These Republicans Can’t Admit Obama is a Christian August 25, 2010

These Republicans Can’t Admit Obama is a Christian

Nearly a third of Republicans wrongly believe President Obama is a Muslim, according to a Pew Research Institute poll. It’s even higher in other surveys.

But it’s one thing for random, delusional people to think that. It’s another thing when people running for office either believe it or perpetuate the myth to help rile up their base.

It’s happening all over Massachusetts:

“I believe that — that he is a Muslim,” said Republican Robert Chipman of Plainville, a candidate for Congress in the 3rd District.

“Coming from an international background, there is no mistake that he leans into the Muslim faith,” Chipman said, explaining that he bases his belief on news reports.

Robert Delle of Westboro, another Republican running in the 3rd District against U.S. Rep. James McGovern, D-Worcester, also said he believes Obama is a Muslim.

“There is no doubt about it. Obama is a Muslim,” he said.

Some don’t even think he’s a Muslim:

Michael Stopa, another Republican running in the 3rd district that includes Attleboro, North Attleboro, Plainville, Wrentham, Seekonk and Rehoboth, said he is convinced Obama is an atheist.

“I actually don’t think Barack Obama is a Muslim. I think he is a nonbeliever,” he said.

“I have no specific evidence, but I think he’s sympathetic to anybody who is opposed to America and American values,” Stopa said.

Wait, what?! Since when are nonbelievers opposed to American or American values? We’re the ones defending the Constitution and civil rights for all people! Which American values do I not agree to?

Apparently, there’s a third option, too:

Early Henry Sholley of Norfolk, a candidate in the Republican primary in the 4th District seeking to run against Rep. Barney Frank, D-Newton, said he has his doubts about Obama’s religion.

“I believe in his heart of hearts he is a true Marxist, and Marxists are atheists,” he said.

However, Sholley said without evidence to the contrary, he will have to accept Obama at his word that he is a Christian.

To paraphrase: I want to believe the lie that I’m spreading, but I guess I just have to accept the truth.

It’s pathetic. I’m opposed to voting for Republicans in general, but I don’t know why anyone other than the deluded base would vote for any of these candidates in particular — they’re purposely and willfully ignoring the truth because the lie better fits their narrative. Our country shouldn’t be led by those fearmongers.

(via Atheist Ethicist)

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  • littlejohn

    Politicians have to call themselves Christians, of course, but I secretly hope Obama’s an atheist. He honestly doesn’t seem to be very interested in religion, and his parents were apparently atheists.

  • Ron in Houston

    Well, as one of your commenters said:

    I suppose if following Hemant has taught me anything it is that some people are so attached to their beliefs that it may well be impossible to convince them otherwise.

    The irony is that you should just give up arguing facts. If you don’t believe me, read this.

  • Roxane

    This is a link to an article laying out a lot of dumb stuff significant numbers of Americans believe. Fox News and Rush Limbaugh have succeeded in convincing a lot of people of a whole alternative reality, it seems.

  • Chas

    Actually the idea that he is a closet Atheist is not that unreasonable. According to

    Obama’s family histories note that his father was an atheist or agnostic (i.e., no longer a practicing Muslim) by the time he married the younger Obama’s mother. Of his mother’s religious views, Senator Obama wrote:

    For my mother, organized religion too often dressed up closed-mindedness in the garb of piety, cruelty and oppression in the cloak of righteousness.

    This isn’t to say that she provided me with no religious instruction. In her mind, a working knowledge of the world’s great religions was a necessary part of any well-rounded education. In our household the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology. On Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites. But I was made to understand that such religious samplings required no sustained commitment on my part. Religion was an expression of human culture, she would explain, not its wellspring, just one of the many ways — and not necessarily the best way — that man attempted to control the unknowable and understand the deeper truths about our lives.

    In sum, my mother viewed religion through the eyes of the anthropologist she would become; it was a phenomenon to be treated with a suitable respect, but with a suitable detachment as well.

  • I think the all day all the time news channels have helped perpetuate this view and others. I sometimes think they go for the most outrageous or colorful stories regardless of its’ accuracy in order to keep viewers. I guess stories of real suffering around the world are not as interesting as whether Obama is a citizen or not. Or is he a socialist? Or is a Muslim?

