Friday, January 04, 2008

What is Barack Obama's religion? Updated

Welcome, readers. This post was published in December 2006 and has become the most frequently read entry for this blog. As the election gets closer and Barack Obama's place in the competition continues to hold strong, traffic here from search engines swells accordingly. According to Sitemeter, at this writing forty percent of all my traffic is linking here.

Update: January 4, 2007, Obama comes out on top in Iowa. Traffic here is up ten-fold this morning. Mr. Obama has got a lot of attention. Thanks for visiting. You are invited to read another older post I put together last May, Barack Obama on Reinhold Niebuhr

Curiosity about Obama's religion is clearly on the minds of a lot of voters. This is not surprising in light of the number of malicious and misleading stories that remain current about the subject. As late as two months ago a Fox News (you know, the "We report, you decide" people) was deep into the guilt-by-association game with a piece aimed at staining Obama's reputation and that of the head pastor of his black Chicago United Church of Christ with one of their "some critics say" obliquely negative pieces. Read and decide for yourself, but read more than that one link which I will put near the end of what follows. The comment thread has turned out better than I expected, so if time permits you may want to check it out.



Update August 23, 2008
Today Joe Biden was revealed as Obama's running mate. The party conventions will be held during the next two weeks. Democrats first then Republicans.
It is fair to say that the race became ugly just recently. Negative advertising is unfortunate, but history shows that it "works." That sad fact may be the worst stain on our system. Until Obama's trip abroad the contest appeared to be civil. But with McCain polling poorly negative ads were aired to even the numbers. It worked. At this writing most polls are reporting a "dead heat."

My guess is that the second week of September will see the beginning of really vile advertisements from both camps. It's too bad. In this writer's opinion this election has two of the most decent men running in my adult life. Barack Obama has an edge because he is one of the brightest men, along with Phil Gramm and Patrick Moynihan, ever to be in the US Senate.

But this post is about his religion. Over the last two years it has become too long, but I keep it up because it still turns up on the first screen of most Google searches for the subject. Traffic to this post continues to be solid which indicates that a lot of people remain curious about Barack Obama's religion.

Read what is here carefully and critically. But know that the subject will be exploited to the max between now and the election. Drill into the links. Do other searches. Seek facts, not innuendos. Get informed. I hope that what I have collected here, including a long comments thread, will be of help in the reader's search for facts.

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[Here starts the original post...]

Fair question. It came up today at work.

Somebody said, "What is Obama's religion? Is he Muslim?"

This turned up. It's from a speech he gave in June. [2006] I sure like how he explains things. Tough for anybody to twist the meaning when he makes it as plain as this. He may not make it in American politics. Far, far too candid.

...I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in people's lives -- in the lives of the American people -- and I think it's time that we join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy.

And if we're going to do that then we first need to understand that Americans are a religious people. 90 percent of us believe in God, 70 percent affiliate themselves with an organized religion, 38 percent call themselves committed Christians, and substantially more people in America believe in angels than they do in evolution.

This religious tendency is not simply the result of successful marketing by skilled preachers or the draw of popular mega-churches. In fact, it speaks to a hunger that's deeper than that - a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause.

Each day, it seems, thousands of Americans are going about their daily rounds - dropping off the kids at school, driving to the office, flying to a business meeting, shopping at the mall, trying to stay on their diets - and they're coming to the realization that something is missing. They are deciding that their work, their possessions, their diversions, their sheer busyness, is not enough.

They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives. They're looking to relieve a chronic loneliness, a feeling supported by a recent study that shows Americans have fewer close friends and confidants than ever before. And so they need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them - that they are not just destined to travel down that long highway towards nothingness.

And I speak with some experience on this matter. I was not raised in a particularly religious household, as undoubtedly many in the audience were. My father, who returned to Kenya when I was just two, was born Muslim but as an adult became an atheist. My mother, whose parents were non-practicing Baptists and Methodists, was probably one of the most spiritual and kindest people I've ever known, but grew up with a healthy skepticism of organized religion herself. As a consequence, so did I.

It wasn't until after college, when I went to Chicago to work as a community organizer for a group of Christian churches, that I confronted my own spiritual dilemma.

I was working with churches, and the Christians who I worked with recognized themselves in me. They saw that I knew their Book and that I shared their values and sang their songs. But they sensed that a part of me that remained removed, detached, that I was an observer in their midst.

And in time, I came to realize that something was missing as well -- that without a vessel for my beliefs, without a commitment to a particular community of faith, at some level I would always remain apart, and alone.

And if it weren't for the particular attributes of the historically black church, I may have accepted this fate. But as the months passed in Chicago, I found myself drawn - not just to work with the church, but to be in the church.

For one thing, I believed and still believe in the power of the African-American religious tradition to spur social change, a power made real by some of the leaders here today. Because of its past, the black church understands in an intimate way the Biblical call to feed the hungry and cloth the naked and challenge powers and principalities. And in its historical struggles for freedom and the rights of man, I was able to see faith as more than just a comfort to the weary or a hedge against death, but rather as an active, palpable agent in the world. As a source of hope.

And perhaps it was out of this intimate knowledge of hardship -- the grounding of faith in struggle -- that the church offered me a second insight, one that I think is important to emphasize today.

Faith doesn't mean that you don't have doubts.

You need to come to church in the first place precisely because you are first of this world, not apart from it. You need to embrace Christ precisely because you have sins to wash away - because you are human and need an ally in this difficult journey.

It was because of these newfound understandings that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago one day and affirm my Christian faith. It came about as a choice, and not an epiphany. I didn't fall out in church. The questions I had didn't magically disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt that I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.

That's a path that has been shared by millions upon millions of Americans - evangelicals, Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Muslims alike; some since birth, others at certain turning points in their lives. It is not something they set apart from the rest of their beliefs and values. In fact, it is often what drives their beliefs and their values.

And that is why that, if we truly hope to speak to people where they're at - to communicate our hopes and values in a way that's relevant to their own - then as progressives, we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse.

Because when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome - others will fill the vacuum, those with the most insular views of faith, or those who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.
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Obama spoke at Rick Warren's Church on the occasion of World AIDS Day. There was a bit of carping from some quarters because they didn't like his Senate voting record on pro-life/pro-choice issues. Those objections apparently didn't impress anyone enough to void his invitation to speak. Andrew Sullivan noticed.




Like no other illness, AIDS tests our ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes - to empathize with the plight of our fellow man. While most would agree that the AIDS orphan or the transfusion victim or the wronged wife contracted the disease through no fault of their own, it has too often been easy for some to point to the unfaithful husband or the promiscuous youth or the gay man and say "This is your fault. You have sinned."

I don't think that's a satisfactory response.

My faith reminds me that we all are sinners. My faith also tells me that - as Pastor Rick has said - it is not a sin to be sick. My Bible tells me that when God sent his only Son to Earth, it was to heal the sick and comfort the weary; to feed the hungry and clothe the naked; to befriend the outcast and redeem those who strayed from righteousness.

Living His example is the hardest kind of faith - but it is surely the most rewarding. It is a way of life that can not only light our way as people of faith, but guide us to a new and better politics as Americans.

For in the end, we must realize that the AIDS orphan in Africa presents us with the same challenge as the gang member in South Central, or the Katrina victim in New Orleans, or the uninsured mother in North Dakota.

We can turn away from these Americans, and blame their problems on themselves, and embrace a politics that's punitive and petty, divisive and small.

Or we can embrace another tradition of politics - a tradition that has stretched from the days of our founding to the glory of the civil rights movement, a tradition based on the simple idea that we have a stake in one another - and that what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and that if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done for the people with whom we share this Earth.


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Update and followup...

This post was first published two months ago (12/12) and has become the most frequently hit item I have ever written. Nearly all my traffic is from Google (and other) searches. Even now nearly forty percent of the traffic is looking at this post. As my dozen or so readers know, this blog is an eclectic mix of many topics, but in this case it seems important to do a followup.

Here is the link to the Fox News piece mentioned in the opening paragraphs.

I'm not pushing any one's candidacy. My identity as an old-fashioned Sixties-style Liberal is slowly being overcome as a Flaming Moderate. Pretty dull, huh? Even so, the more I follow politics, both domestic and international, the less impressed I am with polar extremes. We seem to be living in a time when it is a politically fatal move to endorse a reasonable and practical but not flashy remedy for high-profile problems. Or to change one's opinion, God forbid.

This commentary by Van at Judith Weiss' blog summarizes the central challenge that Barack Obama faces. Sadly, it has nothing to do with his suitability to run for president. Nothing.

Melissa V. Harris-Lacewell, a Princeton University professor who has followed Obama's political ascent, said that he may be forced to choose: "You can be elected president as a black person only if you signal at some level that you are independent from black people" -- a move she said would be "guaranteed" to make black people angry. "He is going to have to figure out whether there is a way not to alienate and anger a black base that almost by definition is going to be disappointed," she said.

Something like Catch 22.

