It is entirely reasonable for Christians to analyze the theology of President Obama, but it is troubling to hear so many state publicly that his faith is not Christian but instead he’s a Muslim.
President Barack Obama gave an unusually personal speech about his religious faith on Thursday, saying that “it is the biblical injunction to serve the least of these that keeps me going and keeps me from being overwhelmed,” in address to a prayer breakfast in Washington.
The speech, delivered at the National Prayer Breakfast, comes on the heels of public opinion surveys that show only a minority of Americans know that Obama is a Christian and that a growing number believe he’s a Muslim.
“My Christian faith has been sustaining for me over the last couple of years and even more so when Michelle and I hear our faith questioned from time to time,” the president said Thursday, referring to his wife. “We are reminded that ultimately what matters is not what other people say about us but that we are true to our conscience and true to our God.”
“When I wake in the morning, I wait on the Lord, I ask him to give me the strength to do right by our country and our people,” Obama said later. “And when I go to bed at night, I wait on the Lord and I ask him to forgive me my sins and to look after my family and to make me an instrument of the Lord.”
But the fact is that many Americans don’t believe this:
Nearly 1 in 5 Americans believes Obama is a Muslim, up from about one in 10 Americans who said he was Muslim in 2009, according to the survey. It was conducted in July and August by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
Fewer than half of Democrats and African-Americans, core components of Obama’s political base, correctly identified Obama as Christian.
President Obama spoke honestly about themes in his prayer life:
On Thursday, Obama spoke at length about his prayer life, saying his prayers fall into three categories: for those who are struggling, for personal humility, and to be closer to God.
“Faith reminds me that in spite of being one very imperfect man I can still help whoever I can, however I can, wherever I can for as long as I can,” Obama said of the first kind of prayer, “and that somehow God will buttress these efforts.”
“The second recurring theme in my prayer is a prayer for humility,” Obama said later. “God answered the prayer early on by having me marry Michelle.”
“The challenge is to balance this uncertainty and humility with a need to fight for deeply held convictions,” he continued. “I pray for this wisdom very day. I pray for God to show me and all us the limits of our understanding.”
With regard to his third kind of prayer, Obama said the recurring theme “is that I might walk closer to God and make that walk my first and most important walk.”