Beliefs Opinion Tobin Grant: Corner of Church and State

What is Obama’s religion? Your answer shapes how you view the “war on whit …

Graffiti Obama is (not) a Muslim
Graffiti in Oahu 2009: Obama is (not) a Muslim

If you think President Obama is a Muslim, then you probably also believe that the White House is biased, favoring blacks over whites. Results from the 2012 American National Election Study shed light on why some agree with Congressman Mo Brooks’ claim that Democrats are waging a “war on whites.” Americans—especially Republicans—are more likely to see a bias against whites if they think Obama is a Muslim.


The ANES asked if the Obama administration favored whites over blacks, favored blacks over whites, or treated both groups equally. Half of those who believe that Obama is a Muslim also see bias in favor of blacks over whites. But among those who think Obama is a Christian, only 13 percent see the same bias.


Perceptions of White House racial bias is driven by partisan (see my earlier post here).  Six-in-ten Republicans who believe Obama is a Muslim also believe that Obama favors whites over blacks. Nearly a majority who think the president isn’t religious see a bias. But most of the Republicans who say Obama is a Christian don’t see a racial bias.

The effect of (mis)belief about Obama’s religion is even starker among independents. A majority of independents who believe Obama is a Muslim also believe he is biased in favor of blacks over whites. This drops to less than 20 percent for other independents.

Belief about White House bias is small among Democrats. Still, it triples from just five percent among Democrats who know Obama is a Christian to 18 percent of Dems who believe he’s a Muslim.


About the author

Tobin Grant

@TobinGrant blogs for Religion News Service at Corner of Church and State, a data-driven conversation on religion and politics. He is a political science professor at Southern Illinois University and associate editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.


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  • I’m not sure how much religion really influences the President’s point of view. Though he attended a Christian Church for many years, he doesn’t seem to frame his worldview from that experience. Equally, though culturally influenced by Islam, a function of having a Muslim father, and formative growth experiences in Muslim countries, I’m not convinced that Islam is a driving force in his life either. He appears to me to be a nominally Christian…Socialist. As far as preferring blacks to whites it would not be unusual for him to appoint a fair percentage of qualified blacks to prominent positions in his administration, but he seems to lean more to gender than race. His administration seems reasonably diverse, if that is a requirement of statecraft today.. My objections to the President are political, not based on race, gender, or any other immutable characteristic.

  • If we go by his book and statements BEFORE seeking public office, he seems to have been atheist/agnostic. He attributes the biggest influence of his worldview to his mother (atheist), and he seems to pretty much live his life in this way, as much as a President of the US could. I think Hitchens said this on a talk show once, and I think it’s correct. I don’t think he’s against whites, he just seems to be disproportionately “for” non-white/non-christian

  • In the last month hundreds of innocent children and women have been killed in their own homes occupied by a state of apartheid, racism and terror, with the direct support of Obama. Terrorists groups like ISIS and al-Qaida have not been as successful as Israel and the US in murdering innocent civilians. So Obama would be the worst Muslim president ever.