A new Pew Poll shows that 18 percent of Americans hold the belief that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, up sharply from 11 percent in a similar poll taken in March 2009. More interesting, 43 percent of Americans are not sure of the President’s religion.
Only 34 percent of Americans believe that President Obama is a Christian. The survey was completed before the controversy over the 9/11 Mosque took center stage.
“The view that Obama is a Muslim is more widespread among his political opponents than among his backers. Roughly a third of conservative Republicans (34%) say Obama is a Muslim, as do 30% of those who disapprove of Obama’s job performance. But even among many of his supporters and allies, less than half now say Obama is a Christian. Among Democrats, for instance, 46% say Obama is a Christian, down from 55% in March 2009.”
This sort of ambiguity about a President’s religious faith is unique in American history. This has not been a question raised about past American presidents, even those who were controversial. George W. Bush was known as a fervent believer, something which a few of his political opponents found disturbing. President Clinton made sure that he was photographed outside church every Sunday, the Bible under his arm, the Preacher standing next to him.
Belief about Obama’s religion seems to relate to judgments on his political philosophy and policies.
“The belief that Obama is a Muslim has increased most sharply among Republicans (up 14 points since 2009), especially conservative Republicans (up 16 points). But the number of independents who say Obama is a Muslim has also increased significantly (up eight points). There has been little change in the number of Democrats who say Obama is a Muslim, but fewer Democrats today say he is a Christian (down nine points since 2009).”
“Beliefs about Obama’s religion are closely linked to political judgments about him. Those who say he is a Muslim overwhelmingly disapprove of his job performance, while a majority of those who think he is a Christian approve of the job Obama is doing. Those who are unsure about Obama’s religion are about evenly divided in their views of his performance.”
How people came to believe the President is a Muslim is also interesting:
“When asked how they learned about Obama’s religion in an open-ended question, 60% of those who say Obama is a Muslim cite the media. Among specific media sources, television (at 16%) is mentioned most frequently. About one-in-ten (11%) of those who say Obama is a Muslim say they learned of this through Obama’s own words and behavior.”
One suspects that the President’s unusual name, Barack Hussein Obama, also contributes to the impression that he is a Muslim.
The notion that the President of the United States is a Muslim, even though he has never visited a Mosque publicly as a worshiper, never been seen to pray the regulation five times a day, and has been known to take alcohol from time to time, is remarkable. Unlike Clinton, Obama has not been seen attending Christian services as President. Nor does he wear a Christian faith on his sleeve, like President Bush.
The idea of Barack Obama as a Muslim is very strange also considering that one of the great controversies of the 2008 campaign was his affiliation with Jeremiah Wright, whose church in Chicago the Obama family attended for many years; Wright married the Obamas, baptized their children, and delivered sermons that were often spiced with the most vile, anti-American rhetoric imaginable.
The conclusion one should draw from all of this is that of course President Obama is not a Muslim. He is not even a very good Christian. The Islamic faith, properly understood, is far more demanding than most Christian denominations.
Growing Number of Americans Say Obama is a Muslim, Pew Forum, August 18th, 2010
Barack Obama’s Hate Mongering Pastor–Jeremiah Wright, Mark R. Whittington, Associated Content, March 14th, 2008