So Is Barack Obama a Muslim or What?
“The fallacy that President Obama is a Muslim has tripped up many a politician,” said NPR’s Jessica Taylor hopefully on Friday, “and on Thursday night, GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump was its latest victim.”
Trump’s presumed faux pas was his failure to correct a questioner who asserted that Barack Obama was a Muslim. Taylor’s real error as a reporter, like that of all her mainstream colleagues, was to dismiss the questioner’s assertion as a “fallacy” without providing any evidence to the contrary.
Strange but true, reporters pride themselves on knowing nothing about Obama’s roots. Last month, for instance, Catherine Thompson of the popular progressive blog, Talking Points Memo, interviewed me about an article I had written on the subject of Republican presidential eligibility.
Weary of her obvious condescension, I asked her where Obama spent the first year of his life. “Indonesia?” she answered. “No,” I said, “Seattle.” I asked her to survey her colleagues on the same question. Not surprisingly, this was the one exchange she edited out of the interview.
Obama’s word, whether on his birth or his faith, is good enough for the center-left media. Although they have chosen to know as little as possible about Obama’s Muslim legacy, the legacy is real. “Barry was a Muslim,” his third grade teacher told the Los Angeles Times in 2007,” and he did, in fact, register in school in Indonesia as one.
In his 1995 memoir, Dreams from My Father, Obama gratuitously used the Arabic “Andalusia” when referring to Spain. In September 2008, in a conversation with George Stephanopoulos set up to quell such rumors, Obama slipped up and referred to “my Muslim faith” before Stephanopoulos quickly intervened to correct him. Slip up or no, Obama found it "deeply offensive" that the Republican camp was suggesting “that perhaps I'm not who I say I am when it comes to my faith."
In his 2006 book Audacity of Hope, Obama presumed to establish “who I say I am.” The very title of the book, however, gives the wary reader pause. Obama named it—misnamed it actually-- after the life-changing sermon by Jeremiah Wright, “Audacity to Hope.” In Dreams, Obama recounted the sermon approvingly and in some detail. He cited classic Wright pearls like “White folks’ greed runs a world in need” as if they actually made sense. And this, he boasted, was the sermon that set him on the road to Christianity or some self-serving approximation thereof.
To those paying attention, Obama’s conversion seemed as calculated as his choice of wife. Early biographer David Mendell noted that in 2004 “Obama, without fail, would mention his church and his Christian faith when he was campaigning in black churches and more socially conservative downstate Illinois communities.”
Yet, when Mendell tried to talk to Obama about his faith and his “ever present bible,” Obama proved “uncharacteristically short” in his responses.
To be sure, Obama has claimed on many an occasion since to be a Christian. In August 2008 at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in California, he made the claim twice in one sentence. This profession came in response to Warren’s question on marriage.
“I believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman,” said Obama. “Now for me as a Christian,” and here he paused to let the applause die down, “for me as a Christian, it’s also a sacred union.” At this juncture, he pointed skyward and added, “God’s in the mix.”
Who could possibly have doubted so sincere a profession of faith? Obama adviser David Axelrod certainly did. “Opposition to gay marriage was particularly strong in the black church,” Axelrod wrote of Obama in his memoir, Believer: My Forty Years in Politics, “and as he ran for higher office, he grudgingly accepted the counsel of more pragmatic folks like me, and modified his position to support civil unions rather than marriage, which he would term a ‘sacred union.’”
In those two words, “sacred union,” is the rub. Obama not only lied, but he also used “God” to sell the lie, a stunning bit of blasphemy in whatever faith Obama professes.
For Obama, lying about his faith was apparently no big deal. As he told Axelrod after stumbling through a question on same-sex marriage, “I’m just not very good at bulls––ing.”
One has to ask, if Obama was willing to bulls–- about his relationship with God, what was he not willing to bulls–- about? Why should anyone, for instance, believe his “for me as a Christian” line?
Over the years, Obama has done little to shore up his Christian credentials. In comparing ISIS to Christian Crusaders at the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast, he displayed both his ignorance of history and his instinctive contempt for Christianity. “Everything he does is against what Christians stand for,” said Mike Huckabee after the Prayer Breakfast. “And he’s against the Jews in Israel. The one group of people who can know they have his undying, unfailing support would be the Muslim community.”
Mendell’s book had one revelation about Obama’s faith that may trump all others. Obama told Mendell he was drawn to Christianity because “many of the impulses that I had carried with me and were propelling me forward were the same impulses that express themselves through the church.” In other words, Jesus thought pretty much along the same Alinskyite lines as Obama did.
“It’s like church in here,” actor Jamie Foxx said at the 2012 Soul Train Awards. “First of all, give an honor to God and our Lord and Savior Barack Obama.” Obama could not have said it better himself. If he really is a secret Muslim, I suspect even Allah would have to take a back pew in the Church of Obama.