That familiar question “Is Obama a Muslim?” came up once again at a New Hampshire Trump rally Thursday night when a man (supporter? plant? who knows?) shouted out to the candidate, looking for approbation, that Barack Obama is a Muslim and “not even an American.” The man added, “We have a problem in this country — it’s called Muslims.”
Trump did nothing at the time to disabuse the man of this notion and the candidate has since taken considerable heat for his nonresponse from just about every quarter, including that paragon of justice and honesty Hillary Clinton. The Donald, as is his wont, has declined to apologize for what Mrs. Clinton called his “hateful rhetoric.” He has gone so far as to tweet that he had no responsibility to respond. “If someone made a nasty or controversial statement about me to the president, do you really think he would come to my rescue. No chance!”
Good point, but it raises the question: Is Obama a Muslim? The answer is no. But what is he then? Is Obama a Christian, as Jeb Bush asserted in an attempt to make Trump look bad after Thursday’s dustup? Not a chance. Obama is about as pure a post-modern agnostic as you can find. He’s about as Christian as your average gender studies professor at Swarthmore.
Religion is for the president a convenience, an instrument of power. As evidence of his Christianity he presents twenty-year attendance at Jeremiah Wright’s church, which was and is no more than a front for extreme, self-destructive black nationalism amplified by screechy anti-American propaganda, about as Christian an institution as the White Citizens’ Councils. (Oprah Winfrey didn’t quit by accident). After acceding to the presidency, Obama has hardly ever gone to church. It interferes with his golf game or just about anything else. The family didn’t even make it on Easter.
So Obama is neither Muslim nor Christian, but that is an entirely incomplete view of his belief system. Something is going on in an emotional sense that trumps (excuse the phrase) conventional religious belief. He seems almost always to side with Islamic society against Christendom, bending over backwards on occasion to set up false equivalences. At the very moment the Islamic State was lopping off the heads of Christians and Yazidis in Libya, Syria and Iraq, he invoked the Crusades at a National Prayer Breakfast as if this behavior from centuries ago were even marginally equivalent. Unlike other major world leaders, he didn’t bother to attend the Charlie Hebdo massacre memorial in Paris. He couldn’t even say the Islamic terrorists who shot the people in the Paris kosher deli the day after did so because the victims were Jews. And then there’s the Iran deal, the giveaway of the century ($150 billion) to an Islamic state building nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles, not to mention sponsoring terrorism across the world, for absolutely no verifiable quid pro quo.
Who would do such a thing? Well, Barack Obama obviously. Although not a Muslim (or anything else) religiously, he tilts Islamic culturally. Why? First, he identifies with it from his Indonesian childhood and as the religion of his father who deserted him. But at least as importantly he does so because he is a “progressive.” It’s no accident that he became one in the absence of Islam or Christianity. “Progressives” are the real true believers. They are convinced (to an extent religious people could only dream and at a level of almost absolute blind faith) that everything bad that happens or happened internationally is or was the fault of the imperialistic West. Arabs and Persians therefore are simply Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth, even though they control immense amounts of oil, are hugely misogynistic and homophobic (the very things “progressives” say they abhor), and rape, murder and pillage everyone who doesn’t go along with their “divine plan.” Shiite or Sunni, it makes no difference.
Now, although blinded by ideology, Obama must sense this massive contradiction on some level. Who wouldn’t? But he can’t face it. He has an extremely fragile personality that almost never admits error. But contradictions of this nature find their way out in some manner. The repressions of Arab society have resulted in a shame culture that lashes out at themselves and others and only enhances their backwardness. Obama too, in his way, seems to be very much part of that shame culture. It may sound excessively psychoanalytic, but he frequently acts as if he were a man ashamed and in denial, almost constitutionally unable to see even possible truths in the ideas of those that disagree with him. (It’s interesting to think of the prayer breakfast invocation of the Crusades in that context.) Alone and adrift, he is naturally confused in his policies, which have helped turn the Middle East into a hellhole beyond recognition with hundreds of thousands of its benighted citizens currently headed for Europe, perhaps to change that continent and our civilization forever — very much for the worse.
Although it’s perhaps a bit too complicated, or even apocalyptic, for the campaign hustings, here’s how Trump should have answered the man’s question. Is Obama a Muslim? No, but he’s something even worse — a transnational progressive.
On second thought, such complex ideological talk is obviously not Trump’s style. But there is someone running for the presidency with the intellectual chops, guts and speaking clarity to explain something like this to the public — Carly.