Beck Rally-Goers on Obama's Religion


Another post from the Beck-rally notebook: here are a few responses I got when I asked people whether they think President Obama is a Muslim.

The president's religion has been in the news since a Pew poll last week found that 18 percent of respondents think Obama is a Muslim, and that 34 percent of Republicans hold that view.

I asked about six people at the Glenn Beck rally in DC on Saturday whether they think Obama is a Muslim, most of them after the conversation had already turned to either religion, or mistrust of the president. Some offered their conviction of Obama's Muslim faith unsolicited. Opinion was split about 50/50.

Here are a few responses that I took down:

Cheri, 52, retired teacher who lives in Oklahoma: "Our founding fathers put God in it, and Obama's trying to take it out...Yes, I do" think he's a Muslim. Asked why, Cheri says: "Look at all the things he's done!" Cheri cites Obama's speech to a White House gathering in honor of Ramadan, where the president seemed to endorse the so-called Ground Zero mosque. "He's not for our God; whose God is he for?"

Mike Gautier, 56, Roman Catholic, from Raleigh, NC: "I don't know. I don't know what's in his [heart]...I don't know if he's a Christian, either...I need more proof."

James G. Cohn, 46, a Baptist who does construction work in Yadkinville, NC: "You want him to be Muslim, he's a Muslin," Cohn says, answering a question about his feelings on Obama. "Yes sir, I sure do" think he's a Muslim. Asked why, James says: "Just his name alone says something."

Timberly Cox, 24, a Richmond resident and graduate of Bryan College who wants to go in to the health profession: "No," Timberly says she doesn't think Obama is a Muslim. "I'm just going based on what he said."

As I said, I didn't talk to too many people about Obama's faith, and I didn't take down everyone's response. I suspect that not everyone would have wanted to be quoted on the topic. But it's interesting to hear people say what they think and why, especially since Pew's numbers surprised many.

In other developments of Obama-as-Muslim discourse, see today's column from Gary Langer, who heads up ABC's polling unit, where he argues that people just say Obama is a Muslim to throw stones. The people who told me Obama is a Muslim on Saturday presented it, generally, as an impeachment of his trustworthiness. It was a reason they don't trust him; it was also an attack.

See Also: this post on why Beck rally-goers—including these same people, in fact—said they like Glenn Beck.
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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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