Over the last week or two, the question of President Obama’s spiritual leanings has become quite the question. Just what does he believe, in his heart of hearts? Since everyone else is weighing in, I thought I’d toss in my two cents.
President Obama is a Muslim. According to Franklin Graham, under the laws followed by a large number of Muslims worldwide, Islam is like herpes — once you get it, you can’t ever get rid of it. A Muslim is a Muslim forever. Since both Obama’s birth father and stepfather were Muslims from birth, and “Muslim” is a trait passed along by the father (like Judaism is passed along by the mother), he’s a Muslim too. Toss in his attendance at Muslim schools in Indonesia, and his Muslim status is assured. That means his denials of his Muslim status makes him an apostate — not an infidel.
President Obama is not a Muslim. In America, one’s own spiritual status is strictly one’s own decision. One cannot be compelled to be part of a faith against their will. President Obama has stated, clearly and repeatedly, that he is not a Muslim, therefore he is not.
President Obama is a Christian. Religious standing has absolutely no legal standing whatsoever, by the Constitution. One simply is whatever one declares one to be. President Obama has stated, on countless occasions, that he is a Christian and has spent his entire public life attending Christian churches. He was married in one, and his daughters were baptized in one.
President Obama is not a Christian. While the government has no place in determining the validity of a person’s religious beliefs, other adherents of that faith can — and do — express their own judgments on their nominal coreligionists. People who take questions of faith seriously wonder how sincere President Obama’s expressions of devotion are, noting that — by his own admission — he spent 20 years going to a church, being married there, having his daughters baptized there, treating the pastor like a father figure, and never paid enough attention to what the guy was saying from the pulpit was race-baiting, black separatist hate preacher. Ever since people pointed out what was happening under his nose for two decades, Obama hasn’t bothered to find a new Christian community to join.
President Obama is not an atheist. The atheists I’ve encountered are quite forceful in their non-belief. They proclaim their knowledge of God’s non-existence as a point of pride. As noted, President Obama has stated his belief in the Christian God on numerous occasions.
President Obama is an agnostic. This is where I fall on the spectrum. I don’t know if there is a God or not, and I think that it’s impossible to definitively “know” — in a verifiable manner — whether He does or not. And I think President Obama falls into the same category.
But not for the same reasons.
For myself, I think I simply lack the “faith gene.” (It’s similar to another of my genetic faults; I have a defective “envy gene” as well.) I can’t bring myself to make the “leap of faith” necessary to assume God exists. It doesn’t help me that the Christian doctrine demands that one accept God’s existence without evidence; that we are told that God refuses to offer proof of His existence. That’s the deal-breaker for me, and a large reason why I’m not a Christian.
With Obama, though, I’m going to speculate a bit. Obama is agnostic because he doesn’t care. Until he moved to Chicago and started planning his public career, he didn’t care much about religion. He joined Reverend Wright’s church and bonded with Wright because he saw it as politically advantageous to cultivate that association. Later — much later — that association started to be a detriment, so he dumped it without a second thought. And since by that time he had achieved his life’s goal with the presidency, he saw no need or advantage in finding a new church to join. He didn’t think his family — especially his children — would benefit from belonging to a Christian community. So he’s pretty much ignored the whole religion thing, occasionally popping into this church or that church for a photo op, having his flacks talk about how he’s having his spiritual needs met with e-mailed devotionals and private prayer, and whatnot.
To me, and to a lot of Christians, that’s not a sincere expression of faith. Those are token gestures, and rather feeble ones.
Had I my druthers, Obama would simply come clean and state his beliefs (or non-beliefs) public, clearly, and then drop the matter. This sham (or, at least, incredibly shallow) “faith” is just insulting to people who take such matters seriously.