President Obama’s Christianity

Cathleen Falsani has recently republished the full transcript of an hour long interview with candidate Barack Obama about his faith. The information is not new, but it is relevant to recent conversations on the topic of President Obama’s Christianity. The interview took place in 2004 when Obama was still a state senator in Illinois. It was a couple days after Obama had clinched the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that he eventually won, and four months before he was introduced to the rest of the country in his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. The interview focuses entirely on Obama’s faith, and I think it opens a wide window on the version of Christianity that he professes.

In short, though candidate Obama professes to be a Christian, his beliefs are that of a theological liberal. Here’s a summary with some quotes:

  • He believes that “there are many paths to the same place,” and he doesn’t believe that God would “consign four-fifths of the world to hell” for not believing the gospel.
  • When asked about his belief in the afterlife, he says he doesn’t know if there is one.
  • Obama defines “sin” as “being out of alignment with my values.”
  • Obama says that one need not embrace “Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and savior” to avoid judgment.
  • When asked “Who’s Jesus to you,” what Obama didn’t say is as important as what he did say. He confesses Jesus to be a “historical figure” and “wonderful teacher” but says nothing about Jesus being a Savior, Messiah, or Son of God.
  • He confesses that he doesn’t necessarily subscribe to his own church’s “set of doctrines.”

I do not believe that President Obama is a Muslim. Those who suggest otherwise are not being very serious in my view. He has given every indication over the years that he is a liberal Christian, which is to say that he denies many essential doctrines of the Christian faith and embraces other ideas that are incompatible with the Christianity of the Bible.

Read the whole thing here.

[Cathleen Falsani appeared on CNN last year to discuss the interview. See below.]

69 Responses to President Obama’s Christianity

  1. Daniel February 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Right now I am in the middle of reading J. Gresham Machen’s book Christianity and Liberalism, which makes this discussion particularly interesting. I would recommend that book to anyone who wants to sort out the differences between Protestant Liberalism and historic, biblical Christianity.

    • Daniel February 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm #

      Machen’s (short) book deals with a lot of the issues in this comment stream. Here’s a link where it can be read free online: http://www.reformed.org/books/chr_and_lib/

      Or, it’s 99 cents on Kindle if you prefer.

  2. JP Sloan February 24, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    Makes sense that he’s the representative American…

  3. Dan February 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    What is even also interesting is former President George W. Bush in interview w/ Charlie Gibson also stated that there are “different paths to the Almighty” and that a Jew and Muslim could get into heaven.

    And in another interview, also claimed that bible “probably not” literally true.

    Very interesting and surprising to stumble upon these on youtube

  4. Paula February 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

    In a CNN blog interview, Falsani (oddly, I think) defended Obama’s faith against Santorum’s charge in his Ave Marie speech that he defined his own morality:

    “”Mr. Santorum is conveniently ignoring the fact that was not the opening question I asked him, nor was it the only question I asked. I asked what did he believe, and he articulated his faith and prayer life,” Falsani said.

    “We had talked about his born-again experience. [Obama’s] values are based on his historical Christian faith. He wasn’t talking about, ‘whatever I feel like is right in my reality,’ ” she said.

    Falsani said the Santorum-implied dig – that Obama has his own definition of sin outside of traditional Christianity – was wrong. “The answer came in the specific context of having just articulated his Christian faith,” she said.”

    I don’t know what the relevance is of whether it was the opening, middle, or closing question. They didn’t actually talk about his born again “experience.” Falsani seemed to throw the word into the interview to see if Obama would bite. He didn’t. Throughout the interview, it’s clear that Obama has created a religion out of various faith traditions that he likes and that don’t conflict with his personal desires. It bears little resemblance to historic orthodox Christianity.

    It’s kind of curious that Sojourners is republishing the interview, which is old news. Are they doing it in response to Graham (and maybe Santorum) because they think it’s a great defense of his Christianity? If so – FAIL.

  5. Andrew Lindsey February 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    re: “I do not believe that President Obama is a Muslim. Those who suggest otherwise are not being very serious in my view.”

    -True. If President Obama *were* Muslim, his political views would be more conservative. (Not that sharia law would be *better* than Obama’s agenda, it is just a kind of *opposite* error.)

    • JStanton February 24, 2012 at 9:42 pm #

      Why do you assume that most Muslims are interested in implementing Sharia law? The majority of American Muslims do not seem to hold that view of government.

