President Barack Obama is quite accustomed by now to being accused of not being a Christian. Typically, however, those critics accuse him of being a Muslim.
Obama has said repeatedly that he is a Christian. He gravitated toward Christ under the tutelage of controversial Chicago pastor Jeremiah Wright.
I’ve never believed Obama was a Christian or a Muslim. He’s always seemed to me to be a non-theist. It’s not that he particularly acts non-Christian; he just doesn’t seem to place a high priority on faith.
Bill Maher, host of HBO’s “Real Time” and an outspoken atheist also thinks Obama has no faith system. On Monday’s The Daily Show, Maher and host Jon Stewart got into a discussion on Hillary Clinton’s claim that the Bible is her favorite book. Both men doubted that to be true, saying she said it only because she wants to be president.
Maher then backed off his Hillary accusation, and moved to Obama.
“You know who’s a liar about this is Obama,” Maher said. “Obama is always spouting spiritual bullshit. I don’t believe it for a second. He’s a drop-dead atheist. Absolutely.”
“No,” Stewart protested. “How many years did he spend in Rev. Wright’s church?”
“He never went,” Maher said. “He ‘joined’ because it was politically necessary.”
Some who have known Obama personally have said he joined Wright’s Chicago church for less-than-spiritual reasons.
Former Obama friend and ex-Chicago Alderman Toni Preckwinkle told Ryan Lizzain a 2008 New Yorker article she believed Obama joined Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ for political reasons.
“It’s a church that would provide you with lots of social connections and prominent parishioners. It’s a good place for a politician to be a member,” she said.
Wright himself told author Ed Klein that neither Obama nor First Lady Michelle Obama are avid churchgoers. Interviewed for Klein’s 2013 Obama biography The Amateur, Wright said, “Church is not their thing. It never was their thing.”
Wright’s words were released in a recording of the interview. Wright said, “the church was not an integral part of their lives before they got married, after they got married.” But when Klein asked if the church as an integral part of the president’s politics, Wright said that it was.
I’m not certain Obama is an atheist, as Maher suggests. I think he may well believe in God – or some concept of a higher being – but he doesn’t necessarily think he, she or it can or must be reached through any particular religion.
He wanted to be a politician in a country where Christianity is the largest religion, so that’s what he identifies with.