43
   

Obama..... not religious?

 
 
shewolfnm
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 11:12 am
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:

So lemme just say: AMEN!



Oh my god.
Hell just froze over..
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  3  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 11:13 am
Well good for Obama. Now he can stay in line with other world leaders whose
religion was never an issue - either when they got elected or thereafter. Religion
is a private matter.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 12:05 pm
To quote myself on the About These Invocations thread,
"I have my own views on Obama's take on religion. And no, I've not read his books. I see him as sort of a cultural believer, a step above agnostic... but also not agnostic. Spiritual (I say this as someone not spiritual even in my little toe). I don't see him as a potential victim of what I think of as religious tharn. I guess I see him as seeing the good in religion."

0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  3  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 12:08 pm
Looking through "Dreams From My Father" for pertinent passages, found these:

Barack Obama wrote:
Both Marty and Smalls understood that in politics, like religion, power lay in certainty -- and that one man's certainty always threatened another's.

I realized then, standing in an empty McDonald's parking lot in the South Side of Chicago, that I was a heretic. Or worse-- for even a heretic must believe in something, if nothing more than the truth of his own doubt.)


p. 163

Barack Obama wrote:
Reverend Phillips nodded and said, "You may be right, Mr. Obama. You have some interesting ideas. But you see, the churches around here are used to doing things their own way. Sometimes, the congregations even more than the pastors." He opened the door for me, then paused. "By the way, what church do you belong to?"

"I... I attend different services."

"But you're not a member anywhere?"

"Still searching, I guess."

"Well, I can understand that. It might help your mission if you had a church home, though. IT doesn't matter where, really. What you're asking from pastors requires us to set aside some of our more priestly concerns in favor of prophecy. That requires a good deal of faith on our part. It makes us want to know just where you're getting yours from. Faith, that is."


p. 274

Really good section about first meeting Rev. Wright, in the course of community organizing work. Won't transcribe all of it. A ways in:

Barack Obama wrote:
"We got a lot of different personalities here," [Wright] told me. "Got the Africanist over here. The traditionalist over here. Once in a while, I have to stick my hand in the pot -- smooth things over before stuff gets ugly. But that's rare. Usually, if somebody's got an idea for a new ministry, I just tell 'em to run with it and get outta their way."

His approach had obviously worked; the church had grown from two hundred to four thousand members during his tenure; there were organizations for every taste, from yoga classes to Caribbean clubs. He was especially pleased with the church's progress in getting more men involved, though he admitted that they still had a way to go.

"Nothing's harder than reaching young brothers like yourself," he said. They worry about looking soft. They worry about what their buddies are gonna say about 'em. They tell themselves church is a woman's thing -- that it's a sign of weakness for a man to admit that he's got spiritual needs."

The reverend looked up at me then, a look that made me nervous. I decided to shift the conversation to more familiar ground, [and launched into the community organizing spiel].


More stuff about Trinity, and what he thought about it (mixed feelings). He talked to people about it in passing, members of the church.

Barack Obama wrote:
Many confessed to a long absence from any religious practice -- a conscious choice for some, part of a political or intellectual awakening, but more often because church had seemed irrelevant to them as they'd pursued their careers in largely white institutions.

At some point, though, they all told me of having reached a spiritual dead end; a feeling, at once inchoate and oppressive, that they'd been cut off from themselves. Intermittently, and then more regularly, they had returned to the church, finding in Trinity some of the same things every religion hopes to offer its converts: a spiritual harbor and the chance to see one's gifts appreciated and acknowledged in a way a paycheck never can: an assurance, as bones stiffened and hair began to gray, that they belonged to something that would outlast their own lives -- and that, when their time finally came, a community would be there to remember.

But not all of what these people sought was strictly religious, I thought: it wasn't just Jesus they were coming home to. It occurred to me that Trinity, with its African themes, its emphasis on black history [...much more, excised...] a church like Trinity assured all its members that their fates remained inseparably bound, that an intelligible "us" still remained.

[...Obama has questions about effectiveness and utility of the church within the community...]

Sometimes I would put such questions to the people I met with. They would respond with the same bemused look Reverend Phillips and Reverend Wright had given me. [...] You have some good ideas, they would tell me. Maybe if you joined the church you could start a community program. Why don't you come by Sunday?

And I would shrug and play the question off, unable to confess that I could no longer distinguish between faith and mere folly, between faith and simple endurance; that while I believed in the sincerity I heard in their voices, I remained a reluctant skeptic, doubtful of my own motives, wary of expedient conversion, having too many quarrels with God to accept a salvation too easily won.


p.287

(This guy is really-truly our president!!!)

Then Harold Washington dies (big deal). Stuff happens. Obama plans to leave Chicago. His staff are upset. He promises to be back after law school (that's where he's going.) He's started going to Trinity occasionally. Just before he leaves, he goes to Trinity, where Rev. Wright gives the now-famous "Audacity of Hope" sermon.

Barack Obama wrote:
And in that single note -- hope! -- I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and the Pharoah, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories -- of survival, freedom, and hope -- became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shamed about, memories more accessible than those of ancient Egypt, memories that all people might study and cherish -- and with which we could start to rebuild. And if a part of me continued to feel that this Sunday communion sometimes simplified our condition, that it could sometimes disguise or suppress the very real conflicts among us and would fulfill its promise only through action, I also felt for the first time how that spirit carried within it, nascent, incomplete, the possibility of moving beyond our narrow dreams.

