Dan Balz and Robert Costa odThe Washington Post write
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a prospective Republican presidential contender, said Saturday he does not know whether President Obama is a Christian.
“I don’t know,” Walker said in an interview at the JW Marriott hotel in Washington, where he was attending the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.
Told that Obama has frequently spoken publicly about his Christian faith, Walker maintained that he was not aware of the president’s religion.
“I’ve actually never talked about it or I haven’t read about that,” Walker said, his voice calm and firm. “I’ve never asked him that,” he added. “You’ve asked me to make statements about people that I haven’t had a conversation with about that. How [could] I say if I know either of you are a Christian?”
Walker said such questions from reporters are reflective of a broader problem in the nation’s political-media culture, which he described as fixated on issues that are not relevant to most Americans.
“To me, this is a classic example of why people hate Washington and, increasingly, they dislike the press,” he said. “The things they care about don’t even remotely come close to what you’re asking about.”
Walker said he does not believe that most Americans care about such matters.“People in the media will [judge], not everyday people,” he said. “I would defy you to come to Wisconsin. You could ask 100 people, and not one of them would say that this is a significant issue.”
Steve M. realizes "That's nonsense, of course -- the right-wing base is obsessed with the question of what Obama believes in (short answer: not America, not capitalism, and not Christianity). The wingers got thrills up their legs when he said this."
They did, especially because Walker combined it with a slap at both Washington and the press, always a cheap thrill for Repub primary voters. Narrow-mindness aside, however, a portion of the popular base is not even aware that Barack Obama is a Christian.
Before his departure, Barack Obama was (in)famously a member of Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church of Christ. The governor himself recognizes the UCC (although he may not want to admit it, videos below), a mainline Protestant denomination. Walker himself was raised by parents who were active in an Iowa church of the American Baptist Church, another mainline Protestant denomination. Many of his supporters, however- most of whom are Roman Catholic or non-denominational Christians- simply may be unacquainted with the UCC.
Further, to many of the latter Christians, whether Barack Obama (or anyone) is a "Christian" hinges less on whether the latter is officially a Protestant, Roman Catholic, or Orthodox Christian. That is, for instance, why a Christian witnessing to another individual- even if a member of some Christian sect- will refer to the person as as simply a Christian, not a Christian, or in the process of becoming a Christian. They are concerned primarily with whether the subject is a "believer."
Of course, that is no excuse for Scott Walker not simply to demonstrate leadership and assure his fans that President Obama is a Christian, nor for Balz and Costa not to probe Walker's refusal to give a straight answer, nor for the reaction of many right-wingers.
A Red State diarist agreed with Walker and believes the question was "another 'trap the Republican and make him look bad' moment from the press." (At least he didn't say "media liberal.") Jon Gabriel tweets "For the love of God how is, 'Do you think Obama is a Christian' a relevant question?" Kemberlee Kaye of Legal Insurrection blogged "How Walker’s opinion on the matter is remotely relevant or newsworthy is unclear to normal people."
If it wasn't a relevant question before, Walker's refusal to answer, rather than laying the question to rest, makes it so. (Afterward, Walker's spokeswoman stated "of course, the governor thinks the President is a Christian." His theocratic supporters noticed he did not retract his statement.) And if a likely presidential candidate believes the President of the United States of America is lying about his faith, that is relevant. But conservatives must play the victim, or turn in their membership card.