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December 2, 2011

Obama at Christmas Tree Lighting: Christ 'A Manifestation of God's Love'

President Obama highlighted his faith in his brief speech at the White House Christmas tree lighting Thursday night.

"More than 2,000 years ago, a child was born to two faithful travelers who could find rest only in a stable, among the cattle and the sheep," Obama said. "But this was not just any child. Christ’s birth made the angels rejoice and attracted shepherds and kings from afar. He was a manifestation of God’s love for us."

As he has in the past, Obama widened his address to focus on what religions have in common. (His remarks begin at minute 2:38 in the embedded video).

"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," Obama said. "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."

Obama's address comes after some criticism that he did not mention God in his Thanksgiving address. On his show, comedian Jon Stewart showed clips of Fox News contributors criticizing the president. The network also noted that President Clinton mentioned God in half of his Thanksgiving addresses and that President George W. Bush left God out of one of his addresses.

Earlier this month, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that Obama is hostile and disdainful toward Christianity. He also said that Christians who voted for Obama should repent.

“Any Christian that voted for Obama in 2008 should be repenting [and voting differently] in the next election," Perkins told the Christian Post. "This administration has been the most hostile toward religious freedom.”

Bob Jones III, who is chancellor of Bob Jones University, told Mother Jones last month, “I’ve no reason to think [Obama is] Christian."

“Some people will say whatever they think the politically helpful thing would be,” Jones said. “I say, ‘Where is the evidence that he is a Christian?’”

Earlier this year, Obama hosted an Easter prayer breakfast with several pastors like Tim Keller, Leith Anderson, and Andy Stanley.

Holy Week is a reminder of God’s grace, Obama said during the breakfast. “This ‘Amazing Grace’ calls me to pray,” he said. “It calls me to ask God for forgiveness for the times that I’ve not shown grace to others, those times that I’ve fallen short. It calls me to praise God for the gift of … his Son and our Savior.”

Comments

Where is the evidence that Bob Jones lll, chancellor of Bob Jones University, is himself a Christian? And who is Tony Perkins to tell me who not to vote for as a Christian? On what biblical ground are either of them standing to make such extreme partisan statements? Seems to me they are brimming over to overflowing more with self-spiritual pride than with the fruit of the Holy Spirit!(Galatians 5: 22-23)

It so grieves me to read what many Evangelical leaders say about those they disagree with politically.

A couple weeks back I heard Tony Perkins judge and cast blame on every pastor in America who is not publicly denouncing the President. As a pastor, I thought, "Wow, this guy has made himself out to be the Holy Spirit for the Amerian church."

Power and politics have robbed the throne of his heart.

The saddest thing is that the typical unbeliever thinks these guys speak for real Christianity.

They don't speak for me or the people I pastor. And we are serious, Bible believing, Jesus-loving people.

God forgive the church and those who supposedly speak for her in the political realm.

I am not ashamed to say flat out that I love President Obama. Let all the haters in the world attack me, they can never take that away. All politics aside, because I may not agree with him on every thing; what I see is a sweet, gracious, humorous, family-loving, intelligent kind person who wants to do good. He is in a thankless job and I pray for him. The extremists out there are going to shoot themselves in the foot with their hateful and divisive ways, but what really bothers me is the example they set, the bad name they give Christians. I am here to tell you, they do not represent all Christians.

I think those who are so critical of the President and so dismissive of his Christian profession overlook the fact that he is the president of ALL the American people and must show respect (something they seem to know little about)to people of all faiths.

My prayer for the President is not that he will succeed as President(though we should all hope for that)but that the constant carping of other Christians doesn't discourage him in his own practice of faith. God, keep him strong in the face of persecution - save him from the Republican bulls of bashan who would rather see him fail than see our nation succeed; who would gladly rule him out of any heaven of which they expect to be a part.

And God, forgive those critics. Even if they know what they are doing.

My only comment would be a quote from God's word: (James 2:20) "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

I am so grateful to see in the comments to this article that there are Christians who are courageous enough to confess truth in the face of an irrational tidal wave of baseless condemnations (actually slanderous falsehoods) against a president who, whether a confessing evangelical Christian or not, more often than his so-called Christian opponents, reflects the character and qualities of the One from whom the name "Christian" is derived. Perhaps those who see nothing "Christian" in Obama's leadership should reread the New Testament and consider Jesus' philosophy and method of leadership. The parallels would certainly surprise them. I don't agree with every policy of this President, nor every moral position on which he stands, but he rises far above the typical tone of ungodly partisan political leadership of our day that puts personal politics (i.e. personal material gain) above all other moral considerations.

Excellent article, Sarah, with great, subtle commentary and gentle rebuke of those who put themselves in the place of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for writing it. I, too, appreciate the many comments at the end of the article saying much the same thing.

