JERUSALEM – Some have been taking issue with largely unnoticed comments made last year by Sen. Barack Obama declaring the U.S. is “no longer a Christian nation” but is also a nation of others, including Muslims and nonbelievers.
The comments have been recently recirculating on Internet blogs.
“Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers,” Obama said during a June 2007 speech available on YouTube.
At the speech, Obama also seemingly blasted the “Christian Right” for hijacking religion and using it to divide the nation:
“Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked. Part of it’s because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who’ve been all too eager to exploit what divides us,” he said.
“I think that the right might worry a bit more about the dangers of sectarianism. Whatever we once were, we’re no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers,” Obama wrote in an e-mail to CBN News senior national correspondent David Brody.
“We should acknowledge this and realize that when we’re formulating policies from the state house to the Senate floor to the White House, we’ve got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community,” wrote Obama.
Obama did clarify his statement about the “Christian Right.”
“My intention was to contrast the heated partisan rhetoric of a distinct minority of Christian leaders with the vast majority of Evangelical Christians – conservatives included – who believe that hate has no place in our politics.
“When you have pastors and television pundits who appear to explicitly coordinate with one political party; when you’re implying that your fellow Americans are traitors, terrorist sympathizers or akin to the devil himself; then I think you’re attempting to hijack the faith of those who follow you for your own personal or political ends,” wrote Obama.
The Illinois senator’s speech declaring the U.S. “no longer Christian” was met with little fanfare. But it has been getting some recent play.
A television commercial that aired in South Dakota by a group calling itself the Coalition Against Anti-Christian Rhetoric juxtaposes the audio of Obama’s “no longer Christian” statement over images of the presidential candidate dressed in Somali garb and a picture of Obama with his hands rested below his waist while other politicians place their hands over their hearts during the Pledge of Allegiance.
“It’s time for people to take a stand against Barack Hussein Obama,” declares the voiceover on the commercial.
“This won’t play well in the Bible Belt,” commented the blog in a recent posting.
Obama’s campaign has long utilized faith as a central theme. The candidate’s Christianity and his former membership in the controversial Trinity United Church of Christ have been much scrutinized.
His comment about the “Christian Right” echoed similar statements made by Merrill A. McPeak, Obama’s military adviser and national campaign co-chairman.
As WND reported, in a 2003 interview with The Oregonian newspaper, McPeak seemed to compare evangelical Christians to the terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
The Oregonian interviewer asked McPeak whether “there’s an element within Hamas, Hezbollah, that doesn’t want Israel to exist at all and always will be there?”
McPeak responded by comparing the two terror groups to “radical” Oregonians.
“There’s an element in Oregon, you know, that’s always going to be radical in some pernicious way, and likely to clothe it in religious garments, so it makes it harder to attack. So there’s craziness all over the place.”
Oregon has a large evangelical Christian community.