Seven years into Obama’s presidency, and his critics still refuse to believe he’s a Christian. According to a new poll released by Public Policy Polling (PPP), 54 percent of Republican voters believe that President Obama is a Muslim. A similarly high amount of respondents — 32 percent — said that they were “unsure” whether Obama was a Christian or a Muslim. Just 14 percent said Obama was a Christian, as The Hill reports.
Obama has faced accusations that he practices Islam since before he was ever elected. In fact, it’s somewhat surprising that a man with the middle name Hussein who attended a madrassa in Indonesia as a child ever made it to the White House. Yet Obama has repeatedly denied any religious affiliation other than Christianity.
Even Obama's Christian faith has caused him controversy, such as his association with Jeremiah Wright early on in his 2008 campaign. Through examples like his speech and song at Mother Emmanuel in Charleston and his words at the White House’s most recent Iftar Dinner, Obama has made it fairly clear that he is a Christian that values religious freedom and tolerance.
Still, skepticism regarding Obama’s faith remains. That type of scrutiny based on religious belief is common in American elections, and Obama’s Iran deal and refusal to deploy combat troops to the Middle East likely has helped sustain the Republican conspiracy about his faith.
The poll also found that the majority of the supporters of Donald Trump, who has also faced questions regarding his level of religiosity recently, believe Obama is a Muslim born in another country. According to the poll, 66 percent of Trump supporters believe Obama is a Muslim and 61 percent believe he was not born in the United States.
These statistics demonstrate that, despite seven years of rational leadership from a religiously tolerant individual with a diverse background in multiple faiths, much of the country still rationalizes their hatred by dismissing Obama as a “Muslim.” The religious landscape of the United States is changing, but it’s clear that there’s a long road ahead if we want to reach a place of tolerance and understanding.