Sunday, June 01, 2008

Separation of Church & State

I am certainly a strong proponent of Separation of Church & State, but I'm not sure that it should be necessary to abandon your Church in order to be elected to the White House. Even I think that's carrying things a bit too far.

Of course, I'm speaking about the news that Obama has quit his Church in Chicago. As reported by The Swamp, Obama leaving his church:

Sen. Barack Obama is leaving Trinity United Church of Christ, his longtime religious home in Chicago and a place that has triggered repeated controversies during his presidential bid.

"This is not a decision that I come to lightly, and frankly it's one that I made with some sadness," Obama told reporters in Aberdeen, S.D. "Trinity was where I found Jesus Christ, where we were married, where our children were baptized. We have many friends among the 8,000 congregants."

Obama said he felt he had no choice but to leave the church.

"It's clear that now that I am a candidate for president, every time something is said in the church by anyone associated with Trinity, including guest pastors, the remarks will be imputed to me, even if they totally conflict with my long-held views, statements and principles," he said.

Apparently, there is now a 6 Degree of Separation standard for political candidates (at least if they are Democrats). For example, Obama belonged to Trinity Church, so he's responsible for Rev. Wright's sermons. Not only that, he also needs to answer for whatever a guest pastor (who happens to be a Catholic priest) says during a sermon at the Church. So, does that mean that Hillary Clinton needs to answer for her supporters who were at the DNC meeting yesterday? Either way, she surely must have to answer for Geraldine Ferraro, who wasn't even on the political scene until resurrected by Clinton. Ferraro's latest hate fest, a bizarre op-ed in the Boston Globe, was appropriately characterized as Ferraro Channels O'Reilly.

As for Obama's duty to own Wright's words, I've said before that I don't see what Wright said that was so wrong, see Who's Wright?, but I can at least see where others could disagree. However, the latest flap over the words of Father Pfleger is beyond silly. What did he say that was so bad? In fact, I didn't even pay any attention to this until I heard that Obama quit Trinity Church. Father Pfleger is to be condemned because he said that Hillary Clinton was acting like she was entitled? See Pfleger puts Obama in unwelcome spot again. Other than rabid Clinton supporters, who doesn't think that is true? Isn't that, at least in part, why she ended up losing the primary -- she thought the spot was hers?

Either way, it shouldn't matter. Why should Pfleger -- or for that matter, Wright -- be considered an appendage to Obama? They don't work for, or speak for, Obama. No more than Bush speaks for McCain (oh wait, maybe he does). Hillary hasn't had to divorce Bill because of his many gaffes during the campaign. Is this what we've come to?

Honestly, I'm not sure what Obama was trying to accomplish by leaving his Church. I realize that after the Rev. Wright controversy, Obama didn't want to give the Republicans any more ammunition to use against him in the general election, but what does this accomplish? It won't stop the comparisons and if they don't exist, the Republicans will make them up.

Even worse is what this says about Obama himself.

The great unknown about Obama is whether there is any substance behind those compelling words and speeches. He has certainly inspired many, but the question is whether he is really a believer himself. Obama has made the point on many occasions that this Church is important to him. Yet he's now dumped it on the road to the White House. Is he, like John McCain, in reality someone without any core principles or values?

And, even more troubling, is he someone who is so easily cowed? Perhaps Monroe Anderson said it best, Wright out or wimp out? Obama quits Trinity:
I sort of, kind of, understand why he did it. But I’m also sort of, kind of, concerned about what this might portend for an Obama presidency.

Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Trinity are community building blocks that the right wing has turned into bricks to be thrown at presidential candidate Obama from now until the general election ends in November—and perhaps beyond.

So in an attempt to turn manufactured right-wing ammo into blanks, Obama has completely separated himself from his minister and his church. What worries me is this: Can we expect a President Obama to cave in to the whims and will of the right on policies and issues he knows are important, if this nation is to move forward in a progressive and compassionate manner? Can we expect him to genuflect to negative reports by an uninformed, misinformed or ill-willed media? Is the candidate of change willing to go-along in a willy-nilly get-along fashion?

I hope not, but I’m not sure.
In the end, what this poses is whether it is true, as Manila Ryce at The Largest Minority said, that Barack Obama is a Pussy:
Excuse the language, but yes, Barack Obama is a giant pussy for consistently giving in to right-wing pressure to disown his acquaintances and political positions.
And finally (yes, there is a finally), this raises an interesting situation. If Obama quit his Christian Church, does this mean he reverts "back" to being a Muslim (if he really ever stopped, that is) and that all those people who wouldn't vote for him because he was a Muslim were right about him after all? Gee, and we just thought that they were a bunch of ignorant bigots; instead, they were prescient.

1 comment:

quakerdave said...

While I wouldn't agree with his word choice, Manilla is right. Obama would get a lot more respect from me - and others, I'll bet - if he told all the haters to mind their own business, that he'd go to church where he wants and break bread with whomever he wants and Sean Hannity be darned.

I must say, he doesn't act very leaderly when he caves like this.

But. I have a looney great-aunt who is an absolute Nazi. I mean, she hates EVERYBODY. Does that mean I should be held accountable for the filth that comes out of her face? Not hardly.

That having been said, how stoopid was "Father" Pfleger? Didn't he know his so-called sermon would end up out in Faux News land in a heartbeat, that the Right would use his words to further pound his supposed "friend"? Geez.