Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The President, Christianity, and Islam

Some bloggers are taking the president to task for failing to issue an Easter proclamation. The “Proclamations” page of the White House website does not include a 2011 item on Easter, but as an earlier post noted, the site does contain text and video of his remarks at last week’s Easter prayer breakfast:

And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world -- past, present and future -- and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection...This magnificent grace, this expansive grace, this “Amazing Grace” calls me to reflect. And it calls me to pray. It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short. It calls me to praise God for the gift of our son -- his Son and our Savior.

Religion continues to be a source of debate and controversy, as Christianity Today reports:

Samaritan's Purse president Franklin Graham addressed questions about President Obama's birthplace and religious beliefs on ABC's This Week that aired on Sunday. White House spokesman Jay Carney chided Graham for his comments after Graham told host Christiane Amanpour that there were still unanswered questions.

"I would just say I think it's unfortunate that a religious leader would choose Easter Sunday to make preposterous charges," Carney said at the end of yesterday's press briefing.

Graham, who told Christianity Today that his ABC interview was taped a week before Easter, stood by his comments. "I respond[ed] to a question. I'm not going out making speeches about where the President was born. I could care less," he said. "I'll continue to answer reporters' questions."

In his interview, Graham expanded on the president's religious beliefs:

Richard Land says that the idea that Obama is a Muslim or is not born in the U.S. is "flat nuts"? How would you respond to his comments?

There are two issues. I do not believe for an instant that Obama is a Muslim. He has said he's not a Muslim. I take him at his word. People say he's not born in the United States. I take it on the word that they properly vetted him before they swore him into office. I'm sure somebody had to look at his credentials. I'm not saying the President is a Muslim, never said he's a Muslim. He says he's a Christian.

There is the issue of his birth. Under Shari'ah law, Islamic law, which is not legal in the United States, he was born a Muslim because his father is a Muslim. That's why [Muammar al-Gaddafi] calls him "my son." The President has renounced Islam. He says he believes in Jesus Christ. To the Muslim world that's under Shari'ah law, which we're not, they see him as a lost son. They see him as a wayward child. Shari'ah law is not legal in the United States. You cannot beat your wife. If you think your daughter has been immoral, you cannot kill her. Shari'ah law is the law of Islam and it is not recognized in this country.

You're saying he was born a Muslim because his father is a Muslim?

All throughout the Muslim world, every person whose father is a Muslim is recognized under Islamic law as a Muslim.

A 2007 Pew Research poll suggests why the issue is a potential problem for the president:

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