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Jesus Creed


How can this be?

posted by Scot McKnight

I find the claim preposterous, and so these numbers just as shocking. From Tobin Grant’s article at CT

President Obama told Christianity Today in 2008, “I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian.” According to a new Pew Forum survey, only a third of Americans believe him. This is only slightly more than the 18 percent who think he is a Muslim. Among evangelical Christians, 29 percent believe Obama is a Muslim, but only 27 percent think he is a Christian. 

Since March of last year, the percentage of Americans who think Obama is a Muslim has increased from 11 to 18 percent, while the percentage who think he is a Christian dropped from 48 to 34 percent. 



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Steve

posted August 28, 2010 at 11:10 am


How can this be? It is a wonderful case study of the power of organized political disinformation campaigns and propaganda machines to distort the truth, play on people’s prejudices and manipulate millions to believe a lie.



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T

posted August 28, 2010 at 11:26 am


What Steve said. And we all know Dems aren’t real Christians. And no Christian would allow that mosque in NY near ground zero. And his name; I mean obviously, he’s a Muslim. A socialist Muslim, that is. We need to enjoy our freedom to be Christians at all while we can. The end is near.
Tho I’m sure none of this coming from evangelical pulpits (wink wink), but Fox News (the m-f evang. pulpit?) and the internet would be enough for these numbers.



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KatR

posted August 28, 2010 at 11:39 am


Because they perceive it as a negative thing. If you asked these same people “does Obama kick kittens” you would get the same numbers, again with no proof of the assertion.



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Your NamePaul Edwards

posted August 28, 2010 at 11:39 am


Are you asking, how can it be that increasing numbers of Americans are skeptical about the President’s profession to be a Christian or are you asking how can it be that the President claims to be a Christian, especially a “devout Christian”?



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Pat

posted August 28, 2010 at 11:39 am


Pathetic….For evangelicals, I think they often fall into the trap of judging people’s Christianity by whether or not it lines up with their preconceived notion of what Christianity “should” look like. If you fall outside of those lines, you can’t possibly be a Christian. Last time I looked, God was the final arbiter of our faith.



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Ron Newberry

posted August 28, 2010 at 11:46 am


Amen, to Pat.



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Tim Gombis

posted August 28, 2010 at 11:50 am


There are so many things that I want to say about this. But it just makes me so sad.



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Chris Miller

posted August 28, 2010 at 11:51 am


I don’t quite understand what claim you mean?



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Michael W. Kruse

posted August 28, 2010 at 11:54 am


I think some people view Muslims as similar to Jewish … as much an ethnic identity as religious. Even though a Jew may be non-practicing or have adopted a different religion, he is still Jewish. “Hussein” indicates to them something of his “Muslim “ethnic identity.”
I know this sounds crazy to us who deal with religious matters regularly but after having had conversations with Associated Press reporters about Presbyterian events, I am continually stunned by the religious illiteracy of the press.



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AHH

posted August 28, 2010 at 11:59 am


I was thinking of mentioning this poll last week when a guy complained about your link to the spoof Tea-Party shirts — the sort of ignorance and irrational hostility spoofed in the shirts is not as small a fringe as we might wish.
I think this reflects one of many ways in which Obama is cast and perceived as the “other”, with the accompanying fear and hostility. Left as an exercise for the reader is reflection on how this sort of “other” labeling and aversion lines up (or doesn’t) with the principles of the Kingdom of God.



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RMahoney

posted August 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm


yes, Scot, what claim do you find “preposterous?” I hope it is the claim that Obama is a Muslim, not his claim that he is a devout Christian. Please make this explicit if it is the case.



