WASHINGTON – Why would President Obama, who professes to be a Christian, apparently harbor such animosity toward what he claims is his own faith?
The latest example came during his remarks Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast, but it was hardly the first time Obama has criticized Christianity or defended Islam.
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In order to better understand what Obama truly believes, WND looked at the history of Obama's relationship with religion, beginning with those most recent remarks.
"And lest we get on our high horse and think that this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ," Obama said at the breakfast.
"In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ," he added.
Incensed critics are interpreting those remarkable words as both an attack on Christianity and a defense of Muslim atrocities.
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As WND reported, among the many Christian leaders outraged by the president's comments, one Catholic leader called for Obama to apologize, pointedly noting that the Inquisition was political, and the Crusades were a defensive effort against jihad.
Obama's remarks came just two days after the release of a video of the burning death of a captured Jordanian pilot by ISIS and just one day after word that the radical Islamic army is selling, as well as crucifying, children.
WND CEO Joseph Farah interpreted Obama's remarks as an excuse of Islam, by drawing an equivalence between the current murderous reign of terror perpetuated by Muslim radicals and long-past misdeeds by Christians long-since condemned by virtually all Christians.
Marc Thiessen, former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush, was incredulous, stating on Fox News Thursday evening, "It was evangelical Christians who fought slavery and Jim Crow. It was William Wilberforce who led the campaign against slavery. It was Martin Luther King who fought (segregation.)"
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Thiessen wondered why the president would criticize those who criticize ISIS atrocities, asking, "What does he mean by get off our high horse? And what kind of person looks at a video of a man being burned alive and his reaction is to say 'Let's not forget, we in the West did that, too'?"
"With all due respect, the Crusades were almost a thousand years ago. The Inquisition was in the 15th century. ISIS is burning people alive today. Now. Not Christians," he added.
Thiessen drew a parallel of his own in Obama's comparison, remarking, "It's fascinating that he said people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. Has he ever said ISIS has committed terrible deeds in the name of Muhammad? Or in the name of Islam? No. ... He said they kill in the name of religion. He won't call it Islamic radicalism, which is a problem."
Obama made another remark the Christian faithful may find particularly perplexing, implying their religion is not necessarily more true than any other faith:
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"I believe that the starting point of faith is some doubt – not being so full of yourself and so confident that you are right and that God speaks only to us, and doesn’t speak to others, that God only cares about us and doesn’t care about others, that somehow we alone are in possession of the truth."
As to what Obama believes is the truth, a look at his past comments and actions regarding religion, especially Christianity, may be illustrative.
References to God removed
Obama has a history of omitting references to God and Christianity.
Two years ago, WND reported he issued a statement endorsing the National Day of Prayer but excised virtually any reference to Christianity, the primary faith of the nation’s founders.
In 2009, he did cite the prayers of the Continental Congress and President Lincoln’s call for prayer during the Civil War. But he started turning the next year, mentioning "God" only twice, asking for "blessings" and "guidance." The closest reference to the nation’s Christian heritage was a reference that the U.S. "counts freedom of conscience and free exercise of religion among its most fundamental principles."
By 2012, Obama’s proclamation was merely giving thanks "for our democracy that respects the beliefs and protects the religious freedom of all people to pray, worship, or abstain."
In 2013, his text included "faith" only to reference it as "our faith" and recognized "God" only for delivering liberties and guidance.
Obama has repeatedly removed the phrase "endowed by their Creator" from the line in the Declaration of Independence that reads:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
In 2013, WND reported that eventual GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain believed that was no slip of the tongue, saying, "I believe it was intentional because he did it three times."
He added, "With all of his teleprompters, how could you not put that in there? No. I believe it was intentional."
By WND columnist Chuck Norris' count, Obama dropped "their Creator" seven times in just a two-month span in 2012.
In 2009, WND reported Obama, while admitting that America has "a very large Christian population," told the Turkish press that "we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation."
And in December 2010 , a letter from the Congressional Prayer Caucus rebuked Obama for incorrectly replacing the nation's motto of "In God We Trust" with "E pluribus unum" in a speech at the University of Indonesia.
Defense of Islam
In a speech given to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 12, 2012, the president declared, "The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam."
In a speech in Cairo, Egypt, in June 2009, Obama said that he felt it "part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear."
Also in 2009, Obama told a French reporter, "[I]f you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world." (In fact, in 2008 Christians made up 76-percent of the population at 173 million, religious Jews 1.2-percent at 2.6 million, and Muslims only 0.6-percent at 1.3 million.)
And in May 2011, WND learned that in October 2009, one of Obama’s faith advisers, Eboo Patel, a Muslim activist from Chicago, compared al-Qaeda to what he called Christian "totalitarians" in the U.S. and Jewish "totalitarians" in Israel.
In February 2010, Obama named Patel to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Patel is part of the official speaker’s bureau of the Islamic Society of North America, an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas.
