Thursday's Washington Post reports that a new poll by the Pew Research Center found “The number of Americans who believe – wrongly – that President Obama is a Muslim has increased significantly since his inauguration and now account for nearly 20 percent of the nation's population.” Team Obama quickly blamed “'misinformation campaigns' by the president's opponents.” The Post's Jon Cohen and Michael D. Shear just pass that along without any specifics.
But what's really shaky is the story's accuser, Obama “faith adviser” Joshua DuBois, trying to tout how the president is deeply, “diligently” Christian, when the president is much more diligent at golfing than he is at church attendance. The number of Sunday church services Obama has attended since the Inauguration doesn't get beyond counting on one hand, even bypassing the pews at Christmas.
Numerous liberal outlets have giddily promoted that Obama is a Christian because he receives little religious and inspirational quotes on his BlackBerry from his adviser DuBois. (Matt Lauer: “It's spirituality meets high-tech! That's pretty good!”) They also routinely careen around the idea that if Obama is a Christian, he came to Jesus by being for two decades a Jeremiah Wright we-deserved-9/11 Christian. Cohen and Shear naturally avoided that:
The president's religion, like his place of birth, has been the subject of Internet-spread rumors and falsehoods since before he began his presidential campaign, and the poll indicates that those rumors have gained currency since Obama took office. The number of people who now correctly identify Obama as a Christian has dropped to 34 percent, down from nearly half when he took office.
White House officials expressed dismay over the poll results. Faith adviser Joshua DuBois blamed "misinformation campaigns" by the president's opponents.
"While the president has been diligent and personally committed to his own Christian faith, there's certainly folks who are intent on spreading falsehoods about the president and his values and beliefs," DuBois said.
DuBois said the president's Christian faith plays an "important part" in his daily life. And he pointed to six speeches on faith that the president has given in which he talked about his beliefs. But Dubois said coverage of Obama's Christianity has been scant compared with news about the economic crisis, legislative battles and other issues.
In other words, DuBois is claiming that Obama's given more speeches on faith than he's attended a church service to hear a minister's speech on faith. Blaming the media for "scant coverage" of Obama's allegedly devout Christianity is the lamest line DuBois offered. Matt Lauer and other journalists (like Obama's Five Guys burger partner Brian Williams) would have been more than willing to offer supportive time for Obama to discuss his religion.
These Post reporters should have pressed DuBois about Obama's obvious and public lack of interest in the subject -- suggesting that perhaps the idea that Obama's fervently, diligently Christian is more rumor than fact -- and whether that noticeable apathy is a bone to his secular-progressive political base.