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MaxFisher 02-07-2008 01:08 PM

The Cult of Obama
 
And Obama Wept
February 07, 2008 9:43 AM

https://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpu...bama-wept.html

Inspiration is nice. But some folks seem to be getting out of hand.

It's as if Tom Daschle descended from on high saying, "Be not afraid; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: for there is born to you this day in the city of Chicago a Savior, who is Barack the Democrat."

Obama supporter Kathleen Geier writes that she's "getting increasingly weirded out by some of Obama's supporters. On listservs I'm on, some people who should know better – hard-bitten, not-so-young cynics, even – are gushing about Barack…

Describing various encounters with Obama supporters, she writes, "Excuse me, but this sounds more like a cult than a political campaign. The language used here is the language of evangelical Christianity – the Obama volunteers speak of 'coming to Obama' in the same way born-again Christians talk about 'coming to Jesus.'...So I say, we should all get a grip, stop all this unseemly mooning over Barack, see him and the political landscape he is a part of in a cooler, clearer, and more realistic light, and get to work."

Joe Klein, writing at Time, notes "something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism" he sees in Obama's Super Tuesday speech.

"We are the ones we've been waiting for," Obama said. "This time can be different because this campaign for the presidency of the United States of America is different. It's different not because of me. It's different because of you."

Says Klein: "That is not just maddeningly vague but also disingenuous: the campaign is entirely about Obama and his ability to inspire. Rather than focusing on any specific issue or cause — other than an amorphous desire for change — the message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is. “

The always interesting James Wolcott writes that "(p)erhaps it's my atheism at work but I found myself increasingly wary of and resistant to the salvational fervor of the Obama campaign, the idealistic zeal divorced from any particular policy or cause and chariot-driven by pure euphoria. I can picture President Hillary in the White House dealing with a recalcitrant Republican faction; I can't picture President Obama in the same role because his summons to history and call to hope seems to transcend legislative maneuvers and horse-trading; his charisma is on a more ethereal plane, and I don't look to politics for transcendence and self-certification."

Then there's MSNBC's Chris Matthews who tells Felix Gillette in the New York Observer, “I’ve been following politics since I was about 5. I’ve never seen anything like this. This is bigger than Kennedy. [Obama] comes along, and he seems to have the answers. This is the New Testament."

And behold, Obama met them and greeted them. And they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.

The Holy Season of Lent is upon us. Can Obama worshippers try to give up their Helter-Skelter cult-ish qualities for a few weeks?

At least until Easter, or the Pennsylvania primary, whichever comes first...

- jpt

UPDATE: Let me be clear: I'm not saying there shouldn't be enthusiasm in politics. I'm merely touching on the fact that some Obama supporters' exhuberance seems to be getting a little out of hand. Obama himself joked about this at a Hollywood fundraiser, as noted in Men's Vogue:

“When Morgan Freeman comes over to greet Obama, the senator begins bowing down both hands in worship. ‘This guy was president before I was,’ says Obama, referring to Freeman's turn in Deep Impact and, clearly, getting a little ahead of his own bio. Next, a nod to Bruce Almighty: ‘This guy was God before I was.’”

Irvine511 02-07-2008 01:47 PM

this is an interesting article, though i think it's more about the followers than the candidate who has gotten specific at various points about his policies especially in the last debate in Los Angeles.

this is what it comes down to for me. i'm not voting for a Republican. no way. the party thinks war is just another diplomatic tool, they are contemptuous of the rest of the world, and they hate me and wish upon me a social death. i can't vote for the party on a national ticket. end of story.

so what's the difference between Hillary and Obama? when it comes to policy, not a whole lot. sure, there are minor differences in health care and, say, which specific world leaders one would talk to and the other would not. but, generally speaking, they're in pretty much the same place and advocating incremental liberalism.

i don't doubt his brains, and i certainly admire his judgment. and judgment, as we have seen, certainly does trump experience. i have also been -- and everyone has to be -- extraordinarily impressed by his campaign. his money comes from hundreds of thousands of small donations, not from the ultra-powerful rolodex sitting on Hillary's desk. he's run a national campaign and succeeded against the most formidable name in the Democratic party, and a woman who's proven her skills over the course of the campaign as well. he's quite obviously been a brilliant manager, and has quite obviously picked brilliant people to run a campaign that has been tough, but never nasty (as opposed to Hillary).

