The Source of Obama’s “Casual Slander” of Christianity

 

shutterstock_30039856I was reading a piece by the great Mark Hemingway this morning about Obama’s “casual slander” of American Christians. As Mark points out:

We’re at the point where the man well-intentioned liberal Christians like [E. J.] Dionne said could end the culture wars [i.e., President Obama] makes a flatly wrong and objectionable assertion that fighting poverty is an afterthought for Christians too often obsessed with abortion, and nobody bats an eye.

How can this be?

The Daily Reality of Christian Life

Now I’m a Catholic, and an ex-Jesuit. When I was professional religious, I spent almost all of my day on three things: education, prayer, and the works of mercy. Among Jesuit communities, priests are assigned duties along those same lines: most are teachers, but you usually get a few chaplains, parish pastors, retreat directors, and various other apostolates. The working day of your average parish priest usually includes the hospital run, where you visit the elderly from your parish. In other words, the daily life of the church is overwhelmingly pastoral. It’s a day-to-day effort to try and minister to people, taking care of their immediate needs. I can speak for the day to day life of my church, but others can speak for their church or synagogue also.

So, in addressing Hemingway’s question — how in the world can the president casually slander the church for not caring enough about the poor? — my answer is because the “most informed man in the world” gets his information from the media. And the daily life of the church is boring to the media; they’d rather report on culture wars, where they can slant the coverage to advance their agenda (usually to promote the sexual revolution).

Where Does President Obama Get His Information?

Remember the story about George W. Bush saying that if he wanted to find out what was going on in the world, he didn’t go to the media, he just called Condoleezza Rice into the Oval Office and asked her? The media was infuriated. Informing people was their prerogative. Shaping perspectives was their privilege. They’re like Capone gangsters dispensing booze. If anyone wants to know what to think, they had better get it from the media. “That’s a nice belief system ya got there – shame if anyt’ing was to happen to it…”

Obama displays a similar attitude. How often does he reveal that — when it comes to important issues — he learns about them the way everyone else learns: from the media? He’s not only an invention of the media, he has become the personification of it. He doesn’t know anything about the reality of the church because the media doesn’t know anything about it either.

Media Ignorance

Mark’s wife, Mollie, has made a career of displaying how poorly and ignorantly religion is portrayed in the media. I’d argue that the main reason for this is that most reporters don’t have a background in, and aren’t interested in doing the hard work of learning about, religion. To them, religion is boring, repetitive, and spends all of its time on old values held by old people. Old isn’t newsworthy. Young is newsworthy. Different and innovative values – promoted by different and innovative people – now that’s newsworthy. And wrong.

Questions

So when Obama claimed that religion spends too much time on sexual issues and neglects the poor, did that confirm your belief? If so, do you get your information on the work of the church (whatever church you belong to) mostly from the media? If you’re not religious, where do you get your information about the church – and do you trust the media to report accurately?

Image Credit: Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com

Published in Culture, Religion & Philosophy
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 52 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @JudgeMental

    KC: I know this is wildly off topic, the only intersection being how one medium portrays religion, but given your background I would love to hear your thoughts.

    I couple of weeks ago I saw the recent movie Exodus: Gods and Kings.  Even as a squishy agnostic, I found it incredibly odd.  It’s as if they said, “We’re going to remake The Ten Commandments, but you know, without all the pesky religion”.

    The way the story was presented, anyone not already familiar with the background would likely see that aspect as nothing more than delusion on Moses’ part.

    So, did you see it?  And if so, what did you think?  Were you struck in the same way as I was?

    • #31
  2. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Creepy Lurker:KC: I know this is wildly off topic, the only intersection being how one medium portrays religion, but given your background I would love to hear your thoughts.

    I couple of weeks ago I saw the recent movie Exodus: Gods and Kings. Even as a squishy agnostic, I found it incredibly odd. It’s as if they said, “We’re going to remake The Ten Commandments, but you know, without all the pesky religion”.

    The way the story was presented, anyone not already familiar with the background would likely see that aspect as nothing more than delusion on Moses’ part.

    So, did you see it? And if so, what did you think? Were you struck in the same way as I was?

    you should have seen the Russell Crowe remake of Noah.  I am not sure why they used that name at all since it had very little to do with the Noah story.

