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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Reader poll: Do politicians' preachers' rants matter?

Maybe it's just tax season burning me out a little, but I have found the whole flap over the remarks of Obama's preacher to be a real yawner. And the answer -- "McCain's preachers are nut jobs, too!" -- shows how dopey politics in America have become. No wonder we're plunging toward a depression.

Perhaps I'm missing something. It could be that the whole Historic Speech thing was something I should have gotten excited about. Help me out with this, people:

Do you care what the Presidential candidates' spiritual advisors say?
Yes
No
  
pollcode.com free polls

Comments (53)

With the amount of influence a persons spiritual advisor has on them, I absolutely care. Aside from immediate family, who has more?

I agree with Mr Bog, unless the candidate is espousing the right reverend's views (then we have bigger problems), then I'd ignore it.

It'd sure be nice if any of the triumvirate would talk about something of substance like, the economy or energy issues for a change.

Please, no more Iraq - I think I can figure where each of them stands.

I think most politicians have spiritual advisors because they have to appear religious to get elected. Besides, what possible advice do you need? If you're an adult and you don't know the difference between right and wrong, you're in trouble anyway.
If you ask me most of our religious leaders are just politicians running on a platform of piety. I dread the idea of them having power over the rest of us. We should stick to Consent of the Governed and avoid the Saudi Arabia model of the religious police. When people - such as our current president - believe they know God exists and what God wants, it's big trouble for freedom. George Bush's interpretation of freedom simply means the freedom for him to decide what's good for us. I don't put much faith in that.
We're 5 years into a preemptive war - a war not of self defense. A war where America attacked another country. If President Bush really gave a damn about spiritual advisors, and they really gave a damn about Christianity, they would have told him, "Thou shalt not kill." For George, religion is just a useful way to spin what he's doing. Why didn't God just tell him there were no WMDs?
George is dumb enough and vain enough to believe it might all be real - that God has chosen him to do these things, but I think it's a crock. To put it in religious terms, my God thinks George is a hopeless, viscous idiot.

The less we know about a canidate the more it matters to me. Why? Because people tend to surround themselves with people whose beliefs are in alignment with theirs. With a young politician like Obama, his record just isn't long enough by itself. Plus all those "Present" votes are not much of an indicator. More "Aye/Nay" votes would give us more of an idea about Obama.

Further along in a politicians career we can look at their voting record, actions and speeches to figure out where they are coming from and going.


I think most politicians have spiritual advisors because they have to appear religious to get elected.

precisely.

and i've never seen two candidates (Obama, Clinton) work so aggressively to manage public perception of their candidacy.

So Geo W. claims to talk to God...and god talks to him too! Now all that is pretty scary to me.
"son of Sam" talked to God as well, as I recall...

I think the Reverend Wright's speeches give a context to Michelle Obama's statement about being proud of her country for the first time and also show that in fact his speeches have had an effect on the views of people who attend his church or that their views are largely aligned with his. Contrary to the position Barack Obama has taken, I would never sit in a house of worship where the spiritual leader was spewing racism and fomenting hatred, and certainly not year after year after year. And definitely not with my children by my side. What kind of parents would expose their children to rabid racism and hatred under the guise of religion? KKK parents, maybe.

I think Obama gave a remarkable and admirable speech yesterday about moving beyond race in America. But for me it's too little, too late. It has caused me to question whether he is, or will be able in the future, to "walk the talk."

I am really disappointed because I was all set to vote for Obama. Now I'll have to hold my nose and vote for Billary.

My favorite spiritual advisor moment was when Bill Clinton called some in after Monica to talk him out of liking sex. Now that was classic.

I would like to know more about the spoonfuls of crazy Bush's preacher has been feeding him the last 8 years. Anyone out there translate tongues?

So if Hillary's or McCain's "spiritual adviser" (who he's intimately known for 20 years and considers at the same level as his grandmother) was anti-black and anti-America, it wouldn't matter?

Please.

This just goes to prove Obama is not the pure-as-the-driven-snow candidate everyone thought he was.

