Saturday, August 23, 2008

Guest Blogger: The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield

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Here's a review of a book I have, but haven't read as of yet. This is the most gorgeous review by my dear friend and blogging pal, Kim Ford of Window To My World:

Stephen Mansfield states the thesis of his latest book The Faith of Barack Obama on the third and fourth pages of his introduction. He uses part of one sentence from Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention to draw some pretty amazing conclusions. After careful consideration of this one statement, I have determined Mansfield to be a very crafty wordsmith. He may not be supporting Obama with his vote, but he has crafted a book that seems to be designed to convince the public - specifically the group he terms the Religious Right - that Obama shares their Christian faith in Jesus Christ and merits their consideration.

On July 27, 2004 Barack Obama spoke on behalf of John Kerry at the Democratic National Convention. His first mention of the word “faith” refers to “a faith in the simple dreams of [American] people, the insistence on small miracles.” (5th paragraph of the 2004 DNC Keynote Speech) There are several other references to faith in our nation, faith in our party, faith in our government. In the 13th paragraph of this speech Obama states: “We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.”

From this, Stephen Mansfield takes the words “We serve an awesome God in the Blue States…” and determines the following: “Though the words are but nine among more than two thousand, Obama intended them as a trumpet call of faith. No longer he was saying, would the political fault lines in America fall between a religious Right and a secular Left. Instead, a Religious Left was finding its voice: (Here Mansfield creates a fictional third person Religious Left voice to state his opinion. The words in the book are italicized as though quoted, but they are in fact Mansfield’s own conclusions) We, too, have faith, they proclaimed. Those of us on the political Left who believe in a woman’s right to choose an abortion and who defend the rights of our gay friends and who care for the poor and who trust that big government can be a tool of righteousness – we also love God. We too, have spiritual passion, and we believe that our vision for America arises from a vital faith as well. No longer will we be painted as the non believers. No longer will we yield the spiritual high ground. The Religious Right has nothing on us anymore.” (p xv, Introduction)

After careful consideration, after reading a great part of Barack Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope – quoted by Mansfield repeatedly – after reading Obama’s interview with Cathleen Falsani – also often quoted by Mansfield – after reading Mansfield’s own interview with Newsweek….I’ve decided that while this book was intended to educate the Christians about Barack Obama’s faith, that it accomplishes something far more dangerous. Obama does have faith in a lot of things. However, by his own words, his faith does not lie in the Jesus Christ of the Bible. His faith does not lie in the infallible Word of God. Mansfield describes Obama’s faith more accurately in his August 12, 2008 interview with the Religion News Service. When asked to describe Sen. Obama’s faith in a few sentences Mansfield says; “He doesn’t accept everything that traditional Christianity hands him, and he doesn’t believe everything within Scripture is inspired. So, that leads him to come to politics with a bit of pick-and-choose approach to theology.”

The Faith of Barrack Obama is a book that craftily dresses a wolf in sheep’s clothing. I offer this extreme caution about Stephen Mansfield’s book: Understand that the word Faith does not identify Barack Obama as a Christian in any way that is recognizable by Scriptural standards. Understand the definition of Postmodernist and the Progressive Movement, because those are the ideologies Obama’s faith is more closely related to. Read The Faith of Obama with extreme caution. Prayerfully read Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope. Read Obama’s interview with Cathleen Falsani for answers to questions such as “Who is Jesus to You?”. Understand who this man Obama is, and pray for our nation as never before. Pray for Barack Obama.

Change is coming in November 2008 no matter who God allows to enter our Oval Office. I urge Christians everywhere not to put your head in the sand. Learn all you can and be prepared to stand for the Truth of Jesus Christ as never before.

Here are some vital links that may help you place some of Mansfield’s statements into context:
Falsani Obama Interview
Chicago Times article of Obama’s interview
Newsweek Interview with Mansfield
2004 Keynote Address Democratic National Convention
Interview with Stephen Mansfield Religion News Service
Article on Mansfield’s book on Obama in The Christian Post

Thanks for allowing me to share, Kim!

Happy Reading!

Deena

3 comments:

Barbara H. said...

This is extremely helpful, thank you.

Dawn said...

Thanks for an honest review.
Fox News Network will be airing the 2 hour special again this evening where Pastor/Author Rick Warren interviews both candidates with questions that allow the viewer to see clearly where each man stands. Rick Warren handles the interviews in a politically unbiased way, but asks strong questions related to Christian values.
If you didn't catch it last week, please tune in. You will be amazed at the difference in the 2 men, possibly even shocked.

Amy said...

I loved this book. I thought that Mansfield wrote with tremendous compassion and fairness instead of simply ripping someone apart like other books on the market are doing right now. (by the way, that quote from that interview actually appears in the book as well. I read this review before I read the book and it jumped straight out at me.)
I also read The Faith of George W. Bush several years ago and enjoyed that one as well.