Perhaps the most infamous example of what critics consider Obama administration hostility toward Christians was the demand by the IRS that conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status reveal the contents of their prayers.
A letter from the IRS to Coalition for Life of Iowa read, "Please detail the content of the members of your organization's prayers."
Another applicant was asked, "Please explain how all of your activities, including the prayer meetings held outside of Planned Parenthood, are considered educational as defined under 501(c)(3)."
Critics also say the Obama administration tried to crush First Amendment religious rights of Christians by mandating employers provide certain kinds of contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs, which many Christians found objectionable and immoral.
The Supreme Court sided with those Christians by ruling 5-to-4 in favor of the plaintiffs and against the government in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby on June 30, 2014.
Not only many Christians, but many former and active members of the military, have been chagrined by Obama's normalization of the homosexual lifestyle in the nation's armed forces.
In a video interview, now-retired Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Robert Papp revealed that Obama personally threatened to fire any service leaders who disagreed with the president's decision to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy toward homosexuals in the military.
"We were called into the Oval Office, and President Obama looked all five service chiefs in the eye and said, 'This is what I want to do.' I cannot divulge everything he said to us, that’s private communications within the Oval Office, but if we didn’t agree with it — if any of us didn’t agree with it — we all had the opportunity to resign our commissions and go do other things," said Papp.
Military chaplains reportedly are also under threat by regulations that now prevent them from speaking against homosexuality.
The Family Research Council has documented scores of instances in which the military under Obama has threatened service members participating in religious (primarily Christian) expression.
WND reported how U.S. Army soldiers at a Mississippi post were instructed that the American Family Association, or AFA, was a "hate group" because the radical leftist Southern Poverty Law Center had advised the military that the AFA's view of homosexuality, informed by traditional values, was hateful.
The U.S. military teaching that the American colonists were “extremists” was traced also back to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Judicial Watch, a government corruption monitor, said it obtained records regarding the “preparation and presentation of training materials on hate groups or hate crimes distributed or used by the Air Force.”
The teaching claimed: "In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples."
The administration's efforts to enforce acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle extend well beyond the military and affect every federal employee.
In May 2013, WND columnist Matt Barber revealed the existence of an internal Justice Department document that forced managers to accept the administration's policies on homosexuality, or else.
Titled, "LGBT Inclusion at Work: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Managers," the document stated that when it comes to LGBT pride, employees were ordered: "DON'T remain silent. Silence will be interpreted as disapproval."
The document also recommends managers, "Attend LGBT events sponsored by DOJ Pride and/or the Department, and invite (but don’t require) others to join you," and, "Display a symbol in your office (DOJ Pride sticker, copy of this brochure, etc.) indicating that it is a 'safe space.'"
Not defending Christians
In October 2013 WND covered a speech by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., in which he warned, "there is a worldwide war on Christianity," but, "The president tries to gloss over who's attacking and killing Christians."
The senator cited a list of atrocities around the world by radical Islamists, including those in Syria, where "Islamic rebels have filmed beheadings of their captives."
"They’ve filmed themselves eating the heart of their enemy. Two Christian bishops have been kidnapped, and one priest was recently killed. These rebels are allies of the Islamic rebels that President Obama is now arming."
“We are now arming Islamic rebels who are allied with al-Qaeda that attacked us on 9/11. Does that make any sense at all?" he concluded.
Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., expressed the sentiments of many Obama critics who charge he has done little to prevent or stop the widespread martyrdom of Christians in Islamic lands, including Iraq and Syria.
Pointing out the extreme dangers Christians face worldwide, in September 2014, Franks said Obama administration officials "only respond when the politics become so antithetical to them that they have to."
"I have been extremely critical of president Obama and it’s primarily for that reason. It seemed like whenever there’s suffering of the innocent, whether it’s the unborn at the hands of [abortionist] Kermit Gosnell, innocent people at the hands of [Syrian president] Bashar Assad or innocent Coptic Christians in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or innocent Christians at the hands of ISIS in Iraq," he said.
In August 2013, hundreds of Coptic Christians in Nashville, Tennessee, took to the streets to call out Obama after members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the radical Islamic group that temporarily seized power in Egypt and was backed by the administration, burned scores of Coptic Christian churches, schools and businesses.
Protesters chanted, "Obama, Obama, don’t you care? Christian blood is everywhere."
In May 2012, WND reported an Obama administration official claimed the ongoing Muslim destruction of churches and slaughter of Christians in Nigeria, including many murdered during worship services, was the result of tribal disputes over land, not a religious conflict.
A U.S. aide agency was tasked with analyzing the "true" causes of the conflict.
Obama, who professes to be a Christian, has expressed many fundamental beliefs which most Christians likely would find flabbergasting, and would disagree.
He's not sure there is an afterlife, or a heaven or hell. He has confessed he is not "sure what happens when we die."
Before campaigning for president, Obama expressed doubts about the inerrancy of Scripture.
