Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Is Obama Out-Religioning The Republicans?

obamapamphlet.jpgIn case you couldn’t read the fine print on the faith-based pamphlet Barack Obama is distributing in Kentucky, here’s the key line (next to the big headline “COMMITTED CHRISTIAN”):

“Obama forged a profound connection with the people of these communities [in Chicago]. At their encouragement, he visited a local church one Sunday. That day Obama felt a beckoning of the spirit and accepted Jesus Christ into his life.”


I really cant recall a major candidate, including George Bush, being this explicit about his internal faith journey on official campaign literature.

His material in South Carolina went even further. One panel, “Called to Bring Change,” declares, “We do what we do because God is with us.” Another panel, entitled “Barack on the Power of Prayer” states:

“I believe in the power of prayer. Through prayer, not only can we strengthen ourselves in adversity, but we can also find the empathy and the compassion and the will to deal with the problems that we do control. What I pray for is the strength and the wisdom to be able to act on those things that I can control. And that’s what I think has been lacking sometimes in our government. We’ve got to express those values through our government, not just through our religious institutions.”


Finally, a large panel, entitled “Called to Christ,” states:

“Kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt I heard god’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works.”

Me thinks Democrats need to think twice, now, before complaining that Republican candidates insert religion into their campaigns too much.

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posted May 20, 2008 at 3:17 pm

I don’t think Obama is being too religious. He’s written about this in his books too- it is a part of him.
He also doesn’t insinuate that his opponents are not really Christians. When people do that , or imply it, that is where I think it crosses the line.

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Karen Brown

posted May 20, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Actually, when another candidate gets consistently accused of being a whole different religion because of the sound of his name, then that might be a point.
He’s saying ‘Christian’ not in a ‘And you’re not’ kind of way. But in a ‘Not MUSLIM’ sense.
Given that a Muslim only has a slightly higher chance than someone not religious at getting elected, its simple logic that it is important to make the distinction, given the impression that is rather deliberately being spread through the country.
I.E. the quote from one voter in a recent WV primary that stated he couldn’t vote for Obama because he’d heard Obama was a Muslim and his wife was an atheist.

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One more day in the life

posted May 20, 2008 at 9:42 pm

The Apostles were not ignorant about lefty religionists. Listen to Peter even now:
But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.
For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment. This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority.
Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord. But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.
They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!
These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.
If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”

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posted May 21, 2008 at 2:32 pm

To OneMore day in the ife:
What exactly is your point?
I mean, anyone can cut and paste from the Bible. But what does that have to do with the topic at hand? Are you saying that St. Peter was a conservative Republican?

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Karen Brown

posted May 21, 2008 at 7:00 pm

He’s saying that progressive religious people are evil, and false teachers. Since they ‘knew the way and turned from it’ (heretics instead of just a plain old infidel), they’re worse than ignorant heathens. And God’s gonna get them for that.
To put it briefly.

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Andie Ratcliff

posted May 22, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Dear Barack Obama;
Why are you implying that we need more religion in our government? So far, you’ve painted yourself as someone who can bring change and unity to America. How does bringing religion into the government change anything?
Don’t you realize how marginalized minority faiths feel when our elected officials behave as though Christianity is the only religion that matters? Have you ever considered how it makes atheists feel?
I understand that politicians want to discuss their spiritual paths, and that’s okay. It helps us get a better picture of the whole person. I also understand that you feel the need to stress that you aren’t Muslim. That isn’t okay, but it isn’t your fault and it is understandable. I draw the line, however, at “expressing [religious beliefs] through our government.”
I was going to vote for you, Barack, but now I’m not sure. I dared to hope, for the first time since John McCain called Falwell intolerant, that we finally had a presidential candidate who would not rely on shameless pandering to special religious interests.
That’s alright, though. I’ll be ashamed for you.

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