Religion and Politics: Obama Visits the Mussulmen

Thousands listen to President Barack Obama's r...
Thousands listen to President Barack Obama’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For 20 years prior to his 2008 presidential campaign, Barack Obama attended Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Since his election as president, Obama has attended Christian worship services numerous times, has spoken annually at the distinctly Christian National Prayer Breakfast, and has periodically issued messages of holiday solidarity (Easter, Christmas, etc.) to “my fellow Christians.”

But some people don’t believe he’s a Christian. He drinks beer, eats pork, and marks Islam’s holy month of Ramadan with good wishes to Muslims (in one, referring to “my own Christian faith”)  rather than with that religion’s required fasting, but some people believe he’s secretly a Muslim. And some Republican politicians actively encourage that belief.

The can of hummus got opened up again on February 3,  when Obama visited a mosque in Baltimore to tell American Muslims “you’re part of America too. You’re not Muslim or American. You’re Muslim and American.”

As expected, the smirkingest, most “I’m saying what you think I’m saying but am not actually saying” critique of Obama’s visit came from Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who opined that “maybe he feels comfortable there.” In other words, maybe he’s a secret Muslim.

Comes now US Senator (and also presidential candidate) Marco Rubio, characterizing the mosque visit as “pitting people against each other.” Because, you see, telling Muslim Americans that they’re Americans is soooooo divisive (unlike, for example, asserting that America is “a Christian nation”). I wonder if Rubio isn’t maybe just jealous that he forgot to cover all his religious bases. He started off as a Catholic. Then he was a Mormon. Now he’s a Catholic again and a Southern Baptist too (yes, really).

I sometimes suspect that Donald Trump’s, Marco Rubio’s  and Barack Obama’s real religions revolve around, respectively, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio and Barack Obama. But I digress.

Let me settle three questions for you as best I can.

Question #1: Is Barack Obama a Muslim?

Answer: No one can know another’s innermost thoughts, but going by Obama’s long record of public pronouncements and actions, no, he’s not a Muslim. He’s a professing Christian.

Question #2: Doesn’t that visit to a mosque make you wonder, though?

Answer: It shouldn’t. George W. Bush visited a mosque in Washington the week after 9/11, for exactly the same purpose as Obama did: To reassure Muslims that they are welcome in, and part of, America. Do you think George W. Bush is a Muslim too?

Question #3: Is America a Christian, or an anti-Muslim, nation?

Answer: I’ll let the first two presidents of the United States and the US Senate stand in for me on this answer. According to the Treaty of Tripoli, which was negotiated under George Washington and proffered to the Senate for ratification (it passed) by John Adams, “the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion … it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims] …”

Any more questions?

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.


Election 2016: The Incredible Evitable Hillary Clinton

Frontrunner Hillary Clinton got into a heated ...
Hillary Clinton circa 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, I’m a concern troll. I’m no Democrat, nor am I a Republican. But I would really, really, really like to see the Democratic Party nominate a viable candidate for President of the United States this year.

Why? In a word, gridlock — or at least what passes for it in this age of unrestrained “unitary executives.” Checks and balances ain’t  what they used to be, but it gets worse when one party controls both houses of Congress and the White House at the same time. The last time that happened, we got ObamaCare. The time before that, the war in Iraq.

Since it’s unlikely that the Republican Party will lose control of either the Senate or House of Representatives, it’s important to me that the presidency go to a candidate of another party. In a perfect world, that would mean a Libertarian moving in at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Unfortunately, the least bad LIKELY outcome is Democratic victory.

But Democrats don’t seem interested in winning. In fact, they seem to be going out of their way to throw the fight.

The “inevitable” Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, was “inevitable” in 2008, too. Remember how that came out? She placed second in the Iowa caucus and would have placed third if John Edwards had flamed out a little earlier. Barack Obama pretty much ran the table. “Inevitable.” Yeah, right.

This time last year, an NBC News/Marist poll had Clinton at 68% and Bernie Sanders at 7% in Iowa.  By Monday, that lead had evaporated. Clinton eked out a “victory” in the caucus on the basis of six coin tosses for tiebreaker delegates. Some “victory.”

When Bernie Sanders — an “independent social democrat” whose picture appears in the dictionary next to the word “gadfly” — comes back from a 61-point deficit to hand you your head in Iowa and outpolls you nationally versus likely GOP candidates, you are not a strong contender for the presidency and  you SHOULDN’T be treated as a strong contender for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Two decades of “inevitable” talk aside, Hillary Clinton is a lemon, a  jinx, a Jonah. Everything she touches falls apart. Even if she manages to make it to the convention with a majority while avoiding a criminal indictment, we will almost certainly end up with Republican monopoly government for at least two, and more likely four, years. That won’t be on Hillary Clinton. It will be on Democratic caucus and primary voters.

Tip to Democrats: Stay fractured until convention time, then draft Joe Biden. I’m not just saying that because I have ten bucks riding on him in a prediction market. He’s really your only shot.

Tip to voters: Vote Libertarian. Train wreck and clown car are not your only options.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism ( He lives and works in north central Florida.