Barack Obama and faith - Chester Cook

As it becomes more apparent that Barack Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee for the presidency, we are hearing more attacks on his character.

Making false statements about people in ignorance has always been a point of contention with me. I hear a lot of falsehoods about religion, religious groups, and religious beliefs from a lot of ignorant people.

Many ignorant people are saying ignorant things about Obama. These statements are hurled at him in an attempt to slander and assault him. People would rather propagate these lies than believe Obama's own words.

This is what he said:

"So one Sunday, I put on one of the few clean jackets I had, and went over to Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago. And I heard Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright deliver a sermon called 'The Audacity of Hope.' And during the course of that sermon, he introduced me to someone named Jesus Christ.

"I learned that my sins could be redeemed. I learned that those things I was too weak to accomplish myself, He would accomplish with me, if I placed my trust in Him. And in time, I came to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world and in my own life.

"It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church, as folks sometimes do.

"The questions I had didn't magically disappear. The skeptical bent of my mind didn't suddenly vanish. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works."

Barack Obama is not a Muslim. He is a Christian by his own testimony. While this may be of comfort to some, to others it will be problematic.

Some will make an issue about him being "apostate Islam," because his father was Islamic. Regardless, Obama is his own man -- like him or not.

Whatever you choose, don't be guilty of not liking him for something he isn't.

If you have any comments on this column, or any other subject, please contact me at chaplain@airportchapel.org.

Dr. Chester R. Cook