Choice Hotels, one of the nation’s largest hotel chains, has joined a growing list of companies that have stopped advertising and refused to place their ads on Michael Savage’s radio program called Savage Nation. Last year, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on listeners of all faiths to contact Savage’s advertisers and express their concern about the host’s anti-Muslim bigotry and insensitivity. Hotel _brands’ operated by Choice Hotels include Quality Inn, Comfort Suits, Clarion, Econo Lodge, and several others.
Outspoken American conservatives including Michael Savage and Daniel Pipes are among the voices that apparently cannot get enough of the topic of Barack Obama’s religious identity. Among the claims being made, include the following: He’s a Muslim. He was sworn into office on the Koran. He doesn’t say the Pledge of Allegiance. His pastor is an anti-Semite. He’s a tool of Louis Farrakhan. He’s anti-Israel. His advisers are anti-Israel. He’s friends with terrorists. The terrorists want him to win. He’s the Antichrist. Obama has repeatedly stated that he is a Christian, and has always been a Christian, and presently belongs to the United Church of Christ. The smear and fear about his religious affiliation is causing an uproar among some conservative Americans, unsure of how to trust a promising presidential candidate that the United States has never seen before – with an Arabic middle name, a father who was from Kenya, and has spent time living and studying abroad. Such new-ness is causing not only confusion, but rumors. Daniel Pipes argues that Obama should Obama have ever been a Muslim in his lifetime and is currently an apostate of Islam, that this may cause anger among some Muslims over his apostasy – a crime within Islam. Others like Michael Savage insist that Obama is hiding something over his religious background. Nevertheless, it is clear that many in America’s political arena are still unsure of how to approach, listen, and trust a candidate that brings, at least superficially, characteristics that have never been seen in such a promising and popular presidential candidate.
Lu Gronseth listens regularly to WWTC, a conservative talk-radio station in Minneapolis, and even advertises his mortgage-loan business on the station. But when he learned that a nationally syndicated radio show host had told WWTC listeners that Muslims should be deported and made rude comments about what they could do with their religion, Mr. Gronseth pulled his ads from the station. So have at least two other Minnesota businesses, at the urging of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., as have a handful of national companies, including OfficeMax, JCPenney, Wal-Mart, and AT&T. But the comments by host Michael Savage in October – and previous anti-Muslim speech – have not created the furor that knocked radio icon Don Imus off of MSNBC and CBS Radio after he denigrated a black women’s basketball team. That leaves many Muslims-Americans – and non-Muslims like Mr. Gronseth – suspicious that Americans have a double standard when it comes to Islam.