Over at the Spiritual Politics blog, Mark Silk, who heads the Leonard Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life, has an interesting and provocative analysis of President Obama’s appearance at yesterday’s White House Easter prayer breakfast.
According to Silk,a professor of religion in public life at Trinity College in Hartford, Obama’s comments “represent an extraordinary expression of religious faith by a sitting president speaking on the record. So far as I know, no recent president–including evangelicals Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush–ever addressed an audience in the White House as ‘brothers and sisters in Christ,’ and gone on to speak of grace and redemption ‘by faith in Jesus Christ.’”
Some of that, Silk speculated, may have to do with the African-American church tradition, but adds this: “One can’t overlook the possibility that the president was impelled by the persistent conviction of a significant number of Americans that he is not really a Christian at all.”
Will comments like these put an end to the persistent Internet rumors that Obama is a secret Muslim (spread, in many cases, by the same vehemently anti-Obama folks who think he’s not really an American)? Don’t count on it, Silk says.
“As the birthers have proved, doubts about Obama are not so easy to put to rest. In the meantime, presidential religion marches on.”