During the 2008 presidential campaign, The Brody File spoke with Barack Obama and he addressed the Muslim rumors swirling around him at the time. It all started with an email chain that began to spread virally. Watch his answer below and read the transcription below: (Brody File analysis is at the end of this blog)
Barack Obama in 2008: “I just want to be very clear and this obviously in no way an insult to the Muslim community who I respect deeply but I want people to know who I am. I am a Christian. I am a member of Trinity United Church of Christ. I have been for 15 years. I have never practiced Islam and I think it’s important for people not to buy into these sorts of fear tactics that people also often use during political games. People need to know the facts. These are the facts as I have presented them and I hope that that at least does not become a reason for people not to want to vote for me.”
Why won’t people just believe Barack Obama? He spoke about his conversion to Christianity in June of 2006. Go 2:23 in and watch it below:
The whole speech is here.
The key part of the transcription below:
Barack Obama in June 2006: It wasn't until after college, when I went to Chicago to work as a community organizer that I confronted my own spiritual dilemma. I was working with churches, and the Christians who I was working with recognized themselves in me. They saw that I knew their Book, that I shared their values, that I sang their songs. But they sensed that a part of me remained detached and removed, that I was an observer in their midst. And in time, I came to realize that something was missing for me as well -- that without a vessel for my beliefs, without a commitment to a particular community of faith, at some level I would always remain apart, and alone.
And if it weren't for the particular attributes of the historically black church, I might have accepted this fate. But as the months passed in Chicago, I found myself drawn -- not just to work with the church, but to be in the church.
For one thing, I believed and still believe in the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change, a power made real by some of the leaders who are here today. Because of its past, the black church understands in an intimate way the Biblical call to feed the hungry and to clothe the naked, to challenge powers and principalities. And in its historical struggles for freedom and the rights of man, I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world. As a source of hope.
Perhaps it was out of this intimate knowledge of hardship -- grounding faith in struggle -- that the church offered me a second insight, one that I think is important to emphasize today: faith doesn't mean that you don't have doubts.
You come to church precisely because you are of this world, not apart from it. You need to embrace Christ precisely because you have sins to wash away -- because you are human and need an ally in this difficult journey.
It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago one day and affirm my faith. It came about as a choice, and not as an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church. Questions I had didn't magically disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt that I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.
That's a path that has been shared by millions of Americans -- evangelicals, Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims alike; some since birth, others at certain turning points in their lives. It's not something they set apart from the rest of their beliefs or their values. In fact, it is often what drives their beliefs and their values.
In that same speech, Obama also said the following:
Barack Obama in June 2006: “Whatever we once were we are no longer a Christian nation at least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, and a Muslim nation and a Buddhist nation and Hindu nation and a nation of non-believers.”
Folks, here’s the deal. Do you want to know why these Muslim rumors continue to not only persist but grow as well? It’s a combination of many different things.
The Brody File has observed the following:
It starts with his name. If his name was John Rogers you think this would be an issue? C’mon. Of course it wouldn’t. So his name puts him at a disadvantage to begin with but his critics will also point to the following: (please note this would be the critics list NOT the Brody File’s list. Please make the distinction. The only list I have is the one for the Taco Bell drive-thru) Their list goes as follows: He lived overseas; his father was born Muslim; he attended Jeremiah Wright’s Church; his tough stance on Israel and settlements; no visible Church attendance; bending over backwards to reach out to Muslims (Cairo speech), the viral birth certificate email chain and now…his comments on the Ground Zero Islamic Center.
The conventional wisdom has always been that stories like this will run its media course and soon this will be yesterday’s headlines. Normally that IS the case but beware of the CW: I don’t think it’s correct this time.
A perception about this President has started to grow. Some will say it’s fair. Others will say it’s not but that really isn’t the issue at this point. Typically, people are followers and also stubborn. We don’t usually investigate things for ourselves. Instead we believe what we want to believe and nobody is going to tell us differently. It’s very easy for this Muslim perception to spread even further and President Obama’s critics will say that he’s given them Exhibit A, B, C, etc in their arsenal against him. The White House may have a short term strategy to deal with this but a long term strategy will come in handy too. Can anybody say the words, “pro-active”?