    • #32
  3. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @JudgeMental

    Fake John Galt:

    Creepy Lurker:KC: I know this is wildly off topic, the only intersection being how one medium portrays religion, but given your background I would love to hear your thoughts.

    I couple of weeks ago I saw the recent movie Exodus: Gods and Kings. Even as a squishy agnostic, I found it incredibly odd. It’s as if they said, “We’re going to remake The Ten Commandments, but you know, without all the pesky religion”.

    The way the story was presented, anyone not already familiar with the background would likely see that aspect as nothing more than delusion on Moses’ part.

    So, did you see it? And if so, what did you think? Were you struck in the same way as I was?

    you should have seen the Russell Crowe remake of Noah. I am not sure why they used that name at all since it had very little to do with the Noah story.

    I doubt I will see it.  I saw the trailer and it was mostly battle scenes.  And I don’t remember any battles from Sunday school.  (My road to squishy agnostic has been long and winding.)

    • #33
  4. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    Creepy Lurker:I couple of weeks ago I saw the recent movie Exodus: Gods and Kings.[…]And if so, what did you think? Were you struck in the same way as I was?

    I did not see it. Instinctively I avoid contemporary retellings of biblical stories. I did happen to see some of the Noah movie, but as soon as I saw the Rock Aliens as angels, I laughed too hard to continue. I kept thinking of the Tim Allen-Sigourney Weaver comedy, Galaxy Quest, where rock creatures were one of the comedy bits. I mean, when your biblical interpretation rips off parodies of Star Trek, I think you’ve passed the point of no return.

    • #34
  5. user_86050 Inactive
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    I did see Passion of the Christ. What I liked about that movie was that it depicted the violence and the humiliation of the cross. Now I’m no great fan of seeing blood and gore, but this was one time when forcing yourself to watch it made sense. The cross was violent; the cross was humiliating. I was squirming in my seat, but I watched it.

    St. Ignatius always taught the prayer of the senses, where you use your imagination to place yourself at the scene. It can be a powerful tool to help prayer. But the key is to stay real; use your imagination is to enhance and vivify what really happened … not to concoct things that didn’t happen. You’re trying to amplify the story that God told, not to create a new one.

    Biblical stories already carry enough meaning, they don’t need to be jazzed up. (I’d include saint stories in that as well.) When you can the visual power of the screen to amplify the story, great.

    • #35
  6. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    @Fake John Galt- “I was very specific in pointing out that this Obama’s belief and the church he adopted.  It is very important to him.  He has dedicated at least one book to Wright and discusses how just much joy he found when he discovered Trinity.

    The OP question was how can Obama slander Christianity.  The answer is because he believes it to be corrupt and a tool of the enemy.  Of the oppressor.  Thus he is not slandering it but calling it to task for the evil organization he believes it is.”

    Meh, you may be right. But given Obama’s having been mentored by Marxists (Franklin Marshall Davis), his disparaging remarks about Pa. Dems “clinging to guns and religion,”and majoring in Poly-sci and minoring in English at Harvard, I’m more inclined to assume he is an atheist. After all, look at his votes against the Born Alive Infant Protection Act.

    Richard Epstein has noted Obama’s “intellectual rigidity,” and I assume he merely accepted the post-modernist idea, fashionable in English departments, that no text, Bible or Shakespeare, can be a reliable source of truth, because they are all too corrupted by race, class or gender. That belief leads to the idea that using logic and reason is futile, that only power and force matter, and Obama’s contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law would seem to confirm that.

    • #36
  7. TeamAmerica Member
    TeamAmerica
    @TeamAmerica

    To respond to the question as to how Obama can vilify Christianity, the answer is at least partly white liberal guilt. African-American thinker Shelby Steele has pointed out that black power=white guilt. Obama knows that few clergy will have the moral courage to call him out on his prejudices, and the media wouldn’t dream of it.

    • #37
  8. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @SaintAugustine

    Creepy Lurker:KC: I know this is wildly off topic, the only intersection being how one medium portrays religion, but given your background I would love to hear your thoughts.

    I couple of weeks ago I saw the recent movie Exodus: Gods and Kings. Even as a squishy agnostic, I found it incredibly odd. It’s as if they said, “We’re going to remake The Ten Commandments, but you know, without all the pesky religion”.

