Does anybody really believe that Obama prays?

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011 · 59 Comments »

While we wait to see what new flavor of hell is going to emerge in Egypt, here’s a minor amusement: Obama’s speech before the National Prayer Breakfast. As USA Today reports:

Social justice, humility and “to walk closer with God” are President Obama’s daily prayers, he told the National Prayer Breakfast this morning.

In a speech laced with Scripture, he initially covered familiar ground, noting how he came from a non-religious family that, nonetheless, showed him “the imperative of an ethical life and the necessity to act on your beliefs.” Then through his work as a community organizer he says, he “came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior.”

Okay, question time: Does anybody actually believe this? Does anybody really think this is anything other than the usual American politician’s pretense of religiosity?

I know the wingnuts don’t believe it, because they’re convinced Obama is either a Muslim or a godless liberal. But godless liberals (of which I am one) don’t believe it either. It’s just very difficult to believe that an intelligent, educated, non-gullible person who wasn’t raised with religion—this is key—could suddenly fall for that crap as an adult.

And yes, I realize most Christians will find that offensive, but it’s true. You may be highly intelligent and very well-educated, but if you believe in the Bible and think Jesus is your personal savior, it is almost certainly because you were surrounded with some kind of religious faith as a child. Those of us who enjoyed religion-free childhoods, on the other hand—and this includes Obama—don’t tend to fall down that particular rabbit hole.

Which is why I don’t know anyone who really thinks Obama found Jesus one day while community-organizing in Chicago.

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59 Responses to “Does anybody really believe that Obama prays?”

  1. votermom says:

    Was he raised religion=free? (honest q — I have not read either memoir)

  2. Mike McQuaid says:

    I was raised without religion, my parents got annoyed when I started going to church of my own volition and wanted me to stop and became a Christian when I was 17. I’ve never had any family encouragement to go to church or pursue my faith and live in the UK where politicians don’t admit their faith even when they have it (see Tony Blair). I’m university educated, have a reasonably intelligent job (software engineer) and most people are as surprised as you that anyone with a skeptical and scientific outlook of the world could be religious. Among my Christian friends with similar stores include one who was published in Nature Chemistry this month and became a Christian just before starting his PhD.

    It happens.

  3. Mike McQuaid says:

    Er, similar stories. Typo.

  4. Violet Socks says:

    Mr. McQuaid, I am overwhelmingly tempted to ask, “Then what the hell is wrong with you, man?” However I am much too polite to ever say such a thing, particularly to someone as nice as yourself.

    I guess it does happen. It seems weird as hell to me. I mean, you could have picked Druidism…

  5. m Andrea says:

    I mean, you could have picked Druidism…

    And see that’s exactly it, thank you Violet. Even if someone’s childhood home is mostly free of religious talk, so much of christan myths and symbols are still incorporated into even secular media. It’s actually impossible to avoid being exposed to christianity.

    So when the person starts needing a comfort blanket, they end up buying the brand with the most advertising.

  6. Grace says:

    Obama’s mother was secular, but from what I have read in “Dreams from my father,” she encouraged him to respect and not be judgmental of people with different beliefs.

    Violet, I agree that Obama doesn’t sound sincere. He seems to be talking about it now because of the situation in Egypt and the Middle East, plus comments from some Repubs and Tea Baggers about the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood taking over. So, he senses that he has to come across as a “true Christian” with clear loyalties. And yes, it’s disingenous and opportunistic, but this has happened before with him, so it’s nothing new.

    About being raised with or without religion and what may mean in each case, there are also people like me, who even though was sent to Catholic school from K to 12th grade, deep down I always sensed that it was all B.S. based on irrational fears of a punitive deity. I stopped believing for good at the age of 14 and it was a highly liberating experience. I also don’t mean disrespect for people who are religious, as long as I am also respected for being religion-free.

