President Obama cannot shake the Muslim problem.
And no matter what you think of our president, the "Ground Zero mosque", Islam in general, or terrorism politics in particular, isn't it amazing that one religion has managed to commandeer so much of the President's attention this week?
Consider, for example, the Obama administration's renewed campaign to get the freed Lockerbie bomber extradited from Libya back to Scotland to serve out the remainder of his prison sentence. The one-year anniversary of Scottish officials releasing Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi is today, but furor over his release has only increased since al-Megrahi, presumed to have three months to live when he was freed, remains very much alive and enjoying stardom in his violence-loving homeland.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has reportedly begun placing new pressure on the Scottish government and newly-elected British Prime Minister David Cameron, as well as Libya's dictator Muammar Qaddafi, to get al-Megrahi back behind bars.
While you may be laughing out loud at the absurdity of asking Qaddafi to reincarcerate al-Megrahi, you would be justified in suspecting that Obama and his cabinet seek to gain some leverage with the American public in the face of withering declines in his popularity.
Poll Shows More Americans Think Obama's Muslim
Yet another indicator of Obama's flagging credibility came yesterday with the news that even more people suspect him of being a Muslim, not a Christian, as he has personally claimed.
In March 2009, 11% of polled Americans said Obama is Muslim, but a recent poll placed that number at 18%, despite persistent denials by the President and claims even by national religious leaders that he is not.
Why do these suspicions persist? And they are suspicions, aren't they; since hardly anybody thinks it's advantageous for Obama to actually be Muslim.
Perhaps part of the reason can be found in the State Department's recent use of "Ground Zero mosque" Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf in a religious tolerance junket to the Middle East. On your tax dime. As if Rauf has earned street cred for his brilliant execution of his Park 51 Islamic center.
Speaking of street cred, unfortunately for Obama, the Christian leaders who have come out in support of his Christian claims have very little street cred with two key voting blocs: evangelical believers whose bar for being a Christian is set - Biblically, I believe - high; and rank-and-file Republicans with greater faith in Rush Limbaugh than pastors. True, Kirbyjon Caldwell, the pastor who married George W. Bush's daughter and claims Obama's saved, is a Methodist, but so are the Clintons.
Who We Worship
For many people, the term "Christian" has come to simply mean "Not Jewish" or "Not Muslim." People have found they can claim the category, but not the Person for Whom it is named. So unless you can't be seen as someone struggling to apply Christ's truth to daily life, evangelicals feel justified - however erroneously - in assuming you're a Christian in category only. Such theologically conservative evangelicals, however, don't comprise that large a proportion of the population, and even among ourselves, the concept of "Lordship Salvation", which this describes, isn't universally accepted. And some true believers actually exercise far more forgiveness than us hard-liners.
However, I suspect the strongest reason for people to say Obama is lying about his faith involves his own panderings to Muslims. The most egregious of these was seen in his deep bow to Saudi Arabian King Abdullah when he thought the cameras weren't on him. That in and of itself - and the flat denial by Obama officials flying in the face of videotaped proof - have angered many Americans, and quite frankly, rightfully so.
Today we learned that the Saudi government has been shopping a back-breaking request to hospitals in the Kingdom, looking for a doctor who'll break the back of a man who broke somebody else's. Hey - you can't make up this stuff!
Apparently, it's the old "eye for an eye" punishment that the Saudis are seeking for a man who severely injured another Saudi. While King Abdullah has reportedly said he's opposed to outlandish punishments as this, one wonders why such a powerful and influential leader can retain those adjectives if even the idea of getting a doctor to intentionally break someone else's back can gain traction in his country. Is this the kind of guy to whom Obama should be bowing?
Personally, I don't think Obama is a practicing Muslim. I don't think he's anything, except a self-worshipper. And in a sense, that's his real problem.