He's a lying hypocrite, like the majority of the other pols out there. Just look at his relationship to Rezko.

Chris,
"Spoonfuls of crazy"? That is an awesome phrase. I mean that phrase is worth money.
Drop what you're doing and start writing or if you heard it from somewhere else, pass it on to them. That is strong.

To put it in religious terms, my God thinks George is a hopeless, viscous idiot.

Either "your God" or you should get spell-check, bro. Especially when you're calling someone an idiot.

Irony.

*chuckle*

Unless, of course you meant "viscous". Perhaps I was overzealous, but "vicious" just fit your style so much more naturally.

Sorry if "viscous" was the intended word, man. I don't see it, but it's your music.

So Geo W. claims to talk to God...and god talks to him too! Now all that is pretty scary to me.

Obama says he is a religious man too. So either he also "talks to God", or he is a lying hypocrite.

I find it very telling that everyone was concerned about Bush being Christian when he was elected, but its ok for Obama.
Is religion suddenly cool for the progressive crowd now that someone you like is running for the office?


I only care who the opposition's spiritual advisor is - and then I only care if that person could be used against the opposition.

Like McCain's pastor: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hagee

Jack
If you are asking if his Preacher as an advisor matters?
If you are asking if his wife as an advisor matters?
Would it matter if his adviser were Dick Cheney?
I don't like anti-American socialists.
Neither do I like fast and loose right-wingers.
Advisors in either camp who are nut jobs worry me a lot.
Finally, your comment about McCain's preachers being nut jobs mystifies me. I've not heard that, or seen any evidence of that. Are you just being anti-Republican, or is there something there I've missed.

Where in that wiki does it say Hagee is McCain's Pastor?

The sad part is I grew up around the oil business and "viscosity" is one of the words I heard early on.
But I'll do what a good spiritual advisor would do and blame the misspelled word on Satan.

Chris,

Haven't you learned by now that guilt by association only applies to conservatives? Accepting a 'land donation' from Rezko and attending 20 years of Wright's sermons - no to mention your own bio pronouncing him you spiritual advisor - is much less offensive than accepting an endorsement (has Obama said yet that he won't accept Wright's?)

Chris -

It doesn't. I thought from the tone of the post that it was clear I was somewhat tongue in cheek. Apparently, it wasn't as clear as I hoped. I know that McCain didn't attend services at Hagee's church for 17 years, but I do believe that McCain has referred to Hagee as one of the "staunchest leaders in our evangelical church," or something to that effect.

To me, it's a non-issue but helps the media to avoid focusing on the more complicated, less-soundbyte-friendly issues. Hence my tone.

I finally had the chance to watch Obama's speech in its entirety. An extremely impressive piece of work.

It's pretty clear the anti-Obama crowd think this is an important issue. Obama cleared up any questions I had. He explained why the Rev. harbored animosity, and was clear in his lack of support of the message, having evolved beyond divisive racism. It is only if you distrust Obama that you continue to focus on this non-issue. Wallow in negativity, disbelief and cynicism and remain in the stasis which Obama has moved beyond. The continued focus says more about negativists than it does about Obama. Some just do not see change as a positive step. Too bad.

But I'll do what a good spiritual advisor would do and blame the misspelled word on Satan.

It's easier than that: just disavow anything "your God" says that gets you into hot water, while embracing Him as a good God.

No need to bother Satan.

It is only if you distrust Obama that you continue to focus on this non-issue.

This is one of the issues that leads me to distrust him.

The continued focus says more about negativists than it does about Obama. Some just do not see change as a positive step. Too bad.

Is that right? Well, excuse me if I don't share your Kool-Aid. I think the ease with which you have "moved beyond" this issue says more about your credulous acceptance of all things Obama than any real analysis of the situation. Kind of like "...change as a positive step." - just another meaningless aphorism.