From what I have heard, the great hatred a lot of Christians have for Pres. Obama is because they think he does not oppose abortion enough. Unfortunately this has led to irrationality such as people claiming he was not born in the U.S. or claiming he is not a Christian (when God's word said we do not know men's hearts as God does).

I voted for Obama because he has positions on some other issues that I agree with. I am disappointed that he is not more aggressively anti-abortion. But I think I would have been more disappointed with the alternative.

I don't quite understand what Tony Perkins and Bob Jones III's commentary has to do with our President's speech at the lighting of the Christmas tree. Perhaps Duane is right that it was a subtle commentary on the idiocy they spew on a regular basis. Or perhaps we can't simply have an honest positive story about our President. I agree with every comment here and it warms my heart to read them. Michael's observations about President Obama's character is outstanding. Jane's prayer is pointed and poignant. Velma, Dane,and Sarah...amen to you. When it comes to knowing a believer by their fruit...I'm afraid there's some rotten fruit out there.

I do not hate President Obama even though I disagree with his politics and their manifestation in our society. I believe hatred dehumanizes us and separates us from Christ. I do not believe those who hate anyone (yes, even our enemies) can rightly call themselves Christians. I suspect those who claim that "a lot" of Christians hate President Obama are misguided or woefully misinformed and should examine their own feelings towards those they charge with hatred. I personally am morally offended that I must comply with President Obama's mandate to pay taxes for abortions. Those who cannot distinguish between a woman's Supreme Court conferred legal right to an abortion and a woman's right to a taxpayer funded abortion need to examine their thought process. I also strongly believe that President Obama's decision to self-identify as an African-American (even though his mother was Caucasian) was morally repugnant and drove a wedge between the races when he could have united them by identifying as a person of mixed races. Ask yourself, how would a person of African-American descent feel if President Obama chose instead to self identify as white or Caucasian? These are not just hypothetical moral issues or questions. They are about uniting all people and promoting universal human dignity regardless of political persuasion.

Anybody can read the Bible & quote from it, even Obama in which case is seen to be right for "Cafeteria Christians", like not knowing the difference between Mary & Jezebel, notwithstanding that elections are round the corner

To Joe:

It is quite evident that far too many "conservative evangelical" American Christians have persecuted the President simply because he refuses to bend to their will on all issues. Although a conservative evangelical myself in many respects, I do not presume to have an infallible grasp on all scriptural truth, for, at best, I can only "see through a glass darkly" (1 Corinthians 13). Whether or not the most vehement Christian opponents of Obama are correct on every pertinent issue, nonetheless, like the Pharaisees for whom the Lord reserved his strongest rebukes, they are dead wrong in their self-righteous nit-picking. They whine about being persecuted in the main-stream media yet have no scruples whatsoever about persecuting the President on every conceivable matter big or small. Take the matter of Obama's racial identification brought up on this forum. He has never hidden the fact that his mother and maternal grandparents, all three of whom he loved dearly, were white. At the same time, he chose to identify hinmself as African-American. This is something that most African-Americans all too painfully understand. The fact that some whites do not understand the historical and sociological reasons why that is so is no reason to single him out for condemnation on that score. That is precisely the kind of persecutory nit-picking I'm referring to. And, for the record, I do not agree w/Obama on every issue; nor do I defend him on everything. I, too, did not appreciate his use of the word "lucky" to describe the state of himself and his family on Thanksgiving Day. However, to focus on that alone without any regard whatsoever for the numerous other times in which he has openly confessed and proclaimed Jesus Christ as his own personal Lord and Savior is nothing short of ridiculous.

I read each comment and a lot of good thoughts shared. I am a Christian and love God's Word and His message of love to a world of sinful people including myself. I am also concerned that most politicians are only concerned with how many votes they can get and so will say anything to anyone that will get those votes. I do feel it is important to review their voting records and what they stand for that is directly opposed to the Word of God. I am not a judgmental person but I do feel it is vitally important to discern what is actually going on in the political arena. Our country is definitely going in the wrong direction.

Everything he says now is geared for 2012. He has to start trying to court evangelical conservatives too. With all the policies he has enacted it doesnt matter what he says. Look at what he had done. That's the only thing you can judge him on.

Judy R, can you see into Obama's heart to know that "Everything he says now is geared for 2012"? If so, couldn't that be said as well about all other presidents the year before a possible re-election? But no, let's just pick on Obama. Are you saying that every single policy he has enacted is bad? Can he be given no credit for anything at all? If not, then I, as well as many other serious Christ followers around the nation, strongly disagree. He has promoted many policies within the nation and around the world that are biblically sound, especially with respect to poverty, injustice, international relations, etc., amid some other policies that may/may not be quite as sound from a biblical perspective. But no, let's just demonize Obama, rather than pray for him with the mind of Christ. So much easier to do that than the other.