Somehow relating to this problem of polarization -- after all, that's the nub of the problem -- I listened to Ira Glass at This American Life yesterday afternoon. The program ended with an intense look at how majorities and minorities behave (rather MISbehave) in Congress. Looking back at the five or six last decades, he concludes that Washington politics seems more prone to vengeance than comity. (The main program was a somewhat salacious take on Valentine's Day, but the Coda at the end was thought-provoking, replete with actual examples of politicians doing what they do best...being mean to one another. I'm not linking because it would take too much time for the reader to find the reference, but if you're interested to learn about Crisco Corner, find out for yourself. [I should never have used the term "Crisco Corner" because it keeps coming up on Google searches that return this post, which is very much beside the point. The episode called "Houses of Ill Repute" has a segment at minute #27 called "The Crisco Kid." Following that, at minute #43, is the segment talking about the House of Representatives.] It's not accidental that the same reference is applied to Congress as a place where "randy gay guys" go to see some action.) It makes me wonder why anyone would intentionally want to be a career politician.

105 comments:

Marty said...

Interestingly, the website of Obama's own Trinity United Church of Christ invites everyone to join them for Kwanzaa celebrations on December 27, but makes no mention whatsoever of Christmas.

Peculiar, to say the least.

Hoots said...

You're right. Looking at the home page, Trinity comes across as an emphatically black church. Obama's book is advertised in a sidebar. I found a bulletin anouncing a Christmas program presented December 16, last Saturday, with rehearsals that started October 7.

Their online contributions page is the most detailed I have ever seen, with twenty separate line items, including Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas. Looks like they're covering all the bases.

Anonymous said...

Does Obama believe that Jesus was born, died, was resurrected, and will come again one day? Is he a born again Christian? That is what I want to know before voting for him.

Hoots said...

Sigh. How would I know?
You'll have to ask him, I suppose.

Judging from the stats, a lot of people of like mind may be asking the same question. I'm guessing this post has been getting about fifty to seventy-five hits a day, nearly half the traffic to my little blog. (January, 2007)

It's a valid question, of course, but if that is the metric for one's vote a good many candidates would be ruled out, probably including Thomas Jefferson and most of the founding fathers.

My own view is that politics and moral scruples are virtually incompatible so I always vote with the aim of advancing the common good and keeping violent conflict to a minimum. Sometimes infidels listen to reason better than those who claim to be speaking on behalf of God. Effective representative government often requires more flexibility than doctrinair religious people will allow.

In the case of Obama, his youth and idealism are greater political handicaps than whatever his faith may be. I wish him well, but he's in for slings and arrows...many, unfortunately, from critics such as you.

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for your candor and well written information about Obama. I just received an email from a friend at church who stated that we need to be on "alert" because of Obama's past. GIVE ME A BREAK. I'm forwarding this site not only to her, but to everyone else she emailed about our need to be on alert.

Many thanks.
US history teacher in VA

Anonymous said...

Obama's religion should not be sought in his words but his actions. His actions show that he supports abortion. Beyond that, does it matter if he tries to put a "Christian" front up?

Hoots said...

If by "actions" you speak from personal knowledge that pregnant members of his family have had abortions with his encouragement and support, this would be a good place to make that known. But if you are referring to his voting record as a politician, that is a very different matter.

Our politics have been poisoned in recent years by single-issue voters animated by influence-peddling, massively well-funded interest groups. Debates about gun-control, abortion, medical care, and waging war come to mind. If you are one of those people, them we must respectfully disagree. My own view is that no elected official is that two-dimensional.

We can expect that Senators from Wisconsin will "support" the dairy industry, from Texas and Oklahome the "oil" interests, from Florida or Nevada "retirement" or "tourism" concerns, but aside from such regional bonds, the US Senate is one of the most sophisticated assemblies of elected officials in world history.

Obama is a newcomer to that body. I think his newness is a much greater liability than any individual "position," but I want to see him do well as long as he makes himself available.

As for trying to put the word "Christian up front" I am not ready to cast stones. I have been doing that myself for forty or fifty years and failing to meet the standard on a daily basis. I believe we call it "sin." Like you, I am also looking for the perfect political candidate but I'm still looking.

Anonymous said...

OBAMA IS VERY CHARISMATIC. MAKES ME A LITTLE NERVOUS. REMEMBER HITLER.

Hoots said...

Barack Obama is about as charasmiatic as a well-groomed boy scout in a crisp new uniform with a sash full of merit badges.

However, your transparently mean suggestion reveals more about you than Obama. I don't think you're nervous for a moment. I think you are an ignorant, mean-spirited, hate-filled troll who enjoys leaving mailcious anonymous comments.

I was tempted to delete that comment but decided to leave it to illustrate the type of uphill battle Obama faces. The comment makes me more nervous than the junior Senator from Illinois. It could reflect the opinion of a large population of old-fashioned racists.

Anonymous said...

" I think you are an ignorant, mean-spirited, hate-filled troll who enjoys leaving mailcious anonymous comments."

Your comments are not any better. How cam you chastise a person for mean spirited name calling and then slug some mud yourself?

The reality is you are going to hear a lot of things like this about Obama. There are a lot of people who do not want to see a black man as President. It is definitely an uphill battle. I think it is a shame that so many people elect a President based on Race, Gender or Party. If you vote a straight party ticket you probably are uniformed. There is no way any 1 Party can fulfill every single thing you want. I think we would be a much healthier country if The President and cabinet was decided by vote. Why couldn't we a Libertarian President, Democratic Vice President and a Republican Attorney General? Oh well.. the Bible said it best

A house divided cannot stand

Hoots said...

Sorry to have offended you. I have no patience with ignorance coupled with anonymity, especially comparing a Senator with Adolph Hitler.

Your idea of voting directly for the president and cabinet is interesting but unconstitutional.

In the early days the electoral college was formed to select the president and vice-president. Each elector was to vote for two candidates, one of whom was NOT to be from the same state as that elector. The candidate with the most votes became president, and the one receiving the next best number would become vice-president.

Popular votes for president have no constitutional significance other than to select electors from their state who will in turn select the president/vice-president pair.

Hoots said...

It's now April 19.
Blog marks don't always show when comments are posted and time gaps are important. As noted above, the original post was published in December, four months ago. In that short time urban myths about Barack Obama have multiplied like ants at a picnic. I haven't checked similar sites, but Snopes has an article refuting a cascade of wrong information, fed by sources either ignorant or intentionally malicious. I use the word "ignorant" advisedly because I think the seeds of the stories are willfully mean, planted where ignorance will make them spread.

This morning I put together a post about what's happening.

I don't know why decent people want to run for public office and be subjected to this kind of abuse.

Well, actually, many don't. I recall during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings how he was subjected to the worst kind of public vitriol. Congressional hearings droned on endlessly on C-SPAN, sometimes into the wee hours of morning.

It was during those times that I was able to hear a number of extremely impressive and successful black speakers from the private or academic sectors testifying in his defense. Several made it clear that they had no interest in the political process and no desire to be in the public eye, but they were testifying only because they were in effect pressured into doing so by a Congressional committee.

Brandon & Melissa said...

Does Obama believe in Jesus Christ as His personal savior? No. If he did he would have at least mentioned "Jesus" or "Christ" in ANY of his literature.

Yolanda said...

I don't care if Mr. Obama professes to be a Christian; I do care if he truly lives and thinks as one. My idea of a Christian is one who cares about others and can live by the Golden Rule. I know many people who live by the Ten Commandments but will never again go to church because they don't like "organized religion" having a say in politics (remember that part about "separation of church and state"?). Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and many other "religious leaders" have done more to hurt the American political system than any other group that I can think of.

Obama has not shown any of the radical non-Christian traits that some of the Moral Majority has espoused, so I am much more likely to vote for him than I am them. I do not want anyone's religion forced on me because I have my own and I am happy with it, thank you very much. If all it takes to be a good "Christian" is to included "Jesus", "Christ" or "God" in writings or speeches, then we have already had to many of that type of Christian.

TracyfromOhio said...

I dont know that I want to see Obama as president but VP would be splendid.(I personally think a little estrogen in the head office of this country could go along way to solving many of our dilemmas, but that is a whole other story) I just recvd the same Obama email, that someone else mentioned above, from my little old granny who believes anything her "christian friends" sends to her inbox MUST be true...sigh.. I think I will send them a link to this blog. It's so frustrating that so much of the American public these days is willing to sell their vote to first candidate who cries "hallelujah" (sp)loud enough. Don't get me wrong. Christ is a personal friend of mind and we speak daily, but I dont believe the works Christ calls us to perform must be performed under the microscope of a political race before you can be deemed "christian enough", nor do I think any of us have the right to question the depth of anyone else's faith. Obama,Clinton, Dean above all else, are human.As I often say to my teenager when he points out some egregious mistake I've made (ya know like forgot to put mayo on 1 side of his sandwich or something) "DUH!!!! I'M HUMAN. I'M ALLOWED TO MAKE MISTAKES AND I AM ALSO ALLOWED TO CHANGE MY MIND."

Hoots said...

Good comment. I like that line "...estrogen in the head office..." It brings back memories of elementary school.

Your reference to speaking with Christ reminds me of a story about Bob Jones as he was building the university that bears his name. The story is probably apocryphal, but it makes a good point.