[....more of the sermon, "The Audacity of Hope"...]

As the choir lifted back up into song, as the congregation began to applaud those who were walking to the altar to accept Reverend Wright's call, I felt a light touch on the top of my hand. I looked down to see the older of the two boys sitting beside me, his face slightly apprehensive as he handed me a pocket tissue. Beside him, his mother glanced at me with a faint smile before turning back toward the altar. It was only as I thanked the boy that I felt the tears running down my cheeks.

"Oh Jesus" I heard the older woman beside me whisper softly, "Thank you for carrying us this far."

p. 295

[that closes the "Chicago" section.]

Religion/ Trinity is not mentioned again until the epilogue, when Obama says that Wright performed the wedding service for him and Michelle. It's implied that the end of the above quote is when he became a real member of a church.
0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 12:12 pm
@shewolfnm,
He paid lip service as a Christian and if in private he is not a "true" Christian he would hardly be the first president not to be.

Perhaps someday we could grow up and someone who is an open atheist can assume the office of president.
George
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 12:31 pm
@BillRM,
I'd be delighted with someone who simply says:
"None of your business."
0 Replies
 
kickycan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 12:54 pm
It's nice to finally have a president with such depth, consideration, and inclusive ideas. I'm lovin' what he's doing so far. Is it too early to start cheering, "FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!"?
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 02:18 pm
Not to be argumentative - but I'm wondering if/why he's not viewed as being deluded or a believer in fairy tales, etc. etc. as I've seen other Christian believers labeled (whether they are evangelically/fundamentally inclined or not).
Is he granted special dispensation as being a special sort of believer in god or christian if you will because he's BARACK OBAMA ? Does this mean he gets to rise above the questioning of his ability to be rational and logical at the same time he practices a faith?

Don't get me wrong - I think it adds a whole nother (that's grammatically correct - I learned it here on a2k) wonderful dimension to his character and makes me identify with and find him an even more interesting character- and happy that maybe here's a christian people can accept.

I'm just wondering what's so different, and why his brand of christianity and belief in god might seem to be acceptable and not indicative of stupidity or a lapse of rational judgment.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 02:22 pm
@aidan,
The Christans who get nailed that way are generally the fundamentalists. Many Christians are not nuts like that.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 02:23 pm
@edgarblythe,
No Edgar - sorry - I'm not a fundamentalist and I've been accused of irrational thought because I believe in god many, many times.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 02:25 pm
@aidan,
While I consider religion irrational, many Christians are capable of leading fairly rational lives. It's a tradeoff where religion has to be on some levels tolerated.
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 02:31 pm
@edgarblythe,
Very Happy Very Happy
I hope he's capable of leading a little more than a 'fairly rational life'. We better all hope so.
I accept what you're saying though.
I myself know a lot of believers who are some of the most rational people I know.
Just curious to see how people who usually think anyone who believes in a god figure is deluded and not sane or rational can switch gears enough to think he can be sane and rational and believe in a god figure.
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 02:55 pm
@kickycan,
kickycan wrote:
It's nice to finally have a president with such depth, consideration, and inclusive ideas. I'm lovin' what he's doing so far. Is it too early to start cheering, "FOUR MORE YEARS! FOUR MORE YEARS!"?

It's never too soon, Kicky?

Why not President for life?
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 02:55 pm
@aidan,
aidan wrote:
Not to be argumentative ...

Yes ... mustn't be argumentative.

Quote:
... Is he granted special dispensation as being a special sort of believer in god or christian if you will because he's BARACK OBAMA ? Does this mean he gets to rise above the questioning of his ability to be rational and logical at the same time he practices a faith?

Yes, again. Haven't you been paying attention?
aidan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 03:00 pm
@Ticomaya,
Tico said:
Quote:
Yes ... mustn't be argumentative.

so I've been taught

I asked:
Quote:
... Is he granted special dispensation as being a special sort of believer in god or christian if you will because he's BARACK OBAMA ? Does this mean he gets to rise above the questioning of his ability to be rational and logical at the same time he practices a faith?

Tico answered:
Quote:
Yes, again.

Well that's not very fair - I don't care for that at all. I want the same dispensation. This IS a democracy isn't it? (See, I have been paying attention)
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 03:03 pm
@aidan,
George
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 03:10 pm
@Ticomaya,
Quote:

Just a tad overstated, there, but your point is well taken.

There is a convergence of those who are major fans of Mr. Obama but who are
no fans at all of religion. They are more than willing to cut him some slack, not
only because of his politics, but also because of his statements specifically
including non-believers.

I'm OK with that.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 03:34 pm
@shewolfnm,
I don't recall presidents years ago being so full of religiosity.

Well, Carter was...


I think they have, at least, professed religion, and talked about god a bit and such, but I am not so sure it isn't more of a current plague to pander to the religious right.



Interesting that such a video is circulated by them, presumably, as an attempt to discredit Obama!



BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 03:54 pm
@aidan,
Perhaps as I am assuming rightly or wrongly that he is just giving lip service to the silliness as a large percent of adults including past presidents happen to had done.

As long as he is not trying to enforce this silliness by law such as Bush #2 did or push this silliness onto the public in some other manner I could care less in any regard.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 25 Jan, 2009 03:58 pm
@aidan,
Who are you addressing here, aidan?

If I'm one of the people you're addressing, I have an answer, but if you're not addressing me, I'll let the people you are addressing respond...
 

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