Naw it's not the Kool-Aid, but instead all the bread and wine I consumed as the body and blood of Christ which helps me understand how one can accept some, but not all, of the religious dogma espoused by their religious "advisors".

when I compare Obama's senate and activism record to his speeches, there's a dissonance.

and the same for Clinton. I don't like McCain, but he seems the most consistent of the three.

uh oh. that leaves me with Ralph Nader.

I can't believe I'm even reading these comments.

In the context of media coverage and attention of the electorate, it still seems odd to me that Obama takes so much flak for this, but it goes nearly unnoticed when McCain shows up on stage to accept the endorsement of a man who desires (and is actively pursuing) the end of the world.

Mind you, Pastor John Hagee's "nut jobedness" leads him to advocate bomb, bomb, bombing Iran in order to trigger World War III.

Do I think John McCain wants the world to end like his good buddy Pastor Hagee does? Nope. But it reveals the fact that the maverick John McCain of 2000 who was willing to stand up to these kinds of snake-oil salesman no longer exists.

Ecohuman, did you read Obama's books? He espoused then what he now advocates. It all seems very consistent.

Huh? These are great comments... they be the best part of the whole dinner.

After decades of seeing spiritual advisers from the other side of the isle spout off the most amazing stuff, we now see some new material.

It is always interesting to see what politicians' closest people say and do.

But I'll do what a good spiritual advisor would do and blame the misspelled word on Satan.

Seems the current "spiritual advisor" in question would blame "whitey".

This is only the first salvo toward Obama - the true "Swiftboating" has yet to begin, and won't for a few months yet.

I do find it deliciously ironic, the ease with which certain people seem to want to sweep this under the rug, yet are first in line to pick apart the religious beliefs (however twisted or real) of other leaders including W.

Wright's rhetoric also goes to show how strong reverse racism is in this country. It goes both ways folks. Everyone needs to move past racism, and that goes for blacks too. My son (who is Gypsy by heritage - brown skin) experienced racism FROM BLACKS at our local public school, Irvington Elementary, to the degree that we pulled him out and put him back in the private school where he went up until the beginning of this year. It's alive and well even in Portland, people, and it just AIN'T the white folks doin' it.

As for Obama, it's no secret that a man is judged by the company he keeps. The closer the company (i.e. "spirtual advisor" for multiple decades) the more important the scrutiny should be.

Obama's halo broke far earlier than I thought it would. "W" Bush's maintained much longer when he ran.

Ecohuman, did you read Obama's books? He espoused then what he now advocates. It all seems very consistent.

not interested. Obama, Clinton and McCain are so similar in deed as to make the choice barely important. i know this is an unpopular view, but let's admit something here:

all three are comfortable millionaires with a vested interest in the status quo--not in radical reform of broken paradigms.

Not to be too classist, but, eco: ecco.

...the ease with which certain people seem to want to sweep this under the rug...

What's being swept under the rug; the idea that there are still many blacks who are angry about American history? There's not a rug on the planet big enough to sweep that under.

Obama denounced and rejected the over-the-top, self-indulgent theatrics and hyperbole.

But one of the many points in Obama's speech was that America can't truly heal the old wounds until we STOP sweeping those issues under the rug?

Maybe he's the man to help do it. His courage in confronting these notions rather than doing the old-cut-and-run from his friend and pastor speaks well for him.

Now, I want to know how John McCain feels about being endorsed by a guy who bought a giant ranch so he can breed a special calf that he thinks will usher in the end of the world.

Does "Pastor" Hagee think McCain's the candidate most likely to help bring about the end of the world?

They shared a stage together during the endorsement, That would have been a good time to ask.

Enquiring minds want to know.

I'm pretty sure your powers of obfustication (I know, it's not a word - but it's so seductive in this context) and conflation aren't quite what you think they are, Paddy.

Based on your comment, you would seem to sanction all the concern over Obama/Wright, right?

Regarding sweeping things under the rug -- I'm not talking about the fact that blacks are angry about American history. Separate issue, although I have to make an admission: I have been married to an African-American woman for the past 11+ years. (My wife was born in South Africa).