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Kevin S.

posted August 28, 2010 at 12:04 pm


Kat R. has it right. There is a certain percentage of Americans who will answer questions about a politician in the worst way possible if they disagree with his or her policies.
For Obama, that means saying he’s a Muslim from Kenya. For Bush, it meant that he conspired to take down the twin towers. With Clinton, it was that he sexually assaulted women.
As to what he actually does believe, it is true that he stated he was a Christian while running for office. However, after the Rick Warren Q & A and the Jeremiah Wright debacle, he had to distance himself politically from his faith.
Since that time, we have seen very few expressions of his Christianity. While those who followed his candidacy closely might know he is a professed Christian, many would sincerely have no idea. Others are dissuaded by his abortion stance.
It is not clear to me at this juncture that he is a believing Christian. He has said in the past that he stopped regularly engaging the bible years ago, and that he doesn’t really believe parts of the bible.
During the Wright brou-ha-ha, many pundits noted that attending that particular church is obligatory for black power players in Chicago. That would explain his lack of preparedness on that issue.
Personally, I have not met anyone who thinks Obama is a Muslim. I know a couple who think he was born in Kenya, and plenty who don’t think he’s actually a Christian.



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Travis Mamone

posted August 28, 2010 at 12:10 pm


There’s a simple explanation for this: people are stupid.



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Linda

posted August 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm


Did not the Lord Jesus Christ himself say, “you will know them by their fruit”?



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Allan R. Bevere

posted August 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm


Michael’s comment #9 is important. My experience with the media as well is that that are incredibly ignorant when it comes to religion, and they are simply unable to nuance how they report on religious issues.
I also think it is important to emphasize the intertwined connection many people embrace between a religion and national and/or ethnic identity. How many Christians identify Christianity with America, although Christianity started almost two millennia before America was founded. In the same way, Islam is associated with many Arab nations as well as lineage.
So, while bigotry explains, in part, some of this nonsense, it is more complicated.
And Kevin S. is also right. It is much easier to believe nonsense about a politician whose politics one does not like. A month ago I was watching CNN, and they reported on a recent survey where a high percentage of self-proclaimed progressives still believe that GW Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks prior to its happening.
If I may quote Qui Gon in Star Wars #1, “Your focus determines your reality.”
Whether President Obama is a devout Christian or not, I do not know, and no one commenting on this blog knows. He will give an accounting to God as will the rest of us. But if he says he is a Christian, I accept that is the religion he identifies with. I think everyone else should as well.



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Pastor Matt

posted August 28, 2010 at 12:44 pm


I posted something on this a while back. I find it strange that the White House is shocked that more people don’t know that the President claims to be a Christian when his own press secretary stated that he (Obama) “doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve.”



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Scot McKnight

posted August 28, 2010 at 12:56 pm


The claim is that Obama is a Muslim; I highlighted what I found preposterous.
Kevin S., it is inaccurate to say Obama distanced himself from his “faith.” He distanced himself, and he said this clearly, from his pastor and that church.



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RD

posted August 28, 2010 at 1:18 pm


Remember, too, that 1 in 5 americans can’t located the United States on a map and the same percentage believes that the sun revolves around the earth.



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DRT

posted August 28, 2010 at 1:56 pm


Isn’t it part of the evangelical tradition to question the faith of others? The bible study teacher told me I was someone of little faith and he felt justified in doing that. What he meant was that I did not believe the preposterous literal things that he did, hence, I had little faith.



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AHH

posted August 28, 2010 at 2:00 pm


Does anybody know what the percentage of Americans is who think Bush was complicit in 9/11? As Kevin S. #12 points out, such nonsense to reinforce pre-existing political hostility is not limited to the “right”.
Yet it seems to me like the nutty anti-Obama stuff (Muslim and “birther”) has a much larger following that the similarly nutty anti-Bush 9/11 stuff. But maybe that reflects the mostly conservative church circles where I tend to find myself. Of course one would hope that followers of Jesus would do better than secular partisans at avoiding bearing false witness.



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Pastor Matt

posted August 28, 2010 at 2:16 pm


Scot,
Only 1/2 of Americans are registered to vote and a small percentage of them actively follow the news. Not a slam, people are busy and it is easy to lapse into “they’re all crooks anyway.”
If President Obama doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve and an anonymous pollster calls and asks the average person (registered voter?)about the faith of the president, do you really expect people to assume he’s not a muslim? I worked in politics for 5 years and I’m really not that shocked.



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Allan R. Bevere

posted August 28, 2010 at 3:33 pm


AHH #20, As one who has spent many years in Mainline Protestantism, I can tell you that there are just as many “loons” on the left as there are “wackos” on the right.
Sorry for the name-calling… just working off the “nutty” theme here.



