Monday, December 29, 2008

The Faith of Barack Obama

Hey read any good books lately? This is a quick read about our next President--I enjoyed it.

The Faith of Barack Obama

At first look I was not sure what to expect out of this book. Was it the unauthorized religious biography of President elect Obama or would it have enough dept to allow readers around the world a chance to understand this man’s religion?

What I found was a solid offering from author Stephen Mansfield. Although a bit formulaic I found this book to be a quick and thought provoking read. It is short, less than one hundred and fifty pages and only six chapters.

Mansfield does a nice job of explaining the wonderful mixed-up upbringing of Barack Obama, Catholic primary school with Mass every morning, Islamic services on the weekends and a professed atheist as a mother, all things that have lead this man to be more than a little wary of organized religion. Most of one chapter dispels the current urban myth of Obama as a Muslim, now or in the past, it just never happened. In the early eighties his heart lead him to become a member of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s, “United Church of Christ.” The church fit him both personally and professionally and likely benefited him politically. This part of the book is a must read and a real eye opener to people from mainstream WASP environments. It does a fine job of explaining the feelings of a very educated, very complicated leader like Jeremiah Wright.

The fifth chapter of this small book is of interest to anyone that takes more than a passing interest in politics/religion in America. This chapter entitled, “Four Faces of Faith,” focuses on the religious beliefs of the four big political players in this year’s presidential race; President Bush, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and President elect Obama.

Although the book may not do anything to convince evangelical Christians that he is the right person to lead America it will at least give hope to the far right that he is not anti-Christian, anti-American or anti-white. The only bad taste left for the far right may be Mr. Obama’s unyielding stance as a pro-choice liberal, a section that Mansfield covers very well in this book.

Overall this book is an excellent read, showing a side of our next president that most Americans will embrace. It is a truly open look at a man that has already lead a truly extraordinary life.

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