Obama’s religious supporters jumping ship?

posted at 9:20 pm on January 31, 2010 by Slublog

If they’re becoming disappointed in Obama, perhaps it’s not the president’s fault. Maybe they just chose…unwisely.

His State of the Union address last week was not corrective: more pedantic than inspirational. Health care, centrist clerics say, would have been better if framed strongly from the outset as an issue of social justice. The economy, they continue, is also a values crisis, a failure on the part of the banks and government to respect our collective inter-dependence. “Not my problem” is exactly the mindset that Matthew 25 warns against. “I am my brother’s keeper, my sister’s keeper,” Obama would say on the campaign trail.

I reached Jim Wallis, the progressive evangelical leader whose new book is called Rediscovering Values, as he was leaving for Davos. Wallis has been close to the president, advising him early on about whether to run and exchanging e-mails with him amid the Jeremiah Wright turmoil. “We need a leader,” Wallis told me, “to call not for incremental change but transformational politics. The president could do that. I think he still has it in him, but the American people don’t perceive it.”

Other faith leaders are more pointed. Obery Hendricks, author of The Politics of Jesus, used to dial in to regular conference calls between the administration and prominent clergy, but recently he’s stopped, citing frustration and fatigue. “Is he listening [to religious leaders]? Frankly, I don’t know. They have the influence of window dressing.” The White House, he adds, is “patronizing and condescending,” especially to black clergy. “Many of the ministers feel that way.”

Obama likes the “brother’s keeper” language so much that he used it last year to sell healthcare reform to the same religious leaders that are now starting to distance themselves. During the campaign, I alternated between amusement and horror at how impressed some Christians were with Obama’s use of that biblical phrase, considering its original use in scripture.

Obama’s call to social justice comes from Genesis 4:8-10. That passage describes how, in a fit of jealously, Cain murdered his brother Abel. Later, God asks Cain where his brother is, and Cain’s answer is a dismissive “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” Basically, Obama is using a flippant remark by the first murderer to sell his health care plan to religious leaders. Maybe Sarah Palin was on to something, huh?

It seems to me that religious leaders aren’t moving away from Obama because they’re disappointed with his actions as president, but because they are tired of being used by a man who is no longer interested in their input.


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Comment pages: 1 4 5 6

canopfor on January 31, 2010 at 11:06 PM

*Fans self…

lovingmyUSA on February 1, 2010 at 2:48 AM

Basil Fawlty on February 1, 2010 at 2:10 AM

Basil, by addressed, I meant that Jesus never faced the Roman leadership directly to challenge them as He did the Pharisees and Sadducees. I think we are in agreement. The verses you quoted further prove that Jesus did not come to wield His might sword against the blatantly corrupt Roman government, as He could have done and as a social activist certainly would have done. Jesus clearly distinguished between God’s things and Caesar’s, but some who invoke Him for their political causes — conservatives and liberals — conveniently forget.

Terrie on February 1, 2010 at 2:49 AM

Right. Cucumbers were not satisfying enough. She’s out shopping for Zucchini.

Geochelone on January 31, 2010 at 11:18 PM

Must…bleach…eyes….

lovingmyUSA on February 1, 2010 at 3:10 AM

Basil, by addressed, I meant that Jesus never faced the Roman leadership directly to challenge them as He did the Pharisees and Sadducees.

Terrie on February 1, 2010 at 2:49 AM

Terrie, that was my first conclusion concerning your use of “addressed” but then I realized that there was another way to look at “addressed” that being in the sense of not speaking of the Roman goverment in any context to someone else. And I ended up dealing with what I saw was another way of looking at it. Having clarified your use of “addressed” I take back my “one correction though” for I see we were both looking at the same basic thing but from a minor degree of perspective.

And yes we are in agreement concerning your, ” I think we are in agreement. The verses you quoted further prove that Jesus did not come to wield His might sword against the blatantly corrupt Roman government, as He could have done and as a social activist certainly would have done. Jesus clearly distinguished between God’s things and Caesar’s, but some who invoke Him for their political causes — conservatives and liberals — conveniently forget.”

