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A New Religious Narrative for Obama
PBS's Religion and Ethics Newsweekly ^ | August 23, 2010 | Paul Dafydd Jones and Charles Mathewes

Posted on 08/23/2010 2:48:42 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Barack Obama’s election in 2008 gave many people—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike—the hope that America was entering a new phase in its history. Just maybe the nation was about to do something remarkable: embrace a style of politics defined less by old arguments about race, religion, gender, sexuality, and culture and more by new visions of the common good.

Few would have predicted what’s happening now. A growing number of Americans believe, mistakenly, that the president is a Muslim, and most of them cite the media as the source of their information.

Suspicion about Obama has been a problem since he first appeared on the national stage. But recently the rise of a politicized brand of journalism has blurred the boundary between fact and fiction in ways that would make even the most ardent postmodernist blush.

What’s new, too, is the failure of Obama and his team to handle this story effectively. Given that millions more people think Obama is a Muslim now than 18 months ago, we’re seeing a serious failure to communicate.

We don’t think that, in principle, a Muslim president is at all problematic. Indeed, it’s profoundly worrying that the mere idea of a Muslim president is met with moral outrage. Beyond the not-so-subtle racism at work, the “secret Muslim” claim is empirically false and politically toxic, and it marks a refusal to heed the high ideals upon which this nation was founded.

But how should Obama respond? Here’s our suggestion: the White House should discontinue its purely reactive approach to claims about Obama’s beliefs and undertake a sustained effort to have him tell his own story as a Christian believer.

In other words, Obama should talk publicly about what he believes and how he believes it. He needn’t do it all the time. He needn’t do it all that often. But when he does do it, he should do it simply, plainly, frankly, and deliberately.

So far, the president has made occasional remarks about his beliefs, but they’ve been just that—occasional and largely an afterthought to his public persona. His administration has proved astonishingly “unmusical” when it comes to religion. No one in Obama’s inner circle seems to understand how religious issues and themes are implicated in his presidency and how religion factors into domestic and international politics.

But isn’t Obama’s Christianity a private matter? Isn’t it peripheral to the real issues at hand? Not right now. The culture is desperate for adult guidance when it comes to religion. While citizens stand under no obligation to talk about their religious convictions, people expect more of the president, and this political moment requires more from this president, lest discussions about religion become still more coarse and vicious, and our political culture even more degraded.

We’re not suggesting Obama should talk about his faith for purely pragmatic reasons, although God knows—and Rahm Emanuel does, too—there are likely to be political advantages. He should recognize by now that if he won’t talk about his beliefs, his opponents happily will; politics, like nature, abhors a vacuum. There are sound civic reasons for doing this as well. The office of the presidency has a representative function. It is not just about the day-to-day running of the government. It’s about shaping public conversation on a variety of matters of common concern, religion included.

Nor are we asking Obama to be the believer-in-chief of American civil religion. We’re simply saying he should offer himself as one example in America today of what it means to believe. He should render his religious persona public, for the good of the republic as a whole.

A president willing to talk about his own faith could do some powerful civic good. Obama’s biography suggests he has much to offer. He has spoken movingly of his mother as someone who did not believe in God, but who epitomized a life well lived. He has intimate knowledge of Islam and other religious traditions and appreciates their richness in a way that have not hindered his Christianity—a serious believer who is seriously alert to the power of other beliefs.

He’s clearly given serious thought to religion as a reality in the world. In a speech he gave in 2006, he described politics as the art of what’s possible and religion as the art of the impossible—a thought-provoking idea, to say the least. Religiously, he embodies where the nation itself is headed, as American Christianity undergoes a period of dramatic transformation and the categories we typically use to talk about belief become less and less sufficient for describing the real dividing lines, generational changes, and demographic shifts we are experiencing.

What we are proposing, then, is for President Obama to tell us about his religious identity, and to do so in ways that befit his office. Despite the degraded condition of our public debate about religion, he has the opportunity to give voice to our collective desire to speak more openly, and more honestly, about the faiths that make us who we are—and thus to make out of those many faiths one nation.

*******

Paul Dafydd Jones and Charles Mathewes teach religious studies at the University of Virginia.


