We know where Jesus was born, to whom, and more or less when.  Were Jesus politically minded, it would not have been hard to establish his status as a citizen of Roman Judaea or to confirm it 2,000 years after his birth.  (To be sure, the “natural born” part might prove a little tricky.)

No such luck with our president, Barack Obama.  The most visible man in the world’s most transparent society remains as much an enigma as he was four years ago.  If the faithless in the media and academia investigate Jesus, only the faithful in those same quarters have been allowed to investigate Obama.  Were there an “Obama Seminar,” its members would be booted from every faculty lounge and newsroom in America, FOX News included.

In April 2011, Obama famously told us what we were allowed to know about his origins.  Said he, “Every news outlet that has investigated this, confirm that, yes, in fact, I was born in Hawaii, August 4, 1961, in Kapiolani Hospital.”

This, however, was inaccurate on two counts. For one, up until January 2009, the Obama-friendly websites, including Snopes and Obama’s own campaign website, had been listing Honolulu’s Queens Hospital as the site of his birth.  For another, the reporters who had been doing real research — including at least one from the Boston Globe and another from the New York Times — had failed to confirm any of the story.

Despite Obama’s birth just 50 years ago, in the most information rich place and time in world history, no one seems to know anything about his parents’ presumed marriage or the whereabouts of his mother in the six months prior to her son’s birth.  The two recent mainstream biographies of Obama’s parents — Janny Scott’s A Singular Woman and Sally Jacobs’ The Other Barack — tell us close to nothing.

Although Scott, a New York Times reporter, spent more than two years researching her book, she can say only than that Ann Dunham and Barack Obama Sr. “reportedly” wed on the island of Maui. “Reportedly” is not a comforting word from a definitive biographer.  Equally troubling, Scott fails to comment on Ann’s doings from the apocryphal wedding in February 1961 to Obama’s birth in August 1961. Not a single word.

As to the birth, Scott provides no details other than those available on the disputed short form certification of live birth.  There are no baby pictures, no tales of worried grandparents, no accounts of frantic drives to Kapiolani Hospital or Queens or wherever. Jacobs of the Boston Globe likewise tells us nothing about Ann’s comings and goings for the six months prior to the birth or about the birth itself, the most historically critical period in Ann or Obama Sr.’s life.

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