Beliefnet
Pontifications

Pew--Obama and Islam grafic.gifThat’s the positive spin one could put on a new survey from the Pew Forum which shows that 11 percent of Americans still believe Obama (who is a professed and profesing Christian) is a Muslim. That’s almost unchanged from last fall, when the air was thick with false reports of Obama’s supposedly Muslim faith.

But look at it this way: More than one in 10 Americans think their Chief Exectuive is a Muslim, and they seem to be fine with that. Or at least they aren’t picketing in front of the White House. These days, that could be considered progress.

On the other hand…Nearly 1 in 5 white evangelical Protestants and Republicans (they aren’t always the same thing, despite what you hear) think Obama is a Muslim, and fewer than half in each group–38 percent of white evangelicals and 46 percent of Republicans–correctly identify Obama as a Christian.

And 7 percent of Democrats still think Obama is a Muslim, and 55 percent identify him as a Christian, which is down from 61 percent last fall–not a great display of religious perception.

I always think this myth about Obama is kind of amusing given the furor over his former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright: People were mad at Obama for listening to his Christian preacher, but also think he’s a Muslim?

One semi-sober explanation for this enduring perception is that Obama left his Chicago church after the Wright controversy, and has not yet found a church in the Washington area. When he does, he will be photographed there on Sundays and such.

Of course, Obama has had a few other things on his plate. And church-shopping is not easy in the best of times, and especially if you are the POTUS–with children. You need a place that can handle the attention and security, has programs for the kids, and fits in with your beliefs, of course.

Aides and friends are doing some scouting trips, and as religious outreach coordinator said in this story, “What has become clear is that it’s no easy task.”

Some would also assume Obama will find a historically black church.

What seems pretty clear in light of the Notre Dame uproar is that Barack Obama won’t be attending a Catholic parish anytime soon. Now that would be a story…

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