Is President Obama Christian or something else?
“People’s character is their behavior – we’re all capable of good and evil.” – Bertie Carvel
It’s often repeated that one’s character is defined by the actions he takes, but on the other side of the coin, character is also defined by the actions one doesn’t take. It’s not as if we only choose what we do, we also choose what we do not do. We are active even in our inaction. Our lives are filled with inactive choices that shape us in equal measure to the choices we make in which we take action. I would dare say that the actions we do not take often hold greater weight than all the rest. We tend to believe that inaction is a sort of discretion which protects us, when in reality inaction tends to magnify our failings.
“According to Joshua DuBois, a longtime spiritual adviser to Obama…the reason President Obama does not regularly attend church is that he worries that his presence detracts from other worshipers’ experience.“
DuBois claims that “When folks see the line forming outside, a lot of folks who don’t attend that congregation go in…It displaces a lot of people who are members of that church or at least interrupts them.”
During an April episode of Live With Kelly & Michael, Michelle Obama even said that church isn’t really much of a priority:
“We try to go to church as much as possible but when the kids get older, you know, Sunday is some kind of practice, rehearsal, birthday party, you know. So getting us all together on a Sunday is becoming more difficult now that the girls are getting older. But if we’re not going to church, we really try to use Sunday as family downtime where we can kind of breathe and catch up and maybe take a little nap every now and then if we’re not working.”
The statements made by DuBois and Michelle Obama lead me to one of two conclusions: either the Obama family—specifically Barack—is extremely arrogant, or they just aren’t the Christians they claim to be. Either way, these small moments reveal a great deal about Barack Obama’s character.
In the same article in which DuBois was quoted, Thomas D. Williams of Breitbart mentions that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush regularly attended church, and Jimmy Carter even taught Sunday school during his tenure as President. Apparently, regular attendance of a popular public figure–while at first possibly being a distraction–was not an issue for these former Presidents. The argument that the presence of the Obama family at a church would so overwhelm the congregation that it would be a consistent hindrance is a weak one at best. What it boils down to—if this is indeed the reason the Obama’s don’t attend church—is a deep seeded arrogance on the part of the President. He is so convinced of his celebrity, that he actually believes that his very presence among fellow worshipers would be an overwhelming, and ongoing distraction. Please.
Another possibility—and I tend to favor this one—is that Obama is not what he claims to be. Over the course of his presidency, Obama has made passionate remarks about the strength of his Christian conviction, such as the following:
“We all live in the hustle and bustle of our work. And everybody in this room has weighty responsibilities, from leading churches and denominations, to helping to administer important government programs, to shaping our culture in various ways. And I admit that my plate has been full as well. The inbox keeps on accumulating. But then comes Holy Week. The triumph of Palm Sunday. The humility of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. His slow march up that hill, and the pain and the scorn and the shame of the cross. And we’re reminded that in that moment, he took on the sins of the world — past, present and future — and he extended to us that unfathomable gift of grace and salvation through his death and resurrection.” – April, 2011
“We are awed by the grace he showed even to those who would have killed him. We are thankful for the sacrifice he gave for the sins of humanity. And we glory in the promise of redemption in the resurrection.” – April, 2010
“If all it took was someone proclaiming I believe Jesus Christ and that he died for my sins, and that was all there was to it, people wouldn’t have to keep coming to church, would they.” – March, 2004
President Obama even attended Trinity church for twenty years under radical minister Jeremiah Wright, leaving the congregation, and distancing himself from Wright only when he began to run for the presidency.
So, there was a point in time when Barack Obama regularly attended church, which means that during that portion of his life, he believed strongly in attending a regular service. After being elected president, despite no real hindrance, he stopped attending. However, during all of this, he continues to proclaim the strength of his Christian faith. It reeks of hypocrisy. If all it takes is a run for the presidency to make you leave your church of twenty years, and essentially stop going to regular gatherings altogether, you are lacking character. For someone to speak so passionately about Christ, but to ignore the teachings about gathering regularly, flies in the face of Christianity at large.
A man who claims a strong faith, who distances himself from his radical mentor only upon running for president, and now has neither the time, nor the will to attend more than three services a year, on average, seems hypocritical to me. This tells me that Barack Obama is not indeed a Christian. If Obama is not a Christian, then he is a liar, because he claims his faith openly, and with regularity. And if he’s a liar who is merely using his false Christianity to advance certain agendas, it is indicative of a severe and critical lack of character.
Character is not only defined by one’s actions, but by one’s inaction, and Obama’s inaction has left a dark stain on his character. He cannot have his cake and eat it, too.