3 Reasons Obama is Not a Muslim

Source: abc.com

Source: abc.com

We have yet another campaign moment in which someone asserts that Barack Obama is a Muslim. I’ve looked into this carefully, and have come to the confident conclusion that he is not a Muslim. If he is a Muslim, believe me, he is the world’s worst Muslim! Here are three reasons I know this is true.

1. His religious statements

Obama has invoked Jesus as more than merely a prophet (which is the Muslim belief), but actually as a resurrected savior who took on the sins of the world. Muslim doctrine is that Jesus never was resurrected, because Jesus never died on the cross (Quran, 4:156-158); and that there is no such concept of “the sins of the world” since every person bears personal responsibility for his or her own sin. There is no place for a propitiating replacement sacrifice of one for another person’s sins in Islam.

Moreover, Obama has called Jesus “a son of God,” but in Islam, God has no sons (e.g., Quran 112:1-4). To claim that Jesus is a son of God is blasphemy and no true Muslim would make this statement.

2. His Policies

In social policies, Barack Obama stridently supports family planning, abortion, and same sex marriage. Even moderate Muslims generally oppose these policies, which are grounded in Western European secularism.

In foreign policies, Barack Obama has overseen ongoing attacks on Muslim nations and people. He is responsible for the broad expansion of drone attacks killing many Muslim leaders and civilians alike.

3. Obama belongs to the heterodox United Church of Christ

In fact, Barack Obama joined a United Church of Christ (UCC) congregation in Chicago and was a member there for twenty years, before leaving it shortly after the Jeremiah Wright controversy during the 2008 presidential campaign. When you look at Obama’s policies and statements, he is squarely in line with the UCC’s liberal, heterodox view of the Bible and Christianity. His emphasis on the social gospel (transforming society, by the power of the state, to do away with economic and social injustices) is exactly what the UCC endorses, including gay rights and same sex marriage. His stand on abortion matches the UCC position on abortion and so-called “reproductive rights.”

The only major place in which Obama conflicts with UCC social teachings is in continuing to prosecute wars (including wars against nations and groups that are predominantly Muslim). The UCC has long been essentially pacifist, but also has balanced the drive against the use of violence with the longstanding discussion of what constitutions a “just war” and “just conduct of war.” Obama’s idealism in the Christian just war tradition is pretty clearly expressed in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. And he has pulled US troops out of Iraq and has scheduled our exit from Afghanistan as well, which would fit squarely within UCC goals. Of course the chaos that ensued without the US military’s stabilizing presence in Iraq is disastrous, but that’s a different discussion.

In short, I am not arguing that Barack Obama is an orthodox Christian with orthodox views on biblical inerrancy, the nature of sin, the evangelistic imperative, the reality of a final judgement, or the objective truths of Christianity. But even in the squishiness of his beliefs in these areas compared with traditional Christianity, he matches quite closely the views of mainline liberal heterodox “Christianity,” such as those taught by the UCC, and does not match in critical ways central teachings of Islam.

People: Barack Obama is not a Muslim.

[EDITING NOTE: The original version of this linked to a Huffington Post article that provided ‘religious quotes’ from Barack Obama, but I since went back and verified the original sources. The HuffPo article is here, and the article above links to the transcripts where the original statements were made. Thanks to careful readers at the Christian Apologetics Alliance Facebook group for pointing out the original problem.]

Election 2012: A Difficult Choice (Detailed)

For my introduction, go here.

Which of the candidates more closely matches God’s intentions for civil government, as expressed in the Bible?

1. The civil government is to encourage people to do good (Rom 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:13-14). 

Both candidates encourage people to be “good citizens” and to engage in acts of charity. However what Peter and Paul most likely mean when they refer to “good” includes living a righteous life. Romney’s personal life and actions, including stewardship of his own resources (e.g., charitable giving) model this idea. I also believe that Obama’s compassion for the poor, a righteous character trait, is genuine.

My conclusion:  A Draw.

2. A. The civil government is to discourage citizens from doing evil, and to punish people who do evil (Rom 13:3-4; 1 Peter 2:13-14). B. This includes managing a just criminal justice system (e.g., Deut 16:18-20; Psalm 72:1-2).

Obama. He encourages socially just attitudes and behavior and an earnest desire for economically fair policies. However, he also directly and indirectly encourages and legitimizes evil (i.e, sinful) behavior through his strong support for abortion rights in the US and abroad, which licenses and promotes murder of unborn innocents; and through his strong support for same-sex marriage, which licenses and legitimizes sinful behaviors.

Romney. I think he also genuinely believes that his economic policies will produce a more economically just set of outcomes. He supports the biblical ideal of marriage. His tepid anti-abortion position seems mostly designed to win the Republican nomination; but even half-hearted support for pre-born children is better than Mr. Obama’s policies.

My conclusion: Romney

A just criminal justice system, according to the Bible, is one in which justice is applied equally regardless of the social and economic position of the accused or the victim.

Romney. His judicial philosophy seems to be based on Natural Law theory, which coincides with ideas such as the “rule of law” that make the basis for judicial decisions the constitution and stated intents of law writers. This should, though doesn’t always, lead to more evenhanded application of the law.

