The Two Traps Concerning Barack Obama’s “Christianity”

Readability

The Two Traps Concerning Barack Obama's "Christianity"

They’ll know we are Chris­tians by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know we are Chris­tians by our love.

Catholic Hymn

With the Pope in Amer­ica it seems a good time to address the ques­tion that has come up. Is Barack Obama a Chris­t­ian as the media insists?

For­get­ting for a moment that the media’s actions sug­gest that there is some­thing wrong with being a non Chris­t­ian, a Mus­lim for exam­ple, there is a big trap for Chris­tians of all stripes in mak­ing pre­sump­tions about Barack Obama’s Chris­tian­ity which C. S. Lewis talks about in the Screw­tape let­ters: (empha­sis mine)

I have been writ­ing hith­erto on the assump­tion that the peo­ple in the next pew afford no ratio­nal ground for dis­ap­point­ment. Of course if they do-​if the patient knows that the woman with the absurd hat is a fanat­i­cal bridge-​player or the man with squeaky boots a miser and an extortioner-​then your task is so much the eas­ier. All you then have to do is to keep out of his mind the ques­tion “If I, being what I am, can con­sider that I am in some sense a Chris­t­ian, why should the dif­fer­ent vices of those peo­ple in the next pew prove that their reli­gion is mere hypocrisy and con­ven­tion?” You may ask whether it is pos­si­ble to keep such an obvi­ous thought from occur­ring even to a human mind. It is, Worm­wood, it is! Han­dle him prop­erly and it sim­ply won’t come into his head.

Remem­ber sal­va­tion isn’t graded on a curve, the job of a Chris­t­ian is not to be bet­ter than the per­son in the next pew, the job is to strive for Saint­hood, to fol­low Christ.

The sec­ond trap how­ever is one the media and the White House has fallen into.

The media con­stantly jumps at any sug­ges­tion that the pres­i­dent is some­thing other than a Chris­t­ian, in fact for the last week the media has gone on the offen­sive attack­ing any can­di­date who does not affirm Barack Obama’s sta­tus as a Chris­t­ian in good standing.

But they for­get some­thing very impor­tant, some­thing Christ told us him­self:

A good tree does not bear rot­ten fruit, nor does a rot­ten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For peo­ple do not pick figs from thorn­bushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles.

A good per­son out of the store of good­ness in his heart pro­duces good, but an evil per­son out of a store of evil pro­duces evil; for from the full­ness of the heart the mouth speaks. “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I com­mand? I will show you what some­one is like who comes to me, lis­tens to my words, and acts on them. ”

Luke 6:4347

Or put sim­ply, the media would not have to con­stantly pro­claim the President’s Chris­tian­ity if his action pro­claimed it.

So, two points, every time the Media pro­motes the President’s chris­tian­ity it high­lights his lack of the fruits of chris­tian­ity, but while this is true, rather than wor­ry­ing about the president’s Chris­tian­ity and he fruit he bears the first job of a Chris­t­ian is to bear fruit of its own.

They’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

Catholic Hymn

With the Pope in America it seems a good time to address the question that has come up.  Is Barack Obama a Christian as the media insists?

Forgetting for a moment that the media’s actions suggest that there is something wrong with being a non Christian, a Muslim for example, there is a big trap for Christians of all stripes in making presumptions about Barack Obama’s Christianity which C. S. Lewis talks about in the Screwtape letters: (emphasis mine)

I have been writing hitherto on the assumption that the people in the next pew afford no rational ground for disappointment. Of course if they do-if the patient knows that the woman with the absurd hat is a fanatical bridge-player or the man with squeaky boots a miser and an extortioner-then your task is so much the easier. All you then have to do is to keep out of his mind the question “If I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, why should the different vices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is mere hypocrisy and convention?” You may ask whether it is possible to keep such an obvious thought from occurring even to a human mind. It is, Wormwood, it is! Handle him properly and it simply won’t come into his head.

Remember salvation isn’t graded on a curve, the job of a Christian is not to be better than the person in the next pew, the job is to strive for Sainthood, to follow Christ.

The second trap however is one the media and the White House has fallen into.

The media constantly jumps at any suggestion that the president is something other than a Christian, in fact for the last week the media has gone on the offensive attacking any candidate who does not affirm Barack Obama’s status as a Christian in good standing.

But they forget something very important, something Christ told us himself:

A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.  For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles.

A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.  “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?  I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, listens to my words, and acts on them. “

Luke 6:43-47

Or put simply, the media would not have to constantly proclaim the President’s Christianity if his action proclaimed it.

So, two points, every time the Media promotes the President’s christianity it highlights his lack of the fruits of christianity, but while this is true, rather than worrying about the president’s Christianity and he fruit he bears the first job of a Christian is to bear fruit of its own.