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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Obama's Christian/Muslim Problem

Trying to prove he's NOT a Muslim only makes Muslims more angry at one who they view as defecting from the faith!

I wasn't going to bring the subject of Obama's faith, or lack of it, up. It's a personal matter for each person and we are not in a position to judge. But the new Pew poll which shows a dramatic increase in the number of people who think Obama is a Muslim and an even more dramatic decrease in the number of people who think he is a Christian raises a political issue that I feel we should address.

It's highly likely that this shift in public opinion, along with Obama's continuing drop in overall approval, has political strategists in the White House very concerned. Pity these folks didn't think to step in before Obama made his speech declaring support for the rights of those who wish to build a mosque at Ground Zero or Obama's apologies to the Muslim world in his Cairo speech last year or how Obama ordered the chief of NASA to perform outreach to the Muslin world.

Obama has attended church publicly only three times since he's been president. Again, that's his choice. But what do you bet we suddenly see him and the First Family attending services in the near future? Perhaps even while on vacation in Martha's Vineyard?

Forget for a moment how such a crass political move might be viewed in this country. Consider how it might be viewed in the Muslim world. Might such a public display of Obama's professed Christianity offend Muslims overseas who are already expressing growing dissatisfaction with him?

Worse still, won't radical Islamists have even more reason to hate Obama is he starts wearing his Christianity on his sleeve? Consider this 2008 op-ed by Edward Luttwak in the New York Times:

As the son of the Muslim father, Senator Obama was born a Muslim under Muslim law as it is universally understood. It makes no difference that, as Senator Obama has written, his father said he renounced his religion. Likewise, under Muslim law based on the Koran his mother’s Christian background is irrelevant.

Of course, as most Americans understand it, Senator Obama is not a Muslim. He chose to become a Christian, and indeed has written convincingly to explain how he arrived at his choice and how important his Christian faith is to him.

His conversion, however, was a crime in Muslim eyes; it is “irtidad” or “ridda,” usually translated from the Arabic as “apostasy,” but with connotations of rebellion and treason.
Obama's left with the choice of continuing to alienate an ever larger sector of the American electorate who think he's a Muslim, or becoming more public about his Christian faith in which case he alienates Muslims.

This tricky conundrum could have been avoided if Obama had steered clear from putting himself in the middle of so many controversial issues. But now that he's staked out that ground, it will be interesting to see how he defends it!

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