Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Obama Isn’t a Real Christian, Cont’d

Rick Santorum apparently wasn’t the first to say Obama wasn’t a real Christian. Conservative columnist Cal Thomas said that because Obama, in an interview with Chicago Sun-Times columnist Cathleen Falsani, left open the possibility that someone might go to heaven without believing in Christ as savior:

Obama can call himself anything he likes, but there is a clear requirement for one to qualify as a Christian and Obama doesn’t meet that requirement. One cannot deny central tenets of the Christian faith, including the deity and uniqueness of Christ as the sole mediator between God and Man and be a Christian. Such people do have a label applied to them in Scripture. They are called “false prophets.” [Hat tip: Mark Silk]


First of all, Obama does not “deny” the deity of Christ. What he does question is whether Christ is the sole mediator between God and Man. He was asked that question by Franklin Graham during a meeting with Christian leaders and he said, “Jesus is the only way for me. I’m not in a position to judge other people,” Obama responded,” according to a witness.
Putting aside for a moment whether that is really a requirement for being a Christian (a hot topic), I’m struck by how close Obama’s answer is to that given by George W. Bush gave in his 2000 interview with Beliefnet. “I think that we’re all God’s children, and far be it from me, as a lowly sinner, trying to decide who gets to go to heaven and who doesn’t,” he said. Later, he got into considerable trouble with evangelicals by saying that Christians and Muslims prayed to the same God and that “We have different routes of getting to the Almighty.”
So, if the new standard is that politicians can only call themselves Christian if they believe that Christ is the only path to God and salvation, what should we start callling George Bush?
I used to advocate politicians talking openly about their faith. Perhaps I was naive in that view. When conservatives talk about the faith-basis for their beliefs, they’re accused of shoving their religion down voters’ throats. Now, when Democrats talk about their faith, they’re accused of having false faith or “confused theology.”

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posted August 7, 2008 at 9:57 am

‘When conservatives talk about the faith-basis for their beliefs, they’re accused of shoving their religion down voters’ throats. Now, when Democrats talk about their faith, they’re accused of having false faith or “confused theology.”‘
Take note in the differences in how many religious conservatives (primarily Republicans) speak about faith and how many religious moderates/liberals (primarily Democrats) speak about faith. With these conservatives the talk is how their faith should be expressed in the behavior of others. Abortion should be illegal. Homosexuals should not be allowed to marry. Government should not support family planning programs. Why? Because their interpretation of the Bible leads them to believe that God opposes such things. Moderates/liberals hearing this, and noting that there is little said about improving the overall human condition, find the authoritative nature of such proposals offensive.
With the moderate/liberal, more often than not, the discussion on faith focuses on how that person has been changed by their religious faith. They speak of how their faith in X allows them to have a better view towards their fellow human, and that motivates them to try to improve the overall human situation. Conservatives hear this and, since it lacks any statement of moral prohibition on the issues they feel are most important, call it incomplete or deficient.
Yes, there are clearly exceptions to these, which is why I used the term many and more often than not.
Steve, you may well have been naive in wanting a greater level of discussion of religious faith in our political campaigns. I would hope that our candidates would return to focusing on how to present their approaches to resolving the problems we face as a nation rather than how they think God, Buddha, or what/whoever views these issues.

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Brian Horan

posted August 7, 2008 at 10:30 am

Because of George W. Bush, what do you think moderates and secular folks think of Evangelical Christianity? Republicans are giving Christianity the worst kind of PR imaginable.

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recovering ex-Pentecostal

posted August 7, 2008 at 11:16 am

“Putting aside for a moment whether that is really a requirement for being a Christian”
We, or rather, YOU Steve, are NOT the Judge or what is or is not a “real Christian”.
The point is, it isn’t supposed to matter in America whether or not a political candidate is a Christian, or a Buddhist, or a Muslim or a Jew, or an atheist or a Unitarian. There aren’t supposed to be any religious tests to hold public office in America.
For the love of mercy, please STOP all this nonsense.
Or, if you can’t even do that, please at least give equal emphasis as to whether or not John McCain is a “real Christian”. Let’s focus on his family (values) for a change, eh?
P.S. Glad to have helped boost your combox count to three!

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posted August 7, 2008 at 3:22 pm

Steve, I appreciate your post. For the past 10 years or longer a political figure’s “Christianity” has tended to be defined in terms of alleigiance to the Republican party, the label then rationalized on the basis of what a candidate does or doesn’t say about Jesus.

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posted August 9, 2008 at 11:49 am

Who has the right to judge anyone’s qualifications on how high up on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the Best Christian)a person is? No one. As mentioned in a previous post, this country isn’s supposed to be testing a candidate on their “religious” qualifications for the job of president or senator or representative or public office. This country seems to have forgotten that. Personally, I don’t care what “house of worship” they might attend…or if they are indeed an atheist. That has nothing to do with their ability to run for or be in an elected office.

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posted November 6, 2008 at 11:29 am

Christians are instructed to judge our own house, not that of the world. I believe that means that our leaders should speak against sin among the people who claim to be Christians. The “world”, all others, are not to be judged but loved.
There is nothing wrong with a Christian wanting to know the spiritual condition of a candidate for public office. At the same time the GOVERNMENT should make not rule or law to establish a spiritual requirement for an office. But the citizens have every right to vote or not vote for someone baised on their religious beliefs (or any other reason).
Civil government’s job is to protect people and keep order. How far does keeping order go? Does that include outlawing certain behaviors? Of course it does. Obvious Murder should be illegal. I personal fell certain behaviors that the our general culture has given tacit consent to should be outlawed; and I am free to vote that way. Others are free to vote how they choose. When Christians state publically that we want something outlawed because it is imoral (and immorality is contagious and therefore hurts does harm others in our culture), that is not judging. That exercising our rights to speech. And to support a candidate who promises to outlaw that immorality is exercising our right to vote. I suggest that those who oppose those ideas should, and do, speak and vote their beliefs. When someone votes for someone that believes that certain behaviors should not be made illegal etc, that person is in effect supporting someone who will legislate their morality (not to legislate morality).
I have observed that people tent to give the person with the political views they share a mulligan on many issues, because of one or more core issues they support. I think that is the case with both supporters of McCain and Obama (why does the spell checker think Obama is misspelled?).
I rejoice with African American’s that a African American has broken the barrier that has been broken. I just wish that it had been a conservative. An I would have voted for a conservative minority of any race. While I do understand their joy, I will not sacrifice my political beliefs and support those I have opposed, just because president elect Obama is African American. Neither will I oppose his policies because of his race. I do predict, however, that conservatives will be called racist if we continue to stand up for our political positions. I think tolerance only works one way sometimes.

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posted February 8, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Let me just pose this question. Would a Christian sit in a church for 20 years listening to “GD America”? Would a Christian support a women’s right to choose when it comes to killing babies?
Would a bunch of idiots come on here and say YOU are the idiot? Yes.

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timothy j vickers

posted December 25, 2009 at 7:11 pm

going to church doesnt make you a christian or pronouncing your beleif in jesus christ says in my house i have many vessals,vessals of honor,dishonor,rubbel,and hay he also says he uses them for his purpose and good pleasure,and he also says know one comes to the father unless the father draws him,so in reality only jesus knows who are his and who are not,so with this in mind godbless you and merrychristmas may the lord jesus christ in rich you with the wisdom,andknowledge of our lord jesus christ.

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