As the school grew there was a need for more land. An adjacent property belonged to a sincere Christian woman getting on in years. Bob Jones approached her with something like "You know, Miss Mae, I was speaking with God last night and He said you might be interested in deeding part or all of your property to the school."

She smiled sweetly at him and replied "Mr. Jones, I was also speaking with God last night but He didn't mention it to me."

My personal view is that conversations between God and men are often best kept confidential. This is particularly important in political discussions. Years ago arguments in music school were apt to end with "Okay, then. You do it your way and I'll do it as Bach intended." It's tough to come back with disagreements to that kind of Argumentum ad Verecundiam.

Hoots said...

August 12, 2007
This morning I came across these words of Thomas Jefferson that might be of interest to Branson & Melissa as well as a few other readers. He was 77 at the time, nearly half a century after the Declaration was penned. Nevertheless he seems pretty clear in his thinking.

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that it's protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion." The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it's protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.

Yolanda said...

I was 6 years old when the words "under God" were added to the Pledge of Allegiance. My father was a very religious man, but he was very upset to think that other religions, and those people without religious beliefs, were being left in the dust. He believed strongly in the separation of church and state and that religion had to part in politics. He used to say, "You can tell a man's religion by the way he lives his life, not how he talks it."

Hoots said...

You and I must be about the same age. I don't recall the date, but I remember coaching my parents on the new version of the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. (One of the few times I was able to tell them anything they didn't already know!) And I agree with your father's wisdom. See my post from yesterday.

Anonymous said...

I will definitely vote for Obama, I am a white person.......but I am not racist.....and I don't see nothing wrong with Obama being elected as president.....For starters, he can't can't be any worse then some of our white presidents that we have had.......If fact he may be better. This man defeinitely deserve a chance...... It's time for us to step outside of the box that we grew up in.......the world is changing and so are we....God made all of us.......and he is definitely not racist....If you put helium in colored balloons, it's not the white one that will rise higher but the one that has the most helium.... Hats off to Obama for president.

Anonymous said...

His cold, detached words show motivation to deceive us into thinking his is not muslim and not radical. I am bothered that he is, but I'm more bothered that another lier and manipulator wants to be president. his reference to "their book" and "the spirit of God" are not typical Christian contexts. Has anyone looked into the beginnings of this Church of Christ is supposedly a part of?

Hoots said...

"...cold, detached..."
Right.
Nothing like the warm, charitable spirit of Christian love radiating from your comment -- "lier(sic) and manipulator."

If you care to look, the United Church of Christ has a website and is not what could be called part of the lunatic fringe. If you do a search from that site you will be referred to Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. Notice the logos are identical on the national site and that of the Chicago church.

I'm sure the average reader can do research from here. But for one whose mind is already made up, that would be a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

For Mr Obama to categorize Muslims with other religions is quite PC. They are bound by their religion to dominate all other religions in their world, the Umma being the one and only religion. Don't think for one second that there is any truth to PC version of peaceful Islam. In tjheir own words, Takyyia, to lie or decieve to expand the umma is what you are being fronted. Mr Obama needs to be truthful with us as well as all other politicians in this country when it comes to Islam.

Hoots said...

Our allies in Iraq are Muslim.
Our allies in Arabia are Muslim.
Pakistan, the US ally on the other side of Afghanistan, is predominantly Muslim.
Our children in uniform are dying in defense of Muslims.

You cannot have it both ways. Either Muslims are evil liars and deceivers, as your comment implies, or there are significant numbers of Muslims who are our friends and deserve to be defended by spilled American blood.

I have seen these words and suggestions trotted out before. They are without meaning in the real world of global politics. And they mean even less in domestic politics which is infested by ignorant people with agendas who leave anonymous graffiti like yours scrawled all over the Internet.

Where do they get these people? This is tiresome.

Hoots said...

October 20, '07...This just in: Obama and Dick Cheney are cousins.

Anonymous said...

My name is Erik.
I am a college student from Iowa.

While I find this informative, I strongly think that one should not vote for a President because of the candidate's religious convictions. I strongly think that one should not vote for a President because of the candidate's skin color. I strongly think that one should not vote for a President because of the candidate's gender

A President should be voted for because of their character.

While I live in the real world, things are not so easy. There will always be hate and there will always be ignorance.
I hope that sometime in my lifetime, there will be a social epiphany regarding this matter.
Either that or people stop ignoring me and my ideas.

Hoots said...

"What if no matter where you worked or how many times you switched jobs, you had health care and a pension that stayed with you always, so you all had the flexibility to move to a better job or start a new business?"

Commencement speech, 2005

Anonymous said...

hoots is an obvious supporter, who has never been to the middle-east wearing an American Flag on his/her shoulder. the muslims who are our allies are not as devote as the fanatical ones, or atleast they just like to bend the rules of their faith to get what they want, speaking from experience. also if their our allies then go over their and walk down the middle of the street. nevermind you'll never understand

Hoots said...

Incoherent comment. No need to delete. It illustrates some important principles: neither clear thinking nor literacy are required to form opinions or vote.

Anonymous said...

I think Obama would be as least as good and in most cases a far better choice than any of the other candidates running for President. In my opinion a man's true religion is the one he lives not the one he talks. Obama seems to live the Christian faith better than most people who profess the faith. Several years ago I walked the aisle of the local church and was "born again". As the years went by I began noticing that the majority of the professed followers of the Prince of Peace spent most of their time railing against and hating anyone and anything they percieved non-christian. This in spite of the fact that Jesus practiced unbiased love for all mankind and instructed his followers to do the same. By this standard of unbiased love there are very few "true Christians" today. Christianity has become a political expediancy - a membership in a good ole boy "we're better than you" club.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous
"Does Obama believe that Jesus was born, died, was resurrected, and will come again one day? Is he a born again Christian?"

Muslims also believe that Jesus was born and that he will come again one day to confront evil etc. So, answer to your question wouldn't be... the answer ;)

Anonymous said...

Let me simply start by stating that I have always considered myself a christian. In regard to the Islamic faith.... A lot of people in this country really need to wake up & start thinking for yourselves. Stop swallowing everything that the media spoon feeds you, for often times it is very tainted & spoiled indeed. I think it is "very" safe to say that most americans have absolutely no clue as to what it the islamic religion is about. For whatever reason, most americans have simply settled for the vastly distorted definition as portrayed by the media. You really should read it for yourselves sometimes, if you haven't already. I did out of curiosity a few months back (I'm not quite finished, but close) & all I can say is that I am truly amazed & blessed that I did so. It is far from "radical" or a "religion of hate". Simply put, the Quran (Koran) corroborates the scriptures that were given to Moses.(Period)

Jews, Christians & Muslims follow the same god. I had no idea they were linked together this closely. They are without a doubt intended to be one in the same. Each one simply an extension of the other to enlighten us.

Unfortunately,over time corrupt men with corrupt agendas coupled with our inability to adequately comprehend his (god's) revelations to us, has split them apart. The god of Adam, Eve, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, The 12 tribes, Moses, John the Baptist, Jesus, Muhammad etc etc. All of these (and many others) are mentioned extensively throughout the holy writ that is the Quran.

The Quran was sent/revealed to us as a "reminder". When I say "us"..I am referring to mankind. I did not come here to give some sort of bible lesson as it may seem. What I was getting to in a round about way, is that in light of what I have revealed to you (about the islamic religion)...Obamas's Muslim ties are not a bad thing whatsoever.

Hoots said...

Obviously you've been doing some homework. Too bad more people don't make an effort to do likewise.

If anyone is interested, Krista Tippett's radio program Speaking of Faith dedicated one episode to Bruce Feiler's study of the three religions, Children of Abraham.

Thanks for your comment.

John said...

Anonymous @ 6:18pm said, "Jews, Christians & Muslims follow the same god."


Jews follow a god called (at best rendering) Yahweh. Muslims follow a god called Allah. Christians [should] follow the only God who's name is Jesus Christ.

Allah and Jesus Christ DO NOT act, think or behave the same way in their respective manuals, the Koran and the Bible; which makes it clear that the Koran and the Bible are not written by the same god.

I think "Christians" are the only ones of the 3 who "think" these 3 religions serve the same god. Just ask a true Jew or Muslim if they serve the Christian God, Jesus Christ, and see what kind of a response you get. :-O :)

Hoots said...

Good point, john. Also, very little history of forgiveness in either a religious or cultural sense.

And of the three only Christianity preaches repentance and forgiveness as foundational. (The Lord's prayer: "...as we forgive those who tresspass..."; John 8: woman caught in adultery and numerous other references.)

Christians bring to the negotiating table the most promising hope for conflict resolution. It is significant that the only official peace agreement between the other two adversaries was brokered by a confessing Christian, Jimmy Carter.

Anonymous said...

I found this blog after receiving an email "Obama a secret Muslim, rascist, considers self African not American, Blah, Blah, Blah. Please forward to anyone you have ever shared air with" the kind of junk I'm sure we all get from the insane right wing nuts in our lives.
While I do not consider myself an Obama supporter I believe the United States would be better served globally by a black male than any woman. The world just isn't ready for us to have a female leader yet. Saying that, I have been leaning towards Obama.

