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Las elecciones del 2008 ahora son solo un recuerdo, pero ¿qué pasó con todas las promesas que le hizo Barack Obama al pueblo estadounidense?


En este libro revisado y actualizado, Stephen Mansfield profundiza una vez más en la controversial fe del presidente Obama. Con dos nuevos capítulos dedicados a los primeros dos años de esta histórica presidencia, Mansfield continúa su exploración en la fe de Obama sin inclinaciones políticas o religiosas.

Published: Thomas Nelson on
ISBN: 9781602557437
List price: $9.99
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Let's face it, no political book can be written from an unbiased or from an apolitical perspective; it just can't. An author is either going to write a book extolling "their guy's" virtue and finding no fault or they are going to conduct a scathing hit job of their candidates opponent. The Faith of Barack Obama falls into the former.This saccharin sweet puff piece was nearly too much to stomach! I don't fault the author for promoting Barack Obama as the smartest, infallible and most politically astute person ever to walk the Earth, but come on. In the introduction to the book we learn President Obama can be all things to all people: be you a disaffected youth, not quite to atheism but ready to fall one-way or the other from the fence of agnosticism; or be you a devout _fill in the blank_ church attendee but come away each Sunday wondering how much of what the _pastor/priest/what-have-you_ said is true. Barack Obama embodies both of these qualities and feels your angst.Stephen Mansfield takes issues which the Right present in opposition to President Obama head-on. From the Muslim upbringing to attendance at Trinity United Church of Christ and the famous Rev. Wright to earning over a 100% rating from NARAL, he makes no mistakes and despite a lack of political calculation, just by being himself, President Obama unites all but the staunchest Leftist atheist and Right wing evangelist. The critical evaluation of President Obama by Mansfield comes through with lines like: "To be a member of a church is not necessarily to descend into mindlessness, and a mind as fine as Obama's is less likely to accept ideas unexamined than most." And in an apparent attempt to sanitize President Obama's attendance at Trinity, a chapter is spent explaining the vitriol preached in the church and Black liberation theology only to ultimately treat it as valid ideas that have no need to be questioned. The chapter is filled with racial animosity, unashamed explanation of how a Black Jesus should rid religion of the modern White Jesus - as it was manufactured to maintain slavery and oppression. Never mind the incendiary language used during sermons to espouse (physical?) destruction of "White" religion, but God forbid crosshairs are used on a political map. I picked up this book for two bucks to see how the Left would defend a man who "clearly had some sense of his own destiny."more
Courtesy of Thomas Nelson publishing, one of the political/election books I've read recently is The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield (also available for in Hardcover and as an Audiobook). I read the first two chapters on my Kindle (after converting the PDF to the Kindle format, free courtesy of Amazon's email conversion service, since I started before the book was officially released), and you can too. Get the intro and the first two chapters in PDF form here or for those with a Kindle, download the free sample here.While once we obtained our information about candidates thru newspapers, campaign speeches and gossip at the town store or barbershop, today's candidates seem to be required to publish at least one (and apparently preferably more than one) book about their life, their views and, now, their religion. Not to mention the obligatory spousal autobiography for presidential candidates (although you only get a print copy if your more political half is actually elected). In a country founded by those escaping religious persecution, where a primary tenant is a basic human right includes a freedom from state sponsored religion (at least in theory, if not in practice), we have become a people obsessed with the religion of our politicians and eager to enact or preserve laws we see as preserving our religious beliefs. At a time when our country is at war with two countries run by conservative religious factions, the religion of the future leader of our land has become one of the hottest topics of the race (even while the issue of race itself hides behind the objections of religion).In past races, simply getting a few articles (and later pictures) of the candidate and his family attending a church (of any kind) was sufficient to establish that they too shared all the same values as the "average American." With Kennedy, however, his religion became an issue in that it was believed the Catholic Church would hold too much influence over his decisions (after all, they had thousands of years of practice at it, even if it wasn't going so well for them in recent years) and candidates were obliged to add that although they, of course, were deeply religious, that no particular church would unduly influence their governance. Fifty years later, voters seem to want a diametrically opposed philosophy - they want their candidates to vote their religious views no matter what the Constitution might have to say on the issue and Catholics and Protestants alike have aligned into a unified Christian Right. What many now appear to be afraid of is someone with a "different" religion, now no longer defined as a different branch of Christianity, but as any non-Christian religion, especially the one that rules those countries with which we are at war. Many early campaign questions were about the religion followed by Barack Obama and were usually dodged in the same manner as in campaigns past - but those answers were no longer sufficient for those seeking reassurance that he shared the same religious beliefs (especially as they were and are still barraged with various emails scare warning