PAT: There's a Pew poll. Yesterday I think we talked about the Gallup poll which was at 24% think he's Muslim. This Pew poll says 18% think Obama's a Muslim and that's up I think from 11%.
GLENN: That's amazing.
PAT: You know, but as the article who wrote that article? As the article says, part of that's his own fault.
STU: Oh, Byron York.
PAT: Byron York, yeah. Part of that's his own fault. I mean, it is he who has said a number of things that, you know
GLENN: Let's ask the question on this: Out of that 18%, how many are like, "Oh, I think he's a Muslim. I don't know what he is. I think he's a Muslim." And how many are like, "He says he's a Christian but I think he's a Muslim."
STU: Yeah, the percentage is low there.
GLENN: That's the important question. Is he a stealth Muslim? Is that what you think?
GLENN: Or you just think because you were listening to a speech and you don't pay attention to politics at all, you don't pay attention to the president and you heard a speech and you are like, oh, I think he's a Muslim. That's good, we just elected a first black Muslim president.
STU: Yeah, like they are not even thinking
GLENN: It's a bad thing. How many think that he is a Muslim just because they're stupid and how many people think because they think that it's some sort of Muslim conspiracy that got in?
STU: Because Byron York makes some good points in his column talking about when Obama wants to emphasize that he was born with, some Muslim background and everything else. He does that, but I honestly don't think that's the reason why these polls turn out this way. I mean, really the only thing that America knows about Barack Obama's religion is Jeremiah Wright.
STU: And they don't are they identifying that as Muslim? No. They are just saying, like, I don't understand, it's not the Christianity that I recognize, I don't know what it is.
GLENN: Yeah, you don't know what he is. You don't know what he is, except, except there is this amazing there's this amazing article. Let me see. This is on beliefnet.
PAT: I think it came out in 2004 he had this interview, right?
GLENN: Yeah. 2004, a faith interview, Chicago Sun Times columnist Cathleen Falsani, when he was running for the U.S. Senate. And some amazing things: What do you believe, Falsani said. Obama: I'm a Christian. I have deep faith and I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii. Obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, a large Muslim country, between the ages of 6 and 10. My father was from Kenya. He most accurately was labeled an agnostic but my father was a Muslim. And I say I've drawn as much from Judaism as from any other faith.
Okay. So what is he?
GLENN: He claims
PAT: And then so he says all of that and then says a really weird thing: So I'm rooted in the Christian faith. No, you're not. You've just said
GLENN: No, you just said that between 6 and 10
GLENN: No, you're rooted in agnosticism and Islam. That's what you're rooted in because those are your roots.
GLENN: Right. And it's not a bad thing. That's just your roots.
PAT: Yeah, this is where you were.
GLENN: Okay. So it doesn't really work. He says, I believe there are many paths that the same place. That it is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are all connected as people.
PAT: And see, that would confuse any Christian.
GLENN: That's Oprah.
PAT: I believe that there are many paths to the same place? That is the church of Oprah.
GLENN: It is.
PAT: That's what she said a couple of years ago.
WINFREY: One of the mistakes that human beings make is believing that there is only one way to live and that we don't accept that there are diverse ways of being in the world, that there are millions of ways to be a human being, and many ways, many paths to what you call God. Her path might be something else and when she gets
GLENN: Okay. So what you call God.
PAT: Wow, that is not Christianity.
GLENN: I don't care what your religion is, but God is God. God doesn't change. That's the only constant in the universe.
STU: You've talked about before and we could go into this a little bit more in depth if I'm understanding it right. But you talk about how you look through history, you look through these sort of religious tracts through history and you see a lot of the same stories being told, and there are a lot of commonalities in that but there's not a multiple God platform that you look up there and choose. Is that what she's trying to express or is that something completely different?
PAT: I don't know. But if you are a Christian, you know there's one way, there is one way. He said, I am the way, the truth and the light and nobody, no man cometh unto the father but by me. And so there's to Christians, if you are a Christian, and that's fine if you are not and you don't believe this. But if you say you are a Christian, that's what you believe, there's one way.
GLENN: Now he goes on and says, there are values that transcend race or culture that move us forward, and there's an obligation listen to this. There is an obligation for all of us individually and collectively to make sure that it is our responsibility to take make sure that those values are lived. So collectively
PAT: Again, collective.
GLENN: Again. So anyway, he says, have you always been a Christian, she asked? I was raised by a Christian, any particular flavor, blah, blah blah. And then, do you actually go for an altar call? Yes, absolutely. How long ago? 16, 17 years ago, '87, '88. So you are born again? Yeah, although I don't retain it from my childhood and my experiences growing up, I have a suspicion of dogma, I am not somebody who is always comfortable with the language that implies we have a monopoly on truth or that my faith is automatically transferable to others. I'm a big believer in tolerance. Religion at its best comes with a big dose of doubt. I'm suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just to think that people are limited in their understanding, blah, blah blah.
