Americans tend to be uncomfortable with politicians cloaking themselves in religion. There are, to be sure, exceptions. When Ronald Reagan said “God Bless the United States of America,” few–with the exception of those who appreciate and recognize neither God nor the United States–felt the slightest discomfort. His commitment to American values was as obvious as his comfort with the language of faith. However, when Barack Hussein Obama attempts to wrap himself in the trappings of Christianity, few feel comfortable.On February 2, Mr. Obama appeared at the National Prayer Breakfast and claimed Divine inspiration and sanction for Dodd-Frank, Obamacare and raising taxes on the “rich.” The disconnect was glaring and immediate. Christians tend to be comfortable with the idea of doing one’s best to be on God’s side, but when one claims God is on his side—particularly in matters of earthly politics–that’s an entirely different matter. It is a fundamental distinction about which Mr. Obama seems unaware and unconcerned. He said:
And so when I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren’t discriminating against those who are already sick, or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren’t taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us, I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody. But I also do it because I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years, and I believe in God’s command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’
Mr. Obama also invoked the “Golden Rule,” and spoke of often going to his knees in prayer. He suggested that his decisions as president are motivated and guided by his faith:
I’d be remiss if I stopped there; if my values were limited to personal moments of prayer or private conversations with pastors or friends. So instead, I must try — imperfectly, but I must try — to make sure those values motivate me as one leader of this great nation.
As with every Obama speech, this was rife with political pandering and rhetoric, class warfare. demonization of opponents, was self-referential in the extreme (five references in these two sentences alone), and aimed at justifying his policies.
On January 11 a unanimous Supreme Court handed the Obama Administration a major defeat in ruling that churches had the power to hire and fire ministerial employees based on religious criteria, putting such decisions beyond the reach of secular, Progressive policy whims. In other words, the Court upheld the Constitution, a document Mr. Obama apparently sees as nothing more than an impediment to his policy preferences. One might be forgiven for thinking the timing of Mr. Obama’s NPB appearance convenient coming on the heels of that decision and in the wake of a national outcry over the most recent volley in the Obama Administration’s war on religion when Catholic Bishops announced the refusal of the church to comply with the Obama mandate that Catholic service organizations and hospitals provide insurance that includes coverage for contraception and abortion. Many Catholic leaders “engaged” Mr. Obama on this and other issues. For their naïve engagement, they won only a year to implement polices that violate the First Amendment and that are directly contrary to their faith.
Beyond the usual American wariness for some of the most insincere people alive—politicians–claiming Divine sanction for their whims, there is good reason to be uneasy with Mr. Obama’s claims to Christian faith.
Is Barack Hussein Obama a Muslim? Mr. Obama has repeatedly claimed that he is Christian by choice. Americans routinely take people at their word on such matters, but Americans are free to change churches and religions at will. The world’s observant Muslims have quite a different take on this issue.
There is no question that Mr. Obama was born to a Muslim father. It is not only a matter of record, but Mr. Obama has admitted it in writing and in multiple interviews and speeches. In addition, despite progressives–and some Muslims–crying discrimination and racism when Mr. Obama’s middle name is mentioned, he has often traded on that name–and his self-confessed affinity for Islam–when he has considered it advantageous. The fact remains that only Muslim children are named “Hussein.” He was Mohammed’s grandson and is revered in Islam as a holy martyr. On his school enrollment forms in Indonesia, the young Obama was recorded as a Muslim. This is unsurprising as the children of a Muslim father are themselves Muslims; it is not a matter of choice, nor may one choose to leave Islam. Those who do become apostates and Islam dictates but one fate for apostasy: death. That most Muslims would not try to kill an apostate speaks well of their individual character, but millions and more would, which speaks to the dictates of their faith and their willingness to follow it to the letter.
Mr. Obama may claim any faith he chooses and many Americans will accept that—as long as there is not convincing evidence to the contrary—but the world’s Muslims are a different story. This would seem to make Mr. Obama’s belief in his ability to engage and persuade the Muslim world naïve in the extreme. The leader of the “Great Satan,” who also happens to be a self-proclaimed apostate is unlikely to be well received or convincing, and his open, extended hand will most likely be met only with a clenched fist, as has been the case to date. His initiatives to the Iranians, Palestinians, Libyans and Egyptians, for example, have been abject failures and have arguably made things worse.
Is Mr. Obama a Christian? Mr. Obama’s Christianity was—again by his own words—born under the mentorship of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Mr. Obama attended that church for nearly 20 years, admitting to having attended as often as twice a week–more than 2100 services. However, Mr. Obama’s commitment to Rev. Wright and Christianity proved to be quite flexible. When the racism and actual theology of Rev. Wright and his flock came to light during Mr. Obama’s campaign, he initially said:
I can no more disown (the Rev. Jeremiah Wright) than I can disown my white grandmother.
