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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

George W. Bush, an Obvious Muslim

This Politico op-ed by Keith Koffler represents a rampant bit of idiocy among the punditry. Let's call it my stand-in for all the "it's Obama's fault people think he's Muslim" arguments out there. In it, he basically scolds Maureen Dowd for writing that people who think Obama's Muslim are dumb. See, the president gives people every reason to believe he's Muslim, because a lack of evidence is proof of a claim. Empiricism this is not.

Obama golfingI know Obama is a Christian. In fact, after that shocking poll was released last week, a White House aide felt the need to say that the president is a “devout” man who prays and consults with “his religious adviser” daily.

But it is understandable if some are unsure about his Christianity or just don’t know. The president almost never does what the overwhelming majority of the faithful do: attend church. He’s more likely to be in a sand trap than a pew on Sunday mornings.

When Obama was associated with a church, it was for many years among the flock of an extremist, Jeremiah Wright, who had a habit of passionately denouncing the country Obama now leads. It is excusable to wonder, given his choice of pastor, just how seriously Obama took his religion.

"Misperceptions of Obama are not the result of a failure by thick-headed Americans to understand their complicated leader," he writes. "They simply have little evidence to grasp onto."

Here's a fun fact: George W. Bush never went to church.

Amy Sullivan, 2004:

Bush golfingThroughout the 2004 presidential campaign, Democratic candidate John Kerry has been more responsible than anyone for getting notoriously secular political reporters through the doors of churches on Sunday mornings. Ever since a few conservative bishops raised questions about Kerry's Catholicism, given his pro-choice positions, journalists have trailed the Senator to church, breathlessly wondering if this will be the week he's denied communion. Some have even snarkily commented that his Boston congregation--the Paulist Center--is insufficiently traditional, calling it "New-Agey." What they haven't done is take up the task of following President George W. Bush to his home church. That's because of one small problem: He doesn't have one.


Okay, Bush's defenders say, but even if he did go to church, it's tough for a president to be really involved with a congregation. He is, after all, running the free world. But, then again, he has spent almost 500 days on vacation over the past four years. You'd think some of that time could have been devoted to planning the next church social or sitting in on mission board meetings. Jimmy Carter found time to teach Sunday School at a local Baptist church while he was president.

And that's why everyone thought George W. Bush was a Muslim. Really, he only had himself to blame.

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