Something of Interest
Allegations that Barack Obama secretly follows a non-Christian religion, or that he is the anti-Christ foretold in Biblical prophecies, have been suggested since he campaigned for the U.S. Senate in 2004 and have proliferated since his election as President of the U.S. in 2008. As with conspiracy theories surrounding his citizenship status, these false claims are promoted by various fringe theorists and political opponents. U.S. bloggers and talk radio hosts have particularly promoted the theories. Despite the fact that these assertions are false, belief of these claims in the public sphere have endured and, in some cases, even expanded during Obama's Presidency according to the Pew Research Center, with over one in seven Americans (including one third of conservative Republicans) labeling him as a Muslim.
Though Obama is a practicing Christian, and he was chiefly raised by his mother and her Christian parents, both his father Barack Obama, Sr., with whom he lived only as a baby, and his stepfather Lolo Soetoro with whom he lived during his early childhood were nominally Muslims. This familial connection to Islam, among other things, is the basis of a common claim lodged by conspiracy theorists that Obama secretly practices Islam.
Barack Hussein Obama (born 1961) is the 44th President of the United States, and the first African American to hold the office. Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is a graduate of Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he served as president of the Harvard Law Review. He was a community organizer in Chicago before earning his law degree. He worked as a civil rights attorney and taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School from 1992 to 2004. He served three terms representing the 13th District in the Illinois Senate from 1997 to 2004, running unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives in 2000.
In 2004, Obama received national attention during his campaign to represent Illinois in the United States Senate with his victory in the March Democratic Party primary, his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention in July, and his election to the Senate in November. He began his presidential campaign in 2007, and in 2008, after a close primary campaign against Hillary Rodham Clinton, he won sufficient delegates in the Democratic Party primaries to receive the presidential nomination. He then defeated Republican nominee John McCain in the general election, and was inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009. Nine months after his election, Obama was named the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
During his first two years in office, Obama signed into law economic stimulus legislation in response to the Great Recession in the form of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010. Other major domestic initiatives in his first term include the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, often referred to as "Obamacare". Obama ended U.S. military involvement in the Iraq War, increased U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan, signed the New START arms control treaty with Russia, ordered U.S. military involvement in Libya, and ordered the military operation that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden.
Obama was re-elected president in November 2012, defeating Republican nominee Mitt Romney, and was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2013. During his second term, Obama has promoted domestic policies related to gun control in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, has called for full equality for LGBT Americans, and his administration filed briefs which urged the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 and California's Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. In foreign policy, Obama has continued the process of ending U.S. combat operations in Afghanistan.
Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was born in Wichita, Kansas, and was of mostly English ancestry. His father, Barack Obama, Sr., was a Luo (ethnic group in western Kenya) from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Kenya.
Obama spent most of the early years of his childhood in Honolulu, where his mother completed college after his parents divorced. Obama started a close relationship with his maternal grandparents. His mother remarried in 1965, to Lolo Soetoro, from Indonesia. Two years later, she took Obama with her to Indonesia to reunite him with his stepfather. In 1971, he returned to Hawaii to be raised by his grandparents and attend Punahou School in Honolulu.
The Illinois Senate career of Barack Obama began in with the 1997 swearing in of Obama to his first term in the Illinois Senate and ended with his 2004 election to the United States Senate. During this part of his career, Obama continued teaching constitutional law part-time at the University of Chicago Law School as he had done as a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996 and as a Senior Lecturer from 1996–2008.
The 2004 United States Senate election in Illinois was held on November 2, 2004. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Peter Fitzgerald decided to retire after one term. The Democratic and Republican primary elections were held in March, which included a total of 15 candidates who combined to spend a record total of over $60 million seeking the open seat. State Senator Barack Obama won the Democratic primary and Jack Ryan won the Republican primary. Three months later, Ryan announced his withdrawal from the race four days after the Chicago Tribune persuaded a California court to release child custody records. Six weeks later, the Illinois Republican State Central Committee chose former Diplomat Alan Keyes to replace Ryan as the Republican candidate. The election was the first for the U.S. Senate in which both major party candidates were African American. Obama's 43% margin of victory was the largest in the state history of U.S. Senate elections. The inequality in the candidates spending for the fall elections - $14,244,768 by Obama and $2,545,325 by Keyes - is also among the largest in history in both absolute and relative terms.
As a Senator, he served on a variety of committees and chaired the United States Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs. His bill sponsorship and voting records indicates that he was a loyalist to the Democratic Party. He was considered to be among the most liberal by various analyses. In his first session (109th Congress), he was involved in immigration reform. Legislation bearing his name was passed for armament reduction and federal transparency as well as relief aid. In the first year of the 110th Congress, he worked on lobbying and campaign finance reform, election reform, climate control and troop reduction. In the second year, he legislated for oversight of certain military discharges, Iran divestment and nuclear terrorism reduction, but President George W. Bush vetoed his legislation for State Children's Health Insurance Program-related military family job protections.
The economic policy of the Barack Obama administration is a combination of tax increases on the wealthiest Americans and investment in a myriad of public services such as scientific research, infrastructure, health care reform, and education that is meant to boost the American economy and future prospects. Barack Obama himself is a proponent of using government regulation to stem crony capitalism and tax revenue to stabilize and promote economic growth.
Speaking before the National Press Club in April 2005, he defended the New Deal social welfare policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, associating Republican proposals to establish private accounts for Social Security with Social Darwinism.
The politics of global warming is played out at a state and federal level in the United States. American President Barack Obama committed during the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Summit that the U.S. would reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the range of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, 42% below 2005 levels by 2030, and 83% below 2005 levels by 2050.
Obama called for Congress to pass legislation reforming health care in the United States, a key campaign promise and a top legislative goal. He proposed an expansion of health insurance coverage to cover the uninsured, to cap premium increases, and to allow people to retain their coverage when they leave or change jobs. His proposal was to spend $900 billion over 10 years and include a government insurance plan, also known as the public option, to compete with the corporate insurance sector as a main component to lowering costs and improving quality of health care. It would also make it illegal for insurers to drop sick people or deny them coverage for pre-existing conditions, and require every American to carry health coverage. The plan also includes medical spending cuts and taxes on insurance companies that offer expensive plans.
The energy policy of the Obama administration, stated on the website of U.S. President Barack Obama, lists the guiding principles of the administration regarding energy and the environment. They include creating new "clean energy" jobs and technologies, making America more energy independent, and reducing carbon emissions.
In June 2012, Obama said that the bond between the United States and Israel is "unbreakable." During the initial years of the Obama administration, the U.S. increased military cooperation with Israel, including increased military aid, re-establishment of the U.S.-Israeli Joint Political Military Group and the Defense Policy Advisory Group, and an increase in visits among high-level military officials of both countries. The Obama administration asked Congress to allocate money toward funding the Iron Dome program in response to the waves of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.
Barack Obama has elicited a number of public perceptions regarding his personality and background. As the first African-American President of the United States, his race and culture have played a prominent role in this, both positively and negatively. His relative youth (47 when elected) has alternately resulted in his being praised for his freshness and criticized for his inexperience. His temperament and demeanor have drawn praise for his perceived unflappability and criticism for the perception of his lacking emotional attachment.
Obama met Trinity United Church of Christ pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright in October 1987, and became a member of Trinity in 1992. He resigned from Trinity in May 2008 during his first presidential campaign after controversial statements by Wright were publicized. After a prolonged effort to find a church to attend regularly in Washington, Obama announced in June 2009 that his primary place of worship would be the Evergreen Chapel at Camp David.
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