Basil Fawlty on February 1, 2010 at 3:29 AM

OT

Maybe it’s the Sunday crew of commentators here, but for the most part, the stories highlighted here today have been ……… Or maybe it’s just me. But I am, for the first time, questioning the powers that be at HA. How could you turn your blog over to This Crew?

We have the story of Obama trying to indoctrinate our youth via OFA and an incredible story via Atlas Shrugs. We have HA including it earlier today ONLY as a headline but not even as a blog post.

!!!

???

Maybe when Ed gets back tomorrow he can fix the debacle.

Opinionator on February 1, 2010 at 3:30 AM

I’m sure Michelle will have it tomorrow. Glenn by Tuesday. And HA?

Ever?

Opinionator on February 1, 2010 at 3:40 AM

Manuel says “tomorrow” is Tuesday, so maybe HA will have it Tuesday like Michelle and Glenn. :-D

Basil Fawlty on February 1, 2010 at 3:50 AM

I think Barack Obama has played golf more times than he’s attended church this past year.

It was clear from the beginning he was only going to church to pad his resume, much the same way Kerry went to Vietnam. Religious leaders who thought this guy would give them any consideration were fools.

I mean really, when Obama says “God bless America.” during SOTU, does anyone think he really means that?

Dongemaharu on February 1, 2010 at 4:13 AM

The real question is what were they doing on Obama-nation’s ship in the first place.

Slowburn on February 1, 2010 at 4:50 AM

After Obama attended Wright’s church for twenty years, what in the world were these “religious leaders” thinking?

I find the whole thing amusing in a sad way.

Like in Casablanca where the major? is going “I’m shocked, shocked to find gambling here!” while stuffing cash in his pockets.

I’ll repeat it onces again- Nothing good has every come out of Chicago politics. Anyone who thought different is an utter fool.

gdonovan on February 1, 2010 at 5:37 AM

“We need a leader,” Wallis told me, “to call not for incremental change but transformational politics. The president could do that. I think he still has it in him, but the American people don’t perceive want it.”

FIFY

smellthecoffee on February 1, 2010 at 6:38 AM

Jeremiah Wright was the closest to BO’s way of thinking…i.e. Social justice. The Muslim religion intrigued and perhaps had him for a while. He attended church perhaps for Michelle’s sake and for a brief showing at the start of his presidency. His real leanings, I believe, are more like his mother’s and his grandparent’s…all atheists. Doesn’t bode well if the electorate knew his real inclinations. His true religion however, is egoism.

Nalea on February 1, 2010 at 6:45 AM

Maybe it’s the Sunday crew of commentators here, but for the most part, the stories highlighted here today have been ……… Or maybe it’s just me. But I am, for the first time, questioning the powers that be at HA. How could you turn your blog over to This Crew?

We have the story of Obama trying to indoctrinate our youth via OFA and an incredible story via Atlas Shrugs. We have HA including it earlier today ONLY as a headline but not even as a blog post.

!!!

???

Maybe when Ed gets back tomorrow he can fix the debacle.

Opinionator on February 1, 2010 at 3:30 AM

I would say, they’re a breath of fresh air for Hot Air.

Nalea on February 1, 2010 at 7:03 AM

“I am my brother’s keeper” has always been a favorite phrase of the Progressive Political Left. It has more to do with control than helping someone. The best way to respond to some useful idiot who uses it constantly is,” I’m not your brother and you’re not my keeper so I’d suggest you just run for your life”.

ronnyraygun on February 1, 2010 at 7:03 AM

I was appalled that any religious leader would support him, but that’s their choice. Buyers remorse hurts.

