Obama's religion matters to him
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?
Let's see: "Judge not that ye be not judged." "The Lord has sent me to announce freedom for prisoners, to give sight to the blind, to free everyone who suffers, and to proclaim the Jubilee Year." "Love your enemies and do good to those who despitefully use you." I wonder what parts of those proclamations of Jesus Christ Glenn Beck doesn't understand. Or perhaps he sees them as perversions of Christianity.
Or let's even try this one on, a passage from the Prophet Micah revered by Christians: "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with G-d." Maybe that sounds too much like "liberation theology" for Beck, and it should be excised from scripture. For that matter, how about tossing all scripture that condemns the oppression of the poor and indicates that all G-d will be interested in on Judgement Day is how we treated the "least of these"?
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.
I certainly hope that President Obama's religion matters, but as my wife blurted out when I read her this week's question, "Of course it matters - to him! In such a responsible position he needs the solace of religious faith." But should it matter to the rest of us? If he tried to impose his religious beliefs as a Christian on the nation, then, yes; it would matter. It would be a violation of our Constitution. In that category, I don't think Obama is whom we ought to fear!
But I do see the influence of his religious faith on his policies: Jesus made a primary focus of his earthly ministry on healing. The President's keen intereset in health care is consistent with that. And while I disagree with his prosecution of wars in foreign lands, I believe his desire to seek peace in the Middle East is motivated at least in part by the One who said "blessed are the peacemakers." His reliance on prayer and his desire for worship in community are consistent with Christian emphases - and I believe they strengthen him as a leader overwhelmed by the burdens of the Office. I am glad he has that solace.
And let's not forget that he and his wife have sent their children to a Quaker school! The values of a Quaker education: direct and immediate access to G-d as a Light within, integrity, community, equality, peace, and simplicity are all drawn from the Sermon on the Mount and other Christian teachings.
I am old enough to remember when John F. Kennedy's religion scared the dickens out of the Nativist Hoosiers among whom I lived. We feared that he would call up the Vatican every day to get his marching orders. Heck, we doubted even that he was Christian! After all, the Protestant theology I was raised in taught that Catholicism was a "perversion" of Christianity!
I trust that in a few years we will be done with the nonsense of such as Glenn Beck and others who try to make political hay out of fanning the flames of bigotries that masquerade in the guise of concern for religious orthodoxy. There is One who is the arbiter of what resides in the human heart, and, whatever their ratings, it isn't Fox News or those trying, camel like, to squeeze through the eye of a needle with all the wealth gained from plying their views to a gullible public.
August 30, 2010; 8:43 PM ET
Save & Share:
Previous: The president's religion is his business, not ours | Next: It's unconstitutional!
Posted by: job22 | September 3, 2010 9:02 AM
Report Offensive Comment
Posted by: EvilOverlord | September 2, 2010 7:24 AM
Report Offensive Comment
The comments to this entry are closed.