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DRT

posted August 28, 2010 at 3:45 pm


…after the theme of the nutty, that is why we are supposed to have a republic. But this is what happens when those that are supposed to know better use their position for power anyway…



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DRT

posted August 28, 2010 at 4:05 pm


Let me give me serious theory on this.
When I look at the belief systems of the evangelicals, and in particular the fundamentalist and literal interpretation segments of the population I see a belief system set up to promote this type of behavior. Here is why.
Many, if not most of these people are asked to believe things that make no rational sense. Yes I know all faiths are asked to go beyond our everyday experience and “believe” in things that are inherently supernatural, but the fundamentalist and southern baptists take this to a whole new level.
Most people tend to see in others things that they see in themselves. Honest people tend to see others as honest. Violent people tend to see others as violent. People who attest to believe things that they really don’t believe tend to think that of others. Many many of these fundamentalist and southern baptists believe that they are not supposed to think about their faith. The badge of merit for them is that they have faith, which to them means that they should believe what they have been taught regardless of the actual logic or sense that it makes.
This plays out in many ways and goes well beyond any personal cognitive dissonance. They feel that it is the correct way to be, and therefore assume that others will do it to. Obama has muslim roots on his father’s side (and the fundamentalists and southern conservatives are definitely male dominated) so he must believe that.
Now remember, the whole reason people who think this way, think this way is because they are told that they need to think this way to go to heaven. It is not about the works they do, or the way that they treat others that is important, it is what the “believe”. Therefore the last thing they can imagine letting into their mind is something that might give them some sort of doubt. Because, what if they were to die suddenly while “not believing”. They would be cast into eternal conscious torment.
So I really see the traditional conservative theology and litmus test of “believing” in order to get to heaven as being the culprit. From the everyday person point of view it would be the rational thing to think. Remember, they don’t actually know if they believe what they believe because to test their beliefs would mean that they would have to temporarily suspend their beliefs and thereby risk eternal damnation.
If they believe irrational and unquestioned dogma, wouldn’t Obama?



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Scot McKnight

posted August 28, 2010 at 4:19 pm


DRT, your meandering is too much mud slinging and generalization for me.
1. Good thinking fundamentalists are noted by rationalism, and most would contend that fundamentalism, modernity, and rationalism are connected.
2. Belief in supernatural can’t be equated, without doing damage to those involved, with the irrational.
3. Please don’t equate southern baptists with fundamentalism; there are fundamentalists in all sorts of denominations.
4. You get to the heart of it in your 4th par: it’s about violent people, not about beliefs. Violent people, witness the terrorist Muslim, take good teachings and distort them; it’s not the teachings but the violence in people that needs healing.
5. I see your next to last paragraph to be a good distortion of reality in the direction of what you believe. People who believe in order to get to heaven are found in both Islam and Christianity, and most of them entirely good people.



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YourName

posted August 28, 2010 at 4:26 pm


No one has yet mentioned the profit to be made by telling lies about the President. If you’re making money off abuses in the system, the last you want is a President strong enough to stop your sinning. Your best alternative is to tear him down.
So Christians are manipulated in the guise of ‘conservatism’ to do the bidding of Wall Street, or the Health Insurance industry, or Big Oil.
Mammon, baby. Kneel to it. It’s the root of all evil but it feels so good.



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Kevin S.

posted August 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm


@Scot,
I meant that he distanced himself in the political sense. He went from wearing his faith on his sleeve to scarcely mentioning God at all. As such, by the time most voters were really considering his candidacy, he was not discussing his Christian faith at all.
@DRT,
Your theory falls apart insofar as fundamentalists do not consciously regard their faith as intellectually untenable. That assessment is reserved for other religions (such as Islam). If anything, they would associate with Obama with irrational religious beliefs simply because they regard him as irrational. Moreso, I think it owes to the factors cited by Michael and I.



