CultureWatch

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America, Religion and Politics

Apr 17, 2008

Many non-Americans are perplexed by the political scene in America. It can indeed be a bewildering and complex situation. I wish here to throw a bit of light on this topic, specifically on the issue of religion and the American Presidential race.

It goes without saying that anyone who wants to make a serious run for the Oval Office in the US must at least mouth some religion, and give the appearance of being somewhat religious, if not specifically Christian. This is because of the fact that despite the growing secularism in the US, especially among the ruling elites, the average American is still quite religious.

So as expected, the two Democratic hopefuls, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, are seeking to present themselves as Joe Average, replete with religious bona fides.

The truth is, however, both of the Democrat challengers are far from religious, and certainly far from being Bible-believing Christians. They are typical liberal Democrats who in fact look down on ordinary Americans and their religious values.

A great example of this came from the lips of Obama last week during a private fundraising talk given to a group of donors in San Francisco. Speaking of small-town Americans, he said this: “It’s not surprising that they get bitter. They cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment.”

Of course Hillary thought this a good chance to distance herself from her arch rival, although the two are identical twins when it comes to such elitism, secularism, and snobbery. She denounced Obama for his remarks, and tried to play up her down-to-earth religious background.

The high point of all this was when a reporter afterwards asked her this revealing question, “When was the last time you fired a gun or went to church?” Hillary, whose face turned various shades of red within a split second, simply changed the subject, and said such a question was not relevant to the race to the White House. This had to be one of the great moments of the election campaign. It was a classic Clintonism.

Thus both Presidential hopefuls are typical Democrats: they have a condescending view of most Americans and their deeply-held values, yet they are willing to bend the truth and distort perceptions in the effort to be seen as religious, and therefore, electable.

Either candidate will be bad news if they win the election in November. Much can be said about both, but let me here focus on Obama for the remainder of this article. Black American commentator Thomas Sowell had a great piece on him recently, and is worth quoting at length. He begins,

“An e-mail from a reader said that, while Hillary Clinton tells lies, Barack Obama is himself a lie. That is becoming painfully apparent with each new revelation of how drastically his carefully crafted image this election year contrasts with what he has actually been saying and doing for many years. Senator Obama’s election year image is that of a man who can bring the country together, overcoming differences of party or race, as well as solving our international problems by talking with Iran and other countries with which we are at odds, and performing other miscellaneous miracles as needed.”

He continues, “There is, of course, not a speck of evidence that Obama has ever transcended party differences in the United States Senate. Voting records analyzed by the National Journal show him to be the farthest left of anyone in the Senate. Nor has he sponsored any significant bipartisan legislation – nor any other significant legislation, for that matter. Senator Obama is all talk – glib talk, exciting talk, confident talk, but still just talk.”

Sowell then discusses the San Francisco talk: “Like so much that Obama has said and done over the years, this is standard stuff on the far left, where guns and religion are regarded as signs of psychological dysfunction – and where opinions different from those of the left are ascribed to emotions (‘bitter’ in this case), rather than to arguments that need to be answered. Like so many others on the left, Obama rejects ‘stereotypes’ when they are stereotypes he doesn’t like but blithely throws around his own stereotypes about ‘a typical white person’ or ‘bitter’ gun-toting, religious and racist working class people.”

This contempt of the working class is regular fare from leftists: “Obama is also part of a long tradition on the left of being for the working class in the abstract, or as people potentially useful for the purposes of the left, but having disdain or contempt for them as human beings. Karl Marx said, ‘The working class is revolutionary or it is nothing.’ In other words, they mattered only in so far as they were willing to carry out the Marxist agenda.”

Sowell concludes, “It is understandable that young people are so strongly attracted to Obama. Youth is another name for inexperience – and experience is what is most needed when dealing with skillful and charismatic demagogues. Those of us old enough to have seen the type again and again over the years can no longer find them exciting. Instead, they are as tedious as they are dangerous.”

