Terry Mattingly has some fascinating analysis of why many liberal, secular Jews have a problem with Barack Obama. See Obama and the Jewish votes » GetReligion, which analyzes this quotation from a news article about Florida Jews:”Many here suspect Mr. Obama of being too cozy with Palestinians, while others accuse him of having Muslim ties, even though they know that his father was born Muslim and became an atheist, and that Mr. Obama embraced Christianity as a young man. In Judaism, religion is a fixed identity across generations.”
In other words, if religious identity is primarily a matter of ethnicity and culture and one cannot change that through, well, mere religious conversion, then that means that Obama is still in some way — Muslim. So the purely cultural approach to Judaism, which is normally identified with secular Judaism and more liberal cultural views that are far, far from doctrinal, Orthodox Judaism, may not be something that helps Obama in some settings, especially among the elderly.And the Orthodox? They are not going to be happy at all with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., no matter what happens. They are also not going to be happy with Obama’s very liberal stands on crucial moral and cultural issues. And then there is the issue — Wright or wrong — about Obama’s enthusiastic support for his mainline Protestant denomination, the United Church of Christ. There is a history there, as in many mainline flocks, of fierce debate about the status of Israel.
The UCC, like some other mainline liberal denominations, has been pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel for years. Notice, though, how a good many, if not most, world religions are primarily about cultural identity. Christianity is about BELIEF. That distinction is not always recognized, so that many people see Christianity as a cultural religion also. Obama is not a Muslim, but many people in the world are going to treat him as one.