Why It Matters If You Think President Obama Is Muslim

I trust if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I don’t think Republicans or Democrats have cornered the market on Truth. I blogged once on the basis for justice in the kingdom of God as a an example of how humanistic both political parties are. I say this as a preface to what I want to say in this post, so you’ll understand my goal here is not to be an apologist for President Obama.

Yet, I continue to read with surprise polls showing nearly 30% of white Evangelicals in the United States believe President Obama is a Muslim. As a Christian, whose desire is to see the kingdom of God advance in the earth, I’m concerned so many Christians have embraced this belief.

If you want clarity on the matter, read Stephen Mansfield’s book, The Faith of Barack Obama. I’ve met Stephen Mansfield. I spent an afternoon last summer touring Washington D.C. with him, and I discussed the book with him (which I had previously read). He’s a New York Times best-selling author and a born-again, Bible-believing Christian. If you have any doubts about his motives, I suggest you read his New York Times bestseller, The Faith of George W. Bush.

To put it bluntly, he’s one of us, and his book shows President Obama is clearly not a Muslim. This conclusion is not based on Stephen Mansfield’s opinion but on a reading of the undisputed facts of President Obama’s life. I won’t repeat those facts here because that’s not the purpose of this post. I’m more concerned here with the effect of this widespread misconception because there are two things that can result from it, and both are bad.

First, by continuing to proclaim President Obama is a Muslim in the face of facts clearly showing he is not, Christians lose credibility in the eyes of the world. It’s ok if the world thinks Christians are foolish for believing in Jesus, His crucifixion and resurrection. It’s not ok for them to think we are foolish because we believe the world is flat. It’s not ok because it’s the destiny of Christians to lead the world, and the world will not follow people who don’t know up from down.

Second, continuing to proclaim President Obama is a Muslim can only have the effect of alienating him from the Evangelical world. Do you think President Obama will want to hear anything from Christians who say he is lying about being a Christian?

It’s something to think about. GS

A Kingdom Response to Governmental Authority

Courtesy of ©iStockphoto/Nojustice

The last three U.S. presidents have had an emotionally polarizing effect on the electorate.  When Bill Clinton was president, my friends on the right demonized him and complained about him constantly.  They were in a bad mood for eight years.  When George Bush was president, my friends on the left did the same.  Now I hear it again from my friends on the right with regard to President Obama.  All of this makes me think people believe politics are more important than they really are, but that’s a discussion for another day.

The apostles Peter and Paul lived under some bad leaders.  Tiberius Caesar, who ruled from 14 A.D. to 37 A.D. was a pederast.  His successor, Caligula (reigned 37 A.D. to 41 A.D. ), was a lunatic and tyrant, who made his horse a senator and was allegedly involved in incestual relationships with his sisters.  Caligula’s successor was Claudius (reigned 41 A.D. to 54 A.D.), who, if you believe Robert Graves’s I Claudius, was the best of the lot.  But he was followed by Nero Caesar (reigned 54 A.D. to 68 A.D.), who wrongly blamed Christians for the great fire in Rome of 64 A.D. (which some historians believe Nero actually set), threw Christians to the lions and made them into human torches to light his garden parties at the palace. Peter and Paul were ultimately put to death by Nero.

Yet here’s what Paul said about how Christians should respond to their government:  “Let every person be in subjection to governing authorities.” (Romans 13:1).  “Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” (Romans 13:7). “…I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all goodliness and dignity.” (I Timothy 2:2).

The Apostle Peter said: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.” (I Peter 2:13-14).

There’s a very practical reason the Bible requires we respect authority. Jesus reigns primarily through delegated authority, and as the kingdom of God advances on the earth more Christians will move into places of authority.  The Biblical admonition of respect for authority contemplates the day when it will be Christians who benefit by that respect.

What do you think? GS