We all can be grateful that this private remark of Obama’s was made public. It is good to know who we are really dealing with. Another American columnist, Michelle Malkin, refers to Barack as “Snob-ama”. Not bad. Of course Hillary does not fare much better, so future articles will have to zero in on her as well. Stay tuned; we are in for an interesting ride over the next six months.

www.townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2008/04/15/a_living_lie

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16 Responses to America, Religion and Politics

  • Ron Paul is a Republican candidate with integrity who doesn’t use his sincere religious convictions to garner votes. He has a well thought out policy and a consistent voting record.
    The mainstream media ignore him but he has captured the hearts and minds of many young voters who have followed his campaign on the, to date, uncensored internet.
    Perhaps you could make mention of him in a future article though I realize he is not really in the race.

    John Nelson

  • The reason Obama cited these small-town Americans as desperately clinging to guns and religion is because he sees joblessness as a cause for such pathology as he understands it. As Dennis Prager has pointed out this is classic Marxist thinking where economics determines everything and religion is some sought of opiate for the masses.
    Damien Spillane

  • Thanks Bill. What’s your opinion of the Republican candidate McCain?

    I’m not impressed by either of the candidates for the Democratic nomination.

    I hope the Republicans win the election over there. I’m still finding it hard to believe that people would vote out Howard over here, considering all the good he’s done, compared to the spin without substance of Rudd. I hope America doesn’t vote for the wrong choice.

    Matthew Mulvaney

  • http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120839142190121277.html?mod=todays_us_opinion

    Sen. Clinton: Faith “is everything that makes life and its purpose meaningful as a human being . . . We want religion to be in the public square. If you are a person of faith, you have a right and even an obligation to speak from that wellspring of your faith . . . Our obligation as leaders in America is to make sure that any conversation about religion is inclusive and respectful. And that has not always happened, as we know.”

    Sen. Obama: “Religion is a bulwark . . . Somebody like myself whose entire trajectory, not just during this campaign, but long before, has been to talk about how Democrats need to get in church, reach out to evangelicals, link faith with the work that we do . . . There is a moral dimension to abortion, which I think that all too often those of us who are pro-choice have not talked about or tried to tamp down. I think that’s a mistake . . . A comprehensive approach where we focus on abstinence, where we are teaching the sacredness of sexuality to our children.”

    Ewan McDonald.

  • Thanks Matthew

    While McCain is good on some things (eg., security issues, terrorism, Iraq, etc) he is poor on others (abortion, homosexuality, etc.) So like Giuliani, who has now dropped out, he is certainly better than the two Democrats, but he has a lot to be desired.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • McCain actually has quite a strong pro-life voting record. He falls down on the fraud of embryonic stem cell research.

    McCain is an opponent of pork barrel spending, but voted against tax cuts citing the usual Democrat class warfare nonsense about “for the rich”.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Thanks Jonathan

    Yes, while pretty good on some aspects of the pro-life cause, he is bad on embryonic stem cells, and he continues to support taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood,

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • The question to also ask of McCain is what sort of judges would he appoint? Strict constructionists? Isn’t half the abortion battle won if the president is in favour of conservative judges? I know Guiliani would have been but I am not so sure about McCain.
    Damien Spillane

  • Bill,

    Fairly predictable that you would demonise Obama. Republicans want Clinton to win the Democrat nomination, because they know she is not trusted by many Democrats, and McCain has a better chance against Clinton than he has against Obama.

    But what has a belief in Biblical literalism got to do with suitability for the US Presidency? The incumbent is a born-again Christian who has claimed to have God on his side, yet Bush will go down in history as one of the most incompetent Presidents ever elected. Clearly God is giving him bad advice, or else he is seriously deluded.

    What concerns me most about the Presidential race is the preoccupation with personalities and trivia at the expense of policy. No one seems to be asking what any of the candidates will offer by way of solutions to the great economic and social problems that America faces, most of them created by the incompetence of the Bush administration. And climate policy, which is dominating the thinking of almost every other government in the world, gets hardly a mention as an election issue in America.

    Franky, I’m unimpressed with all of the candidates, but I think Obama will win the nomination and the Presidency, almost by default. McCain is not pure enough a conservative to satisfy the Bible Belt, and Americans will be hesitant about electing another Republican. McCain also has the age factor against him. He would be 76 at the end of the first term, and that’s getting a bit long in the tooth for such an enormous responsibility.