      Indeed, many liberals consider sharia law to be similar to any theologically sound government that Evangelical Christians would create if they had the power to do so.

      I serve with the US Army and I always wonder what people mean when they throw around terms like Sharia law. It seems most have a superficial understanding of the term.

  6. Bruce H. February 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    I do not buy Obama’s “Liberal Christianity” one bit. That is just what he says publicly. If you compare his past statements about what he wants to do for the country and what he actually does, they are two different things. That is his political track record. There is a greater possibility (99.9%) that what he says he believes and what he does believe oppose each other. He could be a Muslim because they think wrong actions (like murder) against the “infidels” are okay. In order for Islam to destroy Israel someone needs to disarm America and Obama is in that position. He did want NASA to work on relations with Muslims and said we were not a Christian nation almost in the same breath.

  7. Douglas R Belardi February 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm #

    BHO’s religion is Narcisism, pure and unadulterated

  8. EAJ February 24, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    ” he denies many essential doctrines of the Christian faith”…

    Many essential doctrines.. like the one that says Jesus is the way the truth and the life and that no one comes to be with the Father God but by him. The one that says he alone is the the son of God. They one that says he is savior, the only savior. You mean that doctrine?

    After reading your highlighted summary above of the interview I really don’t understand Professor Burke how you can refer to him as any kind of a Chrisitan, Liberal or otherwise. And if it’s a matter of now being able to see what is in his heart I might say okay that’s true except when his words blantantly reveal his heart is not one of a believer. Either Christ is who he says he is or he is not and either one believes that or they do not.

    Seems pretty clear to me.

  9. Philip February 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    “he denies many essential doctrines of the Christian faith and embraces other ideas that are incompatible with the Christianity of the Bible”

    I personally don’t see how that could be described as anything with the word “Christian” in it. i.e. can you really call him a “liberal *Christian*”?

    This is a new term to me. Is it defined anywhere else?

    • yankeegospelgirl February 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

      I’ve wondered that for a long time.

    • Michelle February 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

      That’s pretty much what I was going to say. The descriptor of his “faith” shouldn’t contain the word “Christian.”

      This is pretty much like describing someone who prefers vegetables and fruits but still eats meat as a “liberal vegetarian.”

    • Jo February 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

      I believe the phrase “liberal Christian” means something different from politically liberal and also Christian. Some people like to call themselves Christian, but they deny the miracles recorded in the Bible, deny the most important doctrines communicated in the Bible and in fact deny the divine inspiration, etc., of the Bible. Liberal Christians. I have long wondered why they bother to associate themselves with the name of Christ at all. I don’t see any advantage.

      • Denny Burk February 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

        When I use the term “liberal Christian,” I mean to denote a theological liberal, which is not a synonym for political liberal. A person can have politically liberal views and still have conservative theological beliefs.

        • yankeegospelgirl February 27, 2012 at 7:23 pm #

          Can you find one for me?

          • Paul February 28, 2012 at 12:14 am #

            large chunks of New Order Mennonites, to start.

      • Derek February 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

        Jo,
        As Adrian Rogers liked to say, the reason they associate with Christianity is because when Satan realized that he couldn’t defeat the Church, he joined it.

  10. Christiane February 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    After reading the interview (thank you for posting that, Denny), I would say that President Obama is more in sync with a Catholic outlook than with the ‘evangelical’ outlook that is based on a ‘biblical Christianity’ whose parameters as defined by folks on Southern Baptist blogs.

    I base that opinion on his expression of solidarity with some of the doctrines of social justice that are in Catholic teaching;
    but those Catholic teachings are not a part of the political or religious dialogue among ‘biblical gospel’ evangelicals who have embraced a different perspective more in accordance with Republican economic and political principles.

    It was an interesting interview, to say the least.

    • yankeegospelgirl February 25, 2012 at 10:20 am #

      Wow, that sure says a lot about where Catholicism has gone in the last few decades. (*flush…*)

    • Derek February 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

      Actually, Christiane – that is true, except that his affiliation has ties to a very specific branch within Catholicism – Obama’s theology has roots in liberation theology, which is a Marxist spin on Christianity that was started by Dominican elements and leaders in the Catholic Church. I live in Chicago, where liberation theology is quite strong in the University of Chicago area where Obama went to church for many years. His pastor, Reverend Wright was and is an unapologetic proponent of liberation theology.

