August 19th, 2010
02:26 PM ET
11 years ago

White House strikes back at 'Muslim' tag

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" The White House on Thursday responded to new polls which indicate Americans do not know what religion President Obama practices."]Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts (CNN) - The White House is responding to new polls Thursday that show an increasing number of Americans believe that President Obama is a Muslim.

"President Obama is a committed Christian, and his faith is an important part of his daily life," Deputy White House Communications Director Jen Psaki told CNN. "He prays every day, he seeks a small circle of Christian pastors to give him spiritual advice and counseling, he even receives a daily devotional that he uses each morning. The President's Christian faith is a part of who he is, but not a part of what the public or the media is focused on everyday."

Psaki added that "the President's strong Christian faith is what guides him through the challenges – a recovering economy, bringing troops home from Iraq, putting healthcare and financial reform implementation in place - but he doesn't wear it on his sleeve."

According to a poll conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life released Thursday, nearly one in five Americans believe Obama is a Muslim, up from around one in 10 Americans who said he was Muslim last year.

While most of those who think Obama is Muslim are Republicans, the number of independents who believe he is Muslim has expanded significantly, from 10 percent last year to 18 percent now.

The number of Americans who express uncertainly about the president's religion, meanwhile, is much larger and has also grown, including among Obama's political base. For instance, fewer than half of Democrats and African-Americans now say that Obama is Christian according to the Pew poll.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama • Religion
soundoff (286 Responses)
  1. js007

    Obama is again playing into the hands of the lunatic fringe by trying to appease them. I trust a man of science over a man of religion ANY day. I am tired of hypocrites like Palin and Gingrich who pretend to be Christian but neglect the environment, hate other people (anyone darker than they are), and favour the rich and the connected over the poor and the middle class, which is completely contrary to Christian teaching. Even if Obama was Muslim, or Atheist, he’d still be better than anyone the Republicans have put forward, so WHO CARES? Bush was a brainwashed Evangelical and he destroyed the country. I am very disturbed by the racism, hatred, and division that is replacing a meaningful discussion of the issues that matter, such as the economy, the deficit, climate change, and health care. I am a young white male by the way.

    August 19, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. Steffie

    Let's for a nanosecond assume that Pres. Obama is a Muslim. Would that, according to the US Constitution, invalidate in presidency in any way, shape, or form?

    August 19, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Susan L.

    Why is this even an issue? The usual deadender Bush-supporters are the whackdoodles who think he's a Muslim, but the point remains, so what if he was? What if he was a Jew? Or, worst of all, apparently, what if he were, like me, an atheist or agnostic? It certainly doesn't make ME feel any better thinking my President relies on some kind of feeling he gets from a non-existant entity, whichever one that might be. But it's certainly the norm, unfortunately. That this even matters just tells me everything I need to know about where the US is right now.

    August 19, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    There they go again! The radical right winged Republican right making something out of nothing! Who care what religion President Obama is? Did we care what religion baby boy Bush was? Clinton? The last time this was an issue was when President Kennedy ran for office. Islam is a religion! There are radicals who have morphed Islam into their own perverted religion! Open your minds and see what is and who is saying things to misdirect our attention! Here's my take: There so many people saying and writing about small issues that really are of no consequence, just to cloud up the airways. President Obama was elected! He is President! He lives in The White House and flies on Air Force One! Let's get to real issues that affect/effect America! Do not be led around by talk show hosts who have nothing to do except stir the pot that is America.

    August 19, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. Larry Bradenton, FL

    18% doesn't that translate to 82% think he is christian?

    August 19, 2010 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert, but...

    Well, now it's all become clear to me! President Obama is a terror baby! Who knew? Have a nice day!

    August 19, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. Rock

    As a proud member of the US Army, and having been to both Iraq and Afghanistan, I dont have a care in the world what religion President Obama practices. Religious freedom and freedome from persecution is what this country is founded upon. If you care what religion the President is then maybe you are in the wrong country and should consider relocating to a more socialist society.

    August 19, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. SSC

    A very sorry statement about the state of current racial relations in the US. This would never be an issue with a white president.

    August 19, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. Stacey

    I believe President Obama is a Christian. And so what if he wasn't? What are they gonna do – impeach him?

