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Is Obama Enlisting Jesus in his Campaign?

President Obama has been invoking Jesus Christ a lot lately, and it’s hard to see another reason for this new behavior other than it appeals to a certain large group of voters who tend to be believers.

In his Christmas-related remarks this year, Obama has been much more personal about his own belief and for the first time invoked the name of Jesus Christ, departing from the more secular, universal messages of previous years.

In the 2010 Midterm elections, white middle class voters abandoned the Democrats en masse. In order to achieve reelection, Obama will need to keep as many as possible of these often church-going voters from straying to the Republicans. His ability to hold white middle class voters will determine whether or not he wins in key states like Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Florida and elsewhere.

In recent weeks, we’ve found Michelle Obama awkwardly in attendance at that other white middle class church – a NASCAR track, where she was booed – as well as shopping at Target and, along with her husband, hosting country music night at the White House. Meanwhile, he’s been taking campaign-style bus trips through the Midwest and North Carolina and Virginia, everywhere rolling through must win states filled with the demographic.

Obama’s increasingly overt religious message seems consistent with this.

Sunday, after attending church, Obama made his annual appearance on the “Christmas in Washington” special, taped for broadcast December 16.

Here’s the passage where he referred to Christ:

This is the season to celebrate the story of how, more than two thousand years ago, a child was born to two faithful travelers who could find rest only in a stable, among cattle and sheep.  He was no ordinary child.  He was the manifestation of God’s love.  And every year we celebrate His birth because the story of Jesus Christ changed the world.

For me, and for millions of Americans, His story has filled our hearts and inspired our lives.  It moves us to love one another; to help and serve those less fortunate; to forgive; to draw close to our families; to be grateful for all that has been given to us; to keep faith; and to hold on to an enduring hope in humanity.

In 2010, Jesus barely makes and appearance in Obama’s remarks – and not by name, and not with the accompanying reference to Christian doctrine.

This season reminds us that more than 2,000 years ago, a child born in a stable brought our world a redeeming gift of peace and salvation.  It’s a story with a message that speaks to us to this day — that we are called to love each other as we love ourselves, that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper, and our destinies are linked. It’s a message that guides my Christian faith and it focuses us as we think about all those whose holidays may be a bit tougher this year.

Obama also added significant new religious flourishes this year during the annual Christmas Tree Lighting on December 1.

Christ’s birth made the angels rejoice and attracted shepherds and kings from afar.  He was a manifestation of God’s love for us.  And He grew up to become a leader with a servant’s heart who taught us a message as simple as it is powerful:  that we should love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves.

So it seems The One has signed up The Messiah. I can only hope for Jesus’s sake that He is not on the email list too.

But don’t fret, Republicans. Moses may still be available.

Obama Invokes Christ at Christmas Tree Lighting

President Obama junked secular humanism Thursday and offered up by far the most overtly religious Christmas Tree Lighting remarks of his presidency, mentioning God and Christ for the first time during the annual ceremony and stressing Christian rather than “universal” themes.

While it’s possible Obama, who almost never attends church, has had some kind of religious awakening, the remarks are consistent with recent attempts by the president to appeal to white working class voters, many of whom are regular churchgoers.

Obama last month hosted a country music event at the White House and also dispatched Michelle to serve as Grand Marshal at a NASCAR race, though the move backfired when she was booed. And in what appeared to be an event staged to get media attention, she was also photographed on September 29 by an AP photographer at a Target, where middle America shops.

Working class white voters comprise crucial voting blocs in swing states Obama desperately wants to win, like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, North Carolina, Indiana, Virginia, Florida and Missouri.

In his remarks Thursday, Obama practically took to the pulpit, citing Christ by name twice and God four times.

Christ’s birth made the angels rejoice and attracted shepherds and kings from afar.  He was a manifestation of God’s love for us.  And He grew up to become a leader with a servant’s heart who taught us a message as simple as it is powerful:  that we should love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves.

That teaching has come to encircle the globe.  It has endured for generations.  And today, it lies at the heart of my Christian faith and that of millions of Americans.  No matter who we are, or where we come from, or how we worship, it’s a message that can unite all of us on this holiday season.

So long as the gifts and the parties are happening, it’s important for us to keep in mind the central message of this season, and keep Christ’s words not only in our thoughts, but also in our deeds . . .

God bless you all, and may God bless the United States of America.

Last year, Obama’s remarks were devoid of religious imagery.

Each year we’ve come together to celebrate a story that has endured for two millennia.  It’s a story that’s dear to Michelle and me as Christians, but it’s a message that’s universal:  A child was born far from home to spread a simple message of love and redemption to every human being around the world.

It’s a message that says no matter who we are or where we are from, no matter the pain we endure or the wrongs we face, we are called to love one another as brothers and as sisters.

In 2009, he portrayed Christianity as a “tradition” whose message could be embraced by all.

While this story may be a Christian one, its lesson is universal.  It speaks to the hope we share as a people.  And it represents a tradition that we celebrate as a country –- a tradition that has come to represent more than any one holiday or religion, but a season of brotherhood and generosity to our fellow citizens.

Recent reporting suggests that the Obama campaign has largely ceded the working class white vote to the Republicans and will focus instead on minimizing its losses with the group, which went heavily for Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections. Nevertheless, the Christmas Tree Lighting remarks and other events suggest Obama will make a serious play to salvage as much of the demographic as he can.

Obama Gets a Christian Question

I think all of us remember the uproar when President George W. Bush said this.

I think my public service is part of that effort to express my Christian faith.

I mean, it caused quite a firestorm, ignited a whole debate about separation of church and state and provoked questions about whether Bush was on some sort of Christian jihad to remake the country.

OK, Bush actually never said that. OBAMA SAID IT. TODAY!!!!

Of course, there will be no outcry, because the intelligentsia that reports on the White House and the poobahs who opine on it are comfortable with Obama as a fellow East Coast university reasonable type who wouldn’t really let all this silly religious stuff get out of hand.

Bush, on the other hand, was seen as simpleton who might just get the idea in his head he was taking orders from God and do something koo koo. Bush seemed just too much like the rest of America for people around Washington to be comfortable with his expression of his Christianity.

Obama today was asked “Why are you a Christian?” at one of these invasions of people’s backyards that the White House is staging. It was a damn good question he would never have got in Washington because most reporters don’t think it’s relevant.

It’s also the danger of this type of event, that Obama won’t be asked “normal” questions. Mostly he was lobbed softballs. One person said he had “three questions” and then thanked Obama for three different things.

Queried on his Christianity, Obama spoke compellingly about his faith.

You know, I’m a Christian by choice.  My family didn’t — frankly, they weren’t folks who went to church every week.  And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn’t raise me in the church.

So I came to my Christian faith later in life and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead — being my brothers’ and sisters’ keeper, treating others as they would treat me.

And I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God.  But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace.

The same person who asked this also wanted to know his views on partial birth abortion. Here’s the question.

There’s really no laws about the abortion law and when a woman can and can’t have an abortion, whether it’s two months or eight months, and what is your view on that?

That one dodged by the president just as fast as you can say NARAL.