Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Gee, What a Surprise

Obama Resigns Church Membership.

What took him so long?

Discussions - 6 Comments

Political opportunism as the post implies.

Now that they're inconvenient, Obama tries to separate himself from these freaks -- not only Wright and Pfleger, but those who attend their "churches." But the fact remains that he has worshiped with, and listened to, such people for a long time. Obama's close association with Chicago's hard left and with virulent racists should disqualify him from all public office whatsoever, let alone the presidency.
In a healthy society his career would be permanently over.

I'm a generally liberal guy from an urban area. When reported last fall that Obama attended an "Afro-centric church" I knew it was a matter of time before the split happened or it would bury him.

Because these places are full of freaks? No. His church appears more UCC- progressive than the Black Nationalist variety, the second being more common. They are often very conservative on social issues while as angry as anyone at inequality and cultural and social norms in their own community.

Obama by all accounts is a traditional integrationist liberal, not a Black Nationalist at all, and therefore doesn't present a greater threat than Clinton, Kerry, Edwards -- however you personally measure that.

It seems that the type of inspiration Obama drew/draws from Wright, Pfleger and the congregation was/is a father-mentor, providing grounding and "fire" for his difficult community organizing work.

Scott, you should say more about the UCC progressive-type v. black nationalist type split in the afrocentric black churches. I wonder if your nomencalture is the best suited to describe things, though, given the obviously Nation-of-Islam inspired moves in the "political theology" (dreary academic word, I know, but in this case it works) of Wright's theological model/teacher Cone. That seems black nationalist to me. You're right that in contrast to the Nation of Islam and a certain type of black church, the social conservative element of many black churches (w/o, of course, supporting social conservatism to the extent of voting for or compromising stance on the GOP) appears absent from Trinity United. My personal theory, which may annoy a liberal-leaner like yourself, Scott, is that the long-term political alliance of most black churches with the Dems has undermined their social conservative instincts across the board, which IMO cannot but cause awkward hedging on doctrine, or at least the presentation of doctrine.

What annoys me to no end, however, is that many whites in both parties are assuming that this Trinity United stuff is par-for-the-course in black churches, such that not to excuse Obama on his allegiance to such a church is tantamount to a suspect, i.e., racist obsession with the issue. But my impression, admittedly based on my own urban experiences from the perhaps dated early 90s, is that while a church like Wright's may make a splash, it is by most measures very atypical. And, there are quite a few black churches, it seems to me, that while commiting themselves in some overt way to an active exploration of African hertitage and African issues, do not go down the Wright/Cone-avenue in theology or in terms of preaching-emphasis. And even these remain a minority compared to those, that in one sectarian way or another, remain more commited to a church-aura of old-time-religion than to dashiki-time, and with politics mostly contained to the announcements section, in which the guest from the NAACP or what have-you, might speak.

Finally, the "by-all-accounts" image of Obama's commmitment to integration may be wrong. He really may be, in terms of Chicago's black nationalist political circles, and in terms of Chicago politics simply, the "sweet-smelling flower" those establishments put forward to keep their own dirty ways out of the limelight, as in Harry Truman to Pendergrast's Kansas City Machine. But to be the "sweet-smelling flower" to a network of Sharpton-like activists means to be the good-cop to the bad-cop when it comes to histrionic race-politics, Jesse-Jackson styled shake-downs. To use Shelby Steele's categories, Obama has taken the "bargainer" role, the role of making whites feel accepted and virtuous so long as they endorse the larger program, as opposed to a Sharpton-like "demander" role (I forget Steele's precise word). But the two roles depend on one another--if whites don't need to gain a sense of virtue from their association with and support of bargainer Obama, then they don't need to tolerate the role the likes of Sharpton play. Liberals like you, Scott, will obviously still have compelling reasons to vote for the man, but you have to admit that this is a potentially big problem. This guy's "magic" is psychologically linked to an unhealthy white need for gaining the "kosher-on-race" endorsement of bargainer blacks. What is more, his OWN quest to prove his black-idenity bonafides is linked to his political alliance with the "Sharptons" of America. He is more vulnerable to a black identity "black-mail" than most Americans realize. This will be an unescapable feature of his presidency, and it won't be healthy for the nation as a whole, unless his sheer ineexperience causes him to rapidly crash upon taking office.

Reminds me of that line from the movie JAWS, where Brodie, {sp? Roy Schneider, sp?} said: "I think we're going to need a bigger boat."

Obama is going to need a bigger bus, if he continues to throw past associations thereunder.

He just threw an entire church under the bus, pastor and pulpit, choir and choir loft, building and congregation, ----------------------------------- one and all, joint and several, whole and entire, ---------------- under the bus. And the MSM hasn't so much as batted an eye over the spectacle, the sheer political spectacle of a politician throwing his whole church under the bus.

Obama has presented himself as above partisanship, so he really had no choice but to do what he did on that account. His church revealed a highly partisan political ideology. Their social ends and even their theology may be as orthodox as my own church or any white or casually integrated church, (speaking to this issue of the broader church-going population) but that is not evident. Where this action hurts Obama is in the area of the moral transcendence he has claimed. He no longer seems as glorious as at first presented. This business is at least disloyal and certainly an act of political opportunism. Since neither the church nor his renunciation of it fits his Messianic image, whatever he did was going to cause damage to that image.

But it is a long way to November. Even if Republicans can tie this, dragging, to the end of his bus, (to use your imagery,) is it going to be recognizable by November?

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