But, after reading the website of the Church he calls his own I'm rethinking my leanings.
In the about us page opening it says "We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization." #4 states "A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA."
I want the next president to have a non-negotiable commitment to America and only America. If his religious beliefs trumps that then he may not be the right man for the job.
#8 and #9 state
A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
Liberation of who, everyone or just their unashamedly Black unapologetically Christian brethren? Restoration of what?

Then from Dr. Wrights talking points " • We [African Americans] were always seen as objects. When we started defining ourselves, it scared those who try to control others by naming them and defining them for them; Oppressors do not like “others” defining themselves." and "African-centered thought, unlike Eurocentrism, does not assume superiority and look at everyone else as being inferior. "

Coming from European descent myself I don't like defining others and I don't like others defining me based upon a general assumption about skin color. I'm tired of being made out to be the bad guy because of my skin.

Oh, someone asked earlier if Obama believes in Christ. His Church is named Trinity United Church of Christ.
Hoot said "Sometimes infidels listen to reason better than those who claim to be speaking on behalf of God."
That just cracked me up!

Anonymous said...

Anon here from the 5:45 post, ya'll can call me Kook, I live in Phoenix.
I thought this was fascinating
http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/BlackTheology.html

In Obama's Pastors talking points he refers to Cone.
I'd be more spesific but thier website is down.

Hoots said...

Thanks for the followup. The essay you linked is excellent. I never heard of the Ron Rhodes ministry but at a glance he strikes me as on the level. The essay is excellent and well documented.

I'm not sure if it's productive to conflate Obama's politics with the particulars of Black Liberation theology. You ask "Liberation of who...? Restoration of what?" I guess those questions should be asked of the pastor of the church, although as an experienced politician I'm sure Obama could successfully tip-toe through the questions and emerge looking good.

Speaking for myself, I have been a faithful church goer all my life, but I have yet to find a church, pastor or formal theology with which I can totally agree. That seems to be true of all thinking people. I'm not happy with anyone who advocates swallowing a belief system hook, line and sinker.

In Obama's case, I'm impressed with anyone familiar with Niebuhr. I never expected any politician to express such candor as Barack Obama when he said that Reinhold Niebuhr was his favorite philosopher. If he were trying to impress someone he could have picked any number of less controversial examples. Seems like he's more comfortable speaking truth than trying to dodge questions or pander.

Doodle said...

Very interesting to read all the above comments. I'm a non-religious person from England who believes strongly that religion should have no place in politics. This is, of course, unavoidable in modern American politics, and I find it equally fascinating and horrifying to see the influence of the evangelical belief system today when compared to the averred cynicism of these kind of beliefs by the Founding Fathers. The comment above which states (broadly) that the measure of a person is in his/her actions, not their beliefs, is surely a self-evident truth. It seems to me that many Americans place far too much value on how they categorise a person's religion or lack thereof. Also, for a country which Obama himself describes as religious, there seems an inordinate amount of ignorance regarding the Bible itself. A recently published Gallup poll found that more than 30% of Americans couldn't name the first book in the Bible, and that 12% thought that Noah was married to Joan of Arc (must be the 'Ark' connection!). I personally admire Obama for voicing a reasonable stance regarding his opinion that the church's role in society should advocate inclusion rather than exclusion. Any other path is divisive and leads ultimately to conflict.

bill said...

Having read Obamas testimony i still find his religious views highly ambiguous and vague,and if an American voter would want to get to get to the beef...certainly i would want powerful change in my country and someone who would take on the power of big business so helped by Bush but i see Huckabee has this aim as part of his manifesto too, though am concerned that he may hate homosexuals ...can Hilary convince me shes a genuine break from the past- yes i think she can- you certainly do have some fascinating elections .Shame about the politics- less than 25% Iowans went to the caucuses and this is active Democracy??????

Hoots said...

Looks like Obama is attracting some undecided potential voters. This last comment reminds me of my own attitude a few weeks back. Between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama the choice seemed to be between a cocker spaniel and a rottweiller...and my money was on the rottweiller. It takes somebody mean, tough, pushy and unprincipled to handle the Washington crowd. That arena runs on naked power (read MONEY, BLACKMAIL and DEAL-MAKING).

Bill Bradley's endorsment helps me with a change of mind. If he says Obama is worth supporting, I'm ready to get behind him. Bradley was my first choice back when he was running for the nomination.

Andrew Sullivan has been watching Obama for the last year and has made it a point to collect all his major speeches. That's a good place to find a lot of Obama's ideas and proposals fleshed out.

Dave L. from Randolph NJ said...

Well given the choice of Barack or Hillary, my choice and reasoning are simple. The last (and present) dynasty in the White House was (and is) an unpleasant experience for me as an American, and apparently a lot of other Americans.

I say screw the dynasty concept (pardon my French), but I don't want to see another Bush in the White House or any other political office for a long time, same thing goes for the Clinton name, once is enough.

Yeah Barack is sort of new and unexperienced, God Bless America.

By the way, I just received some right wing rhetoric junk mail about how Muslim and dangerous Barack is. What a load of crap.

Anonymous said...

It's not Obama's faith that bothers me so much. The fact that his church is loyal to Black Africa and not America is a problem. How can he be President of the United States but, according to his church website, his loyalty isn't to America.

Truth said...

Monday, January 7, 2008
Principles haven't changed but people have

Morals and priciples haven't changed but people have. We have evolved into a society that is morally deficient. We do what ever we feel like doing answering only to ourselves. Which is very dangerous. Why? Because who are we to answer to ourselves. Did we create ourselves? Of course not. Therefore, who are we to dictate what's right and what's wrong. We need to follow the plan of the one who created us. Who do we think we are creating moral options. Right will always be right and wrong will always be wrong. There are no options, no gray areas. Time doesn't change things, it just lapses. We can't blame our wrong decisions on a new era. Wrong decisions and actions are made from a continuous over riding of our once "morally good conscience". Our conscience becomes so seared because of not listening to it when it tries to direct us correctly, that we call evil good and good evil. Where are we headed. The responsibility for our personal actions is ours personally not someone elses. The thing of it is, if we can get some one to agree with our immoral life style, our wrong actions, we think it's OK. Agreement doesn't make things right. It just creates a false security. We are not God. We are God's creation, living in the world God created for us, with directions God has given us in order to live successfully and abundantly. We can't abuse and disobey the Creator's plan and expect peace and harmony in our own life and in the world we live in. It's like swimming up stream with the current against you. You will eventually die, and possibly prematurely. We can't continually abuse what God has established from the beginning of time and expect to have good results. Our arms are to short to box with God and He is not an option. He will have His way and He'll have the last word. The problem is because He is patient and long suffering, we take advantage of His goodness and think we can get away with being rebellious. The truth be told!!!

Hoots said...

Excuse me. We're not hiring a minister. We're electing a president. These are very interesting questions but they have little bearing on whether or not Barack Obama, the man, the individual, will be the Democrat running for president.

This is one of many steps to power in a sequence that involves getting more votes than whoever is nominated by the other political party.

Whichever candidate becomes president, it is not a lifetime appointment (as in the case of Supreme Court justices) but a mere four years, and a second term is all that the constitution permits even then.

The Africa angle is a red herring...unless someone knows something about Trinity United Church of Christ on the Southside of Chicago that no one else knows. Seems to me their attention has been more on black Americans than Africans.

This post is being read by over a thousand people a day, most of whom just want to learn that Barack Obama isn't the Muslim that his name suggests. Having established that I see no reason to split hairs.

Faith is the anchor of character, but it is only the starting point. I have personally known sincere Christians who have lived a lifetime of broken relationships, substance abuse and other unresolved behavior problems.

I have also known infidels whose leadership abilities and overall character were head and shoulders over some of the confessing Christians I have known from church.

He's a man, not a prophet or an angel, but Barack Obama has passed the character test in my book.

Hoots said...

January 9. The New Hampshire primary was yesterday and to the surprise of many pundits Obama trails Hillary Clinton. Looks like he's already paying the price for a political fumble. If he's gonna be called a Democrat he'll have to do better than that.

Barry said...

Scrolling through your comments over the last year it is safe to say anyone with a view other than your own is sure to be crucified. However it is worth the risk to at least quickly address the muslim issue. Today it is not logical to trust any politician that would state Islam is a religion of peace. No one thinking sanely can argue the fact that although not all muslims are terrorists, today, in our time, almost all terrorists are muslim. Radical Islam is a threat to Western Civilization, and until we admit that we are no different than the Ostich and the sand, and when I hear more peaceful muslims condemn terrorism, my opinion will change. Recently a man was threatened and insulted in Tulsa, OK for doing just that in his local Mosque.

Hoots said...

I'm sorry you have concluded that anyone who does not agree with me will be "crucified." I make every effort to be both clear and tolerant without being ugly. So far I have not deleted a single comment from this thread...and I have intentionally left a few without any response from me because they speak for themselve. I do admit to having little patience with avoidable ignorance, race-baiting, rumor-passing and getting way off topic (the post title is "What is Barack Obama's Religion").

