Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Preach it, Brother Rich

Frank Rich celebrates the Obama worship preached by Sister Oprah:

This movement has its own religious tone. References to faith abound in Mr. Obama’s writings and speeches, as they do in Oprah’s language on her TV show and at his rallies. Five years ago, Christianity Today, the evangelical journal founded by Billy Graham, approvingly described Oprah as “an icon of church-free spirituality” whose convictions “cannot simply be dismissed as superficial civil religion or so much New Age psychobabble.”


“Church free” is the key. This country has had its fill of often hypocritical family-values politicians dictating what is and is not acceptable religious and moral practice. Instead of handing down tablets of what constitutes faith in America, Romney-style, the Oprah-Obama movement practices an American form of ecumenicalism. It preaches a bit of heaven on earth in the form of a unified, live-and-let-live democracy that is greater than the sum of its countless disparate denominations. The pitch — or, to those who are not fans, the shtick — may be corny. “The audacity of hope” is corny too. But corn is preferable to holier-than-thou, and not just in Iowa.

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For those Americans looking for the most unambiguous way to repudiate politicians who are trying to divide the country by faith, ethnicity, sexuality and race, Mr. Obama is nothing if not the most direct shot. After hearing someone like Mitt Romney preach his narrow, exclusionist idea of “Faith in America,” [!!] some Americans may simply see a vote for Mr. Obama as a vote for faith in America itself.

Obama is thus the embodiment of America, in which we’re supposed to have faith. Rich’s civil religion isn’t "one nation under God" (how narrow and exclusionist!), but one nation above all else (idolatry, in other words).

Discussions - 5 Comments

"For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4, NIV

You must read Frank Rich out of a strong sense of duty, premedicated with anti-emetics. I find reading a roll of toilet paper less dis-informing. I'm not at all sure what Graham really said about Oprah, but it is Rich's adverb, "approvingly", not Graham's, that contextualizes(I hate that word!) the Graham quote that follows. Without the "approvingly", the quote can be read as quite disapproving of the Oprah phenomenon.

Here's the CT article on Oprah, which isn't by Billy Graham and ultimately questions a great deal about her brand of New Ageish spirituality. The "approvingly" is a misleading misreading. Of course.

The Frank Riches of the world want to use religion on behalf of their leftist values. De-churching religion into vague humanitarian sentiments is quite convenient for this purpose.

Thanks for the CT link, Mr. K. I think the observation quoted therein about tithing is entirely correct: tithing is OK when one makes $100/week, but at $35 mill/yr the contract must be renegotiated. That opens the window into the souls of the Oprahs, Bill Gates, Sean Penns and Warren Buffets. The God of the very rich is a different God from the one I see as the Creator.

The "approvingly" is a neat demonstration of the crafty craft of Frank Rich and his ilk. Enlightening, Mr. K--thanks.

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