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Jeff Doles

posted August 28, 2010 at 5:08 pm


On what basis should the general public know that Obama is not a Muslim but professes to be a Christian. I know that about two years team Obama asserted that he is a Christian, and there were some interviews about his faith as a Christian. But two years in public political awareness or memory is a very, very long time. IOW, whatever he said two years ago about being a Christian has been largely forgotten by the public. What is interesting is that the number of people who think he is a Muslim has *increased* since two years ago.
So, how, in the last two years, has Obama demonstrated his faith in such a way that people would or should remember he is a Christian? Have his words and actions in the last two years shown more affinity with the Christian faith, or with the Muslim faith, or with no particular faith?
I do not believe that Obama is a Muslim, but I do not know if he is a Christian. What is his confession about Jesus? In an extensive interview he gave back in 2004 when he was running for the Senate, he speaks about Jesus as a great teacher of great ideals. In that interview, he really did not say anything about Jesus that a Muslim could not say. What I would like to know, but have not been able to discover, is whether he confesses that Jesus is Lord and that God has raised Him from the dead, the basic confession of the Christian faith.



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Danny

posted August 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm


One of the reasons some might wonder about the President’s faith is the Stephanopoulos interview when Obama misspoke in reference to his “Muslim faith” and Stephanopoulos quickly corrected him. I have been a follower of Christ since 1982 and have never made a misstatement even close to that. By the way, before I get flamed, I do not believe Obama is a practicing Muslim. Too hard to explain attending Rev. Wright’s church for 20 years if he were.



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Pastor Matt

posted August 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm

JamesG.

posted August 28, 2010 at 5:31 pm


I don’t believe he is a Muslim, I believe his actions actually betray he is what he says he is, a liberal Christian befitting his church background in Chicago. The poll shows people are probably being swayed more by ideology than observation, though.
I think the more alarming trend is that this basically shows an ever growing distrust of the president, to the point that even when speaking of what should be his most important core values, many simply don’t take his word to mean diddly. That’s not good for him, and truthfully, it isn’t good for any of us, regardless of political or religious leanings.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted August 28, 2010 at 5:39 pm


AHH #20
According to Rasmussen in 2007, 22% of Americans believe Bush know about the 9/11 attack in advance.
See: 22% Believe Bush Knew About 9/11 Attacks in Advance http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/bush_administration/22_believe_bush_knew_about_9_11_attacks_in_advance
Also, check out “Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action.”
http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Faith-Truth-Behind-9-11-Call-Reflection-Action/dp/0664231179/
It was published by the PCUSA Presbyterian Publishing Corporation under the Westminster John Knox label. It makes the case that Bush operatives had secretly planted explosives in the WTC buildings prior to the attack. The hijackers were CIA operatives on a “false flag” operation. Giving the appearance that it was done by Middle East terrorist would create an excuse for Middle East war. Please note that of the 64 Amazon reviews, 41 give the book 5 stars.
The religion misdirect with Obama is not evidence conservatives are loony than the rest but rather of the tendency to demonize those we differ with across the political spectrum. This is the world Allan and I live in and it gets wearisome to here the nonsense that this behavior is peculiar to conservative.



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DRT

posted August 28, 2010 at 5:51 pm


Scot, thanks for the thoughtful reply to my poor argument.
kevin, yes, I agree, as Scot also pointed out the fundamentalist – modern – rational connection is not something that is on my radar since to me it is much like having someone say that the sky is blue, and that the bible says it is a sea therefore it is water. Rational and biblical yet (seemingly) purposeful in neglecting certain well known facts.



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EricG

posted August 28, 2010 at 6:36 pm


I don’t buy the “people call him a Muslim just because they don’t like him” theory. Conservatives don’t like a lot of people that they don’t call Muslim. The rumor is coming from somewhere, and you don’t have to look further than the innuendo from Rush Limbaugh, who has many millions of listeners, and has referred to him as “Imam Obama” (along with other innuendo on other ocassions), and others like Limbaugh. I don’t think this is an evangelical thing, except to the extent more evangelicals tend to listen to Limbaugh et al. more than others. I bet, for example, that if you included a control variable for those who listened to Limbaugh the evangelical effect would go away.
I also don’t buy that the lack of knowledge of Obama’s faith is caused by the fact that it wasn’t a big news issue in the campaign, because that is simply wrong: It was frequently in the news. E.g., that crazy lady who McCain cut off at a rally when she started saying Obama was a muslim, which got a lot of media attention. It came up a lot, and the misinformation was corrected many times.
Danny — that Stephanopoulos interview doesn’t even come close to supporting what folks (including Limbaugh) have been saying, if you listen to the whole thing. He was essentially saying “McCain hasn’t attacked me as a Muslim.” Obama obviously wasn’t saying he is a Muslim.
Also, for those above asking about Obama’s profession of Chrisitan faith, look up his interview with Jim Wallis.