Of course, given the left’s tendency toward favoring religions that are politically correct, they don’t want to get on Obama’s bad side, because the modern-day left is more likely to emulate China’s approach to religion: state-approved churches that profess an agenda in line with the state. Liberals already do this, which is why when politicians speak at liberal churches/religious group functions, or when politically correct churches speak out on social issues it’s not a 501(c)3 violation, but churches that speak out in favor of life and traditional marriage are threatened with penalty.

englishqueen01 on February 1, 2010 at 7:05 AM

Ugh. I can’t read past the words “social justice”. A religious commie is no better than an atheist commie.

Buy Danish on February 1, 2010 at 7:06 AM

Health care…would have been better if framed strongly from the outset as an issue of social justice.

What the heck is social justice? Is it social justice to steal money from some people and give it to other people? Is it social justice to support policies that create poverty? Is it social justice give grandma a pain pill instead of a pace maker? Is that what Jesus would want? Is that what He would do?
Walter Williams said it best. Here’s a little Bible for you. Right out of the top 10 commandments! God said, “Thou shalt not steal!” God did not say, “Thou shalt not steal unless you have a majority vote in congress!”

JellyToast on February 1, 2010 at 7:15 AM

What the heck is social justice?
JellyToast on February 1, 2010 at 7:15 AM

Social justice is a subjective terminology for an inherently liberal progressive ideology. Unfortunately it has an extensive worldwide following.

Nalea on February 1, 2010 at 7:31 AM

Nothing like a good religious debate with my morning coffee. Dayum it’s Monday and I have housewife work to do. I’ll leave this post open so I can put in my .02 and compare it to politicians and members of the Catholic and other religions of the Church in Puerto Rico.

Maybe I can pinpoint similarities here.

ProudPalinFan on February 1, 2010 at 7:33 AM

What the heck is social justice?

Actually, social justice has a place in Christianity. Sadly, it has been usurped by liberals not to mean charity borne of truth (and freely given, or not given), but as codespeak for ramming through socialist agendas.

The Catechism defines it thusly:

Society ensures social justice by providing the conditions that allow associations and individuals to obtain their due.

I want to emphasize allow, because it doesn’t leave room for the sort of social engineering, equality-of-outcome liberals take for social justice.

englishqueen01 on February 1, 2010 at 7:40 AM

Suckers!

Didn’t W.C. Fields have an expression for these people, or was it P.T. Barnum?

olesparkie on February 1, 2010 at 7:43 AM

B.O. doesn’t need the support of religious leaders.

After all, he is The One.

He can just worship the Wonder That Is He every time he looks in the mirror.

pilamaye on February 1, 2010 at 7:52 AM

The Republican party did this to religious leaders as well. Both just plain used them for their votes.

texasconserv on February 1, 2010 at 8:01 AM

I think Barack Obama has played golf more times than he’s attended church this past year.

Dongemaharu on February 1, 2010 at 4:13 AM

Obama worships every morning.

He pulls out a mirror and …

MarkTheGreat on February 1, 2010 at 8:23 AM

Health care, centrist clerics say, would have been better if framed strongly from the outset as an issue of social justice.

I reached Jim Wallis, the progressive evangelical leader whose new book is called Rediscovering Values, as he was leaving for Davos.

“social justice” and “progressive” are not centrist. They are leftist ideas.

rbj on February 1, 2010 at 8:31 AM

It seems to me that religious leaders aren’t moving away from Obama because they’re disappointed with his actions as president, but because they are tired of being used by a man who is no longer interested in their input.

Cynic that I am, I never believed he was interested in their input; only their cloak of respectability.

Extrafishy on February 1, 2010 at 8:35 AM

What is happening here? President Obama loosing the backers of religious group, are not liberals non believers anyway? If so, this should be good news.

MSGTAS on February 1, 2010 at 8:40 AM

Yeah, Christ told his followers to go to government and use their force of arms to get money for people who have less…

That Bible passage DOESN’T EXIST.

I wish these people would stop pretending it does.