that's enough for me. i feel he's more than qualified. politics isn't about who understands the issues better or has more experience, but about who can get other people to do what they want. about who is going to be more effective. for all of Hillary's obvious mastery of policy details, a wonk isn't as effective as a Great Communicator. i do think the Reagan comparisons are apt. Reagan was, arguably, less astute than Obama on an intellectual level, but he could get people to do what he wanted and he framed the debates in brilliant ways. this is what Obama has done, and what i expect him to do. i have much respect for Hillary Clinton. but i don't think she's going to be as effective getting legislation passed. there are going to be elements in Congress who would just as soon be caught tapping toes in the stall as they would be agreeing with Hillary Rodham Clinton. it's insane, it's not fair, but if we're going to clean up this horror show of a mess Bush has left, we're going to need someone who focuses on commonalities instead of differences, of points of union than points of dispute, and inspires people to work towards some sense of common good than to work to further their own ideological goals.

and i am desperate to get beyond the Baby Boom.

MaxFisher 02-07-2008 02:04 PM

By saying the GOP "hates" you, I assume you're refering to your sexual orientation. The majority of my family and friends are Republicans and none of them "HATES" gays. I know the media likes to portray all us conservatives as Westboro Baptist types but the vast majority of us are not.

I keep waiting for Obama to bring more substance to his campaign but all I hear is a lot of fawning over his speaking skills and persona. So far his popularity seems based on personality and charisma. When he or his followers are asked what type of change he'll bring the answer is typcially something along the lines of "real change!". :confused:

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by MaxFisher


I keep waiting for Obama to bring more substance to his campaign but all I hear is a lot of fawning over his speaking skills and persona. So far his popularity seems based on personality and charisma. When he or his followers are asked what type of change he'll bring the answer is typcially something along the lines of "real change!". :confused:

I don't think many of the candidates on either side have really laid out their policies and plans on a national scale yet, unless you count their brief discussions in the debates. They've all laid out what they would like to see happen in terms of legislation and policy-making on their websites, though. That's why I've decided to support Obama. I did research on him and other candidates and after looking at his ideas and plans he would hope to be able to put into practice if elected, I decided that he's the best candidate for the job.

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 02:14 PM

And for the record, if any politician, or person for that matter, feels that a person should not have the same rights as they do because of the gender they're attracted to, I don't see how that could be called anything but "hate." It's no different than black citizens who were denied the rights and freedoms of whites 40+ years ago. If one doesn't think a feeling of hatred is what allowed that to continue for all that time (and allows it to continue on a smaller, but still unacceptable level today) I would question his or her understanding of life in general.

Irvine511 02-07-2008 02:14 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by MaxFisher
By saying the GOP "hates" you, I assume you're refering to your sexual orientation. The majority of my family and friends are Republicans and none of them "HATES" gays. I know the media likes to portray all us conservatives as Westboro Baptist types but the vast majority of us are not.



when you treat me as less than a full citizen, when you compare me to pedophiles and think that my relationship is no different then bestiality, and when you say that it's your right of religious expression that allows you to call me variations of "abomination" and other buzz words like "lifestyle" and that you just "disagree," what other conclusions am i to draw?

(and i mean the collective "you" not you in particular)

so, show me you don't hate me by granting me full citizenship. and stop voting for people who are beholden to people who actually do hate me. it's far too easy to say that the real haters are the Fred Phelps of the world, and that everyone else is absolved and are just doin' what the bible says.

ntalwar 02-07-2008 02:24 PM

This article is not surprising, and seems to be another attempt by the media to label or dismiss Obama. A lot of his support comes from those who reject the establishment (which includes the MSM).

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 02:30 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by ntalwar
This article is not surprising, and seems to be another attempt by the media to label or dismiss Obama. A lot of his support comes from those who reject the establishment (which includes the MSM).

I agree. Although, it seems to have served him extremely well so far, so I encourage them to keep on knocking him. It only garners more support for his campaign.

2861U2 02-07-2008 02:31 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by ntalwar
This article is not surprising, and seems to be another attempt by the media to label or dismiss Obama. A lot of his support comes from those who reject the establishment (which includes the MSM).
What? The media is actively rooting for Obama.

U2DMfan 02-07-2008 02:35 PM

If his supporters want to proclaim him Jesus and JFK all rolled up into one, let them. I think it just shows their lack of perspective.

What should bother people, even Obama supporters is that the media is so absolutely and obviously in the tank for this guy, I think that at least deserves some heavy criticism.

