Sunday, March 18, 2012

Barack Obama, Man Of Faith

Andrew Sullivan picks up on the recent battle over President Obama's Christianity involving David Barton. He links to an article of Paul Harvey's that references John Fea's recent "experience" discussing Obama's Christianity.

From Harvey's:

Given Obama’s frequent Christian testimony—explicit enough to make most founding fathers uncomfortable with its public expression of private matters—how can this view be so widely held?

Is it because, like Thomas Jefferson, Obama has been sitting in his office, snipping away with his scissors and cutting out the relatively few passages of the Bible that he has deemed worthy of inclusion in his own expurgated text of trustworthy Gospel sayings? Is it because, like Andrew Jackson, he has opened the White House doors to the huddled masses, yearning to sip some “cider” with the POTUS and his crew? Is it because, like Abraham Lincoln, he avoids any explicit mention of Jesus, and confesses that the ways of the Almighty are unknowable to humans?

No, of course not. Rather, it boils down to this: because Chuck Norris, Franklin Graham, and the American Family Association ... say so. And because David Barton has 47 footnotes that say so.

Obama is a "Christian" in the sense that he professes to be one and has also professed his belief in certain "minimums" like putting his faith in a divine resurrected Jesus. Granted, the liberation theology thing makes his faith a bit "unconventional"; and I'm not sure whether he'd pass CS Lewis' "mere Christian" test that, at a minimum Christians believe Jesus 2nd Person in the Trinity (he might).

But I do know that President Obama's professed faith is closer to "mere Christianity" than either Jefferson's, John Adams' or that of the Mormons.

But, according to Barton, Glenn Beck gets to be a Christian (and a Mormon at the same time) because his politics better match up with Barton's?

I'm not sure if that's a fair charge; but it's how Barton comes off "smelling" to me.

12 comments:

Phil Johnson said...

.
Knock, knock, knocking at the dooor. You can alienate yourself doing that...
.

Tom Van Dyke said...

The passing reference to Thomas Jefferson here isn't enough to make this relevant to religion and the Founding, nor does Paul Harvey being a historian by profession make his opinion on current the least bit worth the time of day.

"Even from his grave, hack journalist Andrew Breitbart continues to taste that fear, and spread the hate.".

This is horrible and distasteful ad hom, and not fit for any intelligent or principled forum.

jimmiraybob said...

Oh please, Breitbart was a lying, rage-fueled, screecher of bile and a destroyer of people's - his avowed enemy's - lives. His mission and method was the horrible and distasteful ad hom. And, he would be pleased and proud that I recognize him with such a fitting reflection. [raises bourbon glass in honor of his memory as a former human being]

Edward J. Blum said...

Dear Tom, as one who has endured your flippant and rude remarks on many posts of mine (posts that deal with late 19th century and 20th century issues of race, something I a have studied deeply for a long, long time, and I see no evidence of you studying that or publishing in any refereed journal), I want to register my offense at your remarks toward Paul Harvey. The blog world is a wonderful, wonderful world. And I'm sad to say that my experience with you is that you have clouded it with rudeness, unkindness, and a "know-it-all" attitude that is based, in my estimation, on no refereed or established credential.
Sincerely, Edward J. Blum

Tom Van Dyke said...

Dr. Blum, it was a courtesy to Dr. Harvey that I didn't register my disgust at his essay at Religion Dispatches, where he published it. Unless perhaps you think I should...

It's such a laughable echo chamber at RD that I felt my remarks would be too discordant there [not to mention refused for publication].

Since American Creation is my own home blog, I thought at least I should be able to register my disgust at Dr. Harvey's miscegenation of history and current events. Where do you suppose the proper place for that is, Dr. Blum? Because I would very much like to do it.

For one thing, "Pseudo-historian" David Barton made a better factual case against President Obama than historian Paul Harvey did in attacking the president's critics.

As for the "know it all" portion of your program, we'll leave that for now, as we shall leave the value and inciveness of your own academic work, which is a separate question.