Getting to your comment, you stated "it is not logical to trust any politician that would state Islam is a religion of peace." It took only a second to find that George Bush made that remark as headlined on a White House website entry.

My point is not that Bush is trustworthy but that in the realm of politics there are many reasons for anyone to use language that may well be intended to be conciliatory rather than inflammatory.

Incidentally, that line about "not all muslims are terrorists [but]almost all terrorists are muslim" was written by a Muslim. The writer was being very self-critical of his own faith.

I hope you don't take these points to be a crucifixion. I simply have a hard time letting ignorance pass unmentioned.

Barry said...

I am sorry, crucifixion is too harsh; but I do appreciate someone that can express their point without being ugly. I totally agree that President Bush has made the same statement and that is my point precisely. These politicians have people around them telling them what to say and when to say it and most are not advised in a manner that is helpful to the United States; rather in a way that will help them in the polls, or with an ally or enemy. I truly do not believe Sen. Obama's religion matters as to his ability to lead, but it would be refreshing to find a man or woman that would truly speak from their heart, and not echo the latest poll. I am a Christian and whether it is Sen. Obama, Gov. Romney or anyone else I will pray for them if elected President. I love this country, and it is my heart that politicians would do the same. It might help Sen. Obama to attend a church that speaks kindly of this USA. And it would most definitely help this nation if all would get behind the elected leader regardless of who it is!
The first time I heard the comment on muslims was by Israel's ambassador to the UN, but how many muslims have you heard rebuke terrorism, for me it has been very few.

Vlad said...

Speaking of elections, my mother bet me yesterday what religion Obama was. I have no idea. Isn't that amazing? A major candidate who we know almost next to nothing about. I know who is a Mormon, who's a Baptist and who is a fallen Catholic but this guys career seems to start when he made Harvard's Law Review. I'd say they are giving him a pass but THEY MADE HIM! This is a media contrived candidate. Who knows, maybe they have a plan to burn him later or to call in the favor but up until a day before the New Hampshire primary it wasn't even reported that this supposedly anti war candidate voted to keep the war funded! Only Hillary called him on it. This all goes along the PC lines, if I wasn't living in America myself I'd say we are getting what we deserve. But I and many other voiceless Americans have been kicking and screaming about these racist double standards for years. The rest of America does not deserve this disservice. We can do better and I hope the final electoral college results will show this. I hope.

Hoots said...

I looked at your blog, vlad, and learned you are a registered Republican who enrolled in the party in order to support Ron Paul. This comment thread is not the best place to advance that agenda.

When you say "he creates a very grave danger for America. An Obama presidency would undoubtedly involve the hiring of many unqualified and dangerous people. Think Sharptons rabble in the cabinet or Farakooks thugs on the Federal bench. Pretty scary stuff" your racism is transparent. Please take that line of discussion elsewhere.

If Barack Obama were the PC media creation your conspiracy theory suggests he would have handled Hillary Clinton's display of emotion differently. I am looking for some indication that he realizes and regrets what he did wrong.

Hoots said...

Even after a year in the national spotlight Obama still faces a relentless disinformation nachine. FactCheck.org publishes yet another information piece today.

If these two nasty e-mail messages are any indication, the 2008 presidential campaign is becoming a very dirty one.

One claims that Obama is "certainly a racist" by virtue of belonging to Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, which it says "will accept only black parishoners" and espouses a commitment to Africa. Actually, a white theology professor says he's been "welcomed enthusiastically" at the church, as have other non-blacks.

Another e-mail claims that Obama "is a Muslim," attended a "Wahabi" school in Indonesia, took his Senate oath on the Koran, refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and is part of an Islamic plot to take over the U.S. Each of these statements is false.

These false appeals to bigotry and fear remind us of the infamous whispering campaign of eight years ago, when anonymous messages just before the South Carolina primary falsely accused Republican candidate John McCain of fathering an illegitimate child by a black woman.


Details at this link.
This is one of seferal non-partisan places dedicated to just what the name says: checking facts.

Anonymous said...

I find it interesting reading through this blog all of the comments regarding Mr. Obama's religion as if it matters to the security and well being of our country. We currently have a president that many people voted for on two separate occassions simply because of his supposed belief in God and his Christian beliefs. This "Godly" man has lied repeadedly throughout his term in office which has resulted in the loss of over 4,000 American soldiers. This man of God vetoed a bill that would have provided health insurance to 10 Million children paying for it through raising the cigarette tax by .60 a pack. This "born again" president refuses to accept global warming as a threat to God's land he created because that would mean going against companies that pollute but have financed his campaigns. So, let's stop talking about what these politicians "SAY" about their religious beliefs because clearly that means nothing. God looks at our actions, not our words as we should. Before casting your ballots and deciding whether or not to vote for Mr. Obama review his record and his career rather than what some people have to say about his religious beliefs. Or, you could vote for another person that claims he has such a strong relationship with Jesus Christ and have another train wreck on our hands which this country has gone through over the past 7 years with the lack of leadership from President Bush.

Noel said...

I wasn't going to leave any comments at first on this blog because I have a tendency to be a bit outspoken but I decided to after careful consideration. For the record, I'm not out to offend anyone. I just want to share my thoughts about Barack Obama and his alleged Muslim faith among other things on my mind at this time. If he is in fact Muslim, I'm worried about him becoming president due to the fact Muslims use the term "White Devil" too loosely. I base this statement on my negative past experiences with a group of bad Muslims. They may or may not be all the same but this still remains to be seen on this end. Now, I'm certainly not knocking the Muslim religion itself but I don't agree with the way they classify white people. I once had a terrible experience with a bunch of Muslims who came down on me all because I was a white person seeking information about black history. I'm involved with a black woman and thought it would be cool to learn about her heritage so we have something to share together. Anyway, I was called a "White Devil" by them all and even though I defended myself accordingly, the reality of the situation was VERY hard to deal with. I still think about it from time to time. So, when I was told by a friend that Barack Obama was a Muslim, I got very worried because I feared he would look at all white people the same as other Muslims. What would happen to this country if he did that? If he can do right by this country, I'm all for it but forgive me if I'm a bit skeptical at this time. I'm a very tolerant person and I base my opinions of others by the way they act. If Barack Obama can honestly do his job without prejudice, than I wish him all the best. I sincerely hope and pray that if he wins, everything will be fine. In closing, I hope my comments here will not be taken the wrong way but if so, it's not my problem. I have tried to make myself as clear as possible to avoid any confusion so if someone else takes my words out of context, it's their problem. Everyone has a right to their own point of view after all. Thanks for listening.

Hoots said...

Thanks to all who have read this far. I find it tedious reading and it's my blog!

I'm not sure what to do with that Muslim talk. Obama's commitment to Christianity is well established and needs no further comment.

.....§§§§§.....

On another topic, the contest between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton underscores two divisive topics in recent years: racism and sexism. Both campaigns are playing these angles to their respective advantages while pretending not to be doing so.

Shameless self-promotion here...I put a post together about the subject, Battle of the Sexists, if anyone is not yet tired of reading. Comments there are also welcome.

bill said...

As a non-voter without a zip code,is it possible that Gore will join the race...
Bush in office is what i think Huckabee means by he would rather have an atheist in the White House than.......

How much will Carl Bernstein s revelations hurt Clinton, curiously from yet another Blair...?

Will voters think they have got Bill back again if he continues to play such a high profile?

How much do people really know about MCcains views on taxation and business....?

With respect to my former comment about low numbers in Iowa, this was a joke- it was minus 7 degrees !!
Is Hilary right that only she can head off the attack dogs of the Right or will/ can Obama lead a Kennedy moment in the USA, remembering of course that Kennedy was almost part of the mix that led to a world war after the Bay of Pigs and it was he not Johnson that got USA into Vietnam Is the Democratic race youth v experience?

bill said...

it is possible to want to know about someone religion without being in any way judgemental, purely as an observer.

Am currently rereading and enjoying Hitler by Alan Bullock . Does this mean im a fascist? Rather its a superb historical analysis.
For an analysis of American business in Iraq and total destruction of Friedman/Chicago School i recommend Naomi Kleins
astonishing "The Shock Doctrine", though i treat the reference back to the CIA and abuse of psychiatry to effect memory loss as a metaphor

Hoots said...

Welcome back, bill. Interesting thoughts there. Lots to think about but I guess that's why we have elections rather than drawing names out of a hat (although sometimes I think the hat might be a better option).

I don't look for Gore to jump in, even if he wanted to, mainly because the Clintons have the Democratic party by the nuts and would never yield that much power.

Good point about a too-high Bill profile being more harm than good to his wife. Not only brings back too many issues they want to leave behind but it makes her look less presidential...and she is running for the office, not him. Even dull-witted voters can see that.

The "Kennedy moment" is about all Obama has to hope for. I think that's why he's so vague about details. If you make no clear promises you can't later be accused of deception. Edison famously said that genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. Obama will be selling inspiration til the evening of November 3. After that he may get to the next stage. Or not.