Irvine511 02-07-2008 02:45 PM

i think it's a stretch to say that the media actually *wants* Obama to win -- they don't. they don't have an opinion. they're the media. Anderson Cooper might vote a specific way, but CNN does not care who wins.

i do think the media is fascinated by him. and i think the reason why is that, yes, he is a new face in many ways, and, yes, his speeches are among the most stirring in the past 30 years. so i think this results in commentators being fascinated by him in a way that creaky known quantities like Hillary or McCain are not.

this is how the media works. it is media. there is no organized conspiracy at the networks to get Obama elected president (like there was at Fox to get Bush elected president -- that, by the way, is documented, and Roger Ailes was long on the Bush family payroll) and more that he simply translates very well on camera and he's able to provide something fresh and new to even grizzled and jaded pundits who've been through this a million times before and have a pretty good understanding of how the political apparatus works.

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 02:53 PM

I would echo Irvine. In the Democratic race, Obama is still the underdog. He's running against, as has been stated numerous times, one of the most recognized names in U.S. political history. The media knows that we as a culture love to root for the little guy. They're playing to that facet of society in order to get big ratings. Clearly, Obama has been gaining on Clinton in a huge way, but he's still got a long way to go in demonstrating his capabilities to lead the nation. The media is still portraying themselves as skeptical of his chance to get the nomination, hence all the shock and hoopla over all of his victories thus far.

Irvine511 02-07-2008 03:00 PM

this is also why Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960. he just looked better on TV. it's how it is, and sobbing about some sort of "liberal" media -- which is a fabrication -- really isn't a good way to deal with reality and to support your candidate.

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 03:03 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Irvine511
this is also why Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960. he just looked better on TV. it's how it is, and sobbing about some sort of "liberal" media -- which is a fabrication -- really isn't a good way to deal with reality and to support your candidate.
On a completely unrelated note, thank God Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960. I don't even want to think of what might've happened if Nixon was president during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Irvine511 02-07-2008 03:12 PM

honestly, my worry about Obama is safety.

it really is.

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 03:13 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Irvine511
honestly, my worry about Obama is safety.

it really is.

Safety, in terms of National Security?

MrsSpringsteen 02-07-2008 03:16 PM

Quote:

The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is.
I agree with that, and that's my only problem with it.

The media and some of his supporters are carried away in their worship of him, if he is the candidate I hope both will get past all of that and start demanding more of him and his campaign. There's no doubt in my mind that the media has been tougher on Senator Clinton than they have on him.

I've said it here before, but he has a long way to go before he can be compared to John Kennedy. If I were him I would reject that unless and until I could live up to it.

U2DMfan 02-07-2008 03:20 PM

Media in general these days struggles to be objective because people 'pay' to see, read and hear opinions. News in the political realm these days just naturally bleeds over into editorialsim.

It's not a conspiracy, generally speaking they are just sympathetic to him.

If that's because of ideaology or because he's the hottest story to sell, it doesn't change the fact that he's been given all but a free pass.

Imagine Obama getting the same coverage that Mitt Romney has received, this place would be coming off the hinges.

I don't beleive in a large liberal media bias because, to a right winger, the truth often has a liberal tilt. What I think is a pretty objective answer is that the media will flock to the most sensational story. If they happen to be caught up in a storm of inspiration (inspired by ideaology or excitement) then I think it's just compounded. I think in this case, it exists beyond any conspiracy of any kind.

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen


I agree with that, and that's my only problem with it.

The media and some of his supporters are carried away in their worship of him, if he is the candidate I hope both will get past all of that and start demanding more of him and his campaign. There's no doubt in my mind that the media has been tougher on Senator Clinton than they have on him.

I've said it here before, but he has a long way to go before he can be compared to John Kennedy. If I were him I would reject that unless and until I could live up to it.

I agree also. Blind worship of him or any politician is wrong. Although, I think it's important to note that Obama hasn't perpetuated or aligned himself with these particular statements. He, like any candidate, can't really control how his supporters and detractrors respond to him. Obama, in every speech and interview I've read or seen with him has said he came as the underdog and still is. He believes he has the ability to win the campaign, which is an essential part of being a candidate, but I've yet to see him trying to paint himself as the next Kennedy or even the front-runner in this race.

MrsSpringsteen 02-07-2008 03:26 PM

I know that he's not painting himself as the next Kennedy, I would never say he's doing that. But he approves the messages like they all say, and that Caroline Kennedy commercial certainly conveys that message.

U2DMfan 02-07-2008 03:36 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Irvine511
this is also why Kennedy beat Nixon in 1960. he just looked better on TV. it's how it is, and sobbing about some sort of "liberal" media -- which is a fabrication -- really isn't a good way to deal with reality and to support your candidate.
My dad told me just the other day that my grandmother voted for Kennedy because he was better looking.

Anyhow, for me this is not about liberal media.
I see a bias when only talking about the Dems.

These generalities are never good because there are always plenty of exceptions. I use 'media' for sake of ease, what I mean is a decent chunk of the media. Mostly I'm talking about certain blogs, websites and most specifically MSNBC and CNN.

Studies should be taken for what they are worth (up to each individual) but there have been at least two studies that have shown that Obama gets a lot more favorable coverage than Clinton. They also show both Dems get favorable coverage more often than any Reps, so I'm sure this will not get much credibility around here. As far as comparing similar ideaologies, what exactly would be the natural bias? Pro-Clinton? Hardly. There isn't much of anything Pro-Clinton anywhere these days but in a voting booth.

I just want to make clear, because I'm pro-Clinton, that I don't think any of this is in any way the fault of Obama and perhaps because I'm sympathetic to her, things seem to magnify themselves. I'd still argue of a pro-Obama bias, even in light of this.

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 03:45 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
I know that he's not painting himself as the next Kennedy, I would never say he's doing that. But he approves the messages like they all say, and that Caroline Kennedy commercial certainly conveys that message.
I haven't seen the commerical you're talking about, but I do know that in the op-ed piece that Caroline wrote she really talked Obama up and compared him to her father. Obama, I'm sure, could ask her to tone down the comparisons, but in the cutthroat culture of politics that our country has fostered it's almost impossible to win without this often unwarranted high praise. I blame us as voters moreso that I would any candidate for that.

ntalwar 02-07-2008 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by 2861U2


What? The media is actively rooting for Obama.

Not really - I've seen attempts to marginalize him as the "black candidate" and debates where he gets tougher questions than say, Hillary.

MrsSpringsteen 02-07-2008 03:50 PM

Well the Kennedys are from MA and Senator Clinton won MA, so it didn't work in MA. It's not just the Kennedy thing. I like the man VERY much but it's easy to get swept away by the idea of a person vs the reality. I've done it often enough myself to know, not about politicians but it is a similar concept.

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 03:57 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
Well the Kennedys are from MA and Senator Clinton won MA, so it didn't work in MA. It's not just the Kennedy thing. I like the man VERY much but it's easy to get swept away by the idea of a person vs the reality. I've done it often enough myself to know, not about politicians but it is a similar concept.
You hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, I think that's the case for a large number of American voters. Most people are just too wrapped up in their cute suburban lives to pay attention to the real issues in this country and find out where the candidates stand on them. Then, when it comes to vote they pick the person they like the best as though they're voting for "Most Popular" back in 12th grade. It's not a wonder real change is difficult to effect in our country.

Irvine511 02-07-2008 03:57 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by U2isthebest


Safety, in terms of National Security?



his own personal safety.

phillyfan26 02-07-2008 03:58 PM

How so?

corianderstem 02-07-2008 03:59 PM

I saw elsewhere on the 'net people expressing concerns that Obama would be likely to be assassinated.

Maybe I'm too naive and rosy-eyed, but I don't see it as that big of a concern.

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 04:00 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Irvine511




his own personal safety.

I actually have had that thought cross my mind too, but I'm hoping we have much better security for our presidents now than we did at that time. I think the Kennedy assassanation really woke the country and the government up to the fact that our leaders are far from invincible.

anitram 02-07-2008 04:03 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by Irvine511

his own personal safety.

When people start bringing up RFK, I get this uneasy feeling too.

Irvine511 02-07-2008 04:09 PM

there's a reason why Colin Powell's wife was against him running for higher office.

U2democrat 02-07-2008 04:20 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by anitram


When people start bringing up RFK, I get this uneasy feeling too.

My parents and I are the same way. I don't think the country could handle another devastating loss like that.

Though, Secret Service for Presidential candidates started the day after RFK was killed. :sigh:

Go Obama :rockon:

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 04:25 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by U2democrat


My parents and I are the same way. I don't think the country could handle another devastating loss like that.

Though, Secret Service for Presidential candidates started the day after RFK was killed. :sigh:

Go Obama :rockon:


You learn something new every day.:ohmy: I thought Secret Service for candidates was still a relatively new practice. It's sad that it took that for it to happen.:sad: I still wonder about how much better off our country would probably be if the Kennedys hadn't been assassinated.

joyfulgirl 02-07-2008 04:41 PM

A friend who enthusiastically voted for Obama on Tuesday told me that when she was watching the returns that night and Obama gave his speech, she was very disturbed by the appearance of an all-black choir behind him. It wasn't actually an all-black choir of course, but it looked like one (I had noticed the same thing). We both found it really off-putting. Obama should deflect that as much as possible.

corianderstem 02-07-2008 04:50 PM

Why did you find it offputting? And deflect what?

