Local congressional candidate Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher suggested in a letter to a national Christian news outlet that President Obama's conversion to Christianity and subsequent election were almost miraculous.
Mr. Wurzelbacher of Springfield Township is the Republican candidate for the 9th Ohio Congressional District against incumbent U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo).
He wrote a letter about his own religious experience to the Christian Broadcasting Network and discussed the issue with its chief political correspondent, David Brody, in several interviews.
The letter is printed on the CBN's Web site, blogs.cbn.com/thebrodyfile/Default.aspx. CBN is associated with the Rev. Pat Robertson, a politically conservative Christian minister.
The story of Mr. Obama's conversion to Christianity is a good example of why the religion is "so incredibly powerful and amazing," Mr. Wurzelbacher's letter says.
"Imagine being the child of a mixed-race marriage -- especially in the turbulent 60's and free-wheeling 70's. And when you throw in that dad was a Muslim and mom an atheist -- you know it could not have been easy -- and they were Communists for crying out loud! At age 6, young Barry was shipped off to Indonesia and exposed to Islam for several years. His parents divorced, he returned to the U.S., and Barack was placed with his grandparents. By the time he got to college, he was experimenting with cocaine, marijuana, and even thought about using heroin," Mr. Wurzelbacher wrote, according to The Brody File.
"Hardly sounds like one who would become President of the United States, the most powerful man in the greatest, most powerful country in the history of the world, does it? It seems against all odds… … almost miraculous?" he wrote.
"After Barack Hussein Obama suddenly cast off his Muslim roots, rejected his mother's disbelief in God, turned tail on the Islam of his early life and converted to Christianity -- BLAM -- he's elected President. Anyone who believes the two things are not connected is being disingenuous at best. I don't know how or when it happened, whether when he was partying at college or five minutes before he first decided to run for office, but it doesn't matter -- he came to Christ, and he is my brother."
In Dreams From My Father, Mr. Obama's 1995 memoir, he admitted to smoking marijuana and trying cocaine, and said the reason he didn't try heroin was because of the scary appearance of the drug pusher.
A Los Angeles Times article cited by Mr. Wurzelbacher's campaign manager, Reece Collins, quoted a high school friend of Mr. Obama's late mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, as saying that she considered herself an atheist.
Mr. Obama wrote in The Audacity of Hope, published in 2006, that his father, Barack Obama, Sr., was raised a Muslim in Africa but was a confirmed atheist. His mother, he said, inherited a "skepticism" of religion and viewed religion through the eyes of an anthropologist.
Mr. Collins offered no proof that the parents were communists, although a number of Web sites explore alleged Marxist and communist influences on his parents and on Mr. Obama himself.
Miss Kaptur said she had seen the CBN Web site and advised Mr. Wurzelbacher to avoid discussing the President's personal life.
"I think he'd be well-advised to focus on the real issues facing our country, like job creation, and give up trying to psychoanalyze our President," Miss Kaptur said.
"He shouldn't be discussing issues about which he has absolutely no knowledge, such as the President's family background," she said.
Mr. Wurzelbacher, known as "Joe the Plumber" since a sidewalk debate with Mr. Obama in his neighborhood during the 2008 campaign, is making his first run for public office.
According to a blog post by Mr. Brody, the chief political correspondent for CBN News, Mr. Wurzelbacher said he doesn't question Mr. Obama's profession to be a Christian.
"The President says he's a follower of Christianity and I take him at his word. I don't question his faith, and when I read or hear people claiming he's not a Christian because of this or that, I don't like it," Mr. Wurzelbacher wrote on the Web site The Brody File.
He said that when he accepted Jesus, "It was a magnificent event in my life that transformed me. It was, like many people have experienced, a moment of clarity. The weight came off my shoulders."
He said the moment came "not that long ago," and that it made him a better person.
Mr. Brody said Mr. Wurzelbacher told him that "he gave his life over to Jesus Christ at the age of 17."
Mr. Wurzelbacher called for people to remember that "we're all God's children," and that the President is entitled to love and respect, according to the Golden Rule.
Mr. Brody wrote that Mr. Wurzelbacher plans to distribute the letter at churches that he visits during his campaigning.
In a previous interview with Mr. Brody, Mr. Wurzelbacher said Mr. Obama's views are Socialist and that he will support Mitt Romney if he ends up getting the Republican nomination.
"If he ends up being our GOP candidate, then I will get behind him. I do believe and want somebody in office other than Barack Obama. President Obama's ideology is un-American, I say that every day, and I won't shut up about it," Mr. Wurzelbacher said, according to The Brody File.
A spokesman for the Ohio office of the Obama for America campaign declined to comment. The White House press office declined to comment.
Contact Tom Troy at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6058.