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Obama and Religion Part 2

Al Hijra
Al Hijra

Our president in prayer.

In the first part of this article, I lit your torches. Your responses flooded in stating that I am: one-sided, not supportive enough of the president, too supportive of the president, holding back, and trying to stir a hornet’s nest.
As a reminder, here is Obama and Religion Part 1
Here are just a few samples of your comments:
  • "Obama is trying to appeal to ALL religions, which is the fundamental belief of Christianity..."
  • “…you add a disclaimer to your comments by stating you hope you are not swayed by your religious beliefs. Personally, I would go one step further and let the readers know you are open-minded to all religions and not just Christianity. (I personally know) you have many friends of many different religions such as Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Jewish. “

    “Are you saying Obama should not celebrate Christmas in the White House because…of the separation of church and state? Should the Christmas tradition at the White House be changed after each election year to accommodate the religion of the president? Should it remain to accommodate the people? Or should there be an addition to accommodate Hanukkah, Kwanza, and Ramadan?”

    "Is Obama seriously trying to be open minded and entertain more than one religion or is he just bouncing from religion to religion to try to look good in the public eye?”

  • “(The article was) too formal, too bland, too proper. (You are usually) engaging, reckless and memorable.”
·         “I don't recognize Obama's authority to dictate what positions are wrong.  Certainly there are some who espouse positions of racism that are self-evidently wrong, but I'm certain Obama would also call various benign conservative viewpoints wrong as well.  It's fair for Americans to disagree over political points.  Our positions reflect our diverse backgrounds.  I'm a Republican, but I recognize that we need Democrats.  I have my own priorities, but in striving for them, I am likely to overlook someone else's needs.  So I celebrate the idea that everyone should have a voice.”
   “As a Christian I can argue--presupposing biblical accuracy--that a non-Christian is wrong in his beliefs, but I also believe certainty is a myth.  Otherwise, we wouldn't call it faith.  As a result, I cannot personally condemn a Muslim or Buddhist.  In a world that doesn't hold one faith above another, such condemnation rightly would be seen as arrogance.”
  • “…as I read it (I thought) that the author is about to come out with either a slam at all religion, or a slam at Obama for not being Christian enough. Of course that does not happen, but the language and the placement of points seem to anticipate it. That could just be my own suspicious nature about the world, especially organized religions.”
  • “You are selling snake-oil disguised as fruitcake!”
  • “Much has been made of Mr. Obama's faith (or lack thereof) but I genuinely feel it is a "straw man" argument. Raised Muslim...non practicing Christian (which is really no religion at all) takes away from the way he views religion as a leader. Our president is a product of a political machine (as were many of his predecessors) and looks at his public persona is a type of tool to promote his political aims.”
  • “The President may not have been born to a non-secular parent, but has "come to Christ" in his own way. Just because his outlook on life is decidedly logical, rather than emotional, his faith is based on an intellectual pursuit rather than blind faith. This doesn't mean that the President is less or more Christian than anyone else.”
My sincere thanks to ALL of you who wrote in or posted feedback on the article. The wide variety of your comments…IS the point of this 2 part series.
Obama is the President in a country filled with the following religious preferences: Protestantism 51.3%, Roman Catholicism 23.9%, Mormonism 1.7%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 0.7%, Orthodox Christians 0.6%, Atheists/Agnostics 16.1%, Judaism 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Islam 0.6%, Hinduism 0.4%, and “other” 1.5%.
SOURCE: 2007 Pew Research Center survey
The Obama family attends the Church of Christ which is the name of several church denominations, some of which are closely related to one another and some of which are not. It is classified as a Christian church.
So what IS a Christian? That becomes difficult to define. Even for Christians. Dr. Ray Pritchard; author, speaker, and president of Keep Believing Ministries wrote an article for in which he says “a Christian should: Believe something, follow something, and live something. Becoming a Christian doesn’t happen by accident. It requires conversion of the heart.”
Can a practicing Christian in the White House display his faith and still be a diverse representation of the country?
In the East Room of the White House, Christmas decorations  include a crèche in the East Room (despite reports that White House social secretary Desiree Rogers suggested that the Obamas were planning a "non-religious Christmas"). The crèche has been a centerpiece of the East Room Christmas décor since 1967. The 47 Baroque figures in the crèche are made of carved wood and terra cotta, were created in Naples, Italy in the late 18th century.
In the White House, there ought to be plenty there to remind the world that this is in fact a pluralistic society. "E pluribus unum" it says somewhere, stating in essence that our differences make us a strong "one," but I think the strength of that "one" comes only if we respect the differences which make us many.
So, I wish all of you who make up this melting pot of America, Season’s greetings, Happy Holidays, Blessed Bodhi Day, Happy Hanukkah, Prayers to the Virgin of Guadalupe, Santa Lucia Day, Ashura, Las Posadas, Al Hijra, Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, and a celebration of Kwanzaa.
And Peace on Earth.
God Bless us…Everyone.
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  • Paul 5 years ago

    Obama was formerly a member of the United Church of Christ - a merger of Evangelical Reformed and Congregationalist Christians - and not the "Church of Christ" which is a very different group of Christians tracing their roots back to the Restorationist movement in 19th century America.
    However, after the controversy surrounding the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama removed his membership from the United Church of Christ.
    He is currently an unaffiliated Christian, and attends an interdenominational church at Camp David led by a Southern Baptist minister.

