Beliefnet
God-O-Meter

obama.jpgA group of high-profile religious leaders supportive of Barack Obama has just released a letter to Hillary Clinton and John McCain defending Obama’s controversial remarks about small town Americans clinging to faith as a reaction to job losses.

We applaud Senator Obama for saying something that many Christians contemplate every day. In our toughest times, when life is at its most difficult, we cling to our Christian faith to give us the strength to persevere. In fact, the Bible commands us in the Book of Romans to ‘Hate what is evil; cling to what is good…’
“Our faith edifies and sustains us through the vicissitudes of life. We would hope that Senator Clinton and Senator McCain would not misappropriate this genuinely honest statement from one of our nation’s leaders on issues of faith and politics to score political points.

Misappropriate? Here’s what Obama said:

“You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

It’s hard not to read these remarks as pejorative, and God-o-Meter is surprised to hear religious leaders applauding them. Their defense seems more like a misappropriation than Clinton’s attacks:
Here’s a list of the letter’s signers:
The Rev. Dr. Stephen John Thurston
President
National Baptist Convention of America*
Dr. Shaun Casey
Professor of Christian Ethics
Wesley Theological Seminary
The Rt. Rev. Phillip R. Cousin, Sr.
Senior Bishop
A.M.E. Church
Rev. Dr. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite
President and Professor of Theology
Chicago Theological Seminary
Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell
Senior Pastor
Windsor Village United Methodist Church
Dr. T. DeWitt Smith, Jr.
President
Progressive National Baptist Convention


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