Thursday, February 7, 2008

Why Does Obama's Pastor Matter?

Thought this was an interesting read.


Joe B said...

Ready to rumble??
This Reverend Wright is steeped in liberation theology. It's not theological liberalism, though it overlaps in some ways. It is really an urban evangelicalism infused with leftist politics instead of rightist. Liberation theology is a contextual theology that looks for the answers to certain problems (injustices) in the scriptures. There is plenty of ranting against "The Man and His Manifold Injustices" to be found in the bible after all, right?
I have argued that white suburban evangelicalism, too, is steeped in a contextual theology that looks to the scriptures for answers to certain OTHER problems. Like "how to get what you want." Or "how to feel better." Or "how to be important." Or "how to justify NOT giving to those in need." To us it makes perfect sense that God is all about lower taxes and open markets, so we are not offended by a self-help gospel smeared with hard-right politics. But we are shocked by a socialist gospel of universal healthcare and welfare for crack ho's. Whom God loathes, after all, at least until they become committed to white suburban values like self-reliance, personal excellence, zero-tolerance sentencing laws, the death penalty, and military supremacy. You know, the basic Jesus stuff.
Question: I know where Rev Wright and the Christian Left would look for support of his message. So where would James Dobson and the Christian Right look for a biblical foundation for theirs?

scott said...

Before I get into this entire argument (which should be a great discussion), I want to bring this up first:

How much should we judge a person on the attitude of his or her pastor? Would I want a person making assumptions about me from looking at the pastor of my church, or from the pastor that married me?

soebeck said...

How about some common sense? If I am a presidential candidate, and my pastor whom I go to advice from is praising people like Farrakahn, says that white America is to blame for 911, and is anti-captialism, doesn't that matter?

Bethany said...

Last semester an anarchist gave a lecture on why anarchy would work (fascinating), and he mentioned (if I remember correctly) 1 Peter 4:5 "But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler." Taxes and such are meddling. Bit of a stretch, but you know...

Assuming people go to church to learn the Bible, a spiritual mentor is supposed to have quite a different role than political adviser, and my answer to Scott is: (a) ideally not at all, and (b) definitely not at all.

^notice the words "assuming" and "supposed to" and "ideally"

This article seemed like an effort to inspire fear. If I want to know Obama's views... can't I just go to his website? Clear up all the confusion? I would probably disagree with my pastor on many political issues.

Macca said...

I don't subscribe to every viewpoint that my pastor(s) have espoused over the years, and it is fallacious to believe that Obama automatically embraces those of his pastor.

But quoting from his church's website:

We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.

The Pastor as well as the membership of Trinity United Church of Christ is committed to a 10-point Vision:

A congregation committed to ADORATION.
A congregation preaching SALVATION.
A congregation actively seeking RECONCILIATION.
A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA.
A congregation committed to BIBLICAL EDUCATION.
A congregation committed to CULTURAL EDUCATION.
A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY.

I really don't have any problem with adoration, salvation, reconciliation, biblical and cultural education, libration, or restoration.

I don't really have an emotional or cultural attachment to African culture, so that's not something that's important to me.

Many have accused the church of reverse racism, but really, the church does not necessarily represent Obama. I want to know what he believes, not infer from his church's website.

Joe B said...

All that Macca quoted from the website is fine with me. If their Christian faith gives them courage in the considerable struggle for a society equitable to blacks, then fine. I am not disposed to take that as some sort of sinister code words for hatred of Whitey.

The 911 comments are COMMENTS, not an exhaustive treatise. I'd have to see them in the whole context of his lifes rhetoric. For now, I'm content to take them in the context of the TUCC 10 Point vision. Which is mostly splendid, somewhat irrelevant to a white suburbanite, and a wee bit silly.

So let me ask a question. When Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell hinted that 911 was God's judgement on America, you might have thought they were silly. But did you, even for one second, think they were racist against whites? Or that they were hoping for the demise of the USA?

Well, did you?

scott said...

Soebs mentioned some common sense... But I'm just jaded enough to believe that about any politician is using very calculated, very planned moves, especially in a presidential race like this one. All you have to do is chant the word CHANGE! over and over, and people will cheer you as a candidate they can believe in. So, this year, different is what people WANT.

And a pastor like that is very DIFFERENT, obviously. For a guy like Obama, a bit of controversy can be good for him, because he's got ties to the "fringe" pastor, but he can just say he doesn't align himself with all his views. People are okay with that. It's win/win for him.

It's not like he's seriously courting the vote of the hardcore conservative Falwell/Robertson followers anyway.

Joe B said...

Interesting and thoughtful. And jaded!

scott said...

Since Obama's pastor popped up in the news big-time again, I thought I'd link a couple more stories here:

Pastor's hellfire sermons put Obama's campaign in hot water

Forgive Them For Their Spiritual Advisors?

scott said...

Oh... And this, too:

Call to Renewal Keynote

It's an Obama speech from a couple years back. DEFINITELY worth reading. It's long, but it's got some really interesting stuff concerning the meeting of religion and politics.