IT’S TIME FOR SWIFT-BOAT SEASON
This past week,
Obama has been criticized lately by just about every commentator who associates himself with the party of the elephant. But what is especially notable is that he’s being criticized by certain liberal commentators as well. Most recently, I was listening to Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen decry Obama’s judgment in connection with the Wright scandal. This is a new kind of sin for a politician, folks – attending the wrong kind of religious services, and attending them too often. If only Obama were like most politicians and didn’t give a crap about religion, he would never come under Cohen’s scrutiny. He could go to church on the odd occasion, press some flesh, smile for the cameras, and declare himself “Christian,” when in fact he thinks it’s all a bunch of B.S. That’s OK. But what’s not OK is for him to be a sincere Christian who frequently attends the services of a church where one of its ministers says thing that he doesn’t agree with. Now that shows bad judgment. He should quit … and keep moving from church to church, all the while searching for the minister who says just the right, politically correct things. That would show good judgment for a politician … at least according to Obama’s critics.
Personally, I suspect that most of these critics, liberal or conservative, have one thing in common – they probably aren’t very religious. Why do I say that? Consider the following quotation, which comes from the one Presidential candidate who made spirituality the central theme in his campaign. And I’ll give you a hint – it’s not Hillary “Throw the Kitchen Sink at Him”
"[Y]ou can't hold the candidate responsible for everything that people around him may say or do. It's interesting to me that there are some people on the left who are having to be very uncomfortable with what ... Wright said, when they all were all over a
"As easy as it is for those of us who are white to look back and say 'That's a terrible statement!' ... I grew up in a very segregated South. And I think that you have to cut some slack -- and I'm gonna be probably the only conservative in America who's gonna say something like this, but I'm just tellin' you -- we've gotta cut some slack to people who grew up being called names..."
Those, my friends, were the words of Mike Huckabee, himself a minister. He knows full well that just because you attend a church doesn’t mean that you agree with its clergy about matters of politics or theology. Huckabee also knows that just because a black minister says some stupid, angry words about the white American establishment, doesn’t make him a monster. Truly, there is no such thing as an inspired preacher who hasn’t said stupid, angry things on occasion. It goes with the territory.
When I think about all the non-religious people piling on Barack for his relationship to Wright, I can only laugh at my own relationship with a certain Senior Rabbi. I’d still be listening to this guy preach if he hadn’t helped to lead a coup to get rid of the cantor and Associate Rabbi who were the real reasons why I loved the synagogue so much. The Senior Rabbi once said to me that he and I agree about “practically nothing.” And I’ve heard one person after another tell me how furious the Senior Rabbi was with me about things that I’ve done or said. But still … if the Board of Trustees at the Temple had merely stood up to the guy and kept the other two clergymen, I’d still be at synagogue a couple of times each month, listening to this guy preach one thing after another that I found fundamentally wrong. Why? Because I don’t go to a synagogue primarily to listen to a guy spout out wisdom. I go to feel the unique sense of spirituality that is only possible when large numbers of people come together in prayer. I gather that in the case of Reverend Wright’s church, a truly large number of people came to pray together. For anyone to second guess Barack Obama in choosing to remain at such a church … well, let’s just say that Thomas
Political scientists and sociologists will, for years, look back at this past week and think primarily about the incredible speech that Barack Obama gave about racial relations in