FaithWorld

from Tales from the Trail:

Obama inauguration pastor choice: war or peace?

NEWYORK-SUMMIT/CLINTONPresident-elect Barack Obama is seeking peace at his inauguration, but gay and lesbians see his choice of pastor as a nakedly political continuation of war.

"It is important for America to come together, even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues," the prez-elect said, defending his choice of Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren -- a same-sex marriage opponent. Obama said he personally would continue be a fierce advocate for equality for gay and lesbian Americans.

Equality California chief Geoff Kors said the decision amounted to choosing someone who 'declared war on one minority community'.

Warren's evangelical ministry is known more for its focus on social issues than many other evangelical pastors seen as strong political conservatives.

He calls his grand plan PEACE: Promote reconciliation, Equip leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, Educate the next generation.

A new twist on the “Is Obama a Christian?” debate

The “Is Obama a Christian?” discussion is starting up again, this time not by people who suspect he’s a Muslim but those who think he’s a phony follower of Jesus Christ. The occasion for this is the posting on Beliefnet of an interview he gave to the Chicago Sun Times in 2004, while he was still an Illinois state senator. Conservative Christians have taken his religious views as proof he’s not a real Christian, but there’s support from a more liberal corner for his views.

That there is disagreement isn’t really a surprise. Theologians have been debating who is a Christian almost since the dawn of the faith and still dispute where the dividing lines lie. What is more interesting is that critics are picking apart his views — or purported views — on theological issues that have no obvious importance for his job as president. (Photo: Obama at Apostolic Church of God in Chicago, June 15, 2008/John Gress)

Bloggers Joe Carter and Rod Dreher read in Obama’s interview a denial of the Nicene Creed since he called Jesus “a bridge between God and man” rather than clearly saying he is the Son of God (hat tip to Steve Waldman). “Unless Obama was being incredibly and uncharacteristically inarticulate, this is heterodox. You cannot be a Christian in any meaningful sense and deny the divinity of Jesus Christ. You just can’t,” Dreher writes. Has Obama denied the divinity of Jesus Christ here? That’s not clear here. Another point that Carter notes is that he doesn’t believe that people who have not embraced Jesus as their personal saviour will automatically go to hell. “I can’t imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity. That’s just not part of my religious makeup,” he said.

Did Muslim rumours, terrorism DVD actually help Obama?

Did the “Obama-is-a- Muslim” whisper campaign energise Muslim voters to turn out en masse for him? Did the widely circulated DVD “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” actually end up helping him at the polls? That seems to be the case, our Chicago religion writer Mike Conlon reports in this analysis.

“Unpublished polling data indicated that the Democratic President-elect got somewhere between 67 percent and 90 percent of the Muslim vote, probably nearer the higher end, Ahmed Younis of Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, said in a telephone briefing,” Conlon writes.

“Mukit Hossain, executive director of the Muslim American Political Action Committee, said at the briefing that support for Obama among Muslims ‘changed dramatically’ in the last three to four weeks of the campaign ‘when people started calling Obama a terrorist’ in the crowds at Republican rallies.”

Antichrist rehearsal added to Obama list of sins by far U.S. right

obamaberlin.jpgDALLAS – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has had to fend off all sorts of spurious Internet rumours suggesting he is a closet Muslim and even linking him to the Ku Klux Klan.

Our columnist Bernd Debusmann has written about this elsewhere. But a new line of character attack has emerged: Obama, while not the Antichrist, has provided a dress reherasal for the End of Times as foretold in the Bible with his recent overseas tour.

At least that is what Hal Lindsey, a leading figure in U.S. apocalyptic Christian circles, claims.