Obama’s judicial philosophy emanates from Critical Law or Legal Positivism theories, in which judges’ discretion is broader, and which views the legal system as a primary means for undoing and remedying systemic social injustices against historically “oppressed” groups. In this philosophy traditionalistic religious views are viewed with suspicion and are generally falling under the category of “hate speech.”

My conclusion: Romney, because Natural Law theory, justly applied, does not advantage any one, rich or poor, whereas Critical Law and Legal Positivism assume someone must be oppressed and freed from something.

3. The civil government is to provide a secure and a tranquil social environment in which the gospel can be freely proclaimed (1 Tim 2:1-4). 

I believe both candidates care about the United States’ national security; in general their foreign and defense policies don’t really differ all that much.

Obama. The president’s policies toward freedom of religion are rather antagonistic. His administration re-defined the “free exercise” of religion to include merely “freedom of worship.” This means that your freedom of religion extends only to the ways in which you specifically worship, and not in the way you live your life; thus, for example, Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services requires every company, except for churches, to include abortificants (pills that cause abortion in case of “accidental” pregnancy) in their health insurance coverage, even if the company is religiously opposed to abortion. (Technically, HHS requires the company’s health insurance provider to include this “benefit,” but the effect is the same because the company still pays the premiums.) Obama’s Department of Justice has specifically said that a company owner gives up his or her right to religious free exercise when they offer services to the public. This is inconsistent with an environment that permits free discussion and application of the gospel to people’s lives—basically, DOJ says you’re allowed to believe the Bible, you’re just not allowed to act like you believe the Bible. In the international arena, the Obama administration has virtually ceased any efforts to systematically report on or promote freedom of religion around the world.

Romney. Appears to hold the more traditional view of free expression of religion. Since Mormons were historically persecuted because of their religious beliefs, they tend to be tolerant of alternative religions in the public sphere.

My conclusion: A draw on national security; domestically: Romney,because of the Obama administration’s policies that limit freedom of religion to freedom of worship.

4. The civil government is to facilitate a just social and economic environment in which the poor are not oppressed (Ps 72:3-4; 12-14) .To provide for those in society who have no family or church means of support (1 Tim 5:3-16; Ps 72:12-14), but without discouraging people from laboring to provide for themselves (many Proverbs praise diligent labor and criticize slothfulness; 2 Thess 3:8). 

A biblical policy for this area would be to (1) strongly encourage people who can provide for themselves to do so, strictly limiting benefits for able workers; (2) strongly encourage family members to care for their own “truly needy” family members; (3) strongly encourage churches to care for their church family members who are truly needy and truly can’t provide for themselves; (4) strongly encourage churches to care for those in their communities who are truly needy and truly can’t provide for themselves [By the way, this requires Christians and local churches to genuinely step up to do these things.]; and (5) identify those people who are left (after policies 1-4)  and who are truly needy and truly can’t provide for themselves, and facilitate their temporary support until their needs can be met by family or a local social support network or agency. The benefits of all of these family- and local-based support are clear—help is available from my family, church, and local community when I need it, but because these are “my people” I will be less likely to keep going to them when it isn’t really necessary. The creation of a remote, faceless bureaucracy for getting help provides no social accountability for my actions.

Neither candidate poses a public policy agenda that looks like this. So which comes closer?

Obama. I believe he is strongly motivated by compassion for the poor and this is worthy of praise. One of his major solutions has been to expand access to government support by redefining “poverty” to include a lot more people. While I don’t think this is wrong in and of itself, there are well-known “unintended effects” of these kinds of policies, including the tendency to discourage people from providing for themselves while encouraging them to continue seeking government support even when they could provide for themselves. (The Heritage Foundation—a conservative think tank—has reported that the Obama administration weakened federal requirements to seek work in order to continue receiving social welfare benefits; if this is true, this moves the government’s programs even further from the biblical model.) Support in the administration has dwindled for Faith-Based Initiatives, in which local faith communities had expanded access to federal social welfare support grants; while I have problems with churches going to the government for funding, the principle was a step in the right direction; that the administration de-prioritized faith-based solutions was a step in the wrong direction.

Romney. His personal record is also one that reflects compassion for and service to the needy, but his public plan deals with poverty less directly than Mr. Obama’s. His plan seems to have more general macro-economic focus, in which economic improvement for all will lift many out of poverty. The budgetary priorities of Paul Ryan include dramatic cuts for many government programs, including social welfare programs that support the newly-expanded definition of people in “poverty.” Simply cutting these is not a solution for poverty, nor does it move us in the direction of a policy that strongly develops local solutions to support the “truly needy” in society. On the other hand, Romney’s emphasis on locally-based job retraining programs suggest a step in the right direction. Romney’s stated plans for ensuring the long-term stability of federal insurance programs for the elderly and “truly needy” also don’t ensure local engagement.

My conclusion: A Draw. Neither set of programs come close to the Bible’s approach to caring for society’s “truly needy.” Obama’s policies emphasize government benefits, but have a high risk for encouraging dependency on the government. Romney’s policies don’t adequately emphasize local solutions to poverty.