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THUS OBAMA GREW UP understanding most religions but not believing in any particular one. He was taught to see all faiths as an expression of the same phenomenon: humanity’s need to believe in some divinely guided rules to live their lives by.
That being the case, how could any one religion be true?
Obama’s change began when he started a career as a social activist in Chicago. The black community’s existing activist network was heavily religious. It welcomed him but also noticed that he was “removed, detached, an observer among them.”
For a time he felt he was consigned “to always remain apart.” But over time he was drawn to join the congregation at Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ because he so admired the many services the community provided to the poor and the struggling.
Obama says that he was “drawn to the power of the African American religious tradition to spur social change…I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death; rather, it was an active palpable agent in the world.”
He continues, “it was out of this intimate knowledge of the hardship, of the grounding of faith in struggle, that the historically black church offered me a second insight: that faith doesn’t mean that you don’t have doubts, or that you relinquish your hold on the world.”
And so he was baptized in the church, with some reservations: “It came about as a choice and not an epiphany; the questions I had did not magically disappear.”
THAT PROVED TO BE a problem for Obama when he ran for the Senate in 2004. His Republican opponent was the bombastic, erratic and quite possibly insane black conservative Alan Keyes. Obama crushed him in the general election, but says it was harder than it looked.
“[A]s the campaign progressed, I found him getting under my skin in a way that very few people have. When our paths crossed during the campaign, I often had to suppress the rather uncharitable urge to either taunt him or wring his neck,” Obama writes.
How did Keyes do this? By questioning Obama’s Christian faith.
“Christ could not vote for Barack Obama,” Mr. Keyes once said, “because Barack Obama has voted…in a way that it is inconceivable for Christ to have behaved.”
It touched a nerve in Obama and he was by his own account tongued-tied, irritable and tense during their debates. Keyes prodded Obama on the question of biblical literalism.
How could Obama believe the Bible’s proclamation that life was sacred and yet support abortion rights, Keyes would ask? Obama gave “the usual liberal response” about separation of church and state.
“[Y]et even as I answered, I was mindful of Mr. Keyes’s implicit accusation — that I remained steeped in doubt, that my faith was adulterated, that I was not a true Christian,” Obama complains.
Well, it wouldn’t have annoyed him that much if Keyes wasn’t onto something.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?