Patterico's Pontifications

6/9/2009

The Politico notices our Christianist-in-Chief

Filed under: General — Karl @ 9:13 am



[Posted by Karl]

Isn’t it ironic, asks The Politico’s Eamon Javers, that Barack Obama invokes Jesus more than George W. Bush?

He’s done it while talking about abortion and the Middle East, even the economy. The references serve at once as an affirmation of his faith and a rebuke against a rumor that persists for some to this day.

As president, Barack Obama has mentioned Jesus Christ in a number of high-profile public speeches — something his predecessor George W. Bush rarely did in such settings, even though Bush’s Christian faith was at the core of his political identity.

It is not ironic. To the contrary, it was entirely predictable to anyone paying attention to Obama’s political career. Javers — and the layers of editorial staff ostensibly upholding traditional journalistic values at The Politico — either know better or set out to insult the intelligence of their readers.

After all, how does a news story about Obama’s faith-based rhetoric make it to publication without a single mention of Obama’s decades of membership at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, under the spiritual tutelage of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?

Obama spent decades in (and donated tens of thousands of dollars to) a church founded on Black Liberation Theology, dogma which — even in its most benign, least racialist formulation — is based on dressing up left-wing nanny statism and a “blame America first” foreign policy in a robe of religious rhetoric. Obama sought to use churches as an instrument of Alinskyite community organizing. Obama used religious rhetoric — sometimes covertly, sometimes more overtly than Mike Huckabee — during his campaign. His proposal to create a new Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships would further his fusion of Leftist religion and politics.

Moreover, Obama has spoken admiringly of the Social Gospel movement of the progressive era, which Jonah Goldberg has called “far more theocratic and ‘Christianist’ than pretty much anything we’ve heard from the Christian Right in the last forty years.” Andrew Sullivan, normally an anti-Christianist crusader, has enthused that Obama can appeal to a new class of “moderate Christianists.”

There is thus ample basis for the suspicions Javers reports today:

To some, the difference between the two presidents goes beyond rhetoric. David Kuo, a former official in Bush’s faith-based office who later became disillusioned with the president he served, worries that both men have exploited religious phraseology for political gain. “From a spiritual perspective, that’s a great and grave danger,” he said. “When God becomes identified with a political agenda, God gets screwed.”

And he suspects that Obama has an even larger goal: the resurrection of the largely dormant Christian Left, a tradition that encompasses Martin Luther King’s civil rights leadership and dates back as far as Dorothy Day, the liberal activist who co-founded the Catholic Worker movement in the 1930s.

That such a project may be undertaken by a president elected with the support of a creepy devotional cult ought to be a story for outlets like The Politico. Then again, with people like Newsweek editor-at-large Evan Thomas still comparing Obama to God, perhaps actual journalism is too much to expect.

–Karl

29 Responses to “The Politico notices our Christianist-in-Chief”

  1. Greetings:

    Why does this report make me think of “sheep’s clothing”?

    11B40 (103599)

  2. But I thought he was a Muslim.

    Andrew (25a0c1)

  3. From reading the newsgroups alt.revisionism and talk.politics.mideast, I read that he is Jewish.

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  4. B-B-But Karl…

    O! really means it, man…

    Not like eeeeeeevil Booooooosh!

    That’s why Wright and BLT is only a distraction, man…

    Yeah, right…I wonder where the SRM hypocrisy watchdogs are now…

    And effin’ Sully, “moderate christianists”..?

    Who is he referring to, the Cafeteria Christians that pick and choose which tenets of their faith to adhere to..?

    Kind of like an astonishing number of Catholics in my Parish here in NY…

    “But Obama’s all about social justice, Bob”, and,”They’re mischaracterizing his position on abortion”…

    Suddenly though, a number of them seem disallusioned by the looming FOCA, as well as what his “social justice” has done to the country already…

    A large number of them would sign on for a schism with Rome anyway, you know, so that women could be priests, and that they could go along with abortion…

    But let’s just say that others are experiencing their own “Road to Damascus” moments, and that the scales are falling from their eyes…

    Great piece as usual, Karl…

    Bob (99fc1b)

  5. Andrew Sullivan, normally an anti-Christianist crusader, has enthused that Obama can appeal to a new class of “moderate Christianists” . . .

    And he suspects that Obama has an even larger goal: the resurrection of the largely dormant Christian Left, a tradition that encompasses Martin Luther King’s civil rights leadership and dates back as far as Dorothy Day, the liberal activist who co-founded the Catholic Worker movement in the 1930s.

    We can take a glance over to the Anglican Church in Britain to see what happens when Christianity is co-opted by the left. It would be one thing for a revitalized Christian left to demand of its followers that they actively work to feed and clothe the hungry and poor, or mentor children, or bring together people of all faiths. Instead, my (admittedly limited) experience with the Christian left is that their agenda is largely to lobby government to spend more of the taxpayers’ money doing these sorts of things. It’s the whole “Jesus as a community organizer” idea — don’t worry about doing the hard work yourself, just write a check to some agency or, better yet, vote for the parties who promise to take care of this on your behalf.