    The way the story was presented, anyone not already familiar with the background would likely see that aspect as nothing more than delusion on Moses’ part.

    So, did you see it? And if so, what did you think? Were you struck in the same way as I was?

    If I can abstract a bit from this comment, you are not creepy and should consider lurking a bit less.

    Wait a minute.  You’ve been here for like six days?  WELCOME TO RICOCHET!

    • #38
  9. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Confirmed my opinion that Obama is a malignant narcissist, and an ignorant one at that.

    As a Christian I’m not supposed to knock the civil magistrate like that.

    But it’s too early in the morning to pad it up with a lot of churchy language.

    • #39
  10. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @SoDakBoy

    This quote reminds me of the oft-heard mantra that pro-lifers only care about fetuses but as soon as the baby is born, they couldn’t care less.  As soon as I hear that, I know the speaker has never set foot inside a crisis pregnancy center.  Our local Birthline counsels women about adoption and carrying a pregnancy to term, but they also have stacks of diapers, cribs, and baby clothing.  They hold parenting classes for moms and dads.  They have financial and budgeting classes for expectant/new parents.  If a needs assessment justifies it, they will hook the parents up with governmental relief agencies (ie AFDC, SNAP, etc).  They stick with those parents and child until the child is in the early toddler age if needed.

    Can Planned Parenthood or the welfare office claim anything remotely similar?

    • #40
  11. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Fake John Galt:He is not slandering Christianity as a whole or his version of it he is slandering “white Christianity”, with white being the oppressors. Barack Obama was / is a member of Trinity United Church of Christ under Rev Jeremiah Wright for 20+ years. He is steeped in Black liberation theology as taught and worshiped by Rev Wright and his flock. Obama believes that traditional Christianity is a white man’s religion and a tool of white oppression and thus corrupt. He can criticize Christianity because from his perspective his black liberation theology version of Christianity is the true Christianity and has not be corrupted by the “white” man.

    Please feel free to google Black liberation theology to understand his beliefs. You may even want to read some of Obama’s books to get an understanding on how he sees things.

    Yep. And for all we know Wright is Obama’s go to guy for Christianity.

    • #41
  12. Mario the Gator Inactive
    Mario the Gator
    @Pelayo

    The vast amounts of good work that Christians do is something that a Marxist like Obama cannot publicly recognize.  Obama like any good Marxist wants people to turn to the Government for help, not God or any organized Religion.  It undermines the hold Government has on people.

    I also see another aspect to his attacks on Christians.  I am not aware of any Islamic charities doing works of mercy in the U.S. or anywhere else.  Maybe I am ignorant on that subject but I believe that if such a thing existed then Obama and the MSM would shine a huge spotlight on it.  Assuming I am right, Christians can be seen as doing more to help the poor than Muslims and Obama cannot allow that.  He calls himself Christian, but his actions indicate he is more sympathetic to Islam than Christianity.

    • #42
  13. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Lucy Pevensie:

    Fake John Galt:He is not slandering Christianity as a whole or his version of it he is slandering “white Christianity”, with white being the oppressors. Barack Obama was / is a member of Trinity United Church of Christ under Rev Jeremiah Wright for 20+ years. He is steeped in Black liberation theology as taught and worshiped by Rev Wright and his flock. Obama believes that traditional Christianity is a white man’s religion and a tool of white oppression and thus corrupt. He can criticize Christianity because from his perspective his black liberation theology version of Christianity is the true Christianity and has not be corrupted by the “white” man.

    Please feel free to google Black liberation theology to understand his beliefs. You may even want to read some of Obama’s books to get an understanding on how he sees things.

    The vast majority of black Christians, it should be noted, have nothing to do with liberation theology.

    Likewise, certainly in my part of the world, liberation theology is very popular (and predominately white, if for no other reason than the fact that the PACNW is predominately white).

    • #43
  14. Ricochet Coolidge
    Ricochet
    @Manny

    This post is excellent.  Mark Hemingway and you hit it right on.  Obama has no experience with real Christianity.  That Rev Wright Church is not Christianity that I can see.