that if Obama is elected the country will be converted to an Islamic state). But answering questions about religion in press conferences is a losing proposition, a lesson McCain learned in his first Presidential campaign. Instead, one must now write a book - not only does it allow a more thought out and in depth answer to the question, it forestalls it in the first place, implying the journalist hasn't done his research. Obama didn't have his treatise on religion prepared up front, nor did he publish it under his own byline, as his biography and campaign platform have been. Instead he relied on a writer who has published an in depth look at the faith of George Bush and a history of religion in the United States, a shrewd move that instantly lends the book greater credibility and less of the appearance of a campaign brochure.In The Faith of Barack Obama, Stephen Mansfield attempts to present a fair picture of Obama's religious beliefs (or at least actions and experiences). Perhaps too fair, as far as those looking for assurance that Obama is a devout Christian, as he claims, as the early part of the book paints a picture of a religious chameleon - raised by an atheist mother and grandparents disenchanted with the hypocrisy of the churches they had attended, his religious exposure ranges from nil to smatterings of various teachings popular with students in the 60's. Taken to Indonesia as a child, where all persons must register their religion, he was registered as a Muslim, but first attended a private Catholic school, where he observed all their religious practices as if they were his own. Later switching to a Muslim school, he then observed their religious practices in the same manner. At home, his father urged him and his mother to be embrace Islam, yet he believed and followed superstitious practices rooted in earlier pagan religions (eating tiger meat no doubt made those who had to also catch and kill them braver, assuming the survived the hunt, but only subjects those who buy it in the market to high costs and risks exposure to diseases from eating a carnivorous animal and unregulated, poached meat) and tolerated personal behavior by servants in his own home that no conservative Muslim would allow. Moving back to the States, Barack resumed his non-religious existence and only "embraced" a formal religion after getting involved in politics in Chicago. No doubt, the reality of attempting a political career without at least the appearance of a religious grounding were pointed out to him there and he promptly started attending and later joined the most powerful black churches in Chicago (and one he has had to distance himself from in the campaign).The section of the book covering his religious conversion seems the most weak - it is almost as if the author wishes to convince himself that Obama had a religious void in his life (thus the one time visit to a church in NY) and found it filled while in Chicago. Yet that doesn't seem the case in books with Barack's own bylines or even in later sections of the book. And the selection of the church is nothing if not political - no young black politician could hope to get the support needed for his career without belonging and no doubt that need is one reason he stayed (at least so one hopes) despite the extremist, racist and violent views espoused by the church's leaders. Indeed, the church's leaders regularly preached against other religions and mainstream Americans after 9/11, yet was only denounced by Obama six years later during his campaign. Yes, as an adult, no doubt he could separate the religious message of the church from the racial and religious hatred coming from the pulpit -- but there is little doubt that his or any children would not be able to do so and the church's viewpoint meshes perfectly with his wife's statement of being proud of her country "for the first time" only after his nomination. If you listen to the same message over and over, even if you started out knowing it is wrong, it colors your thinking and a desire for continued association with those of a certain viewpoint will always color at the least your actions. A church that was an asset during the early part of his career became a liability for a presidential candidate and was eventually shed, just as previous religious trappings had been discarded earlier in his life, but it's lasting effect on his views remains to be seen.The last third of the book tries to explain how a nation founded on a don't ask, don't tell religious stance now finds itself obsessed over the details of it's politician's religious beliefs and experiences. Additionally, a comparison of the beliefs and backgrounds of what where at the time the frontrunner candidates fills one chapter (at the time of publication, Barack's nomination was not assured). A well researched (complete with endnotes) book, the author's own religious views do peek out now and then.The author concludes that "Americans are used to religious insincerity from their political leaders, [yet] Obama seems to be sincere in what he proclaims", seeing faith infusing Obama's public policy, while holding up Clinton and Carter as examples who separated their faith and practice. In the end, however, there is only one person who can ever know the true faith of Barack Obama. Everyone else can only judge whether his past actions agree with their own religious viewpoints and if that is sufficient.more
The Faith of Barack Obama is an interesting, sympathetic but neutral examination of Barack Obama’s life and faith. It includes a brief biography including his contact with Islam as a child that I found very interesting. The book discusses his conversion and membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ. Included is fascinating information on the church, the theology it backed, and its pastor, Jeremiah Wright, whose beliefs and sermons caused so much damage to Obama’s candidacy. I found the book very helpful in learning about Obama’s beliefs, his faith and how his faith fit into his life. The book had much discussion but no conclusions about why Obama stayed at Trinity so long given Reverend Wright’s inflammatory belief’s and rhetoric. I found the discussion about the black church and civil religion very instructive. I think that the idea that Obama learned how to “swallow the chicken but spit out the bone” probably described the situation accurately. I don’t think that anybody, but Obama, knows for sure about the matter.I found this book to be important addition to my understanding of Mr. Obama. It was great to read something about a candidate that did not have a hidden agenda.more