DavidM on February 1, 2010 at 8:42 AM

The Big 0 will use anybody for advantage as long as he thinks they will provide it for him. He’s always quoting being on the wrong side of history. He should worry more about being on the wrong side of God.

Kissmygrits on February 1, 2010 at 8:53 AM

Actually, social justice has a place in Christianity. Sadly, it has been usurped by liberals not to mean charity borne of truth (and freely given, or not given), but as codespeak for ramming through socialist agendas.

englishqueen01 on February 1, 2010 at 7:40 AM

Well said. Social justice has come to be nothing more than a blunt weapon in the liberal/progressive arsenal to ram through all sorts of agenda items that have nothing to do with Christ and His teachings.

That being said, the religious supporters of Obama were not making a faith-based decision. After all, Obama supports killing off unborn life. Obama sat for twenty years in a racist church that perverts Christian faith. There is zero tolerance for faith among the Obama faithful. Why did the “Bible clingers” think that they would find a man they could support in a guy raised a Muslim who converted to Christianity only for the sake of his political career.

highhopes on February 1, 2010 at 9:37 AM

Obama’s call to social justice comes from Genesis 4:8-10. That passage describes how, in a fit of jealously, Cain murdered his brother Abel. Later, God asks Cain where his brother is, and Cain’s answer is a dismissive “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?”

Hey Barry, what about your brother living in a hut in Africa on $1 a day? What have you done for HIM lately? Are you still dreaming about your father?

Stop raising Cain with your stupid health-care ripoff!

The White House, he adds, is “patronizing and condescending,” especially to black clergy. “Many of the ministers feel that way.”

Obama: You wouldn’t want your daughter punished with a bay-buh!

Ask Sarah and Elizabeth from the Bible if they were punished by their babies…

Steve Z on February 1, 2010 at 10:33 AM

Just remember that famous passage “Obama 3-16″

TheSitRep on February 1, 2010 at 10:39 AM

Unless you’re in insider on the plots, plans, and machinations of this administration….you are just another pawn in the game. A useful tool, for a time, to help advance the agenda. When your usefulness is over…back to the ditch, with the rest of us.

capejasmine on February 1, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Obama’s call to social justice comes from Genesis 4:8-10. That passage describes how, in a fit of jealously, Cain murdered his brother Abel. Later, God asks Cain where his brother is, and Cain’s answer is a dismissive “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” Basically, Obama is using a flippant remark by the first murderer to sell his health care plan to religious leaders.

He didn’t use Cain’s flippant remark. He flipped the script on the remark. He said “I am my brother’s keeper”. In other words, we do need to take care of each other.

He was saying the exact opposite of what Cain said. How can you not see this? You’re so eager to take a shot at Obama, you don’t even realize how off-base you are.

Better guest-bloggers, please.

orange on February 1, 2010 at 11:26 AM

Thus always to the followers of false gods.

Hucklebuck on February 1, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Obama’s religious supporters jumping ship?

Over the bow?

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on February 1, 2010 at 12:33 AM

very good and very nautical. I hadn’t thought of that one.

Geochelone on February 1, 2010 at 12:39 AM

Nautical, but nice.

Dr. Charles G. Waugh on February 1, 2010 at 12:23 PM

orange on February 1, 2010 at 11:26 AM

If Obama believes he is his brothers keeper, than where is he when it comes to his impoverished brother in Kenya? Why do these men of the cloth, and growing numbers of Americans feel incensed by him, and his presidency? He does NOT practice what he preaches. He just preaches, as if he’s above the ethics, and morals we’re all to live by. He’s a hypocrite of the first order.

capejasmine on February 1, 2010 at 12:25 PM

What’s the next catch phrase? “Jesus wept”?

kens on February 1, 2010 at 12:28 PM

“We need a leader,” Wallis told me, “to call not for incremental change but transformational politics. The president could do that. I think he still has it in him, but the American people don’t perceive it.”

