Steve Mansfield as written a book entitled “The Faith Of Barack Obama.” On his blog he complains that people are consigning him to the nether realm for writing this book. He claims that this is unjust since nobody has yet read the book. But, even given his blog explanation for the book, one wonders what Mr. Mansfield was thinking unless he intended to write a book telling us about the pagan faith of Barack Obama.
Before we get into that though, people need to realize that Mansfield is the same guy who wrote a book entitled, “The Faith Of George Bush.” Now, if Mansfield could, with a straight face, write a book finding the Christian faith of George Bush, what makes anyone think that he couldn’t similarly find the Christian faith of Barack Obama? If a guy can write a book telling me about that the beauty of Congressperson Nancy Pelosi, I suspect he can write a book telling me about the beauty of Senator Barbara Mikulski.
Mansfield starts his defense of by saying he wanted to take a “fairly objective look at how Obama came to faith.” The problem already, is that this assumes that Obama has come to faith. Can we really conclude that someone has come to faith who wants to violate with repeated regularity the 6th (support of abortion), 7th (support of homosexual civil unions) and 8th (wants to increase confiscatory taxation) commandments? The fact that Mansfield can suggest that Obama has come to faith raises questions about Mansfield’s clarity of understanding as it pertains to what it means to “have faith.”
Next Mansfield says that he believes that “Obama’s story of faith captures the current religious trends in America just as George W. Bush’s did five years ago when I wrote The Faith of George W. Bush.” Certainly nobody can disagree that it may be the case that Obama’s faith may capture the religious trends in America, but all that means is that the religious trends in America are decidedly not Christian, just as Obama’s faith, to date, is decidedly not Christian.
Mansfield then suggests that not having had a brain bypass he is interested in how ideas shape culture. Great! Many of us share that interest. The evidence of Mansfield having a brain bypass surgery comes to the fore though when he suggests that Obama’s ideas have a relation to Christian faith. That is almost as bad as suggesting that George Bush’s ideas have a relation to the Christian faith. When Mansfield makes these kind of correlations it is not a wonder that some people might question his Christian or conservative credentials.
Mansfield insists that in his book he was just trying to objectively understand and explain Obama. That is a noble undertaking, but it can be done without suggesting that there is anything Christian about the candidate. Indeed, one could write such a book by opening up declaring that,
“It is not my intent in this book to speak to Barack Obama’s faith. My intent instead is to simply try to explain and understand the man. I have come to my own conclusions regarding Obama’s faith but I want to allow the reader to come to their own conclusions as I explain and seek to understand the candidate. My book seeks to be even handed, so readers should expect to find here me giving Senator Obama every benefit of the doubt that I can. To give someone the benefit of the doubt should not be mistaken with agreeing with them even after the benefit of the doubt has been extended.”
It doesn’t look like Mansfield wrote that kind of book, therefore Mansfield’s head is being handed to him on a platter by much of his readership.
Finally Mansfield seems put off that people could be upset with him since in the book he plainly said he would not vote for Obama. Mansfield seems to think that whatever perceived favorable treatment he gave to Obama in the book would be finally negated by the omission that he could not vote for Obama. This communicates a lack of understanding on the part of Mansfield on how people are influenced. If I write something that can be taken as a favorable reflection on somebody, but finish by saying that I can’t vote for them, the effect may very well be that my written work provides a bridge for some people to cross to support the candidate even though I myself as the author might not be able to. Such a written work, could communicate how it would be understandable that Christians would vote for Obama and so could very well lead to be a work that would influence Christians to vote for Obama or at least make doing so seem reasonable.
Overall, I think the problem here is that you have a guy (Mansfield) writing a book about another guy’s Christian faith who is himself confused on what the Christian faith really is or looks like.