      • Christiane February 25, 2012 at 6:55 pm #

        I think that the document clarifies what the Catholic Church believes about solidarity with the oppressed being strongly influenced by the Gospels of Our Lord.

        No, I’m afraid that ‘Marxism’ is not the same as standing with people who are oppressed and marginalized . . . not the same at all.

        There is a kind of ‘capitalism’ which preys on the weak. It is that kind of captialism that the Catholic Church opposes. It does not oppose that people should be able to have businesses and make a profit. It does oppose that this is done on the backs of the people who have no one to wpeak for them or stand with them, and whose oppression is severe enough so that their lives cannot be lived in accord with the decency that honors the dignity of the human person.

        That is a ‘fine line’, I think.
        Some conservatives (especially Christian conservatives) might agree with some of the social justice issues in that document. But many ‘extreme’ political conservatives would not agree.

        There in is the reason I am saying that Obama is more ‘in sync’ with the Catholic view point on social justice than he is with conservatives with whom many evangelicals identify politically. It’s complicated.

        Thanks for responding to what I wrote. I welcome dialogue about social justice issues and Christian people.

        • Derek February 26, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

          Christiane- I don’t think you’re familiar with the specifics of liberation theology and the RC church’s official statements on it. They officially rejected liberation theology in the 1980s because of its weak Biblical basis and they also explicitly stated that it was largely shaped by Marxist philosophy/ideas. As you can imagine, the RC church did not reject every aspect of liberation theology, but the official stance is not favorable to it. And it is a statement of fact that Reverand Wright, Obama’s pastor for nearly all of his adult life, unapologetically subscribes to liberation theology.

          • Christiane February 26, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

            I am familiar with the work of Dorothy Day, and Peter Maurin of the Catholic Worker Movement and also familiar with the work of
            Oscar Romero in South America. I have also read and studied the documents ‘Rerum Novarum’ and ‘Caritas in Veritate’.

            That Jesuit ‘ movement some call ‘liberation theology’ in South America, in general was not condemned by the Church, but only some of the excesses that grew out of that movement that narrowed the focus of the Gospel in exclusion of a universality of application of the Gospel that the Church embraces.

            The teachings of the Church do explicitly endorse a “preferential option for the poor”, stating that no one could be neutral in the face of injustice, and referring to the “crimes” of colonialism and the “scandal” of the arms race.

            But media reports tended to assume that the condemnation of certain more extreme aspects of “liberation theology” meant a complete rejection of all attitudes and an endorsement of conservative politics. But it did not.

            I think, if you read Pope Benedict’s letter ‘Caritas In Veritate’, you will better understand the position of the Catholic Church on social justice issues, There are also a whole history of encyclicals (letters) to do with the Church’s concern for social justice going back hundreds of years…
            So I am familiar with all of these movements, the people involved, the good effects that have occurred, and also the excesses that were rightly challenged.
            I am certain that Obama as more ‘in sync’ with the Catholic faith on these social justice issues, many of which conservative politics rejects.

            I hope this helps some. Thank you for the chance to dialogue with you about this. It isn’t easy to do on a blog, I know that.

          • JStanton February 26, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

            Derek, could you describe your interpretation of the “specifics” of liberation theology is and how Obama’s conduct in office has reflected those beliefs?

            My own personal opinion is that Obama is a nominal “Christian” in the general tradition of most Americans that generically identify as such. I include liberal Christians and most Catholics in that group. I don’t think anyone here would deny that Evangelicals distinguish “Christians” from real Christians.

            When people say that we are a Christian country they are of course including all those other “Christians” in the tally. Are we a Christian nation? I don’t think so. I wish we were.

          • Derek February 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

            JStanton,
            Liberation Theology and a specific branch of it, Black Liberation Theology, is pretty well defined. Go to Wikipedia or any number of places to research it.

            In BLT, Salvation is defined and acquired by means of “The Struggle” for social justice and by battling by any means necessary against the corrupt authorities who are essentially the “1%”. Original sin is rarely if ever defined as something that we are corporately guilty and responsible for – rather, sin and evil is embodied in systems and ideologies (e.g. capitalism and zionism) that must be destroyed. We gain a type of salvation by waging war, by any means necessary, against these serpents. If you’re not participating in the struggle, then you are allowing or advancing evil to corrupt humanity. But when we engage in “The Struggle”, we are tapping into the same salvation that God demonstrated for us by delivering the Israelites out of Egypt; similarly, Christ’s ministry, death and resurrection is the ultimate example for us to follow. This is Liberation Theology in a nutshell.

