*A new survey confirms most Americans want a president who is religious, says Deseret News.
But the same survey shows more than a third of them don’t know the faith of the sitting president or his Republican challenger.
Some 31 percent of voters surveyed by the Pew Research Center said they didn’t know the religion of President Barack Obama, while 17 percent said he is Muslim. Slightly less than half (49 percent) correctly identified him as a Christian, but that is down from 55 percent back in late 2008.
Despite all the press about whether Mitt Romney’s faith will help or hurt his GOP candidacy, just 60 percent of those surveyed knew he was a Mormon.
The myth that Obama is a Muslim persists and has apparently gained steam since he took office. In October 2008, 12 percent of voters Pew surveyed said the Democratic candidate was Muslim, and that group has grown to 17 percent today.
The numbers show the perception is largely partisan as 30 percent of Republicans identify the president as Muslim, up 14 percent from 2008. That news prompted a piece by Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author, posted on CNN, where he vented:
“There is something deeply troubling about the state of religion and politics in America today. And among those troubles is the cynical manipulation of religion for political gain — the use of God as a pawn in our political projects.”