There are a lot of reasons to worry about Dr. Mehmet Oz announcing his run for U.S. Senate as a Republican from Pennsylvania. He’s used his prominent platform to dispense quack medical advice. He’s promoted astrology. He’s running for the GOP nomination, which could give more power to a party that actively harms the country.
But none of that is the biggest concern for right-wing Christian website Charisma. Their primary problem? Oz comes from a Muslim family and therefore, as their headline notes, Christians “should be leery” of him.
… If Oz wins the Republican nomination, he will be the first Muslim-born individual to be nominated for a Senate seat by a major American political party.
While his mother adhered to the secular vision of modern Turkey’s founder, Kemal Ataturk, Oz’s father was a strict Muslim, according to a 2012 interview for Henry Louis Gates Jr.’ PBS television program Faces of America. As a young man, Mehmet Oz said, he rebelled against both traditions and chose to align his views with Sufism, a mystical Islamic sect.
That’s the extent of what they say to justify the headline. There’s no claim that his faith would influence his politics, or that his Islamic background could matter in any meaningful way. They’re just trying to scare bigoted Christians — their readers — by throwing around words like “Muslim” and “Sufism” which those readers barely understand but which could easily turn them against Oz. It’s about as effective as reminding them He’s not white without having to say those words out loud.
To which we can only say: Thank you, Charisma, for unwittingly trashing a Republican candidate who could theoretically be on the ballot next November, even if it’s for the least problematic thing about him. There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about Oz’s campaign. His religious background isn’t one of them.