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September 5, 2008

The Home Stretch

As the presidential race enters its final phase, where do things stand on the religion front?

The Democrats in general and the Obama campaign in particular have made a fair showing that they are not the anti-faith party. Given that Americans have grown a bit leery of mixing religion and politics, the party of Jefferson, Jackson, and Obama is pretty well attuned to the country's current mood: faith by all means, but nothing too intrusive. On the constituency front, African Americans, Latino Catholics, non-Judeo-Christians, and Seculars are fully locked up, while Jews are a less iffy proposition than they seemed to be a week ago. The big question mark has to do with Mainline Protestants.

As for the Republicans in general and the McCain campaign in particular, the evangelical base of the party now seems locked and loaded (though I'm still keeping my eye open for regional variations). As the NYT's David Kirkpatrick points out in a must-listen interview with Terry Gross on NPR's "Fresh Air" yesterday, McCain and company have been hard at work since June cultivating evangelical leaders; in this regard, the choice of Palin is the culmination of an ongoing effort than a bolt from the blue. And, as Kirkpatrick very importantly points out, McCain has never been the opponent of the religious right that the main narrative--based as it is on his "agents of intolerance" remark in South Carolina, holds. Otherwise, the Palin appointment weakens McCain's ability to peel off Jewish voters; when Christians are on the march, Jews run the other way.

What about non-Latino Catholics? My sense is not so much that they are up for grabs as that they will simply mirror the electorate as a whole. The ordinary Americans.

(Originally published at Spiritual Politics.)

Comments

I hope people can see through the Obama fake religious talk. The only reason any mention of anything religious is because the Evangelical zealots claimed they put George Bush over the top in the 2004 elction. The liberal democrats will tell anyone anything they want to hear to gain power. If the libs were to gain control they would do their best to wipe religion right out of every inch of the public square. Beware of wolves in sheeps clothing and I hear Obama howling all the time.Two words--Jeremiah Wright.

I'm sure most people of faith can see through Obama's religious talk, through to his example. Jesus reached out to the oppressed, the outsiders, the unpopular, the downtrodden. And for this, Jesus was attacked by the Pharisees of his day who professed to be the guardians of the truth. Obama graduated top of Columbia and was offered jobs on Wall Street. He gave that up to work for $12,000 a year helping people who were losing their jobs and who needed help. It wasn't glamorous, but Obama felt motivated to reach out and give what he could. Now, the so-called party of the religious has launched one attack after another on Obama. Perhaps he should have gone to Wall Street? He would have met a lot more republicans there with their fake religious talk.

Wall street wasn't radical enough for Obama and he couldn't begin to attain the celebrity status he so desperately sought there. How could he meet up with the likes of the radical terrorist William Ayers or meet up with the corrupt Chicago political machine as a plain ordinary stock broker. With two books to his credit and no legislation on capitol hill it's apparent to even the casual observer what's important to Barak "Apollo" Obama--his ego. What exactly is a community organizer? Wouldn't Eldridge Clever the black panther leader fall into that category. Hmmm,community organizer, that's not impressive at all. I'll take the military hero and the governor hockey mom any day.

As the air of excitement begins to wear off after the convention, one begins to see through the phony Sarah Palin "aka" LIPSTICK. She has exaggerated her accomplishments, out-rightly lying when convenient.Claiming to have sold the state jet on EBay when it was actually sold at a loss to a private broker.Alaska under her, has the most earmarks than any state in US history and strangely McCain opposes earmarks. She is very condescending and arrogant in her remarks yet no one dare challenge her for fear of being labelled a "sexist" it does not matter if you are of the feminine gender or not. Worst of it all, despite her christian confession she has glorified abomination by putting the product of fornication prominent on stage in the bright glare of national TV and tells us she is very proud of the very thing we are warned in the Scriptures should not mentioned amongst us. What a way to show compassion and maternal support.Some modesty indeed.Nobody suggests that she should disown her own but there are more noble ways. For political gains her supporters cry "do not crucify the 17 year old","it is a private issue","she needs our support at this time","she did the right thing to keep the baby","they will be married" as if any of these legitimizes fornication.
Let nobody be deceived, if people have been deceived with the hypes, they are a minority in number.The world is watching.

Fonzi--You flaming liberals are a riot. Barak Obama is a friend to racist Jeremiah Wright or at least he was until he thought it wouldn't get him elected(hypocrit). He is also friend to self admitted radical terorist William Ayers. He also talks about people behind their back(remember the people who hang onto their religion and guns?) And you have the nerve to ridicule Palin? Obama is the second coming of Bill Clinton--he'll say and do anything to gain power and then sadly not be able to deliver on half his promises. I didn't know a woman could have you folks running this scared.

