Thursday, July 3, 2008

Obama and Evangelicals, The Saga Continues

In the Seattle Times the other day was an article, How Obama Is Courting The New Evangelicalsby David Domke, a journalism professor at the Uniersity of Washington in Spokane. The article is in response to James Dobson's recent responses to Obama and his pandering to Evangelicals, as well as Obama's Out-doing Bush on spending more of our taxpaying dollars on Faith Initiatives, and giving the religious organizations more latitude in hiring/firing. (I wrote about this a few days ago, both the pandering part, and James Dobson's response to it, "Yet Another Connection," and "Wining Hearts and Minds") Only this particular article is a tad slanted in defense of Obama, his strong Christian faith, and his ability to connect with Evangelicals. Oh, and while the author's tagline mentions where he teaches, it does not mention that he also writes for Daily Kos. Yep, you got it - he sure enough does. Just to set the stage for you.

Previous to this article, he wrote one with Kevin Coe about Obama, For Barack Obama, Campaign 2008 Has Been A Series Of Absurd But Consequential Tests. One of those tests, of course, was his religious preference. Domke mentioned in the article above that 10% of Americans think Obama is Muslim. Now, see, whether he is a Muslim or not means nothing to me. Islam is one of the largest, if not THE largest, religious faiths on the face of the planet. It is a religion based on both Judaism and Christianity, and as such, is a peace loving religion, as much as Christianity is supposed to be. And, Muhammad, the founder of Islam, had daughters, no sons, and was VERY supportive of them. He would never recognize what has happened to Islam by the fringe elements, as much as Jesus would not recognize what Christianity has become by ITS fringe elements. That is all to say, it is just as damaging to think that all Christians are like Jerry Falwell, or Pat Robertson, or Jimmy Swaggert as it is to think that all Muslims are like Osama bin Laden. They are not. Many are quite moderate in their beliefs. Just to be clear. And frankly, I think that one's religious faith should be PRIVATE, and not fodder for political discussion. But this is one of the ways the Christian Right has asserted its influence - making religion a litmus test. But I digress...

Mr. Domke only seems to focus on OBAMA'S "tests," yet fails to acknowledge that Hillary Clinton has received similar scrutiny. In another article, "Hillary Clinton's Christianity," which states:
Some say Hillary Clinton may help the Democrats reach out to Christian voters like no Democrat since Jimmy Carter.

Fair or not, the Democratic Party has not fared well with self-professed Christian voters in the last several presidential election cycles. One of the reasons, says Michael Gerson in The Washington Post, is that recent Democrat leaders have either been frankly secular or "so uncomfortable with religious language that, were the sound on the television switched off, you'd think they were admitting a sexual vice instead of affirming their deepest beliefs."

But another article, "Hillary Clinton's Faith: Another Methodist in the White House?"
Mrs. Clinton’s references to faith, though, have come under attack, both from conservatives who doubt her sincerity (one writer recently lumped her with the type of Christians who “believe in everything but God”) and liberals who object to any injection of religion into politics. And her motivations have been cast as political calculation by detractors, who suggest she is only trying to moderate her liberal image.

So, it isn't like she has not had to deal with issues of her faith, too, not always positively, but as we all know, it is all about Obama!!

Anywho, Mr. Domke asserts that there is now a splintering of the Evangelical Movement now, that it is not a cohesive voting bloc any longer. One piece of evidence he presents is the case of the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, George W. Bush's BFF, a huge supporter of Bush's, and the presiding minister at Jenna Bush's recent wedding. Well, now, Caldwell supports Obama. No, I am not kidding. And that should tell you something RIGHT there. One of Bush's CLOSEST associates is now supporting Barack Obama. Caldwell, in response to the whole James Dobson business has started a website in defense of Obama, Okay. So James Dobson does not speak for the entire Evangelical Movement. I can counter that one - Howard Dean, Donna Brazile, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Patrick Leahy, Chris Dodd, et al, do not speak for ME, either. So, I'll give him that. Domke states:
Dobson's words were the kind of critique that in recent elections have made leading Democrats cower and prompted other religious conservatives to fall in line behind the Republican Party presidential candidate, in this case John McCain.

Not this year. And depending on what happens in 2008, perhaps not ever again.

His support for making such a claim? Well, it's a few things, but you know what it is mainly,
"It's a combination of changing outlooks among evangelical leadership and some important political moves by Obama."

Oh, yeah - that's what it is - Obama is doing all the right things to convince these people that he is not pandering to them, lying to them, or saying whatever they want to hear to vote for them. He is being helped along with this new mission by people like Rick Warren, "
the nation's ├╝ber-evangelical and author of The Purpose-Driven Life, the highest-selling nonfiction book in the nation's publishing history, and Leith Anderson, head of the National Association of Evangelicals, both want to keep political parties — including the Republicans — at arm's distance....(Warren) invited Barack Obama to speak at his Southern California church at an AIDS summit. Warren took a lot of heat from some evangelicals for inviting the pro-choice Obama but did not back down. It was a turning point moment for faith and politics — and a crucial step in Obama's outreach to religious voters.

In 2004, Warren decreed that five issues — opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage, cloning, euthanasia, and research on stem cells — should drive the voting decisions of Christians, an outlook that firmly aligned him with the Republican Party. But Warren's political world view had been expanding ever since."

