To understand why President Barack Obama endorsed the Ground Zero mosque – before he didn’t endorse it – a look at his various parents and their ideological roots might be in order.
Much has been made about the Kenyan Obamas and their Muslim heritage, but it has become increasingly clear that Barack Sr. probably never even saw little Barry until he visited the boy and his family in Hawaii 10 years after the boy’s birth.
Still, the Obamas matter since President Obama has pulled much of his identity from them. For obvious political reasons, however, he has been skittish about their faith.
Yes, his grandfather was a Muslim, but he converted because Islam better reflected his mercilessness. But no, Barack Sr. was not a Muslim. On one occasion in his 1995 memoir, “Dreams From My Father,” a Chicago barber asks, “Barack, huh. You a Muslim?” Obama replies evasively, “Grandfather was.”
If Obama conceded that his father was a Muslim, he would have had to deny his father to erase his Muslim roots, and that would have worked against Obama’s master narrative.
In reality, Barack Sr. lived his early life as a Muslim. In “Dreams,” Obama’s half-brother Roy suggests that he died one as well. “The government wanted a Christian burial,” Roy tells Obama. “The family wanted a Muslim burial.”
By 2006, knowing how toxic a Muslim heritage would be to an aspiring presidential candidate, Obama would write in “Audacity,” “Although my father had been raised a Muslim, by the time he met my mother he was a confirmed atheist.”
During the campaign, the Obama press office declared that Obama Sr. was simply “an atheist” and did not mention his Muslim upbringing. An Obama-friendly media accepted this line uncritically.
If not a practicing Muslim, Barack Sr. was a practicing socialist, perhaps even a communist. In Hawaii, he studied Russian, and a month before he left the state in 1962, he spoke along with former Communist Party USA head Jack Hall at a communist-front “Mother’s Peace Rally.”
In Indonesia, where Obama lived off and on from age 6 to 10, he did register in school as a Muslim and attended prayers services with his Indonesian stepfather, Lolo Soetoro.
“Barry was a Muslim,” his third-grade teacher told the Los Angeles Times in 2007, but this was a rare acknowledgement by the media. In general, they approached the subject in damage-control mode.
According to Obama, Soetoro practiced a kind of a benign, half-baked hybrid form of Islam. Whether Soetoro ever adopted Obama is a question the media have chosen not to ask.
The fact that Obama was listed on his mother’s 1968 passport renewal application as “Barack Hussein Obama (Soebarkah)” – Soebarkah? – and that Ann Dunham’s 1965 passport application and any that might have preceded it were inexplicably destroyed have done little to still settle legitimate questions about his faith or his origins.
Whether adopted or not, Obama has taken pains to distance himself from his Muslim roots, particularly during his Indonesian phase.
In “Dreams,” Obama tells the reader he “made faces” during Quranic studies and was scolded for it. And that is it for him and Islam. There is no mention in “Dreams” or “Audacity of Hope” of his 1981 trip to Pakistan and little mention of his close Pakistani friends and roommates.
In September 2008, in a conversation with George Stephanopoulos set up to quell any rumors that Obama was himself a Muslim, Obama slipped up and referred to “my Muslim faith” before correcting himself at Stephanopoulos’ prodding. To be sure, this did little to quiet citizen concerns.
The most critical person in Obama’s formation was his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham Obama Soetoro, and she was not a Muslim.
What she was, in Obama’s words, was a “lonely witness for secular humanism, a soldier for New Deal, Peace Corps, position-paper liberalism.” It showed.
In a critical but overlooked scene in “Dreams,” when Soetoro asks his wife to meet some of “her own people” at the American oil company where he worked, she snaps at him, “They are not my people.”
Mom raised the young Obama to be wary of the “ugly Americans” in their midst. The only thing exceptional about America, she taught him, was Barry Obama himself.
His education as a Muslim during those formative years was both offset and compounded by his grooming as a secular humanist with a deeply ingrained contempt for his fellow Americans. This was a lesson reinforced at every step of his life and career: Third World good, First World bad.
At the end of the day, it really does not matter which element of his education prevailed. As the last few weeks have shown, leftists and Muslims share one great transcendent passion, a contempt for traditional America.
The Ground Zero mosque just gives them a common place to worship.