I don't need any of these Christian leaders like Perkins who always carry water for the the Republicans telling me how to vote. We need to stop this idea that evangelical Christians must always vote Republican.

People's seeimingly willful ignorance of what is happening in this country regarding obama, are letting him take away the rule of law and to undermine the Constitution in many ways. They turn a blind eye to the several social security numbers he has used in the past, the main one being from Conn., where he has never lived. Nobody questions the fact that ALL of his records are sealed. In addition, his Dept Of Justice has several lawsuits against states that don't want their tax money to go towards Planned Parenthood, and he is taking to court the state of Arizona for following the federal laws regarding illegal immigration.

A lot of people are unaware of the scandals with this administration such as operation "Fast and Furious", and Solyndra. He talks about putting Americans to work, but then gives away the building of bridges and other infrastructure jobs to the Chinese. This shows his outright lying and lack of concern for the many unemployed, and the greatly increased number of people who are even homeless, who are more than willing to work. Why would he give the jobs of building American infrastructure to the Chinese if he really cared at all for the citizens of this country? Thie is the USA, let's hire our citizens first, it's just ridiculous. And there are many more examples. That is not a made up story, it's on the abc new site. It's a slap in the face of patriotic Americans. Obama could never be described as being patriotic, he is constantly making excuses and apologizing for our country. What he says and what he does, are two completely different things.

The person who said they wished he was "more pro-life" are evidently unaware that he voted 3 times while in the Illinois senate to permit infanticide, if infants survived abortions. You can read about it here: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=28732
One of his first acts as president was to reinstate the practice of partial-birth abortion, which is never a needed procedure. But who cares about an 8 or 9 month old in-utero baby?

People, including the liberal media, who originally hailed him as a new "messiah" and "New Testament material" just go to prove that they are willing to accept anyone that they know nothing about. But since he is attractive, and made great promises like wanting "change" they have demonstrated that they will someday accept the antichrist when the right time comes. I'm not saying he is the antichrist at all, but his movement towards a one world government is paving the way for the antichrist, and the sheeple are very willing to accept anyone who makes promises that tickle their ears. I pray that people will wake up and start checking out what is happening in our country, and you need to do more than read your local censored newspapers to find out what is really happening.

The right-wing Christian press -- i.e. Christian press more concerned about pushing an extremely narrow political agenda than the timeless universal Kingdom of God -- is notorious for it inaccuracy with the facts. Any non-partisan independent news source will tell you that. The level of misinformation rec'd from such right wing sources is astounding. Not to say that the left isn't also guilty of playing fast and loose with the truth at time, but there's a good reason why regular viewers of Fox News have been found by independent surveys to be even less accurately informed about current events than those who hardly ever read/watch news at all.

It's funny that the studies finding Fox News viewers are less well informed are based on politically biased questions, such as global warming, and not real news. If the Fox News viewers disagree that global warming is going on, or if they believe that there may be other causes, they are called "misinformed". Funny, but scientists also question their findings. So, it has NOTHING to do with the news, but rather, if the people agree with what we're being told about certain subjects by a lying government. Many scientists have now come out and questioned what we're all being told by the government, and in this politically correct (facist) environment, it's at the risk of their jobs. They risk their livelihood these days to dare to have another opinion other than that of the state.

Then I would say that non-viewers of Fox News are in reality, the ones who are less well informed and less likely to research what they're told by the liberal news media. They are gullible believers of everything they're told by the liberal media, hook, line and sinker. In case you're unaware of it, Venus and Mars are also experiencing "global warming". So people like Gore, etc are trying to scare people (and inflict carbon taxes on us all) because of something that is happening not just here (if it is), but also elsewhere in the solar system. In case you don't know it, this planet has undergone major climate changes for thousands of years, and it wasn't because there were too many cars. There are also several volcanoes (including undersea, such as by the Canary Islands) emitting tremendous amounts of gasses into the air. I wonder how they'll tax the volcanoes? Obama's outrageous emission standards required on cars in the future will add several thousand dollars to the cost of a new car. BTW, he gave huge amounts of money to foreign countries to develop these cars, instead of putting engineers in the US to work. How does this help the poor and middle class in this country? The rich can afford it, but the rest of us can't. If you want to fall for the liberal lies and pay carbon taxes, that's fine Velma, but the rest of us research what we're told.