Slider, I regret the tone of my earlier post. Perhaps, on reflection, you may also regret the tone of your character analysis of a fellow Christian. We both value the sanctity of life, and we both care about the poor and the sick. There is room for us to work together to solve a range of problems. But, repeating the slander in venomous emails circulating around the churches, is not helpful. Do you really think that Obama is good friends with a terrorist? Really? There is room for Christians who care passionately about the unborn, and there is also room for those who try to follow Jesus's example by helping the poor, defending (rather than condemning) the outcast sinners, and clearing the money-changers' tables when it is just to do so, even if that occasionally means urging our country to pursue its Christian ideals. When you attack those who, like Obama, roll up their sleeves and tryd to help those without degrees from an IV League school, it merely fuels the growing concerns that segments of the church have become more concerned with Republican values, rather than Christian values. I happen to be a Christian first, American second, and Democrat distant eighth. As a brother and fellow citizen, lets use our energy for the political process to build on those things that unite us. Please don't personally attack a leader that many Christians, particularly young Christians look up to and see as an example of sacrificial community service.

Slider, I regret the tone of my earlier post. Perhaps, on reflection, you may also regret the tone of your character analysis of a fellow Christian. We both value the sanctity of life, and we both care about the poor and the sick. There is room for us to work together to solve a range of problems. But, repeating the slander in venomous emails circulating around the churches, is not helpful. Do you really think that Obama is good friends with a terrorist? Really? There is room for Christians who care passionately about the unborn, and there is also room for those who try to follow Jesus's example by helping the poor, defending (rather than condemning) the outcast sinners, and clearing the money-changers' tables when it is just to do so, even if that occasionally means urging our country to pursue its Christian ideals. When you attack those who, like Obama, roll up their sleeves and tryd to help those without degrees from an IV League school, it merely fuels the growing concerns that segments of the church have become more concerned with Republican values, rather than Christian values. I happen to be a Christian first, American second, and Democrat distant eighth. As a brother and fellow citizen, lets use our energy for the political process to build on those things that unite us. Please don't personally attack a leader that many Christians, particularly young Christians look up to and see as an example of sacrificial community service. Sorry if this appears twice. I'm not sure whether I posted it correctly the first time.

I hear lots of fear and, frankly, childish banter in so many of these posts. Where is Christ in all of this? Where is genuine faith? Where is the Sermon on the Mount? It's as if Christians have surrendered the future of the Kingdom of God to politicians. Have we really gotten this shallow?

SLIDER seems synonymous with SLANDER, I am not surprised at his remarks.

Fonzi-Very intellegent rebuttal--You think of that all my yourself?
I notice you didn't have it in you to answer any of the facts--not suprising.

Peter,The last thing we need is more government intrusion in our lives and that's what the Obama camp wants-that is to govern every aspect of your life and take away as much money as they can and give it to those who believe they are entitled.I believe in helping my fellow man as much as the next guy but, the government should not be socially responsible to pull every one up by their boot straps--the church should bear much responsibility for that.But seeing how the church failed at the job the government felt the need to take over. The only thing that I attacked your leader on is his obvious lack of judgment which I believe is critical for a President. We live in a post Christian society so if your're expecting the state to pursue Christian ideals it's not their job and it's not gonna happen.A Chritian nation is a thing of the past,if there ever was one.(All this said in an amicable tone)

Thanks Slider. I appreciate where you are coming from, I really do. I think the church can be an example on how people can have different opinions on questions of judgment and political policy, without descending into nastiness and sarcasm - which I admit to struggling with, particularly when I can hide behind the anonymity of a blog post.

Peter--I have thick skin, I don't mind a little rumble now and then and I can take a beating and a little name calling. I do like a good honest debate with good resonable ideas. Often I ooze satire and sarcasm I just try not to make it too personal. Don't feel bad if you feel the need to try and smack me down every now and then--i'll probably deserve it. I just shake my head when I read some of the mindless drivel that some in here put no thought into. No wonder the world thinks Christians are uneducated and ignorant. I appreciate your honesty and look forward to more of your comments.

I find one aspect of religion strangely absent on this site--peace. "Peace on Earth goodwill towards men" is not just a pretty carol. I believe we have to actively strive towards peace. We've discovered the Iraq war was based on lies. To me, this presents a true crisis of faith.

Pat Buchanan said John McCain would make Dick Cheney look like Ghandi. McCain has joked about bombing Iran. He is making threats about Iran. He is not a peacetime president. His whole career is based on war.

Mr. McCain has offered us a very shapely present. Mrs. Palin is a trojan horse for Evangelicals. But what is his real purpose? War. He wants war. He has never hidden this. How can a Christian vote for war?