Friday, December 19, 2008

Is This Michael Lind an Idiot or What? And Some Thoughts on Barack Obama and His Christian Beliefs

The most shocking thing about the alliance between the Southern states and America's friendly but earnest economic rivals to destroy America's most important industry is the fact that so few people find it shocking.
Statements like that give liberalism a bad name. Maybe the Democratic left has gone berserk, what with Barack Obama’s s choice of Rick Warren to replace Jeremiah Wright as his favorite pastor.

Speaking of which, did you know that Obama is personally opposed to same-sex marriage and is uncomfortable with the idea of abortion? As Christians come, he is relatively conservative. He is much closer to George Bush than you imagine. Or is it the other way around?

13 comments:

Janne Morén said...

It's all relative. He's simply so much better than the alternative that he gets a load of bonus points just for that.

From my horizon, though, if he would be a Swedish politician he'd probably belong either to the most value conservative part of our Conservative party (currently in power) or to the political wing of our right-wing religious Christian Democrats. Of course, by that measure, most of the current Republican leadership would be not in any of the parties in parliament; they'd be out marching in brown shirts on the 30th of November every year.

Of course, that ignores the fact that somebody with Mr. Obama's basic sensibilites might well have grown up to be a cheerfully atheist centrist politician had he been born in Sweden. Mapping beliefs (political or religious) between cultures is fraught with uncertainties.

Jun Okumura said...

That's the difference between Western Europe and the United States.

Awesome comment by the way, Janne. There's a book waiting to be written here.

Janne Morén said...

"There's a book waiting to be written here."

There may well be a book there. Not written by me, though; the rule is "write what you know" after all. And following that rule the only book I'm ever likely to write is "Spending Time - Two-hundred great ways to avoid getting your work done by idly surfing the web".

Jun said...

A blog is a joint effort at avoidance; one blogs, the other comments, and so on.

Jun Okumura said...

For some technical reason that I don't understand, the previous comment has been uploaded as someone else. It's the same old me. The funny thing is, it shows up as my own comment on the gmail notice, but as an anonymous one on the AOL notice. Janne appears as Janne in both email accounts.

Janne Morén said...

It's not anonymous; the "Jun" poster is a registered Blogger user, though with no public profile. Did you perhaps at one point register an earlier Blogger user ID as a trial or something before you started using your regular identity? In that case you may still have cookies for both identities in your browser and Blogger sometimes assumes you want to comment as "Jun" for some reason.

Try removing that cookie and the problem should be solved.

Jun Okumura said...

Try removing that cookie and the problem should be solved.

Removing cookie crumbs from my keyboard I can handle; we'll see what I can do with my hard disk.

Roy Berman said...

"did you know that Obama is personally opposed to same-sex marriage and is uncomfortable with the idea of abortion? As Christians come, he is relatively conservative."

A couple of comments. First, being opposed to same sex marriage but in favor of civil unions is actually quite liberal for American Christians. (Although I do suspect that Obama being for "civil unions" and against "gay marriage" is political triangulation at its most obvious and not a reflection of his beliefs. He might very well think full marriage is the best option, but believe he can't afford to say it in public.) The same thing for abortion. The Democratic Party mantra is "safe, legal, rare" and even politicians such as Hillary Clinton make a point of expressing their personal distaste for abortion and desire to reduce it to near-zero levels through more effective birth control etc. Expressing "discomfort" with abortion while realizing its legal necessity is the consensus platform of the entire Democratic Party.

I'm frankly not convinced that Obama is actually a serious believer in Christianity so much as someone who likes the moral teachings and sense of community. But the important thing is that I couldn't possibly care less whether or not he is. And I also don't care whether he is personally "comfortable" with personal rights regarding homosexuality or abortion. The only that that matters is what he regards as required by the constitution, necessity, or basic human decency, and I see no reason to think that he will be be anything like Bush regarding gay rights and abortion. Or rather, his administration and the Bush administration. Bush himself always struck me as rather disinterested in gay rights and abortion, but perfectly willing to let his people use them as wedge issues to win elections.

Jun Okumura said...

Haploid Heretic:

I can go along with most of what you say, with a couple of quibbles. First, I don’t agree with your contention that “[e]xpressing ‘discomfort’ with abortion while realizing its legal necessity is the consensus platform of the entire Democratic Party.” Close, but not quite. And it goes without saying that “discomfort” covers a wide range of sentiments, emotions an convictions. Second, and this is really nitpicking, I’d like to qualify ever so slightly your doubts about “Obama…actually [being] a serious believer in Christianity so much as someone who likes the moral teachings and sense of community.” What he lacks—and here, I think he has something in common with Bush—is that overwhelming sense of the transcendent, the rapture that born-again Christians so often profess. I guess it depends on the meaning of “serious believer”.

Not sure I’ll get to the rest of your comments tonight, so don’t wait up, please.

Roy Berman said...

OK, let's replace "serious believer in Christianity" with "believer in hardline Christian doctrine" or something. I'm no one to judge what "Christianity" means to him, only what he seems to have professed publicly.

Jun Okumura said...

Like everything else about faith, there are two angles to this story, the transcendent and the doctrinal, the mystical and the analytic. Which is the determinant in Obama's case? Your guess, Anomalous Anura, is as good as mine.

Roy Berman said...

Regarding faith in America, this column reports on an interesting recent survey.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/27/opinion/27blow.html?hp

Jun Okumura said...

It’s good to know that the mentally healthy hold a strong majority in the United States. I always had a hard time believing that otherwise sane people could ever be in thrall to the O.T. Honcho, who puts Hitler to shame. 70% of Americans, knowingly or not, must agree.