Transformation should come from the Church and God. Politics will NEVER be able to transform the human heart because they like the corruption of POWER! Obama’s stimulus, TARP (joint ownership), Health Care was all planned with greedy pols and profiteers benefiting under the guise of social justice. Never would, never could benefit poor people or any one else for that matter.

Herb on February 1, 2010 at 1:58 PM

If Obama believes he is his brothers keeper, than where is he when it comes to his impoverished brother in Kenya?

capejasmine on February 1, 2010 at 12:25 PM

You’re missing the point. Slublog was claiming that Obama misused the quote when he clearly didn’t.

orange on February 1, 2010 at 2:00 PM

You’re missing the point. Slublog was claiming that Obama misused the quote when he clearly didn’t.

orange on February 1, 2010 at 2:00 PM

He is a filthy lying hypocrite by virtue of using this quote.

daesleeper on February 1, 2010 at 7:24 PM

He didn’t use Cain’s flippant remark. He flipped the script on the remark. He said “I am my brother’s keeper”. In other words, we do need to take care of each other.

He was saying the exact opposite of what Cain said. How can you not see this? You’re so eager to take a shot at Obama, you don’t even realize how off-base you are.

Better guest-bloggers, please.

orange on February 1, 2010 at 11:26 AM

If Obama believes he is his brothers keeper, than where is he when it comes to his impoverished brother in Kenya?

capejasmine on February 1, 2010 at 12:25 PM

You’re missing the point. Slublog was claiming that Obama misused the quote when he clearly didn’t.

orange on February 1, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Now you’re be flip with the whole context.
CONTEXT: God asked Cain where his brother was at, knowing full well Abel was murdered. That was Cain’s chance to confess. Instead, Cain, in effect, said it was none of his business.

To extrapolate from that conversation that we should be our brother’s keeper is putting words into God’s mouth. Now that is flippant indeed. Especially when there are other references, both OT & NT where we are taught that we have to work to take care of ourselves. No work = No Food.

So yes, Obambi did twist the quote of a murderer claiming no knowledge of the crime into a “commandement from God: “I am my brother’s keeper”.

Charity is a personal action, something that no government is capable of 1) government has no money in of it self, 2) to get money, government has to take it from you and me, funnel it thru its bureaucracy so that at best maybe 80% gets to the intended charitee.

And this clown of a brother’s keeper can’t even concern himself with down-and-out kinfolk, both here and abroad, but feels justified in telling us that we ought, by force of law, to ‘keep’ strangers as if they were our own.

As we all know, once a government agency starts, its raison d’etre is to justify its existenc for the sake of its employees and infrastructure. Hence it grows and grows. To wit, the war on poverty. Charitable organizations on the other hand, spring up when there’s a need, address it and when its mission is accomplished it folds its tent and goes home. Granted, not all needs are fully resolved, but the organizations are more able to react to demand and flex as needed.

BLUF: Charitale organisations get more bang for the giver’s buck. Better yet, individuals get to chose who they donate to, or not. Unlike the government which just takes your money and maybe, maybe some of it would go where you’d approve.

Yo, Obambi! I ain’t your brother. I ain’t your bro. Just shut up and execute your primary duties as POTUS, i.e. defend the country and lead our soldiers. We’ll take cae of the rest on our own. Thank you very much. NOT.

AH_C on February 1, 2010 at 10:30 PM

Obama comments in an interview (which I can’t find any more) that Jesus was “an historic figure” left me cold.

J_Crater on February 2, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Obama uses religion the way most people use toilet paper

J_Crater on February 2, 2010 at 3:44 PM

What the heck is social justice?
JellyToast on February 1, 2010 at 7:15 AM

Essentially, communal values once held by many people and religious groups, but enforced with Marxist-like laws.

Original ideal: bottom-up system that was voluntary, although there would be social consequences for being selfish/lazy/etc.

New ideal: top-down involuntary system, where ‘equality’ is dictated by a very small centralized secular power.

Dark-Star on February 2, 2010 at 6:26 PM

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