Obama The Muslim

The number of Americans who now believe the President is a Muslim has climbed over the past few months, and a plurality of Americans say they don't know what his faith is, if any. Over at First Things, Joe Carter is mocking the idea and commenters are joining in.

I don't think Obama thinks of himself as a Muslim and consider it rather nutty to think so. His religion in his own words seems to be Harvard. He is a Christian in the same sense that formerly Catholic institutions call themselves "in the Catholic tradition." And this account of his faith, while it rings true in essence, also seems to have an element of election-year please-everyoneism:
OBAMA: I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith.
On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences.
I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10.
My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim.
And I’d say, probably, intellectually I’ve drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith....
So, I’m rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people. That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there’s an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived.And so, part of my project in life was probably to spend the first 40 years of my life figuring out what I did believe – I’m 42 now – and it’s not that I had it all completely worked out, but I’m spending a lot of time now trying to apply what I believe and trying to live up to those values.
GG: Have you always been a Christian?
OBAMA:I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian.
GG:Any particular flavor?
OBAMA:No. My grandparents who were from small towns in Kansas. My grandmother was Methodist. My grandfather was Baptist. This was at a time when I think the Methodists felt slightly superior to the Baptists. And by the time I was born, they were, I think, my grandparents had joined a Universalist church. So, my mother, who I think had as much influence on my values as anybody, was not someone who wore her religion on her sleeve. We’d go to church for Easter. She wasn’t a church lady.
As I said, we moved to Indonesia. She remarried an Indonesian who wasn’t particularly, he wasn’t a practicing Muslim. I went to a Catholic school in a Muslim country. So I was studying the Bible and catechisms by day, and at night you’d hear the prayer call.
So I don’t think as a child we were, or I had a structured religious education. But my mother was deeply spiritual person, and would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world’s religions, and talk to me about them. And I think always, her view always was that underlying these religions were a common set of beliefs about how you treat other people and how you aspire to act, not just for yourself but also for the greater good.
It should be noted that his father was Muslim at least in name, and for adherents of Islam, the son of a Muslim father is a Muslim. So for much of the world (and for some number of our citizens) he is a Muslim, though it may be secret even from himself.