Kennedy was pushy and almost started war with Russia. He also, as you pointed out, got us into the Vietnam quagmire. In many ways his assassination became the tipping point for all that went off the rails in the Sixties. I sometimes wonder if the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would ever have passed absent the martyrdom of JFK. We'll never know.

Likewise, we cannot predict what may lie in the future today.

I think an Obama in the White House on 9/11would not have reacted to an attack by Sunni extremists by staging a war in a Shiite majority country. Moreover, any military response would have involved Petraeus from the start, not as a last-ditch effort to patch up the worst diplomatic catastrophe of our lifetime. But all that's merely speculation on my part.

McCain does look like the likely Republican opponent although Huckabee might outrun him in a 100-yard dash. Age does have limitations.

Whoever it is will have to work magic to overcome what has happened in Bush's second term. The attack on the World Trade Center insured his reelection in 2004 (though he nearly blew it even then), but his response is gonna cost the party the election in 2008.

Even at this late date, I still have mixed feelings. Same as I had in September.

I like Obama best of all the candidates but I think he lacks the political muscle to do as he would like in Washington. Mrs. Clinton, baggage and all, has that muscle. Of all the issues facing the country, universal health care is for me the most important. I recall her first run at that windmill from years ago, during Bill Clinton's first term. She took on the whole Congress, both Senate and House, and went down fighting all the way. Congress did all in their lobby-larded power to kill what they perceived to be a deadly snake. And if Hillary Clinton has any worry it should be whether or not that scar tissue has healed enough for another try.

The choice is between a Cocker Spaniel and a Rottweiler.

My money is on the Rottweiler.


Thoughts? Anyone else? The race is still on.

Hoots said...

Well, Hello again, bill. You put up another comment while I was writing. And yes, I think a clear-minded investigator can study religion without being judgemental. Krista Tippet does that very thing regularly on NPR's Speaking of Faith. As for being a fascist, according to Jonah Goldberg anyone now qualifies. I made reference to him in a post last week. (LINK...post is too long...scroll to the end to find Goldberg)

Interesting you should mention Naomi Klein. I am impressed with her. Very smart.

But this thread is about Obama and his religion. I want to keep it on track. Let's use another comment thread or email if you want to continue. Thanks.

Cheney's Finest said...

Matthew 6:5-7 (New Living Translation Version)

"When you Pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get."

-Jesus Christ
To all of you who think you have to wear your faith on your sleeve to be a good Christian, please go read the words of Christ from Matthew once again. It's not about who can recite the most Bible verses, or who can mention "God" the most in a speech or book.

What is important is the relationship between The Savior Jesus Christ and YOU!

Who are any of us to call Obama a liar when he says he is a Christian? Last time i checked, there is only ONE who is all knowing...

What is sad is it seems that people are trying to use anything and everything against Obama. Are we still so arrogant and childish to believe a person of color is a lesser human being than a white person? I only bring race into this because i don't hear of anyone doubting what Clinton, McCain, or Romney have said their religion is...

Hoots said...

It was bound to happen. Less than an hour ago someone not wanting to be identified left a comment that I am not going to publish as a stand-alone piece. This is the first time I have disallowed a comment. Here it is verbatim.

remember one thing 911. A man with a name like this don't need to be in the running.. Think about it .. He don't claim to have any real religion .... think about who you vote for ..... I don't want my relgion change for a black robe and towel on my head./.... THIS IS AMERICA AND IT WAS BUILD BY BELIEVING IN GOD WE TRUST

This afternoon Mitt Romney announced the suspension of his campaign, leaving the Republican race to McCain and Huckabee. Obama and Clinton seem to be in a draw as of this writing.

As the field narrows and the general election gets closer, more people are realizing that a presidential election is under way. We can expect in the coming months to see more evidence of ignorance as shown by the writer of this anonymous comment.

Anyone reading this far who remains that stupid needs to have any content they read checked lest they get stuck.

Hoots said...

Another ignorant anonymous comment today requires moderation.

What about him swearing in on the Koran and not the Bible?

That's all. No elaboration.
I presume the writer is making reference to an event over a year ago unrelated to Barack Obama. Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota said he wanted to be sworn into office using the Koran instead of the Bible. There was a stir about it at the time, but it has nothing to do with Obama. Urban Legends has the details.

I was tempted to delete the comment altogether, but for every comment someone takes the trouble to leave there are others who would leave the same one.

bill said...

well no Gore..and goodbye Edwards..
Can the Democrats work out a deal and come up with the dream ticket and avoid all the rows?

The dream ticket would have Obama in a strong Vice-Presidential role.

bill said...

As a non-American , in fact a Brit,the reality is that the Republican attack dogs will seek to play upon what is seen as irregular or doubtful by the majority about a persons past- years work seeking to destroy Ted Kennedy over the boating accident is par for the course even after Karl Rove has retired....for example, SO no moral judgement is being made at all by most here ( keep your hair on),simply the seeking of information....i also think this revelation is why Hillary cried , that she understands how dirty it can get....i have read that McCain lost the nomination in 2000 because the Bush team accused him of being the father of an illegitimate daughter by a Southern black woman when the truth was his wife was adopting a daughter after being approached by Mother Teresa in India.... i mean it doesnt get much dirtier than that and they were on the same side....so if there are what are seen as dodgy parts to Obamas church and he wins the Democrat nomination, we can be sure of a deliberate campaign to undermine him on this point.Thus the Democrats would be wise to find an accommodation NOW between the 2 parties offering Obama a vigorous vice-Presidency.This mixes Hillary's experience with his dynamic and destroys the Republicans best arguments against them..... time for an elder statesman to make a move

Anonymous said...

I do not understand how Obama can claim to be a christian and be for abortion. I am sure there are alot of christians that are for abortion but I think they shouldn't be for it.

Hoots said...

There is a differnce between being "in favor of abortion" and opposing making it a criminal act. My own view is that abortion is morally reprehensible but I'm not prepared to criminalize a mother/nurse/PA/physician for performing what is now a legal but morally wrong choice.

As a Christian I have a problem with capital punishment, land mines and bombs as well. But I'm not prepared to condemn other Christians because we don't agree about these issues.

As I said in a previous comment, we're not hiring a minister; we're electing a president.

Anonymous said...

It's precisely because of the kind of mindset belonging to people such as the previous 'Anonymous' exemplified by his/her (but probably 'his', wouldn't you wager?) comment on the supposed incompatibility of belief in abortion rights and basic Christian beliefs that I truly hope Obama becomes the next President.

Hoots said...

Yep. Me, too.

Anonymous said...

Oh, okay. Hitler took out the Jews and pretty much eveyone not blonde blue-eyed. Was he? No. Barack Obama is accused of being a Muslim. He'll start hunting down and executing Muslims. With the racial prejudices and all, he would have no problem. Islam which actually DOES NOT call for violence is associated with terrorism almsot automatically. What a disgrace. Ignorance is abundant.

Hoots said...

Frustrating, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Obama has been rated as the number one liberal in Congress.. more liberal then Kennedy, Leahy, Hillary or anyone else. All he talks about is CHANGE, as if the word itself were some magical panacea instead of open ended retoric that is has been used before. It is akin to saying,I am against evil or poverty. What are his solutions? Who and How will they be paid for? Are they realistic? People need to look at what he has accomplished and compare his record to that of his rival... If you want liberalism, health care like Canada's pathetic system, free for all abortion, open boarders, and withdrawal from the war oo terror... you want Obama. It you realize the disaster these policies will plunge our nation into then don't vote for Obama.

doodle said...

Canada's pathetic health care system? At least they have one that is open to all, not just the wealthy and those in jobs that provide the necessary insurance. Shockingly ignorant comment.

Hoots said...

Thanks for that, doodle. My sentiments exactly.

I put together a comment in reply when that one was published but got interrupted and had to run before finishing.

Here are links to Sara Robinson's articles about the Canadian Health Care system, but I doubt our anonymous comment writer will benefit from reading them. Whoever it was didn't realize where he or she was posting. Sad, really. Ignorance, you know, is it's own punishment.

Ironic, isn't it, that those who argue loudest against government intrusion are often the ones needing protection from self-destructive ignorance?

Anonymous said...