So again he goes into tolerance. Do you still attend Trinity Church? Yep, every week, 11:00 service. Ever been there? It's a good service. I actually wrote a book about Dreams From My Father, it's kind of a meditation on race. There's a whole chapter on the church in that and my first visits to Trinity. Wow.
STU: And by the way, you've got to point out there that in 2004 he said he was going every week.
GLENN: Every week.
STU: Where were the clips that we saw from Jeremiah Wright, where were they?
GLENN: Either he was lying then or he's lying now. I don't know which one it is actually, yes, I do. Obama, she says: Do you pray often? Now listen to this. Do you pray often? Yes, I guess I do. It's not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day. I'm constantly asking myself questions about what am I doing and why am I doing it. That's not prayer.
PAT: That's interesting. Does he believe he's God because if he's having conversations with himself, that's only prayer if you're God.
GLENN: I don't understand that one, I'm constantly thinking to myself. That's not prayer.
GLENN: What is it?
STU: That's a good thing to do but it's not praying.
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GLENN: We're talking about Barack Obama and the new poll out that 18% think that he's a Muslim. That needs to be broken out, and is it stupid people that think he's a Muslim and just like, yeah, I don't know what he is. Or is that some sort of a, I think he's a KGB agent and a Muslim. Which is it? You know what I mean?
STU: I think it's one of those things, too, you find in polling a lot of times, when you ask a question to people, they assume there's a debate on it. So even if you ask, if you say, you know, bring up any crazy scenario and ask it to people, there's going to be about at least 10 to 15% of people that will generally go with the other side because they don't know and they answer from the context of the question. They assume there's a debate because you're asking about it. You're a pollster. You are asking about this. There must be people on both sides. "I'll choose that one." There's a lot of that sort of uncertainty that shows up in polls all the time and pollsters know that.
GLENN: Well, I think part of the confusion is you don't know who he is as a Christian. Listen to this. Who is Jesus to you? This is from the Chicago Sun Times in 2004. Who is Jesus to you? Obama: Right. Umm, he's a historic figure to me. He's a historic figure to me.
PAT: Who says that?
GLENN: Oh, yeah, this is Obama saying that. He is a historic figure to me. He is also a bridge between God and man in the Christian faith. Nobody's he's not a bridge between God and man. He is the savior of all mankind in the Christian faith. And the one that I think is powerfully precisely because he serves as a means of us reaching something higher. He's also a wonderful teacher. I think it's important for all of us of whatever faith to have teachers in the flesh and teachers of history.
So Jesus is a teacher.
STU: He is a great teacher, but that's not how I would define it.
GLENN: I think that would probably be way down on the list of my attributes to Jesus. If somebody asked me who was Jesus, I could say, well, he was a teacher, he was a son of God, he was a savior, blah, blah blah, but I and I would describe him more in man terms. But if somebody asked, who is Jesus to you, I wouldn't start at, "He's a historic figure."
STU: Carpenter! I think the guy built a great, great, uh, you know, uh he had stools that he built that were wonderful.
GLENN: Okay, so is Jesus someone you feel you have a regular connection with now, a personal connection in your life? Yeah, yes. I think some of the things I talked about earlier addressed through or channeled through my Christian faith and personal relationship with Jesus. Do you read the Bible? Not as regularly as I like, but I don't have much time for reading or reflection.
PAT: I thought he just said he reflected all the time.
GLENN: All the time. I thought that's how he
PAT: I thought he did it all day long.
GLENN: Do you have people, do you have people in your life that you look to for guidance? Well, my pastor, Jeremiah Wright, is somebody who I have enormous amount of respect for.
PAT: Oh, yeah. Well, who doesn't?
PAT: Who doesn't.
GLENN: My pastor Jeremiah Wright, right away: Well, my pastor Jeremiah Wright. But I have a number of friends who are ministers. Reverend Meeks is a close colleague of mine in the Senate and father Michael Pfleger.
PAT: Oh, he's wonderful.
GLENN: Is my dear friend and someone I interact with closely.
PAT: He's wonderful.
PFLEGER: I would not allow them to tear down Metger, I would not allow them to tear down Malcolm, and I'll be damned if I'm going to sit back while you tear down Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright! How dare you! How dare you! How dare you!
PAT: That's love.
VOICE: Seek to reduce Jeremiah Wright who's one of the greatest biblical scholars this nation has to a 30 second sound beat and try to demonize him and trivialize him! You cannot do that!
STU: We played an entire sermon of his actually.
GLENN: Oh, I remember that. Holy cow. He says, are those your two friends? They will keep you on your toes. He said, oh, yes, they're very good friends.
[NOTE: Transcript may have been edited to enhance readability - audio archive includes full segment as it was originally aired]