When I had the opportunity to receive a review copy of The Faith of Barack Obama, I was intrigued. I have actually not read or listened to anything about the presidential candidates up to this point in time, so I looked forward to digesting something more than biased sound bites from the press. But after completing the book, I had to conclude that it was mistitled. Instead of The Faith of Barack Obama Mr. Mansfield would have been more honest to title it My Faith in Barack Obama.Because I was expecting to read an unbiased exploration of the senator from Illinois, I was frankly bewildered from the first page. In fact, I was uncertain whether I was reading a book about a freshman senator or a biography about the future god emperor of a planet. The first page contains the sentence “Clearly, he (Obama) already had some sense of his destiny.” The melodrama only gets worse. Before we even get to Chapter One I had to slosh through descriptions of Senator Obama like ”wise” “masterful” “defining theme” “sweeping” “vision” “astonishing popularity” “Midas touch” “signposts of destiny” “exotic background” “rare breed” “refreshing change” “charm” “endearing” and “he will carry that banner to whatever heights of power his God and the American people allow.”In a book published by a company with an orthodox Christian heritage, I expected a spiritual biography to contain some analysis as to whether a man is truly regenerate, and if so how his walk with Christ has impacted his life. Instead, I found an idolized account of an unfortunate man who seems to have had a horribly spiritually confused and turbulent childhood, who eventually attached himself to a church led by a pastor whose profound aberrations from orthodox Christianity are too numerous to recount here. I read of a man who states he doesn’t believe in the cardinal Christian doctrines of hell or that Christ is the only way to the Father, but does believe that his atheist mother “was in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I’ve ever known.”Aside from the distracting melodramatic tone, the book is well-researched and factual, and does have some helpful if not profound analysis of the various forces that have shaped the current American religious/political climate. However, I was unconvinced that Mansfield truly understands how the evangelical theology of many followers of Christ impact their judgments and decisions regarding politics and politicians.For an author that is obviously sympathetic toward Senator Obama, this book did not give me as an evangelical Christian any reason at all to view his religion as a reason to support him as a presidential candidate. Considering that Senator Obama’s religious views & biography have already been well described in other works, The Faith of Barack Obama adds little of substance. A disappointing read.more
Read all 5 reviews

Reviews

Let's face it, no political book can be written from an unbiased or from an apolitical perspective; it just can't. An author is either going to write a book extolling "their guy's" virtue and finding no fault or they are going to conduct a scathing hit job of their candidates opponent. The Faith of Barack Obama falls into the former.This saccharin sweet puff piece was nearly too much to stomach! I don't fault the author for promoting Barack Obama as the smartest, infallible and most politically astute person ever to walk the Earth, but come on. In the introduction to the book we learn President Obama can be all things to all people: be you a disaffected youth, not quite to atheism but ready to fall one-way or the other from the fence of agnosticism; or be you a devout _fill in the blank_ church attendee but come away each Sunday wondering how much of what the _pastor/priest/what-have-you_ said is true. Barack Obama embodies both of these qualities and feels your angst.Stephen Mansfield takes issues which the Right present in opposition to President Obama head-on. From the Muslim upbringing to attendance at Trinity United Church of Christ and the famous Rev. Wright to earning over a 100% rating from NARAL, he makes no mistakes and despite a lack of political calculation, just by being himself, President Obama unites all but the staunchest Leftist atheist and Right wing evangelist. The critical evaluation of President Obama by Mansfield comes through with lines like: "To be a member of a church is not necessarily to descend into mindlessness, and a mind as fine as Obama's is less likely to accept ideas unexamined than most." And in an apparent attempt to sanitize President Obama's attendance at Trinity, a chapter is spent explaining the vitriol preached in the church and Black liberation theology only to ultimately treat it as valid ideas that have no need to be questioned. The chapter is filled with racial animosity, unashamed explanation of how a Black Jesus should rid religion of the modern White Jesus - as it was manufactured to maintain slavery and oppression. Never mind the incendiary language used during sermons to espouse (physical?) destruction of "White" religion, but God forbid crosshairs are used on a political map. I picked up this book for two bucks to see how the Left would defend a man who "clearly had some sense of his own destiny."more
