It’s Easter, and perhaps time to consider the difference between the world of men and the eternal. In a February 8, 2012 article, I wrote in part:
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?
One of my daily visits in the blogosphere is my friend Bookworm at Bookworm Room. Not only is she a fine writer, her past provides a unique perspective on cultural issues. She is, you see, a recovering progressive, and more, she lives in one of the most progressive places on the planet: Marin, California. Her thoughts often provoke my own, as did a significant article comparing the words of Barack Obama on Christianity and Islam.
This is a topic–is our President a Muslim or a Christian?–I’ve addressed several times in the past, because it is a matter of some importance. The beliefs of any President of the United States and his means of putting them into practice can change the world. Here’s another excerpt from my February 8, 2012 article. Looking back, in terms of relevance, I could easily have written it today.
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.
It’s almost hard to imagine that our relations with the Muslim world, actually, virtually the entire world, are even worse now than when I wrote that article. Mr. Obama’s choice of Hillary Clinton and the execrable John Kerry as successive Secretaries of State have had a substantial hand in the diminution of America’s power and prestige. It is surely not out of bounds to suggest that Mr. Obama’s often stated affinity for Islam is playing a hand in our foreign policy, whatever it might be at any given moment.
From Bookworm, a sampling of Mr. Obama’s statements on Christianity:
Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation.’
‘We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation.
‘Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith?’
‘Even those who claim the Bible’s inerrancy make distinctions between Scriptural edicts, sensing that some passages – the Ten Commandments, say, or a belief in Christ’s divinity – are central to Christian faith, while others are more culturally specific and may be modified to accommodate modern life.’
‘Obama’s response when asked what his definition of sin is: Being out of alignment with my values.’
‘If all it took was someone proclaiming I believe Jesus Christ and that he died for my sins, and that was all there was to it, people wouldn’t have to keep coming to church, would they.’
‘In our household, the Bible, the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology.
For the President of the United States, being out of alignment with his values is sin. I might be wrong, but I believe Christian theology has quite a different definition.
A sampling of Mr. Obama’s statements on Islam:
The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.’
‘The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer.’
‘We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.’
‘As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.’
‘Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.’
‘America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap, and share common principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.’
‘I made it clear that America is not – and will never be – at war with Islam.
Christians do not judge the depth and quality of anyone’s relationship with God, however, we must make judgments about the character and integrity of others every day. To do less is to fail ourselves, our families and our nation. It is surely within the purview of any American, Christian or not, to judge the character and integrity of the President of the United States.
Gentle readers: I recommend you take the time to read my original article, and of course, Bookworm’s complete article. Then, if you please, setting aside for just a short while the American tradition of religious tolerance that generally causes us to take any man’s profession of faith at face value, do Mr. Obama’s own words–and his actions–lead you to believe he is a committed Christian, a committed Muslim, or something in between? And perhaps you might comment on the consequences of this?