Dear Critics... My name is Ginny and I don't blog often. That is why I am posted under anonymous.... I don't mind having my name shown. I do mind you classifying my comments as ignorant. Tell me about your experience with Canadian health care. I could care less about Sara Robinson...Her qualifications do not impress me. I have relatives in Canada, and friends who have written to me complaining about months and months of waiting to even see an individual with adequest medical training. Some have become so desparate they have come to the US for treatment. We are talking about people with serious health conditions. There is a great shortage of doctors as many have moved to Portland, California, Washington and other areas in the United States in order to practice in a system that rewards them with the monetary compensation commensurate with their training. This shortage of doctors is only getting worse and the social medicine system is almost bankrupt. Who in this country does not receive medical help...? Everytime I go to my clinic, which is large and filled with every kind of specialist you might name, there are expert doctors on call 24/7 ready to treat people in urgent care with no insurance and often no ability to pay. The doctors provide this service gratis. Our assistance programs in MN makes up for the rest. We even have MN care for the uninsurable priced according to income. By the way, many of these folks are illegal aliens. One of which rammed a school bus this week killing 4 children not far from where I live. It made the national news, so I am sure you heard this person had no license to drive a vehicle. I am not 15 years old. I have been around the block a few decades ...Try 60... I have had heart disease for 8 years and have recieved excellent treatment. Time was of the essence when I was struck down at 52 with women's silent heart disease I would have died without the professional and immediate care I recieved. I would never want a system that mandated or rationed my health care. You need to do a little reseach before you write such glib remarks about things you have not experienced. That is what is called ignorance and shoddy reporting.
Why not address the other issues raised in the post. What are Obama's plans...who pays, when, how? Change can be a great thing, but one better understand what the heck you are changing to, and not be carried away on a magic carpet of retoric to some fairyland that doesn't exist. Chrisma is notthe same as wisdom or knowledge. It is something a rock star possesses. I like to take my trips on good thinking and planning.... not mythical ideas. It also might do you some good to answer the posts instead of making rude comments. I would prefer to have a dialog that sticks to issues and is respectful. Perhaps, I don't know how to blog... Seriously, I do not wish to engage in the game of insult toss. So have a thoughful disagreement I can handle that and know that I intend to be respectful. Wishing you the same.

PS I do know a great deal about health insurance ......I sold Major medical insurance, Medicare supplements, and Long Term Care for 6 years in my husbands agency. He handles all types of insurance and has been in the business over 35 years. If you wish to go into a discussion on insurance and insurance law be prepared. Ginny

Hoots said...

Welcome back, Ginny, and please accept my apologies for the rough handling of your brief anonymous comment. I run a tight ship here and guard closely against cheap shots from drive-by surfers. See preceding examples.

You're not in that category so in this case I stand corrected for being unwittingly rude. Again, I'm sorry.

With that out of the way, there is a more substantive issue here: whether or not Barack Obama is the best candidate to become our next president. Google is sending readers here inquiring about his religion. Discussions about abortion, foreign policy, charisma versus substance, health care and the rest are critically important, but this comment thread is not the best forum to argue those questions.

In your case we are miles apart on substance and there is not enough space here to have an extended debate. I'm deeply sorry that you dismiss Sara Robinson's excellent contributions to that debate because she summarizes the bullet points quite well and advances the arguments very articulately. I never heard of her before last year when she started blogging at David Niewert's blog. Her posts there have been a relentless reasoned, if passionate, expression of some of the foundational beliefs of us Crazy Liberals (Kauffman's 28 Rules, guidelines for talking with right-wing authoritarians and what happens when one of them climbs out of the cage in which they have been living). Links to her series can be found in the left sidebar (naturally) of Niewert's home page.

Regarding universal health care, that is a discussion long overdue. Neither Obama nor Clinton get credit for making that happen and it's gonna come to pass even if a Republican is elected. As I have pointed out elsewhere, the Bush administration never got to it, but he had a very important change recommendation -- uncoupling health insurance from employment. I will be happy to discuss health care by email if you wish (hootsbuddy@gmail.com) but this comment thread is not the appropriate place for that conversation.

Hoots said...

Sorry, wrong link in that last comment.
Try this:
The President's Health Care Proposal.

doodle said...

Apologies, too, Ginny, for my perhaps overly-strident use of the word 'ignorant'. However, I would respectfully submit that information gathered through indirect sources and hearsay hardly qualifies you to use the word 'pathetic' in your dismissive summary of the Canadian health care system. (Hoots, I know this is off topic but please indulge me a few lines to reply.)

I grew up, studied and worked as a teacher in England before spending four years in the US, and I have now been in Quebec, Canada, for the last three years. I have needed and experienced the health care systems of all three countries. While it is true that the English and Canadian systems are far from perfect and often have long waiting times, etc. at least they are based on an ethos of health care being a fundamental human right that society should provide, which manifestly the US system does not, though hopefully this will change. I believe you are viewing your own system through rose-tinted glasses - comments such as 'Who in this country does not receive medical help?' suggest a very blinkered view. Are you really suggesting that everyone under the American health care system has complete access to the care they need? Access to a doctor is one thing; access to free operations are another. While I lived in Nevada, my teacher's salary was nowhere near enough to cover the costs of dual coverage for my wife and I. She had to return to England to have a minor operation, as the costs were prohibitive in the US. At least she had that option. Sadly, millions of your fellow US citizens and residents don't, and instead go without and suffer the consequences.

As for your other comments, I will limit myself to saying that I don't recall Obama advocating 'open borders' and I fail to see how withdrawal from the war on terror will plunge the US into disaster.

Americans have suffered in many ways under the Bush administration, and Obama is right to call for change. If you are unclear as to his proposed methods, the following link is one of many that may help you: http://www.ontheissues.org/Senate/Barack_Obama.htm

All the best.

Hoots said...

Appreciate the followup, doodle. I hope our visitor returns.

My own view of health care is shaped in part by having managed a business for nearly thirty years that was heavily "labor-intensive" employing that marginally unemployable segment of the "labor market" (damn, I hate terms like those that dehumanize honorable, hard-working people) commonly called the working poor.

I have seen how people live who cannot afford health insurance and it is not a pretty sight. Chronic uncorrected orthopedic problems, asthama, flat feet, teeth that get pulled instead of repaired...and all kinds of illness that either gets self-treatment or is neglected to the emergency-room stage (or both). I personally know two families from Canada who relocated back to Canada because they could not afford to insure their children and their jobs didn't furnish group insurance.

But there I go...
Let's get back on track with Obama.

Anonymous said...

Even though the lie-detector is not aloud in courts i believe we (as a society) should subject all candidates to a test of truth. our society is so jacked on religion, race, ethnic code, and sex that it clouds our judgment on what really matters.WILL OUR PRESIDENT BE TRUTHFUL IN ALL HE/SHE DOES AND SAYS. Any one of us can get on stage and say anything we want,to please what ever crowd gathers,but to TRULY mean what is said is another store all together. I am a wight male, my wife is a black female, we've been on both sides of the racial spectrum and have noticed that blacks and wights are both about equally prejudice.I am sick of hearing about how one race hurts the other. This is not a ground for voting on who will fill the spot of president.We need to look beyond color,sex,religion,and our own pet-peves and find the man or woman who will be truthful in running our nation.Looking in the passed you will notice most candidates promise allot of thing that when in office they can't, or won't deliver. Some have even done the opposite of what they said they would do.I believe a lie-detector test would help in finding the truth behind the candidates and help us(at least me)determine the most trustworthy person to lead OUR nation.Weather they're black, wight, male, female, republic, or democratic.

Hoots said...

These last two comments are published in the interest of inclusivity. They indicate a low common denominator which seems to be dropping daily. The last debate was last night and Obama is attracting a wider base than ever.

Anonymous said...

<< Proverbs Chapter 22 - Verse 6 >>
American King James Version

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

I know people can find thier way later in life, but you we really need to to think about his own words

My father, was born Muslim but as an adult became an atheist. My mother, whose parents were non-practicing Baptists and Methodists, was probably one of the most spiritual and kindest people I've ever known, but grew up with a healthy skepticism of organized religion herself. As a consequence, so did I.

What does "so did I" mean that he was an skeptic or atheist????

As sad as is it, we all know that it is far more likely that a child learns WHAT HE LIVES instead of from WHAT HE LIVES. Just my thought.

Hoots said...

I take it you don't accept the notion of salvation for Christian converts. A large population of missionaries might not agree, but we're all entitled to different opinions.

Anonymous said...

I claim to be a Christ Follower, not a Christian. There are too many radical Christians who have given all Christians a bad rap. I go to church, but don't belong to one, "too much politics involved". I go to a bible study group, where I learn for myself, not by believing what someone else tells me. The United church of Christ supports the idea of same sex marriage. To those of you who wonder if Obama is a born again Christian, I believe anyone who supports same sex marriage has never cracked open a bible, or for some reason disregards what they have read, and has not a clue what it means to be a Christian. By being a Christian you will want to live by Gods word. I cannot support someone who does not support the word, so it is going to be hard to support anyone this year.

Doodle said...

To me, the previous poster's comments highlight admirably the biggest problem the United States faces in today's world: the number of people who make their voting decisions based on interpretation of the Bible. The comment: "I go to a bible study group, where I learn for myself, not by believing what someone else tells me" is simply laughable, especially considering the basis for the poster's homophobia is almost certainly the apostle Paul's supposed words.

The poster's statement that he/she cannot find anyone to vote for, due to the candidates' support for same sex marriage, speaks volumes for the narrow-minded obsessiveness which unfortunately characterizes Christian fundamentalists (and any other religion's extremists, too).

It seems to imply the poster believes that no other issue, whether it be foreign policy, the economy, health care, education, you name it, is as important as same sex marriage, to the extent that they may not even exercise their right to vote! This attitude perfectly illustrates the problem the US faces. (And
just as an aside, the particular biblical interpretation that results in prejudicial attitudes such as these (curiously contrary, I always find, to God's supposed message of tolerance and refraining from being judgmental) does an extreme disservice to other less prejudiced Christians.)