            The primary scholar/theologian who advocates BLT is James Hal Cone, who has specifically said that the gold standard for churches that preach and teach BLT is none other than Jeremiah Wright’s church. If you read about BLT and about how they view the world, then Obama’s policies will make a lot more sense – even if you happen to be liberal (and don’t really understand what makes Obama tick). It doesn’t explain everything about Obama, of course – like all of us, Obama’s views were also shaped by other people and ideas, including the anti-imperialism views of his Kenyan relatives, which Dinesh D’Souza has well documented. But it is pretty clear that the Marxist tenets of Jeremiah Wright have left a powerful and lasting imprint on Obama.

          • JStanton February 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm #

            Thanks for your explanation of liberation theology, Derek. I am aware of where to look for the textbook definition but I always prefer to know what exactly someone is thinking when they introduce something like BLT.

            I don’t, however, think Obama’s policies are explained by BLT theology. He is a Democrat and his economic and social agenda broadly reflect the mainstream of his party. Pretty much everything that he has advocated for has also come out of the mouths of people like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry. They are not followers of liberation theology. If you think those people are Marxists then you don’t know any Marxists.

            I would also argue that Obama is entirely a creature of the establishment. He has surrounded himself with the political elite and not the radicals from the university. If you recall Obama received the majority of money from the Wall Street types in the 2008 election.

            I’m actually rather confused as to what D’Souza’s point is concerning the anti-imperialist views of Obama’s Kenyan relatives. Of course Kenyans living under British colonial rule were mostly anti-imperialist. Guess who else resisted and resented British imperialism? We did. We rebelled against their colonial rule and claimed our sovereignty. We refused to engage in colonialism around the world unlike the European powers.

            I’m not sure why being anti-imperialist is a bad thing. It’s not like the British were there to spread Christianity.

          • Derek February 26, 2012 at 8:52 pm #

            JStanton,
            Interesting that you bring up Bill Clinton, our last Democrat president. To use two examples that contrast Clinton and Obama, many people in the Jewish community and on Wall Street (yes, there are many Democrats on Wall Street) followed your line of reasoning in 2008 and presumed that Obama would be fairly centrist w/r/t to Israel and Wall Street. But opinions have changed quite a bit over the last 3 years. Now it is widely understood on Wall Street and in Jerusalem that Obama is not even close to a centrist in Clinton’s mold. His policies and rhetoric has been much more critical of Israel and Wall Street than expected. Again, some of these folks have been surprised – but if they would have understood how a person’s mindset becomes fixed and opposed to these groups by sitting in Jeremiah Wright’s church for much of his adult life, they would have understood the difference between Clinton and Obama.

            JStanton, I could learn a lot about you and vice versa if we knew what kind of church we’d attended the last 10 or 20 years. Yes, we’d still be similar in many ways, but there would be discernible differences between us because the type of church and theology we choose to adopt reveals a lot about our core convictions. Similarly, we can see a direct line between Obama’s beliefs and his actions, even though it is undeniable that many of his policies are also shaped by nothing more than political realities. Thus, he is not free to govern outside of the practical pressures that force him to moderate in certain ways.

            BLT is not some kind of variation like the difference between Baptists and Presbyterians. They have a very different narrative for original sin, redemption, salvation, Scripture and every core belief for a Christian. Their beliefs are more heterodox than Catholicism, for certain. Read Pope John Paul’s explanation of how Liberation Theology differs from historical Christianity and I daresay he writes his explanation the same way a Protestant would. Liberation Theology is not Christian, plain and simple- even though its proponents call themselves Christian.

        • JStanton February 27, 2012 at 1:08 am #

          Derek, yes I entirely agree that BLT is not Christian. I just don’t believe that Obama is ruled by that theology.

          It seems though that you think his policies toward Israel which you perceive to be hostile are rooted in BLT. What has Obama done other than ask the Israelis to stop building settlements in contested land areas? Most of the criticism is about the perception that Obama wants to be fair to the Palestinians.

          I have always attended Evangelical Protestant churches but I tend to have a more nuanced view of the nation of Israel that many of you would probably question. I look at the Bible and I see a people that turned away from God over and over and rejected Christ. And yet He would see them redeemed. But they’re not there yet.

          From that base, I take no sides between Palestinians and Israelis as people. When the day comes both will bend the knee. And certain events have to happen to hasten that day.

