Two news polls released yesterday show that a startling number of Americans — incorrectly — believe that President Obama is Muslim. A Pew poll found that 18 percent of Americans think he is Muslim, while a Time poll found that a “jaw-dropping” 46 percent of Republicans hold the same false view.
When Roll Call asked Tom Ganley, a Republican running for a House seat from Ohio, for his thoughts on the matter, Ganley proclaimed that he doesn’t “have a position on whether he’s a Muslim.” Ganley quickly tried to walk back his comments, but only barely:
“I don’t have a position on whether he’s a Muslim,” Ganley said Thursday in a telephone interview with Roll Call. [...]
In a statement later Thursday afternoon, Ganley sought to clarify his earlier comment about Obama.
“During an interview earlier today, I was asked a question about President Obama’s religion that I felt irrelevant to the story being written about my campaign for Congress,” he said. “I do not believe President Obama’s religion has any impact on the need for jobs in Ohio’s 13th district. According to the White House, our President is a Christian and I have no reason to believe otherwise.”
Of course, Obama is Christian, and “prays every day.” Several pastors who have prayed with Obama “defended his Christian faith” yesterday, with Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell — who married President Bush’s daughter Jenna — calling Obama a “devout Christian.” “Those of us who’ve spent time with him and have had a part of forming his spiritual life can testify with certainty of his commitment to Christ,” said Pastor Joel Hunter of Northland Church near Orlando, who has been a close spiritual advisor to Obama for several years.
Meanwhile, the Washington Examiner’s Byron York writes today that “Obama has himself to blame” for people falsely believing he’s a Muslim because he often “play[s] basketball or golf on Sunday mornings.”
“Is ‘Obama as a Muslim’ the new ‘Birther’ question for Republican candidates?” MSNBC’s Domenico Montanaro wondered.