  • The blatent bigotry inherent in these people just boggles. They’re making no bones about the idea that Obama is a Muslim, therefore he’s bad (or at least not as good as a Christian). This is straight out of the playbook used against JFK.

  • Matthew

    Since when does atheism – stated simply, a lack of belief in deities – constitute an absolute belief in Marxism? *sigh* Seriously, these people have such a cartoonishly simplistic worldview. I think Wile E. Coyote had more depth than these tools.

  • BlatAntly bad spelling also boggles.

  • Nicole

    When Obama was campaiging and I was obediently reading up on the candidates, I also reached the private conclusion that he MIGHT be a nonbeliever or at least an apathetic one, but acknowledges that it would be political suicide to say so. I can’t say that for fact and don’t, since I have no way to knowing for sure… but I think evidence is pretty strongly against his being a Muslim.

    I voted for him but, on a note utterly unrelated to this post, I haven’t been feeling the love lately 🙁

  • About the same number of Democrats thought Bush planned 9/11. Turns out, if you hate someone enough, you’ll believe anything bad about them, or anything you perceive to be bad. No matter how ridiculous.

  • Well I believe that ALL Christians are really atheists. They are just saying they are Christian because of the perception that the majority expects them to be Christian. I think the same about all religious people. I believe that every last person on the planet is an atheist. See I can use the same logic as the Massachusetts Republican candidates!

  • Ron in Houston

    Be careful Jeff P

    I think that’s dangerous to your health…

  • alex

    Hey, I can understand the concern. After all, the U. S. Constitution clearly states that only a devout Christian can hold the office of the President. It’s right there, in the Article 6:

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

    Wait, what?… Well, it’s gotta be there, somewhere. It has to!

  • Reginald Selkirk
  • littlejohn

    @Butch: It looks like you’re saying a third of all Democrats believe (or believed) that Bush planned 9/11. That strikes me as remarkable. I’m a Democrat, and I don’t know a single person who ever believed that. Do you have a citation?

  • Damn it, I leave Massachusetts for a decade or so and look what happens!

    I have no specific evidence, but I think he’s sympathetic to anybody who is opposed to America and American values,” Stopa said.

    It’s the same as it ever was: “I have no evidence, but I’m going to believe this nonsense anyway. Also, I’m going to make wild accusations, with the same lack of evidence.” And you know Stopa’s just substituting “America” for “Christian” in that sentence. Well, I do have specific evidence (namely, what came out of his mouth in that quote), and I think Stopa’s a dumbass.

    And the thing of it is it doesn’t (or shouldn’t) matter even if Obama was a Muslim or atheist or anything else, so long as he is able to uphold the constitution and the laws of the U.S. But it does, sadly. And until it doesn’t, we’re never going to be able to live up to the founding principles of this country. Grumble grumble grumble Go Sox grumble.

  • ‘I have no evidence, but I think my neighbour is a witch!’ …a couple hundred years ago that would have resulted in my neighbour being dead by the end of the day. I think conservatives miss the good old days.

  • these days, most american pols come in one of two stripes: hypocrites and closet atheists who talk about religion as if it meant something to them personally every election season, and freaky true believer monotheists who want to replace the constitution with the by laws of the southern baptist or promise keeper convention, etc. it’s very scary and annoying to me that more people can’t see that, but then again i suppose you have to live in DC for a while to really grok that if your information about them only comes from the mainstream media. of course obama is a closet atheist. his association with churches began exactly at the point when there was political benefit for doing so. and if he prays at all now, it’s with religious leaders with whom he needs a photo op. bush was no different, imho. i never bought that ‘reborn’ crap, even as i think he’s dumb enough to have gone thru a phase of it. it’s one thing to be a true practitioner of some wacky cult system, it’s another thing to sustain that for a long time if you’ve even also not done so for a long time. i find most born again people to be abhorrent, hypocritical people in this way. they mouth the words, but in many of their actions act like any other plain old sinner and liar. ymmv, but it’s what i like the least about american protestants: so many of them are blatant, obvious hypocrites.

  • rbray18

    the local news station here had a pole of their viewers asking what religion they thought Obama was,and 80% thought he was Muslim.gotta love Oklahoma -_-

  • Puzzled

    I’ll just point out that the Constitutional prohibition on a religious test is not about deciding how you vote. A person is free to vote against someone because they believe the wrong fairytales. Myself, I’m somewhat more concerned that they believe any fairytales, but that’s just me.

