There’s been a lot of chatter about Barack Obama’s remarks to wealthy San Francisco donors regarding midwest voters.
You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Most of the chatter focuses on Barack’s apparent elitism. The disdain through which he views those Americans in fly-over country is apparent. More than a couple of people have compared him to John Kerry.
What seems to be lost though, is the question of Obama trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, he tells the liberal elite wing of the party that religion is just a crutch for those who have fallen on hard economic times. On the other hand, Obama talks freely about his professed faith in God.
The bigger question we should be asking is which is the real Obama? Is Obama someone who shares the faith of millions of American’s? Or is Obama someone who fervently believes, as Marx once claimed, that religion is simply the opiate of the people?
Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions.
Now I’m no linguistic expert, but Obama’s words sound an awful lot like Karl’s. People in distress turn to religion and religion prevents them from actually taking control of their own destiny. All Obama left out is the suggestion that we should abolish religion.
Compare that to his statements on religion earlier this year.
But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I felt God’s spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.
But is Obama’s dedication to God one of true heartfelt commitment or one of political expediency. From the Christian Science Monitor piece referenced above:
[Obama] was largely indifferent toward religion until he moved to Chicago in 1985 for a job organizing impoverished South Side residents in campaigns for better jobs, schools, and housing. As the recent college graduate went from church to church to enlist clergy in his causes, he heard an oft-repeated refrain: What church do you belong to?
“He really came here with a very strong passion about how can we change things, and he understood the churches as being a vehicle for doing that,” recalls the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of the Saint Sabina Church, a Catholic church on the South Side, who has known Obama since his early days in Chicago. But he also “realized that with some churches there would be a credibility issue if he were organizing churches but didn’t have a home church.”
If Obama wanted to organize religious people, he understood that he needed to appear religious.
Obama’s remarks to the liberal elite of San Francisco reek of elitism, to be sure. More disconcerting for millions of religious American’s should be the question of whether Obama is actually a man of faith, or simply wearing the robes of piousness to lead them down a trail. I’m not a religious person myself, but even I am aware of Matthew 7:15 which warns:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.