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The nation’s most seethingly secular president is having his day in the religious sun. “Obama increasingly talking publicly about his Christian faith,” reads a headline in The Seattle Times. Candidate Obama told Pastor Rick Warren being a Christian entails “a sense of obligation to embrace not just words but through deeds, the expectations I think that God has for us.” How do the deeds of President Obama match up with his professed faith? And was his sudden display of religiosity all it seemed — or was it intended to secure political rather than heavenly grace and forgiveness?
Like a Question Planted by the Waters….
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PBS recently ran a special on the importance of John F. Kennedy’s distancing himself from his Roman Catholic faith during the 1960 presidential election. At one pivotal moment in the West Virginia primary, his campaign planted a question with an audience member, who obediently asked if President Kennedy’s decisions would all be made from the Vatican. JFK forcefully — in carefully rehearsed lines — made a denial that catapulted him to victory.
In this respect, it seems likely Barack Obama was following in JFK’s shoes. Nearly one-in-four Americans believe Obama is a Muslim — based largely on his record in office. His preference for Muslims over Christians can be seen everywhere from hosting an Iftar dinner while avoiding the National Prayer Breakfast, to supporting the Ground Zero Mosque while St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church remains in ruins. What could more quickly counteract this than a “spontaneous” discussion of “Christ dying for my sins” in response to question at a town hall meeting? No one can judge the truth of falsehood of another’s faith. But astute observers can notice when unusually religious behavior may work to a candidate’s advantage.
The Church of Midterm Desperation
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Call me jaded, but the president’s sudden, unprecedented exegesis in the midst of a crushing midterm election seems to stem more from a desire to curry political favor than personal religious fervor. In addition to going on the record with basic Christian doctrine out of the small catechism, thus proving to the yahoos he is not a Muslim, the subtext of his remarks cry politics. Obama replied:
[U]nderstanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God. But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace. And so that’s what I strive to do. That’s what I pray to do every day. (Emphases added.)
What is the political import of these remarks? The Democratic Party is facing an electoral blowout in 40-some days’ time based on public backlash against Barack Obama. Thus, in the oldest ploy in the con man’s book, he found Jesus — and he used the event to emphasize the fact that “we all make mistakes,” that we must have “humility” in judging others’ errors and “help them.” The remarks were further sanctified by the question, which invoked Mother Teresa.
Translation: c’mon, give me another chance.
If I have born false witness, I’ll gladly repent. But it sure dubious to me — especially given what we know of the content of Barack Obama’s faith.
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This Is Christianity?
Leaving aside questions of Obama’s early history with Islam, his church history consists of attending Trinity United Church of Christ, shepherded by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Wright’s politically oriented sermons about the evils of capitalism and “white greed” are famous. Less well-known is its racist promotion of “African values,” including rituals based on tribal customs. PBS’s Religion & Ethics News Weekly reported in 2005, “Wright himself was installed as a chief in Ghana in August 2003.” On another African jaunt, he and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan (a neighbor) met with Muammar Qaddafi. Obama may emphasize his “doubts” about the fundamental doctrines of the faith, but no one can question his Messianic commitment to implementing black liberation theology through politics. Examining his record makes clear, his presidency bears little resemblance to historic Christianity.
Liberalism or Christianity?
Our president’s public positions are not only incompatible with historic Christianity but run directly contrary to the faith. Obama once justified abortion on the grounds that, if his daughters “made a mistake” and got pregnant, “I wouldn’t want them punished with a baby.” The Bible says, “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is His reward…Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5). Both Scripture and the universal testimony of the early church clearly oppose abortion. The earliest writing after the Bible, known as the Didache or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, states, “You shall not procure abortion, nor destroy a newborn child.” The second century writer Tertullian wrote in A Treatise on the Soul, “Now we allow that life begins with conception, because we contend that the soul also begins from conception.” When Pastor Warren asked Obama such a question, Obama volunteered, “That is above my pay grade.” (Since the “pay grade” phrase stems from military pay scales, this was a tacit admission he is unfit to be commander-in-chief.) He threatened to strike down all state prohibitions on abortion, has pushed federal abortion funding at home and abroad, appointed two Supreme Court justices who undoubtedly support abortion-on-demand, and sought to overturn legal prohibitions on stem cell research. Despite Obama and the Religious Left’s alleged commitment to “thinking about the least of these,” they have no concern for the least and most helpless of all American citizens, the unborn.
What of other Christian doctrines? In March 20008, Obama told a pastor in Nelsonville, Ohio, he favored civil unions, state-approval of homosexuality that equates with marriage in all-but-name-only — and so did Jesus. “I don’t think it should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state,” Obama said. “If people find that controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans. That’s my view.” The Romans passages are hardly obscure or difficult to understand — and they do not stand alone. The Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians, “Be note deceived,” neither “effeminate” nor “homosexuals” — whom the passage equates with thieves and extortioners — “shall inherit the kingdom of God” (6:9-10).
Still, Obama says Christianity “means acting justly, loving mercy, walking humbly.”
Enacting justice is perhaps the Obama administration’s most outrageous failure. The Scriptures say “God is not a respecter of persons” (Deut. 1:17, 16:19; II Chron. 19:7; Prov. 24:23, 28:21; Rom. 2:11; Eph. 6:9; Col. 3:25; James 2:1-9; I Pet. 1:17), and that “One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you” (Num. 15:16; see also Ex. 12:49, Lev. 24:22, Num. 9:14, among others). Yet last Friday, a second Justice Department lawyer reflected the ongoing “travesty of justice” that is our Justice Department. Christopher Coates testified that the appointees selected by the president to run the department most clearly charged with “doing justly” are consumed with “anger” and “deep-seated opposition to the equal enforcement of the” law “for the protection of white voters.” Leaving aside questions of perjury and obstruction of justice, the mere perversion of justice by reverse racial discrimination so offended Andrew McCarthy that he wrote on NRO that an investigation must follow. Many believe this is an impeachable offense. It is certainly not a Christian virtue.
Perhaps Obama and liberal Democrats eager to milk religion for votes should remember the words of Jesus: “By their fruits, ye shall know them.”