    Steve Angelino, WA

  • Thanks Steve

    But I would have thought that Obama was doing a pretty good job of demonising himself with his radical comments. And I am certainly no friend of Hillary either. As to Bush, he was obviously far from perfect and could have done some things better, but it takes a leftist ideologue to characterise his presidency in such a manner. And McCain certainly has maturity and experience over Obama.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • It also takes a leftist ideologue to complain that Bush isn’t taking “climate policy” seriously. Bravo for Bush for resisting such nonsense as man-made global-warming.

    Ewan McDonald.

  • Bill,

    I would be reluctant to judge either candidate’s faith based on what we see on TV and read in the press. I’m more convinced by Obama’s faith than Clinton’s. Again, though, this is based on a fabricated, press-friendly presentation of the candidates. What you have presented here is nothing more than that. I remain undecided. I agree with Steve; I think if Obama wins the nomination, he will be president. If Clinton does, McCain will be in the White House. Its basically up to the Democrat voters.

    You say “it takes a leftist ideologue to characterise his[Bush’s] presidency in such a manner.”

    That is a very questionable statement. Apart from the far right, there is almost no-one who would suggest that Bush’s presidency was a success. It was, at best, a blundering effort. One only has to mention Iraq to send people running. Apart from that, the US economy is in a fair amount of trouble, and his cowboy approach to foreign policy has not left a good taste in people’s mouths. His cabinet has, on the whole, been OK, but contained some questionable characters(Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld). The man can hardly string sentences together! The way he has handled his time in office has severely discredited the executive office and the White House. The only time Bush has been in favour was in the months after 9/11. Before and after that, he has been just about the most unpopular president in history. Integrity, honesty, intelligence and excellence are not words that historians will use when describing the Bush Jr. presidency. To say “he could have done some things better” is an understatement. It takes a rightest idealogue to characterise his presidency in such a manner.

    Sorry to bring that back at you, but essentially I am acknowledging that we could debate forever over this. Ah well…basically I agree with Steve.

    Simon Kennedy, VIC

  • Damien, what America really needs is congress that will limit the power of judges according to the Constitution, Article 3, Section 2:

    In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

    I.e. Congress has the power to make laws forbidding partial birth abortion and gay marriage, and declaring that challenges to them are an Exception to the cases over which the courts have jurisdiction.

    The founders of the US rejected the absolute power of the British King, and wanted a system where power was checked by other power. Now Americans have allowed judges absolute power, against the Constitution. So they need to restore the Constitutional checks and balances, not merely hope that the right new kings are appointed.

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Simon, if Obama wins the Democratic nomination and then goes on to win the White House, the US would have elected its most left-wing President in its history. Clinton has a better chance of winning the Presidency than Obama since I don’t believe Americans would elect someone so far to the left as Obama.

    On the evidence it seems pretty clear that neither Obama or Clinton are Christian. Both are staunchly pro-abortion for example, and Obama attends a ‘church’ led by a black supremacist and Hamas sympathiser.

    Ewan McDonald.

  • Don’t forget how Obama, speaking to San Fran limousine lefties, characterized churchgoers as “bitter”. Any churchians who think that this ultraleft elitist is a “uniter” have all the discernment of a dead fish.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • I find it very frightening that political figures in America have to possess religious belief in order to gain any credibility. Why do so many Americans trust candidates based on membership to a religion rather than good and intelligent human actions and deads? Why do so many fear the unknown rather then seek to understand it through intelligent question and debate? It would seem to me that much of the population fail to get beyond religious sterotypes and labels and that a shocking percentage of votes vere towards a manufactured conservative ideal because they are afriad of anything different. Campaigns are built on this bias.
    The ever dwindling gap between church and state in America is timely and very worrying. I am concerned about American religious fundamentalism; I am also concerned about America’s part in this global economic crisis.
    If America clings to the last drop of oil without massive investment in technology, if it continues to bully nations who have direct access to oil supplies (Russia), if it continues to bypass innovative problem solving and diplomacy and instead wage war on nations, if it allows religious fundamentalist bias to take root in the seat of power then we may well all sink with it.

    Susan Atkins, UK

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