Courtesy of Thomas Nelson publishing, one of the political/election books I've read recently is The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield (also available for in Hardcover and as an Audiobook). I read the first two chapters on my Kindle (after converting the PDF to the Kindle format, free courtesy of Amazon's email conversion service, since I started before the book was officially released), and you can too. Get the intro and the first two chapters in PDF form here or for those with a Kindle, download the free sample here.While once we obtained our information about candidates thru newspapers, campaign speeches and gossip at the town store or barbershop, today's candidates seem to be required to publish at least one (and apparently preferably more than one) book about their life, their views and, now, their religion. Not to mention the obligatory spousal autobiography for presidential candidates (although you only get a print copy if your more political half is actually elected). In a country founded by those escaping religious persecution, where a primary tenant is a basic human right includes a freedom from state sponsored religion (at least in theory, if not in practice), we have become a people obsessed with the religion of our politicians and eager to enact or preserve laws we see as preserving our religious beliefs. At a time when our country is at war with two countries run by conservative religious factions, the religion of the future leader of our land has become one of the hottest topics of the race (even while the issue of race itself hides behind the objections of religion).In past races, simply getting a few articles (and later pictures) of the candidate and his family attending a church (of any kind) was sufficient to establish that they too shared all the same values as the "average American." With Kennedy, however, his religion became an issue in that it was believed the Catholic Church would hold too much influence over his decisions (after all, they had thousands of years of practice at it, even if it wasn't going so well for them in recent years) and candidates were obliged to add that although they, of course, were deeply religious, that no particular church would unduly influence their governance. Fifty years later, voters seem to want a diametrically opposed philosophy - they want their candidates to vote their religious views no matter what the Constitution might have to say on the issue and Catholics and Protestants alike have aligned into a unified Christian Right. What many now appear to be afraid of is someone with a "different" religion, now no longer defined as a different branch of Christianity, but as any non-Christian religion, especially the one that rules those countries with which we are at war. Many early campaign questions were about the religion followed by Barack Obama and were usually dodged in the same manner as in campaigns past - but those answers were no longer sufficient for those seeking reassurance that he shared the same religious beliefs (especially as they were and are still barraged with various emails scare warning that if Obama is elected the country will be converted to an Islamic state). But answering questions about religion in press conferences is a losing proposition, a lesson McCain learned in his first Presidential campaign. Instead, one must now write a book - not only does it allow a more thought out and in depth answer to the question, it forestalls it in the first place, implying the journalist hasn't done his research. Obama didn't have his treatise on religion prepared up front, nor did he publish it under his own byline, as his biography and campaign platform have been. Instead he relied on a writer who has published an in depth look at the faith of George Bush and a history of religion in the United States, a shrewd move that instantly lends the book greater credibility and less of the appearance of a campaign brochure.In The Faith of Barack Obama, Stephen Mansfield attempts to present a fair picture of Obama's religious beliefs (or at least actions and experiences). Perhaps too fair, as far as those looking for assurance that Obama is a devout Christian, as he claims, as the early part of the book paints a picture of a religious chameleon - raised by an atheist mother and grandparents disenchanted with the hypocrisy of the churches they had attended, his religious exposure ranges from nil to smatterings of various teachings popular with students in the 60's. Taken to Indonesia as a child, where all persons must register their religion, he was registered as a Muslim, but first attended a private Catholic school, where he observed all their religious practices as if they were his own. Later switching to a Muslim school, he then observed their religious practices in the same manner. At home, his father urged him and his mother to be embrace Islam, yet he believed and followed superstitious practices rooted in earlier pagan religions (eating tiger meat no doubt made those who had to also catch and kill them braver, assuming the survived the hunt, but only subjects those who buy it in the market to high costs and risks exposure to diseases from eating a carnivorous animal and unregulated, poached meat) and tolerated personal behavior by servants in his own home that no conservative Muslim would allow. Moving back to the States, Barack resumed his non-religious existence and only "embraced" a formal religion after getting involved in politics in Chicago. No doubt, the reality of attempting a political career without at least the appearance of a religious grounding were pointed out to him there and he promptly started attending and later joined the most powerful black churches in Chicago (and one he has had to distance himself from in the campaign).The section of the book covering his religious conversion seems the most weak - it is almost as if the author wishes to convince himself that Obama had a religious void in his life (thus the one time visit to a church in NY) and found it filled while in Chicago. Yet that doesn't seem the case in books with Barack's own bylines or even in later sections of the book. And the selection of the church is nothing if not political - no young black politician could hope to get the support needed for his career without belonging and no doubt that need is one reason he stayed (at least so one hopes) despite the extremist, racist and violent views espoused by the church's leaders. Indeed, the church's