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Danny

posted August 28, 2010 at 7:01 pm


Eric @33, I don’t even know what Limbaugh has been saying. You are more up on what he is saying than I. I have work to do when he is on the radio and don’t listen to him that much. My point is that in the youtube clip and the bit I saw on tv some time ago he made reference to “my Muslim faith” and Stephanopoulos jumped in and said “your Christian faith”, to which Obama said “right” or “yeah”. I might be wrong, but is Limbaugh’s beef with Obama really about his religious beliefs? Isn’t it more with how he and the Democrat party has been governing? I’m just asking not trying to attack your guy.



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Jeff Doles

posted August 28, 2010 at 7:05 pm


EricG, I do cannot find that interview. What does Obama say in it? Does he confess Jesus is Lord?



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EricG

posted August 28, 2010 at 7:42 pm


Danny — I wouldn’t call myself a strong Obama supporter; I just don’t like the misinformation (although I would admittedly call myself anti-Limbaugh). I’m not sure which parts youtube showed, but in context he was not saying he was Muslim. I agree 100% that Limbaugh is interested in the politics, not religion, but on the other hand he is very willing to use religion to serve his political agenda in undermining Obama.
Jeff — here is what Obama said: “You need to embrace Christ precisely because you have sins to wash away – because you are human and need an ally in this difficult journey. It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn’t fall out in church. The questions I had didn’t magically disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt that I heard God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.” http://www.barackobama.com/2006/06/28/call_to_renewal_keynote_address.php (also, I was wrong, it was a speech, not an interview)
I think he has said other things as well, but I haven’t tried to track them down; this is just one I remembered reading.



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Michael W. Kruse

posted August 28, 2010 at 8:15 pm


AHH #20
According to Rasmussen in 2007, 22% of Americans believe Bush know about the 9/11 attack in advance. (Search on the headline “22% Believe Bush Knew About 9/11 Attacks in Advance” at Rasmussenreports.com)
Also, check out “Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action”. It was published by the PCUSA Presbyterian Publishing Corporation under the Westminster John Knox label. It makes the case that Bush operatives had secretly planted explosives in the WTC buildings prior to the attack. The hijackers were CIA operatives on a “false flag” operation. Giving the appearance that it was done by Middle East terrorist would create an excuse for Middle East war. Please note that of the 64 Amazon reviews, 41 give the book 5 stars.
The religion misdirect with Obama is not evidence conservatives are loony than the rest but rather of the tendency to demonize those we differ with across the political spectrum. This is the world Allan and I live in and it gets wearisome to here the nonsense that this behavior is peculiar to conservative.



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Danny

posted August 28, 2010 at 8:22 pm


EricG @37, yeah, I get your point about Limbaugh. There are talking-heads on the tube that I can’t stand either. I usually don’t even listen to them. As a matter of fact, of all the Christian friends I have, I can only think of one or two who listen to Limbaugh. Everybody I know who has a job is working when he’s on the radio. Even when I was in seminary I did not know that many who were regular listeners (but that was awhile ago). Maybe I haven’t been paying attention. You are right though, about some who are very willing to use religion to their own ends. It even happens at some blogs. Honest assessment of another, even our opponents, should be a no-brainer but sometimes our old nature muscles its way in.
Anyhow, this is a link to the youtube clip I was referencing earlier: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKGdkqfBICw



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Barb

posted August 28, 2010 at 8:48 pm


Why should the President of the USA have to get his statement of faith cleared by anybody? No, I don’t believe that Obama is Muslim. If he says he is a Christian who am I to say he is not. I can’t know FOR SURE about the faith of ANY president–can you? I have a hard time remembering what churches they attended. I do remember that JFK was Catholic. Why is this so important? I’m sure to some of you I’d be judged as too liberal politically–but unless you really know me you better not judge whether or not I’m a Christian.



