August 23rd, 2010
10:02 AM ET
8 years ago

My interview with Obama on his Christianity and the 'Muslim issue'

 Only about one-third of Americans can correctly identify President Obama’s religion, according to a recent poll.

Only about one-third of Americans can correctly identify President Obama’s religion, according to a recent poll.

(CNN) - Long before last week's revelation that a large and growing chunk of Americans believe that the President is Muslim – and that only about one in three Americans correctly identify him as Christian – Barack Obama was battling misperceptions about his religion.

In early 2008, right as Obama was in desperate need of a win in the South Carolina primaries – he'd beaten Hillary Clinton in Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses but lost to her in subsequent contests in New Hampshire and Iowa – false rumors swirled that he was Muslim.

Obama's father was raised in a Muslim household, though the presidential candidate had repeatedly called him an agnostic, and Obama had spent time attending an Indonesian school where most students were Muslim. An e-mail smear campaign alleged that the White House hopeful was disguising his true faith.

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Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. KLK

    Whether Pres. Obama is Muslim, Christian, or athiest makes no difference at all. Religious freedom anyone?

    August 23, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. PJ States

    Old ideas on this subject: "If it quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck and hangs out with ducks, it's a duck". Also, "Birds of a feather flock together." In all the world's history, these ideas have proven true.

    August 23, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. water bearer

    Sadly, it won't matter to the willfully ignorant in this country what the President says regarding his religious beliefis. They are bigots and they will only believe what is force fed to them by other bigots and by the cynical political party who wants this President, and therefore the country, to fail.

    Vote NO to the party of NO!

    August 23, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. Adalbert

    It should not make any difference what so ever if the President was a Muslim. These religious fanatics of all fates are clearly demonstrating their intolerance for anyone who is not following their particular fairy tales.
    The President of the United States is not a religious or spiritual leader. He is a world leader, and the US is not a christian state. It is a secular state.

    August 23, 2010 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. doug

    There have been quite a few comments where Obama voiced his admiration for the Islamic faith while his comments about Christians is that they are people who "cling to their guns and religion".

    August 23, 2010 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  6. phoenix86

    Obama's policies are designed to weaken the judeo-christian values of America. That doesn't necessarily make him a muslim, it just makes him bad for America.

    August 23, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  7. Bear

    This is what happens when your speeches are so vague nobody can determine your convictions. The POTUS continues to try to ride the fence on all the issues and gets caught in his own web. He is too busy spinning his image instead of leading the nation out of the mess it's in. He needs to cleanse the advisor's he has and get some folks who understand what is actually going on outside of Washington, DC.

    August 23, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  8. DIANA

    So this is the Republican strategy. Orange man said the Republicans would have a plan come Sept. Well, they seemed to have started early. Divert the country with stupid scare tactics that the masses are falling for again and for it again. Next we'll start duct taping our windows again.

    Who cares what religion our President is, as long as he does what he's supposed to do. Remember when the country was afraid of a Catholic as President?

    August 23, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  9. tcaros

    There is no Muslim issue... just a lie fabricated by Fox News and the Corporate news shills.

    August 23, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. kyrianmege

    The constitution of America did not say that someone must be a christian to be President. If some of you act to be good christians, why do you support gay marriage? How many times have you gone to church for worship?.... President Obama said he's a christian which obviously he is, got wedded in the church long before he joined politics; why should someone out there doubt his religion?... I believe it got to do with hate other than reasonable thought about his religion......
    He stated what was written in constitution which he was sworn to protect and some of are angry that he didn't twist to favour your ill feelings. Islam did not kill Americans, Alqeada did it and since then they have killed more moslems around the world than they did in september 11. The level of ignorance people display on this issue is very appalling.

    August 23, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. Sue

    What a shame that so many Americans let others to their THINKING for them.....what a shame that so many people in American believe the lies and faults accusations that the Party of NO is spreading thoughout this country....most of these people are probably "The Birthers" the rest are people who Hate Obama

    August 23, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  12. Minnesotan

    Conservatives are always freaking out about religion. They ranted that "Lincoln was a Christian," "Roosevelt was a Jew," and now "Obama is a Muslim." Guess what.... nobody cares if he's a Zoroastrian, as long as he gets the job done and cleans up the mess left behind by Bush. This is a ridiculous issue put forth by ridiculous people.

    August 23, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  13. Independent

    He may not be a Muslim, but please do not call him a practicing Christian – because he does not attend Church unless it is a photo op or a special event. He should be called what he is - either an Atheist or a non practicing Christian (if he actuall believes in something).

    I only wish he would defend school prayer and the reciting of the pledge of allegiance in schools half as much as he defends a Muslim Mosque on the 9-11 site.

    August 23, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  14. Hill

    Obama needs some better handlers and definitely a better Christan adviser. Makes no difference to me what his faith is but Obama has gone to extreme lengths to either deny his fellow christains/faith or act agnostic. Pick a side and people won't be so confused – I thought these people were suppused to be smart. Getting a better feel for the rest of America instead of hanging out with the eastern elites in his favorite vaction spots would be a good start.

