Much has been said about the recent findings that 18% of Americans believe the President is Muslim, 34% believe he is Christian and 43% are not sure. Most commentary has thus far focused on the Muslim choice.
Thomas Lifson and Byron York have convincingly demonstrated that the President's own behavior is the source of the one-in-five Muslim answer and that such an opinion is rational given the evidence. In contrast, the mainstream media's response was a predictably arrogant dismay that Americans do not believe the President is a Christian, given that the Administration has said he "is obviously a Christian." The press is essentially calling 61% of Americans superstitious rubes (those choosing Muslim or Not Sure). Such a suggestion is unfair given that most of us, 76% at last count, self-identify as Christians and are qualified to judge what are and are not typical Christian behaviors.
Instead, maybe six-in-ten Americans don't believe the President is a Christian precisely because he claims to be so. Isn't it possible that Barack Obama has lost his credibility and, as our parents taught us, such credibility lost is seldom regained?
Recent Pew data confirms this. The data suggests that most Americans believe that if the President is talking, he is lying. The Pew chart below demonstrates that in a mere 17 months, President Obama has sunk to an unprecedented level of American distrust:
Average Trust in Govt. for Each Administration
Total Average % Trusting Govt.
Non-Trusting % (author addition)
George W. Bush
George H.W. Bush
Combined, these statistics tell us that six-in-ten Americans don't believe the President's religion claims and eight-in-ten don't believe most other things he says. The upside for President Obama is that Americans are cutting him some slack over the religious question, although the downside is that the skepticism may grow from the 61% current level to the public's 78% level of general Obama distrust.
Given this information, the mainstream media's response of dismay is irrational, whereas the public's skepticism makes perfect sense. The public sees through the President's deceitfulness and this is a permanent problem for him.
Unfortunately, it is also a problem for us. George Weigel recently summarized the importance of truth in governing:
Rightly ordered government submits itself to the judgment of those truths built into the world and into us, and if it attempts to redefine those truths, it has acted unjustly and illegitimately.... Freedom must be tethered to truth and ordered to goodness if freedom is not to become its own undoing.
Barack Obama's lying is not only personally short-sighted but detrimental to a country based upon freedom that is ordered to goodness and tethered to truth. Without trust, the Obama government has lost its legitimacy and the republic is adrift.