Mr. Obama’s devotion proved short-lived. Mr. Obama at first attempted to dodge and weave, claiming that despite attending hundreds, even thousands of services under Rev. Wright (Mr. Obama’s story kept changing), he had no idea of the Reverend’s theology or lunatic, racist statements. But as greater attention was focused on the theology and sermons of Rev. Wright, and the euphoric response of his flock, Mr. Obama disowned him with amazing ease. He said:
All of the statements that have been the subject of controversy are ones that I vehemently condemn. They in no way reflect my attitudes and directly contradict my profound love for this country.
The Reverend, like a great many others whose association with Mr. Obama became politically inconvenient, was unceremoniously thrown under the campaign bus. Mr. Obama’s “profound love for this country” remains a matter of some small controversy.
The practice of Christianity focuses on such personal qualities as honesty, integrity, self-sacrifice and humility. Mr. Obama’s behavior in the Wright affair—and others–would not seem to comport well with any of those qualities. All sin and fall short of the glory of God, but all must judge others through their words and particularly, their actions.
What kind of Christianity does Mr. Obama profess to follow? The Rev. Wright is one of America’s foremost proponents of Black Liberation Theology. It is essentially a political philosophy– a black racist movement steeped in Marxist orthodoxy–wrapped in religious trappings.
It does not seek to help blacks assimilate and succeed in society at large, but to keep them separate, alienated and angry. Unsurprisingly, it is class conscious and divisive, seeking to separate its believers from all other Christian believers–which is specifically forbidden by Scripture–particularly those that happen to be white. It is also quite anti-American as evidenced by Rev. Wright’s famous “God damn America” sermon (far from his only anti-American diatribe). This was only the Rev. Wright’s best known foray into anti-American vitriol. On the Sunday after September 11, 2001, he preached that America’s “terrorism” was the cause of 9-11. According to Rev. Wright, AIDS is a plot by the American government to bring about black genocide. Such was the weekly discourse at the Trinity United Church of Christ on the South side of Chicago for the Rev. Wright’s tenure and for the nearly 20 years of Mr. Obama’s attendance.
Does Mr. Obama obviously practice Christianity? Matthew 7:1 notes: “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Perhaps the most useful understanding of this passage is that we should not judge anyone’s relationship with God. This is in large part why Americans generally take others at their word in matters of faith. However, the Bible also makes clear that we must daily judge others by their words and actions. Christians, quite reasonably, expect one’s faith to be manifested in their words and deeds, or at the very least, their words and deeds should not speak to opposite beliefs. Two telling examples among a great many:
In April of 2008, Mr. Obama was speaking to a gathering of supporters, unaware his comments were being recorded. Explaining to the progressive elite the bizarre and unfathomable thinking of the barely sentient conservative denizens of flyover country he said:
And it’s not surprising then that they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Christians that live their faith tend not to think—or speak—this way. One might be forgiven for thinking that in making such statements to his base, Mr. Obama was either engaging in mendacious political pandering, speaking his true beliefs about Christians, or both.
A second example is the ubiquitous photographic adulation of Mr. Obama in the form of endowing him with halos. The sheer number of such images—and to Christians, their blasphemous audacity and variety–is as amazing as it is deeply, strikingly disgusting. In examining these images, it is absolutely clear that Mr. Obama knew what was happening in many cases. It would have been necessary for him to actually pose for photographers so they could properly frame images to produce the required
“holy” effect. In some cases, the photographer must have been kneeling at Mr. Obama’s feet to frame his head in a convenient, circular skylight or similar light source.
Perhaps the most egregious, and to Christians, the most insulting manifestation of this trend was the New York Time’s Easter 2010 image of Mr. Obama depicting him “preaching” before a brace of microphones, his hand raised in a Christ-like pose, his image superimposed over a cross, at the base of which is the White House. When Obama sycophants address Mr. Obama as “The One,” a title coined by Oprah Winfrey, they obviously embrace the messianic implications the name was given in the “Matrix” films, that of a transcendent, supernatural, all-powerful, savior figure.
Whether the NYT was trying to insult Christians or was merely so religiously tone deaf as to believe such an image would be pleasing to them and helpful to Mr. Obama, any Christian so depicted would move Heaven and Earth to disavow it and to ensure that such imagery never happened again. Perhaps I’m wrong, but I don’t recall Mr. Obama doing this–for any of these images–which is not surprising for a man who, upon winning the nomination of his party for President, said:
…this [his nomination] was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal…
Christians that live their faith tend not to think—or speak—this way. Actually, who–not being possessed by debilitating, clinical narcissism and/or messianic delusions–thinks or speaks this way?
There is substantial evidence to believe that Mr. Obama’s assertion of a conventionally Christian motivation for what are clearly socialist, arguably unconstitutional, political policies is nothing more than the rhetoric convenient to the moment and Mr. Obama’s purposes rather than the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This would surely be consistent for a man whose most profound beliefs change to suit the occasion and who arguably recognizes none greater than Barack Hussein Obama.
Christianity is a matter of the transformation of the individual heart and soul and their journey beyond this Earthly existence. Mr. Obama’s expression of faith would seem far more a matter of temporal—and temporary—political advantage. This is for us to judge. The rest is between Mr. Obama and the Lord.