Preaching The Gospel

Monday, November 3, 2008

Preach and Reach - Part V

Preach and Reach
Despite his liberal record, Barack Obama is making a lot of evangelicals think twice.
John W. Kennedy |

5 of 6


Others have criticized Rick Warren's association with Obama. In 2006 Obama spoke at a global AIDS summit at Saddleback Church and was tested for HIV. Afterwards, 18 ministry leaders published an open letter of "indignation and opposition." (Obama's second visit to Saddleback was for the civil forum alongside McCain.)

In July, with Obama on tour in Afghanistan and Iraq, Dobson went back on air to further castigate the Democrat. He revealed that he stayed awake at nights fretting over the prospect of an Obama presidency. Dobson warned listeners, "He is so extreme that he does threaten traditional family, life, and pro-moral values."

But after securing enough delegates to ensure the Democratic nomination, Obama moved toward the political center. This has exposed him to charges of pandering to conservatives. "A good candidate listens to arguments pro and con and sometimes changes his mind," Campolo argues. Lately Obama has sounded a lot more like Ronald Reagan than Bill Clinton. The senator criticized the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that child rapists couldn't be executed, and he backed the justices' affirmation of the Second Amendment rights of gun owners.

Spreading Deception, Racism

Just as Obama's tech-savvy supporters are finding a voice on the Internet, his foes—including many Christians—are using the Internet to spread new deceptions. The facts are that Obama had an agnostic mother and a nominally Muslim father, and that as a child Obama had two hours of weekly Islamic instruction for the two years he attended school in Indonesia.

But widely distributed rumors contend that Obama

doesn't put his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance;
took the oath of office with his hand on a Qur'an;
is a Muslim, not a Christian.
Obama supporters launched to set the record straight about his religion and patriotism. Yet polls show that more than one in 10 Americans still believe these falsehoods. Campolo says, "I have heard repeatedly on Christian radio that Obama is a Muslim." founder Bill Keller declared, "Pastors and churches who support Barack Hussein Obama are a stench in the nostrils of God!"

Another factor in play is that Obama is the first major-party African American nominee in history. Obama's supposed support of black liberation theology has been a concern because of his 20-year membership in Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ pastored by the now-retired Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In May, Obama withdrew membership from the church and decried Wright for "giving comfort to those who prey on hate."

"A lot of people—both blacks and whites—will vote based on race," Bishop Jackson says. "Jeremiah Wright gives an excuse to not vote for Obama. Claims that [Wright] is a closet racist or Marxist will haunt Obama."

"Evangelicals, if they are not careful, may be pulled into a race-baiting strategy that will reflect extremely poorly on us," Cizik warns. "It would be wrong to pull the party lever without serious reflection."

"There is no doubt that if Obama is elected the first African American president, it will be a huge step toward racial reconciliation in this country," Sider says. "It will show that the majority of white people have moved beyond racism." It would also provide Obama a platform for addressing issues that no white politician dares touch, such as black absentee fatherhood.

No comments: