Here We Go Again

Wright, Hagee, Parsley, and now Pfleger. How many more examples do we need to conclude that religion has no place in politics? Every few weeks, we get a glimpse of some religious spectacle and like idiots who cannot learn anything from the past, we repeat the same stupid mantras:

“How could [candidate name goes here] believe [bombastic religious leader name goes here]?”

“Oh my, this would NEVER happen in my church!”

First, if one is to subscribe to Christopher Hitchens’ theories, all of these ministers believe in stuff that does not pass any reasonable scientific test. When a man believes, let’s just take a random example, that the Red Sea truly parted, how can anything else that man says hold any credibility? Religion and politics reside in two entirely different spheres and mixing them up results in absurdity. Faith has its place. Belief in miracles, if it gets you through the night, has its place. Deciding on how to provide health care for everyone has an entirely different place. Deciding how to get out of Iraq has an entirely different place. Unfortunately, our candidates are so eager to appear pious that they align themselves, deliberately or not, with bombastic, controversial, and yes sometimes NUTTY personalities.

I have written before that I believe Obama is as religious as the typical person. He takes from his religious life what suits him and he ignores the rest. He has the distinct disadvantage of not being able to say “Oh my, this would NEVER happen in my church!” His church is on display on YouTube and the 24 hour news cycles. But folks, let’s be honest. Most folks have heard some pretty wild stuff from the pulpit. The trick is you get to hear your stuff in relative privacy. No prying cameras. No one looking to discredit you the day before a critical DNC committee meeting. The hypocrisy of the religiously self-righteous is staggering.

Either we agree once and for all to separate church from state or we take a more intellectual road and view some of this religious fire and brimstone as satire. Think about it. I give you an exercise. Listen to Catholic Priest Michael Pfleger with your eyes closed. I defy you to tell me how his characterization of Hillary is any different from the satire you might see on “Saturday Night Live”? In fact, to help you with this exercise, I provide two videos below. First Pfleger and then Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton. If we’re going to really listen to Pfleger then listen to him as satire. Satire is designed to illustrate truths through exaggeration. Both Pfleger and Poehler succeed at this. (Quite frankly, I thought Pfleger was hilarious, probably because as my wife points out, he is an entertainer. MANY pastors are entertainers. They are no different from Amy Poehler. They’re playing to an audience.)



Vodpod videos no longer available.

If we’re going to insist on religion playing a role in our politics then we better get used to the idea of religious leaders saying stuff that might turn a few heads. Accept it, analyze it from an intellectual point of view and get off your religious high horse about how offensive it all is. Otherwise, get the cameras out of the church and let’s just talk about how to bring our boys and girls home from Iraq.

Rutherford Political Blogger Alliance


10 thoughts on “Here We Go Again

  1. Dear goodness, Rutherford. I applaud you for your continued faith – yes – faith – in the ability of the american people to approach any political topic with rationality. I’m glad that helps you sleep tonight!

    Truth is, like everything else on earth, religion is a complicated component of an inter-related system. We want moral leaders, we want to feel they are relatable to us, on many levels, we want them to represent the best among us, and yet we want them to be fallible, and yet we want them to be humble, and yet we want them to be confident. And you know what? Anyone who’se been on earth knows that is barely possible… let alone in a politician.

  2. I believe that Barak Obama attended Wright’s church because it had the biggest congregation. I looked at the area on and mapquest. The area is rife with them. I looked at the relative sizes of the churches. AME’s congregations weren’t as large.

    So I don’t think Rev. Wright’s rants say anything about Obama’s beliefs, only his patience.

    Now, I suspect, that these guys like Father “Infommercial” Pfleger actually bring their ‘best stuff’ because they know Obama is out there and they will be next week’s YouTube sensation.

    For Obama, this game is over. He attended church for social ( political ) connection before, but at his level it’s a waste of time to try to campaign in these small venues. If he has a deep faith, he might as well attend services that address it. At the least he needs to find one that won’t try to ride his coattails to media attention.

  3. Ecclesiastes, I mostly agree with you on this one. I think Obama’s future path is to discuss his faith divorced from any particular congregation.

    Lilac, thanks for your continued patience with my blind optimism about the average American’s ability to argue rationally. 🙂

  4. And in today’s news, I’m right again. I even nailed the ‘guest speakers’.

    I can’t tell you how bitter the taste of ‘I told you so’ is in my mouth.

