This thread straddles the boarder between religion and politics. It is well known that in American politics, professing to be anything but Christian can be political suicide. You might make it to city council in San Francisco, but for the big prize to be a reasonable possibility, you need to appear to be mainstream. On the east coast, practitioners of Judaism have done well in New York and elsewhere. Even this, the parent religion of Christianity is often viewed with suspicion and therefore less electable than if the candidate were Christian. It gets tougher in the south and in more rural areas. This could be debated to death and yes, there have been exceptions. (Let's not debate whether Obama was born in the U.S. or whether he is a Muslim. That would be a snore fest. Same for his Chicago church and it's leader.)
When we first met Barak Obama, I was watching TV with my tenant, William. We were both impressed with his confident style and his grasp of every issue. It came up on CNN that he was a Christian and that he was a member of such and such church. I suggested to William that he didn't seem like a fire and brimstone sort of guy, and that maybe he was playing along on the religious front, so that he'd have a chance of winning. We both agreed that there was no way that we could ever know for sure and that if he were an Atheist, the best, safest route, would be to play along. Neither of us would hold this against him. Politics amongst America's black population is often religiously polarized. There are the Baptists and other Christians and various Muslim groups. Both were involved in the civil rights movement.
I did a Google search for "Atheist Black Politicians" and came up dry. None. Then I found this book --- A quote from the book, Moral Combat --- The word atheism elicits shock, dread, anger, and revulsion among most African Americans. They view atheism as “amoral,” heresy, and race betrayal. Historically, the Black Church was a leading force in the fight for racial justice. Today, many black religious leaders have aligned themselves with the Religious Right. While black communities suffer economically, the Black Church is socially conservative on women’s rights, abortion, same sex marriage, and church/state separation. These religious “values wars” have further solidified institutional sexism and homophobia in black communities.
If we take this to be usually true or even somewhat true, then to me, an Atheist from this group would be unwise to reveal himself. I wouldn't hold that against him. Many prominent Atheists came out in support of Obama's liberal stance on many social issues. Hard core nut groups, tried to sell the idea that he was a Muslim pursuing some sinister, hidden agenda.
I'd like to think that Barak Obama is an Atheist and that only he and his wife know it. It's not something he's likely to come clean on. What do you think ? Does it matter to you ?
I don't know about Obama's religious preference but I have a feeling it's more complex than theist/atheist.
Obama is a TCK - a "third culture kid" - actually, he's even more than that as he is of mixed-race parentage. Third culture kids are kids who are born of one parentage but grow up in one, or many, other cultures during their formative years - they are part of, but still separate from these cultures. In essence, they mesh their experiences into a third culture that manages to encompass their rather far-ranging experiences. It often makes for a unique world view once you come back to the culture of your "origin".
I know a lot of TCKs - being one myself. Many, many of my TCK friends go into fields that involve community-building, mediation, comparative studies (religion/philosophy, etc.), and a host of other professions where one is constantly weighing the various merits of the options or figuring out the "whys" of certain behaviors, etc.
I know for myself I am the only child of a Jack Mormon and a non-baptized Catholic. I've attended a Catholic school, Islamic school and Buddhist school. I classify myself as a freethinker or humanist.
I have had instances where I've told proselytizing individuals that I'm an atheist and had the woman fall back and hide her child behind her. Another proselytizing pair is totally fascinated with me - while they know I'm not turning to any kind of religion, I am, to use their words, "pretty ok for an atheist". (yes - I sometimes use the word atheist as many folks don't get "freethinker" or "humanist"). And I'll also say that, as part of a permaculture non-profit, I've done a LOT of work with religious organizations - and I am upfront about my "freethinker" status.
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posted 4 years ago
It is well known that in American politics, professing to be anything but Christian can be political suicide.
Yet we survived as a free nation for 40 years before we elected our first Christian president.
Even when John F. Kennedy ran, many felt he was unelectable because he was Catholic.
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
posted 4 years ago
Most outside of the American west, will not be familiar with the term Jack Mormon as referred to by Jennifer. I understand it to be a lapsed member who holds no animosity toward the religion. Wikipedia has an in depth story --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Mormon
On good days, I'm a Jack Christian of sorts. My family are mostly Christians. Although we differ, and I never joined, even as a child, we share a cultural history.