Click inside for the weekly religion rail, with surveys on the president's religion, his remarks on the building of an Islamic center in New York City and more. Or check out these links:
A growing number of people believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
The number of U.S. residents who think Obama is a Christian has declined. More than a year and a half into Obama’s presidency, more than 40 percent of the public says it does not know what religion Obama follows.
According to the survey, nearly one in five Americans (18 percent) now say Obama is a Muslim — an increase from 11 percent in March 2009. Only about one-third of adults (34 percent) say Obama is a Christian, a decrease from 48 percent in 2009. Fully 43 percent say they do not know what Obama's religion is.
The survey was completed in early August, before Obama's recent comments about the proposed construction of an Islamic center and mosque near the site of the former World Trade Center.
Obama is Christian, not Muslim.
-- The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
Week in Religion
On Aug. 23, 1948, the World Council of Churches is formed. Based in Geneva, Switzerland, the council is a fellowship of about 340 churches.
On Aug. 24, 1456, Johannes Gutenberg finishes the printing of the Gutenberg Bible in Germany. It ranks as the first major book printed with a movable printing press.
On Aug. 26, 1498, Michelangelo is commissioned to sculpt the Pieta, his famous statue of Jesus in the lap of his mother Mary at the crucifixion.
More Americans disapprove of President Obama’s remarks about the right to build a mosque near the Ground Zero site than approve, a new survey reveals.
According to a story in the Christian Post, a Gallup Poll released Aug. 18 shows that 32 percent disapprove strongly of Obama’s comments, while an additional 5 percent disapprove but not strongly. By comparison, a combined 20 percent approve strongly and not strongly of the president’s remarks.
More Americans, however, said they do not know enough about the remarks to formulate an opinion: 41 percent.
Obama earlier in August said that Muslims had a right to build a proposed $100 million Islamic cultural center and mosque two blocks from the site of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. During a White House dinner in honor of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Obama declared that Muslims have the same right as everyone else in the country to build a house of worship on private property.
“God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World, and Why their Differences Matter” by Stephen Prothero
At the dawn of the 21st Century, dizzying scientific and technological advances, interconnected globalized economies and even the so-called New Atheists have done nothing to change one thing: Our world remains furiously religious. For good and for evil, religion is the single greatest influence in the world. We accept as self-evident that competing economic systems (capitalist or Communist) or clashing political parties (Republican or Democrat) propose very different solutions to our planet’s problems. So why do we pretend that the world’s religious traditions are different paths to the same God?
We blur the sharp distinctions between religions at our own peril, argues religion scholar Stephen Prothero, and it is time to replace naïve hopes of interreligious unity with deeper knowledge of religious differences.
Get to Know
Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) is the founder of the Christian Science movement. If you’ve ever read the newspaper the Christian Science Monitor, you have Eddy to thank. She is the founder of the paper that has won six Pulitzer Prizes in its time.
Eddy pioneered the concept that healing can occur through belief in Jesus Christ as opposed to coming from medical science. This must have had an effect: Eddy’s church is now present in more than 70 countries. As a testament to Eddy’s reputation as being a scholar and writer, the Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity opened its doors in 2002.
Lectionary: A series of Bible passages that are read throughout the year in a church service. Often, the sermon is based on the passage just read.
Religion around the world: Religious makeup of Ethiopia
Christian: 60.8 percent
Muslim: 32.8 percent
Traditional: 4.6 percent
Other: 1.8 percent
-- CIA Factbook
GateHouse News Service