Political Advocacy Tracker is a roundup of what Christian activist organizations have been talking about the past week.
Hussein Is His Middle Name
President Obama told Christianity Today in 2008, "I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian." According to a new Pew Forum survey, only a third of Americans believe him. This is only slightly more than the 18 percent who think he is a Muslim. Among evangelical Christians, 29 percent believe Obama is a Muslim, but only 27 percent think he is a Christian.
Since March of last year, the percentage of Americans who think Obama is a Muslim has increased from 11 to 18 percent, while the percentage who think he is a Christian dropped from 48 to 34 percent.
The claim that Obama practices Islam is not new. In that same 2008 CT interview, then-candidate Obama addressed rumors about his faith.
"Part of what we've been seeing during the course of this campaign is some scurrilous e-mails that have been sent out, denying my faith, talking about me being a Muslim, suggesting that I got sworn in at the U.S. Senate with a Qur'an in my hand or that I don't pledge allegiance to the flag," said Obama. "I think it's really important for your readers to know that I have been a member of the same church for almost 20 years, and I have never practiced Islam. I am respectful of the religion, but it's not my own."
The Pew survey was completed before the President made his statement last Friday supporting the right of Muslims to build an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site in Manhattan.
"As a citizen, and as President, I believe that Muslims have the same right to practice their religion as everyone else in this country.And that includes the right to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in Lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances.This is America.And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable," said the President at the annual White House Iftar dinner.
American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) senior counsel Jay Sekulow said it was "difficult to believe" that Obama would support "the disturbing plans to build an Islamic mosque at the site of Ground Zero." The ACLJ is appealing the ruling in New York City that allowed the building of the center to proceed.
Chuck Norris (yes, that Chuck Norris) responded to Obama's comments on American Family Association's blog by saying, "Obama is not just rebooting America's image in the Muslim world. He's deepening and expanding Islamic belief, practice, culture around the world, like a Muslim missionary."
David Gushee of the New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good said politicians who were using the mosque issue for political gain "deserve neither our sympathy nor our acquiescence, but only our condemnation." His words for Christians who opposed the mosque were just as pointed.
"For those mainly conservative Christians who are responding to this and other mosque projects with open expressions of anti-Muslim hatred, and open rejections of the principles of religious liberty from which Christians themselves daily benefit, shame on you! As a fellow Christian, I say that you bring dishonor to the name of Jesus Christ, you directly disobey his command that we love our neighbors, and you drive the watching world even further away from any interest in the Gospel message!" said Gushee.
Support for the mosque has been a hot topic on Sojourners' God's Politics blog. In one of the more popular posts, Troy Jackson, senior pastor of University Christian Church in Cincinnati, wrote that it was unloving to oppose a mosque.