Economists talk of "fear of a false factor" as an influence in market dynamics when investors mistakenly act on unfounded beliefs. Politics, too, are particularly prone to emotional interpretation and misguided opinions.
Such are the commonly expressed political views in our religious community relentlessly attacking President Obama as an irredeemably flawed president a malevolent dictator bent on subverting the Constitution and implementing a socialistic order endangering our freedom.
"He is not one of us" and a host of other contrivances are marshaled as rationalizations for repudiating him at every turn: prejudices that manipulative, self-serving politicians and media personalities are quick to exploit.
The problem is particularly acute when the authenticity of our religion is diminished in the face of what is by normal standards a pervasive political fanaticism of unfounded irrational thinking and fringe behavior.
At its core lies a blinkered fear of the unfamiliar and disrespect of others.