I have received e-mails from a few well intentioned Christians about the “Muslim” background of Barack Obama. Some of the details in this e-mail are accurate yet completely misleading. Other details are exaggerated or completely untrue based on published news sources from reliable journalists.
The e-mail tries to paint a picture that Barack was raised a Muslim as a child and attended a radical school for several years while living in Indonesia. The e-mail raises the question about whether or not Obama is secretly a Muslim who is bent on destroying America.
As a journalist, I have seen many times where accurate information can be twisted to come to the wrong conclusion. I have also seen times where people believed lies because it was too difficult to check things out for themselves. Christians must be careful what we forward to others because it reflects back on us and Christ.
I have no idea if Barack Obama is really a Christian as he claims. That is between him and God. I don’t really know for sure about any person’s salvation other than my own. I will simply have to take Obama at his word. According to published news sources, Obama became a Christian years ago, long before he ran for public office. Thus, I doubt his faith is a marketing ploy.
Of course, someone being a Christian doesn’t impact my vote at all. I vote the person and his/her political beliefs. Obama’s political beliefs are far from my own. Thus, I won’t be pulling the lever for him.
I recently read a post by Mike Slaughter, the lead pastor at Ginghamsburg Church in Ohio. Slaughter wrote, “This email represents racism in one of its most subtle and evil forms. Racism demeans human beings by demonizing character and creating an element of fear…To disagree with a person’s ideas is American. To demean a person’s character is racist and un-Christian. It has no place in the church! ”
I completely agree with Mike Slaughter. Yet I do want to express my concerns about the ideas behind the Trinity United Church of Christ(http://www.tucc.org/home.htm) where Obama is a member. It focuses on black empowerment and African issues, which is fine. I am all for recognizing our roots and encouraging people to stand up for themselves and be proactive in life.
While the Trinity United Church is a multi-ethnic church, it appears to be more focused on race than Jesus. That was my impression after reading its Web site and community magazine. I have never met anyone from this church. And I may have prejudged the community. But I am concerned when a church points to Louis Farrakhan (read the Trumpet magazine) as an honorable community leader. And I also believe that the focus of any church should be Jesus and not people or race. I wonder if what started out as good intentions has quickly become idolatry.
Now, I have no idea where Obama stands. Is he a black man first? Is he democractic first? Is he an American first? Is he a disciple of Jesus first? That would be the first question I would ask Mr. Obama if I ever met him.
Here are some interesting things that Obama has said about religion.