McConnell on Obama’s Religion

Jonathan Chait thinks Senator McConnell has delivered a “dog-whistle message to the far right” by saying “the president says he’s a Christian, I take him at his word.” Chait comments, “To say that you ‘take him at his word’ means two things. First of all, it suggests that the president’s word is the only information we have to go on here. Of course, that is absurd. Second, if further suggests that, the evidence being weak or inconclusive, McConnell is taking the high road by accepting Obama’s testimony.”

If I were asked the same question as McConnell, I would have given a very similar answer, and I think many other Christians would too. Alan Jacobs put it this way some time ago: “[T]he President-elect claims to be a Christian, and I take him — I think I have to take him — at his word. Could he be lying? Could he be self-deceived? Could he have a limited or erroneous understanding of what Christianity is? Yes to all three. But then, the same doubts could be directed at anyone who claims to be a Christian, including me.” A Christian may reasonably take the view that someone’s calling himself a Christian is the “information” that settles the issue. For all I know McConnell is making the same assumption.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

Most Popular

U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More