Once again the President’s faith finds its way to focus of a growing political debate. Is he Muslim or Christian?
According to the findings of a recent Pew Research poll, 1 in 5 Americans falsely believe the POTUS is a Muslim. ABC News reports,
The new poll from the non-partisan Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that 18 percent of those surveyed wrongly identified Obama as Muslim, up from 11 percent in March 2009. At the same time, the number of Americans who knew correctly that Obama is Christian has declined from 48 percent in March 2009 to 34 percent today. But 43 percent of Americans now say they don’t know what Obama’s religion is at all.
The Pew poll was conducted between July 21 and August 5, weeks before the President would speak to a group of Islamic businessmen, and weigh in on the appropriateness of an Islamic center two blocks from NYC’s Ground Zero. President Obama’s remarks in defense of religious freedom created a national debate about the center and what should be the ‘American’ response to Islam.
The Associated Press notes,
“In a separate poll by Time magazine/ABT SRBI conducted Monday and Tuesday — after Obama’s comments about the mosque — 24 percent said they think he is Muslim, 47 percent said they think he is Christian and 24 percent didn’t know or didn’t respond.
In addition, 61 percent opposed building the Muslim center near the Trade Center site and 26 percent said they favor it.”
African-Americans, who voted for President Obama overwhelmingly, have also shown a similar shift. In March 2009, 36 percent of African-Americans said they didn’t know the president’s religion; that number is now 46 percent. Self-described liberal Democrats who don’t know what religion the president is shifted from 23 percent to 31 percent.
Andrew Kohut, the Pew Research Center’s director, is quoted as stating that the confusion about the President’s religion “partly reflects ‘the intensification of negative views about Obama among his critics.'”
Friend and advisor to Former President George Bush, Rev. Kirbyjohn Caldwell serves now as Barack Obama’s spiritual advisor. Rev. Caldwell phoned the AP and shared that the President is a Christian who prays everyday. He mentioned that he wasn’t sure where the public confusion about the president’s religion originated, but he told the AP that untrue media reports about the matter was “a 24-hour noise box committed to presenting the president in a false light.”