In a 2006 "Call to Renewal" keynote address in Washington, he said: "Even those who claim the Bible’s inerrancy make distinctions between scriptural edicts – sensing that some passages are central to Christian faith, while others are more culturally specific and may be modified to accommodate modern life."
In his memoir, "Audacity of Hope," Obama said he believed in the evolution of man from primates and did not believe, "as many evangelicals do," that the Bible is without error.
Essentially calling most Catholics hypocrites, Obama accused Christians of routinely modifying their doctrinal beliefs for personal or political reasons, "Which is why the majority of Catholics practice birth control."
He added that he viewed the biblical condemnation of homosexuality as confined to "an obscure line in Romans."
In a 2004 Chicago Sun-Times interview, Obama said:
"I am a Christian. I’m rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people. That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there’s an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived."
WND CEO Joseph Farah wondered in his column in October 2008, "Many paths to the same place?"
"This is the antithesis of what Jesus reveals in Scripture, for example, in John 14:6: 'Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.'"
Farah also noted, "Obama says he prays regularly. But look how he describes that process: 'It’s not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. … I’m constantly asking myself questions about what I’m doing, why I am doing it. The biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass.'"
"So whom," Farah asked, "is he talking to in these conversations? He’s talking to himself! He’s talking to his under-developed conscience – the one that told him it was the right thing to do to prevent doctors and nurses from offering life-saving support to babies born alive after botched abortions."
As for the afterlife, Farah also observed that Obama "suggests his eternal destination has something to do with being a 'good father' to his children and transferring values he got from his atheist mother," before concluding Obama "doesn’t have a clue as to what it means to be a Christian."
Obama's true faith?
Obama himself has often sparked questions about his true faith.
During his first presidential campaign he referred to his "Muslim faith" and continued to speak until an interviewer interjected, "Christian faith."
"My Christian faith," Obama repeated before continuing.
In February 2012, Rev. Franklin Graham revealed that President Obama confided to him and his father, Billy, during a recent visit to North Carolina: “I don’t go to church.”
“I have no idea what he really believes,” Graham said during an appearance on MSNBC.
The following is a 2007 Obama campaign flyer that describes the future president as a "committed Christian" who believes in the "power of prayer":
Leftist Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time,” doubted Obama is a practicing Christian.
“I just don’t believe it,” he said in 2012.
Maher suspects the president is an atheist.
Former GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum said Obama follows a "phony theology" not based on the Bible, but preached by radicals at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago where he attended services for 20 years and listened to the sermons of the extreme leftist Rev. Jeremy Wright, the president's former pastor.
Obama said the title of his 2006 memoir, "The Audacity of Hope," was inspired by one of Wright's sermons.
Shortly after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Wright declared "America's chickens are coming home to roost."
Wright also sermonized, "God damn America — that's in the Bible — for killing innocent people. God damn America, for treating our citizens as less than human."
Obama has long denied he was ever a Muslim.
But as WND reported, public records in Indonesia listed Obama as a Muslim during his early years, and a number of childhood friends told the media the future president was once a mosque-attending Muslim.
A Los Angeles Times report quoted a childhood friend stating Obama prayed in a mosque – something the then-presidential candidate said he never did. Obama’s campaign released a statement explaining the senator had never been a "practicing Muslim."
Widely distributed reports noted that in January 1968, Obama was registered as a Muslim at Jakarta’s Roman Catholic Franciscus Assisi Primary School under the name Barry Soetoro. He was listed as an Indonesian citizen whose stepfather, listed on school documents as “L Soetoro Ma,” worked for the topography department of the Indonesian Army.
After attending the Assisi Primary School, Obama was enrolled – also as a Muslim, according to documents – in the Besuki Primary School, a public school in Jakarta.
The Loatze blog, run by an American expatriate in Southeast Asia who visited the Besuki school, noted: "All Indonesian students are required to study religion at school, and a young 'Barry Soetoro,' being a Muslim, would have been required to study Islam daily in school."
"He would have been taught to read and write Arabic, to recite his prayers properly, to read and recite from the Quran and to study the laws of Islam.”
Indeed, in his autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” Obama acknowledged studying the Quran and described the public school as "a Muslim school."
"In the Muslim school, the teacher wrote to tell mother I made faces during Quranic studies," wrote Obama.
The Los Angeles Times, which sent a reporter to Jakarta, quoted Zulfin Adi, who identified himself as among Obama’s closest childhood friends, stating the presidential candidate prayed in a mosque, something Obama’s campaign claimed he never did.
In a free-ranging interview with the New York Times, Obama described the Muslim call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”
The Times’ Nicholos Kristof wrote Obama recited, “with a first-class [Arabic] accent,” the opening lines of the Muslim call to prayer.
The first few lines of the call to prayer state:
Allah is Supreme!
Allah is Supreme!
Allah is Supreme! Allah is Supreme!
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that there is no god but Allah
I witness that Muhammad is his prophet …
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