    August 23, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  15. mother and sister of soldiers

    I don't believe he is a muslim although he has equally deep roots in the faith. If there is any beliefs to question, it would be those he supported attending Rev Wrights church....a church that preached racisim among many other unchristian things. Is he a Christian....I don't believe he is a practicing Christian either. More the agnostic. His faith doesn't worry me as much as his agenda to divide this country and conquer for his socialist agenda.

    August 23, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Steve, New York City

    Incredible how people can holler about Obama (having used to) attended service at Reverend Wright's Church(a Christian), yet they say he's Muslim?
    Yes – the president deserves his criticism in areas, but the comments from some on the right (birthers, etc.) seem to represent fear, racism and BLUNT STUPIDITY . . .it seems like that "they're all the same" mentality is getting our beloved USA into trouble again – we put Japanese Americans into camps during WWII, Al Quaida attacked us on 9/11, so "like idiots" we attacked Iraq, and now the Ground Zero mosque debate is totally out of control because some now say that "All of Islam" was responsible for 9/11, and not stupid radicals like Al Quaida.

    August 23, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Rising to protect Obama?!
    In Islam in countries like the middle east, Asia and Africa, your religion is what you are born into, nothing less nothing more. No one looks if you eat potk or not to determine that you are a Muslim: your father is a Muslim, so you are. Obama's father is from Kenya where this is the practice. American do not understand the practice and claiming atheism is no escape. A Muslim who stops being a Muslim as an adult his fate is death! So there is no way out of Islam. Muslim men can marry four wives (and a Christian or Jewish wife does not change the fact that the children are considered Muslim). By not facing issues right on where they are this evasion is not working. It is not that Americans are crazy, they have notions taken out of SHaria about Obama (and Obama prefers not to address the issues so so be it, I am sure the elite will say we are a liberal envieonment and everyone chooses his religion as one pleases, but this is not the case everywhere!)

    August 23, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. Pragmatic

    ... and how many of those same people, polled two years ago , were denouncing the Obama's for attending a Baptist Church for 20 years ???

    You don't attend a Protestant Church for 20 years, married, children baptized and all that if you are Muslim ...

    Would be very Interesting to find out how many of these same people also believe that Sadam was responsible for 911 – that the world is flat & the moon landing was shot on a Hollywood sound stage. Just askin'

    August 23, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  19. Cbrown

    His religion is politics. His actions are sympathy toward Islam. His affiliation are with those who wish to destroy personal responsibility and have the government provide all thereby creating a social elite to take care of the masses–that's called socialism. Never has worked, never will. He's a president who never worked at a real job beyond becoming a lawyer which means he knows nothing about how to make things work. Jimmy Carter, your name is now one step above the bottom of the list of failed presidencies.

    August 23, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. ThinkAgain

    The Republicans have only tried-and-failed policies, so all they do is obstruct and fuel silly fears about President Obama's birth and religion.

    Regarding where our President was born: If his Hawaiian birth certificate was fake, the GOP would have proven it long ago in a court of law. Republicans have plenty of lawyers and millions of dollars to do so; since they didn't – because they couldn't – that's the end of the story.

    Regarding President Obama being a Muslim: He is not. Like all people, he has chosen his religious faith. It doesn't matter that his father was a Muslim (although not a practicing one). Religious faith is not genetic.

    To all those divisive, hate-filled fear mongers like Franklin Graham who insinuate that President Obama is a Muslim because he was "born a Muslim" I say:

    SHAME ON YOU! It wouldn't matter if he was; and all you are doing is lying and stirring up hatred! You and your ilk are why I can't stand organized religion.

    August 23, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    We've beat this "horse" to death.

    The President, for the umpteenth time, is a Christian, and so what if he wasn't.

    The President would do well, as stated in a previous article, to stay 'above the fray' on issues that would detract from addressing REAL issues, ie jobs, and the economy.

    August 23, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. Minnesotan another blind liberal

    The problem is that he is not getting the Job done - and if you and Oblamo are going to continue to do nothing and just blame Bish and others, we can hire a dummy to do that. If Obama and the dems are not willing to accept responsibility fo r where this country is today – 18 months after he took office, then Obama is done -four and the door

    And by the way the last two years of the Bush presidency there was a democratic majority in congress -- and democrats have controlled the House fo 36 of the past 40 years --

    August 23, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Augsbee

    Muslim believe in religion controls government, perhaps you guys forgot that. In the U.S. we believe in church separate from government.

    August 23, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. Dave

    Just have to love the way they wrote, "...and that only about one in three Americans correctly identify him as Christian..."!! How do you even know this is correct? The man gives no signs to the truth. People cover for this international banker built president.

    August 23, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. NC Ex-Pub

    It is a sad and sickening commentary on our country when a desperate bigoted group keep trying everything to divide us; unfortunately, too often, they succeed!

    August 23, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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