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Barack Obama: Man of faith

By Nicholas Stix
web posted August 23, 2004

"I am a Christian.… So, I have a deep faith. I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.

"That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there's an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived."

Thus, U.S. Senate candidate for Illinois Barack Obama in a campaign contribution by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Cathleen Falsani.

Obama's supporters include not only constituents and corporations giving him monetary contributions, but scores of alleged journalists who see their job as doing everything in their power to get him elected. As Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass observed, "A conservative Ditka candidacy would also have forced Barack Obama, the anointed one, to actually campaign for the Senate rather than wait for more air kisses from Hollywood liberals and the Eastern press, the Midwestern press, the Western press."

Barack ObamaObama, an Illinois state senator representing the South Side of Chicago, is in fact a far-left politician who -- as I'll show in a future column -- seeks to force ever more socialist and racist laws and programs on the American people.

Meanwhile, Obama's media devotees have launched such a successful crusade on his behalf, that in what took on the airs of a coronation, just before the late July Democratic National Convention in Boston, he was chosen by the Kerry campaign to be a keynote speaker. And he acquitted himself stupendously. Between the lines, one can read Obama's media cadres going from touting the biracial (half-white, half-black) candidate as potentially "only the third African-American to take a seat in the Senate since Reconstruction" (the New York Times' Bob Herbert), to seeing in him potentially the nation's second "black" president. It is worth examining the spiritual world of this rising national player.

After emphasizing the transcendence of Obama's Christianity, Cathleen Falsani would appear to contradict herself, by claiming that "Obama's theological point of view was shaped by his uniquely multicultural upbringing." Since his mother was a secular humanist -- and between the lines, sounds like an atheist -- and his stepfather was a Muslim (the late Barack Obama Sr. was a Muslim-raised but non-religious Kenyan economist), how would that shape the faith of someone who, according to Falsani, "is unapologetic in saying he has a 'personal relationship with Jesus Christ'"?

I say, appears to contradict herself, since Falsani's column makes a gruel of Christianity. But on one point, she is clear:

"Alongside my own deep personal faith, I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion," he says. "I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I am a big believer in our constitutional structure. I mean, I'm a law professor at the University of Chicago teaching constitutional law. [Actually, Obama is not a law professor, but a "senior lecturer." As Chicago Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet has pointed out, and I know from six-and-a-half years as a college adjunct lecturer, "In academia, there is a vast difference between the two titles." As Sweet also notes, however, Obama's misrepresentation of his academic position is the least of his credibility problems.]

"I am a great admirer of our founding charter and its resolve to prevent theocracies from forming and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root in this country.

"I think there is an enormous danger on the part of public figures to rationalize or justify their actions by claiming God's mandate. I don't think it's healthy for public figures to wear religion on their sleeve as a means to insulate themselves from criticism, or dialogue with people who disagree with them."

Falsani quotes lefty activist Roman Catholic Fr. Michael Pfleger, of St. Sabina Church on Chicago's South Side, "I always have felt in [Obama] this consciousness that, at the end of the day, with all of us, you've got to face God. Faith is key to his life, no question about it. [It is] central to who he is, and not just in his work in the political field, but as a man, as a black man, as a husband, as a father.... I don't think he could easily divorce his faith from who he is."

Obama the Christian is a devout believer in unlimited abortion rights. He denies the existence of Hell. He came to Christianity through social organizing with activist religious. His devout Christianity derives from the secular humanist "values" his atheist mother imbued him with. He believes, with all his heart, in the separation of church and state – except when he campaigns in black churches, in violation of that separation, and in violation of the tax code. Obama wears his religion on his sleeve in churches, but in dealing with the mainstream media criticizes such behavior.

The only recognizably Christian position Obama takes is his opposition to same-sex marriage, due to the "religious connotations" of marriage. ("Religious connotations"? What about "civic religion"; the "separation of church and state"; the "enormous danger on the part of public figures to rationalize or justify their actions by claiming God's mandate"? Don't ask.) This is surely due to the fact that blacks are the racial/ethnic group most adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage, and Obama does not want to rile the one voter bloc on which his candidacy is most dependent. However, I would expect his position on same-sex marriage to begin "evolving" around, say, … November 3. Once Obama is safely ensconced in the U.S. Senate, he knows that his base will stick by him, for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse. Then he will doubtless begin the sort of "education" of the Christian black electorate in matters of same-sex marriage, which black leaders earlier conducted in the matter of abortion.

Regarding Obama's religiosity, which appeared out of nowhere during his social activist work, following his graduation from law school, a line from Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass comes to mind, when the latter explained why Mike Ditka was not prepared for political life. "Ditka doesn't need a political life. And he hasn't spent decades planning for the scrutiny."

Obama's closest religious advisers -- Fr. Pfleger, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, and Illinois State Sen. James Meeks, who moonlights as the pastor of Chicago's Salem Baptist Church – may have quotes from Scripture always handy, but are theologically closer to Karl Marx and black nationalism, than to Christianity. The transcendent-non-transcendent motto the Rev. Wright has given Trinity is, "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian."

According to State Sen./Rev. James Meeks' humble, personal church Web page, "Meeks' practical and charismatic style of instruction motivates the hearer to take action and has resulted in accomplishments of miraculous proportions." When the good Senator/Reverend is not accomplishing miracles and other feats "never before documented in history," he serves as the executive vice president of Jesse Jackson Sr.'s National Rainbow-Push Coalition. Why a man of God would want to be identified with Jackson's personal den of iniquity is a question only the Rev. Meeks can answer.

Now that Obama has a Republican opponent in Alan Keyes, Obama's media acolytes are working hard to discredit Keyes, a talk-show host who is a former ambassador, and presidential and senatorial candidate. Meanwhile, Obama, who when Jack Ryan was his opponent wanted six debates, has no desire to debate Keyes. Obama & Co. had better stick to their new script or Keyes, a brilliant man who knows the Constitution better than "Professor" Obama does, and whose own Christian faith comes not from Karl Marx or black nationalism (or possibly Unitarian Universalism), but from Christianity, might put some hard questions to Barack Obama.

Nicholas Stix can be reached at Add1dda@aol.com.

Other related stories: (open in a new window)

  • Will Barack Obama be our second "black" president? by Nicholas Stix (August 9, 2004)
    Barack Obama came out of nowhere to be the biggest star in the Democratic Party but Nicholas Stix says there are those who want people in Illinois to vote for him for only one reason
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