    Question – what percentage of leftists believe that Obama is a leftist?

  • “I actually don’t think Barack Obama is a Muslim. I think he is a nonbeliever,” he said.

    “I have no specific evidence, but I think he’s sympathetic to anybody who is opposed to America and American values,” Stopa said.

    Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: Michael Stopa, America worshiper.

    This man is practically a living stereotype.

  • ckitching

    Isn’t it obvious? Obama is clearly a lizardman hybrid! The signs are all there to see! The large ears, the glassy eyes, the green scaly skin…

    What? It’s no crazier than the other quotes.

  • I believe Obama was raised as a nominal Muslim (there’s so much evidence for this I’m not even going over it), but has really always been a spiritual agnostic.

    I do not believe he is a Christian or a Muslim, though I think he has an unprecedented (amongst American politicians and relative to most Americans) attachment to Islam.

  • Oh but according to Islamic law, Obama is technically a Muslim. Being a Muslim is passed through the father and while his father was an atheist, according to Muslims, he was still a Muslim.

    This also applies to individuals born to Jewish mothers – though that’s conflated with ethnicity because Jewishness is also an ethnic background.

  • Vanessa

    This article suggests that calling Obama a Muslim is substitute for calling him out as black. Since racism is no longer acceptable, they’ve cashed in on “Islamophobia” to make their prejudices known. I’d like to know how some of you feel on this. Do you think this is true, or is it really that they think he’s Muslim?

  • what constitutes an “international background?”

  • @Vanessa

    I agree … the reason why I say that is because during the campaign of ’08, they had a scandal about his Reverend and the church he attended for all of that time. now he is a muslim?

    its racism of course.

    the crazy part is that Obama prays with the Graham nutjobs and no one says anything about their politics.

  • I believe Obama was raised as a nominal Muslim (there’s so much evidence for this I’m not even going over it), but has really always been a spiritual agnostic.

    Of course you’re not even going to go over the evidence, because that would require that such evidence exist.

    Seriously, you should know better than to pull the “evidence exists everywhere, just look for it” card here.

    As for “nominal”, that means “in name.” He was not raised Muslim. You can verify this by reading the man’s books and seeing what he says about his childhood.

    I do not believe he is a Christian or a Muslim…

    So his word’s not good enough for you? He’s so sneaky! He says he’s a Christian, but you’re far too clever to believe that – you know better!

    Oh but according to Islamic law, Obama is technically a Muslim. Being a Muslim is passed through the father and while his father was an atheist, according to Muslims, he was still a Muslim.

    Good for Islamic law. It means absolutely nothing to non-Muslims. Why did you say this as if it actually mattered?

  • The link is to a far-right website (I imagine 100% of the people here will consider it racist), but the facts mentioned are indisputable:

    And here’s some more. The original article is no longer available so you’ll have to do with a quote:

    Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated (it’ll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”

    The opening lines of the Muslim call to prayer go something like:

    “Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme!
    Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme!
    I witness that there is no god but Allah
    I witness that there is no god but Allah
    I witness that Muhammad is his prophet… “

    And his middle name, his grandfather was a devout Muslim, the stepfather that raised him was a Muslim, he was listed as a Muslim in Indonesian school (as Barry Sortero), etc.

    Again, I don’t think he’s a believing Muslim, but I believe if asked as a child, he probably would have said he was a Muslim. Is he now? Again – no.

    But given his unique background, it isn’t exactly unreasonable to think he’s a Muslim.

    As for him being an atheist, he was raised by an atheist (his mother) and two lapsed christians (his maternal gparents) and here’s a quote from his book:

    I was unable to answer my daughter about heaven; I wondered if I should have told her the truth – that I was not sure what happens when we die; anymore than I was sure of where the soul resides or what existed before the big bang.

    In speeches, Obama has professed an absolutely unshakable Christian faith. How many Christians who profess that level of belief would make the above statement? Can you imagine the God Warrior even HEARING that statement:

  • So his word’s not good enough for you? He’s so sneaky! He says he’s a Christian, but you’re far too clever to believe that – you know better!

    Yea because a politician has never lied before.

  • So your argument is that it’s okay to accuse him of lying because some politicians lie? Do you have any actual reasons that we should not believe what he says about his religious convictions, or do you prefer to argue from insinuation?