  7. Mike McQuaid says:

    You’re more than entitled to ask that and I don’t mind answering it. It’s far from the least polite way it’s been phrased. The historical record for Jesus seemed to indicate the guy existed. Similarly, it seemed to indicate that at least some of the early disciples died for their faith as martyrs and could have denied it to live. This was enough to get me into the doors of a church and in them (in Scotland at least) seemed to be reasonable, intelligent people who significant numbers had come to this conclusion independent of family or societal pressure. These people included scientists, engineers and liberal people I respected and weren’t judgemental and were, frankly, some of the most loving people I’d ever met. The message that was preached was overwhelming of love and social justice, of trying to be a better person and share God’s love with others.

    Personally, I’ve also had things happen since I first entered a church that I can’t explain by any way other than there is more to this world than we can currently explain and, it seems, some supernatural aspects. I don’t labour this point to much as it’s very much personal experience and doesn’t convince anyone.

    Suffice to say that I (and most of my closest Christian friends) are pro-choice, liberal, well educated (university being free in Scotland helps), many of us are feminists (I took my wife’s surname for this reason) and many were not raised Christians.

    It does seem pretty weird to other people and I’m sure it would seem weird to 16-year-old Mike to look at us now but life is full of surprises. I have no doubt if I’d grown up with some of the Neocon right I see across the pond that I’d hate the very idea of Christianity. Thankfully, I didn’t and I don’t.

    Edit:
    As for other religions, I’ve read the Old Testament in full so that’s a reasonable amount of Jewish texts, read a bit of the Qur’an and aim to finish it this year. I’m not saying they are wrong, they just don’t make as much sense to me, logically (as bizarre as that may sound). I believe there is truth in Christianity and I don’t think this requires me to condemn other faiths, even if I personally have not found anything there.

  8. Nell says:

    I’m with you, Violet. Never believed Obama’s conversion story for a minute.

    He arrived as an outsider in Chicago wanting to enter the local political scene. His exotic background made the black community suspicious of him and he needed to gain credibility with the constituency he wanted to court. He learned quickly that one of the prerequisites in gaining that cred would be a religious affiliation, and a church membership would help him in his community activist work; hence, he joined the biggest, most politically connected AA church in town.

    Anyone as cerebral and unsentimental as Obama doesn’t come home to Jesus in adulthood. While his joining Trinity UCC may not have been an entirely cynical decision (after all, a lot of important social justice has been achieved through the black church tradition), it was an imminently practical one.

  9. Violet Socks says:

    So when the person starts needing a comfort blanket, they end up buying the brand with the most advertising.

    This explains most adult conversions to Christianity. Most people really don’t have the inclination or education to think critically about religion, and so when they find themselves needing an “answer” or “comfort” or whatever, they wander into church. This is difficult for me to relate to because I was scrutinizing religion and its claims, historicity, and plausibility from age 8 on.

  10. Grace says:

    Sorry that I posted twice with the same content. I didn’t see it the first time.

  11. Adrienne in CA says:

    Well obviously it’s widely possible to go from no religion to religious, otherwise we’d have no religion in the world at all. I see the human tendency to religion as just an extention of follow-the-leader tribalism that gets played out in every kind of hero worship, from celebrity fandom to the unexamined faith and fervor so many expressed in Obama at one time. It’s harder to learn from experience that your hero/god is all too human when he’s already dead.

    As for Obama’s personal conversion, I don’t buy it for a second, for the simple reason that it’s what he says happened.

    *****A

  12. votermom says:

    There’s a lot of reasons to become religious. Sometimes it’s the sense of community, sometimes it’s the search for meaning, sometimes it’s plain disgust with society’s excesses… a lot depends on the personality of the individual as well as the upbringing.

  13. votermom says:

    As for Obama’s personal conversion, I don’t buy it for a second, for the simple reason that it’s what he says happened.

    LOLOLOL.

  14. Teresainpa says:

    This explains most all adult conversions to Christianity. Most people really don’t have the inclination or education to think critically about religion, and so when they find themselves needing an “answer” or “comfort” or whatever, they wander into church. This is difficult for me to relate to because I was scrutinizing religion and its claims, historicity, and plausibility from age 8 on.

