Sunday, October 07, 2007

Enough Already...

I'll vote for him in November if that's what it comes down to, but I've got to tell you...I'm really getting annoyed with Barack Obama. At this point, I may dislike him more than I dislike Hillary.

White House hopeful Barack Obama stood in front of a pulpit Sunday and told worshippers that his faith "plays every role" in his life.

"It's what keeps me grounded. It's what keeps my eyes set on the greatest of heights," Obama told members of the Redemption World Outreach Center, whose 4,200-seat sanctuary was mostly full.

Oh, cut me a break. Even though I'm aware that this sort of thing is just phony pandering and Obama clearly feels like he must express these kinds of mock-pious homilies when visiting churches, it still gets on my nerves.

As a sentiment, it just doesn't make sense. Faith plays every role in his life? Every single one? Faith is his bathroom attendant? Faith provides him with the occasional orgasm? Faith bakes his morning bran muffins?

I mean, it isn't sufficiently sanctimonious to just say that faith plays a role in your life? You now have to claim that it dominates your every thought and action, that your single-minded obsession with all things godly rivals Ahab's devotion to catching the White Whale and far outdistances Jim Carrey's fixation on the number 23? Really?

Will they just keep one-upping one another in ecstatic religious fervor forever, beyond even this point of absurdity? Candidates self-flagellating on the pulpit? Holding political rallies wherever the Virgin Mary has most recently been sighted in a tortilla? Urgently phoning WaPo scribes at 2 a.m. reporting strange, otherworldly visions in which unicorn-riding seraphim proclaim the divinely-inspired correctness of the flat tax?

Faith, he said, is "what propels me to do what I do and when I am down it's what lifts me up."

This just strikes me as fundamentally incorrect, a blatant misstatement about the American political system. A president should absolutely not be moved into action by his religion. That's what priests and pastors do. If you're a rabbi or a minister, yes, you should be motivated by your faith. Presidents need to act based on the best interests of the nation, the faithful and heathen parts alike.

I honestly don't know why this is so difficult to understand. It doesn't threaten religion at all. Why does the guy in charge of taxes, starting wars, treaties and solving large-scale problems have to believe in the same origin story as you? We don't expect the President to have the same opinions about the big summer movies (though I'm sure Bush was all about Transformers) or the best place for sushi in Kennebunkport.

The Democratic presidential candidate said God "is with us and he wants us to do the right thing," including breaking down the divisions between Democrats and Republicans and among religions.

When people work together, he said, there is "nothing that can stop us because that's God's intention."

What a wild coincidence! God and Barack Obama have the same political agenda!

Seriously, though, does he have no shame at all? This is James Dobson's exact schtick.

First, assume for no good reason that God agrees with you about everything, then go out and spread the word that you must be right because God approves of your plan. Repeat as necessary.

(Maybe God's a Libertarian! Or an Objectivist! Or even a Lyndon LaRouche fan! Perhaps she's Wicca! How the fuck do you know?)

His campaign is in the midst of what it calls "40 Days of Faith & Family" — an effort to introduce early voting South Carolina to how Obama's family life and faith have shaped his values.

In an interview with The Associated Press last week, Obama was asked about walking the line where politics and the pulpit meet.

"There are no set guidelines or play book. When I go to church, I go there to worship. I am perfectly content to sit and listen to the music and pray and listen to the sermon," Obama said after last weekend's church services.

Other times — such as this Sunday — Obama takes to the pulpit.

In those instances, he said, "my job is to try to draw a connection between the values that I express to the church and the challenges and issues that we face in politics. ... I don't think there's anything wrong with expressing faith in the public square and I think there's nothing wrong public servants expressing religiously rooted values."

Shameless, that's the only word for this kind of phony bullshit pandering. Just to clarify, I don't have any objection to politicians discussing the nature of their faith in the public square (though I think it's an obfuscating cop-out to use such talk as the centerpiece of a political campaign). I don't object to Obama saying that he's religious and that it's part of his life and part of what guides him in decision-making. But to come out and say that your faith guides everything you do at all times, and then to further claim God's political agenda as your own, essentially claiming to have received God's endorsement and seal of approval, is not only ridiculous but outright un-American.

No matter how we feel about God, I think almost all of us can agree that he's not a member of either American political party, that he doesn't really have a solid opinion about petty partisan squabbling and rhetoric that dominates our newspapers and Sunday TV shows. I mean...please...


Larry McD said...

Ironic, I guess.

You're furiously pissed at Obama for what you see as hypocrisy and pandering and I'm deeply disturbed because I think he was probably being honest.

I'm close to agreeing with a friend who swears he'd rather eat glass than vote for Hillary, but I have NO desire to have another president who gets his guidance directly from a mythic deity who's notorious for his thirst for the blood of innocents.

Maybe ironic doesn't cut it.

Dubya said...

Transformers was friggin' awesome, some kick-ass shit. That Sheeny La Beef is one damn fine actorman.