  • Puzzled

    I have no problem suggesting that a politician lied. However, I prefer to make that accusation in cases where: it matters, and there’s at least some shred of evidence that he did.

  • @ Mike:

    Are you really this obtuse or are you just pulling my chain?

    I’m making the argument that given his childhood background, his ostentatious admiration of Islam (what other professed Christian would feel comfortable repeating “Allah is Supreme! There is no God but Allah! in perfect Arabic), his lack of Christian background prior to and now following his admittedly poor attendance at Rev Wright’s church, his name, his bowing to the Saudi king, etc… it’s not UNREASONABLE to be skeptical of his Christianity.

    Further, we’re generally justified in considering politician’s claims incredulously because of the precedent of lying.

    Now given these facts, one can’t forthrightly conclude Obama is a Muslim. But that’s not my argument.

    My argument is that skepticism concerning his faith is a reasonable supposition.

    Instead, according to Hemant and the media, only a bucolic, ignorant idiot would extrapolate these facts into skepticism.

  • A Skeptic


    A Rasmussen poll from 2007 found: “Thirty-five percent (35%) of Democrats believe [Bush] did know [about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance], 39% say he did not know, and 26% are not sure.”

    Pew came out with a poll last week that says that a growing number of Republicans AND independents think Obama is a Muslim. Only 46% of Democrats think he’s a Christian. It’s funny how the atheist blogs (which I enjoy reading except for the constant Republican bashing) leave out this inconvenient figure but jump at the chance to point out how many nutty Republicans there are.

    Butch is right.. if you hate someone strongly enough, you’ll believe anything negative about them.

  • Further, we’re generally justified in considering politician’s claims incredulously because of the precedent of lying.

    No, you’re justified in thinking that a specific politician may be lying if that specific politician has done so in the past. Thinking that someone is lying is not the same as being skeptical of what they’re saying.

    Now given these facts, one can’t forthrightly conclude Obama is a Muslim. But that’s not my argument.

    Please don’t make me quote you.

    You dropped in here with an assertion that Obama was raised nominally Muslim, but declined to provide evidence.

    Then you made an irrelevant remark about what Islamic law says.

    Then you said that it was likely he was lying about his beliefs, since other politicians have been known to lie.

    Then you strung together a bunch of circumstantial evidence, much of which could describe the actions several other presidents (and much of which could describe our diplomats as well), to cast further doubt on what Obama says about himself.

    And yet you call me obtuse.

    All you’re doing is casting aspersions. I’m certain that you’ve simply begun with an assumption and gathered whatever evidence you could to convince yourself of its validity, because doing things like, oh… I don’t know… reading the things Obama has written or listening to him talk about his faith is just far too difficult.

  • Yea because professing an ardent faith, but then admitting you rarely went to church and when you did go you didn’t even really pay attention, as well as having no background whatsoever in Christianity and then refraining from joining a Church after getting elected President aren’t sufficient for casting just a tiny bit of doubt.

    Then reciting an Islamic prayer in perfect Arabic, calling it one of the most beautiful sounds on Earth, having a family history of Islam, attending mosque as a young child and being registered as a Muslim in school, and, oh yea, that middle name of his which he’s refrained from changing (unlike many politicians who intend on reflecting their adult-accepted beliefs like Bobby Jindal and David Ben-Gurion).

    But gosh, these are just circumstantial evidence. I guess quoting from his own book where he expresses basically an agnostic position on Heaven and the Soul (pretty basic concepts of any devout Christian like Obama claims he is) is “circumstantial”. Quoting from his own speeches, his own history, and his own autobiography are now circumstantial.

    And Obama was raised as a Muslim – his stepfather who raised him in Indonesia (as Barry Sortero) was a lapsed Muslim. Former teachers have corroborated that Obama was registered as a Muslim child.

    I don’t even think Obama’s a believing Muslim; I simply don’t think it’s irrational to believe so.

    Let’s do a little check concerning your blindness on the President. Let’s say I told you that at Occidental College (prior to transferring to Columbia), Obama explicitly sought out Marxists, foreign students, militant blacks, and other political radicals. Would you dismiss this as unsubstantiated invective from ignorant conservatives?

    Answer honestly. You would, wouldn’t you? Well here’s a little quote from Obama’s autobiography:

    “To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully: the more politically active black students, the foreign students, the Chicanos, the Marxist Professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets.”