That I anger you is to be expected, that you should chase me to my home blog to defend Dr. Harvey's banal polemics is a bit of an overreach, though. Why you think such vile attacks should go without objection is beyond me, or why I'm the one who's "unkind" for standing in front of such polemics.

In fact, I object to them being referenced here at American Creation atall, as we have been known to at least try to separate the study of history from the vile partisanship that so often passes under guise of scholarship.

So you let me know where it's OK for me to write these things, Doctor.

Respectfully submitted,
Tom Van Dyke
[no credential]

Phil Johnson said...

.
I think you should continue making Tom account for his rude and superior ways. He does what he can to intimidate those who disagree with his presentations.
.
Furthermore, it is the mark of a healthy site that no one is allowed to demigogue the interactions.
.
Keep it up.
.
Maybe things will improve?
.

Tom Van Dyke said...

You stay out of this, brother. Dr. Blum & I will handle this ourselves. Third-man-in into a fight in hockey is an automatic game misconduct. Butt out.

You want to stand on your own two feet, fine. If you wish to defend the Paul Harvey essay, then do so. I'll be happy to tear it apart for you.

And those goes for you too, JRB. The ranting about Andrew Breitbart is precisely why I don't want this partisan stuff on the blog in the first place. Any featherbrain off the street has an opinion about current events, and as we see, a PhD's isn't worth any more than any common idiot's. Andrew Breitbart was a better man than any of them.

Angie Van De Merwe said...

Is this post about Barack's "commitment" to liberation theology, as a part of his faith, versus, "biblical Christianity" which kept "dem der slaves under"?

I don't think any particular social agenda should navigate the President. And I think this might be why we've seen such polarization in our country. We should personally define our faith, as ours is a free society, that even allows for NO faith.

So, the discussion about faith based initiatives is anthema to our "Republic", because is "impassions the troops" to defend their faith and it cloudies the issues that face our nation. The REAL issues, like our fiscal responsibility!

jimmiraybob said...

...precisely why I don't want this partisan stuff on the blog in the first place.

Then do not bring it to the forum and expect impunity. You brought Breitbart to the games not I. Also too, I wasn't ranting, I was stating observed facts. Plus, I demand credit for acknowledging him as a former fellow human being.

Tom Van Dyke said...

OK, a half-point. ;-P

Phil Johnson said...

.
I repeat:
.
.
Knock, knock, knocking at the dooor. You can alienate yourself doing that...
.

Michael Heath said...

Paul Harvey, " Is it because, like Abraham Lincoln, [President Barack Obama] avoids any explicit mention of Jesus, and confesses that the ways of the Almighty are unknowable to humans?

This is simply not true. Here's the President at the 2010 East Prayer Breakfast in the East Room of the White House [1]: "For even after the passage of 2,000 years, we can still picture the moment in our mind's eye. The young man from Nazareth marched through Jerusalem; object of scorn and derision and abuse and torture by an empire. The agony of crucifixion amid the cries of thieves. The discovery, just three days later, that would forever alter our world -- that the Son of Man was not to be found in His tomb and that Jesus Christ had risen."

and

"It's not easy to purge these afflictions, to achieve redemption. But as Christians, we believe that redemption can be delivered -- by faith in Jesus Christ. And the possibility of redemption can make straight the crookedness of a character; make whole the incompleteness of a soul. Redemption makes life, however fleeting here on Earth, resound with eternal hope."

and

"Of all the stories passed down through the gospels, this one in particular speaks to me during this season. And I think of hanging -- watching Christ hang from the cross, enduring the final seconds of His passion. He summoned what remained of His strength to utter a few last words before He breathed His last breath."

and

""Father," He said, "into your hands I commit my spirit." Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. These words were spoken by our Lord and Savior, but they can just as truly be spoken by every one of us here today. Their meaning can just as truly be lived out by all of God's children."

1] Transcript of the Prayer Breakfast: http://goo.gl/CGR3x