Tuesday, August 17, 2010
President Obama: Muslim Missionary?
President Obama: Muslim Missionary?
More than they have been at any other time in U.S. history, our First Amendment freedoms of speech and religion are in jeopardy. As if recently passed "hate crime" laws and a politically correct culture weren't bad enough. Now our president is using international pressure and possibly law to establish a prohibition against insulting Islam or Muslims.
Let me remind us how we got here.
Speaking for most Founding Fathers in his day, John Jay, the first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, appointed by George Washington himself, said, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."
Two hundred years later, President Barack Obama has denied America's rich Judeo-Christian heritage before the eyes and ears of other countries, as he publicly declared in Turkey on April 6, 2009, "We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation."
Then there was Cairo in June 2009, when President Obama vowed to establish "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims." He continued: "I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear."
Therein lie two of the most unique U.S. presidential religious passions and missions in the history of the U.S. First, "I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear." Second, to create a "partnership between America and Islam." (Notice the partnership is between our country and a religion, not other countries or Arab states. That's key!)
Roughly six months later, in February, President Obama appointed Rashad Hussain to serve as his special envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, an intergovernmental body of 56 Muslim countries, which also forms an official body represented in the United Nations. (Where is the same treatment from this White House for countries that uphold Judeo-Christian religions and values? Or any other religion?)
President Obama rejoiced, "I'm proud to announce today that I am appointing my special envoy to the OIC, Rashad Hussain. ... A close and trusted member of my White House staff, Rashad has played a key role in developing the partnerships I called for in Cairo."
In 2007, then-President George W. Bush explained the initial purpose for an OIC representative: "Our special envoy will listen to and learn from representatives from Muslim states and will share with them America's views and values."
But President Obama has upped the OIC ante considerably. The White House purports from its website that special envoy and hafiz Rashad Hussain "will deepen and expand the partnerships that the United States has pursued with Muslims around the world since President Obama's speech in Cairo."
Again, notice the differences between the Bush and Obama plans with the special OIC envoy, from Bush's mission to "listen to and learn from representatives" to Obama's mission to "deepen and expand the partnerships."
The world also just learned recently from the assistant secretary for public affairs in the State Department, P.J. Crowley, that the White House repeatedly has sent to the Middle East as an American ambassador of peace the Islamic fundamentalist and executive director of the ground zero mosque, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is teaching on Muslim life in America and promoting religious tolerance.
But doesn't one who called the U.S. an "accessory" to 9/11 just a few weeks after the tragic event and one who still refuses to call Hamas a foreign terrorist organization seem a strange choice for a U.S. ambassador of peace who promotes religious tolerance?
It is absolutely no surprise, therefore, though gravely unfortunate and disappointing for our commander in chief, that last Friday night, while celebrating Ramadan at a White House dinner, he shared with a gathering of Muslims that he is in favor of building the mosque near ground zero! And he repeated his strong advocacy the next day, too.
White House spokesman Bill Burton reiterated last Saturday, "What he said last night and reaffirmed today is that if a church, a synagogue or a Hindu temple can be built on a site, you simply cannot deny that right to those who want to build a mosque."
But I could not agree more with Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11: "As an Obama supporter, I really feel that he's lost sight of the germane issue, which is not about freedom of religion. It's about a gross lack of sensitivity to the 9/11 families and to the people who were lost."
And Debra Burlingame, a spokeswoman for some 9/11 families and the sister of one of the pilots killed in the attacks, summed it up perfectly: "Barack Obama has abandoned America at the place where America's heart was broken nine years ago and where her true values were on display for all to see."
President Obama is not just rebooting America's image in the Muslim world. He's deepening and expanding Islamic belief, practice and culture around the world, like a Muslim missionary.
Obama: Muslim Missionary? (Part 2)
Last week, the media, White House and nation were in a hullabaloo over a Pew Research Center poll that revealed that 1 in 5 Americans believes President Barack Obama is a Muslim.
The poll received so much attention and response that the White House released a rebuttal reiterating that President Obama is "a committed Christian."
