President Barack ObamaAt our last bi-weekly Bible study group I received a series of congratulations on the swearing in of President Barak Obama and then the following remarks from a few scowlers: “I didn’t like the way he embraced Islam during his speech. Can you believe it, a Muslim president of the United States.” I couldn’t let that one go.

First of all, these ridiculous rumors that Obama was or is a muslim are not only factually wrong, they are repulsive because they refuse to take into account the man’s own public profession of faith. Nothing less than repulsive. We may rightly question where Obama lies on the spectrum of Christian belief. But to disregard his own testimony entirely and assign him to another faith based on speculation, fear and political shortsightedness is uncalled for.

Second, Obama’s “extended hand” to our nation’s enemies was an invitation to diplomacy not religious advocacy. The “clenched fists” out there are not only radical Muslim states like Iran but also emperor worshiping states like North Korea, avowed atheist states like China, and communist dictatorships like Venezuela and Cuba. The only things these countries have in common from the perspective is that we have intractable and longstanding diplomatic troubles with each of them. Our inability to find common ground has cost us immeasurable difficulty and grief. We may not agree with Obama’s approach but let’s not bundle his foreign policy decisions with a knee jerk conclusion that he embraces any one of the idolatries these countries represent.

Now I don’t agree with everything Barak Obama says. But I do think he is an intelligent man and I appreciate his fresh analysis of the facts and the new perspectives he has highlighted in formerly locked down debates. Let’s keep a watchful eye on whether his policies make a difference. But let’s give the man the benefit of the doubt and support him with our prayers just as we would any other public official we’ve elected to office.

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