Much attention has been paid in recent days to a poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showing that 18 percent of Americans incorrectly believe that President Obama is a Muslim. But the results of another Pew poll on religion released last December were far more shocking. It turns out that 36 percent of Democrats claim to have communed with the dead, and that 19 percent believe in casting a curse on someone using the "evil eye." Think about that: According Pew, more Democrats believe in the "evil eye" than Americans believe Obama is a Muslim.
The fact is you can find 20 percent of people anywhere who believe in almost anything. As The Post's Aug. 22 Outlook section noted, 20 percent of Americans believe that space aliens have made contact with humans on Earth.
The poll on Obama's religious affiliation probably would have been a one-day story had the White House not launched a surprisingly aggressive defense of the president's Christian bona fides. The White House immediately put out a statement declaring "President Obama is a committed Christian, and his faith is an important part of his daily life." We soon learned from White House officials that the president reads a daily devotional on his BlackBerry each morning and that he dialed three Christian pastors to pray with him on his birthday. The White House even made one of those pastors, Joel Hunter, available to the media to discuss Obama's Christian journey.
Clearly the White House is worried by the poll results. And it should be worried -- but not for the reasons it seems to think. It should be concerned that, after watching the president in office for a year and a half, many Americans still don't know who Obama really is -- and that a growing number have concluded that he does not believe what they believe.
What They're Saying
Sign up to receive email updates from Marc Thiessen