I'm fairly certain Obama is not a 'born again Christian', and that is why I believe he represents a ray of hope that finally someone able to think for themselves will become President.

Hoots said...

Agree. And thanks again, Doodle, for pitching in. I get so tired of saying the same things over and over.

This morning I heard an oblique reference to a Clinton/Obama Democratic ticket. Mrs. Clinton quipped something about deciding which of them would be "on top" (no double entendre, I'm sure).

My instinct is that if Obama becomes the nominee he will pick anyone but her as a running mate. And he would decline any invitation from her to be a vice-presidential candidate. Anything less would torpedo his credibility.

If he would agree, however, she would grab him in a New York minute. JMHO

David H. Smith said...

I like his conversion story.

http://mormondemo.blogspot.com/

I grew up in Utah, was originally rooting for Romney as a Democrat. Now I'm rooting for Barack. (Flipflopping, I know). Barack is very motivating. I see him as the only change candidate left.

Anonymous said...

I get tired of saying the same thins over and over myself. No since in arguing with you guys. You may think I am narrow minded, probably, I try to follow the straight and "narrow". Frankly your comments about the bible and your so called radical christians, scare the ever loving crap out of me. No God, No Peace. I'll pray for ya!! If Obama happens to become president, I'll pray for him the same as I do for any other leader.

mahlenx said...

Is it true that OBAMA is connected with the MASONIC ORGANIZATION? And that the Org is one of the biggest contributors in his camapaign? If that is so, If Obama wins as President then, AMERICA might be controlled by the MASONS. Is America ready for ths?

Hoots said...

Whew!
They're coming out of the woodwork...

U.S. Presidents and Freemasonry

Another list of Presidents who were freemasons.

George Bush has also on numerous occasions been referred to as a Freemason.The confusion as to President Bush being a member arises from the swearing in ceremonies at his inauguration. President Bush took his oath of office on the George Washington Bible which belongs to St. Johns Lodge in New York City. Because the Bible belonged to a Masonic Lodge many writers assumed he was a Freemason. The Bible was used at the request of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies

This Bible was first used on April 30, 1789, by the Grand Master of the Masons in New York, to administer the oath of office to George Washington, the first president. Other presidents who took their oath of office with this Bible are Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter.


One more link for the road...

bill said...

here in the UK the Chicago Church is criticized as racist.....

Hoots said...

Thank you, bill, for speaking on behalf of the entire United Kingdom. I'm sure everyone there will stand in proud agreement as you modestly made your credentials and profile unobtainable.

Puh-leese...
I'm old enough to remember Martin Luther King, Jr. called a racist. If you listen closely to some of those out-of-context clips from Jeremiah Wright's sermons you will hear spontaneous applause from his congregation, which reads like a Who's Who of prominent, high-profile black Americans. I expect they, too, by your assessment, must be racist.

bill said...

Out of context possibly but read the body language......no serious Christian pastor is ever that aggressive..... which speaks volumes
about the spiritual substance of those who attend week in week out to listen.....Hilary Clinton's remarks that she would never have stayed in such a place ring true and one hopes she sees off this rampant political correctness which underpins his popularity

Hoots said...

We have a difference of opinion, you and I. Perhaps "no serious Christian pastor is ever that aggressive" where you come from, but from where I was reared he comes across as tame compared with some.

Hoots said...

bill has left another comment criticizing Jeremiah Wright, saying "As for the Rezko affair there is surely more to come out here on the question of the favors to Obama which is a second area aside his close association with a racist Minister which must fuel reasonable concern. Obama is a front man for the black Middle Class who has policies which will not address the needs of the largely black underclass which supports him on grounds of skin colour and not on the issues.This is underpinned by a politically correct Liberal media which runs on white guilt and thus so far has failed to make a serious analysis."

Okay, bill, I think we got your drift. When I said "we have a difference of opinion" I was inviting you to drop the matter. You may do so now.

Nothing to see here, folks...just keep moving.

Anonymous said...

My two-cents' worth...I just read an anon. note from Dec 07, regarding learning more about Islam. I'm glad to see some folks are doing this. (If Obama is elected, regardless of his religion, I think he's intelligent enough to know how to handle that in public life. I'm not so sure that Bush Jr. was able to do so--using the word "Crusade" when dealing with Middle East issues, for example).
Anyway, I, too, questioned Islam for a very long time, due to my lack of knowledge about the faith. I ended up marrying an Iraqi Muslim man, who is devout. To learn more, I read the Qur'an twice in English, and scanned the Hadith and numerous other Islamic publications. Like any religion, Islam is open to vast interpretation!!! But let me tell you: I, too, was amazed by how PEACEFUL it really is. One must always, always be careful about how a text is translated among various languages, especially old Arabic. One must seek the advice of learned theologians for more guidance. I'm not saying that I agree with everything Islamic--I do not--but I RESPECT the religion. True Muslims simply attempt to increase their faith and good deeds. Killing/murder of ANY kind, by the way, are NOT sanctioned by the Qur'an, unless in obvious self-defense, and that's a LAST RESORT. Killing one human being is considered the same as killing all humanity, and the killer goes straight to hell, doesn't pass GO, or collect $200. This includes suicide. I am not part of any organized religion, but learning about the various faiths fascinates me. I just wish that some day, EVERYONE would simply allow folks to practice their chosen faith in peace (most faiths have, at some point in time, been accused of not allowing this to happen--not just the radical Muslims). Just remember that you will find Muslims along a broad spectrum (fundamentalists, radicals, moderates, liberals), just like you find a broad spectrum of Christians. It is probably true, that Islam is undergoing some sort of an internal "reformation" like Christianity experienced centuries ago--and it's not pleasant. But we're all human beings, and unfortunately, conflict is always going to be a normal part of our existence. But please don't think that Barack Obama will, if elected, suddenly become some sort of a radical, religious nut, and ruin this country. This is simply not true. - Angela

Hoots said...

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. They are becoming few and far between.

I worked with several Muslims and found them to be above average representatives of that faith, maybe because as a minority they strive to represent their faith and culture in the best possible light. My experience, by the way, predates 9/11.

Anonymous said...

This all gets very old. We are all after the same thing and we sit her and do things like this. He might not celebrate Christmas how some of us do and he might not believe in the same things or practice religion the same way as me but we sit here and bash each other and than want to say were any better. Im not decided on who I want as a President and Im not Republican or Democrat. I myself want to put everyones interest at hand. By the way Im white and my mom wont vote for Obama becasue he scares her but why? I personally am scared right now all the way around and Im not just talking about the canidates. Lets all come together here and be the AMERICA THAT WE WERE ALL ONCE PROUD OF.. We as a country have been through so much. Lets go forward not backwards...

doodle said...

I wonder whether the original question should actually have any relevance at all. I know that it does in practice, obviously, as many of the posts here attest to, but really... should it? The US is a country which espouses the separation of church and state. What difference does it make what religion Obama or anyone else is? It is their character and how they act which is what counts. It makes no sense to judge someone's character by their spiritual beliefs.

Hoots said...

Quite so. And I think Thomas Jefferson would agree with you.

Way up the comment thread is a quotation to that effect.

The bill for establishing religious freedom... I had drawn in all the latitude of reason & right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed... Where the preamble declares that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion." The insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of it's protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and infidel of every denomination.

That's pretty clear to me.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe this man and I don't trust him .I have not had a good feeling about him from the start. This country does most definately need changes in all aspects of the government but I don't think that this man is in this for our good.

Hoots said...

Okay, whoever you are, I've published your bad feelings about Barack Obama.
Critics who think Obama's support is all about "feelings" please make a not of it; so is some of his opposition.

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to comment to everyone who is questioning Obama's religion or faith. Or that he has not out right stated anything about him self and where he stands personally with God, only enough to make some wonder. Read Matthew
Chapter 6:1-18 Basically telling us DO NOT tell everyone. He dosn't have to tell us, the only one who needs to know is him and God. Thats all I have to say. God Bless You and All of America, And the Whole world, every religion, every color, every single human being on earth. Because God made every single one of us and no one is anybetter than anyone else especially if you have to announce it. ONLY YOU and God need to know this, because in the end what else matters???

Hoots said...

After nearly two years this post remains the most frequently hit item at Hootsbuddy's Place and will be seen by twenty-five or thirty people over the next twenty-four hours.
Make a note that both presidential candidates will be interviewed tomorrow night by Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, at his church.
I couldn't resist this title when posting the notice: Tossing Lions to the Christians.

Anonymous said...

"Read Matthew
Chapter 6:1-18 Basically telling us DO NOT tell everyone. He dosn't have to tell us, the only one who needs to know is him and God. Thats all I have to say."

Matthew didn't run for office in America.

And for that person that said "remember the part about separation of church and state"
While I agree with the sentiment, it is not in the constitution. The constitution merely says there will be no National religion and no religion will be prohibited.

Hoots said...

Election Day is about a month away. The few comments that have come in lately have been what Washingtonspeak calls "partisan" so I am closing this comments thread. Thanks for reading.