Faith is Not a Political Issue

August 26, 2010

Last week, a poll showed that a growing number of Americans believe President Barack Obama is a Muslim. Now, about one-fifth of the nation believes that (and one-third of Republicans), despite the fact that all evidence clearly demonstrates that he is a professing Christian and not a Muslim. Sadly, some conservative--and even some Christian--commentators have added fuel to the fire by continuing to suggest that Obama might be a Muslim (so much for the ninth commandment). The worst part, however, is not that so many Americans are uniformed but that they seem to believe that Obama is therefore unqualified to be president. Yet, such confessional tests for office violate the spirit of James Madison and other early leaders of our nation, as seen in Article VI of the U.S. Constitution. It also is yet another indicator of the push by some to make Muslims second-class citizens--as the debate about the proposed Islamic center in New York City also proves.

In response to the poll and the questioning of Obama's faith, a group of Christian leaders released a short statement entitled "Faith is not a political issue." Here are a couple highlights of the statement:

We understand that these are contentious times, but the personal faith of our leaders should not be up for public debate. ... We believe that questioning, and especially misrepresenting, the faith of a confessing believer goes too far.
Amen! Such questioning of the faith of our political leaders is unnecessary and unhelpful. Instead, we need to adopt the wisdom of the Protestant reformer Martin Luther, who suggested he would even support a Muslim leader when he said, "I would rather be governed by a competent Turk than by an incompetent Christian."

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