TOPICS: Current Events; Islam; Mainline Protestant; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: bho44; islam; obama; polls
How do you propose he fake his way through this one? His speech writers haven't a clue.

BTW: How did you enjoy being preached at?

1 posted on 08/23/2010 2:48:45 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Barack Obama’s election in 2008 gave many people—Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike—the hope that America was entering a new phase in its history. Just maybe the nation was about to do something remarkable: embrace a style of politics defined less by old arguments about race, religion, gender, sexuality, and culture and more by new visions of the common good.

Few would have predicted what’s happening now. A growing number of Americans believe, mistakenly, that the president is a Muslim, and most of them cite the media as the source of their information.

__________________________________________________

This was as far as I could read without getting nauseous.

PBS, huh? Figures,


2 posted on 08/23/2010 2:52:28 PM PDT by Responsibility2nd (PALIN/MCCAIN IN 2012 - barf alert? sarc tag? -- can't decide)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
How do you propose he fake his way through this one? His speech writers haven't a clue.


Plagerize it. Just don't plagiarize ex-muslin Rev Wright.

3 posted on 08/23/2010 2:53:03 PM PDT by Linda Frances
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Some people, no matter how loud the quacking, just don’t recognize a duck when they see one.


4 posted on 08/23/2010 2:53:09 PM PDT by N. Theknow (Kennedys: Can't skipper a boat, Can't drive, Can't ski, Can't fly. But they KNOW what's best.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

He can’t give an honest account of his Christian “faith”. I’ve never met a Christian who wasn’t confident that Christ is the one way to salvation. But acording to this Newsweek article Hussein isn’t sure if Jesus is the Son of God or not.

Finding His Faith
by Lisa Miller
July 12, 2008
Obama embarked on a spiritual quest in which he tried to reconcile his rational side with his yearning for transcendence. He found Christ—but that hasn’t stopped him from asking questions. “I’m on my own faith journey and I’m searching,” he says. “I leave open the possibility that I’m entirely wrong.”

http://www.newsweek.com/2008/07/11/finding-his-faith.html


5 posted on 08/23/2010 2:55:54 PM PDT by BenLurkin ("They do their business behind closed doors, and pretend that the world is just beggin' for more.")
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To: N. Theknow
Some people, no matter how loud the quacking, just don’t recognize a duck when they see one.

Photobucket

6 posted on 08/23/2010 2:57:07 PM PDT by don-o (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The man-child is a Muslim wannabe (or Wahabe):

• His biological father was a Muslim.
http://www.bing.com/reference/semhtml/?title=Barack_Obama%2C_Sr.&src=abop&qpvt=barack+obama+seniot&q=barack+obama+senior&fwd=1

• Because his biological father was a Muslim the Islam world thinks he is a Muslim.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/behind-the-numbers/2010/08/obama_is_a_muslim_18_24_or.html?hpid=topnews
http://www.indonesiamatters.com/2952/barry-soetoro/

• His stepfather was a Muslim.
http://www.indonesiamatters.com/2952/barry-soetoro/

• As a child Barry was enrolled in school as a Muslim in Jakarta Indonesia. An Indonesian Madrasa.
• Barack Hussein Obama’s first and middle names are Arabic Muslim names.
Barack was the name for Mohammad’s horse. Husein, enough said.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700246419/Barack-Muhammads-horse.html
http://sanooaung.wordpress.com/2009/01/22/will-be-obama-with-us-muslims-as-the-meaning-of-his-name-in-persian-language/

• Obama recited the opening lines of the Muslim call to prayer, which includes a vow of fidelity to Islam, in flawless Arabic on a radio program. - Nikolos Kristoff, NYTs, 3-06-07 (***this one is a gottcha moment***)
http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.3413/pub_detail.asp
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/11679

• On that same program he said he thinks the call to prayer is “one of the prettiest sounds on earth.”
http://jewagainstobama.wordpress.com/2008/03/03/obama-muslim-call-to-prayer-one-of-the-prettiest-sounds-on-earth/
http://caosblog.com/archives/7373

• Obama belonged to Rev. Wright’s (a former Muslim) church for twenty years. Many congregants are Muslims.
http://infidelsarecool.com/2008/04/07/jeremiah-wright-former-muslim/
http://infidelsarecool.com/2008/03/20/rev-wright-got-his-masters-degree-in-islam-in-west-africa/
http://endtimes.yuku.com/forum/viewtopic/id/289