          • Derek February 27, 2012 at 12:26 pm #

            JStanton,
            On Israel, I am no disciple of John Haggee – I don’t believe we should automatically support Israel in every situation. And as I stated earlier, many Jewish voters voted for Obama, believing that he would be a centrist in Clinton’s mold – not some kind of rubber stamp for Israel. Instead, he has undermined Israel at every turn and things have reached a true low point in Israeli-U.S. relations- all at a very critical time with Iran, Egypt and Syria spiraling out of control. It is a very serious and troubling situation, to such an extent that Obama has lost much of his support even on the Jewish left.

            I also believe that the “moral equivalence” position between Hamas led Palestine and Israel is very dangerous business. To suggest and orient policies around a concept that we cannot distinguish a meangingful difference between a stable democratic country in the M.E. and its neighbors, who harbor extreme anti-Semitism on par with Nazi Germany, is not a valid view for Christians, in my view. Especially when you have a true mad men like Bashar Assad and Ahmedinijad running around with proverbial knives in hand.

          • Derek February 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm #

            By the way, JStanton- I’ve spent quite a bit of time over the years in the same area where Obama lived, on the south side of Chicago. Anti-semitism is in the air and water there. It is racism, plain and simple. It was clearly in the air at Obama’s church. It is an eye opening experience. If you live in many other areas of Chicago, you might never encounter it, but it is a very real thing and most Americans are unaware of it.

          • yankeegospelgirl February 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

            Israel is in an impossible and horrific situation, but her government is so liberal that she is continually inflicting more harm on herself through concession after concession. We have sadly joined with the rest of the world in frowning upon anything Israel might do that is anything less than suicidally wishy-washy, even though we have not technically severed our support.

            I think Dylan’s “Neighborhood Bully” is pretty much on the money at this point.

          • yankeegospelgirl February 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

            Snippet:

            Now his holiest books have been trampled upon
            No contract he signed was worth what it was written on
            He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth
            Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health
            He’s the neighborhood bully

            What’s anybody indebted to him for?
            Nothin’, they say. He just likes to cause war
            Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed
            They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed
            He’s the neighborhood bully

      • Paul February 28, 2012 at 12:15 am #

        the University of Chicago area would only be called that by someone who has never stepped foot down there.

        It’s actually called Hyde Park. And it’s one of Chicago’s most wonderful neighborhoods.

        • Derek February 28, 2012 at 10:36 am #

          I’ve been to Hyde Park many times – I was referring to it that way b/c most people outside of Chicago have heard of U of Chicago rather than Hyde Park. In any event, I’m speaking more broadly about the south side. There are many great things about Hyde Park and the south side, but the anti-semitism there is very real. There is a reason that Farrakhan feels at home there.

          • Paul February 28, 2012 at 11:42 am #

            That’s probably the second most Jewish neighborhood in Chicago (after West Rogers Park)! The reason Farrakhan “feels at home” on the south side is because it’s traditionally been practically the second home of the NoI. Muhammed Ali lived down the street from my dad growing up, and they’re pretty much considered a joke. Even most south side black folk I know chuckle at the mention of his name.

          • Derek February 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

            Anti-semitism is often strongest in places Jews live. For example, pre-WWII Germany. Of course, Farrakhan is considered a joke by many people, that goes without saying. But he does have a base of support in Chicago and his neighborhood.

  11. Job February 25, 2012 at 2:22 am #

    Too bad evangelicals didn’t hold George W. Bush to the same standard that they do Barack Obama.

  12. donsands February 25, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    Thanks Denny. Your a good watchman on the wall for the Lord and His Gospel.

    Have a grace filled Lord’s Day in worshiping our Father and God in Spirit and truth, and with great joy!

  13. Andrea Francine February 25, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    Of course President Obama would define sin as failing to meet his own standard and boldly proclaim that Jesus is …. a wonderful teacher. Of course he would do that. But that 2004 interview certainly makes much sense in light of what has come after it. This is a man who on election night claimed that it would be remembered as the “moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.” This is a man whose daily press coverage included terms like lightbringer or lightworker or “sort of [like] god.”)
    He probably does not like the competition that the Triune God poses.
    Anyway, I think supporters like Bill Maher are nearer to the truth when they say that the President’s Christianity, like his public statements about struggling with same-sex marriage, are probably a function of politics. (http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2011/feb/19/religion-left-maher-says-obamas-no-christ-20110219/)

    If/when the President ever proclaims that Jesus of Nazareth is Christ and Lord, then I will stop viewing him as an opportunistic politician who has acquired the nomenclature of liberal Christians for purposes of his personal political gain. (And to be clear, I think the same in reverse about some conservative politicians.)

