Obama speaking about his religion

Yesterday a diary was posted here attacking Barack Obama for supposedly being anti-Christian and anti-Jewish. These charges are as lacking in documentation as other charges that Obama is a radical Muslim or a black separatist. Media Matters has done an admirable job in showing how little there is to those attacks, but that only helps if someone is willing to question others who jump to their conclusions.

The attack yesterday was based on a YouTube video by a Muslim who likes that Obama accepts pluralism. That video included a few sentences from a 40-minute keynote address Barack Obama gave at the Sojourner's Pentecost conference in 2006. Audio of that speech can be found here. Free registration may be required to hear it. It's clear from the entire speech what brief snippets from it meant, certainly nothing anti-Christian or anti-Jewish.

There used to be audio at that site from Hillary Clinton speaking at the same conference. Several other Democrats spoke there as well as Republicans Sam Brownback and Rick Santorum. Clinton and Obama both gave similar perspectives from their liberal Christianity. If either atheists or Bible-believing Christians wish to attack them for that, they can do so in a very tired, self-centered way. I remember reading an attack like that at some point in 2007 claiming there was something suspicious about Hillary Clinton being in a Bible study with Sam Brownback on Capitol Hill. Yes, liberal Christians are still Christians, and so is Barack Obama. If someone has a problem with that, then they're going to have the same problem with many Democratic candidates.

Religion is not a simple subject to discuss. It's easy to lift a sentence out of context and pretend it means the exact opposite of its obvious meaning when heard in context. It's easy to play guilt by association with religion. For those who are determined to hate someone, religion provides rich fodder.

It doesn't have to be like this. The faith of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama gives some pointers about that.

Tags: Barack Obama, religion (all tags)

Comments

10 Comments

What I'd like to know

Is why a UCC member is saying his religion is against gay marriage.

by sinclair 2008-02-24 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: What I'd like to know

I don't know that Obama says his religion is against gay marriage. I know from their websites or elsewhere that Obama, Clinton, and Edwards are all against government making gay marriage equal to heterosexual marriage, even though they favor civil unions that have the same privileges as marriage. I don't know if those positions are pragmatic or principled. Maybe they'd favor gay marriage if more of the voters did. I don't know.

I do know that my liberal Christianity allows me to see gay marriage as the same as heterosexual marriage, and I don't know any religious difference between those three candidates and me. So maybe their position on gay marriage isn't about religion.  

by DavidCD 2008-02-24 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: What I'd like to know

Actually, Obama's said he got his anti-marriage equality views from his religion.

Yes, the UCC as a denomination favors marriageequality for same-sex couples, but individual congregations are free to take their own positions.

But I'm not sure it's correct to say Obama got the anti-equality view from within his own UCC congregation (though that's probably true). The real truth is that he got his view in the church of political expediency. He and other prominent Democrats can be gay-friendly only up to a point.

by S1 2008-02-24 12:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama speaking about his religion

I think the problem is that Obama's church is probably out of the mainstream to most americans. I mean, what mainstream church would give Farrakhan an award?

by Ga6thDem 2008-02-24 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama speaking about his religion

Please leave these attacks to the right-wing nuts.

by marcotom 2008-02-24 12:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama speaking about his religion

Bone up on your facts. Farrakhan was given an award by Trumpet Magazine, the magazine published by Obama's church.

by Ga6thDem 2008-02-24 12:28PM | 0 recs
Farrakhan

I agree that few American churches would give Farrakhan an award, but what's wrong with Obama's response here? The obvious answer to your question is that an African-American church would give Farrakhan an award for helping specific African Americans, not for his hateful rhetoric toward others. Does that justify guilt by association?

Some of the comments to that article say they can't vote for Obama because of this, but I find it hard to believe that disgust at this would be the sole reason for someone's vote.

For me the issue of Supreme Court appointments alone is enough for me to cut the Democratic nominee lots of slack on appearances. Not everyone sees it that way. That doesn't mean there's substance to whatever inferences people make.  

by DavidCD 2008-02-24 12:56PM | 0 recs
TUCC is a Problem

Obama had he any judgment would run far and fast from the church led by Pastor Rev. Wright.  There are too many questions about that connection that will cause problems in the GE.  The church admits to being unabashedly black.  Can't imagine Hillary belonging to an unabashedly white church. Wright has links to Farrakhan, however thin.

It's stupid that Obama has stayed with this church.  I'm sure there are many places in Chicago where Christians can choose to worship.  Why this place?  I bet Michelle has something to do with it.

by CalGirl 2008-02-24 12:44PM | 0 recs
Re: Obama speaking about his religion

Obama's Church: http://www.tucc.org/about.htm

Obama's minister and spiritual mentor for 20 years said:

"When Minister Farrakhan speaks, Black America listens," Wright said. "Everybody may not agree with him, but they listen...His depth on analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye opening. He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest.

"Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African- American religious experience," Wright said. "His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation's most powerful critics. His love for Africa and African-American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose."

Louis Farrakhan believes:"Farrakhan's bigoted and anti-Semitic rhetoric has included statements calling whites "blue eyed devils" and Jews "bloodsuckers" that controlled the slave trade, the government, the media and various Black individuals and organizations. In 2006, he blamed Jews and Israel for the war in Iraq, for controlling Hollywood and for promoting what he considers immorality during his February Saviours' Day address in Chicago"
What if Hillary Clinton's minister gave an award to David Duke and she stayed in that church?

by ExperienceCounts 2008-02-24 12:56PM | 0 recs
TUCC

I don't find your quotes on the link you included. Is that where they came from?

So are you agreeing with Sean Hannity in his comments about TUCC as Media Matters quotes here?

Guilt by association can lead all sorts of places. I know lots of people use it, but I don't think it's worth much myself. Barack Obama isn't a black separatist any more than Hillary Clinton having a Bible study with Sam Brownback is cause for concern.

I voted for Hillary Clinton in California. I don't think one has to demonize Barack Obama to do that. Yet people do, and I don't walk away from them because they do any more than Barack Obama walked away from his church because someone there gave Farrakhan an award. I just say there's a better way to understand things.  

by DavidCD 2008-02-24 01:15PM | 0 recs

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