In the wake of his weekend rally, Glenn Beck kept up the drumbeat of criticism about President Obama's religion, calling it a "perversion" and saying that America "isn't recognizing his version of Christianity," which Beck characterized as "liberation theology."
Despite critique of Obama's Christianity, a recent poll showed that nearly 20% of Americans believe falsely that the president is Muslim.
Why is there so much attention on Obama's religion? Does it matter what religion the president is?
Elizabeth Tenety on August 30, 2010 10:05 AM
In all this rhetoric the focus seems to be on the religious identity rather than the governance actions that President Obama or for that matter any leader is actually taking.....It is in the country's best interest to leverage this talent and creatively develop solutions to strengthen America. We can learn a lesson from some segments of Corporate America which are able to encourage diverse thinking, are able to harness diverse workforce exceedingly well, resulting in higher productivity through improved work environments.
Posted by Anju Bhargava, on September 5, 2010 1:59 AM
Faithlessness and nihilism are the greatest threats to humanity, and a leader who believes in nothing, or establishes a religion to serve himself or his state, becomes Hitler, Stalin, Mao or Pol Pot; who together murdered and starved over one hundred million human beings.
Posted by Shmully Hecht, on September 3, 2010 4:16 PM
Most American Christians are thankful to live in a land where they can practice their faith. They wish for a government small enough to make social stability possible, because it does not make religious or philosophical decisions best left to families, religious groups, and societies. Beck mostly gets this and so, hard as it is for an academic to admit, Beck is mostly right.
Posted by John Mark Reynolds, on September 2, 2010 1:51 PM
We are a religious country, but our religious choice is the business of no one. Place a hand on a Bible, a Qu'ran, a Bhagavad Gita when swearing in for elected office--it matters not--as the oath is to the Constitution of the United States of America that never once speaks of a partisan god.
Posted by Aseem Shukla, on September 2, 2010 10:26 AM
I am not uneasy about President Obama's religion because I suspect he is a practicing Muslim. I am uneasy about his religion because I see a disconnect between the Christian faith he professes and his own words and actions.
Posted by Danielle Bean, on September 2, 2010 7:56 AM
Make no mistake. Beck and his ilk may be politically motivated, but they actually believe that President Obama's religious faith (or what they think it to be) is a threat to American freedom and democracy.
Posted by Charles C. Haynes, on August 31, 2010 3:33 PM
I hesitate to criticize Beck's faith, but his belief that Christianity is about "individual salvation" is actually counter to the faith of millions of Christians who see the Church as the "ark of salvation" and that "personal salvation" is itself a perversion of the Christianity of Acts 2 and the earliest years of Christianity. Ask any Amish person.
By feeding the lie that he is Muslim Mr. Obama's opponents are offending against the truth in two ways, both by accusing Mr. Obama of being less than honest and by implying that there is something wrong with being Muslim. Neither of those things are true.
Posted by Steven Wernick, on August 30, 2010 5:48 PM
Obama is just more of a realist than the liberation theologians. He has a more critical view of human nature and its possibilities, both for good and for ill. He is, in a startling way, very much a Niebuhrian Christian realist. It matters that we know that about Barack Obama.
Posted by Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite, on August 30, 2010 3:49 PM
I think exploration of the whole notion of theological "perversions" is in order, especially with reference to the bigoted stereotypes applied to Glenn Beck's own denomination: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Posted by Mathew N. Schmalz, on August 30, 2010 3:16 PM
The president took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. That's the only religious commitment our Founding Fathers demanded, and until people learn to trust their wisdom on this matter, it's disingenuous to pretend to represent any of their other values.
As an African American woman, I rejoice that there is liberation theology. History shows us that the oppressors have done much harm to many people, making sure that they've been kept in their place so that the oppressors could not only maintain their power but gain more, at the expense of "the least of these."
Posted by Susan K. Smith, on August 30, 2010 1:51 PM
We should judge our candidates on their political positions, not on their professed religious beliefs. But that may be a dream of mine more difficult to achieve than the dreams of Martin Luther King and Glenn Beck.
Posted by Herb Silverman, on August 30, 2010 12:56 PM
It is passing strange for Glenn Beck to describe President Obama's theological views as a "perversion of the gospel" given his conversion to Mormonism. Mormon theology is irreconcilably at odds with orthodox Christian theology at several crucial points.
Posted by Jason Poling, on August 30, 2010 11:54 AM