Monday, August 4, 2008

Obama, Religion & the American Presidency

The following is an email/comment I sent to Ilana Mercer based on her WorldNetDaily article on Obama's religion. [Hat Tip Ed Brayton.]

Ms. Mercer,

I’ve done extensive research into religion & the American Presidency over the past few years (and published in First Things and Liberty Magazine on the matter) and can attest the kind of “Christianity” that Obama believes in (sans its alleged Muslim component) is par for the course for the American Presidency.

Indeed what you describe as “Christianity” — we can term it “orthodox Christianity” — is, if anything, more anathema to the American Presidency. As you wrote:

“Christian doctrine decrees that embracing Jesus Christ as personal savior is the only road to redemption. Jesus said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ Obama disagrees. He, the Holy Son, says: ‘There are many paths to the same place.’ Is that Christianity? Apparently so in post-Christian America.”

To the contrary, this unorthodox theology is the “Christianity” that forms America’s Founding civil religion, the one without question believed in by John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and probably George Washington and James Madison. Abraham Lincoln likewise believed in something similar. And, as far as I can tell, John McCain is a nominal Christian who probably doesn’t believe embracing Jesus Christ as personal savior is the only road to redemption.

Though you may have a point that arguably this belief system is not “Christianity.” As such America’s key Founders and Lincoln were not “Christians” but something else.


Anonymous said...

Kudos. I think that is quite a well thought out and well written letter.

Phil Johnson said...

I've been doing a little--on my own--look see into the religious history of the United States.
I think it is very difficult to get a good handle on the definition of "Christian Religion" during the Founding period.
It seems to be a split between Edwardsian Puritanism and Deism with some variations in between. A hodgepodge--nothing to nail down.
And, the confusion continued right up into the Civil War when there seems to have been a great turning away from any strong religious conviction whatsoever except for the "Iron Warhorses of God" and their narrow following--millenialists, etc.The Great War Between the States seems to have had a devastating effect on what people believed about God.
Then, came the Social Gospel and the split in Christianity was made quite apparent--at least, I think so--for the first time.
So, for anyone to harp on what Christianity was or was not at the time of the Founding seems perverse to me.

Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, Barack Obama would be the first president to promise us the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

WWJD? Raise your taxes, for one.

Larry Cebula said...

The whole purpose of this blog is to present pearls to swine, isn't it?