    Christians of conscience can disagree on the scope and role of government in fulfilling our Christian duties toward our neighbors, including the poor and underserved, but if Christians cannot agree that Christ is Lord, then that term is not accurately applied.

    Consider this: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, God bless and keep him and the persecuted faithful the world over, could probably save his life if he only would describe Jesus in the same terms that Barack Obama did in that interview.

  14. Ty Henton February 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

    I think most people that respond to this can’t get over the nonsense of The President being a Muslim,just don’t do any research and just go with the flow of people that just have a political agenda. President Obama is a perfect example of a Deist. They believe that there is a God,but that He’s not knowable and doesn’t involve Himself today in what happens in the world. Thier view is rational thought, individualism, self-expression, self-effort, and self-gratification. They see most all religions,lifestyles, sexual preferences as equally valuable and valid. So it’s true I don’t believe he is a Christian, but he isn’t a Muslim either. Most “Deist” have never headed of the term. As Christian we should “know” before we cast that stone.

  15. Job February 25, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

    Andrea Francine:

    Do you hold George W. Bush. George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan to the same standard? Or only liberal politicians?

    The reason is that those men made many of the same statements – and on a striking number of key issues governed largely the same – as did Barack Obama, and yet were either presumed to be Christians or at least friends of Christians.

    I can’t wait until this religious right deception dies and conservative evangelicals end this blatant, unBiblical double standard. When George W. Bush called Jesus Christ a philosopher, rejected inerrancy, and claimed that there were many paths to heaven and Muslims and Christians worshiped the same God (and also declared Islam to be a religion of peace and a great culture) nobody batted an eye. Obama does HALF those things and people go off their rocker. Were any evangelical leaders praying for George W. Bush to die when Bush claimed that God told him to invade Iraq? Or suspecting Bush (and his family) of being terror sympathizers despite the Bush family’s many EXTENSIVE financial and political connections in the Muslim world, including with the bin Laden family (who were allowed to quietly exit the country after 9/11)?

    Again, this religious right nonsense can’t fall apart soon enough, and it will be for the better for evangelicals in America when it does. If the candidates backed by evangelicals keep putting pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, and pro-illegal alien judges on the bench and funding Planned Parenthood like Reagan and both Bushes did (for example) then better to just let someone who is open and honest about being a RINO get in office instead, instead of someone who claims to be a social conservative but is only lying about it.

    • Andrea Francine February 26, 2012 at 12:11 pm #

      Hello Job, as I stated in my original comment – “And to be clear, I think the same in reverse about some conservative politicians.” – so yes, I hold George W. Bush to the same standard, all elected officials, actually, regardless of political party.

      A politician’s profession of faith in Christ is not reason enough to elect that person to public office, nor is it a reason to support or overlook positions and policies of his that are contrary to the teachings of the Church.

      Obviously the U.S. is not a theocracy but the idea that Christians must separate faith from politics is why we have the lamentable spectacle of professing Christians, who seek or hold elected office, defending the use of torture, or describing the loss of innocent life in war-torn areas as “collateral damage,” (if it is acknowledged at all) or defending a woman’s “right to choose” to have her unborn child put to death in her womb.

      I do not have that favorable a view of President Bush either, but since Professor Burke’s post was about the current President, my comments were limited to him. If the post was about his predecessor, then I would have to add a few more entries to your list, including the plight of Christians in Iraq and Afghanistan, something that even the National Review could not help but take note:

      “It’s an irony almost too bitter to bear that George W. Bush, an evangelical Christian fired by a vision of freedom with religious overtones, waged a war of liberation in Iraq that led to the uprooting of the country’s Christians. And did almost nothing to prevent it, or even remark upon it. Iraq’s Christians are the collateral damage of the country’s post-Saddam revolution.”
      http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/259534/lights-out-middle-east-s-christians-rich-lowry

  16. donsands February 25, 2012 at 9:15 pm #

    “If the candidates backed by evangelicals keep putting pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, and pro-illegal alien judges on the bench and funding Planned Parenthood like Reagan”-Job

    What? Ron Reagan was pro-life my friend.

    • Paul February 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

      Reagan put two liberal judges on the bench.

