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Archive for September 26th, 2012

Identity matters.  Knowing whose we are and how to live accordingly makes a difference not just for us, but for those around us.

This in mind, I’m concerned that Barack Obama may be struggling with his identity.

Daniel Pipes is president of the Middle East Forum.  He is a specialist on Islam.  In recent commentaries, he writes that President Obama’s half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, has stated: “My whole family was Muslim.”  Pipes continues with a quote from Barack’s half-brother George Hussein Onyango Obama to an interviewer in March 2009.  George said, “He may be behaving differently due to the position he is in, but on the inside, Barack Obama is Muslim.”

Pipes also quotes from the American Muslim writer Asma Gull Hasan.  In My Muslim President Obama, Ms. Hasan writes, “. . . In a very unscientific oral poll, ranging from family  members to  Muslim acquaintances, many of us feel . . . that we have our first American Muslim president in Barack Hussein Obama . . . ”

“If Muslims get these vibes,” writes Pipes, “not surprisingly, so does the American public.  Pipes notes “an even split between those who say Mr. Obama is a Christian and those who do not.”

Openness and honesty is important for any candidate running for office.  But, writes Pipes, “Mr. Obama remains the mystery candidate with an autobiography full of gaps and even fabrications.” Pipes cites several examples.  “Mr. Obama claimed that he ‘was born in Kenya.’  He lied about never having been a member and candidate of the 1990s Chicago socialist New Party.  When Stanley Kurtz produced evidence to establish that he was a member, Mr. Obama’s flacks smeared and dismissed Mr. Kurtz.”  Pipes references many inaccuracies and falsehoods in Obama’s 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father.  But, what about Obama’s faith?

Here’s the account according to Pipes.  In March 2004, Obama was asked, “Have you always been a Christian?”  Obama replied, “I was raised more by my mother and my mother was a Christian.”  In December 2007, Obama gave a different answer.  “My mother was a Christian from Kansas. . . . I was raised by my mother.  So, I’ve always been a Christian.”  In February 2009, he offered, notes Pipes, a completely different answer: “I was not raised in a particularly religious household.  I had a father who was born a Muslim but became an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion.  I didn’t become a Christian until . . . I moved to the South Side of Chicago after college.”

When someone asks me, “Have you always been a Christian?,” my answer is consistently the same.  “Yes, I became a child of God through Christ at my Baptism.”

But, for some reason, our current President has difficulty sticking to the same story.  Pipes is curious.  “Mr. Obama appears to be hiding something.  Was he the religious child of irreligious parents?  Or was he always a Christian?  A Muslim?  Or was he, in fact, something of his own creation — a Christian Muslim?”

A person who sees himself capable of being my President should have nothing to hide.  Answers to questions — “From where do you come?  What do you believe?  Who are your mentors?  In what direction do you want to move this country? — should be consistent.  If he subscribes to a particular faith — be it Christianity or Islam or Mormonism or theism or atheism — he should claim it with confidence and be able to give reason why.

Obama, writes Pipes, says that he affirmed his “Christian faith” by answering an altar call at Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago.  But, explains Pipes, when his pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, was asked by author Edward Klein in his book The Amateur (p. 40), “Did you convert Obama from Islam to Christianity?” Mr. Wright replied, “That’s hard to tell.”  Hard to tell?

Sure and certain identity matters.  It matters because knowing who we are affects what we do.

Quotes from Daniel Pipes: “Muslims believe Obama is one of them”
and “Despite his denials, the evidence is compelling,”
The Washington Times, Monday, Sept 17, 2012

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