Daniel Pipes offers the following provocation in the Jerusalem Post: What if it turns out that Barack Obama was a devout Muslim for several years in his childhood? Obama has repeatedly claimed that he has “always been a Christian” and has “never practiced Islam.” Yet the evidence has started to mount that this may not be entirely true.Apparently when he attended Catholic school growing up in Indonesia, he was registered there as a Muslim. People in Indonesia remember him not merely as a Muslim in name, but a devout, practicing one.
Given the effect of blurred memories and vested interests when describing a Presidential contender, we must be careful in drawing conclusions. Nor would it matter whether he was or was not a Muslim — especially as a child — so long as he didn’t try to cover it up. Pipes has it right when he says:
Obama’s having been born and raised a Muslim and having left the faith to become a Christian make him neither more nor less qualified to become president of the United States. But if he was born and raised a Muslim and is now hiding that fact, this points to a major deceit, a fundamental misrepresentation about himself that has profound implications about his character and his suitability as president.
Put more softly: Assuming the evidence continues to emerge, and Pipes’ surmises about Obama’s past are borne out, the question becomes: What kind of person covers up his past faith when running for office? Answer: The kind who instinctively tells people what they want to hear, even at the expense of the truth. But this may be big trouble as the campaign progresses. When he is asked if he breathed in the air of Islam at any point in his life, what will he say? “I didn’t inhale”?