I recently signed up for Thomas Nelson Publishers’ Book Review Blogging program, and the first book I’ve chosen is The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield. I chose to review The Faith of Barack Obama back before the election, but only now have been able to read and review the book. It’s interesting how perspective changes now that Obama has won the presidential election.
I approached The Faith of Barack Obama with a good bit of curiosity as to how the author would approach the subject. In the days leading up to the election we have been besieged with arguments over Obama’s faith – is he really a Christian? Didn’t he get raised as a Muslim? Isn’t that pastor of his church in Chicago kinda weird? The temptation is for each author’s perspective on Obama’s political views to color their observations about Obama’s faith. I was happy, then, (and feeling as if I was in quite unfamiliar territory!) to read TFOBO. Author Mansfield manages to draw a fair, compassionate picture of Obama’s faith as Mr. Obama has himself expressed it in books and interviews. In the short (150-page) volume, Mansfield acknowledges seeming inconsistencies between Obama’s faith claims and his political views – notably on the issue of abortion – but avoids drawing conclusions, leaving things for the reader to wrestle with in their own mind.
A chapter toward the end of the book seems out of place and suspiciously like filler material; that chapter examines other “faces of faith” in the political scene, giving thumbnail sketches of the faith of Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, and John McCain. All told, though, The Faith of Barack Obama is a fair journalistic look into the beliefs of our next president, and helpful reading.
[Buy The Faith of Barack Obama at Amazon.com.]