Grasping at the wrong straws

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straw.jpgYesterday, Wall Street Journal pontificator Daniel Henninger took it upon himself to give President Obama the old tut-tut for speaking in Turkey about seeking “mutual respect” with Islam but overlooking the lack of respect shown by Muslim countries for religious minorities in their midst. But, as pointed out in this space, the president did precisely that in his speech to the Turkish parliament. Calling on the Turks to reopen the Halki Greek Orthodox theological seminary, he said, “Robust minority rights let societies benefit from the full
measure of contributions from all citizens.”

This comment did not go unnoticed by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, which, in an April 7 report on the president’s meeting with Patriarch Bartholomew, noted:

The substance of the discussions included President Obama’s mention of
the issue of the Theological School of Halki in his speech before the
Turkish Parliament, and his further discussion of the same with the
President of the Turkish Republic, Abdullah Gul. The President said
that he would follow up on the issue with a view to a favorable
solution for the Ecumenical Patriarchate. Evidently, Henninger hadn’t actually bothered to read what the president actually said in Turkey.

I guess those GOP talking points Henninger had in front of him didn’t mention what the president actually said in Turkey.

Meanwhile, a week ago, former Bush speechwriter and current WaPo columnist Michael Gerson tried to make make the case (“Why Obama is Losing a Faith“) that the president’s moves on stem cells and abortion was alienating his Catholic supporters–based on a Pew poll showing not that overall Catholic support for the president had slipped more than the public’s at large (it wasn’t), but that white non-Hispanic Catholic support was down from 61-20 percent to 47-41 percent. Well, the latest Pew poll shows that number bouncing back to 56-31 percent–higher than, for example, white mainline Protestants (54-28 percent). So why is Obama regaining a faith, Michael?