Silence on the airwaves
by Jim Hutson
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"At every opportunity, they've told evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage, school prayer and intelligent design," were the accusations that Senator and Presidential hopeful Barack Obama stated in a speech to fellow denominationalists at the 50th anniversary religious convention of the United Church of Christ.
Maybe this was in response to the decline over the last 40 years in membership of almost a million Protestants in the UCC, which has led to decreases in finances and overall cultural influence of what was once the biggest politically active churches in American history. Or, this was simply what it appears to be, another democratic attack upon the evangelical Christian right, a movement characterized by the late Reverend Jerry Falwell. Obama places the blame for the politizing of religious beliefs squarely upon the shoulders of such leaders. Yet, he is not above (apparently) using the same methods. What is wrong, in the democrat view of things, is not wrong if done by liberal, left-wing Christians.
Obama leaves out the fact that it is the liberal media that highlights the political battles that Evangelical Christians take on in the hot topics of abortion, destruction of marriage, removal of Christianity only from the schools, and the promotion of a theory as fact in evolution. Obama fails to inform the UCC faithful, estimated at near 10,000, of the Democratic Party's own promotion of a religion that seeks to destroy any who don't convert. He doesn't mention that the first gathering of the Democratic controlled House was opened by an imam that 'trash-talked' the American people and government. He fails to mention that the statements made by most Evangelical leaders are supported by their congregations and that the Democrat party does disrespect values and religious beliefs of all Evangelicals, the so-called Christian right, or conservative Christians. This is evidenced by the voting records of the Democratic party throughout the years.
The Democratic Party traditionally shows that it does not have any respect for the American people's wishes, as is evident by the voting to allow such funding of abortions in foreign countries despite polling that shows American opinion to the contrary. They have continued to show distain and haughty chins to the American population by voting in opposition to the majority, while seeking to protect the minority. Perhaps this is why Obama "was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity UCC on 95th Street in the Southside of Chicago one day and affirm my Christian faith." He had finally found a church that would espouse his desire to have the Democratic Party reflect the concerns of the "religious Americans." The UCC elite reflect the views of radical, political causes instead of the traditional biblical values of most Protestant and Evangelical believers today. Obama is reflective of the leadership of the UCC, out of touch and uninterested in what the typical church membership believes. This is also reflective of the Democratic Party.
Both the UCC and Democratic support of abortion, gay 'marriage', Christian restrictions in schools, and the blockage of intelligent design discussion in the classroom. The UCC ordained its first openly-gay minister in 1972 and two years ago, voted to endorse same-sex 'marriage'. The Democrats have openly opposed the fight against gay 'marriage', the religious opinion of homosexuality being a sin, and other religious standards that form the belief system of the average church member. The party is known for partisan politics and underhanded dealings in the political process. What is wrong for the Republican party apparently isn't for the Democrat party.
It is this habit of the opponents of Christianity, of the faith of Jesus Christ, of warping the truth with words and innuendos that has characterized the political battles between Evangelicals and Liberals. The funny thing is, you hear nothing from the Evangelicals about Obama's obviously political speech in a religious setting. Maybe that is because the webcast mysteriously failed at the moment Obama was set to speak and most do not know about this latest violation that is slipping by the IRS.
Why isn't the IRS threatening to remove the UCC's tax-exemption status? According to one reporter, ABC New Haven Affiliate reporter Mark Davis, this was more a political convention than a religious one. Davis said, "[T]he General Synod is not just a religious gathering, and the address Saturday afternoon by Obama, a 22-year member of the UCC, certainly proved that……[At certain points] it certainly had the feel of a political convention." The fact that this 'speech' is to be supported by UCC in its archived video files further supports a violation of church and state because it is endorsing Obama's platform while bypassing the usual wandering and limited focus of the press. Where is the IRS? It was quick to in March of 2006 to investigate two Ohio churches for violation of political speech. Such threats have caused a majority of pastors to cede the right to discuss the big moral subjects of the day in an effort to avoid touching on a political topic and therefore violating the status clause. The Internal Revenue Service did warned one of Southern California's largest and most liberal churches that it is at risk of losing its tax-exempt status because of an antiwar sermon two days before the 2004 presidential election because of statements of ""Mr. President, your doctrine of preemptive war is a failed doctrine. Forcibly changing the regime of an enemy that posed no imminent threat has led to disaster."
No cries of 'violation of church and state' fill the airwaves. With the line between what the IRS considers acceptable political discussion in a religious setting and an unacceptable endorsement of a candidate is fuzzy at best. This is reflected in the statement made for Obama's appearance at the convention. The Reverend John Thomas, President of the UCC, said that "We've asked Senator Obama to come and reflect in a fairly personal way how piety and politics, how faith and public life intersect in his life."
This display of personal life intersecting with politics, piety, faith and public life was done with a table "Obama for President" strategically placed outside the convention's doors and statements by the active member "since 1988" like "Faith got hijacked, partly because of the so-called leaders of the Christian right, all too eager to exploit what divides us." Obama used the UCC-provided platform to promote such political topics as the Earned Income Tax Credit and minimum wage, which apparently doesn't fit into political speech but is reflective of personal faith.
Doesn't statements like, "I have made a solemn pledge that I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president…..," sound like they come from a political rally rather than a religious celebration?
Once again, the Evangelical Christian right has been slighted and disrespected by the Democrat, left-wing, liberal politicians and the liberal Christian churches. And there is silence on the airwaves.
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