Obama, His Church, And One Blogger’s Opinion

First off Matt is a jerk.

Second off I do not want to be a complete Obama apologist here, but it is worth noting that he has already strongly condemned the hateful words and language that Wright used. Everyone should keep this in mind when we think about how the Wright scandal should effect our view of Obama. He has even gone so far as to say that if Wright was still the pastor at his church he would leave. What more do you want from the guy?

As I mentioned previously I really think the speech that Obama wrote and delivered a couple of weeks ago on race showed that he is possibly the first candidate in recent memory that is willing to speak to his fellow citizens like adults. The things he said in the speech were really not new to anyone who has even somewhat paid attention to the race thermostat in American culture, but they were honest words about a serious problem that politicians tend to wax right over, and patronize all of us with the silly notion that America solved its racism problem with MLK. Here is the speech which all of you should watch if you really want to get a good understanding of Obama and his views on race and theology. I might even go so far as to admonish those of us who are too often tempted to make quick assessments from soundbytes on the local news, regardless of how provactive and explosive they may be. As Christian, there is nothing I hate more than someone who will criticize Christianity, not have a clue what they are talking about, and be totally unwilling to learn or investigate and challenge their stereotypes and assumptions. Sure it may take a little work to truly listen to people and read more than just press clippings but so does anything in life that is worthwhile.

Once again I am not comfortable at all with the words Dr. Wright used, nor is Senator Obama, but as I have tried to point out here already, I understand their source and how anger has deeply distorted his theology.

Let me wade into speculation for a moment here, even though I might regret it. Obama is a politician who was a community organizer in the city of Chicago. He obviously had a deep abiding love and concern for the poor minorities who struggled mightily in his neighborhood. In many of these communities like the one Obama found himself in, the church is the galvanizing force for social good and community change. Often in black lower income areas, the church is seen not just as the dispenser of Christian knowledge, spiritual health and a little life coaching; but also a place of job training, addiction recovery, a rallying point for social injustices, and much more. This inevitably leads to situations in which many of these churches go to far and blur the lines of politics and religion in the pulpit, but then again the Moral Majority and other white prominent Christian leaders have done this also. With all of that said, I might even speculate that Obama, who had the opportunity to join the upper elite of society coming out of Harvard Law, was attracted to the James 1, Matt. 25 social justice ethic of Pastor Wright’s church more than anything else. This is not to discredit Obama’s faith in anyway but all of us choose our churches for various reasons and a major one is the community of people, sometimes this pull is even greater than the theology of the church or its leaders.

If anything I hope that this entire fiasco has gotten the race conversation going again in America, as Obama mentions in his speech. There is still deep rooted resentment and ignorance on both sides of the racial divide here in America. I am fully satisfied with the condemnation Obama made of Wright’s remarks and believe that he does not personally ascribe to a black liberation theology. Just like many people who sit in a methodist church, or reformed church, or baptist church, probably could not tell me the finer distinctives of their denomination and theology. So given that the choice will likely be between Obama and McCain I find myself still leaning toward Obama, but open to voting for McCain. Because issues such as a

1. A futile 1,000,000,000,000,000 war in Iraq is mind-boggling to me especially since we are funding the building of infrastructure for another nation while ours is crumbling.

2. Tax Cuts: McCain going against his original conviction that a massive tax cut for people making 200,000 a year or more is a stupid idea when it will force you to run a deficit, and pass debt onto future generations that do not even get to have a say. The whole tax cut idea is classic trickle down economics. The only problem with trickle down economics is the rich people tend not not let money trickle down very often, that is why they are rich. Plus if we reversed this tax cut our national budget would no longer be in deficit and we would be able to provide health care for all. So ask yourself, is giving money to people who already have a lot of it more important then health care for all, and a balanced budget? Not in my opinion.

3. The environment: While McCain is a pretty green Republican, he still is against Kyoto and would likely do little to advance the agenda of being independent of overseas oil.

4. Health Care: Even though over 59% of doctors surveyed this last week said they were in favor of some legislation that would bring health care costs under control, Republicans want to continue to think health savings accounts, and tax cuts are enough to solve the problem. Well in a nation that has over 40 million people uninsured and costs that are drastically outracing inflation that is a joke. So while I am not a full on universal health care guy (I think regulation is the best avenue to go) Obama at least has a plan so that health care is not for some, but for all who want it.

So these major reasons still have me leaning for Obama. Of course there are many things I think McCain would be better on I just think these major issues are best answered by Obama. But as Adam said I will probably vote holding my nose come November.

There now I cannot be accused of dodging the question anymore. And Matt is not a jerk just very observant.



The Problem with Picking a Candidate

South Park – Turd Sandwich vs. Giant Douche

For further explanation of the Douche/Turd Sandwich phenomenon go here.