Sunday, March 16, 2008

And the yoke shall deliver thou from evil?

I'm sorry, but is it just me, or does being associated with religion during an American election seem contentious to the point of stupidity?
Case no. 1: John McCain and televangelist John Hagee, who has been accused of anti-Catholicism. Hagee endorsed McCain for the presidency on February 27. McCain's reaction to Hagee's endorsement was tepid, yet McCain at a campaign event Friday morning opined of Washington D.C. that, "it's harder and harder trying to do the Lord's work in the city of Satan." The event was staged at the company headquarters of one S. Truett Cathy, a devout Baptist.
On this same Friday morning, McCain addressed the socially/religiously conservative Council for National Policy. When asked by a council member how important a role religion plays in his life, McCain answered, "Obviously, very important."
McCain is walking a tightrope between disassociating himself from Hagee's Catholic-bashing and the Christian lobby who are holding his feet to the fire. You can't help but feel that, if you are running for office, you are damned if you accept endorsements that reek of religiosity and damned if you don't.
I wish to see McCain reject Hagee's endorsement and tell born-again folks like those in the Council for National Policy that there is a limit to how much of a role religion will play in his policies. But the senator's hands, unfortunately, are tied.
I also wish to see conservatism left to those folks who actually believe that Earth is billions of years old, not thousands.
But, alas, it's an uncomfortable fact of life for conservative candidates who essentially end up bound-and-gagged by the holier-than-thou lobby.
Case no. 2: But the yokes around the necks of conservative candidates tend to pale in comparison to those around liberals.
Barack Obama has had to distance himself from the pastor of the Trinity United Church of Christ, Jeremiah Wright.
The "good Reverend" railed against the United States in a sermon he delivered seven years ago, in the wake of 9/11. Wright asserted that America brought the Sept. 11 atrocities on itself, stipulating that "[n]ow we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."
Two years later, in 2003, Wright delivered a sermon in which he expressed his belief that blacks should rise up against America. "The government gives them the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' ... God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."
Recently, Wright attacked Hillary Clinton, remarking that, "Hillary ain't never been called a nigger."
Now for the killer: During this same sermon, Wright compared Obama to Jesus. That's a hell of an endorsement.
That's also one hell of a yoke.
Obama, as was expected, condemned the content of these controversial sermons, announcing, "I categorically denounce any statement that disparages our great country or serves to divide us from our allies. I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it's on the campaign stump or in the pulpit. In sum, I reject outright the statements by Reverend Wright that are at issue."
He also claimed to have thought of leaving the Trinity Church had such statements been "the repeated tenor of the church."
Yet, as also expected, Obama has refused to condemn Wright as a man, asserting that he is actually more decent than he has recently been portrayed and that, while he may denounce what he may say, he will continue to look upon Wright as the man who brought him to Christianity and served as a major mentor in his life.
And so, just another normal American contest being marred by African-American preachers the likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright who go to bat for the Democrats. And then you have the fire-and-brimstone types who have reservations about supporting a Republican candidate who's anything less than ethusiastic to enshrine creationism as the national belief via a Constitutional amendment.
I don't think I would even recognize a Presidential election if not for the religious madness.


East of Eden said...

I think endorsements are stupid. I have never voted for someone because my local paper endorsed them or not. I tend to use that thing called a brain when voting!

As for religon, I think John Hagee's comments, like most religous people are taken out of context and twisted. I think however, it's interesting to note, that Mitt Romney was raked, raked over the coals about being a Mormon, and no matter what he said the media was having none of it. But bring on Rev Wright, whose comments are not taken out of context, but speak to his larger belief in the "black liberation" movement, and add them to Obama, and you have a guy who is just misunderstood.

I think if a candidate wants to be religous fine, but that candidate's first allegiance needs to be to the law, not the Bible.

Nightdragon said...

"I think if a candidate wants to be religous fine, but that candidate's first allegiance needs to be to the law, not the Bible."

I'm very glad to see you write this, Eden. That's exactly how I feel.

I do also agree that there was a pretext that was so often applied to Mitt, and, fair enough, may also have been applied to the Hagee-McCain scenario. There was nothing pretextual about Wright's comments, however, but Obama will eventually get a pass for this; he will be absolved under the "understandable" desire for "black liberation."