The fact is Americans are more baffled now by Obama's personal religion than they were when he first came into office.
John Green, University of Akron politics professor and senior fellow with the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, concluded, "I haven't seen any example -- and I've been following polling of presidents for a long time now -- of where we've seen increased confusion about religiosity the longer they're in office."
With all the confusion and quandaries about Obama's religion lately, I rearranged the order of this four-part series to detail today exactly what President Obama believes, including his beliefs about prayer, heaven, the Bible and the person of Jesus, based upon a rare in-depth interview by a religious reporter for a major newspaper publication.
To me, this interview -- which took place March 27, 2004, when Obama was a candidate for the U.S. Senate -- is by far the best documentation of Obama's faith. In it, Obama gave often lengthy responses about his faith and practice to a series of questions from then-Chicago Sun-Times religion reporter Cathleen Falsani, though he often seemed confused and even obtuse in his replies.
To the question "do you pray often?" Obama replied, "Uh, yeah, I guess I do."
When asked whether he had read the Bible, Obama responded: "Absolutely. (But) these days I don't have much time for reading or reflection, period. ... I'll be honest with you; I used to all the time, in a fairly disciplined way. But during the course of this campaign, I don't."
In answering reporter Falsani's question about whether there was a role model who combined everything Obama said he wanted to do in his life and faith, Obama's first response was, "I think Gandhi is a great example of a profoundly spiritual man."
Gandhi? A Hindu? How about Jesus, seeing as Obama claims to be a "committed Christian"?
When Obama was asked pointedly, "Who's Jesus to you?" he immediately responded with a nervous laugh, followed by a rather sarcastic "Right." He proceeded, "Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he's also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher. And he's also a wonderful teacher."
Could that "reaching something higher" possibly be heaven?
In answering the question on whether he believed in a literal heaven, Obama retorted back: "Do I believe in the harps and clouds and wings? ... What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don't presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die."
Obama went on to explain his faith in these all-encompassing ways: "I am a Christian. ... On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii, where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world. ... I believe that there are many paths to the same place. ... I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. ... I'm a big believer in tolerance. ... I'm suspicious of too much certainty. ... There's an enormous amount of damage done around the world in the name of religion and certainty. ... I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell. ... That's just not part of my religious makeup."
So it's no wonder that when asked to describe the moment at which he went forward in response to an altar call in his and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright's church in 1987 or 1988, Obama said, "I think it was just a moment to certify or publicly affirm a growing faith in me."
It is also no wonder that Americans are confused about Obama's religion, because he himself sounds confused about it.
Remember, this is the president who emphatically stated to the Middle Eastern world that it is part of his "responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear."
Yet on June 28, 2006, two years after his interview with Falsani, then-Sen. Obama publicly perpetuated negative stereotypes of Christianity. From the pulpit of a church, speaking to a live audience about religious diversity, Obama sarcastically belittled America's Judeo-Christian heritage and degraded its adherents with trite remarks typical of any atheistic antagonist: "Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation"; "the dangers of sectarianism are greater than ever"; "religion doesn't allow for compromise"; "the Sermon on the Mount (is) a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application"; and "to base our policymaking on such commitments (as moral absolutes) would be a dangerous thing."
And the whole time I consider Obama's anti-Christian diatribes and religious rubbish, I keep coming back to the words of President George Washington in his presidential Farewell Address, advice our current president would be wise, especially now, to heed: "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them."
"A committed Christian"?
I guess I completely don't understand what the word "committed" means.
Obama: Muslim Missionary? (Part 3)
"I can't spend all of my time with my birth certificate plastered on my forehead," President Barack Obama told Brian Williams in an interview Sunday night on NBC's "Nightly News," reacting to the question of why a large percentage of Americans have serious doubts about his Christian faith.
In Part 1, I began to demonstrate how the president is using U.S. special envoy Rashad Hussain, his own presidential position and others in his administration to deepen and expand the partnership between the United States and Islam.
