The Politico notices our Christianist-in-Chief
posted at 10:25 am on June 9, 2009 by Karl
Isn’t it ironic, asks The Politico’s Eamon Javers, that Barack Obama invokes Jesus more than George W. Bush?
He’s done it while talking about abortion and the Middle East, even the economy. The references serve at once as an affirmation of his faith and a rebuke against a rumor that persists for some to this day.
As president, Barack Obama has mentioned Jesus Christ in a number of high-profile public speeches — something his predecessor George W. Bush rarely did in such settings, even though Bush’s Christian faith was at the core of his political identity.
It is not ironic. To the contrary, it was entirely predictable to anyone paying attention to Obama’s political career. Javers — and the layers of editorial staff ostensibly upholding traditional journalistic values at The Politico — either know better or set out to insult the intelligence of their readers.
After all, how does a news story about Obama’s faith-based rhetoric make it to publication without a single mention of Obama’s decades of membership at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, under the spiritual tutelage of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright?
Obama spent decades in (and donated tens of thousands of dollars to) a church founded on Black Liberation Theology, dogma which — even in its most benign, least racialist formulation — is based on dressing up left-wing nanny statism and a “blame America first” foreign policy in a robe of religious rhetoric. Obama sought to use churches as an instrument of Alinskyite community organizing. Obama used religious rhetoric — sometimes covertly, sometimes more overtly than Mike Huckabee — during his campaign. His proposal to create a new Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships would further his fusion of Leftist religion and politics.
Moreover, Obama has spoken admiringly of the Social Gospel movement of the progressive era, which Jonah Goldberg has called “far more theocratic and ‘Christianist’ than pretty much anything we’ve heard from the Christian Right in the last forty years.” Andrew Sullivan, normally an anti-Christianist crusader, has enthused that Obama can appeal to a new class of “moderate Christianists.”
There is thus ample basis for the suspicions Javers reports today:
To some, the difference between the two presidents goes beyond rhetoric. David Kuo, a former official in Bush’s faith-based office who later became disillusioned with the president he served, worries that both men have exploited religious phraseology for political gain. “From a spiritual perspective, that’s a great and grave danger,” he said. “When God becomes identified with a political agenda, God gets screwed.”
And he suspects that Obama has an even larger goal: the resurrection of the largely dormant Christian Left, a tradition that encompasses Martin Luther King’s civil rights leadership and dates back as far as Dorothy Day, the liberal activist who co-founded the Catholic Worker movement in the 1930s.
That such a project may be undertaken by a president elected with the support of a creepy devotional cult ought to be a story for outlets like The Politico. Then again, with people like Newsweek editor-at-large Evan Thomas still comparing Obama to God, perhaps actual journalism is too much to expect.