Obama's Faith: 'Complex,' or Just Calculated?

The liberal media has a simple policy about the religion of candidates. Democratic front-runners are "devout Christians," whether they go to church or not, since liberalism and the Lord’s work are pretty much the same thing. Republicans are the ones whose religious beliefs and associations are approached with fear and loathing.

Take one recent eruption from Obama about so-called gay marriage, as reported by CNSNews.com. "If people find that controversial, then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans." The scowling echo in that phrase disturbed many, that a Christian would say this piece of the Bible is true, and that other line of God’s word is obscure and worth ignoring. Is Obama trying to assemble today’s version of Thomas Jefferson’s bible, cutting out only the passages that display the Jesus he believes in, and shredding the rest?

The liberals of the world don’t really want to engage this subject, but conservatives were all abuzz. On the Laura Ingraham show, the Catholic journalist Raymond Arroyo suggested Obama’s construction was hardly biblical scholarship, and avoided the tougher passages in the Sermon about the need to enter through the narrow gate, that the road to destruction is wide.

Obama may have been referring to Jesus asking us not to judge others, that we should not see a speck of sawdust in another’s eye when we have a log in our own. President Bush has been very quick to cite that verse repeatedly when the issue of homosexuality is raised by reporters. (That's his way of keeping liberal journalists from imagining him as a vicious inquistor.) But that’s hardly the entirety of the Sermon.

Arroyo suggested that people read an interview that Obama gave to Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times in 2004. He said what they would find is that Obama really doesn’t believe that Christians have to enter a narrow gate to enter Heaven. He said Obama’s touting "spirituality by Oprah," which would make sense, since Oprah’s one of his biggest fans.

Obama said "I'm rooted in the Christian tradition," but immediately added, "I believe that there are many paths to the same place."Obama told Falsani doesn't believe he, or anyone else, will go to Hell. But he wasn’t sure if he'll be going to Heaven, either. "I don't presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die."

Arroyo found that answer disturbing. "There’s no objective truth in the universe, or in my personal belief?" In essence, Obama’s answers suggest political calculation more than a confession of faith. I’m a Christian (that’s where the voters are), but I’m not sure Christianity is the only path to Heaven (since I don’t want to upset voters of any other faith).

But Falsani was delighted, still touting his "complex" faith in 2007, when he would not offer a simple answer to the question whether he was an evangelical. She thought his answer was the opposite of calculating. But if you're sitting around with a bunch of liberal journalists, isn't it politically smarter not to have simple, declarative answers on religion, but to announce your doubts and confusions? They certainly loathe the "certitude" of a believer like President Bush.

If Falsani's name seems familiar, there's a reason. She also declared in 2007 that she cheered the death of Jerry Falwell:

In fact, my very first thought upon hearing of the Rev. Falwell's passing was: Good.

And I didn't mean "good" in a oh-good-he's-gone-home-to-be-with-the-Lord kind of way. I meant "good" as in "Ding-dong, the witch is dead."

But that thought -- good riddance, I suppose -- was not meant to be cruel or malicious. After all, the faith that the Rev. Falwell and I share teaches us that he was, at that moment, in a far better place, with Jesus in heaven, and not roasting on a spit in Hell's kitchen.

By shrugging off his mortal coil, the Rev. Falwell had ceased to suffer the pain of humanity.

Still, I'm not particularly proud of my knee-jerk reaction. But there it is.

If this person is impressed and delighted by the "deep faith" of Obama, is it really impressive?

Religion Campaigns & Elections 2008 Presidential Christianity Chicago Sun-Times Cathleen Falsani
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