Why are Americans confused about Obama's religion?

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Bert Perry's picture

I obviously cannot prove this, but it strikes me that a new scandal breaks out for Obama each time an older scandal starts to reach critical mass.  It is almost as if he's figured out that because 34 Democratic Senators and the media are in his corner, all he needs to do to keep what he's got is to keep them off balance and prevent them from connecting the dots.  

To do this, scandals like his college transcripts and religion are tremendously useful because he can't be removed from office for them.  The birth certificate thing as well--my hunch is that he was born in Hawaii (what kind of insane woman would fly to Kenya to have her baby?), but deliberately uses caginess about it (including the oddities Jim links about the soft copy) to generate a non-binding scandal when he needs it.  Then if it ever gets wheels, he brings out the hard copy.....right after everyone has forgotten the scandal that could persuade Senator #67 he needs to go.

Again, I can't prove this, but it simply strikes me that the guy always has a new scandal break out when another scandal starts to get legs.  It is as if he's figured out how to play a nation with a low attention span.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

GregH's picture

This is a great example of why I have so little respect for the conservative right these days. Obama says he is a Christian. He makes Christian statements like this:

"The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross. And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world – past, present and future – and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection."

If it was George Washington that had said this, David Barton would never let us forget it and would use it as ironclad proof that the founding fathers were indeed committed Christians. But Obama says it and it is ignored or sneered at.

Whether Obama is a true Christian or not is debatable but it is not debatable that he at least claims Christianity and is not a Muslim. But yet the conservative right led by nuts like Allen West keep suggesting he is a Muslim. That tells me that the far right loves ideology more than truth. It is despicable really.

Bert Perry's picture

GregH, I understand your frustration--it always irritates me when someone claims that pork-eating, beer-drinking Obama is a Muslim--but keep in mind that the true test of faith is how it works out per the book of James, no?  All politicians make public pronouncements for religious holidays they do not celebrate, so we really cannot assume that any public pronouncement indicates genuine faith.  Not for Obama, not for Washington, not for Reagan, not for whoever.

In the case of Mr. Obama, Joel links a couple of good hints that indicate that Jim's got a good point.  Obama calls himself a Christian, but most of us in the "fundagelical" camp would call TUCC "nominal" or "liberal" in theology.  Moreover, what do we make of his habit of lying, of his lawsuits to force nuns to buy contraception, and the like?

My take is that if he were in my church, we'd be walking through Matthew 18:15-19 due to that.  Hence I agree with Jim that our President is most likely a nominal or backsliding Christian, and I've (as I noted above) got to wonder at times whether the various scandals in his administration are planned out better than we'd guess.

I would love to be wrong on this, of course, but if we recognize a tree by its fruit, that's the most likely conclusions I can determine.

BTW, are you the pianist by any chance?  Gotta confess I got curious and googled your name.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Wayne Wilson's picture

GregH wrote:

This is a great example of why I have so little respect for the conservative right these days. Obama says he is a Christian. He makes Christian statements like this:

"The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross. And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world – past, present and future – and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection."

If it was George Washington that had said this, David Barton would never let us forget it and would use it as ironclad proof that the founding fathers were indeed committed Christians. But Obama says it and it is ignored or sneered at.

Whether Obama is a true Christian or not is debatable but it is not debatable that he at least claims Christianity and is not a Muslim. But yet the conservative right led by nuts like Allen West keep suggesting he is a Muslim. That tells me that the far right loves ideology more than truth. It is despicable really.

I think you're right about Barton. As for the rest, both ends of the spectrum in politics love ideology more than truth.  But now we know from David Axlerod that President Obama blatantly lied about his opposition to same-sex marriage in a church before thousands of believers, even invoking the sacredness of marriage...which he didn't believe at all. Repentance should be forthcoming.

Barry L.'s picture

By their fruits ye shall know him.

He is at best an agnostic. I don't think he is Christian or muslim. He was a member of Jeremiah Wright's church for political purposes. I think his name and the fact that he doesn't concern himself what is happening in the middle east cause most folks to think he is muslim.

Bert Perry's picture

.....is a great example of the trouble one can get into when one forgets that history is messy and complicated.  For that matter, so is our President, who cites the Crusades as if the Battle of Tours didn't happen in....Tours, France.  

But to the question, I am OK with any estimate of Obama's faith anywhere on the spectrum between agnostic and nominal Christian.  Given his behavior, I would be very surprised if he was indeed born again.  Pleasantly surprised, but surprised.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joel Shaffer's picture

Barry L. wrote:

By their fruits ye shall know him.

He is at best an agnostic. I don't think he is Christian or muslim. He was a member of Jeremiah Wright's church for political purposes. I think his name and the fact that he doesn't concern himself what is happening in the middle east cause most folks to think he is muslim.

