Given the excessive distress that some folks felt about President Obama's relationship with his pastor, Jeremiah Wright, it is hard to understand how folks could imagine that he is a secret Muslim. And yet both issues circulated widely in the last election and will probably be resurrected to whip the Rightest of the Right into a proper electoral frenzy in 2012.
Perhaps the fear of Secret Muslims is so strong because there is some residual, collective memory of Secret Christians. Saint Argyrimus had served as the censor for Emir Muhammad I, the Umayyad ruler of Cordoba, Spain from 882 to 886. Muhammad's censor was a crypto-Chrisitan who eventually moved into a monastery. He might have retired on his own or perhaps he was nudged out under the threat of having his religion exposed. Anyway, he left his job and moved into a monastery, but he was eventually denounced and hauled into court. Emir Muhammad offered him clemency if he renounced Christianity and re-embraced Islam. He declined, was decapitated, his corpse left to rot for many days as a public warning. Eventually, the monastic brothers were permitted to bury his remains.