    I won’t give you a number but my IQ makes me smarter than 99 percent of people. I found college work incredibly easy and have spent all my life reading. By the end of 1st grade I had my own reading group of one and was in a sixth grade book. Every wall in the houses I grew up in were covered with books and I read most of them (and they weren’t cheesy romances either). From the time I was 5 we were expected to take part in adult conversations around the dinner table. My mother was an atheist as was my step father. My father was a musician and always had a church job to make ends meet. I sang with him where ever he was working when I was with him. But during those times, we never said grace or talked about Jesus or religion in any way.
    while I was growing up I would say that we were not religious at all. In fact a family friend went to Vietnam and came back a fundamentalist and my mother objected to him giving my little brothers books about Jesus. I don’t blame her, I ended a friendship with a Jehovah’s witness friend who would preach to my sons when I wasn’t around.
    I grew up feeling like something was missing.
    When my friends asked me to go to church I went.
    Then when I was an adult I chose to go to church. In Florida I always had a church job to make ends meet. That was for eleven years.
    Then when I moved back north I found a Presbyterian church right before Christmas. I couldn’t stand the thought of another Christmas with out meaning beyond presents and “cheer”.
    My church is full of scientists, musicians, teachers, Doctors Master degrees, PHDs etc… hardly the den of the uneducated who can’t think critically.
    There are several things I find to be true: online atheists and other “doubters” often have no clue what Christians think and the fact that they do not all fit into a single box or even a few boxes. Most of us are doubters sometimes and convinced at other times. We know our little pea brains can’t really comprehend all of creation and we know that we do not have all the answers. Most of us consider that other religions might have some pieces of the puzzle too.

    Asking a Christian why they didn’t chose Druidism is like asking a sick person why they went to an MD rather than a witch doctor.

    On the other hand the man I live with, who has a HS degree is a retired cop, a conservative republican, and has never thought critically in his life, is an atheist.

    Obama, I think he is a huge phony. I do not believe his story about his parents raising him with no religion. I think he took on Christianity when it was politically advantageous. But I do believe he flirted with Islam when young and it might even be on his birth certificate since his father was Muslim. I find him to be a facile liar and I think he is lying now too. In addition, I hate that when he is talking about this topic he sound like a southern preacher. Give me a break.

  15. Violet Socks says:

    There are several things I find to be true: online atheists and other “doubters” often have no clue what Christians think and the fact that they do not all fit into a single box or even a few boxes.

    I think I have a very good idea of what all kinds of Christians think. I spent years studying biblical scholarship and Christian origins, was married to a former priest, and count among my friends one of the Dead Sea Scrolls scholars. I’m acquainted with the ideas of Christians all across the spectrum, from Hans Kung and John Dominic Crossan to Jerry Falwell.

    Asking a Christian why they didn’t chose Druidism is like asking a sick person why they went to an MD rather than a witch doctor.

    To you it seems that way, of course.

  16. Violet Socks says:

    But I do believe he flirted with Islam when young and it might even be on his birth certificate since his father was Muslim.

    Religion is listed on Hawaii birth certificates?

  17. Teresainpa says:

    as far as Obama, I am with the group who disbelieves him just because he said it. I think he is a facile liar and has forgotten who he really is and what he really believes, if he ever knew in the first place.

    but what really annoys me is that he talks about God and gets this fake southern preacher voice going. You know damn well he has never been in a southern baptist African American church in his life.

  18. Cyn says:

    To answer your question above, no, I don’t believe it for a minute. In fact, there is a link at cnn from Sept 2010 stating he attended church for the first time in 6 months due to a poll.

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/19/for-first-time-in-months-president-obama-attends-church-publicly/

  19. propertius says:

    Which is why I don’t know anyone who really thinks Obama found Jesus one day while community-organizing in Chicago.

    I think he did. I mean, I’m sure there was a mirror around there somewhere.

  20. Carmonn says:

    It’s possible, but it doesn’t seem that likely. Unless he was dealing wth some trauma we’re unaware of, it doesn’t seem like Young Obama was really that invested in searching for meaning. And if he was, he didn’t get very far. I don’t know what he accomplished as a community organizer or what he wants to accomplish now. His religious conversion seems to have steered him away from meaningful work and toward superficial, poll-driven, dirty politics.