• Obama’s said that the U.S. is “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.”
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyharnden/9959057/Barack_Hussein_Obama_US_one_of_the_largest_Muslim_countries_in_the_world/
http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/06/obama_america_one_of_the_large_1.asp

• Obama holds Muslim celebrations in the WH but canceled the National Day of Prayer.
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1724544/obama_cancels_national_day_of_prayer.html?cat=9
http://www.exposeobama.com/

• President Obama’s religious adviser, Eboo Patel, once deemed the United States “the ideal place for the renewal of Islam.”
http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2010/06/-obama-tells-egyptian-foreign-minister-i-am-a-muslim-stealth-coup-on-the-white-house.html

• Obama does not give gifts on Christmas.
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0708/12035.html

• Obama doesn’t celebrate his birthday.
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/04/a-tough-birthday-for-obama/

• Obama falsely attributes Muslim participation in the founding of America.
http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.7041/pub_detail.asp

• Obama required that the cross be covered when he gave a speech at Notre Dame.
http://blog.acton.org/archives/9843-notre-dame-georgetown-and-president-obama.html
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/05/11/opinion/main5006203.shtml
http://dougpowers.com/2009/04/17/obamas-jesus-coverup/

• Christian symbol covered up during Obama’s Georgetown speech
http://myfaithspace.ning.com/profiles/blogs/obama-covers-christ-and-cross
http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=46667

• Obama’s first major speech in office was a “Muslim outreach” speech in Cairo Egypt.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-by-the-President-at-Cairo-University-6-04-09/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8083171.stm

• “The American President told me in confidence that he is a Muslim,” said Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit on Nile TV.
http://barenakedislam.wordpress.com/2010/06/12/bombshell-egyptian-foreign-minister-ahmed-aboul-gheit-says-on-egyptian-tv-%e2%80%9cthe-american-president-told-me-in-confidence-that-he-is-still-a-muslim-%e2%80%9d/
http://www.wnd.com/?pageId=166905

• Obama gave strong support to the Cordoba House community center and mosque to be built at the Ground Zero site of Sep. 11, 2001 at a dinner celebrating the day’s end of the first day of Ramadan at the WH.
http://www.aolnews.com/surge-desk/article/president-obama-supports-ground-zero-mosque/19593492?ncid=webmail

• Obama tasked NASA with a mission of “Muslim outreach.”
http://technology.newsplurk.com/2010/07/nasa-and-islam.html

• Obama referred to his faith as “my Muslim faith” gaffe in an interview with George Stephanopolous.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQqIpdBOg6I

• Pushes Islamic freedom of religion but not Jewish or Christian freedoms. Several weeks ago he told Israel NOT to build settlements in East Jerusalem. But OK to build that Mosque at Ground Zero.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7514285/Israel-spits-in-Obamas-eye-by-announcing-new-settlements-in-east-Jerusalem.html
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/24/barack-obama-israel-settlement-plan

We know one other thing. He is losing the Jewish vote everyday. One term(if that) and done.


7 posted on 08/23/2010 2:57:31 PM PDT by cruise_missile
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To: BenLurkin
Finding His Faith

I would imagine his "faith" is filed with his long form birth certificate...

8 posted on 08/23/2010 3:02:27 PM PDT by gov_bean_ counter (Sarah Palin - For such a time as this...)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"We don’t think that, in principle, a Muslim president is at all problematic."

There is the problem right there. The PC media desire to seem all inclusive has over come reason. When there isn't a nation to single out but there is a group responsible for the death of over 3000 Americans on American soil, I will call it as I see it, and I refuse to lay down and graciously allow them access to the most powerful position in the world, president of the US.

Most people in this country understand that you don't allow your enemy to walk in and take over. Only the media has a problem with this.

9 posted on 08/23/2010 3:06:50 PM PDT by Waryone
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
We don’t think that, in principle, a Muslim president is at all problematic. Indeed, it’s profoundly worrying that the mere idea of a Muslim president is met with moral outrage.