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Ozarks Boy

posted August 28, 2010 at 10:27 pm


Is a true Christian one who trusts and loves Jesus Christ, loves others thoroughly and accepts the worthiness of their lives, refrains from judging others in any way and believes all other people’s expressions of faith are as valid as one’s own?



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Kevin S.

posted August 28, 2010 at 10:37 pm


@Eric
The poll asks specifically whether people believe he is a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist etc… But yes, the rumor started somewhere. The “slur” wasn’t drawn out of a hat.
The fact that more people answered that Obama is a Muslim than they did back when the whisper campaign was in full force would seem to indicate frustration with Obama generally. I can’t think of any other reason why people would suddenly come around to the idea so long after the fact. Independents are almost twice as likely to say he is a Muslim than they were a year ago.
Independents do not typically listen to Rush Limbaugh and friends. Conservatives who listen to him do so far more casually then the left pretends.



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Tim

posted August 28, 2010 at 11:32 pm


Well, this one’s easy. People are social creatures first and foremost, and they think socially – and not always rationally.
In the example brought up in this post, I would note that certain communities have negative attitudes toward Muslims, see Muslims as waging a war against Christianity, and happen to see Obama as waging a war against Christianity by undermining family values (I don’t view him this way, however – I see him as promoting tolerance and egalitarianism). So the idea that Obama can be lumped together with the Muslims – as, in fact, a Muslim himself is hardly surprising.



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Dan

posted August 29, 2010 at 12:13 am


I do not say Obama is a Muslim. But I will list a few of the reasons why some do.
1. His father was a Muslim as was his grandfather. (New York Times)
2. Some documents apparently show that as a schoolboy in Indonesia he attended a Catholic school and the entrance records list his faith at the time as Muslim. Evidence was apparently an AP photo of the registration records.
3. My understanding is that the faith of the child is associated with that of the father in the Muslim tradition, at least that is the explanation from no less than Franklin Graham, who does not believe Obama is in fact a Muslim.
4. His policies have tended to benefit the interests of Muslims at least a little bit more than past administrations and have been less friendly toward Israel.
5. NY Times writer Nichola Kristof wrote “Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate [Arabic] accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated?Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as ‘one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.’”
6. If Obama has in fact renounced his (Muslim) faith, then it seems odd to many that the worldwide Muslim community has not denounced him as an infidel at least or threatened his life at worst (radical “fundamentalist” Muslims do go to that extreme, no?)
Which is not to say all of these reasons are legitimate or conclusive if they are legit, only that those who ask the question are not simply engaged in a mindless demonizing of “the other”, or taking a partisan shot, but rather have reached a conclusion based on at least a few bits and pieces of evidence.
Perhaps a point by point rebuttal of the rationale above would be more helpful than bland charges of bigotry and simple-minded political nonsense on the part of those nutty right wingers.



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EricG

posted August 29, 2010 at 12:24 am


Kevin S –
Note that a majority in the poll (60%) who said Obama is a Muslim said they got their (mis)information from the media — presumably the conservative media, no? Do you really think that Limbaugh doesn’t influence a lot of conservatives? Granted, there are quite a few conservatives who think Limbaugh is crazy, but he does influence many others. And his anti-Obama, Muslim innuendo has been in gear recently, so I think he has had an effect on the increase in the polling numbers, along with the conservative frustration you mention. Either way, some parts of the conservative media are acting irresponsibly. (And, yes, on other topics I’d also be quick to point out that the liberal media is often irresponsible too).



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EricG

posted August 29, 2010 at 12:38 am


Dan — Take someone brought up Catholic who has professesed to be protestant for years, and has been involved in protestant churches. Do you question their protestantism based on their upbringining? How is that different from your 1-3, and 5? As for 4, I can’t see how a “slight” difference in policy, which is consistent with the views of at least a plurality of Americans, could suggest he is Muslim. As for #6, you base whether he is Muslim on whether Muslim fundies threaten him? (I also question your source on that; it was my understanding that he has been threatened). I can’t even begin to see how this is reasonable thinking on the part of folks who say he is Muslim, and I think it should be called our for what it is.



