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Old 02-07-2008, 05:16 PM   #46
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl


Maybe. My friend's an atheist, and I'm non-religious. We noticed it immediately. I was put off by it the same way I'm put off by Bush's Biblical references in speeches. I'm NOT comparing Obama to Bush in any way, but some people just really don't want religious symbolism mixed with politics, and are sensitive to it.
I don't know. Religion is a big part of many people's lives here in the United States. It would be a big disservice to completely denounce it in public. Obama spends a whole chapter discussing that in his book "The Audacity of Hope". I'm a Christian but not religious, and I'm certainly not a conservative in any sense of the word in our current political climate. That being said, I think it's a good thing when a politican such as Obama claims to have a personal faith and is willing to talk about it and how it affects his life personally and politically. Obama believes his religious convictions are part of what helped shape his desire to work for the common good and equality through civil rights, education, healthcare, environmental policy, war policy, economic practices, etc. Believing in and working for equality and justice in those areas certainly is not confined to a religious tradition (and is lacking in many today, especially among those of us who claim to be Christians). I know many atheists and agnostic individuals who put most of the Christians I know to shame when it comes to equality and justice for every one. Their desire comes simply from their values and not from their faith in God, obviously. I would be just as apt to support one of them hypothetically running for office. If they chose to talk about how their morals and values in this area were shaped apart from God, I wouldn't be offended even though I feel that mine do come from Him. Equality and justice are always right and I'm glad people are willing to stand up and work for them regardless of the source of their desire to take action. I think it would be incorrect to assume that Obama is using "religious symbolism" simply to attract voters, or that he or any candidate should shy away from talking about their personal faith and how it moves them to action in the fight for freedom, equality, and justic. That is far different than, say, Mike Huckabee who claims that he wants to change the Constitution to be in line with The Bible. That would be introducing a specific religion into government policy and subjecting those who don't practice it to be forced into following it. That is wrong, and that is how religion and especially Christianity, gets perverted and hijacked by people who don't understand the freedoms upon which our country was founded.
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:18 PM   #47
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511

but i don't get the aggressiveness that i got from Bush, and i don't see his faith as being as exclusive as Bush's faith.
...
i feel fairly certain he's not going to excuse hate speech as nothing more than religious expression.
Oh, I agree with you. I don't actually even know anything about Obama's religious beliefs so it's not that I feel he's injecting religion into his campaign. It's this religious-like fervor surrounding him, it's what people are projecting onto him. I just think he could do a little more to tone that down. As I've said before, I like Obama just fine. Not my first choice, but he seems like a very fine person.
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:28 PM   #48
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2isthebest

I think it would be incorrect to assume that Obama is using "religious symbolism" simply to attract voters,
Never said he was. I have no idea if what I saw was intentional or purely coincidental. But I noticed it and was turned off. That's all I'm saying.
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:30 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511




i feel this way too. there aren't enough eyerolling emoticons to express my irritation when the Democrats did their faith panderthon last fall. i really don't care about a politicians faith in the slightest, right up until he starts to use that faith as either a rationale for policy or a rationale to vote for him. then it matters.

Obama has been a bit too religious for my taste. i just don't see what it has to do with anything at all. but i don't get the aggressiveness that i got from Bush, and i don't see his faith as being as exclusive as Bush's faith.

but i'm dancing around this issue. so i'll spell it out. it's ugly, but its how i feel. it seems that whenever anyone paints themselves as "religious" in any sort of public forum, that's just code for anti-choice/anti-gay. and the implication being that those who are pro-choice/pro-gay cannot possibly be authentically religious. aside from the whole separation of church and state thing, it strikes me that politicians only introduce their "personal religious convictions" when they're dressing up some kind of institutionalized hate speech or sucking up to faith-based groups (some of whom do good work, it must be said). so it's not just the intellectual desire to have faith and politics operating in two separate spheres, but it's been the very lived in reality of the past 20 years, and especially the past 8, that Christian = gay hater.