  17. Paul February 26, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    Why do I get the feeling that absolutely no one else here has every last one of their posts moderated. Weak.

    • yankeegospelgirl February 27, 2012 at 9:02 am #

      Yet you return and leave comments.

      • Paul February 28, 2012 at 12:16 am #

        just so I can talk to you YGG.

  18. donsands February 26, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    Who are the liberal judges Reagan put on the bench? If you don’t mind me asking.

    • Derek February 26, 2012 at 5:33 pm #

      O’Connor and Kennedy were two of Reagan’s picks – they weren’t hardcore liberals, but O’Connor in particularly was a bitter disappointment for conservatives. Still, Paul is off base. Those picks certainly don’t really make Reagan “pro abortion”.

      • Paul February 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

        First off, let’s define some things…

        1) there is a difference between “pro-choice” and “pro-abortion.” Pro-Choice simply means that you are for the idea that the choice to have an abortion remains legal. Plenty of perfectly rational Christians (myself among them) are “pro-choice” from either the standpoint that it’s safer than coat hangers, or in my case, that it’s clearly settled law at this point, and I’d rather not focus on something that absolutely won’t change (and certainly will NEVER change in even a majority of the 50 states). Pro-Abortion would mean that you are actively rooting for abortions to take place. While I think that we would agree that those people are (sadly) out there, I am pretty sure that we would disagree on the percentages.

        2) Was Reagan pro-life? His judicial appointments (about the only place where a president has any real say in the matter) would lead one to believe that might not have been. Which would get back to a point that I’ve made plenty of times before: these guys talk the talk, but don’t walk the walk. Bush II came the closest we’ve seen, but still, he was pragmatic enough to put a judge on the bench who lives by the idea of settled precedent (Roberts) on the bench. If you think Roe v. Wade is getting overturned anytime soon, I think you’re sorely mistaken. If I give props to Santorum for anything, it’s for clearly being THE social conservative. I have no doubt in my mind that if he got the nod in November (it’ll never happen), that we’d see actual attempts at change in social policy.

        • Derek February 27, 2012 at 11:58 am #

          First of all, on Reagan, the “family planning” folks (a euphemism for pro-abortionists) hate Reagan for the things he did to prevent them from distributing contraceptives to children, from exporting abortion overseas, for working to forbid them from even recommending abortions (since Planned Parenthood refers less than 1 mom for adoption services for every 100 abortions provided). If you don’t believe me, go ahead and search on the internet for what “brutal oppression” they say Reagan put them through. Many consider the Reagan years to be even worse than what they “suffered” through during the GW Bush years.
          Reagan often relied on advisors to make his judicial picks and in this case, he should have sought better advice. But he also did pick Judge Bork and Scalia, two stellar picks. Bork was treated horrifically in confirmation hearings, of course, when the pro-abortion forces realized that his nomination could spell the end of Roe v. Wade.

          On your difference between pro-abortion and pro-choice, I don’t think your distinction is any different than that of those who tried to find a middle position on slavery. Many people in the 18th and 19th century tried to do so, including many self-proclaimed Christians. But history has not looked favorably on them for good reason. African Americans in particular have zero reason to be impressed by efforts to make them 3/5 of a human and your efforts on behalf of unborn babies are similarly impotent. History will not look favorably on your supposed middle position on abortion. Particularly since you and many other “pro-choice” Christians insisted that Obama would reduce the number of abortions in this country and instead, abortions have become more numerous, exactly as I and others predicted.

          • Paul February 28, 2012 at 12:27 am #

            Bork was treated horribly because he was crazy. Crazy and pro-life shouldn’t be considered pro-life, they should be considered crazy. This is a big problem with the modern day GOP.

            Secondly, slavery should be considered the Godwin’s Law buzzword when it comes to Christian discussions of abortion. LINCOLN was one of those middle ground guys you speak of up until he realized that the North was actually going to win the civil war. It’s easy to be the hero when you know the outcome.

            Much like Lincoln in such regards, I’m a pragmatist. I see abortions maybe being a little harder to obtain in a few southern states. But stare decisis (sp?) will keep any major abortion cases from being heard by a Roberts court (Roberts seems much more the Rand conservative than the GWB conservative), and moms and dads worried that their kids won’t have access to abortions if they become “necessary” will keep them legal in all but the most conservative states if for some reason Roe v. Wade were overturned.

