Monday, June 22, 2009

Obama-nation or Obama-exaggeration?

I usually try to stay out of commenting on politics and focus my attention on the spiritual/religious side of things. But, this is one of those few occasions when I just can’t stay out of the game. Barak Obama has been getting hammered by a lot folks these days for some of his recent activities and speeches. My examination of the facts tells me that these folks are doing some spin doctoring to support their own agenda. Let me address a few unfair criticisms of President Obama:

First, Obama has been chastised for “bowing down” before the king of Saudi Arabia. Give me break! I saw the video of the "bow". It was not a formal bow, but appeared to me be an extended reach to shake his hand and then a follow through bow as a gesture of respect. He probably should not have done it in the G20 Summit in London, but would have been more appropriate in the Saudi King's own country. The White House denies that it was a bow. But, you might recall that Bush held hands with the King while he entertained him on his ranch in Texas. Was that inappropriate? That was probably unstatesman like, too. So what! But, the point is, people are acting like Obama, by this single action, has invited the nations of the world to slap us around like the proverbial step child. This criticism is so ridiculous I have to believe it is motivated by some ulterior motive. And, I think I know what it is. It is the unfounded belief of many that Obama is really a Muslim and once he has tenderized the American conscience he is going to turn us in to a Muslim nation! Look, let’s get over it. Obama is a confessional Christian, Period! Yes, he respects Islam, but so what! Islam is part of his hertitage, after all! Which to me makes his Christianity all the more real. He had to choose between faith systems, unlike most Christians in America who are simply raised to believe and cannot remember a time of individual choice between Christianity and other belief systems. Besides, why shouldn’t a person show some respect for the belief system of others? As Christians we want people of other faith systems to respect our beliefs. And, our beliefs are very exclusive? Just like Islam is. Not that we should respect murders and terrorists and those that support them. Islam has various expressions, just like Christianity. Militants have used both faith systems to do great harm. Don’t forget the murderous activities of Christians against Muslims during the Crusades! Besides, you don’t have to agree with them to respect them. This is a fear of Obama that goes back to the moment he entered the race for the presidency. It is simply an unfounded fear. Additionally, what I find amazing about this criticism is that it is predominantly coming from conservative Christians. Of all people they should know their Scripture, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Luke 6:31.

Second, Obama has been criticized for telling a Muslim country that the United States is not a Christian nation. This is an extrapolation from one of Obama’s statements. It is not at all what he said. This exaggeration is based on what Obama said while in Turkey, which is as follows: "one of the great strengths of the United States is -- although as I mentioned, we have a very large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation; we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values." has confirmed that Obama never said that America is a non-Christian nation or a Muslim nation. as some are claiming. Furthermore, the truth is, we are not a Christian nation, if you define "Christian" as Biblical Christian. And, it is Bible believing Christians that amazingly are the people making the claim that our Nation is a Christian Nation. The founding Fathers of the country were highly influenced by the predominatly Deistic Enlightment of the 16th Century. Jefferson, Washington, Paine, Franklin were not even Christians. They were Deists. The documents of this country are not Christian documents at all. They are a product of the Philosophy of Rationalism and Deism. We need a big time history lesson in this country, because people just aren’t getting it. Rather, they are getting some very idealistic information about the origins of our country. The original Pilgrims and Puritans were decidedly Biblical Christians, but they were a hundred plus years before this country became the United States and by that time the colonies, while predominantly Christian, were very pluralistically Christian. Including a lot of Deistic thinkers who rejected large portions of the Bible. And these were the guys who led the way! Look at our country today? We are and always have been a nation of immigrants with differing views and philosophies of life, just like the 13 colonies were at the time of the inception of our Constitution. Furthermore, our constitution is set up to favor the rule of law and a democratic populace, not “Christians” per se. And I say that as one who is a Christian.

Third, Obama is being accused of going around the world apologizing for America and trying to appease the nations, as though he is purposefully lowering our position among the world’s nations. Well, what I see him doing is going around the world extending the right hand of fellowship with an olive branch of proverbial peace. And why not, after 8 years of divisive rhetoric that has made us the big bully of the world. Obama is simply trying to follow in the footsteps of Teddy Roosevelt, who said, “speak softly, but carry a big stick?” Oops, this is also an ancient African proverb! Maybe Obama’s trying to make us Africans! Silly conclusion, right? But these are the kind of conclusions I see people drawing from Obama’s speeches and actions. Wild Extrapolations. I have never heard or read anything from him that would indicate an apology for the United States. Maybe for some of our hurtful and disturbing actions, but not for the Nation. It seems to me that there is a Christian principle behind this. It's called, reconciliation!? The fact is, a lot of bad things have been done by people and leaders in this Nation which were sanctioned by our federal government. We ought to be ashamed of them and confess them! Isn't that that the "Christian" thing to do? He is trying to establish good will, period. To me it is a breath of fresh air after 8 years of inflammatory rhetoric coming from our administration. Furthermore, gone are the days that a nation can see itself as the center of the universe. Historically nationalism has led to a lot of arrogance and a lot of conflict. I am not suggesting in the slightest that we sacrifice the greatness of our nation. But why can’t we hold it up before others as a humble example of what works. We are a great nation. Not because of Obama, Bush, the Pilgrims, and Christians, but because of our governing system, based on the enlightened principles of freedom and democracy. Let it speak for itself. And it does. And that is all I see Obama doing.

Now, having said all this, I do not find myself in agreement with all that Obama believes or wants to do with our country. And, in that regard, we can thank the founders of our country who set in place a constitution that limits the powers of the executive office, by establishing a system of checks and balances through the Judiciary and the Congress.




Knuje said...

Wow, you're telling me.... I blogged something not long ago about how Mark Finkelstein "accused" Obama of being a Pandeist (which he's obviously not, and yet it is said like practicing Pandeism must be a bad thing)....

Joe Staub said...

Hey Knuje!

Thanks for coming over and reading my post on Obama. I looked over your blog. Very interesting! I have never heard of a Pandeist! Now I know. Thanks again.


Chessa said...

why wouldn't the universe be created then let go of to create its own? isn't that what we do when we have children? if the universe is like the Mandelbrot set of mathematics it makes sense. it collapses on itself and recreates itself all within the same dynamic set of principles of continuous change. Yet always creating the ability for change while being able to hold to guild lines. its linear and chaotic at the same time. I don't think what created that ever changes i think its the control in the experiment.