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EricG

posted August 29, 2010 at 1:24 am


And Dan, my analogy understates the problem with the points you list since Obama never practiced Islam.



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Allan R. Bevere

posted August 29, 2010 at 7:58 am


Michael Kruse writes, “This is the world Allan and I live in and it gets wearisome to here the nonsense that this behavior is peculiar to conservatives.”
Preach on, Brother!



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Dan

posted August 29, 2010 at 8:31 am


EricG. Valid points. Personally, I would label Obama a Christian, though from a very different theological perspective than my own. I would think he truly believes in the kind of liberation theology Jeremiah Wright preached, based on 20 years in Jeremiah Wright’s church. But I’m less concerned with his personal beliefs than his public policies.
For Obama to be a Muslim, his 20 year involvement with Wright’s church would have had to have been 20 years of deceit and show. But I think many who think he is Muslim are fully aware of those 20 years in Wright’s church. They just distrust him that much.



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Dan

posted August 29, 2010 at 8:32 am


EricG. Valid points. Personally, I would label Obama a Christian, though from a very different theological perspective than my own. I would think he truly believes in the kind of liberation theology Jeremiah Wright preached, based on 20 years in Jeremiah Wright’s church. But I’m less concerned with his personal beliefs than his public policies.
For Obama to be a Muslim, his 20 year involvement with Wright’s church would have had to have been 20 years of deceit and show. But I think many who think he is Muslim are fully aware of those 20 years in Wright’s church. They just distrust him that much.



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Jeremy

posted August 29, 2010 at 9:07 am


It seems to me to be the reasonable extension of the religious stream of thought that one can only be friendly and tolerant towards the religion to which one belongs. I know a few of the Obama-is-a-muslim, and they’re all the sort that think being friendly towards Islamic nations and accepting of muslims is a betrayal of their Christian faith. It seems to be a completely logical extension of that idea, when you consider that most of us reflect our deeply held beliefs on others at some point.
Obama’s desire to rebuild bridges with the Islamic world and stand up for their right to practice in the US is viewed, as a minimum, of abandonment of his own stated faith, and also as evidence that he actually is a muslim in disguise.



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Naum

posted August 29, 2010 at 12:24 pm


False equivalencies trotted out once again?
1. Questions about government involvement with 9/11 attacks and 9/11 truth movement in general come from all sides of the political aisle ?? Michael has noted David Ray Griffin books (which while I certainly do not agree with the ludicrous conclusions, certainly ask many worthy questions never answered or just “hand waved” away, and contain fact and historical record), but many of the key proponents are just as much from the right ? from the crazy far right talkers like Alex Jones to ex-Reagan officials like Paul Craig Roberts. While I am no proponent of the idea that the government was behind 9/11, our government certainly has engaged in some nefarious acts that would disconcert any decent American ? Gulf of Tonkin, ghastly medical experiments, records of plans for other “false flag” operations (Operation Northwoods, according to former PM Tony Blair, proposal to disguise American planes to provoke war, etc.?)
2. There are “loons on the left” but again, they are marginalized and occupy almost no role whatsoever in political leadership or media prominence in Democratic party. In stark contrast to conservatives and Republicans where key party leaders and media voices eagerly fan the flames of the silliness referenced in the post. Will not take up space here, but can produce a list of Republican Senators, Congressmen, cable news/radio talkers with multi-million audiences who’ve served up this kind of fare on a consistent basis. While the behavior is not “peculiar to conservatives” there almost certainly is a difference in that such voices are shunned by one party’s leaders, while perched in a prominent presence for the other party.