  21. quixote says:

    This is kind of OT, brought on by being reminded of the bottomless hypocrisy of the Dude in Chief. (I mean, obviously, connecting with the most influential church for Chicago politics was a political move.) What hurts is remembering 2007, when it looked like the Shrub was really going to get bounced out, and looking forward to the day I wouldn’t have to despise the Preznit.

    If I could, I’d go back in time and shelter that little kid from the world.

  22. Carolyn says:

    I love the writing here…I appreciate the respect you show each other. Very much. I distrust or disbelieve our president about most everything, including his claims to being christian. I believe in a tremendous intelligence that created all of everything. I know nothing. But it is good to be with others who have more certainty, on both sides. Just trust each other to be intelligent enough to have processed their own life experiences wisely. No church has all the truth. We do our best to understand it all, but can’t possibly. We are wisest when we consider that any number of ideas might be portions of the truth, and that we can’t grasp it all…

  23. SYD says:

    “humility?” Bwahahahahaaaahhhhaaaaa….

    If that’s what he’s prayin’ for ‘taint workin’.

  24. tinfoil hattie says:

    I dunno. I can believe he came to religion as an adult. Aren’t lots of adults “born again” (GWB)?

    I find most of religion so very hypocritical and unfair anyway, that it’s easy for me to believe he too buys into it.

  25. Violet Socks says:

    Aren’t lots of adults “born again” (GWB)?

    Yep, but the overwhelming majority of adults aren’t particularly intelligent, well-educated, non-gullible, and free from religious influence.

  26. Grace says:

    Teresainpa: The first thought that comes to my mind whenever people introduce themselves by making announcements about their intellectual range, their high IQs measured by standarized tests, how many books cover their walls. etc., is the following: “Do not tell me, show me.”

    About the rest of your post, of course you are entitled to your own opinions and religious beliefs. Life would be terribly boring and dull if everybody thought and felt the same way about everything. Live and let live, that’s one of my mottos.

  27. Sameol says:

    I get the feeling he believes his own press, and if he can believe that, I think he can convince himself of all kinds of comforting and reenforcing things. He’s susceptible to courtiers, and clergy make the best ones. He probably found Jesus when he attended some prayer group and everyone fawned over him and told him he had a great destiny.

  28. Carmonn says:

    It seems like the majority of politicians are possibly quite well-educated, simply because they can by and large afford to be. Bush has an MBA from Harvard, doesn’t he? That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily non-gullible or exceptionally intelligent.

    Maybe one has to be raised with religion in order to really put the time in wrestling with it and ultimately rejecting it. Maybe for many of those who aren’t raised with it, it becomes this tantalizing question mark.

  29. Violet Socks says:

    It seems like the majority of politicians are possibly quite well-educated, simply because they can by and large afford to be.

    Oh heavens, I must say I have a completely different opinion. I think most politicians are about as ill-informed as most people. I mean, have you listened to some of our Congress critters?

    Having a college degree is zero guarantee of actual education. Even having an advanced degree isn’t evidence of anything beyond having completed the requirements for the degree itself. Some of the dumbest people I’ve ever known were Ph.Ds. And look at all the engineers who think creationism makes sense, because their knowledge of anything outside engineering is zero. And then there was the MBA who asked me in all seriousness one day whether India was a landlocked country.

  30. Carmonn says:

    Oh, that was what I meant. At least half the members of Congress have law degrees or other advanced degrees from prestigious schools, and that doesn’t necessarily make them any less gullible or more intelligent than anyone else. Obama doesn’t particularly strike me as obviously more brilliant, better informed, or less gullible than the average run of Democratic pol, and I can believe that many of these guys are actually sincere believers, so from that perspective I could believe that Obama might be one too, aside from the question of being raised with religion or not. I still question his sincerity based on the convenience factor and the trajectory of his career after he was “saved” as an non-religious adult, though.