Barry, it is very hard to prove Obama's motive for joining Trinity Church of Christ.......that he was a member of Jeremiah Wright's church for political purposes.  Here is an old Newsweek article about his faith that explains alot and is consistent with what I see among many Black liberation theology churches in my city.  http://www.newsweek.com/cover-story-barack-obamas-christian-journey-92611  Because he speaks up for the poor and oppressed, many in his church and other churches throughout the Black liberation theology tradition would actually say that he is a Christian based on "by their fruits ye shall know them"  because of Scripture verses like Proverbs 29:7 (The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern) and many others that speak of God heart for the poor and oppressed.  

He is a liberal activist social gospel "Christan."  The problem with this stripe of Christian is what they add to the gospel (Galatians 1:6-9) Instead of our good works (such as loving your neighbor/ responding to the needs of the poor) as a vital implication of the gospel, Obama and others within this tradition have made good works as part of the gospel or the gospel itself.  

GregH's picture

Playing the devil's advocate here, I would like for someone to really make a case that Obama's "fruits" do not demonstrate Christianity. Yes, he believes in abortion; he clearly thinks (like most abortion advocates) that fetuses are not human lives and it is not an issue of murder. Is it completely unrealistic for a Christian to believe that? Yes he believes in gay marriage because he believes that the government not giving gay couples certain rights such as traditional couples enjoy is discrimination. Could a Christian possibly believe that? I know many that do...

Other than that, conservatives don't like his fiscal policies or his foreign policy, etc. I get it. But it is not like Christ was a right-winger. Right and wrong is not the same as right and left.

Furthermore, Obama probably could make a case that he has the moral high ground in many areas such as what Joel mentions in regards to the poor. You could argue that the left does seem a bit more in line with the gospel than the right wing in regards to the treatment of the poor.

I am making no statement as to whether he is a true Christian or not. I am just saying that just because he is a liberal and instituted ObamaCare does not mean he isn't a Christian or has "bad fruit."

Bert Perry's picture

....it's the lies.  Things like "no tax hikes for the middle class", "I don't support same sex marriage", "if you like your doctor/insurance, you can keep him/it".  Noteworthy is that he got in office and got his measures passed primarily by.....lies.  IRS Scandal, Fast & Furious, Benghazi.....all buttressed by lies.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

josh p's picture

GregH wrote:

Playing the devil's advocate here, I would like for someone to really make a case that Obama's "fruits" do not demonstrate Christianity. Yes, he believes in abortion; he clearly thinks (like most abortion advocates) that fetuses are not human lives and it is not an issue of murder. Is it completely unrealistic for a Christian to believe that? Yes he believes in gay marriage because he believes that the government not giving gay couples certain rights such as traditional couples enjoy is discrimination. Could a Christian possibly believe that? I know many that do...

Other than that, conservatives don't like his fiscal policies or his foreign policy, etc. I get it. But it is not like Christ was a right-winger. Right and wrong is not the same as right and left.

Furthermore, Obama probably could make a case that he has the moral high ground in many areas such as what Joel mentions in regards to the poor. You could argue that the left does seem a bit more in line with the gospel than the right wing in regards to the treatment of the poor.

I am making no statement as to whether he is a true Christian or not. I am just saying that just because he is a liberal and instituted ObamaCare does not mean he isn't a Christian or has "bad fruit."

Greg, I don't care if Obama is a Christian or not. I would like him to be for his sake and God's glory but otherwise it doesn't matter to me. That being said you said that Christ was not a "right winger". You may be right but could you please explain how you came to that conclusion?

GregH's picture

josh p wrote:

 

GregH wrote:

 

Playing the devil's advocate here, I would like for someone to really make a case that Obama's "fruits" do not demonstrate Christianity. Yes, he believes in abortion; he clearly thinks (like most abortion advocates) that fetuses are not human lives and it is not an issue of murder. Is it completely unrealistic for a Christian to believe that? Yes he believes in gay marriage because he believes that the government not giving gay couples certain rights such as traditional couples enjoy is discrimination. Could a Christian possibly believe that? I know many that do...

Other than that, conservatives don't like his fiscal policies or his foreign policy, etc. I get it. But it is not like Christ was a right-winger. Right and wrong is not the same as right and left.

Furthermore, Obama probably could make a case that he has the moral high ground in many areas such as what Joel mentions in regards to the poor. You could argue that the left does seem a bit more in line with the gospel than the right wing in regards to the treatment of the poor.

I am making no statement as to whether he is a true Christian or not. I am just saying that just because he is a liberal and instituted ObamaCare does not mean he isn't a Christian or has "bad fruit."

 

 

Greg, I don't care if Obama is a Christian or not. I would like him to be for his sake and God's glory but otherwise it doesn't matter to me. That being said you said that Christ was not a "right winger". You may be right but could you please explain how you came to that conclusion?