I don't think I understand what you're saying there.

joyfulgirl 02-07-2008 04:53 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by corianderstem
Why did you find it offputting? And deflect what?

I don't think I understand what you're saying there.

The sort of religious-like fervor surrounding him. He can't help how people respond to him but he doesn't have to encourage it by appearing to be a preacher in front of a choir. I'm basically saying, I agree with a lot of the article that Max posted.

anitram 02-07-2008 04:57 PM

I watched that speech and it never occurred to me that there was a quasi-choir behind him. I'd be willing to bet that 95% of people didn't either. :shrug:

Irvine511 02-07-2008 04:59 PM

my father was in Chicago on Tuesday night, and he had this to say (please forgive his "U-2"):



[q]Being in Chicago last evening was most interesting. Obama's headquarters are located one floor above us in an office building on Michigan Ave. I stayed at the Hyatt Regency, just across the street, and the grand ballroom became the site for his post ballot counting speech. we had dinner and then stopped by the ballroom, but learned he was not going to speak for at least an hour or more (depended on Hilary - he wanted her to go first)). I went back about 10:30 PM and went to the "celebration'. Of note, you did not need a ticket, promise to pledge $$, or be staff or member of the press to attend - just come in ( but $2 to check your coat), and pass through not too rigorous a security check . The crowd on the stage seemed like a well orchestrated diverse group - but no more diverse than the rest of the audience, some standing for 2 or more hours to hear him speak - young and old African Americans, Hispanics, some Asians, young and old caucasian men and women,college students and young volunteers. Jessie Jackson walked by, as did Cornell West. A few other observations :


* when Hilary was giving her speech on CNN, at first they put her on mute. And when the volume returned,there were multiple cheers/jeers of 'no you can't.. no you can't"
* one supporter standing behind me commented - "they will never make a song from one of her speeches - flat and drab"
* Obama was introduced by Dick Durbin, senior sneator from Illinois - while wating for Obama, the music was " beautiful day " by U-2
* Obama began by first acknowledging the death of several people in Tenn and GA from the tornados..then moved to his basic speech about change
* a few lines I remember in particular : " we/you are who we have been waiting for all these years to create change" . " what began as a whisper one year ago on the steps of the Illinois state house is now a chorus heard round the nation" " the more experience one has in Washington the greater the chance you cannot create change", and to think, his speech writer is only 26...........
* he ended with a story about his early days working in the south end of Chicago, and that for his first community meeting, no one showed up...... his staff was crushed, but he was able to keep his volunteers and staff working and finally they made progress in basic issues such as food, housing, education and alternatives to life on the street........

I left thinking he might just be too good to be true......should be an interesting next month or two............and security needs to be better........

[/q]

corianderstem 02-07-2008 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by joyfulgirl
The sort of religious-like fervor surrounding him. He can't help how people respond to him but he doesn't have to encourage it by appearing to be a preacher in front of a choir.
Gotcha. Thanks for clarifying.

joyfulgirl 02-07-2008 05:01 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by anitram
I watched that speech and it never occurred to me that there was a quasi-choir behind him. I'd be willing to bet that 95% of people didn't either. :shrug:
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. :shrug:

U2democrat 02-07-2008 05:03 PM

I didn't notice that either. This is the first I've heard of anyone commenting on it.


Thanks for sharing your Dad's experience, Irvine. I'll be seeing both Clinton and Obama Saturday evening and will share my experience as well :up:

joyfulgirl 02-07-2008 05:04 PM

Well, all I can say is that it was as obvious to us as the ad in which Huckabee's in front of the windowpane/cross.

U2democrat 02-07-2008 05:06 PM

I was oblivious to that too until it was pointed out :lol:

joyfulgirl 02-07-2008 05:08 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by U2democrat
I was oblivious to that too until it was pointed out :lol:
I didn't notice Janet Jackson's breast at the Superbowl even though I was riveted to the performance. :lol:

Irvine511 02-07-2008 05:09 PM

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. :shrug:



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.

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 05:16 PM

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. :shrug:

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.

joyfulgirl 02-07-2008 05:18 PM

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.

joyfulgirl 02-07-2008 05:28 PM

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.

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 05:30 PM

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.

U2isthebest 02-07-2008 05:31 PM

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.:reject:


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