I think some of the pundits are missing one of the points in this confusion over Obama’s religion. Here is a sentence in the Washington Post article by Hillel Italie, titled: “Obama a Muslim? Rumors gain steam, defying facts:”
“Nearly one in five people, or 18 percent, said they think Obama is Muslim, up from the 11 percent who said so in March 2009, according to a poll released Thursday. The proportion who correctly say he is a Christian is just 34 percent, down from 48 percent in March of last year.”
I’d like to deal with the 66 percent who aren’t sure he’s a Christian, rather than the 18 percent who think he’s a Muslim. And I’d like to question whether or not it is really correct to say he is a Christian. You can get 18% of the people to believe almost anything. Shucks, at least that many believe the economy is getting better. But the 66 percent, we need to deal with that.
Here is the backdrop. Obama attended Jeremiah Wright’s church for twenty years, but told us he never heard any of those anti-American rants that the reverend is now famous for. He said he’s opposed to gay marriage. Then he promised that no one who earned less than $250,000 a year would see their taxes go up one dime. He said that with the health care plan passed by Congress, that costs would go down, it wouldn’t add a dime to the deficit, and everyone would be able to keep their existing health care plan. He says that the economy is getting better, border enforcement has never been stronger, and he has no intention of growing the government. All of these statements are so distantly removed from reality that many of us now stare blankly into the distance whenever he speaks.
Mind you, the question asked in the survey was not, “What religion does Obama profess?” The question they asked was, “Do you happen to know what Barack Obama’s religion is?” Here is the point. I know Obama professes Christianity, that his spokesperson claims he prays every day and gets these little devotionals on his Blackberry or whatever. I know all that. But I do not know what religion he actually is. And I think that few people really do.
Here are the numbers that document the confusion. In October, 2008, at the height of his campaign, 51% said he was a Christian, and 32% didn’t know. After he had been president for two months, in March 2009, 48% said he was Christian, and 34% didn’t know. He has been president now for over a year and a half. Now, 34% say he is a Christian. That is down 14 points. And 43% don’t know. That is up 11 points. In other words, the better we know him, the more confused we are.
Count me with those who don’t know. And Hillel, I don’t think you know, either.