When the President announced today to the people of Myanmar (formerly Burma) that we, the United States, are a “Pacific nation,” it brought to mind a couple of other descriptions attributed to him while on the road in the past few years. There are various ways of interpreting what he really meant by each. By the end of this article, you’ll see why I must leave the conclusion to the reader!
1) ”We are no longer a Christian nation…” and “We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation.” President Obama did make these statements. Taken in their entirety, each could be construed as a diplomatic way of saying the U.S. is a diverse country not predisposed to imposing its Christian heritage over non-Christians. Yet, in typical Obama fashion, he appears to contradict himself in the way he expresses it.
The first one was given in a March 2008 speech, currently posted on YouTube. His actual words were, “Where we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation, at least not ‘just.’ We are also a Jewish nation, and a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation and a nation of non-believers.” Granted, we are not officially a Christian nation in the same way which Sharia law is attempting to overrun Arab nations. However, his obvious disdain for anything Christian could make this another subtle attempt at renouncing our Christian origins as he is prone to do.
The second quote is from a CNN clip of the June 2009 news conference given in Turkey with the leader of that country. The segment is as follows: “ that one of the great strengths of the United States is, although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation, or a Jewish nation, or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.” His visit to Turkey was made to calm concerns they might have had regarding our commitment to fairness in the Middle East. (And his deft way of messing up international relations now has Israel very concerned about our commitment to them, but that’s a topic for a separate article.) All of this aside, didn’t Obama say fifteen months prior to this that we WERE a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. nation?
2) “We are a Muslim nation.” President Obama did not say this. In a June 2009 interview with French television channel CANAL+, he said, “One of the points I want to make is that, if you actually took the number of Muslims — Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.” While it’s true he didn’t say the U.S. is a Muslim nation, his stats are way off. One post of the interview included Wikipedia data showing the U.S. to be 38th in its number of Muslims. A Pew Forum report released later that year confirmed the U.S.’s Muslim population to be ranked less than 30th in the world… so much for having a significant Muslim population.
3) “We are a Pacific nation.” This previously mentioned statement by the President shall always be a mystery, I’m afraid. The recent campaign exposed and rehashed the numerous serious challenges we face as a nation. To these, we must add a lack of national identity.