It is sort of obvious isn't it? Look at how Jesus lived and operated and tell me what he had in common with today's right-winger? Personal property rights? Defense? Fiscal policy? 

Bert Perry's picture

I am somehow reminded of a wiser man than I--or wiser guy than I--commenting that politics is the world's second oldest profession, but has a lot in common with the world's oldest, in reading the comments (mine included) surrounding Greg's question.

That said, Romans 13 and the context of the Scriptures do suggest a lot.  Secular law ought not be a gross violation of God's, for starters, and Old and New Testament alike work against aggressive war.  The King of Israel was prohibited from collecting gold or horses (= standing armies), and the New Testament tells soldiers to be content with their pay (= no plunder of conquered cities).  We are told that if a man will not work, neither shall he eat--but on the flip side, we are to be generous with those who cannot support themselves.  Enshrining protections for sexual immorality into law (free contraceptives, same sex mirage, prenatal infanticide) into law ought to be right out, as would be the idea that one ought to profit by plundering his neighbor.

Not a perfect fit for any political movement, but personally I think conservatives come the closest (social + economic) on this scale.  

But that all is a big distraction from the question of why people are confused about the religion Mr. Obama follows.  Part of it is that a huge part of our country simply doesn't engage in politics, part of it is because Obama's conduct (his lies and such) are not clearly that of a Christian, and I would contend that part of it maybe purposeful design on his part.  

I hope he is a believer, but again, you know a tree by its fruit, and his is by and large rotten--and I'm not even talking about his policy stands.  Copious lies, no charity to speak of until he gained landslide wealth through his books, and the like.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Greg Long's picture

I wonder if we can learn Obama's real religious views and personal theology from this interview he did before he had to start saying more "politically correct" religious things when he began campaigning for President?

Note especially his definition of "sin."

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thedudeabides/obama-on-faith-the-exclusive-...

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

GregH's picture

Speaking for myself, there is no doubt in my mind that Obama believes in a different Christianity than I do. I think his theology has fatal problems. But that is not the point of the original question. The question was whether Obama is a Christian or Muslim and within the context of which one he claims as his religion (not whether he is truly born again). In other words, would we call a Catholic a Muslim because Catholicism has fatal theological errors? Of course not.

I still say that you would be hard pressed to prove that Obama's "fruits" disprove his true Christianity. His theological beliefs? Quite possibly. But in general, he seems to be a committed family man, a man committed to helping the disadvantaged and a deeply principled man. I do not accept the current popular definition of a lie so I don't consider him a liar. (IE, I don't believe it is a lie to change your mind or misspeak or say something if you don't have all the facts. I don't believe Bush "lied" about WMD in Iraq for example.) And, I think that his platform does have a moral edge in SOME WAYS over the right.

And by the way, I say this as no fan of Obama. I have never voted democrat in my life. But I have not watched enough Fox News to believe that just because someone disagrees with me even on major issues, he is stupid and/or evil and hates America and I have never subscribed to the idea that right and left is the same as right and wrong.

josh p's picture

GregH wrote:

 

josh p wrote:

 

 

GregH wrote:

 

Playing the devil's advocate here, I would like for someone to really make a case that Obama's "fruits" do not demonstrate Christianity. Yes, he believes in abortion; he clearly thinks (like most abortion advocates) that fetuses are not human lives and it is not an issue of murder. Is it completely unrealistic for a Christian to believe that? Yes he believes in gay marriage because he believes that the government not giving gay couples certain rights such as traditional couples enjoy is discrimination. Could a Christian possibly believe that? I know many that do...

Other than that, conservatives don't like his fiscal policies or his foreign policy, etc. I get it. But it is not like Christ was a right-winger. Right and wrong is not the same as right and left.

Furthermore, Obama probably could make a case that he has the moral high ground in many areas such as what Joel mentions in regards to the poor. You could argue that the left does seem a bit more in line with the gospel than the right wing in regards to the treatment of the poor.

I am making no statement as to whether he is a true Christian or not. I am just saying that just because he is a liberal and instituted ObamaCare does not mean he isn't a Christian or has "bad fruit."

 

 

Greg, I don't care if Obama is a Christian or not. I would like him to be for his sake and God's glory but otherwise it doesn't matter to me. That being said you said that Christ was not a "right winger". You may be right but could you please explain how you came to that conclusion?

 

 

It is sort of obvious isn't it? Look at how Jesus lived and operated and tell me what he had in common with today's right-winger? Personal property rights? Defense? Fiscal policy? 

Sounds like an argument from silence so no I would not say it's obvious. Pretty sure Christ was not too concerned with politics.