    August 19, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  10. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    Can the GOP do anything except lie?

    August 19, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  11. Obama's Fault

    That's because 1 in 5 Americans belongs in a special-ed program.

    August 19, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Dan

    Just imagine how much that $1million could help the economy, if it had been donated to local business and causes, to help educational programs, or used to purchase locally produced goods (which would create new job opportunities)...

    Now imagine how it WILL be used, to fill our airwaves with the same hateful, questionably factual advertisements that we grow absolutely tired of hearing ad nauseum for months at a time every election year, produced by a small handful of companies that have no trouble getting by regardless of the economy.

    Yet another demonstration of our generation's sense of American PRIORITIES.

    August 19, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. No Bama

    It is nonsense that Obama is a Muslim....but he sure the hell is a sympathizer.

    August 19, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Rod from Indy

    All these whiners complaining that he's not an American citizen, or a christian, instead of focusing on what he's doing. But then, they're just following their leaders. No real ideals of their own, so just attack his. I'm sick of them. He never said, and no one could, fix the problems created by 20 years of Republican rule overnight. He's not even been in half a term yet, and yet his accomplishments are astounding. At one point everyone complained he was doing too much – now too little. Either lead, follow or get out of the way. They couldn't lead, and obviously refuse to help or follow, so just shut up and get the hell out of the way.

    August 19, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. Mom in MA

    Ignorance is catchy I guess.

    August 19, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  16. Robert

    He isn't, but so what if he was. I thought our constitution protects religious freedom.

    August 19, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  17. Clint, Wa.

    This nothing more then another Republican & Tea Party hatred accusation, what more would you expect?

    August 19, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  18. Djinn

    What hopeless, helpless dumbasses!! If someone got a picture of him in a garage repugnicans would call him a car. Get your heads out America. We have serious problems and the more the idiots get your attention going away from those problems the more this country loses. Get behind our President [our BLACK President], get off your whining butts and do what our grandparents did!! Vote anyone who thinks that corporations are helping America the hell out of office. Send these corporate stooges a clear message: :goodbye....and don't let the door "

    August 19, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  19. nick

    People are so stupid.

    August 19, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. Peter in VA

    What people are willing to believe....

    These are the same sheep that vote for whomever the media or friends tell them to.....totally unable to think or research information for themselves.

    People like these deserve whatever the get.....and then they complain anyway.

    And, of course, we don't hear any GOP politician say that the information is wrong, the the president is a Christian.

    Those vultures will say or support any erroneous information to get elected......"GOP, the no-ethics party"

    August 19, 2010 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  21. deuce

    I don't understand this thinking of him being a muslim considering there is no proof to support that argument. But as a christian also (along with 80 percent of americans), i think it is hilarious how cnn and msnbc go so far out of their way to downplay christianity and attempt to be no part of it. It is this "i'm to smart for religion and the american people" that drives normal people from the heartland of this country from watching your shows. If OBAMA was a true christian he would "wear it on his sleeve" and be proud of it instead of cowering to muslims/jews/atheists (nothing wrong with those religions) but if they can be proud of their beliefs, whats stopping him?

    August 19, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. Randy in PA

    It's sad to see that there are sooooo many ignorant people in this country. It's this kind of lower brain trust that is eroding this country and why we will never be able to compete in the world without a gun in our hands. God help us!!!!!!

    August 19, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    Why bother? The smart people already know this and the stupid ones are unreachable and unteachable. The right wing is proud of their ignorance and won't listen to reason on anything. See also, birth certificates, WMDs in Iraq, death panels, cutting taxes to raises revenue, anything that Glenn Beck has ever said, etc.

    August 19, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. JPX

    It boggles my mind that people are so stupid in our country. It also amazes me that in 2010 so many people continue to embrace magic and superstition. Obama is obviously not a Muslim but who cares what his religion is? It's all make-believe anyway. It would be refreshing if Obama just said, "I'm an atheist."

    August 19, 2010 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  25. Greg Smith

    This shouldn't be any issue but there are too many people trying to use FUD to create negative sentiment towards President Obama. A lot of these same people are ones that should be working to get us out of the mess they got us into. Ring a bell?

    August 19, 2010 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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