The Common Good

Is He a Christian, a Muslim, or a Cactus? Why Can't We Just Believe President Obama?

101001_wh_letterI received a letter this week from the White House. A big fat packet. Ain't I special?

Unfortunately, it wasn't an invitation to a special gala or for me to sing at an event. It wasn't about a partnership with One Day's Wages. Or to join his circle of sagacious advisors. Or to ask me to join Warren Buffet in helping turn around the U.S. economy. Or to inform me that he'd be visiting my church. And no, it wasn't a direct letter from President Obama himself. But it was a letter from one of his staff sharing some stuff about President Obama, some initiatives, and what I perceived to be clarity about his faith. Huh?

It puzzled me initially but after some thought, I think I know why I received the letter as I'm sure several other "pastors" may have received it as well.

Why?

Because there are reports that 1 out of 5 Americans think Obama is a cactus -- and on a more serious note, an increasing number of Americans that believe he's a Muslim:

A new national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that nearly one-in-five Americans (18%) now say Obama is a Muslim, up from 11% in March 2009. Only about one-third of adults (34%) say Obama is a Christian, down sharply from 48% in 2009. Fully 43% say they do not know what Obama's religion is. The survey was completed in early August, before Obama's recent comments about the proposed construction of a mosque near the site of the former World Trade Center.

The view that Obama is a Muslim is more widespread among his political opponents than among his backers. Roughly a third of conservative Republicans (34%) say Obama is a Muslim, as do 30% of those who disapprove of Obama's job performance. But even among many of his supporters and allies, less than half now say Obama is a Christian. Among Democrats, for instance, 46% say Obama is a Christian, down from 55% in March 2009. (Pew Forum)

The purpose of the post has nothing to do with juxtaposing the two religions in question: Christianity and Islam [or Cactusism if you want to count that].

What's amazing to me is that President Obama has gone on record numerous times to state that he is a Christian so here's my question:

Why can't people just believe him?

It's amazing to me that if someone doesn't share one's exact worldview, how easy it is to discount the genuineness and veracity of that person's statements and identity.

I have -- on occasion -- been labeled and called numerous things including heretic, non-believer, "not a true Christian," and a jerk and, with the exception of maybe "a jerk," none of them are accurate. Being called such things or questioned of something so dear to me (my faith) definitely does not feel good. It actually stings

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