The present brouhaha concerning President Obama’s beliefs, or lack thereof as some accuse, reveals far less about what he does believe than is being again unveiled about both his defenders and detractors.
Namely, abject failure.
There will always be a fringe, living in its own private madhouse, that will never accept truth regardless of how it is presented. There are three primary motivations at work in such individuals. The first part of this unholiest of trinities is blinding pride, an inability to accept anything other than ones own perception as truth no matter how flawed are the conclusions drawn from same. The second descends from this, that being a mixture of validation and ego gratification by convincing others to join in the crusade. Finally, there is the third element, which is also a result of the first: if you work it right, personal madness pays. A prime example of this is Andrew Sullivan, who routinely rants how Trig Palin cannot possibly be Todd and Sarah Palin’s son despite overwhelming evidence stating this is the case. For this he draws a tidy sum from the Atlantic magazine’s online version, for its part being more than happy to facilitate Sullivan’s babble as long as it brings site visits translating into advertising revenue.
The freak show duly noted, there is tremendous danger in dismissing all opposition as crackpot inanity, perpetrated by those infused with cracked insanity. This conveniently provides an excuse to doing the work needed for uncovering, verifying and presenting facts. “You’re nuts for believing that and I’m not going to waste my time proving you wrong” is no more a stand on the side of truth than “hope and change” coupled with “yes we can” is a policy platform.
Setting aside the aforementioned fringe, which can and will never be satisfied, on the right we have an angry mob utterly disinclined to believe Obama’s professions of faith based on how in its interpretation, his words and deeds reflect anything other than Christianity. On the left we have a media so deep in its naked worship of Obama it has and continuously fails to perform basic journalistic duties; i.e. learn the facts and report them. It also is individually and collectively so utterly ignorant of Christ and Christianity it wouldn’t know the facts if Jesus smacked them across the face with His nail-scarred hand. The are very, very few Elijahs present in this debate. Instead of listening to the small still voice, we are enveloped in a cacophony of shrill small voices. Small in quality of message, that is. In all other aspects, they are louder than God, or at the least doing their best to drown Him out.
Which isn’t a good thing.
Obama has repeatedly evidenced that should his faith influence his political beliefs, said beliefs are firmly rooted in socially liberal theology. Being a Catholic who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area during the latter part of the ’60s, I am quite familiar with the tenets of this schema. It promotes the notion of Jesus as a revolutionary, One Who directly challenged the social and political system on behalf of the poor. In this view of things, the implementation of His teachings concerning His command to tend to each others needs ought to be manifested on a level far beyond simple, direct charity. It should be a societal mandate. In the most extreme extension of this philosophy, namely liberation theology, active resistance to oppressive governments, including armed insurrection, is not only acceptable but mandatory. This should be known to the media, but since it hasn’t covered radical priests or lesser variants since the Vietnam war it’s most likely escaped their attention.
The overriding theme of Obama’s agenda has been, and continues to be, the implementation of forced societal equality. Unlike classic liberation theology, however, he has chosen to attempt this change via governmental dictum rather than through radical opposition to government.
So does this mean Obama isn’t a Christian?
A difference in theology is not an automatic signal someone has either deviated from faith in Christ, or has none despite any and all protestations to the contrary. It does make one wonder what kind of instruction in the faith the person received to be so addlepated in regards to what Jesus taught, though.
So yes, there is failure on both sides to grasp the nature of Obama’s faith. He has stated more than once he is a believer in Jesus Christ, and there is no reason to insist it isn’t so. The lack of knowledge about where he’s coming from in regard to his faith? The media bears the greatest amount of blame for this information gap. And all the sniping and whining about those crazy right-wing nut jobs won’t obscure the truth. No matter who chooses to believe it.
Or whatever anyone chooses to believe.