and so, in so many words, i find Obama's fairly overt faith much more comforting because i feel fairly certain he's not going to excuse hate speech as nothing more than religious expression. and he's the only candidate who mentions gay people in his stump speech. and he's walked into african-american churches and chided them for their homophobia and blamed them for the long suffering gay black male.
I agree. It seems as though the candidates from both parties have to "Jesus it up" during elections if they want to gain support from even moderately religious individuals. I think it's extremely unfair to back them into that corner if it doesn't truly line up with their beliefs and is a mockery of their First Amendment rights. I'm just as frusturated and angry as you are, Irvine, with the co-opting of faith to be a single-minded, conforming stance on political issues. It's wrong, and it paints those of us like myself who are Christians with vastly different political beliefs from the norm as bad. It's a cruel form of intimidation by some powerful Christians on the right to get their hate-filled power-trip agendas legalized. One of the greatest tragedies in faith and politics for me is the fact that people of personal faith who don't consider themselves part of that movement don't have the opportunities to show how our faith wants to unite people, not divide them, how we want equal rights in every area for all people. I regret that because of the selfishness and hatred of one group of people, we can't have an honest dialogue about the ability of church and state to remain separate, while faith can still play an active role in decision-making for the advancement of everyone.
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:31 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl


Never said he was. I have no idea if what I saw was intentional or purely coincidental. But I noticed it and was turned off. That's all I'm saying.
I'm sorry! I didn't mean to insinuate that you personally thought he was injecting religious symbolism. I was thinking that perhaps many people from all parts of the religious spectrum saw that speech and took it that way. I should've been more clear.
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:35 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2isthebest


It seems as though the candidates from both parties have to "Jesus it up" during elections if they want to gain support from even moderately religious individuals.
This is the unfortunate reality.
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:43 PM   #52
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just to add, i don't want to say that in the real world i automatically think that someone who's really into their Christianity is going to hate me. not at all, and that's something i've learned from FYM.

but when a Republican starts to talk about their faith, yes, that's what i automatically begin to think. fair or not, that's been the experience of the past 7 years.
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:43 PM   #53
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl


This is the unfortunate reality.
why?

the majority of americans consider themselves "Christian". why wouldn't a politician's rhetoric tap into this?
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Old 02-07-2008, 05:56 PM   #54
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Originally posted by MaxFisher


why?

the majority of americans consider themselves "Christian". why wouldn't a politician's rhetoric tap into this?
There's a big difference in trying to relate to a particular group and finding common ground than in assimilating oneself into their beliefs solely to win votes. To be fair, there's many special interest groups and other voting blocs that candidates often align themselves with regardless of their personal beliefs, but the evangelical conservative voters are definitely the loudest and most vocal of them all.
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:03 PM   #55
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After doing a bit more research, I grow increasingly turned off. This is from some of Obama's campaign literature:



Is he the opposite side of the same George Bush coin?

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2...-on-the-stump/

Early Wednesday evening, Senator Barack Obama entered the sanctuary of the St. James United Methodist Church in Darlington to the strains of a gospel singer chanting, “He is able. I know he is able,” as the congregation clapped and sang along. Addressing the overflowing crowd, Mr. Obama compared his fund-raising coffers to a collection plate and talked about a bit of Scripture that a woman had passed him earlier in the day. “That kind of spirit truly lifts us up,” he said, asking for prayers as well as votes.

As Mr. Obama traveled around South Carolina this week before Saturday’s Democratic primary, his campaign took on a Christian glow, with shout-outs to Jesus by the candidate, warm-ups by gospel choirs, and glossy leaflets that showed Mr. Obama speaking from a pulpit and clasping hands with a minister, his head bowed in prayer. “Answering the Call,” one piece of literature said in large type. “Committed Christian,” said another —language a bit reminiscent of the kind Mike Huckabee, a Baptist pastor, used to win the Republican Iowa caucus.

Here and everywhere else, Mr. Obama is countering false claims that he is a Muslim. But even if those rumors never circulated, say campaign officials, Mr. Obama’s appearances would look and sound the same way in this state, where 64 percent of Democrats attend church a week (nationally, 47 percent of Americans do).

“One of the principles of community organizing is meeting people where they are, and in South Carolina, that means talking about faith and meeting people at their pew,” said Kevin Griffis, the campaign’s communications director for the state. In recent months, the Obama campaign has held “faith forums” in every county, in which voters heard about Mr. Obama’s convictions but also discussed their own. (Voters of all religious backgrounds were welcome, and a few stray Jews showed up).

