Hat tip: Ian
Here’s what CNN had to say:
Sen. Barack Obama told a church convention Saturday that some right-wing evangelical leaders have exploited and politicized religious beliefs in an effort to sow division.
“Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked,” the Democratic presidential candidate said in remarks prepared for delivery before the national meeting of the United Church of Christ.
“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,” according to an advance copy of his speech.
“There was even a time when the Christian Coalition determined that its number one legislative priority was tax cuts for the rich,” Obama said. “I don’t know what Bible they’re reading, but it doesn’t jibe with my version.”
First, here’s a Democrat presidential candidate bashing so-called “fellow Christians” in a church. Isn’t that hijacking faith? AU should be crying foul.
Second, when people are involved, imperfection will always be present. Jerry Falwell was arguably the most influential Christian leader in rallying Christians toward a common political goal. And some people made mistakes along the way, hurt others, but some were responsible for truly amazing results in the political arena. Mr. Obama’s cloud of “hijacking” can obviously be seen through as a desire to see Christians banned from all areas of public life.
Third, evangelicals didn’t have to be “told” Democrats disrespect their values. We could see it very clearly in Democrats’ voting records on key social issues that were turned into political ones. Abortion, gay marriage, school prayer and creationsim, aren’t the only issues Christians care about. But they certainly are the most alarming of the last thirty years.
Fourth, I don’t know what version of the Bible Obama is reading where it commands government to enslave the poor to welfare programs in exchange for votes and call themselves poverty crusaders.
Finally, Obama’s speech was given at the United Church of Christ, one of the most liberal religious groups. They were the first mainline denomination to endorse gay marriage and Obama opposes a constitutional amendment against [gay marriage]. This is a more accurate definition of “hijacking faith.” Turning a moral issue like gay marriage into a political one in order to legislate liberal morality.
Obama’s attempts to appeal to Christians are waning. He will scoop up his share of the miniscule religious left votes, but his chances of winning over the Christian Right are fading fast with this type of criticism. Of course, Rudy Giuliani has the same challenge ahead for himself.