Monday, January 21, 2008

Reality Check: Barack Obama is a Christian

I am getting very tired of the meme running around that Barack Obama is a Muslim. It has been circulating the Web, and being used by some people as a reason NOT to vote for him. And figures as prominent as Ross Perot have been caught repeating the line, because they assume it is true.

IT IS NOT TRUE. Here is his church's website. Barack Obama is at least a nominal Christian, and has been a regular attender at this church for over 20 years. Please pass that along to ANYONE who tries to peddle the "Obama is a Muslim" meme.

That is not to say there are not reasons to NOT vote for Senator Obama. His church is definitely NOT mainstream, and I was unable to find (in a quick search) any idea of their Christology or doctrine of salvation. Their ideas are definitely far off from my own. So, criticize the man for the beliefs he actually holds, not for beliefs others try to place upon him.

And, for the record, no one has yet really given me an idea of why a liberal Muslim would be any worse a leader for our national than a Mormon (Romney), Deist (Washington, Jefferson), or Catholic (Kennedy). Or even a Born-Again Christian (George W. Bush).

Edited 3:11 PM to remove quotes around "Christian" in the title. As Sean showed, it came across differently than I intended.

Editted 4:22 PM. People have brought up the rumors that Obama took his oath on the Koran. NOT TRUE. Obama was sworn in on a Bible. Keith Ellison was the Muslim congressman who was sworn in on a Koran. According to my research, he is the only person to do in history.


Sean said...

This is a particularly horrible rumor that has several offshoots that are equally disgusting. For instance when I was home for Christmas my dad indicated that he wouldn't vote for Obama, because he's a muslim (something even my grandmother said), when i informed them that Obama is not a muslim, my father said that he still couldn't vote for someone that took their oath of office on a Koran (something I hadn't ever heard). Then I told him that Obama has been a Christian for at least 20 years and he was dumbfounded and didn't have anything to say.

I think that the whole reason this rumor has spread so much is that lots of people want any reason to not vote for the man and rather than actually research on him they take the first thing that sounds at all plausible and go with it. Obama sounds like Osama, so he must be just like OBL. This is ridiculous - that would be like saying because Sean Connery spells his name the same way as me, that I must be a dignified Scottish guy or he's a Christian theologian from Maine - either way it's dumb.

As for his church, the documentation says that their theology comes from James Cone's book on Black Theology, which is by far the best piece of Black liberation theology out there. It's definitely not mainstream, but it's not heretical either and has a lot of really good points in it. I'd take Cone's theology over somebody like Bishop Spong any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Lastly, why is Christian in quotation marks in the title? Just because their brand of Christianity isn't like yours doesn't make it any less Christian.

Nomad said...


The quotes are intended to AVOID endorsing Obama's brand of Christianity, or making more claim of understanding it than I have. Maybe a bad choice in retrospect (I think I'll remove them) but with good intentions. It was intended to mean "at least a nominal Christian."

CRCHAIR said...

I don't think Obama took his oath of office on a Koran. That was a congressman from Michigan I think.

CRCHAIR said...

To those of us who are evangelical Christians, most of the candidates don't seem like devoted followers of Christ. (I fully admit that that was a subjective opinion. It is just how things seem to me.) Fred Thompson, who was the favorite of many social conservatives openly admits the only time he attends church is when he visits his Mom. Unfortunately, the candidate who probably has the closest theological views to many of us, Mike Huckabee, is not as politically conservative as I would like him to be.

So we are forced to vote for the best of the available candidates. Thankfully, we are not electing a spiritual leader, but a political leader.

"Nora" said...

Ellison is from Minnesota... get it right;D