    Also from his book:

    After college, Obama states lived on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, venturing to the East Village for what he called “the socialist conferences I sometimes attended at Cooper Union.”

    Basically, the standard of evidence you require is unachievable. You won’t believe Obama was raised a Muslim unless he shows up in a turban and refuses to eat pork at a White House dinner. And probably then you’d somehow attribute that to a right-wing smear campaign.

  • Yes, actually, every single thing you cited is circumstantial evidence, including the misquotes and out-of-context bits.

    And now you’ve switched your tune. Before you were arguing that Obama is not a Christian now; this time around you’re trying to build a case that he was a Muslim as a child, which isn’t even relevant to what he believes now!

    Are you even vaguely familiar with the degree of variety that exists within the beliefs of American Christians? Yes, there are plenty of them who doubt some of the fundamental tenets of the faith.

    The man calls himself a Christian. What evidence would it take for you to believe him? Or are you too solid in your position that he couldn’t possibly be one since he doesn’t match the model you have in mind?

  • alex

    @ MikeTheInfidel & OneSTDV:

    You do realize you are arguing over a complete non-issue, right?

    It’s amazing how many people get worked up about some insignificant BS rather than discuss important things like the state of education or, I dunno, mental health. Because it’s so much easier to find evidence for POTUS’s religion than try to find ways to fix shit.

    And okay, I’m not necessarily talking about you two guys here — after all, few things will change if you switch your discussion topic to problems in education; it’s happening on a much bigger scale — now, that’s what’s truly appalling.

  • stogoe

    It’s amazing how many people get worked up about some insignificant BS rather than discuss important things like the state of education or, I dunno, mental health

    Take note, observers: This is the “Why isn’t Post X Talking about Topic Y?” Fallacy. It’s annoyingly common to see in the wild, but it’s important to learn to recognize it so we can avoid it and get to our real destination, i.e, the more complex and interesting fallacies.

  • alex

    @ stogoe:

    Not quite. I’m talking about a common trend, not an individual post. Are you suggesting that Obama’s religious convictions are somehow relevant to… um, just about anything?

  • My position was grossly mis-represented in the Sun Chronicle article. I said that I believed that Obama was a non-believer and I said that I believed he was often sympathetic to anti-American views. I *did not* say, nor do I believe, that he is anti-American *because* he is atheist. I have *no ill feelings whatsoever* against atheists. To the extent that the article gave that impression it was a complete misrepresentation.
    -Mike Stopa

  • Nigel Patel

    It hit me last week with the poll numbers that 18-20% of Americans believe that Obama is a Muslim.
    “Believe” is their magic word. They are allowed/encouraged to believe in whatever they want blissfully ignorant of facts raining on their fantastical parade.
    So, I can’t be shocked when a fifth of Americans believe something with no rational basis for that belief. A full three quarters of Americans believe in some ridiculous god or other based no no evidence at all but their wish for it to be so.

  • muggle

    I’m with Alex here. It pretty much basically has no relevence to anything. Whatever he truly believes or doesn’t, whatever else you can criticize him for, whatever nonsense people believe because they want to, Obama has been all-inclusive of everyone and one thing that will probably have me voting for him again (unless Nader or some other strong third party candidate runs again) is that he actually includes non-believers in his speeches. It’s frankly refreshing to be treated as a citizen that matters for once.

  • Heidi

    @Michael Stopa: I live in Massachusetts, and I grew up in Marlboro. Frankly, I don’t think you’d know “Anti-American” if it bit you in the ass. And I am now going to pass that information along to all my friends and family members in your district. Have a nice day.

  • MikeTheInfidel, I am curious to know which specific quote of Obama’s supplied by OneSTDV is a misquote. You do know that misquote means inaccurate quote, right? Not out of context. Actually incorrect.

  • @Michael Stopa, I agree that Obama isn’t a Christian or a Muslim. But how do you know he’s an atheist and not an agnostic? I’m not disagreeing. I just do not know. Are there tells for atheists versus agnostics?

  • Here, guys. Just shut up about it and read what he said about his beliefs back in 2004.

    As for the parts he misquoted, I see now it wasn’t specifically in quotation marks, so it was a paraphrase rather than a misquote.

  • Richard Wade

    I’m not disagreeing. I just do not know. Are there tells for atheists versus agnostics?

    I think agnostics say things like “Im not disagreeing. I just do not know.”


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