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article imageMemphis-area mayor, administration run from Muslim Obama remark

By Bob Gordon     Dec 8, 2009 in Politics
Last week the Mayor of a Memphis suburb accused "Muslim" President Obama of attempting to ruin Christmas. He later said his "joking nature" got the best of him and it was all meant in good fun.
The comments were posted by Arlington Mayor Russell Wiseman on his Facebook page where he also said it was "no accident" Obama's national address on Tuesday, Dec. 8, preempted "A Charlie Brown Christmas," The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN) reports.
His comments merit significant quotation:
"Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch 'The Charlie Brown Christmas Special' and our Muslim president is there, what a load.....try to convince me that wasn't done on purpose. Ask the man if he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he will give you a 10 minute disertation (sic) about it....w...hen the answer should simply be 'yes'...."
The mayor seems to have an idiosyncratic sense of humor or no other explanation, or both.
The city of Arlington itself has chosen to run in a different direction. Its media release denied any connection to the mayor's comments:
The views of Russell Wiseman, Mayor of the Town of Arlington, expressed on his Facebook account do not reflect an official position of the Town of Arlington. His comments were not made on a Town computer, or using Town computer services. The Town recognizes Barack Obama as the President of the United States, and in accordance with the Constitution, recognizes both the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech.
Memphis Flyer political columnist Jackson Baker sarcastically explored the thinking process the Mayor might have used: "Obama a Muslim? Scheming to prevent righteous Christian children from seeing Charlie Brown on TV? (And using no less than a major address on defense policy to do so?)"
Arguably the Mayor's own explanation was even more nondescript: "I want to take this opportunity to say how much I regret that I offended anyone with my poor attempt at tongue-in-cheek humor amongst friends. While my comments were certainly blown way out of proportion, I do recognize that I allowed things to go too far."
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