  31. Daphne says:

    In my observation, most people gravitate to whatever they were raised with. Kids from religious families end up religious, even if they go through a period of rebellion. The non-religious stay non-religious unless they have a major faith conversion by age 20. Similarly, those raised religious who end up rejecting faith usually do so by their early 20s. After that age, it’s rare for anyone to have a change in belief at all.

    Adult conversions are extremely rare, and when they occur they are totally life-changing. For someone to be an adult, have a “conversion,” and then be half-assed in expression of faith usually means they did it due to social pressure or in the emotion of a moment, and their life and habits reflect no real change of heart.

    In other words, I think you are right about Obama. He will always gravitate toward the atheism of his mother.

  32. littleisis says:

    I was raised with religion and I still didn’t fall down that rabbit hole, Violet.

  33. littleisis says:

    Asking a Christian why they didn’t chose Druidism is like asking a sick person why they went to an MD rather than a witch doctor.

    Perhaps your high IQ and deep intelligence also prevents you from knowing that most “intelligent” people would choose the witch doctor.

    I was raised with Christianity and Violet and I both know how Christians think. Their desire to find that “something missing” makes a lot of them (not all of them, of course) extremely annoying and invasive and self doubting, so in turn they never get out of your business trying to convince you that what they believe is right.

  34. tinfoil hattie says:

    I was raised in a Catholic household, Mass 3x a week (we went to Catholic school), holy days, abstaining from meat on Good Friday, etc. Neither I nor any of my 4 siblings has any religious inclinations whatsover. Our parents are still daily massgoers. So it depends on the person, I guess. Upbringing is no guarantee of adult choice.

  35. tinfoil hattie says:

    PS I do know that every word of what Obama said at that “prayer breakfast” could have been uttered by GWB himself.

  36. Briar says:

    Looking at Tony Blair would have been enough to make me an atheist, if I hadn’t already reached that point after looking at an army of other thoroughly Christian racists, vengeance-takers, misogynists, capitalists and war mongers. Of course, Christianity may be traducing God, who may by now be thoroughly baffled by the human failure to imagine anything not transparently and self interestedly human.

  37. JeanLouise says:

    It’s just very difficult to believe that an intelligent, educated, non-gullible person who wasn’t raised with religion—this is key—could suddenly fall for that crap as an adult.
    ***********************************************

    I fit the profile above and I came to believe in Christ when I was thirty years old.

    As for Obama, I hesitate to judge anyone’s heart but I haven’t seen the “fruits of the vine” in him so I think that he professes Christianity for political reasons.

  38. Nessum says:

    As a non-beliver myself, I still do believe … that Obama will read anything put on his teleprompters. And whatever he reads, I find every performance by him less than convincing and utterly insincere.

    I mean, I’m sure there was a mirror around there somewhere.

    And what did he see? Messiah!
    (Can’t believe the media still puts up those images.)

  39. chrisvee says:

    Asking a Christian why they didn’t chose Druidism is like asking a sick person why they went to an MD rather than a witch doctor.

    Wow. There’s a whole lotta wrong in that comment waiting to be unpacked.

  40. scott says:

    Wondering what your take was on this:

    http://the-crows-eye.blogspot.com/2011/02/missing-point.html.

    Not sure if he’s right, but Bob Somerby often makes a similar point that educated lefties (like you, like me) writing off the beliefs and mores and habits of the great majority may find that satisfying but may be making a mistake. Like I said, I wasn’t really offended or irritated by your post, or his, just looking for a little discussion. Peace!

  41. djmm says:

    I am an “All or Nothing” person myself. (I think Woody Guthrie coined that phrase.) I always give people the benefit of the doubt as to whether they are sincere in their stated beliefs. Sigh — even with the President.

    djmm

  42. Violet Socks says:

    Scott wants to know my take is on his post about my post. This is how he characterizes this post:

    But, the above quote suffers from the same sneering snottiness that keeps other sorts of liberals, leftists and anti-fascists from making inroads into the commonholds of ordinary people. It’s not only presumptive and insulting, it entirely misses the point.

    Well, Scott, my man, here’s what I think.

