White House Soteriology: Praying daily makes one a Christian

19 Aug

"The president is obviously a Christian. He prays everyday."

In an attempt to redirect attention from recent polls about up to 25% of Americans believing President Obama is a Muslim and less than 40% believing he’s a Christian, the White House declared:

“The president is obviously a Christian. He prays everyday.”

If the statement was just “The president is obviously a Christian,” that would have been the error of mere assertion: Merely because you assert something is true, that doesn’t make it so. Luckily, they offered a proof: “He prays everyday.”

There’s a few problems of course:

  • Not everyone who prays everyday is a Christian. Muslims pray every day, for example.
  • One isn’t a Christian on the basis of how much one prays.

While prayer is part of being a Christian, you’re not a Christian because you pray. By “Christian” I mean someone who is following the biblical model of following Jesus.

Becoming a follower of Jesus has to do with living out one’s belief that Jesus is master (Lord) of your life. It is evidenced by what grows out of your life, what actions you exhibit. It has nothing to do with being perfect except that a Christian will, over time, change on issues as (s)he lives more as Jesus as their master.

While Obama’s family is Muslim, and while he has Muslim names, anyone who believed he was a Muslim for those reasons already thought so during the election, and that doesn’t explain the dramatic increase in those numbers. That has to do with Obama’s actions:

This isn’t necessarily new to Obama – there have been questions about previous presidents faiths. Whether or not Obama is a Muslim isn’t the point of my writing. The point here is the flaw in reasoning and the glaring misconception of faith.

Praying daily does not make it obvious that someone is a Christian. Saying so makes it obvious that you have no idea what you’re talking about.

Clearly White House overall has no idea of what it means to be a Christian. No wonder they misunderstand Christians so much!

How do you feel about the White House defining Christianity this way?

Another issue here is that the media are declaring the state of a person’s soul – the article linked to above states:

The number of Americans who believe — wrongly — that President Obama is a Muslim has increased significantly since his inauguration and now accounts for nearly 20 percent of the nation’s population.

Can you imagine an article beginning: “The number of Americans who believe –wrongly — that the Tea Party movement contains extremists…”?

Why is it necessary for reporters to be inserting this commentary? Even the punctuation around “wrongly” makes it the word that stands out most. This isn’t reporting. This is commentary.

“The president is obviously a Christian. He prays everyday.”


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  • Becki Hill Nudge

    this is infuriating and frightening. I’m sure you’ve seen it, but this quote seems very appropriate here: “Going to church on Sundays (or praying every day) doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.”

  • Rob Green

    or sitting in the oval office makes you a president…

  • Lori Engel

    Because I don’t know the nuances of Islam I might sound a little dumb here, but honestly why lie about religion? If Obama is Muslim what changes? He hasn’t done anything Christian since he became president and even as a Senator he wasn’t voting with his Christian heart. Why does this even matter, except that it appears he is lying?

  • I find it interesting that “I pray every day” is the end of the sentence. TO WHAT OR TO WHOM is a valid question to ask, no?

    Not that that makes you a Christian either, but …