Saturday, August 21, 2010

The President's Religion -- why the fuss?

Recent polls suggest that a significant number of Americans (18%) believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim.  A near majority isn't sure.  What does that mean?  Well, it could mean that he is our first Muslim President.  But the FACTS lie elsewhere.  Barack Obama is a Christian -- by baptism and by confession and by practice. 

So, why all the confusion?  Well, have you checked your email box lately?  If you're like me, you get a barrage of emails nearly every day that pass on "information" that is contrary to facts.  Many of these emails imply, suggest, or declare that Barack Obama is a Muslim (not that there's anything wrong with that -- unless you believe as some do that being Muslim is incompatible with being an American).  In fact, some suggest that Islam and democracy are incompatible, which really undercuts the two wars launched in the middle east over the past decade in the name of DEMOCRACY.  Yes, George Bush couched the Iraqi Invasion in terms of liberty and freedom and democracy.  But if democracy and Islam are incompatible, as many on the Right seem to suggest, then we've made a major mistake in going to war (of course many of us made that point years ago, but for different reasons).

Anyway, back to the confusion.  There is confusion because there are deliberate attempts to undercut the President's leadership.  It goes back to the campaign, when opponents loved to intone his middle name, in an attempt to raise worries in the American people.  During the campaign, the Obama folks did their best to respond, but lately they've been trying to govern during trying times and haven't had time to address these LIES.  That 41% of Republicans by into these LIES is disturbing.  It raises questions about what GOP leaders are saying to their people? 

None of this, of course, is helpful to resolving the problems facing the American people.  It is merely a politically motivated distraction, that needs to be addressed, and so people like me and Chuck Currie must make the point in the public debate.  Chuck points out that not only is President Barack Obama is a CHRISTIAN, until recently he was a member of Trinity UCC until hullabaloo over remarks made by his pastor at the time forced him to sever ties.  As a help to those who might wonder, Chuck provides a UCC statement of faith.   

Like many Presidents of late, Obama has found it difficult to find a place of worship, and so has chosen to do so in more controlled ways -- such as at Camp David.  He does have a core of spiritual advisers whom he consults and prays with regularly.  Two of these people are the Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) --my denomination -- and the Rev. Dr. Joel Hunter, pastor of an evangelical congregation in Florida.

I'll just end the conversation here by posting a video interview with Joel Hunter and Stephen Mansfield on CNN:

9 comments:

Gary said...

It may be a lie to say that obama is a muslim, I don't know. But I do know that it is a LIE to say that he is a Christian. He clearly is not, based on his beliefs and his actions.

Baptism, church membership, and even claiming to be a Christian does not prove you actually are. Obama holds beliefs that contradict the Bible. He has said there are other ways to God other than through Christ. He endorses abortion and homosexuality. He has a warm regard for Islam and considers it to be legitimate. In doing so, he reveals his hypocrisy, not his faith.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Gary,

Yes, I know, you have reminded me more times than I care to remember that I am not a Christian and neither are those who like me don't think like you. So, since you don't think I'm a Christian, why should I be surprised that you don't think Obama is one.

Okay, you've had your say, now let others speak.

Glenn said...

Matthew 6:5 (King James Version)

"And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward."

I find it very interesting that people voted for George W Bush because they admired his willingness to pray like the pharisees and condemn Obama because he adheres to Matthew 6:5.

Gary said...

That's right Cornwall, Obama is just as much a Christian as you are. You both hold beliefs that contradict Biblical doctrine.

David Mc said...

We also hold beliefs that contradict the Koran. Deal with it. Too bad some can't follow their heart, or let others follow theirs without dealing with harassing comments.

Anonymous said...

Why the fuss? First of all, are you really implying that our President's religion is not important? Secondly, I can understand why you would defend him, since he's a member of your denomination. He does reflect on your church. Is he a Christian? Maybe he is, and maybe he isn't. Only God knows for sure. Have people ever lied about being a Christian? All the time. What would he have to gain by claiming to be a Christian? Well, if he had claimed anything else he wouldn't be President. My question for this blogger is "Can't you see the 'warning signals' that so many others do about the President's faith, based on what he says and doesn't say, does and doesn't do, his background and upbringing?" You're being true to your liberal theology, but be careful, as a Pastor the Almight Himself will hold you more accountable for what you say and teach others.

Anonymous said...

There is so much misinformation its scary. Lately Franklin Graham is being misquoted. He said that Obama was born Muslim.. which is in fact true, his father was Muslin, in the Muslim faith you are born into it (see Jews as an example). And of course they stop there to fan the flames. He also went on to say that Obama has rejected the Muslim faith and became a Christian and Graham essentially says "I have to take his word that he is a Christian". To me.. that pretty much sums it up. Now I may disagree with how he displays his faith, but I disagree with many.. but I think this whole discussion shows the simple mindedness of politics.. and I am a conservative...lol.

Chuck

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

To the anonymous writer, I need to first say that the President is a member of the United Church of Christ and not the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) -- not that I'd be opposed to having him as a member. As far as this idea that he somehow lives or acts contrary to the Christian faith, I'm not sure what this is about.

Chuck, as for Graham. I watched the interview, so I'm not misquoting him. It is really irrelevant whether Islam is passed on from the father, Obama's father was not a practicing Muslim, in fact was an atheist, and the thing about the name is quite simple. It's the same as for me. He's a "junior." He was given his father's name. He wasn't raised Muslim -- though his stepfather, like his father was a non-practicing Muslim. Up until adulthood he had no real religious upbringing. So Graham gets most of his facts wrong. All he needed to say was -- is a he a Christian? Yes, he has professed faith. Then just leave it there, rather than leave it as a sort of open question.

David Mc said...

So he's "clinging to his guns and his religion" like those he derided on the campaign trail? What goes around comes around I guess.

He may claim he's a Christian so people think he tells the truth?

He's an important public figure, otherwise I wouldn't be so easy to speculate or care.

He needs to profess his true opinions and quit being such a politician IMHO.