Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Election of Obama, Abortion and Obama’s Supporters on the Religious Right

After any setback, it is wise to analyse the reasons for failure. Obama’s voters (the living ones) were impassioned about him. There was an almost cult like enthusiasm for him. I believe that it is possible to be enthusiastic about the lesser of two evils when the alternative is a disaster. McCain was unwilling to say that. George Bush was unwilling to say that. Furthermore, when George Bush’s record was condemned across the board in the media, no one mounted a defense. In the mind of the public,”nolo contendere” is an admission of guilt. Conservative bloggers came to be viewed as more extreme than they otherwise would have been because of the weak campaign taking place on centre stage.

There is an issue that pains me deeply to raise and that is the role of clergy in this campaign. There were so many issues that should have motivated people of faith to enter this campaign in support of John McCain. Abortion, same sex marriage and repeal of the Blaine Amendment, which prohibits tax dollars from being used to pay for private schools are all issues that should have motivated enthusiastic support. Like every presidential election, this was an election for any Supreme Court vacancy that might take place in the next four years.

The blog Not Your Sweetie focuses in depth on this issue presenting a statistical breakdown of voters by demographic group.

It introduces an invisible factor that is hard to measure, and that is those who chose not to vote. The article points at the Christian right, alleging that they made a deal with Obama not to oppose him. The circumstantial evidence brought out by “Not Your Sweetie ” is persuasive. The article details its case in part as follows.

“……it is clear to me that deals were made behind closed doors.

The anecdote about the Bush voter who stayed home because this time his pastor didn’t tell him to go is even more significant if one considers the passage of proposition 8 in California.

The Obama campaign allowed Obama’s voice to be used in robocalls saying Obama opposed gay marriage.

B0bots were not told to vote against it. They did vote for a proposition taking care of chickens. left the gays out - as price for the Christian right staying home.

During the primary, Bush’s spiritual adviser endorsed Obama. Said he told Bush about it and agreed. Bush in turn added: He (Obama) is a good man.”

I remember back in 2000 when John McCain made some offensive comments about the religious right that offended them. Considering myself to be a Jewish member of the religious right, I took offense with them. Did they hold a grudge? It’s worth considering. I don’t understand such a mentality. In Brooklyn, you can get into a cussing fight and end up going out for a beer together.

I am stunned at the story of Bush’s spiritual adviser publicly throwing his support to Obama. I am even more stunned at Bush’s bland response. The “spiritual adviser ” was taking advantage of his closeness to the President to get media attention. I can’t believe Bush had no other clergy figure to turn to.

Not Your Sweetie brings in a monetary motive as well, quoting Fox News as saying “Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans that would expand President Bush’s program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and — in a move sure to cause controversy — support their ability to hire and fire based on faith.”

You have to give credit to Obama, he was good at making tactical alliances. Somehow he managed to reassure his gay constituents that he still shared their concerns.

It is even clearer that he saw an opportunity for patronage and payola in the continuation of Bush’s faith based initiatives. The clergy who remained silent clearly saw dollar signs in his remarks.

Obama was masterful in cloaking his campaign in religious garb. Fox News quotes him as follows.

“In time, I came to see faith as being both a personal commitment to Christ and a commitment to my community; that while I could sit in church and pray all I want, I wouldn’t be fulfilling God’s will unless I went out and did the Lord’s work.”

Everybody feels holy . Everybody’s happy. Everybody gets paid. How sweet.

One of the big moral questions in Brooklyn politics is whether vote based on faith or based on who is giving out the goodies. In most cases, the moral agony is alleviated by the fact that both candidates are equally distasteful from a religious conservative perspective. What is unfortunate is when clergy of all faiths give Presidential endorsements based on who will fund their programs. This is a problem among Christian, Jewish and Muslim congregations. There is nothing wrong with wanting to fund the activities of your congregation. But what is the price?

In political discussions, I am very cautious about saying what G-d wants. Even though scripture makes this possible, many find it grating. To purport to speak in G-d’s name in political discussions is usually bad tactically. It is far better to explain religious values and positions in a secular framework. I would use the term “Noahide apologetics,” in which Biblically derived rules for a moral society are explained in a secular framework.

I must note to the clergy who endorsed Obama or aided him with their silence what the consequences of their actions are.

Obama is very strong in his support of abortion. His infamous votes against helping abortion survivors in Illinois are now public knowledge.

He will for the next four years be making Supreme Court nominations. It is safe to say that he will be choosing justices who are likely to support abortion. His nominees are also likely to be supportive of the Blaine Amendment, a relic of 19th century anti Catholic bigotry that prohibits tax money from being used to support private schools. This leaves “faith based initiatives” with their political strings attached as the only way for religious schools to get government funding.

There is no polite way to say it, but the murder of the unborn will enjoy legal protection for decades longer because some sectors of the religious right lent Obama the tacit support of their silence. . This is a plain simple fact, whether you believe in G-d , whether you support or oppose abortion and whether or not you believe in G-d and no matter what books you consider sacred. Unrestricted abortion will remain the law of the land for many years, thanks to the complicity of some on the religious right

I do not know how they will sleep at night knowing what they have done. Some people count sheep on sleepless nights. Others count money. Sweet dreams. Sphere: Related Content

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