Barack Obama's Religion
I would think that in the year 2008, the religion of a presidential nominee wouldn’t matter. It seems old-fashioned to think that people would consider not voting for someone based on their religious beliefs, but this is a country that made a big deal about its first Catholic president. There is already a lot of focus on the fact that both Democratic front-runners are from minority groups – one a woman and the other African American. Hilary Clinton has to unfairly convince the American people that a woman can indeed be president, but at least she doesn’t have to defend her religious beliefs.
Barack Obama has come under religious attack based on the idea that he might be a Muslim. In a country that is supposed to provide religious freedom, this is crazy.
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What is Obama’s Religion?
Barack Obama is a Christian and has belong to the same Christian church for almost twenty years. Obama’s wesite even has a section that states:
“Barack Obama Is Not and Has Never Been a Muslim. Obama never prayed in a mosque. He has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ”.
Why the Confusion?
The Chain Email – You probably got it in your inbox one day. I know I did, but luckily I am smart enough to know that these kinds of email rarely provide facts. The email says that Obama is trying to hide his Islamic roots from the American people. It talks about how he was sworn into the Senate on the Quran, instead of the bible. Some versions of the email even showed a picture of Obama turning his back on the flag during the pledge of allegiance.
The email is a hoax and should not be treated as fact. It has seemed believable because there are some truthful details in the email, like the fact that Obama’s middle name is Hussein. I shouldn’t have to say it, but his name does not make him a terrorist. There are a lot of people in the world with this name, and it is considered a great name in many cultures (and not because of the deviant leader it is famously known in the United States for). As well, both Obama’s father and stepfather were Muslim. He lived for a few years in the largely Muslim country of Indonesia, but attended Catholic schools there.
For more debunking of this email, check out snopes.com.
Why Does it Matter?
For some people, it doesn’t matter. But, for others it does. The United States has a strong history built on Christianity. The Christian religion has played a large role in how the U.S. developed as a country, and it remains the dominant religion in this country. A lot of Americans want a Christian president to represent them because they are Christians, or follow Christian values.
However, it is important to remember that there is supposed to be a separation of church and state, so when it gets down to the nitty gritty, a leader’s religious beliefs should not affect their political decisions.
I think the big deal stems from ignorance and fear. Please don’t be offended by the term “ignorance” – it isn’t always meant as an insult. Wikipedia defines ignorance as:
“The condition of being uninformed or uneducated, lacking knowledge or information.”
The fear that Obama is a Muslim stems from people’s lack of knowledge about the religion itself, or the facts about Obama himself.