Mr. Obama has written extensively about searching for a racial identity when he was younger, and finding it, among other places, in the African American church. Many of his campaign appearances this week were in front of mostly black audiences, some of whom murmured his stump lines back at him in call-and-response approval. During the speeches, bits of encouragement rose up from the crowd: an amen here, a “Thank you, Jesus!” there. By Thursday night, Mr. Obama seemed to be luxuriating in the moment, bantering with audiences and stretching out his stump speech—which usually lasts 40 minutes or so—well beyond the hour mark.

“Christianity is the basis of all human beings,” said Lanette Battle, a manicurist who came to Wednesday night’s event in Dillon wearing a large beaded cross alongside a “Hot Chicks Love Obama” button.

On Sunday, Mr. Obama delivered a speech-cum-sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Ga. in which he implicitly compared himself to Martin Luther King Jr. Along with several other voters interviewed this week, Ms. Battle said the candidate reminded her of the reverend and civil rights leader.

“I’m sitting there thinking to myself, thank God for Obama,” she said.

At the same event, Brittnay Davis, a former air force pilot trying to decide between Mr. Obama and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, seemed annoyed at the overtly religious appeals. “This is not good,” she said, gesturing at a leaflet depicting Mr. Obama staring soulfully from a pulpit, a large cross and a stained-glass window behind him. “I want to know something other than that,” she said, asking when the candidate would start talking about military issues.

But campaign officials say that Mr. Obama, who has argued that the Democratic party should not surrender religious votes to Republican candidates, will continue to pitch himself to religious voters as he moves through the Feb. 5 primary states.

“I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ,” Mr. Obama told Christianity Today, in one of several interviews this week with the Christian media. “I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life.”
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:11 PM   #56
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In regards to the article joyfulgirl just posted, I still don't see an issue with that, personally. He's meeting that particular group of people where they're at as the article says and certainly affirming his own beliefs. That still has nothing to do with trying to have his beliefs legislated as law or attempting to merge church and state as the religious right wants to do.
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:13 PM   #57
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Yeah, I don't see anything wrong with it and I'm very much not a religious type. Just like it doesn't bother me that Bill Clinton spent the entire month of January in black churches.

There is a difference between the faith of somebody like Obama or Clinton or even John McCain or my grandmother, and that of political Christians who attempt to legislate their beliefs. I am not bothered in the slightest by intensely religious people, so long as they don't start infusing that into our statutes.
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:35 PM   #58
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl
Is he the opposite side of the same George Bush coin?

http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2...-on-the-stump/
Well, considering there's also an underground current of "he's a muslim, oh and he refused to swear in on the Bible" floating around, I don't blame him for being explicit in stating his religious convictions to those who would care.
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:43 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
just to add, i don't want to say that in the real world i automatically think that someone who's really into their Christianity is going to hate me. not at all, and that's something i've learned from FYM.

but when a Republican starts to talk about their faith, yes, that's what i automatically begin to think. fair or not, that's been the experience of the past 7 years.

I can understand where you're coming from. As an FYI, Obama's denomination is VERY similar to my own, and I have some familiarity with it. The UCC is very accepting of homosexuals, and even ordains gays and lesbians. Obama mentioned this I believe in the most recent debate.

Democrats use their faith as a cause for social justice for the downtrodden, in my view Republicans use it in a more narrow way.

I hope this brings a little more comfort to you
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:47 PM   #60
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Originally posted by Diemen


Well, considering there's also an underground current of "he's a muslim, oh and he refused to swear in on the Bible" floating around, I don't blame him for being explicit in stating his religious convictions to those who would care.
The ignorance of some people is ridiculous. Apparently logic and reason aren't held in high esteem by a lot of people. "Obama" sounds like "Osama" =Muslim=bad person

As for not swearing in on The Bible, Obama clearly did and it's easily seen in the photo of him being certain. There was a Muslim congressman from Minnesota that asked to be sworn in with the Qur'an which is perfectly legal according to the Constitution and should be in a country with freedom of religion. People piss me off sometimes.
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