- (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
"I agree, Jesus Christ is the Lord. I believe in that," President Barack Obama said in response to a heckler who disrupted his speech at a Los Angles fundraiser Monday.
The president had just commenced his address to supporters at the House of Blues in West Hollywood, when a man began labeling him as "the Antichrist" before being dragged out of the fundraiser event by Secret Service agents.
The man, identified as David Serrano, had positioned himself at the front of the stage and shouted, "The Christian God is the one and only true living God, the creator of Heaven and the Universe."
The president stopped talking as the 800-strong crowd drowned out the heckler's shouts with chants of "Four more years! Four more years!"
As Serrano was being pulled from the venue he continued yelling, "Jesus Christ is God!" and "Barack Obama is the Antichrist!"
Tony Bell, a spokesman for Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, described Mr. Serrano as a familiar figure at county meetings. Bell told the New York Daily News that Serrano "yells out his statements, which are very mistaken, odd interpretations of scriptures."
The reference to Obama as the Antichrist, or allegations that he is a Muslim, are familiar characterizations of the president that contradict Obama's own confessions that he is a Christian.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times in September 2010, President Obama described himself as a "Christian of choice," and stated that his choice was influenced by the precepts of Christ.
"It was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead," Obama said. "Being my brother's and sister's keeper. Treating others as they would treat me."
Obama also discussed the doctrine of salvation and the fundamental understanding and acknowledgement of Christ dying for his sins:
"Understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we're sinful and we're flawed, we make mistakes," Obama said. "And that we achieve salvation through the grace of God."
In an Aug. 2010 poll, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found that nearly one-in-five Americans (18 percent) believed Obama to be a Muslim, compared to 11 percent who thought so in March 2009. About one-third of adults (34 percent) correctly identified Obama as a Christian, a decrease from the 48 percent who wrongly identified the president's faith in 2009. A total of 43 percents of American adults said in the 2010 survey that they do not know what Obama's religion is.