  • rsinclair 5 years ago

    hi james,
    You ask the question:
    So what IS a Christian? That becomes difficult to define. Even for Christians. WRONG!
    So is Dr. Ray Pritchard when he writes; “a Christian should: Believe something, follow something, and live something.
    A Christian is someone in whose life, and in whose whole outlook the Lord Jesus Christ is at the centre. He sees everything in Him; starts with Him; ends with Him. For a Christian Jesus Christ has become the controlling factor everywhere. There are many religious people and religious movements, which are very active and zealous, but Jesus Christ is never mentioned by them. They talk about ‘coming to God’ and ‘listening to God’ and so on, without Jesus Christ being mentioned. That by definition i not Christianity.

    robert s

  • Tomas 5 years ago

    I had not thought about the difficulty of being the president trying to appease everyone in the country. I think the point here is "damned if you do, damned if you don't."
    With this article stirs the segregation we must get past in order to regain our position of dominance in the world. Just like in the Civil War, we are divided in half: Republicans vs. Democrats, but we are now seeing races divided again, religions divided again, and those with money vs. those without it.

    This does make me more grateful of what I have this time of year and probably more willing to help those that don't have...regardless of their race, creed or color.

    It also makes me damn happy I'm not the president.

  • Elizabeth M 5 years ago

    First, thank you James for helping me to become the Fort Bend Conservative Examiner!
    But, as always, we are going to disagree. I am afraid your liberal leanings get in the way of these writings. The president is not a religious Christian because he is trying to appeal to everyone. He is a politician running for popularity votes.

    A Christian is defined by their actions. You carefully selected an article from, but you did not cite the front page where it defines Christianity. By those applied principles, the president does not qualify. Those principles are what separates Christians from those who believe is "something". The writer of the articles, Dr. Pritchard, should not have been chosen.

    Since the United States is over 78% Christian and the "majority" rules our process...Merry Christmas should be said all month and Christianity should fill the White House.

    Sorry to be harsh and grateful to you at the same time! Elizabeth

  • CStuart 5 years ago

    But, some of these "relgious" holidays are closer to celebrations of massacres instead of worshipping God.
    If 3/4s of the country is Christian, we need to stand by wishing everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS instead of all of that other stuff. We should even consider moving the "Santa celebration" to another day so the real reason is no longer confused or hidden.

  • Sami 5 years ago

    That's it? C'mon james, u had me gunning for part II. I can read others' comments, but where's the rest of your story? You started this (great idea, by the way), now finish it. ;0

    I agree with Elizabeth we live in a Christian nation, but we are also a nation built on underdogs.

    Powell defended O as a Christian, but added something like "And if he was a Mulsim, so what?"

    Which reminds me, my ex came over to pick up our daughter and noticed I had a framed photo on my wall of a group of gals from Iran, all dressed in their black--what do you call them? Burkas? Anyway, he berated me for that. Hatred is alive & well. He went on to berate martydom, and i'm like: Have you ever read the Koran? It also says there is no compulsion in religion. So I have an Iranian penpal--so what?

    Point being, we're a melting pot, and we've always prided ourselves on that. "Give us your tired, your broken, yearning to be free..." and all that.

    You forgot winter solstice. :P

  • Sami 5 years ago

    Incidentally, "Christmas" was appropriated by the Catholic Church in an effort to do away with paganism a loooong time ago. (Same thing with Easter)

    Nowhere in the Bible does it say when JC was born--probably around spring actually becuz, correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't his parents going to pay taxes? And they did that in the spring like we do now.

    What would all the Christians say if they knew the REAL beginning of Christmas? C'mon, a tree topped w/ a five-pointed star, holly, mistle-toe (sp?). All pagan.

    But don't take my word for it; research it yourself.

    Merry christmas, er Yule.

  • Margarett 5 years ago

    Just want to assure all that we do not sell Jesus short. Our 'one' yearly holiday celebration near the end of March is all about Jesus. We value his shed blood as reconciling us to the Father, and opening up everlasting life 4 different ways. 3 resurections (1 heavenly, 2 earthly) and a live salvation.

    Judge a tree by its 'own' leaves. Please accept our literature. M

  • Margarett 5 years ago

    We being Jehovah's Witnesses.

  • Jono 5 years ago

    Well, all very interesting. Now, with their (International Governments) push towards this new world order and the subsequent control of the masses with a view towards global co-rulership on a power-sharing platform that has never been paralelled before somethings gotta give. Our identity? No. Culture? No need, just control that. Religion? Oh yes, why? because I don't even need to explain. The greatest stirrer of war, hatred etc etc has no plans in this new global arrangement so down she will go. It's in God's Hands!! Good riddence too!! The truth will prevail and those bearing the Holy Name of the one true God - Jehovah, His People have the truth about all of this. Praise Jah!

  • Steve (Stavros) 5 years ago

    Hi Jim and all,
    I was raised as a Greek Orthodox and I have studied a few things about religions around the world. I honestly do not see the point of the post. What does it matter if our President is Christian, Muslim or Jewish etc. I believe what should matter most is if he is an ethical person with values and traits to be used for the people and the pursue of their happiness. If he is a person that unites rather than divides. As an American leaving overseas I can assure you that he is so far becoming a symbol of unity, hope, leadership, piece and a representative of the majority of Americans who striving to create a better place for themselves and the generations to come. Not raise war nor exploit other nations. The real question is not his religion, as most of them preach the same core values which by the way is the right thing to do, but if he will leave up to the expectations he has laid.
    Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all