The Purpose Driven Invocation

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With the announcement of Rick Warren’s selection by the inaugural committee to give the invocation at the most historic inaugural ceremony in American History, it shows that the realpolitik that is Barack Obama never misses an opportunity to make a symbolic appeal. The selection of Rick Warren is significant because it extends an olive branch of tolerance to the religious conservative and evangelical christian communities that are historically so resistant to Democratic Presidential candidates. Showing deference and respect to a moderate conservative powerhouse like Rick Warren, an admitted McCain supporter, narrows the psychological chasm between people of faith and the Democratic Party.

Don’t believe me? How about the Pew Forum?

Overall, 45% of Protestants voted for the Democrat, an increase of five points since 2004…Interestingly, Obama’s gains were among white evangelical Protestants (5 points), a traditionally Republican constituency, rather than among white Protestants who do not describe themselves as evangelical or born-again (no gain).

..Just as Obama made gains among most religious traditions, he also held steady or improved over Kerry’s 2004 support among people of all levels of religious observance. More than four-in-ten people (43%) who attend religious services regularly, that is, once a week or more, supported Obama, compared with 39% who supported Kerry.

Obama’s gains were particularly pronounced among the subgroup who attends religious services most often – that is, more than once a week; 43% of this group supported Obama, up from 35% who supported Kerry in 2004. Obama also received support from nearly six-in-ten voters (57%) who attend church occasionally (a few times a month or a few times a year), while Kerry won 53% of this group.

Rick Warren, despite his faith based a conservatism, is not a sanctimonious phony like a Pat Robertson or James Dobson. He is not totally bound by the straight jacket of homophobic religiosity and judgmental hypocrisy. Pastor Warren does not believe he’s on a personal mission from God to galvanize religious conservatives into supporting the Republican Party and it’s entire slate of right-wing candidates. While he is clearly on the conservative side of the abortion divide and marriage rights for same-sex couples, he also believes that same sex couples are entitled to partnership benefits, insurance, and hospital visitation rights. That tells me he has a firm grasp on reality and has both feet firmly planted on Earth. Robertson and Dobson are literally a stonesthrow away from homicide. Their unbounded intolerance and malevolent influence polarizes people of faith and goads them into negating the gospel they profess to live by.

I know that some of you find my criticisms of Barack Obama interesting and thought provoking, but this ain’t one of my critiques. I am more interested in making policy based criticisms instead of criticisms based on political correctness. The politics of this invocation are crystal clear and I admire Obama’s peerless skills.

Barack Obama, unlike the ignorant patrician who preceeded him, is really trying to unify the nation. I can’t think of a better way to do that than inviting Rick Warren to give a purpose driven invocation.

Proposition 8: a triumph of bigotry

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As some of you know, one of Skeptical Brotha’s longtime contributors has posted that he succumed to the cacophony of lies, hatred, and fear peddled by the homophobic religious right, and voted to ban same sex marriage in California.  In so doing, he defecated on the legacy of many gay and lesbian people who fought for the rights of African Americans and similarly situated people of color for full equality in this country. 

Without community organizers like Bayard Rustin, a gay black man who traveled to India to study and bring back the nonviolent tactics of Mahatma Ghandhi, the civil rights movement would have suffered in this country.  The remarkable thing about the multi-talented Rustin is that he was always upfront about his sexuality, he didn’t hide who he was from anybody.  For a man born nearly one hundred years ago in 1912, that little factoid is a big honkin’ deal.   In addition to his civil rights activism and his methodical planning of the 1963 March on Washington, he was also a dedicated labor organizer.  You remember the March on Washington, right?  I believe Dr. King said somethin’ about a dream–a dream that his only living sibling has said has now been realized with the election of Barack Obama.

The late Mrs. Coretta Scott King was clear in her support for equal rights for all:

I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice… But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King, Jr., said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere’ … I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”

“…Gays and lesbians stood up for civil rights in Montgomery, Selma, in Albany, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida, and many other campaigns of the Civil Rights Movement. Many of these courageous men and women were fighting for my freedom at a time when they could find few voices for their own, and I salute their contributions.

…Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union. A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages is a form of gay bashing, and it would do nothing at all to protect traditional marriages.”

If the First Lady of the Civil Rights Movement could be for marriage equality, what is your problem?

Hate First

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Video Hat Tip: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Crooks and Liars

The mainstream media has been talking around this for weeks now, but Al Jazeera, the Middle Eastern news channel, lays it out plain and shows White voters spewing out the racist, sectarian, xenophobic, Anti-Obama talking points of the Republican Party.  The Republicans have been playing a ridiculous game of denial with the media and everyone else that calls them on their bullshit–thus, the histrionics by Republicans over John Lewis’ open letter calling out McSame and Failin’.  They know exactly what they’ve been doing because they’ve been doing it for over 40 years.  They have been masters at the non-denial denial and the art of deliberately stoking the racial resentments of their white constitutent base against the liberal enemies of the moment.  Southern Strategy, anyone?

Majority of voters don’t buy Obama’s denounciation

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Hat Tip: Rasmusen Reports

 

A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that just 30% of the nation’s Likely Voters believe Barack Obama denounced his former Pastor, Jeremiah Wright, because he was outraged. Most—58%–say he denounced the Pastor for political convenience. The survey was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday night. Obama made his statements about Wright on Tuesday.