    First, if you yourself would like to avoid being presumptive and insulting, I suggest you read the archives of this blog. For example, here.

    Second, if you wish to participate in this blog, you’ll need to up your game. I have something here called the stick test, rather like those stick tests at the carnival where you have to be at least as tall as the stick to ride. Here, you need to be at least as smart as the stick to comment.

    If you were reading my post with stick-like intelligence, you would have noticed that I wasn’t saying any of the things you seem to think I was saying: that education correlates with decency, that various theologians and mystics weren’t geniuses, that believers aren’t sincere, that religion isn’t in the water.

    All I was saying is that, absent childhood exposure, it is exceedingly rare for a (truly) well-educated, highly intelligent, skeptical person to accept the story that the man Jesus of Nazareth was really God Incarnate and that believing in the resurrection of his corpse will save you from death and eternal damnation—which God imposed on the human race after creating it, because…uh, not sure.

  43. Swannie says:

    I was raised RC, went to RC school for 12 years . Left me empty and searching, and until I found my cathedral in the forest , I did not know what spiritual happiness was. Belief in anything is a powerful comfort, and I would not remove that or question a sincere belief in anyone. Obama , on the other hand , to me; appears to be one of those people who use religion as a stepping stone for success.
    Before he was born ; when they were passing out humility , he thought they said humidity ,and he missed it.

  44. Adrienne in CA says:

    Violet says:

    death and eternal damnation—which God imposed on the human race after creating it, because…uh, not sure.

    Ooo, I know, I know! Because of that floozy, Eve. Damn her gullible, snake-believing hide!

    *****A

  45. Grace says:

    I have always noticed that, with some exceptions, people’s experience with their professed religion is very individualistic and self-centered, e.g., “I found myself, I was saved by Jesus Christ, I study the Bible everyday, I pray tonight in case I die tomorrow and end-up burning in hell” ( sorry, I couldn’t resist the sarcasm), etc. However, there is little or no reference to their religious faith as a philosophical foundation for how they should treat their fellow human beings, or how it’s not OK to dishonestly lie for their own monetary benefit, exploit, kill, rape, discriminate, blackmail, and steal from others, or simply abuse their privileges in a non-equalitarian society. And all in the name of “freedom” and “their” God.

    In other words, there is a lot of hypocrisy out there. On the contrary, I found it interesting that Jesus Christ as the man, if he ever existed, seemed to prefer poor over rich people, didn’t believe in stoning women to death for having sex out of wedlock, always dressed in modest clothes, helped others by teaching them how to make a living, and was forgiving even of snitches like Judas.

  46. Gayle says:

    So I guess I’m not ordinary. I envy people who believe.
    I’ve actually tried to will myself to believe. No dice.

    Santa is more plausible to me than a father who creates the heavens and the earth. Way more plausible.

    And don’t even get me started on his origins— of all the gods in the pantheon they plucked the war god out to be the one and only?

  47. Gayle says:

    PS: I too doubt anyone bought BO’s comments. They sound horribly fabricated.

  48. NomNomNom says:

    For anyone like myself whose main dislike of (organized) religion stems from ubiquitous patriarchy: the largest known gathering of women in the world occurred about one year ago, an estimated 3.5 million women: http://www.yorubareligion.org/_con/_rubric/detail.php?nr=1649&rubric=News&
    The previous year’s attendance was about 2.5 million, certified by Guinness World Records. This year’s will begin Feb 11 and run through Feb 20. Attukal Temple’s official website estimates 4 million women will attend.
    I really do not care to know anything about Obama I do not have for self-preservation to know. But I’d like to see this.

  49. Three Wickets says:

    Militant atheists like Scott (his description) fool themselves if they don’t think they have a belief system. They sound not too different from radical fundies in any religion. Just as righteous, just as self absorbed, just as hateful of the other.

