Wash. Times forwarded distortion of Obama's "Christian nation" remarks

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

The Washington Times uncritically quoted Wendy Wright distorting President Obama's "Christian nation" comments, taking them out of context to claim he rejected "the concept that America is a spiritual nation."

In a May 6 article reporting that "[a]ll Mr. Obama will do for the National Day of Prayer, which is Thursday, is sign a proclamation honoring the day," The Washington Times uncritically quoted Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, distorting comments President Obama made on April 6, taking them out of context to claim he rejected "the concept that America is a spiritual nation." The Times wrote: "Referencing a remark the president made at a recent press conference in Turkey that Americans 'do not consider ourselves a Christian nation,' [Wright] added: 'That was projecting his own beliefs, but not reflecting what the majority of Americans feel. It's almost like Obama is trying to remake America into his own image. This is ... a rejection of the concept that America is a spiritual nation and its foundation is Judeo-Christian.' " In fact, as Media Matters for America has noted, Obama was not repudiating the presence of Christianity or religion in the United States, as the context of his comments make clear; rather, he was making a broader point about the ecumenical nature of the country.

Indeed, after recognizing earlier in the speech that the United States is "a predominantly Christian nation," Obama stated: "[O]ne of the great strengths of the United States is -- although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation; we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values."

In the article, headlined "Obama to be prayer day no-show," the Times also relayed Wright's assertion that Obama's decision not to host a government service for the National Day of Prayer evinces his "lack of faith." As Media Matters noted, during the presidential campaign, the Times reprinted portions of an Investor's Business Daily editorial smearing Obama's faith, including the editorial's charge that "[a]t the core of the Democratic front-runner's faith ... is African nativism."

From the May 6 Washington Times article:

President Clinton did not host any special observances, according to the National Day of Prayer task force.

Some evangelicals said they were not surprised by Mr. Obama's decision.

"For those of us who have our doubts about Obama's faith, no, we did not expect him to have the service," said Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America. "But as president, he should put his own lack of faith aside and live up to the office."

Referencing a remark the president made at a recent press conference in Turkey that Americans "do not consider ourselves a Christian nation," she added: "That was projecting his own beliefs, but not reflecting what the majority of Americans feel. It's almost like Obama is trying to remake America into his own image. This is not a rejection of Shirley Dobson; it's a rejection of the concept that America is a spiritual nation and its foundation is Judeo-Christian."

Posted In
Diversity & Discrimination, Religion
Network/Outlet
The Washington Times
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