    So when Obama claimed that religion spends too much time on sexual issues and neglects the poor, did that confirm your belief? If so, do you get your information on the work of the church (whatever church you belong to) mostly from the media? If you’re not religious, where do you get your information about the church – and do you trust the media to report accurately?

    It most certainly confirmed my belief that Obama doesn’t have a clue.  I am religious and certainly don’t get rely on any media information on any subject, let alone religion, of which they are repeatedly wrong and perhaps even maliciously wrong.

    • #44
  15. Ricochet Coolidge
    Ricochet
    @Manny

    Western Chauvinist

     …always managing to elevate himself to the moral high ground (he’s a better Christian than the rest of us, doncha know?) — or many Americans have become credulous fools. Or, maybe both are true.

    That’s a good point.  It could be the man’s ego makes him think that he’s superior to the rest of us., which is a trait he’s displayed many times over.

    • #45
  16. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    I don’t know this for a fact, but I strongly suspect that Obama’s involvement in his church did not go beyond attending services and receiving “spiritual guidance” from Rev. Wright. Furthermore, Wright’s church was one with a highly-charged political atmosphere. This is not a good background for understanding how mainstream houses of worship minister to the poor.

    I participated in a church fundraiser last night by singing and playing guitar. I also threw some money in the bucket. The church annually sends a group of adults and teenagers to help impoverished people in New York State maintain and improve their homes, and this fundraiser helped support that effort.

    Would you like to know how many times I’ve heard the word “abortion” in church, in my entire life? Once, last Mother’s Day, when our pastor included in his prayers those mothers who have undergone the procedure.

    Needless to say, I’m not receptive to the suggestion by my president that my church cares too much about abortion and not enough about the poor.

    • #46
  17. Ryan M Member
    Ryan M
    @RyanM

    Johnny Dubya:Needless to say, I’m not receptive to the suggestion by my president that my church cares too much about abortion and not enough about the poor.

    Problem is, he’s not talking to you.  He’s talking to other people who have no first-hand experience to tell them that he’s feeding them a line of garbage.  It’s kind of like listening to John Stewart tell a joke that is based on some false premise about conservatism (i.e. his entire show); it doesn’t do much good to say “but that’s simply not true,” because, while we know that, we’re not his audience.  The people in his audience don’t care to know what’s actually going on.  They just want to be fed like cattle.

    • #47
  18. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @EustaceCScrubb

    One of the reasons my wife and I began our blog, Dean and Minday Go to Church, is to give people who don’t go to church an idea of what happens there. Been pleased to see at least some non-church goers following. We’ve been impressed by the care and concern many of the churches we’ve visited have for the poor, for the homeless in particular.

    • #48
  19. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist
    @WesternChauvinist

    Eustace C. Scrubb:One of the reasons my wife and I began our blog, Dean and Minday Go to Church, is to give people who don’t go to church an idea of what happens there. Been pleased to see at least some non-church goers following. We’ve been impressed by the care and concern many of the churches we’ve visited have for the poor, for the homeless in particular.

    Our parish is one of many interfaith churches providing rotating shelter for the homeless in our community. The restrooms off the parish hall were modified to include showers and once a quarter or so, cots are moved into the hall for some period (a week?) offering sleeping space and facilities to those in need.

    When’s the last time a progressive invited a homeless family into his home to sleep and bathe? Wouldn’t it be great for Apple to offer their facilities over night?

    • #49
  20. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @SaintAugustine

    Eustace C. Scrubb:One of the reasons my wife and I began our blog, Dean and Minday Go to Church, is to give people who don’t go to church an idea of what happens there. Been pleased to see at least some non-church goers following. We’ve been impressed by the care and concern many of the churches we’ve visited have for the poor, for the homeless in particular.

    Hey, you do church movie reviews on your blog!  Have you reviewed The North Avenue Irregulars?  That is a great church movie, a movie I was blessed up on which to grow.

    • #50
  21. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @EustaceCScrubb

    Augustine – I haven’t seen The North Avenue Irregulars, but it’s on my to-watch list. I’ve been looking forward to that one. Next month we’re going to be splitting of the Movie Churches Reviews portion to its own blog.

    • #51
  22. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Augustine, I love “NAI”!

    • #52
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.