Thursday, August 26, 2010

Is President Obama Really a Christian?

"My father was almost entirely absent from my childhood, having been divorced from my mother when  I was 2 years old; in any event, although my father had been raised a Muslim, by the time he met my mother he was a confirmed atheist, thinking religion to be so much superstition."
         --President Obama, Dreams of My Father

Now let me get this straight: Obama may not be a Christian? Says who. Well--the Internet is going wild with this rumor that the President is not really a Christian? One poll taken recently says that 1/5 of Americans believe Mr. Obama is a Muslim. Mitch McConnell, Republican Senator from Kentucky was asked on a Sunday talk show last week if he thought Obama was a Christian. McConnell simply said: “I take him at his word.” What’s wrong O Statesman in simply saying: “This is so ridiculous--of course he is a Christian.” Or he could have said, “Now, let’s get this straight, during the campaign people said because he went to Jeremiah Wright’s church he must be the wrong kind of Christian. We have now jumped from his being the wrong kind of a Christian to: he must be a closet Muslim. People like Rush Limbaugh are seriously wondering if maybe the President could not possibly be a Christian. We know better.

Speaking of knowing better Franklin Graham has added to the confusion by saying, “I think the problem is that he was, in fact born a Muslim, his Father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name.” He went on to add: “Now it’s obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed and he has renounced Islam and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That’s what he says he has done, I cannot say that he hasn’t. So I just have to believe that the president is what he has said.” Mr. Graham went on to say, “The confusion is, is because his father was a Muslim, he was born a Muslim. The Islamic world sees the president as one of theirs. That’s why Qaddafi calls him ‘my son.’ They see him as a Muslim. But of course the President says he is a Christian, and we just have to accept it as that.”

So this week’s breaking news is: If the President prays and how often. If he reads the Bible--how much. Why hasn’t he joined a Church in Washington. Do his children go to Sunday School. This who argument is just another thinly-disguised racism which says, “Well, he really is different from us.”

That us/them wedge is always a powerful argument. But it is time for us that are tired of people using our faith to smear our President--or anyone else--to speak up. It is time for us to say with all the problems we face as a country we need to put aside our diversionary tactics and deal with the real issues. Let’s call this Obama bashing what it is: just that--bashing. History tells us that other Presidents faced the same kind of smearing. Lincoln, Roosevelt just to name a few. The only difference is that they did not have breaking news on twenty-four hours a day which makes things a little different.

You can be a Republican or a Democrat--but none of us have the right to lie and shade the truth to make our point or win our case. Speaking of faith, I do believe the good book says something about not bearing false witness against your neighbor. Reckon all these prognosticators about faith are really, really Christian? I wonder. 

Associated Baptist Press has a good article on religious leaders who protest this idea that President Obama is not a Christian.

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