Jewish Journal

Obama’s Christian faith back in foreground

by Brad A. Greenberg

December 16, 2010 | 8:09 pm

I know I’ve been a little MIA the past few days, but now I’m just one very long seminar paper (on how and why Congress should save the news gatherers) away from being half way done with law school. That loud exhale you just heard? It was me, though, to be sure, the life of a student is not so bad.

In the meantime what did I miss? Well, it looks like President Obama, whose Christian faith was a constant question during his presidential campaign and then again after he moved into the White House but elected against joining a Washington church, has decided to again embrace the Christian label.

This headline from the Religion News Service—“Obama, in shadow of worrisome polls, embraces `Christian’ label”—has just the right balance of skepticism and cynicism. Here’s a snippet of the story:

What changed? For one, three separate polls in the past year have found that one in four Americans think the president is a Muslim, 43 percent don’t know what faith he follows, and four in 10 Protestant pastors don’t consider Obama a Christian.

Stephen Mansfield, author of “The Faith of Barack Obama,” said the polls “had to be a wake-up call to the White House.”

Though Obama has spoken of his faith numerous times, saying he prays daily and talking at Easter about how “as Christians, we believe that redemption can be delivered by faith in Jesus Christ,” his most recent language is even more open, more personal.

“I think he’s just bringing more of himself to the game, so to speak,” said Mansfield. “It’s not as though he’s changed religions or something. He’s just being open about it.”

As I mentioned, Obama’s occasionally Christian tone goes back to his presidential campaign and likely has been resurrected—ahem—by the lingering belief among a fifth of Americans that Obama is actually Muslim.

Obama’s theology, though, hasn’t always lined up with Christian beliefs, such as this statement in September. He also got in trouble twice in about a month for omitting “creator” from the line in the Declaration of Independence about all humans being endowed with inalienable rights. One of those is in the above video.

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