    JVW (2cd0a9)

  6. Obama is in ur base, convertin’ ur d00dz.

    poon (093c46)

  7. With the direction of his approval ratings, Obama better be ‘convertin’ somebody.

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  8. “With the direction of his approval ratings”

    Oh, my, Obama’s up another point today:

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/obama_approval_index_history

    Looks like he is convertin’ somebodies.

    poon (093c46)

  9. poon, Obama is also adopting “our” policies concerning Iraq, Afghanistan, wiretapping, indefinite detainment of terror suspects captured abroad, and, very soon, Guantanamo. Couple that with his inability or unwillingness to control spending, and we may be looking to run Obama/Bush or Bush/Obama in 2012. Or, if we need to move to the left on gay issues, we can run Cheney/Obama.

    JVW (2cd0a9)

  10. poon, you’ve been caught misrepresenting Rasmussan’s polling before in other threads.

    SPQR (72771e)

  11. poon logic: 1 + 1 = Eleventy.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  12. Oh, my, Obama’s up another point today:

    Yes, another all time high. Oh, wait, no.

    Looks like he’s dropped 20 points since taking office. And this is still the honeymoon.

    And, according to the same people, “Most voters continue to approve of the job President Obama is doing, but, as is often the case, the devil is in the details.”

    IOW, while a bare majority approve of Obama’s ‘leadership skills’, when you look at the details, there are high levels of disapproval with his actual policies.

    Apogee (e2dc9b)

  13. Good point, and as we saw previously with Carter’s high personal approval ratings (but low approval of his actual policies), eventually those two threadlines intersect, and both continue in tandem.

    Dmac (f7884d)

  14. check out http://WhatTheFOCA.com

    jp (2f31a5)

  15. note to Ear Leader: claiming you are a “Christian” is not the same thing as actually being one.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  16. With such a huge dichotomy in personal popularity versus policies, the popularity crash is inevitable.

    SPQR (72771e)

  17. Question. What has Obama accomplished that would have poon and 1% of our country “up”.

    The guy is a clown.

    gus (36e9a7)

  18. A large number of them would sign on for a schism with Rome anyway, you know, so that women could be priests, and that they could go along with abortion…

    If they want abortion, they could simply pretend the unborn are Huguenots.

    Of course, reanimating the corpse of Gregory XIII to name him as the pope might be a bit more problematic.

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  19. Obama’s not fooling anyone with this Christian business. We all know he’s really a Muslim who plans to turn America into socialist dictatorship.

    David Ehrenstein (b88f1c)

  20. I really hate the word “Christianist”. I mean I really, really dislike it.

    The other one (fc6e3a)

  21. It is my understanding that the term “Christian” was originally a term of derision, essentially meaning “little Christs” (“Christ” is the Greek equivalent to “Messiah”), those who believed in Jesus to the point of living their lives like His, in obedience to His teachings. The “problem” with Bush and Palin is that is what they are, or aspire to be, what is at the essence of who they are. They recognize Jesus as the Messiah and need no other.
    Others can invoke the name when it is fashionable, as long as they don’t actually try to follow Him.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  22. President TOTUS invokes “j*sus” so much because of Joe Biden’s frequent, voluble and clueless malapropisms in front of microphones and cameras.

    Not because of any reverence for the Divine.

    I’m still waiting for Slate to launch their “Bidenism of the Day” feature.

    furious (a74982)

  23. Don’t hold your breath.

    AD - RtR/OS! (de37bf)

  24. Actually, doc, I think that “Christian” originally meant “belonging to Christ” – as in slaves of Jesus Christ. But that was just as acceptable to believers in Jesus as the idea that they are “little Christs.”

    Obama, on the other hand, quotes Jesus not as if he belongs to him (a position of humble submission), but as if he and Jesus are good buds. It’s not like Jesus tells Obama what to think (as people said about Bush), but that Obama thinks he knows what Jesus would think. Sadly, he twists the original meaning of Jesus’ words into meanings that suit his own purpose.

    Example: Obama famously said that we have to build our economy on a rock instead of on sand. But the rock that Jesus talked about he specifically identified as HIMSELF. I think it would be just dandy if our economy were built on a foundation of faith in Jesus Christ, though I’m not sure how that would look (consult Charles Sheldon here). But instead, we’re getting an economy built on Barack Obama and all his values and ideas!

    Gesundheit (9ca635)

  25. Imagine, if you will, George Bush saying that his religion informs his politics, therefore he is opposed to same sex marriage. Imagine, if you will, a not-humble person that says “I” more than and eye doctor, invoking the name of God. Imagine, if you will, people in the MSM referring to a politician as God-like.

    JD (a7fa4a)

  26. Continuing on Topic A:

    While people had a problem with Bush praying and looking to Jesus for guidance and wisdom in humility,
    they had no problem with Obama equating himself with Jesus as one who could heal the sick and control the ocean waves.

    Every so often some psychiatrist or psychologist would give their (not flattering) evaluation of President Bush. On one hand it would be interesting to see what they would do with Obama, but on the other hand they would probably say that “he has healthy sense of self worth”

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  27. Not to picky or anything, but it could be argued the majority of predominately black churches in America have some type of black liberation theology tinge. As overt as Trinity Church (and by the way: Trinity is part of the United Church of Christ, which is predomiantely white)? Nope. However, it isn’t speaking out of turn to say that there are differences on how blacks and whites look at the Gospels. There are reasons why Sunday morning is segregated.

    James (371a03)

  28. […] allergic to the notion of liberty or to its nuances But perhaps I should worry that he uses the name of Jesus so very much, except when he’s having it covered […]

    The Anchoress — A First Things Blog (f2568a)


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