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Pat

posted August 29, 2010 at 1:02 pm


“If President Obama doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve and an anonymous pollster calls and asks the average person (registered voter?)about the faith of the president, do you really expect people to assume he’s not a muslim?”
@Pastor Matt #21: I think this shows the bias in this country against Muslims. Why assume that because he doesn’t wear his faith on his sleeve he must be a Muslim? People could just as easily say he’s not a Christian or he’s an Agnostic and leave it at that. Instead they assume he’s a Muslim. I know that assumption is made easier by the fact that his father was an African Muslim and he has a Muslim-sounding name, but it’s as if people WANT to hate him so they pick on the thing that is most distasteful to them and accuse him of it.
I don’t wear my faith on my sleeve either, but I’ve had people who I rub shoulders with every day acknowledge my deep faith. One doesn’t have to wear their faith on their sleeve to be identified as a Christian. In fact, I think if one feels they have to do that, their confidence is not in the right things. Bottom line, the people hurling these accusations do not have close association with President Obama so they can’t really know what his faith is.



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Timothy

posted August 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm


Some people believe unlikely things such as “Obama is a Muslim.” I believe the “unlikely by worldly standards” idea that “loving God, others and self” can transform the world.



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Kevin S.

posted August 29, 2010 at 2:18 pm


“Note that a majority in the poll (60%) who said Obama is a Muslim said they got their (mis)information from the media — presumably the conservative media, no?”
Not necessarily, and almost certainly not in the case of independents. I don’t think this particular statistic clarifies anything. Most people get their information from the media, so it is a sort of default answer, especially since the question was open-ended.
@Naum
re: #1 It is inaccurate to say that 9/11 truthers generally come from both sides of the aisle. Per the poll Michael cited, 35% of Democrats believed he knew about the attacks in advance, and 39% do not. This squares with other poll results, suggesting about 1/3rd of Democrats believe this.
re: #2 Democrats tend to dominate online advocacy. Blogs such as Dailykos, Democratic Underground and Crooks & Liars are among the most visited on the internet, with millions of readers. They are certainly well to the left of the mainstream in their viewpoint, and certainly espouse some loony ideas.
My guess is that they seem less “out there” to you because you agree with a lot of what they have to say. But they are just as alienated from the political center as the Glenn Beck’s of the world, and even more shrill.



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YourName

posted August 29, 2010 at 2:36 pm


There is a difference between “Obama is a Muslim” and “Bush knew about, or caused, the 9/11 attacks.”
With the first, we have facts and personal statements to prove it’s not true. As far as I know, there are no facts to prove or disprove the second.
I’ve heard Obama say he’s not a Muslim. I’ve never heard Bush say he didn’t know about the attacks in advance.
For what it’s worth.



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Allan R. Bevere

posted August 29, 2010 at 6:43 pm


Your Name #56,
There is no way to argue with your illogic. Your focus determines your reality, no matter how surreal it is.



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T

posted August 30, 2010 at 12:26 am


You know, I don’t think the weirdest theories I’ve ever heard for interpreting scripture or the historical Jesus match the wacky conspiracy theories and the passion with which they’re held regarding present-day US presidents, which is saying something. “Secret Muslim follows the treasonous president who knew about 9-11 beforehand.” It’s like politics can’t cohabit the same mental space with any sort of reasonableness. Or maybe strong political zeal somehow kills more brain cells than alcohol. I don’t know. Wild stuff.



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ben

posted August 30, 2010 at 10:07 am


@YourName -
There is no evidence to suggest that he knew about it beforehand, therefore believing that he did is foolish. Even if it were to come out that he did know about it beforehand, at the current time it is wrong to believe such a thing because no evidence exists to suggest it to be true.



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DRT

posted August 30, 2010 at 11:29 am


As I was standing in line at the supermarket there were two “papers” that had the headline Obama is a Muslim.
I would say the media (not mainstream) is promoting that idea. The subliminal messaging is powerful.



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Kevin S.

posted August 30, 2010 at 12:04 pm


“Or maybe strong political zeal somehow kills more brain cells than alcohol.”
Having worked in politics, I can tell you the two go hand-in-hand.
I think zeal is fine. The problem is zeal in absence of knowledge. Too many people on both sides of the aisle have no concept of the underlying principles of the opposing ideology, from which we can assert (in a two-party system) that they have no understanding of the principles of their own ideology.



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