  50. Cynthia Ruccia says:

    political posturing pure and simple. It’s unseemly and embarrassing. But then I feel that way about our president all of the time. Why should this day be different than all others days? (oops—–my Jewish upbringing is slipping out)

    When I was a Congressional candidate I spent every Sunday for 4 years in a black church,possibly one of the best memories of my campaigns because of the warm welcome always, the incredible music every single week, and a chance to reflect on the state of my own spirituality without being pounced on. One thing I learned is that if you are a believer, you loudly and freely wear your testimony on your sleeve and proclaim your belief with gusto whenever the opportunity arises. That Obama was so tight-lipped about this aspect all through his campaign and beyond is the real clue that his newfound testimony is something he must feel is politically advantageous. After all of those years in church in Chicago (another politically expedient move)where was that testimony? Has O found God because of the rigors of being President? It all sounds like bullcrap to me.

  51. JeanLouise says:

    Cynthia, not all Christians believe exactly the same thing or behave exactly the same way. I know a lot of Christians who rely on their acts in pursuit of social justice to be their witness of Christ’s presence in their lives.

    This is not a defense of Obama. It is, in a roundabout way, a defense of Hillary who does not throw her faith into the public pot whenever it’s politically expedient.

  52. JeanLouise says:

    By the way, Violet, Hillary received an exemplary education and is brilliant. One would think that if faith were “crap”, that she would’ve figured that out at some time in her sixty plus years on the planet.

  53. Violet Socks says:

    By the way, Violet, Hillary received an exemplary education and is brilliant.

    She was also raised a Christian (Methodist I think).

    One would think that if faith were “crap”, that she would’ve figured that out at some time in her sixty plus years on the planet.

    ah, “there are smart people who believe in religion so it must be true!” Right. Thank you.

  54. gxm17 says:

    i was raised by non-practicing RCs. my father was my most influential spiritual “teacher.” i was very young when i asked him why we didn’t go to church (every one else seemed to). sweeping his arms open in our large backyard surrounded by a creek, meadows and woods, his answer was: why hide inside a man-made church? this is god’s house. his words all those years ago shaped my belief system. although i spent many years hiding my atheism by claiming agnosticism, eventually i realized that this was merely buying into the god concept and now unrepentantly identify as an atheist.

    i agree with m andrea @ 5. those who need spiritual comfort in america will most likely come to jesus because christianity is the default religion. it’s everywhere. it’s on our money, in our public schools and in our law (so help me god). to engage in american society one must, to some degree, conform to the “godly” belief system. there is no opt out option.

    as for obama, i doubt obama believes in anything but obama. still, his latest charade only goes to show how deeply the christian narrative controls our society including the government it is supposed to be separate from. this is a rather frightening condition and i think many people, even many who identify as religious, expend a lot of energy not “seeing” it (ignoring while conforming) while the rest throw themselves into fully embracing it. imo, that’s pretty much the only thing that separates our major political factions and even that line is blurring to near non-existence.

    (no offense meant by using lower case, simply easier when typing without the use of one hand.)

  55. gxm17 says:

    another of my father’s favorite god observations was: if there is a god, she’s a black woman. considering the era, it was a real conversation stopper. damn but i miss that man.

  56. JeanLouise says:

    Yes, Hillary was raised as a Methodist. *********************************************
    Violet: ah, “there are smart people who believe in religion so it must be true!” Right.
    *********************************************
    I didn’t say that. I was responding directly to your assertion that Christianity is “crap”. There’s a wide divide between “truth” and “crap”. Sprituality, like sexuality, exists on a spectrum. I respect your right to be an atheist and would not declare that your beliefs are “crap” just because they differ from mine. My point is not that there is only one truth. It’s that there are people as intelligent as you, such as Hillary, who are comfortable with their spirituality even when it includes a belief in Christ.

  57. Violet Socks says:

    JeanLouise, that may be what you meant, but it is most certainly not what you said.

  58. Lynne says:

    “stick-like intelligence” is a phallic image.

    Oh noes! The Patriarchy strikes again!

  59. votermom says:

    I think atheist vs religious is a false dichotomy. These are two groups that both care about this stuff. The real divide is people who care about meaning vs people who don’t give a damn (maybe they are the materialists? or is that a technical term for something else).
    But like JeanLouise mentioned, it’s a spectrum.