Thursday, August 19, 2010

Many Americans Think Obama Is Muslim

According to recent polls, the number of Americans who think President Obama is Muslim is growing:
Nearly one in five people, or 18 percent, said they think Obama is Muslim, up from the 11 percent who said so in March 2009, according to a poll released Thursday. The proportion who correctly say he is a Christian is down to just 34 percent. . . Pew analysts attribute the findings to attacks by his opponents and Obama's limited attendance at religious services, particularly in contrast with Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, whose worship was more public.
The only reasonable answer to the question about the president's religion is, of course: "I don't know and I don't care." In the last few years, Christian fundamentalists have taken this country hostage to the extent where politicians are now required to participate in showy acts of piety in order to persuade fanatical and ignorant voters that they are worthy of being elected. As anybody even remotely familiar with the origins of this country knows very well, there is hardly anything more un-American than these attempts to conflate politics and religious fundamentalism. It's mind-boggling that people would be interested in how often a political leader visits a religious service.

The funny thing, though, is that people who are actually Christian (unlike fundamentalist buffoons of Sarah Palin's and George W. Bush's ilk) know very well that absence, rather than presence, at public rituals of worship makes one a true Christian:
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites [are]: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. (Matthew 6: 5-7)
The words of Jesus on the matter of public worship could not be clearer. People who pray in religious buildings and in public are hypocrites and only do so to gain an earthly reward. Jesus exhorts his followers to engage in prayer secretly.

Spiritual matters are a deeply intimate affair. People who make a public show out of their presumed spirituality, in truth have none. It's sad that voters often prefer candidates who prostitute their souls by performing religion they know nothing about.

An interesting report on the issue from


eric said...

In the minds of many white Americans, "Muslim" is metonymically imbricated with "Radical Black Nationalist" (think Malcom X). Calling Obama a Muslim, then, is an expression of deep-seated racism, pure and simple.

As a non-believer, I have always thought that the only real Christians in this country were the Amish, since they practice a form of anarcho-communism, which is precisely what the biblical Jesus taught.

Clarissa said...

I have to disagree about the Amish. In Christianity, there is no division of gender roles. There is no gender, period:

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Galathians 3: 28.

David Gendron said...


""Muslim" is metonymically imbricated with "Radical Black Nationalist" (think Malcom X)."

In fact, american ismlamists are more facist than immigrant muslims and the mainstream moderate arab muslims.

Richard said...

“Metonymically imbricated” with "Radical Black Nationalist”, I think is an example of where three dollar words weaken the writers point. Eric Blair (George Orwell) always maintained that strong, effective English prose avoided Latin (or in this case Greek) derivatives and relied on precise, ‘everyday’ words.
(See his essay, “Politics and the English Language”)

feMOMhist said...

umm the amish are some of the MOST capitalistic Christians you will ever meet. They produce and market things that trade on their "quaint" image and they are often "branded" with family names. I've no problem with that but "anarcho-communism" is not an accurate description at all. Communalist, perhaps?