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  • The President’s Pitch to People of Faith

    by George Neumayr

    Obama w: Cardinal

    In 2008, Barack Obama stole a chunk of religious voters from the GOP by clothing his secularist and socialist positions in quasi-religious garb.

    “People of faith” received their own slot on his campaign web site, a mere two tabs down from the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community.” Obama “valued” the religious, as he put it. He particularly valued their votes. Obama has long believed in the separation of church and state but not in the separation of bogus religiosity from winning.

    This year his pitch to the religious is a little more tricky in light of the HHS mandate and other overtly secularist policies of his administration. Still, he could pull it off. Recent polling suggests that he is on track to win the Catholic vote again.

    Obama’s campaign web site enumerates his supposed “accomplishments for people of faith.” It is a threadbare list. Not one of them bears directly upon the doctrinal content of religion. The “accomplishments” include ObamaCare, attempted amnesty through the DREAM act, and his Stimulus package.

    The page casts him as a “committed Christian,” a description contradicted by his own longtime pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. “Church is not their thing,” Wright told author Edward Klein. The Obamas almost never attend church, unless political exigencies require it and photographers are in tow.

    The accent on the page is not Judeo-Christian but indifferentist, offering tribute to “diverse” faiths, no matter how foreign to the American experience. Obama proudly announces that he has “hosted events marking the holidays of diverse faiths, including Diwali, the Passover Seder, and continuing the tradition of celebrating Ramadan at the White House.” Notice that last claim: the “tradition” of celebrating Ramadan. Some tradition: it goes all the way back to Bill Clinton. Obama has claimed that it goes back to Thomas Jefferson but historians have exploded that claim, noting that Jefferson’s famous dinner with the envoy of Tunisia was not a celebration of Ramadan but a war negotiation.

    The more non-Western the religion, the more Obama tends to like it. Despite all of his talk about religion’s need to find grounding in a common “rationality,” he prefers zany, openly superstitious sects to Catholicism, which is the most intellectually grounded of all religions. For example, at the very moment he sought to compromise the Church’s freedom through the HHS mandate, he was granting a permit to an American Indian tribe to kill normally protected bald eagles for religious purposes. The Northern Arapaho Tribe in Wyoming needed eagle feathers for their “Sun Dance.” Obama’s environmentalists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who would have balked at the request from any other group, granted it in March 2012.

    His campaign page is full of other misleading whoppers: he calls his mother, whom Obama biographers like David Remnick have described as studiously nonreligious, “deeply spiritual;” he boasts of his cozy connection to the Catholic Church (by which he means socialists in the archdiocese of Chicago); and he says that his community organizing led him to “Christ” (Jeremiah Wright has said that Obama’s interest in his church was political, not religious, and that it is “hard to tell” if any conversion occurred).

    Nobody ever went broke “underestimating the intelligence of the American people,” circus promoter P.T. Barnum once said. Obama appears to agree, applying a similar level of cynicism to churchgoing Americans. Even after four years of his aggressive secularism, even after his party tried to omit God from its platform, he remains convinced that he can still hoodwink the religious into voting for his reelection.

    The one religion whose vote he has already sewn up is Islam. Nine out of ten Muslims voted for him in 2008. Perhaps ten out of ten will vote for him this year. While Muslims abroad curse him and burn his picture, Muslims at home appear to see him as either a champion or a very useful idiot. They know that his “religious tolerance” is highly selective, applying mainly to them. As he dines with celebrities like Da Vinci Code star Tom Hanks, his Justice Department tries to round up critics of Islam.

    Christians would be foolish to number themselves among Obama’s “people of faith.”

    This column first appeared September 20, 2012 at RealClearReligion.org and is reprinted with permission.

    The views expressed by the authors and editorial staff are not necessarily the views of
    Sophia Institute, Holy Spirit College, or the Thomas More College of Liberal Arts.

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    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      The great Catholic historian, Lord Acton, explained the attitude of Liberals to religion very well, when he said, “Under its sway, therefore, every man may profess his own religion more or less freely; but his religion is not free to administer its own laws. In other words, religious profession is free, but Church government is controlled. And where ecclesiastical authority is restricted, religious liberty is virtually denied.”

      Liberals are happy that preachers should teach and exhort; they fear as a rival a Church that claims a divine right to command, rule and govern and that asks no leave of the civil power to exercise her authority.

    • Jack

      Every thinking American, and certainly most of the founders, also feared the notion of a church that claims a divine right to command, rule, and govern, free of any civil authority. Want that kind of government? How about Saudi Arabia? Try it sometime.

      • Adam_Baum

        Where in this article was even the slightest hint of advocacy for a theocracy?

        Of course, if you think a state that claims an absolute command, rule, and govern, free of any religious sentiment, well The USSR and Nazi Germany could provide tens of millions of witnesses that would urge you NOT to try it ever,

      • Michael Paterson-Seymour

        It will come as no news to anyone that the founders were Liberals to a man. Jefferson hoped that the French arms “would bring at length kings, nobles, and priests to the scaffolds which they have been so long deluging with human blood.”

        They would all have regarded a Church asserting a right to independent self-government as, effectively, a state within a state.

        As for Saudi Arabia, there the religious authorities enjoy no more independence from the civil power than the Russian church under Peter the Great. The Liberty of the Church is a concept unknown in Islam

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tony-Esolen/1184164082 Tony Esolen

      An interesting observation I read recently — and I’m not remembering at the moment who said it; perhaps Karl Adam: Only in a theocracy is man truly free, because there he obeys God and not men. I am having to mull that one over. Meanwhile, I’ve just opened Whittaker Chambers’ book Witness for the first time — last night; and I’m a quarter of the way through. Early on in the book, Chambers — writing for the benefit of his son and daughter — says that Communism is the second-oldest faith in the world: “Ye shall be as gods.” All questions of economics aside, the heart of Communism, what made it a faith, was its determination to build a world for man without God. Chambers then says that such a world can only be organized by man — by a desiccated rationalist man — AGAINST man. That deep hatred of the natural, and the placement of hope in a machine (economic, in the case of Marxism or in the case of godless capitalism), characterizes the liberal mind; a desire not to be poor and childlike, but to manage the poor, to manage and indoctrinate children. I daresay that if Thomas Jefferson lived now and saw the insults to our liberty that we tamely endure all the time, the Papal States would have looked like beacons of good government. In fact … the US could learn a lesson or two from the way the Church runs its vast network of schools and hospitals etc….

    • Mrs_Snoopington

      This makes me ill. Where is The Recent Poll cited in P.3? I only detected this but it’s a month old. http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/cara-catholic-vote-too-close-to-call .

      I’m on the case.

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