Obama is not an atheist

Please, fellow godless folk, stop trying to claim Obama as one of us. He isn’t. He goes to church sometimes, he has a religious history, he’s happy to use Christian metaphors, he hasn’t claimed to be so much as an agnostic. He’s a liberal Christian who is not obsessed with religion. Take his words at face value; I find it annoying when people look for signs that he’s a hidden member of our little clan. It is so conspiracy-theory.

Maybe it’s a science thing: use Occam’s Razor and make minimal assumptions, and use the simplest explanation to see if it is sufficient to explain a phenomenon. And I’m sorry for those who want him in our club, but the simplest explanation is that he is what he says he is, and nothing in his observed behavior contradicts that.

But don’t worry, atheists aren’t guiltiest of playing that game. We have to look to the wingnuts to see batty pseudo-psychoanalysis carried to a radical extreme. Read Dinesh D’Souza’s recent contribution to Forbes Magazine, which is like a telegraph from Mars it’s so freaking weird.

D’Souza does everything short of accusing Obama of being a spear-chuckin’, bone-in-the-nose savage — he paints a picture of Obama as being some kind of angry African tribesman using ritual magic at his father’s grave to gain revenge against the colonial oppressors of the imperial West.

But instead of readying us for the challenge, our President is trapped in his father’s time machine. Incredibly, the U.S. is being ruled according to the dreams of a Luo tribesman of the 1950s. This philandering, inebriated African socialist, who raged against the world for denying him the realization of his anticolonial ambitions, is now setting the nation’s agenda through the reincarnation of his dreams in his son. The son makes it happen, but he candidly admits he is only living out his father’s dream. The invisible father provides the inspiration, and the son dutifully gets the job done. America today is governed by a ghost.

Demented. Insane. Delusional. And D’Souza is writing a whole book about this nutty analysis he’s made. (One has to wonder why sober, respectable, conservative Forbes Magazine is giving any space at all to this lunatic.)

Look, it’s so much simpler. Obama is not a socialist or a communist or a Luo tribesman. He is a centrist politician from Chicago who believes in improving peoples lives incrementally by working step by step through political compromise. He pisses off the liberal, progressive wing of the Democratic party because we want him to be bold and aggressive, and he’s not, and because he’s also comfortable with the military-industrial status quo. He really annoys the wingnut right because he wants to move the country away from their dreams of a Reaganesque/Randian capitalist paradise, and he is…slowly and tentatively.

That’s really all you need to know to comprehend what Obama is doing and how he works. It’s sufficient to explain everything. We don’t have to postulate that he’s a reincarnated Mau Mau chieftain or that he’s a secret communist plant. He’s just a traditional middle-of-the-road politician from the Midwest.

And good grief, not even daffy D’Souza speculates that he could be a closet atheist. The possibility is almost too horrific to contemplate, don’t you know.