 

Wright held a mini-media tour last weekend capped by a press conference at the National Press Club on Monday. Only 33% of voters believe that Obama was surprised by the views Wright expressed at Monday’s press conference. Fifty-two percent (52%) say he was not surprised.

 

Fifty-six percent (56%) say it’s at least somewhat likely that Obama “shares some of Pastor Wright’s controversial views about the United States.” That figure includes 26% who say it’s Very Likely Obama holds such views. At the other end of the spectrum 24% say it’s Not Very Likely that Obama shares such views. Just 11% say it’s Not at All Likely.

 

Just 7% of the nation’s voters agree with Wright’s views of the United States. African-American voters, by a 64% to 12% margin, disagree with Wright. Eighty-one percent (81%) of all voters are following the story somewhat or very closely.

 

Nine percent (9%) of voters have a favorable opinion of Wright. Eight-one percent (81%) have an unfavorable view. That includes 62% with a Very Unfavorable opinion. As you would expect, there are strong partisan differences on these questions. Generally, Democrats are divided while Republicans take a less charitable view of Obama.

 

Seventy-four percent (74%) of Republicans believe it’s somewhat or very likely that Obama shares some of Wright’s views. That assessment is shared by 48% of Democrats and 49% of those not affiliated with either major party.

 

Democrats are evenly divided as to whether or not Obama was surprised by Wright’s comments on Monday. Republicans overwhelmingly reject that notion. Just 36% of Democrats believe outrage was the motivation for Obama to denounce his former Pastor. That view is shared by 38% of unaffiliated voters and 16% of Republicans.

 

Barack and Jeremiah

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Jeremiah Wright doesn’t believe that God’s purpose for him on this earth is to make white people feel comfortable with him or Barack Obama. His silence is not required by our constitution nor commanded by God or the Obama campaign. He rejects the false litmus test that he’s become and that only Obama must pass so that he is acceptable to a white electorate skittish about electing an African American president.

During the Presidency of Jimmy Carter, the fact remains that Plains Baptist Church refused to be integrated and forced the resignation of the pastor who insisted that it should. Neither Carter’s commitment to the church or his faith were questioned in the same manner that Barack Obama’s church and faith has been.

This litmus test is a racist double standard that should be unacceptable in the twenty-first century and an example of a religious test that our constitution forbids. At the end of the day, Barack Obama can only be held responsible for his own words and record as a politician and not that of an evil old preacher who feeds the homeless, sends hundreds of young people to college and seminary, and voluntarily serves his country when the last two presidents were literally missing in action.

Why Obama strategist David Axelrod continues to act as if Barack has something to apologize for, I’ll never understand. I know in my heart of hearts that if Barack Obama is not acceptable to the White America he claims doesn’t exist because we are supposedly one people, no black person ever will be. Moreover, if Obama throws Wright under the bus as the media has commanded him to do, he’ll accomplish the feat of gaining the whole world while losing his soul. He will also lose my vote again and those of other African Americans like me deeply offended by his passivity in the face of racist attacks against the Black Church.

 

No Preference

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I voted today and did as I said I would do and voted no preference for the Democratic nomination for President because I am profoundly dismayed and angered by the lack of backbone shown by Barack Obama during the recent attacks upon his faith and the Black Church.

I struggled mightily. The twenty minutes I stared at my ballot seemed like an eternity. I went back and forth several times. Surrounded by other blackfolks, I became self-conscious. I wrestled with the lie I told the cheerful White Obama canvasser who ambushed me as I left my home. I then struggled with the commitment that I felt strongly enough to tell all of you about and my twenty-five year desire for a black President.

I teared up a bit and stared at the paper some more. My thoughts drifted to a dear friend’s 25 year-old brother lying comatose in intensive care, the victim of double aneurisms, dangling somewhere between life and death, and I wondered what is so damn wrong with refusing to compromise your core values and living the life God gives you informed by Trinity United Church of Christ’s motto “Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian.”

If the Father gives that boy a second chance at life, as I pray he does, I have no doubt that he will live his life to the fullest and without regrets. He comes from a proud Nigerian household and their love and commitment to each other is uniquely powerful. It makes me proud to know his sister and count her as one of my dearest friends. Their pride in their heritage makes them stronger as black people and as a family. It is unfathomable to me why Obama, a son East Africa, is afraid to embrace the power of his black religious heritage and stand on what I know he believes but refuses to confess to White America.

And yes, contrary to his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech, there is a White America and a Black America. And they are separate and unequal because we are not one people and never have been.

I watched Bill Moyers interview with Dr. Wright last night and heard nothing a reasonable person who understands the depth of African American suffering and the shame of our country’s history of slavery, genocide, and Jim Crow could be offended by.

Still grappling with my decision, I remembered Obama’s Friday presser. Senator Obama continued to distance himself from his Pastor of two decades yesterday by continuing the use of his weasel word mantra of “profound disagreement” over Dr. Wright’s, “objectionable” comments and why he and White America, “took offense.” I marked my ballot, smiled at the sistah who took my name and gave me ballot, and strode confidently back to my car.

Some people would rather live shackled by a cacophony of patriotic white supremacist lies than live in freedom and truth. Any campaign which genuflects to the head in the sand mentality so prevalent in White America is a campaign based on lies of political expedience and I cannot support that without protest.

If you disagree, watch Dr. Wright and Obama for yourself.