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Obama’s ‘Great Religion’

According to a Breitbart story about an upcoming book, Hillary Clinton once hurled a Bible at the back of a secret service agent’s head. Had the incident involved the Koran, she might have felt the need to issue an apology. But in the leftist circles in which she travels the Bible qualifies as hate literature. It has long ceased to be a holy book.

Indeed, Barack Obama, who quotes so reverentially from the Koran, felt free in his memoirs to criticize the Bible for its antiquated views and chided St. Paul for his homophobia. He described Abraham as a crackpot on whom child protective services should have been called.

The most beautiful sound in the world is the Islamic call to prayer, according to Obama, who spent part of his upbringing in Indonesia, where he “heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and at the fall of dusk.” In his famous Cairo speech, he set the tone for his passive campaign against Islamic terrorism by promising never to be “at war with Islam” and reminded his audience that he hailed from a “generation of Muslims.”

He was “steeped in Islam,” according to his Chicago pastor Jeremiah Wright, who told author Ed Klein that whether Obama ever actually converted to Christianity was never clear to him. It “was hard to tell,” he told Klein. Wright said that church was not Obama’s “thing” and that his attendance had no significance apart from the exigencies of politics.

Hillary, at least during her campaign against him, also signaled confusion about his religion. Her campaign circulated a picture of Obama in Islamic garb. But he wasn’t a Muslim, “as far as I know,” she offered in a vicious hedge.

These days Hillary is quick to call such insinuations “bigotry.” For someone who wraps herself in the flag of the ACLU, she also strangely prides herself on having helped throw into jail the maker of the anti-Muhammad YouTube video. Somehow that never comes up during the conversations about the importance of artistic freedom at her Hollywood fundraisers.

Religion is not a subject to which Democrats normally warm. In 2012, they were debating whether or not to include a mention of God in their platform. When party bosses decided that for reasons of optics they should overrule platform delegates and include it, the convention crowd booed. To the extent that it can muster up any enthusiasm for religious freedom, the party of secularism directs it to Islam.

During the controversy over the HHS contraceptive mandate, Obama told Christians to lighten up and liberalize. He told the Catholic bishops that they should listen to the heretics within their fold and just accept the mandate.

Talk of Islam’s rigidity, however, troubles him. He is so fiercely protective of Islam that his Justice Department initially ordered the transcript of the Orlando jihadist’s words scrubbed clean. Obama didn’t want Americans to hear his references to Islam, the Koran, Allah, the West’s “filthy ways,” and ISIS. The Justice Department reversed course and released the transcript unredacted, but the administration’s original plan reveals the extent to which it sees itself as a magisterial custodian of and press agent for Islam. Omar Mateen “does not represent the religion of Islam,” declared Ronald Hopper, an FBI official. Who knew the FBI had been given the power to loose and bind over Islam?

Only in the Obama administration would FBI officials feel free to present themselves as doctrinal guardians of “real” Islam. That is as odd a role for the FBI to play as it was for NASA to do “Islamic outreach” under the direction of Obama, in order to make Muslims “feel good about their historic contribution to science,” as former NASA administrator Charles Bolden put it.

Obama often talks about the importance of “separating church and state.” Yet mosque and state are so close under his administration that his officials can say with dogmatic certainty who does and does not “represent the religion of Islam.”

At the same time, the Obama administration, while acting like it enjoys the power to excommunicate Muslims it deems unrepresentative of the religion, has maintained a policy of non-interference in the Islamic world. In 2009, the Washington Post reported that the Obama administration assiduously “stays out” of Islamic debates, lest it offend radical clerics. In the 1980s, a scholar tried to get a grant from the Ford Foundation to promote moderate Islam in Indonesia. According to the story, his grant request was turned down by none other than Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, who worked for the Ford Foundation in Indonesia during that period. The fruit has not fallen far from the tree, implied the story, noting that Obama’s policy was no different than his mother’s.

From time to time, an Omar Mateen forces Obama to make sounds about promoting moderation within Islam. But as he made clear in his Cairo speech, to which he had made a great show of inviting members of the Muslim Brotherhood, that project is of no real interest to him. It smacks too much of colonialism in his view, and, besides, the religion, as he described it last week, is already “great.”

George Neumayr
George Neumayr
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George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author of No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.
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