn.

The problem is particularly acute when the authenticity of our religion is diminished in the face of what is by normal standards a widespread political fanaticism of unfounded irrational thought and fringe behavior. At its core lies a blinkered mistrust of the unfamiliar and disrespect of others, when in reality it is our extremism that is more properly the enemy, not others.

Andrew McDonald