Following polls showing that an increasing number of Americans wrongly believe President Obama is a Muslim, right-wing media figures have used the opportunity to continue to sow doubts about Obama's religious convictions.
Right-wing media seize on opportunity to further attack Obama's religious beliefs
Limbaugh: "Obama says he's a Christian, but where's the evidence?" On his August 19 radio show, Rush Limbaugh used Pew's findings to repeat the claim that NASA administrator Charles Bolden's recent comments on Muslim outreach show Obama "turned NASA over to a Muslim outreach program." Limbaugh went on to say: "The guy holds an Easter egg roll -- the White House website promoting the Easter egg roll does not mention Jesus or Christ. It talks about environmentalism. Obama says he's a Christian, but where's the evidence?" Limbaugh also brought up Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church to cast doubt on Obama's Christian faith, saying: "Reverend Wright's church is a weird brand of Christianity. The Reverend Wright's church -- black theology is what comes out of that pulpit, which is not exactly mainstream Christianity."
Beck on Obama: "I think he is a Christian that Christians don't recognize." On his August 19 radio show, Glenn Beck addressed the findings of the Time poll, saying: "Here's the problem with this. I find that a disturbing poll, because I don't think -- I think that is the easy answer for people who are like, 'Well, it doesn't make sense. Nothing makes sense.' And I think the easy thing is to say, 'I think he's a Muslim.' I don't -- I really don't. I think he is a Christian that Christians don't recognize." Beck went on to claim that because "social justice activists" in the media have so distorted Christianity, "nobody is explaining why Barack Obama doesn't feel right." Beck also used the fact that Obama attended Wright's church to further confuse the issue, saying of Obama: "When he did get Jesus, he got it from Jeremiah Wright. This is liberation theology. ... So the story of Jesus takes on a whole different light."
Beck: Obama's comments show "contempt for the Scriptures." On his August 19 show, Beck and his co-hosts attacked Obama for comments he made about the Bible that they said show "a lack of understanding" and that are "not Christianity." Beck went on to claim that Obama's comments are "such a distortion" and "shows contempt for the Scriptures." Beck added that Obama's Christianity "is again liberation theology," and that his comments were "his understanding of distorted Christianity."
Hannity guest Brigitte Gabriel: "I cannot speak on what god he prays to in his private space," but "all the signs show that he has a very soft spot for the Islamic world." On the August 19 edition of his Fox News show, Sean Hannity hosted Brigitte Gabriel to discuss the polls. Gabriel declared (via Nexis): "Finally people are paying attention to things after the fog has been lifted off of their eyes as to who did we really elect as president. The signs and the information were all out there. President Obama was born into the Islamic faith. Raised as a Muslim as a child. To a father who was a Muslim. ... He attended Islamic schools. I cannot speak on what god he prays to in his private space. I -- I'm not -- I cannot judge him for who he worships. But all the signs shows that he has a very soft spot... for the Islamic world." Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft linked to Gabriel's claims, and following a video clip of her remarks, wrote, "A growing number of Americans believe Obama is Muslim."
Ace of Spades: "Obama has made no effort to be seen publicly practicing his faith." In an August 19 Ace of Spades post, Drew M. wrote: "It's obviously dangerous to think you can know what's in another person's heart but I don't think Obama is any more of a Muslim than he is a Christian." He went on to question Obama's faith in general and concluded that "Obama's religion is the state." From his post:
It's obviously dangerous to think you can know what's in another person's heart but I don't think Obama is any more of a Muslim than he is a Christian.
You can't have spent all that time in Jeremiah Wright's church and really expect mainstream American Christians to say you share their values. Despite all his talk about wanting to find a local church to attend in DC, he never did. The fact is, Obama has made no effort to be seen publicly practicing his faith. Again, the measure of one's faith isn't their public professions of it (lot's of bad people sit in the front row of pews every Sunday around the world) but when you're President, what you say and do matter in the forming of the public's opinion of who they think you are.
Again, with the caveat it's impossible to know what is in the heart of another, I think Obama's religion is the state. He's a leftist. Religion is a tool to use in gaining and holding power but in the end it's not the guiding light of his life.
I think the reason he's seen as a Muslim is because of his family history and it's the kind of religion a leftist would be more in tune with in America
Add all that to his constant talk about the need to reach out to the Muslim world and his distortions about the importance of Islam in America to his lack of mainstream Christian background and, well, this is what you get.
RedState: "Obama believes in one thing: that he should get what he wants." An August 19 Red State post by contributor "streiff" discussed a Washington Post article on the Pew poll. Streiff said of Obama's religion:
I don't know what Obama's religion is and don't much care. Obama's quarter century in a front row seat in the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's house of hate isn't any more dispositive of his Christianity than Bubba attending Matt Hale's Church of the Creator but that doesn't make him a muslim. If you're predisposed to believe he is muslim, you will always fall back on the claim that he's practicing taqiyya. Personally, I think Obama believes in one thing: that he should get what he wants. He sat through Wright's racemongering Sabbath after Sabbath because it brought him influence. If he thought becoming a Buddhist would guarantee his election in 2012, we'd see him boarding Air Force One with a shaved head and wearing a saffron robe. He is his own monotheistic religion.
Confederate Yankee: "Yes, Obama Was a Muslim. ... I don't think he's a Muslim now, any more than he is a Christian." An August 20 Confederate Yankee post claimed that following the release of the polls, "Apologists everywhere were quick to lash out and claim he is a Christian, and some claim he was never a Muslim. That isn't true." Confederate Yankee went on to cite a 2007 Los Angeles Times article that reported that Obama regularly prayed at a mosque as a child. As Media Matters has noted, this claim was debunked by a Chicago Tribune investigation which reported: "Interviews with dozens of former classmates, teachers, neighbors and friends show that Obama was not a regular practicing Muslim when he was in Indonesia." Confederate Yankee concluded:
I don't think he is a Muslim now, any more than he is a Christian (the black liberation theology he exposed himself to at Trinity under Rev. Jeremiah Wright is hybrid of Marxist political beliefs and black nationalism cloaked in Christian trappings). If he were honest, Barack Obama would identify himself as non-religious.
But he lies when he claims he was never a Muslim.
Right-wing media have relentlessly driven Obama-Muslim falsehood
Right-wing media have relentlessly pushed the myth that Obama is a Muslim. In the past two years, the conservative media have continued to lie about Obama's personal history, dishonestly distorting his faith to claim that he is in fact a Muslim and not a Christian. Those untruths have run the gamut from outright claiming that Obama is a Muslim to alleging that he "is a Christian that Christians don't recognize"; from using his family and upbringing in Indonesia to portray him as an "Islamist" to claiming he has an agenda that shows he has a "preference of Islam over Christianity"; and from distorting comments Obama or his administration has made to picking out symbols associated with his administration to perpetuate the lie about his faith.