leaders regularly preached against other religions and mainstream Americans after 9/11, yet was only denounced by Obama six years later during his campaign. Yes, as an adult, no doubt he could separate the religious message of the church from the racial and religious hatred coming from the pulpit -- but there is little doubt that his or any children would not be able to do so and the church's viewpoint meshes perfectly with his wife's statement of being proud of her country "for the first time" only after his nomination. If you listen to the same message over and over, even if you started out knowing it is wrong, it colors your thinking and a desire for continued association with those of a certain viewpoint will always color at the least your actions. A church that was an asset during the early part of his career became a liability for a presidential candidate and was eventually shed, just as previous religious trappings had been discarded earlier in his life, but it's lasting effect on his views remains to be seen.The last third of the book tries to explain how a nation founded on a don't ask, don't tell religious stance now finds itself obsessed over the details of it's politician's religious beliefs and experiences. Additionally, a comparison of the beliefs and backgrounds of what where at the time the frontrunner candidates fills one chapter (at the time of publication, Barack's nomination was not assured). A well researched (complete with endnotes) book, the author's own religious views do peek out now and then.The author concludes that "Americans are used to religious insincerity from their political leaders, [yet] Obama seems to be sincere in what he proclaims", seeing faith infusing Obama's public policy, while holding up Clinton and Carter as examples who separated their faith and practice. In the end, however, there is only one person who can ever know the true faith of Barack Obama. Everyone else can only judge whether his past actions agree with their own religious viewpoints and if that is sufficient.more
The Faith of Barack Obama is an interesting, sympathetic but neutral examination of Barack Obama’s life and faith. It includes a brief biography including his contact with Islam as a child that I found very interesting. The book discusses his conversion and membership in the Trinity United Church of Christ. Included is fascinating information on the church, the theology it backed, and its pastor, Jeremiah Wright, whose beliefs and sermons caused so much damage to Obama’s candidacy. I found the book very helpful in learning about Obama’s beliefs, his faith and how his faith fit into his life. The book had much discussion but no conclusions about why Obama stayed at Trinity so long given Reverend Wright’s inflammatory belief’s and rhetoric. I found the discussion about the black church and civil religion very instructive. I think that the idea that Obama learned how to “swallow the chicken but spit out the bone” probably described the situation accurately. I don’t think that anybody, but Obama, knows for sure about the matter.I found this book to be important addition to my understanding of Mr. Obama. It was great to read something about a candidate that did not have a hidden agenda.more
When I had the opportunity to receive a review copy of The Faith of Barack Obama, I was intrigued. I have actually not read or listened to anything about the presidential candidates up to this point in time, so I looked forward to digesting something more than biased sound bites from the press. But after completing the book, I had to conclude that it was mistitled. Instead of The Faith of Barack Obama Mr. Mansfield would have been more honest to title it My Faith in Barack Obama.Because I was expecting to read an unbiased exploration of the senator from Illinois, I was frankly bewildered from the first page. In fact, I was uncertain whether I was reading a book about a freshman senator or a biography about the future god emperor of a planet. The first page contains the sentence “Clearly, he (Obama) already had some sense of his destiny.” The melodrama only gets worse. Before we even get to Chapter One I had to slosh through descriptions of Senator Obama like ”wise” “masterful” “defining theme” “sweeping” “vision” “astonishing popularity” “Midas touch” “signposts of destiny” “exotic background” “rare breed” “refreshing change” “charm” “endearing” and “he will carry that banner to whatever heights of power his God and the American people allow.”In a book published by a company with an orthodox Christian heritage, I expected a spiritual biography to contain some analysis as to whether a man is truly regenerate, and if so how his walk with Christ has impacted his life. Instead, I found an idolized account of an unfortunate man who seems to have had a horribly spiritually confused and turbulent childhood, who eventually attached himself to a church led by a pastor whose profound aberrations from orthodox Christianity are too numerous to recount here. I read of a man who states he doesn’t believe in the cardinal Christian doctrines of hell or that Christ is the only way to the Father, but does believe that his atheist mother “was in many ways the most spiritually awakened person that I’ve ever known.”Aside from the distracting melodramatic tone, the book is well-researched and factual, and does have some helpful if not profound analysis of the various forces that have shaped the current American religious/political climate. However, I was unconvinced that Mansfield truly understands how the evangelical theology of many followers of Christ impact their judgments and decisions regarding politics and politicians.For an author that is obviously sympathetic toward Senator Obama, this book did not give me as an evangelical Christian any reason at all to view his religion as a reason to support him as a presidential candidate. Considering that Senator Obama’s religious views & biography have already been well described in other works, The Faith of Barack Obama adds little of substance. A disappointing read.more
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