In making his endorsement of Barack Obama , former Secretary of State Colin Powell made a religious assertion that cannot stand unchallenged.
Here's what he said: "I'm also troubled by, not what Senator [John] McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, 'Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.' Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian."
I would state it a little bit differently.
Obama is not a Christian and never has been.
The most extensive comments ever offered by Obama about his faith came in a 2004 Chicago Sun-Times interview I first wrote about last May.
Asked what he believes, Obama said: "I am a Christian. 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."
Many paths to the same place?
This is the antithesis of what Jesus reveals in Scripture, for example, in John 14:6: "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Obama also says in the interview he doesn't know if he is going to heaven, nor does he believe the alternative is hell.
That's pretty remarkable for someone professing to be a Christian. While I know, because Scripture tells us so, there will be many turned away from the narrow gate that leads to eternal life on Judgment Day, it's unusual for someone claiming to be a believer to be uncertain about his eternal fate. It suggests a high degree of spiritual confusion.
Obama also reveals in this interview at least an equal amount of constitutional illiteracy.
"Alongside my own deep personal faith, I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion," he says. "I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I am a big believer in our constitutional structure. I mean, I'm a law professor at the University of Chicago teaching constitutional law. I am a great admirer of our founding charter and its resolve to prevent theocracies from forming and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root in this country. I think there is an enormous danger on the part of public figures to rationalize or justify their actions by claiming God's mandate. I don't think it's healthy for public figures to wear religion on their sleeve as a means to insulate themselves from criticism, or dialogue with people who disagree with them."
Of course, nowhere in the Constitution will you find the phrase "separation of church and state" – not the U.S. Constitution, anyway. You will find it in the old Soviet Union constitution. The closest the U.S. Constitution comes to this subject matter is the First Amendment's restrictions on Congress against passing laws abridging the free exercise of religion and against establishing a state church.
Yet, this "constitutional scholar" evidently sees the First Amendment as a license to "prevent the disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root in this country."
While boasting a "personal relationship with Jesus Christ," in the same breath he says, "I think there is an enormous danger on the part of public figures to rationalize or justify their actions by claiming God's mandate. I don't think it's healthy for public figures to wear religion on their sleeve as a means to insulate themselves from criticism, or dialogue with people who disagree with them."
Obama says he prays regularly. But look how he describes that process: "It's not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. ... I'm constantly asking myself questions about what I'm doing, why I am doing it. The biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass."
So whom is he talking to in these conversations? He's talking to himself! He's talking to his under-developed conscience – the one that told him it was the right thing to do to prevent doctors and nurses from offering life-saving support to babies born alive after botched abortions.
Am I surprised by any of this?
Of course not.
I've been listening to Barack Obama and watching him now throughout this presidential campaign. I think I have a good sense of who he is – and what his fruits are.
We are all shaped by our most basic beliefs about who we are and why we're here and who God is. Everyone has a worldview based on those precepts.
Obama's twisted prescription for policy change could only come from a worldview sowed by spiritual confusion and lack of discernment.
This interview, and others he has done since, revealed Obama, who calls himself a Christian, has no concept of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
He states that he has no idea of what will happen to him when he dies.
He suggests his eternal destination has something to do with being a "good father" to his children and transferring values he got from his atheist mother.
He says there are many paths to heaven.
In other words, he doesn't have a clue as to what it means to be a Christian. That, of course, is not surprising given the only church experience he has had in his life has come in that hate-filled, racist, neo-Marxist, liberation theology-based Trinity United Church of Christ. There "Christianity" is used to sell other religions – anti-Americanism, black victimization, socialism.
Here's the key to Christianity: Followers of Jesus accept His atoning, sacrificial death on the cross as full, unmerited payment for their sins and the sins of the world. They further believe they need to do their best to be obedient to His commandments.
Christians should have confidence that if they do those two things, they will have eternal life, because that's what God's Word reveals.
There is nothing else I can do to earn eternal life. It's not about good works. And it's certainly not about the evil works of selling socialism and slavery.
In other words, Powell is dead wrong about Obama. He may not be a practicing Muslim, but Obama is certainly no follower of Jesus.