Greg Long's picture

GregH's checklist as seen on this thread:

* David Barton ... check
* Fox News ... check
* Obama - bashing ... (I can't remember)

Smile

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

GregH's picture

Greg Long wrote:

GregH's checklist as seen on this thread:

* David Barton ... check
* Fox News ... check
* Obama - bashing ... (I can't remember)

Smile

Somewhat confused. But if it is a zing at me, I will consider myself zinged (and will still sleep well tonight) Smile

Bert Perry's picture

Just to clarify, when I claim that Obama is a liar, I am using Webster's definition of claiming he is knowingly saying something he knows not to be true.  While it is true that I'm not inside his head and knowing this absolutely, the argument I'd make is that (a) I can not believe he did not know these things were false, given his involvement and (b) when he is caught in an untruth, he does not make efforts to deal with that problem.  Hence I infer that he is lying.

I am absolutely not using today's definition of "he said something that is wrong so I immediately call him a liar" or "he said something I disagree with so I immediately called him a liar."  I am saying "he said something that was untrue, it is implausible that he did not know it was untrue, and he said it anyway and did nothing to fix the situation when it became abundantly clear his promise was false."

Regarding his status as a family man, well, yes, he's still married to his first wife, but there is something odd about how many vacations they take apart.  I understand the need for a President to take a fair amount of trips as part of his job, and that his whole family cannot come along every time.  I do not understand two and three week vacations apart.  Something is very different there, and IMO it is not congruent with a healthy family life.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Barry L.'s picture

If you claim to be a Christian, and you believe there are many paths to salvation/righteousness, are you really a Christian?

KD Merrill's picture

GregH wrote:

But in general, he seems to be a committed family man, a man committed to helping the disadvantaged and a deeply principled man. 

Wow.  He is a man committed to using everyone else's money to help the disadvantaged.  He exhorts us to be our brother's keeper, yet he doesn't appear to be keen about helping his brother still mired in Kenya.   Why and how is it that Jesus' personal appeal to the Jews to minister aid to the poor can be interpreted as His directive for the government to do it for us in this dispensation on our behalf using our money?   I'm reminded of the three basic questions to Biblical interpretation...Who said it?  To whom was it said?  What were the circumstances?  

Deeply principled?  Maybe, if hypocrisy is the new measure of principle.  Stating over 20 times that he didn't have the authority to use executive privilege to extend amnesty to illegals and then doing it doesn't strike me as deeply principled.  

GregH's picture

KD Merrill wrote:

 

GregH wrote:

 

But in general, he seems to be a committed family man, a man committed to helping the disadvantaged and a deeply principled man. 

 

 

Wow.  He is a man committed to using everyone else's money to help the disadvantaged.  He exhorts us to be our brother's keeper, yet he doesn't appear to be keen about helping his brother still mired in Kenya.   Why and how is it that Jesus' personal appeal to the Jews to minister aid to the poor can be interpreted as His directive for the government to do it for us in this dispensation on our behalf using our money?   I'm reminded of the three basic questions to Biblical interpretation...Who said it?  To whom was it said?  What were the circumstances?  

Deeply principled?  Maybe, if hypocrisy is the new measure of principle.  Stating over 20 times that he didn't have the authority to use executive privilege to extend amnesty to illegals and then doing it doesn't strike me as deeply principled.  

Ah yes, it 2015, it is impossible to believe that anyone could disagree with us on political matters and still be principled. Or honest. Or intelligent. 

Greg Long's picture

Once again, Greg, someone gives a specific reason for their views on Obama but instead of addressing their point you go back to basically the "Obama-bashing" routine.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

GregH's picture

No, that is not what he did. What he did is make the claim that because Obama has a different view of welfare than he does, he can't possibly be deeply principled.

Seriously Greg Long? You don't get my point? If you want to disagree with Obama, be my guest but that does not mean he is not deeply principled. That is, in a word, just absurd. Is there anyone among you on the far right who actually has the maturity to admit that good men can disagree on political matters like welfare and Obama really might be a good man in spite of Obamacare, etc? A few decades ago, people could deal with that kind of complexity. What has changed?

Greg Long's picture

Would you care to address the actual point he made about Obama saying 20 times (or however many it was) that Presidents should use the legislative process rather than just use executive action to create law vs. when he did just that with amnesty? Would you call that an act of abiding by one's word?

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Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

Greg Long's picture

So, just to be clear, you are in fact arguing that Obama is a good and deeply principled man? I just want to make sure I understand your position.

-------
Greg Long, Ed.D. (SBTS)

Pastor of Adult Ministries
Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Divinity
Liberty University

GregH's picture

Greg Long wrote:

Would you care to address the actual point he made about Obama saying 20 times (or however many it was) that Presidents should use the legislative process rather than just use executive action to create law vs. when he did just that with amnesty? Would you call that an act of abiding by one's word?

No I would not. It is not my point. I don't know what really went on there and all the nuance and legality involved. I suspect you don't either.

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