Stephen Mansfield wants to believe that Barack Obama can lead this nation to a religious revival. He wants to believe it so badly in fact that he is willing to disregard his own reporting. Now that’s faith.
Mansfield is the author of The Faith of Barack Obama, a book-length essay on the Democratic nominee’s religious beliefs. In many ways it’s a good book and, certainly, the subject is worthwhile.
It’s just that Mansfield seems to be willing to give Obama every benefit of the doubt, no matter what the Democratic candidate actually says. How else to explain passages such as this one?
“The uncertainty that Obama’s words inspire seems to be intentional,” writes Mansfield. “Though it does not appear that he means to confuse, he does speak with a thoughtful lack of clarity.”
EVER SINCE HIS star-making turn at the 2004 Democratic Convention when he said, “We worship an awesome God in the blue states!” it has been widely presumed that Obama is a deeply religious Christian.
The truth is a bit more complicated as Mansfield recounts, drawing on interviews, speeches and Obama’s two memoirs. In fact it is not precisely clear what Obama believes.
Obama is, after all, the same man who, as child living in Indonesia, occasionally “accompanied [his Muslim stepfather] to a nearby mosque of Fridays and prayed at his side for the blessings of Allah,” Mansfield notes.
That was just one part of Obama’s polyglot religious upbringing. He also attended a Catholic school in Indonesia that included Bible studies. His mother and the maternal grandparents who helped raised him, one the other hand, were devout secularists.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
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