fidesquaerens (marta_bee) wrote,

Barack Obama’s Christianity

Originally published at Faith Seeking Understanding. You can comment here or there.

Apparently Mark Driscoll is beating up on the president’s religion:

Praying for our president, who will place his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know.

Now, to be completely clear:

  1. I believe Mr. Obama is a Christian. He talks and acts like most progressive Protestants I know, especially those coming from the social justice wing of Protestantism rather than the varieties that focus on individual salvation.
  2. … and even if he wasn’t, it’s not really my business. Mr. Obama does a good job keeping his personal theology out of his policies. Even when I disagree with him, it’s not because we have different views of the Bible. If Mr. Obama was a Muslim, or an atheist, or a Zoroastrian, I think I’d feel pretty much the same about his platform.

Even so, Mr. Driscoll’s words stuck in my throat. At the risk of crossing into the same judgmental-about-salvation language Rvd. Driscoll is engaging in (and which Mt 7 clearly says is a big no-no), you don’t just dismiss a person’s often-stated religious affiliation like that without any explanation or justification.

But this Tweet came out the same day as a story that does illustrate Obama’s faith quite well: about his friendship with conservative mega-pastor Joel Hunter and the way he responded to the news that Rvd. Hunter’s young granddaughter Ava had been diagnosed with a GBM brain tumor. I know from personal experience just how destructive this particular type of tumor can be. This story comes from a man who you would expect to be his political rival (and on many issues they are), and shows a man reacting in a uniquely Christian way. I’ll also add it shows a more humble faith, more focused on grace than power, than anything I’ve ever heard coming from Mark Driscoll.

As I said, I believe it is a sin to judge another person’s status as a Christian, and Rvd. Driscoll may have some dark torment at work that’s driving him to make these kinds of statements about the prresident. I’m not going there. And by the same notion, I may be wrong about Mr. Obama’s faith. He may be playing u all. Rvd. Hunter may be bamboozled, or he may have some ulterior motive. (Having seen the utter destruction caused by GBM’s up close, I don’t think so; but I’ll admit the possibility.) There may be more to this story than meets the eye. And of course the fact that he’s a Christian doesn’t earn him a free pass on drone strikes, “enhanced interrogation,” rampant militarism or any other issue you want to point to.

But in light of Pastor Mark’s tweet, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share this story about Obama and Rvd. Hunter. Quite aside from Driscoll’s comment, it’s a story worth reading if you want a fuller picture of the president.

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