I'm concerned that obama and his justice department express no outrage when there is a Kristallnacht occurence in the US (Highland Park, NJ). He expressed his outrage immediately when the police went after one single black man who was trying to enter his home through a window because he lost his key, but there is silence regarding the Jews, and it involved several buisnesses, that were targeted solely because they were owned by Jews. There has been quite a lot of anti-semitism at the 99% strikes, but almost no reporting about it, and no outrage. Obama stands with Occupy, but not with Israel. Hate crimes cover muslims, but not Jews-WHY?Obama has not yet even gone to Israel during his presidency (but has been to neighboring Egypt), again WHY?

Oy.

Trish,
I read one study which demonstrated how well viewers of different networks were informed, and where Fox News came last, and all the questions asked were unambiguous ones with clear answers. The study also provided links where the information could be checked. Also, judging by the outright lies I've witnessed on Fox - such as Obama's trip to India costing horrendous sums of money and including aircraft carriers, to quote an outrageous one - I can't say I'm surprised that Fox News viewers always come out last in such studies.

BTW, a leading skeptic on climate change just wrote in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago, hardly a liberal newspaper, that he changed his mind and now agrees with the 95% consensus view.
If the only research you do is to consult conservative media, you're not researching at all. You're just cementing your own preconceived views. Everytime I've compared liberal and conservative media on the issues of politics and economics, I've had to conclude that the liberal ones at least try to get the facts right, while the conservative ones try to win the argument regardless of what the facts are.

They are now believing that the solar cycles have much more to do with our climate than than any other factor. Like I said, Mars and Venus are also experiencing global warming, so please stop accepting the liberal lies. Are you going to continue to harp about global warming when the other planets are continuing to have the same things going on? there are no people there, and you are not at fault* (trying to erase the brain washing).The last I checked, there are no cars on those planets! In fact, you can go to the NASA sight, where they are also saying that solar flares seem to have to do more with the climate changes than any other factors. Perhaps that's why obama is cutting back their funding, and has them working on various projects, but not anything that can go to Mars, etc. They've been given "busy work" that will not result in any uses at all for the money that they are being given. Remember when obama told NASA to "reach out to muslims"? Do you think he would have a governmental agency do that with Christians? Isn't that governmental pressure having to do with supporting a particular religion? By the way, where is that study, since all the studies I saw had to do with politically biased questions.

Trish, correct me if I'm wrong but it seems you believe that most other people, except for politically conservative evangelical Christians (i.e. most scientists, most journalists, most political independents and most other Christians of most denominations) are in one big grand conspiracy to keep politically conservative evangelicals down. Obama tried to reach out to Muslims in this country, the majority of whom are politically moderate and law-abiding, only because they were in danger of being persecuted by a reactive anger against Islamic terrorism. There was no need for him to try to protect Christians in this country because there have been no blatant incidents of persecution against us, despite the fact that some of us seem all too eager to claim such persecution for ourselves. I see an ugly tide pervading right wing Christianity, turning it into little more than a sad and bitter sect of the Body of Christ.

I think the facts speak for themselves. And I notice you said nothing about the Dept of Justice ignoring the Jewish business owners being terrorized, while the obama administration is willing to investigate the police department who tried to stop one black man trying to enter a house through the window?

Then DC, as for believing the Cain allegations, then do you also believe the 3 or 4 people who said that obama is gay and did crack cocaine at least twice? (one was the choir director at his old church who was murdered). I think you forgot to mention one of the most notorious adulterers, Clinton. In fact, he went through an impeachment trial, and he was only the second president to be tried for impeachment, and it all began with sexual allegations by Paula Jones, and of course, Clinton's lying about it.

But funny, the media didn't report much about obama. Could it be that the media is suppressed? Could it be that liberals don't attack their own when there are any kind of allegations against one of them? But Republicans are always fair game, especially if they have a chance of winning against "The One". Even while running for office, Obama supporters (of the attorney type) threatened critics with criminal prosecution for daring to being up questions about his past actions. In September, St. Louis County Circuit Attorney Bob McCulloch and St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce warned citizens that they would bring criminal libel prosecutions against anyone who made statements against Obama that were "false." As one reporter said, "I had been under the impression that the Alien and Sedition Acts had gone out of existence in 1801-02. Not so, apparently, in metropolitan St. Louis. Similarly, the Obama campaign called for a criminal investigation of the American Issues Project when it ran ads highlighting Obama's ties to Ayers." Wm Ayers, as you may recall, is the unrepetant Weather Underground terrorost. Really, look up the Chicago Tribune and google obama and voter fraud, and read what they did to win his first election in Illinois, there are lots of serious questions about obama and his past actions that have gone without investigation because of fear tactics by his liberal supporters. It makes any allegations against Cain, pale by comparison. Only we, as a country, are the losers because of the people suddenly coming out of the closet against Cain, who were undoubtedly paid off.
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/10/obama_vs_free_speech.html


I rest my case.

Very interesting article.
I like it :-)