My new book, "Crimes Against Liberty," has just been released, and in many of my radio interviews, hosts have been asking me whether I believe Barack Obama is a Christian or a Muslim. Though I don't address that subject in my book, I'll take a stab at it here.
First, let me confess that we can't possibly know for sure whether someone is a Christian, in the sense that we can't read another person's soul. We can sometimes get a pretty good idea based on someone's statements, professions and actions, but ultimately, Christianity is about an individual's beliefs and his faith and personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
With that disclaimer and the further admission that I'm no expert on Islam, let me share with you some factors that I believe merit our consideration on the question of whether he is Muslim, Christian or neither.
In some ways, Obama exhibits a worldview that more closely resembles a secularist than it does either a Muslim or a Christian, especially in his views on social issues. Also, he seems to place a great deal of confidence in himself and in government to bring about transformational change. How many God-fearing people have you known who would say "we (meaning I) are the ones we've been waiting for" or "generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal"? The staggering conceit of these statements cannot be overstated.
Those who mocked George W. Bush for openly declaring his faith in God and sharing that he prays to God for strength squawked about the horrors in Bush's allowing his beliefs to influence his governance. Apart from the mockers' misunderstanding of the proper intersection of faith and governance, let me pose another question. Are you more comfortable with a chief executive who, along with the overwhelming majority of Americans, humbly admits to reliance on God or one who projects the impression that he himself is messianic? Which has a firmer grip on reality or comes closer to your own worldview?
Though the mockers would have us believe the former is abnormal, this can only be true if enormous numbers of Americans are lying to pollsters about their Christian faith. It's time we quit acting as if belief in God and Christianity were some kind of oddity or government officials should or even could fence off their beliefs from their governance. Secularists certainly don't.
Some counter with the oft-reported tidbit that Obama heavily relies on his spiritual advisers and receives a daily devotional on his BlackBerry. But can they explain away his messianic complex or satisfactorily square his apparent personal idolatry with his profession of Christian faith?
I have neither heard a believing Christian openly mock Scripture as Obama did during the campaign nor heard one mock those who cling to their guns and Bibles.
Though Obama would have us believe that he sat through 20 years of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons without hearing a word, it's hard for us to overlook the fact that Wright took the Lord's name in vain in his church and that the church subscribes to black liberation theology, which seems more race-centered than Christ-centered. We also shake our heads in discovering that this church, through its publications, has championed the causes of certain terrorist organizations.
In office, Obama has rarely attended church and has routinely snubbed Christianity and Christian symbols while consistently espousing values inconsistent with the biblical ethic. On the other hand, he has gone out of his way to glorify Islam. He told us in one of his books that the Muslim call to prayer was the sweetest sound he'd ever heard.
More significantly, he said in his Cairo speech to the Muslim world that Islam is a revealed religion. I'm amazed this didn't get more attention because it is extremely anomalous for a believing Christian to refer to Islam as a revealed religion. The word "revealed" had to have been carefully chosen and was absolutely unnecessary to convey his overtures to the Muslim world. One needn't affirm another person's religion to extend him a hand of friendship and peace.
Words have meaning, and if Obama believes Islam was revealed, then he most certainly believes it was revealed by God. If it was revealed by God more than 600 years after Christ was on earth and contains beliefs wholly inconsistent with doctrinal Christianity -- such as that Christ was not God, but a mere prophet -- then, in that essential particular, it cannot possibly be reconciled with Christianity. If Obama truly believes Islam was revealed by God, I can't fathom how he could be a believing Christian. I don't know that Obama is not a Christian, but I am dubious.