posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 07:40 PM
My 2 bucks worth (inflation's a witch ain't it?)
First of all, I have gotten the distinct impression from, Senator Obama's discussion of his early career in The Audacity of Hope
that he joined a church not because he was ready to commit his life to Jesus Christ, but because he wanted to accomplish things in his community and
he felt he could get more done with the support of what he calls, "the historically black church" than he could without.
He was probably right about that. "Black Churches" have some interesting traits that are lacking in some other Christian institutions.
1. Their perspective of the religious life and the role of the church is shaped by different realities.
Mainstream protestant Christianity is a product of the Reformation, and focuses on getting you into Heaven without going through a corrupt church
heirarchy. The role of the "white church" if I may generalize, is to give you spiritual education so that you're not dependent on a priest, to help
you live well and embrace god's grace so that you're not dependent on indulgences or rites designed to work you out of purgatory, and to give you
fellowship so you don't keep the company of people who will drag you down.
What Senator Obama has termed "The Historically Black Church", on the other hand, never knew medieval catholicism and has been able to take
salvation by grace more or less as a given. It is more a product of an oppressed people having Christianity forced upon them in a time when most
social and political outlets were off limits to them. So their church became a social safety net and an engine of change, even of revolution, which
identifies very closely with the struggles of the Old Testament.
2. For the same reasons that it differs from European-born views of Christianity, the "Black Church" has never been banished from politics in quite
the same way.
White people wanted religion out of their politics because they realized it was used to control their politics for a long time (and vice versa).
On the other hand, White people kept on trying to use religion to control conquered peoples well after that- whether we're talking about the Spanish
conquest or the forced Christian indoctrination of African slaves, that was pretty much the rule.
And because Black people lacked a separate political outlet for quite some time, they made religion a center of organization rather than kicking it
out of politics, and it played a part in the civil rights movement. Winning battles on that front served to strengthen the black churches political
So, my interpretation is that Senator Obama has something of a strategic alliance with his church. It was a useful, perhaps even a necessary
venue for some things that needed doing, and he flat out admits that he had to supress doubts when he joined. I don't think he genuinely represents
all of the ideologies espoused by the church or its leaders. I believe he merely was sensible enough to, if I may borrow from Donnie Rumsfeld, "go to
work with the organization you have, not the one you'd like to have" and to know that turning aroud and disowning them later for any reason would be
questionable even if sincere and thus disingenuous.
Secondly, even if I am mistaken, I believe that the rammifications of having a president who sincerely agrees with Moss (and by
implication, with Wright) have been somewhat exagerrated.
Other than being horribly impolite, what is the problem with damning America for percieved wrongdoings? (unless of course Rev. Wright actually
has the power to cause America to go to hell, in which case I'd be concerned).
One of my favorite political movies is The American President, and one of my favorite lines therein is the President's reaction to the news that his
girlfriend once burned a flag at an anti-apartheid rally.
"So let's see if I've got this straight: the third story on the news tonight was that twenty years ago, somebody who I didn't know, when I
wasn't president, attended a peaceful protest at which no laws were broken, in opposition to something that so many people were against, that it
doesn't exist anymore. Out of curiousity, what was the fourth story?"
Now the obvious answer, I'm sure, is "but Obama will have the power to cause America to go to hell". True, but wouldn't it be much easier,
as President, to just make America stop doing the things that would make somebody want America to go there?
Personally, I think maybe it's time for a President who has a problem with the American Exceptionalism which has allowed us to turn a blind eye to
the fact that the "Land of the Free" has the largest empire and the largest prison system on this planet, which are a big part of what Wright was
talking about when he said God damn America.
Granted he was making his point in a vulgar and unsophisticated way, but let's face it, America would never tollerate others doing some of the things
which we believe are necessary for our own nation to do.
Whether one arrives at a better idea by using religion to step back from national bias, or by making a reasoned study of history and politics, or
whatever- I can handle that, as long as the end conclusion- in terms of policy outcomes- is sound.
So who cares about the pastor? Let's judge the merit of the influences to which Obama is subject by the policies that they cause him to
If knowing Wright is going to make Obama necessarily anti-America, shouldn't Clinton's little shooting trips have made her necessarily pro-gun? So
much for that, right, no matter how much she might try to BS the people of Pennsylvania about it.