These are the unanswered, possibly unanswerable, questions in a new report released today based on surveys analyzing the mid-term elections by the Public Religion Research Institute and The Brookings Institution.
Religion was not a major factor in the economics-dominated vote but views on God, faith, politics, moral issues in the public square and on Islam still have significant impact. And for President Obama, the results track a potentially troubling faith-gap between him and most Americans, a "religion dilemma," the report says.
Most Americans (51%) say President Obama has religious beliefs somewhat or very different than their own while 40% say their views are somewhat or very similar, according to the American Values Survey of 1,494 Americans by the PRRI.
If he does mention his strong Christian faith, he is attacked for being arrogant because a "real Christian" has "no need" to proclaim his faith to others, or people simply don't believe him.
Obama has been dogged by criticism about his faith since he took office. A poll released in late August showed that a growing number of Americans — one in five, up from one in ten in March — say he is a Muslim.
When asked if he prays himself, the president said: "I do. Every night."
He also says that he reads the Bible, and, asked to explain why so many Americans deny that he is a Christian, blamed the internet.
"Well, you know, the Internet has a powerful effect these days, and so, the way rumors can take on a life of their own ends up being very powerful," he said.
Millions of our friends and neighbors will hate Obama no matter what he does. I honestly don't understand how he copes with it, and I'm a large African-American man who has seen more than his fair share of irrational hatred growing up in North Carolina. When before has our President ever, every had his faith so openly questioned as being the enemy? Even our first Catholic President, John F Kennedy, was able to put aside criticisms of his faith.
People keep telling me Obama's race has nothing to do with it. And no offense, but every person I've heard that from happens to be white.