I have problems with people who hide the fact that they are Muslim, or that they or Marxist when they run for election. If you are a Marxist, run as a Marxist. If you are a Muslim, run as a Muslim. But don't run pretending you are something else.

10 posted on 08/23/2010 3:07:39 PM PDT by fhayek
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I don’t know how he ‘splains all this. He golfs instead of going to church. No evidence he celebrates Christmas or Easter. He was a member of Wright’s church, but says he never heard any of his crazy sermons. So, unless he was lying, he didn’t go very often. There just isn’t any evidence he’s a practicing Christian.


11 posted on 08/23/2010 3:14:55 PM PDT by colorado tanker
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“...new visions of the common good.”

Does this scare the hell out of anyone else here?


12 posted on 08/23/2010 3:21:49 PM PDT by D_Idaho ("For we wrestle not against flesh and blood...")
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To: Responsibility2nd

Don’t you have to wonder how the Hell the people at PBS could even believe the litany of BS that the Obama campaign spewed forth every day? I am totally amazed there are actually people who believed the crap he was throwing out - Kool Ade drinkers all.....


13 posted on 08/23/2010 3:23:24 PM PDT by majormaturity
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“A growing number of Americans believe, mistakenly, that the president is a Muslim, and most of them cite the media as the source of their information.”

Two more useful idiot authors repeat the White House generated talking point.

Strangely, even Steve Doocey on Fox News informed us of the “correct” answer also.


14 posted on 08/23/2010 3:25:55 PM PDT by Bluebird Singing
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
During the campaign, Obama was asked who Christ was to him, and the response was the driest, politically correct professorial answer one could imagine: “Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he’s also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher. And he’s also a wonderful teacher.”

About as inspired and passionate as unsalted crackers. An "historical figure" for Obama, and a bridge to God "in the Christian faith". Two separate camps, I infer...
15 posted on 08/23/2010 3:28:03 PM PDT by LostInBayport (When there are more people riding in the cart than there are pulling it, the cart stops moving...)
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To: Bluebird Singing

IIRC, Fox is now 25% owned by the Saudis.


16 posted on 08/23/2010 3:28:47 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (I don't need a newspaper to know the world's been shaved by a drunken barber.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

............ A growing number of Americans believe, mistakenly, that the president is a Muslim...............

Mistakenly? Well, then the controversy is over. The writer of this drivel has spoken - the unwashed are thankful for the truth!


17 posted on 08/23/2010 3:39:29 PM PDT by Noob1999
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

**But how should Obama respond? Here’s our suggestion: the White House should discontinue its purely reactive approach to claims about Obama’s beliefs and undertake a sustained effort to have him tell his own story as a Christian believer.**

Won’t work. We as Christians know that he has told too many lies already.

We would not believe Obortion O if he were to do this.

Now if he could demonstrate in some way that he loves God and loves his neighbor , including the unborn that he wants to have people abort, then we might change our mind.

But so far his actions speak volumes vs. his words.


18 posted on 08/23/2010 4:07:05 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“How do you propose he fake his way through this one? His speech writers haven’t a clue.”

Repeat to himself: “Job is in the OLD Testament. Job is in the OLD testament . . .”


19 posted on 08/23/2010 4:14:05 PM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: Linda Frances
"How do you propose he fake his way through this one? His speech writers haven't a clue."

Wonderng if any of O's speech writers are Christian or have ever read the Bible.

20 posted on 08/23/2010 4:16:50 PM PDT by EverOnward
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Re: A growing number of Americans believe, mistakenly, that the president is a Muslim, and most of them cite the media as the source of their information.

Well, if it’s in The New York Times, it must be true.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/12/opinion/12luttwak.html?_r=1&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=all


21 posted on 08/24/2010 4:31:06 AM PDT by Beckwith (A "natural born citizen" -- two American citizen parents and born in the USA.)
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To: EverOnward
"Wonderng if any of O's speech writers are Christian or have ever read the Bible."

I doubt it. I recall during the campaign him defending homosexuality vis-a-vis the Bible by saying, "Are you going to believe an obscure passage from Romans or the Sermont on the Mount". This was such a goofy statement, on so many levels, that it was clear whoever wrote it didn't have a clue about biblical Christianity.

22 posted on 08/24/2010 4:50:22 AM PDT by circlecity
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