            So, what then? For me, let’s work on limiting the “need” for abortions happening in the first place. Part of that, in my mind includes social justice issues. And the GOP ain’t touching those these days. So I vote for the other guys.

          • yankeegospelgirl February 28, 2012 at 9:05 am #

            The government’s idea of social justice invariably winds up leaving the poor stuck in their poverty, so good luck wid dat.

          • Derek February 28, 2012 at 11:30 am #

            Abolition happened because there were thousands of Christians and people working for many decades to abolish slavery.

            Paul doesn’t want us to examine the historical and important lessons learned from the slavery era because they cast an unflattering light on his beliefs.

            Nor does he want to explain why his candidate (Obama) has worked to make abortions more numerous, when he claimed that he wanted to make them rarer. None of this should surprise us though- BO was always Planned Parenthood’s dream candidate. They weren’t under the illusion that he would choose a middle path of any kind. Paul, you are either ignorant of these realities or you have chosen to deny the truth. I do believe you will be held to account by God for this, just as Christians who either tacitly or actively supported slavery will be.

          • Paul February 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm #

            and, as hard as this might be for you to grasp, Obama isn’t my candidate. I didn’t vote for him in ’08, and I’ll only vote for him this year because you guys got rid of all of the decent candidates and left me with either Mr. 1%, Mr. Rocket Man or Mr. Hasn’t a Clue about the nuts and bots of running a country because he’s too busy trying to legislate morality instead of budgeting for bridges and new fighter jets.

  19. donsands February 26, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Thanks Derek. Have a great week in our Lord’s grace and joy.

  20. donsands February 27, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    “Pro-Choice simply means that you are for the idea that the choice to have an abortion remains legal.”-Paul

    You think it could be a good choice to kill a baby? As long as the doctors chop the baby in pieces, without using a coat-hanger. How about a 7 month old baby, when they have to pull the whole body out, -making sure they keep the head inside the woman,- and then cut a hole in the child’s head and suck the brains out? Supposed the baby’s head accidently came all the way out, could you still kill that Baby? Or perhaps shove the head back in and then kill the baby?

    This happens without coat-hangers, and so it’s okay?

    Pro-life is saying that life begins at conception. And every pregnancy is precious and we need to always remember God gives life.

    I pray you would cahnge your mind Paul.

    • Paul February 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

      I never said it was ok.

      I’ve laid out why I am pro-choice, but here it is again:

      Realistically speaking, the criminalization of abortion is a dead issue. Some states might be able to place restrictions on the procedure, ban certain types of abortions and the like, but you will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever see abortion criminalized throughout the union. Overturning Roe v. Wade will only give the power to legalize back to the states, and I firmly believe that at least 80% of the states would keep abortions legal. With that in mind, I refuse to base my support of a candidate on that issue. If a populist pro-life candidate could make it through the primaries, I’d vote for them. But it will not ever be THE reason I vote for a candidate. Sorry.

      • Derek February 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

        Paul,
        even IF some of us were to agree that an outright ban against abortion is unrealistic, you don’t seem at willing to acknowledge that there are a number of policies that a President can pursue that make abortion a stricter/looser practice and there are also major implications for the use of taxpayer funds for the use of abortion. This in my opinion is the gaping hole in your logic. And by the way, these are very important factors for pro-abort groups like Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood.

  21. T. Webb February 28, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    So, to sum up, Barak Obama’s Christianity is exactly the same as George Bush’s Christianity. Seriously, I still can’t see any difference between Obama & Bush in their view of the Christian faith.

    • yankeegospelgirl February 28, 2012 at 1:52 pm #

      Bush did say some really unfortunate things, especially about Islam, but I suspect he’s more sincere than Obama.

  22. donsands February 29, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    “But it will not ever be THE reason I vote for a candidate.”-Paul

    It’s the main issue with me. Obama is pro-abortion, and even pro-infanticide, and so i would never vote for a man who thinks killing babies is a good thing.

    On the other side, a man can be pro-life, and not a good candidate.

    Also, you can think abortion will never be illegal. I pray to God it would be again. I admit that our nation is becoming very ungodly and wickedness and sin is becoming “no big deal”. Sad. But I will hope we will one day have a law that protects life, and especially babies.
    We do have a law against murder, don’t we. Murder in the womb is legal? Crazy.

  23. RN March 1, 2012 at 1:00 am #

    With his abortion record, I’ve always considered Obama to be theologically more of the Molech-ian denomination.

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