Obama’s Real Faith (IBD, Jan. 23, ’07)

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, March 20, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Recent media questions about Barack Obama’s Afrocentric faith were, in fact, raised by an IBD editorial more than a year ago.

Campaign 2008: Those spreading rumors that Barack Hussein Obama is a “closet Muslim” are off the mark. His religion has little to do with Islam and everything to do with a militantly Afrocentric movement that’s no less troubling.

Read More: Election 2008 | Religion

Surrogates for Hillary Clinton and GOP front-runners hope to tarnish golden boy Obama by making him out to be some kind of Manchurian candidate for Islamist masters because he shares a name with Saddam Hussein and is the son of a Muslim.

True, his late father was a Muslim, but he can hardly be described as “radical,” as the rumors have put it. He turned atheist in his early 20s before Obama was even born.

His mother is from a Christian background but eschewed organized religion altogether. She and her parents (one Baptist, the other Methodist) ended up raising Obama after her two marriages failed.

Yes, his former stepfather, an Indonesian oil executive, also was a Muslim, albeit a secular one. Obama describes him as “nonpracticing,” and he spent only five years with the man before he and his mother split up.

If, as rumors claim, Obama’s stepfather nurtured a “lifelong relationship with Islam” for his stepson, why isn’t his daughter a practicing Muslim? Obama’s Indonesian half-sister, now a University of Hawaii professor, is a “hottie” who dresses in Westernized clothing, students say.

What about the supposed “Wahhabi madrassa” Obama attended for “four years” in Jakarta? Actually, he went to a Muslim school for two years, and a Catholic school for the same amount of time. “I was sent first to a neighborhood Catholic school,” Obama wrote in his autobiography, “and then to a predominantly Muslim school.”

Obama said he was drawn to Christ after college while working with black churches on inner-city projects. Soon he knelt “beneath the cross” at one of them, he said in a recent speech, and “embraced Christ.” If he were Muslim, this act alone would be punishable by death.

Trouble is, Obama embraced more than Christ when he answered the altar call 20 years ago at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Southside Chicago. The 8,000-member church describes itself as “unashamedly black” and holds classes in “African-centered Bible study.” Obama also pledged to honor something called the “Black Value System,” which is a code of nonbiblical ethics written by blacks, for blacks.

This is what should give American voters pause.

According to its Web site, Trinity puts the “black community” first. Black members are encouraged to pursue education and skills exclusively to advance their community, and allocate their money exclusively to support “black institutions” and black leaders.

In short, it preaches from the gospel of blackness and black power. There’s little room for white Christians at Obama’s church. It disavows the pursuit of “middleclassness” — code for whiteness — arguing that middleclassness is a conspiracy by white leaders to keep talented African-Americans “captives.”

Obama, meanwhile, has been getting in touch with his African roots. He recently visited relatives in Kenya for the first time; he dropped the nickname Barry for the more African-sounding Barack.

“I believe in the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change,” he recently asserted. He said his faith has also led him to question “the idolatry of the free market.” This reflects Trinity church doctrine that no African-American can really rise to the top echelons of a “racist, competitive” white society on merit.

Obama, in turn, calls the dashiki-wearing minister of this militantly black church his “spiritual adviser” and mentor. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright said of Obama and his other congregants: “We are an African people, and remain true to our native land, the mother continent.” He wants health care for all and more housing for the poor, and calls those who voted for President Bush (and his tax cuts) “stupid.”

Do such beliefs translate into a political agenda tailored to African-Americans? Would Obama, despite his agreeably race-neutral and nonthreatening public persona, govern and petition on behalf of one group and not necessarily for the greater good of the country?

White House challengers such as Clinton think Obama’s childhood brushes with Islam will make Americans nervous. But it’s his adult conversion to black nationalism and socialism that makes this otherwise attractive minority candidate unfortunately so unattractive.


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