Michael Gaynor
Chris Matthews: I'm the decider and Obama's a Christian!
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By Michael Gaynor
August 25, 2010

President Obama, in The Audacity of Hope: "What could I say? That a literal reading of the Bible was folly. That Mr. Keyes, a Roman Catholic, should disregard the Pope's teachings? Unwilling to go there, I answered with the usual liberal response in such debates — that we live in a pluralistic society, that I can't impose my religious views on another, that I was running to be a U.S. Senator from Illinois and not the minister of Illinois. But even as I answered, I was mindful of Mr. Keyes's implicit assumption — that I remained steeped in doubt, that my faith was adulterated, that I was not a true Christian."

If MSNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews feels a thrill run up his leg when he sees President Obama, that's his problem.

When Matthews rails on "Hardball" against Americans who don't automatically accept President Obama's claim to be a Christian and attacks Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for 'sticking the knife" in President Obama by saying that he takes President Obama at his word when he claims to be a Christian instead of condemning those who disagree or are dounntful, that's our problem.

Taking a politician at his word is naive, at best.

President Reagan was right: Trust, but verify.

President Obama has been describing himself as a Christian since even before he first ran for public office, but he has not proven that he is "a true Christian" and Matthews and his ilk cannot do it for the most pro-abortion President in American history.

In 2004 pro-abortion "progressive" Democrat Obama and pro-life conservative Republican Alan Keyes vied for a United States Senate seat from Illinois and engaged in a series of debates.

In his presidential campaign book, The Audacity of Hope, Obama confessed (p. 211) to an "urge" to "wring [Keyes'] neck' and to "pok[ing] [Keyes] in the chest while making a point, a bit of alpha-male behavior that [Obama claimed he] hadn't engaged in since high school and which an observant news crew gamely captured...."

Obama acknowledged (p. 211) that in their debates he "was frequently tongue-tied, irritable, and uncharacteristically tense — a fact that the public (having by that point written Mr. Keyes off) largely missed...."

In his campaign book Obama purported to respond to his supporters' questions as to why Keyes had given Obama "fits" as follows (pp. 211-12):

"What they didn't understand was that I could not help but take Mr. Keyes seriously. For he claimed to speak for my religion — and although I might not like what came out of his mouth, I had to admit that some of his views had many adherents with the Christian church." [Note: There are many Christian churches, not one, as Christians know.]

"His argument went something like this: America was founded on the twin principles of God-given loiberty and Christian faith. Successive liberal administrations had hijacked the federal government to serve a godless materialism and had thereby steadily slipped away — through regulation, socialistic welfare programs, gun laws, compulsory attendance at public schools, and the income tax ['the slave tax,' as Mr. Keyes called it) — at individual liberty and traditional values. liberal judges had furthert contributed to this moral decay by perverting the First Amendment to mean the separation of church and state, and by validating all sorts of aberrant behavior — particularly abortion and homosexuality — that threatened to destroy the nuclear family. The answer to American renewal, then, was simple: Restore religion generally — and Christianity in particular — to its rightful place at the center of our public and private lives, align the law with religious precepts, and drastically restrict the power of federal government to legislate in areas prescribed neither by the Constitution nor by God's commandments.

"In other words, Alan Keyes presented the essential vision of the religious right in this country, shorn of all caveat, compromise, or apology. Within its own terms, it was entirely coherent, and provided Mr. Keyes with the certainty and fluency of an Old Testament prophet. And while I found it simple enough to dispose of his constitutional and policy arguments, his readings of Scripture put me on the defensive.

"Mr. Obama says he's a Christian, Mr. Keyes would say, and yet he supports a lifestyle that the Bible calls an abomination.

"Mr. Obama says he's a Christian, but he supports the destruction of innocent and sacred life.

"What could I say? That a literal reading of the Bible was folly. That Mr. Keyes, a Roman Catholic, should disregard the Pope's teachings? Unwilling to go there, I answered with the usual liberal response in such debates — that we live in a pluralistic society, that I can't impose my religious views on another, that I was running to be a U.S. Senator from Illinois and not the minister of Illinois. But even as I answered, I was mindful of Mr. Keyes's implicit assumption — that I remained steeped in doubt, that my faith was adulterated, that I was not a true Christian."

Further, Obama wrote (pp. 206-07) that he might have eschewed a faith community, like his mother, "had it not been for the particular attributes of the historically black church, attributes that helped [him] shed some of his skepticism and embrace the Christian faith," because he "was drawn to the power of the African American religious tradition to spur social change."

By his own implicit admission, Obama retained some of his skepticism too and Obama acknowledged (p. 207) politics drew him to Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.'s black liberation theology-grounded, Trinity United Church of Christ.

If Obama is entitled to be skeptical about Christianity, why aren't Americans entitled to be skeptical that Obama really is a Christian, Mr. Matthews?

© Michael Gaynor

 

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Michael Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member... (more)

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