In Part 2, I detailed President Obama's real spiritual beliefs based upon a rare in-depth interview by a religious reporter for a major newspaper publication, including his beliefs about prayer, sin, heaven, the Bible and Jesus.
Now, in Part 3, I will demonstrate how President Obama categorically has been prejudicial in his treatment of Christianity versus Islam.
My question is: In a 2009 speech in Cairo, President Obama committed to "fight against negative stereotypes" of Islam "wherever they appear," so why doesn't he also consider it his responsibility to do that for Christianity, especially because the majority of Americans still profess affinity with Christendom and the White House insists Obama is "a committed Christian"?
In just the past few months, why didn't the president step forward and stand up publicly for any of the following Christians who had their First Amendment rights trampled upon by others, just as he did for Muslims who are attempting to build the ground zero mosque?
--Why doesn't the president stand up for the rights of Christian organizations, whose right to hire same-faith or same-mission-minded employees is protected under the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment but who are having to urge Congress to reject legislation that would prohibit them from hiring only fellow believers?
--Why didn't the president stand up for the rights of the North Carolina pastor who was fired from his duties as an honorary chaplain of the state General Assembly after he closed a prayer "in the name of Jesus"?
--Why didn't the president stand up for the rights of those in Utah who erected 14 memorial crosses on highways for state troopers killed in the line of duty but who were told by federal judges the crosses are to come down because they are unconstitutional?
--Why didn't the president stand up for the human rights of the Christian missionaries and medical team in Afghanistan, including six Americans, to practice medicine and their faith, even after they were murdered by Islamic extremists? Wouldn't other medical missionaries in Afghanistan appreciate Obama's defense more now than ever?
--Why didn't the president stand up for the four missionaries arrested at an Arab festival in Dearborn, Mich., just for exercising their freedom of speech and religion?
--Why didn't the president stand up for the rights of the Rev. Franklin Graham, who is the son of the Rev. Billy Graham and was disinvited from a Pentagon prayer service on the National Day of Prayer because of his "extremist" Christian views and values?
--Why didn't the president stand up for the rights of the Christian student who was booted from her graduate counseling program at a public university over her belief and conviction that homosexuality is morally wrong?
--Why didn't the president stand up for the three Christian evangelists who were arrested for sharing the gospel and singing hymns on a public sidewalk outside a mosque in Philadelphia?
--And mostly, why didn't the president stand up for the rights of the Greek Orthodox Church, one of whose churches was the only church destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks and whose members have been frustrated and fouled by New York officials, who virtually have turned their backs on the reconstruction of the church near ground zero?
Meanwhile the Obama administration's pro-Islamic mission marches on, as even The New York Times chronicled in its multi-page report "White House Quietly Courts Muslims in U.S."
Further proof just came again, when the State Department reported, under the guise of "Cultural Affairs" and "Cultural Preservation 2010 Awards," that it is giving away U.S. taxpayer funds to 63 foreign historical and cultural sites in 55 nations, including $50,000 for an Islamic monument in India, $76,000 for a 16th-century mosque in China, $67,000 for a mosque in Pakistan and $77,000 to restore minarets (tall slender towers attached to mosques) in Nigeria and Mauritania. (To be fair, it also is giving money to restore early Christian frescoes in Greece, 17th- and 18th-century church paintings in Peru, etc., too.) Should the State Department be funding any of these religious quests, especially when the U.S. is broke?
If a self-proclaimed non-Muslim president would fight repeatedly for Muslims' religious rights to the degree that our president has, don't you think "a committed Christian" president would fight at least once for any antagonistic oppression of Christian faith and practice? Yet on no occasion since taking office has President Obama stood up publicly for a Christian individual, group, church, act or event that was being opposed or oppressed by others.
Is it any surprise that a recent poll shows an increase in Jewish and Catholic citizens who are inclined to vote Republican in November?
All of Obama's pro-Islamic actions make me ponder the application of the verse in the Book of James that says, "Faith without works is dead."
Even more apropos might be Quran 4:76: "Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah."
Chuck Norris is a columnist and impossible to kill.
Posted by Brett at 9:46 AM