    I hope Obama can find peace and the embrace of God. Just to be clear I hope that for Hillary, Sen.Kennedy, Chavez, Ama-jama-ding-dong of Iran, and Mugabe too.

    I’m Primitive Baptist. That’s how it is.

  5. Ecclesiastes, if you’re referring to Obama resigning from his church, while I would not have predicted such a move, I whole heartedly support it. Regardless of all of the good the church has achieved for its community, Obama cannot afford to stick around waiting for the next embarrassment to come along.

    I applaud how charitably you share your positive hopes for various people’s salvation. It would do you some good to learn how to spell Ahmadinejad’s name though. I’ve written a piece on that also.

  6. ENOUGH!

    Really, this is enough. Let’s have an end of the Democrat/liberal “My feelings are hurt!” and “It’s he just too kewl!” politics. Enough of the who-is-more-offended racist and sexist melodrama that has been the whole of the campaign for months.

    Just what is it about Obama’s platform that you find value?

    I have serious objections to parts of his platform.

    A while back I told Rutherford that he wasn’t going to be able to hide his collectivism behind his color. Neither can Obama.

    Let’s do it.

  7. Ecclesiastes,
    WOW! What got your dander up today? Has Obama’s near clinching of the nomination got you in a snit?

    What do I like about Obama’s platform? 1. He wants us out of Iraq, 2. He favors some form of universal health care, 3. He wants to get young folks involved again by offering tuition assistance in return for community/national service, 4. He wants to stop the strangle hold of special interests in Washington. I actually haven’t heard anything from him from a platform perspective which with I disagree. Call me a liberal … oh I forgot, you already have.

    As for my hiding my collectivism behind my “color”, I’m not sure what assumptions you are making. If you’re implying that I am African-American, you’re right. But color is a funny word since I am so fair skinned that I have heard more than one white person make a dumb-ass remark in my presence thinking they were “safe”. It’s yet another reason I like Barack. He reminds us that racial identify isn’t a matter of black and white. It’s more complex than that.

    You are in a real spot this year because to vote against Obama, whose platform you don’t like, you will have to vote for a man who calls his wife a “c*nt”, thinks “bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb-iran” is a funny song to sing, and has not one single solid idea to help our economy. His idea of helping our economy is to pour more money down the Iraq drain.

    Without tossing obscure intellectual arguments about collectivism, please feel free to discuss what about Obama’s platform you don’t like.

  8. Rutherford,

    1 – I think knocking over Saddam and rehabilitating Iraq has been and continues to be a great idea and a nearly unqualified success. It is based on historical successes, tested military theory, and a solid grasp of Islam.

    2 – Universal health care, depending on how one defines it is either already extant, or a system which produces worse results than our system in every country ( and state ) that it exists.

    3 – Americorps, which is Vista with new letterhead, already exists. I think there is a group camped out about 3 miles from my house. Did you want pictures? I wouldn’t mind visiting them.

    4 – “Stop the strangle hold of special interests in Washington”? The only way to fix that is an absolute monarchy. Everybody’s interest is special. Would you like to narrow this down a little?

    Personally I dislike Obama’s plan to ‘buy’ all the poor children.

    reference: Obama’s Blueprint for Change

    Age Zero to Five Plan Pg 20.
    Make the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit refundable Pg 15, 36

    You do have Obama’s Blueprint for Change, right?

    You probably don’t have a source for the reference material I’m likely to cite. Here:

    Regarding race, please regard the the text you are reading. Unless you have the low vision settings on, it is black print on a white background. From this moment on, we’re both black.

    If you think it’s more complex than that, then you just have a complex.

    Regarding McCain, he’s a Democrat, a liberal, and I don’t see an RCH worth of difference between him and Hillary. I would have voted for Hillary.

    Regarding my snit, I am sick of ‘making nice’ and keeping my mouth shut while the Democrats humiliate the US with their primaries. You and yours have been in a howling, crying, silly slap fest to decide who should have the nuclear football.

    I will concede the, demonstrated, most important policy and political point of the Democrats: Obama is prettier than anybody.

  9. Oh yeah. Since you mentioned the battle of Iraq ( to be rigorous, it’s not a war ), there are a couple of other references you would need.

    The Geneva Conventions:

    Please note that the US is a signatory to only the first 4. The US is NOT a signatory to the 1977 or 2005 protocols.

    Additionally you would need the definition of torture:

    This is the definition. If you *feel* that it is something else, you’re wrong, period. You’re arguing with the stop sign. If you feel it *ought* to be different, call your congressman.

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