Saturday, March 15, 2008

Obama's Religion

The present controversy over the relationship of Barack Obama with his bellicose former pastor has generated more heat than light. Certainly, the strident anti-Americanism of the cleric creates one problem for the presidential candidate, but that is only one aspect of the trouble this causes for him. Most Americans, whether liberal or conservative in their beliefs, tend to have a certain view of how ministers speak and behave. Even leaving aside the fact that the statement was directed against their country, most would be shocked to hear their ministers say G** D*** anything. Regardless of the particular object being cursed, the rhetoric sounds extreme to the average person.

Leaving that aside, it was interesting yesterday to hear an interview between Sean Hannity and Jack Kemp. Mr. Hannity, never known for the fairness of his interviewing style, tried unsuccessfully to box the typically civil Mr. Kemp into a corner. Mr. Hannity, as one might expect, sees this as a smoking gun that destroys Sen. Obama's candidacy. Mr. Kemp argued that certainly the Senator needed to distance himself from the radical minister, but said that he hoped that the campaign would be decided on issues, not associations.

Meanwhile, Paul Mirengoff has an informative post on the controversy, in which he suggests that Rev. Wright's embrace of liberation theology merits examination with regard to Sen. Obama's philosophy. That would seem to be fair. It has been some years since The Oracle has read any liberation theology, and most of what I read was in a Latin American context (contextualization is important with regard to liberation theology, as it has been embraced in somewhat differing ways by Latinos, feminists, blacks, and other groups), but it can generally be described as an attempt to fuse Marxism with the language of the gospels. It is also suffused with a vehement hostility toward the west and western values, so the type of rhetoric used by the Chicago reverend is not all that surprising in that context, though it is still reprehensible.

Examining religious views is always touchy business in American politics. The U.S. Constitution itself declares that there must be no religious test for holding office. But those who insist on religion being an entirely private thing fail to recognize that one's religious views form a portion of a person's overall philosophy of life. What one might call "common sense" is the need of the day here. Unfortunately, we are unlikely to get it. Frankly, such sense is not all that common in our current political environment.


Blogger A Christian Prophet said...

It's not about the pastor. If Obama's THEOLOGY is seen for what it is the election is lost. See:

5:44 PM  

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