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Analysts: Obama's 'God Talk' a Political Strategy for 2012 Campaign Season

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By Nicola Menzie, Christian Post Reporter
September 18, 2011|1:51 pm

President Barack Obama has been purposefully increasing his references to God, the Bible, and his faith as part of a re-election strategy aimed at wooing evangelical voters, political analysts claim.

John Green, a political scientist and senior fellow at the Pew Forum for Religious and Public Life told USA Today:

"Obama didn't talk much about faith during his first two years in office and this has left 40% of Americans wondering just what, exactly, is his faith commitment. Now he is ramping up this kind of language and using it in the right kind of context."

Most recently, President Obama participated in the 9/11 memorial ceremony held in New York City, where he read from the Bible.

At the event, where representatives from the faith community and had been barred from participating by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, President Obama read Psalm 46.

The president also referenced Psalm 46 during a speech about the Tuscon, Ariz., shooting that injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

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According to the USA Today article, published Saturday, Green was not alone in surmising that President Obama's faith strategy might fall flat with conservative evangelical voters.

Instead, the president's faith pitch might be better received by a segment of American voters who "don't want a hard-edged faith shaping national politics," according to Greenberg.

David Domke, author of The God Strategy: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America, also told the publication that Obama's "God Bless America" remarks were "a technique for making 'Christian' and 'American' synonymous."

The president aims to make a "claim about the nation," Domke said, adding that Obama did not "speak this way when he was at 60 percent public approval."

In late August, the president experienced the worst three-day job approval rating of his entire presidency. More than half (55 percent) of Americans said they disapproved of his performance, while only 38 percent said they approved of his performance.

Despite public confession of his faith, some Americans have expressed doubt that Obama is a Christian, with some voters claiming he is a Muslim.

That may be related to the fact that some segment of the American population simply does not like the president, Paul Froese told the publication.

"If Obama held a prayer rally, it would never work. People who don't like him won't believe him," Froese said.

Some issues that might have distanced Obama from the conservative evangelical base include his stance on gay rights, of which he has said "gay and lesbian couples deserve the same rights as every other couple in this country."

Obama, often described as the most "gay-friendly president in history," has also been criticized for deciding to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

Obama might have also ruffled some feathers when he declared in early in his presidency that, although the United States has "a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation."

According to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 40 percent of Americans believe President Obama is liberal, 32 percent believe he is middle-of-the-road, and 16 percent say he is conservative.

 

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