Wow - I can sure see how those top five would endear Obama to LIBERAL voters, cough, cough. But hey - all of those liberals he has been throwing under the bus might have known something was going on if they paid attention to him hanging out with people like Warren. According to Domke, "
the Christian Obama often espouses a religiously infused message of hope and transformation. Indeed, he's offering more than words: His campaign has embarked on a massive political crusade to persuade religious Americans that Obama is their candidate

A political crusade. Oh, great - that is JUST what the country needs. Another crusade. Seriously - have we not had enough of this kind of crap from Bush for the past 7 1/2 years?? I really do not get it. Oh, but wait, there's more!
The New York Times reported Tuesday that "Between now and November, the Obama forces are planning as many as 1,000 house parties and dozens of Christian rock concerts, gatherings of religious leaders, campus visits and telephone conference calls to bring together voters of all ages motivated by their faith to engage in politics."

And Obama just raised the stakes Tuesday, with a high-profile speech on faith in Zanesville, Ohio, a battleground area in a key Midwestern state — indeed, one that some evidence suggests George W. Bush won in 2004 in part based on heavy turnout tied to an anti-gay-marriage state initiative.

Oh, Holy Cow. So, Obama really IS the second coming of Bush then! And that should give pause to EVERYONE, liberals and conservatives alike. How can anyone trust someone who has attended a church like TUCC for over 20 years, then all of a sudden acts like he is a Born Again Christian?? For progressives, just bear in mind, it was a "Born Again Christian" who took this country down the primrose path that led to Iraq, poor economy, and spying on our citizenry, to name a very few.

But there is yet another pander to the Religious Right (which I contend is neither religios OR right), and that is on the issue of abortion. Yes, the man NARAL endorsed over Hillary Clinton, a long-time stalwart supporter of women and women's right to choose, has now said, ""
mental distress" should not qualify as a justification for late-term abortions, a key distinction not embraced by many supporters of abortion rights."

Oh, no he DIDN'T! Oh yes, yes he did. The following article says it all, "Obama: Mental Distress Can't Justify Late Abortion" The opening paragraph states that:
In an interview this week with "Relevant," a Christian magazine, Obama said prohibitions on late-term abortions must contain "a strict, well defined exception for the health of the mother."

So, NARAL - how do you like THEM apples?? This is the person you chose to endorse?? While I am not going to go completely indepth on this piece because it deserves attention in its own right, it is indicative of just how far Obama will go to say whatever, do whatever, be whoever, the audience wants at that moment. And see, this is the whole problem with Obama - he is a chameleon - he changes for whatever group he is addressing. He does not demonstrate ANY core values or policies or integrity. And this is why picking someone who has essentially NO record, based on a speech he may (or may not) have given 6 years ago, to a SELECT audience, as the ONLY criterion for president, is foolhardy at best. At worst, to pick a candidate because one thinks he is cool or because of his skin color is negligent, ignorant, immature, and slack. It is potentially criminal in the way he got pushed to the forefront by party insiders(I am pretty sure voter fraud, intimidation, manipulation, and theft are against the law - can I get a witness?), and the fawning by the media sure didn't help. But citizens are required to do their homework to make good choices, and too many people took an American Idol mentality into the voting booth. So, really, they deserve what they get. But WE don't deserve this. And women who need late-term abortions as a result of mental distress don't deserve this. He had the audacity to say, "
Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term

Well, gee willikers, Obama, aren't you the very same guy who said that we progressives who are pro-choice do not understand what a difficult decision having an abortion is for a woman? We do, believe you me - we do. We know that it is painful and angst-ridden. We are not pro-abortion, but pro-CHOICE, knowing full well how painful this is. But you do not think that the mental distress the WOMAN feels is one and the same with her HEALTH?? The two are inseparable - her mental condition and her physical health. So, WHO is it who does not understand how hard this is for the pregnant woman?? Huh - come to think of it, just last year, YOU claimed to udnerstand it:
"Last year, after the Supreme Court upheld a federal ban on late-term abortions, Obama said he "strongly disagreed" with the ruling because it "dramatically departs form previous precedents safeguarding the health of pregnant women."

Just more pandering to the Right. Just moving farther and farther to the right. I, for one, am not the least bit surprised by this from Obama. His Faith Based Initiatives, his change on FISA, his reframed Christianity, all designed to pander, pander, pander. What a guy.

So, SuperD's - how does it feel to be you NOW?? You still have time to reverse your incredibly poor, stupid, superficial decision to support this empty suit. No, wait, that is an insult to suits. He is worse than that. He is a mealy-mouthed, arrogant, sanctamonious, sexist, elitist, with only HIS best interests at heart. He doesn't give a damn about the American people, and our daily struggles. He cares about cutting corners, and getting himself into the highest job in the world with a minimum of effort. Once there, should he succeed, there is no telling what hole down which he will take this country. I don't want to wait for that myself, and I hope the SuperDelegates and other delegates get the intestinal fortitude to finally do the right thing, to do what they SHOULD have done long ago - jettison this guy, and support the best candidate for the job. There is still time...


carissa said...

Wow! I just caught up with this. Fantastic post.

I'd say this latest "mental distress" has pushed me over the edge, but that happened long ago. I've got some comments at my blog that make it look like BO has lost even more voters.

I agree, it's not too late for the SDs to put the brakes on this runaway train.


Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy said...

Thanks, Carissa!

And thanks for the link to your blog. I'll go check it out!

I know - even Tom Hayden,a big ol' Obama supporters, seems to be having second thoughts. I guess that's what happends when people make a completely emotional choice, or cave to peer pressure, or get sucked into the hype, and then come out of the fog. (I am going to write more on this in just a few moments...)

Glad you came by!