Rather, I'm talking about the "there's nothing here ... these aren't the 'droids we're looking for ... move along" attitude of Obama supporters with regard to this issue.

I'm talking about the shocking ease with which this Wright issue is being overlooked and glossed over. Many here have expressed it with "yawn" type responses. But it's a ridiculous and absolutely glaring double-standard to comments made by many of these same posters about the "other side of the aisle."

All I'm saying, just use some basic logic here. All you Obama supporters should have the same standard for your favored candidate, that you're so quick to nail Republican and "other" candidates to, on the same issues.

Or ask yourself: would you be glossing over this, if Pat Buchanan or Jimmy Swaggart were McCain's 20-plus year "spiritual advisor"? ("W" Bush's advisor was Billy Graham).

I ABSOLUTELY don't think so. You Obama supporters would be jumping from the rooftops.

GVZ

Amen.

I'm pretty sure your powers of obfustication

i'm becoming a fan of cc's ability to create words that aren't "real" yet make perfect sense.

So...Has McCain repudiated Hagee, yet?

Is Hagee a Dominionist, or not?

I see he's against anti-Semitism when it deals with Jewish Semites, but when it comes to Moslem Semites, it's a whole 'nuther thing.

I see he's against anti-Semitism when it deals with Jewish Semites, but when it comes to Moslem Semites, it's a whole 'nuther thing.

Semite be beside the point.

But, then again, that might characterize your point.

It's easy to make fun of my name because I don't hide behind a pseudonym, CC.

What's your real name, Einstein?

What ya afraid of?

The attempts to deflect and divert the discussion here are ... well ... amusing.

Nobody is addressing the true question at hand: why does such a double-standard exist when it comes to Democratic candidates and strong religious beliefs/exposure?

It's easy to make fun of my name because I don't hide behind a pseudonym, CC.

While I don't remember actually intending to make fun of your name, Pat, if, indeed it is your name, Pat, whether or not I did, Pat, has no bearing on the point of my comment, Pat.

Watch that threatening tone, big boy.

GVZ: "It goes both ways folks. Everyone needs to move past racism, and that goes for blacks too."

I, uhh, don't know if you noticed, but that's pretty much what Mr. Obama said yesterday.

GVZ: "Nobody is addressing the true question at hand: why does such a double-standard exist when it comes to Democratic candidates and strong religious beliefs/exposure?"

I'd guess that a great deal of it is that Mr. Obama has been the first Democratic candidate in ages to really try to take back religion as a personal and political asset. It's been abandoned to the conservatives for a long time.

Plus I think you're tarring with a broad brush. Not all folks who suppot Mr. Obama slagged off conservatives for their religious ties.

Last, I think there's a huge difefrence between someone espousing a theology of liberation ("don't oppress me any more") instead of a theology used to justify oppression ("damn them gays to hell, and don't rent to them either").

Alan,

You go, man!

"Based on your comment, you would seem to sanction all the concern over Obama/Wright, right?"

CC, maybe in the interests of accuracy you should change the make-believe-name you play behind to "False Premise"

By the way ...

"He thought he saw a buffalo upon the chimney piece, he looked again and found it was his sister's husband's niece."

Is that pretty close?

Maybe the reason that Democratic candidates haven't used religion in AGES is because the it's polled as more of a negative than a positive by the majority of their base.

Remember, religion is party-blind.

I don't see a lot of difference between your make-believe "conservative" religious rant ("Damn gays to hell, and don't rent to them either") and the REAL rants of the Rev. Wright ("God Damn America!"; AIDS is a white ploy to exterminate blacks).

All are horrible and shocking, at least to me.

Could someone clear up something for me about this Brother Wright character -- is everbody talking about Orville, or Wilbur?

On topic, I'm sure I speak for all of us, Jack, that it is the politicians' anti-preachers' rants ... er, make that, the anti-politicians' preachers' rants ... no, the anti-politicians' anti-preachers' anti-rants entrance that all most matters, or matters most, or to most of us.

Anti-Obama Preacher Unleashed: "Less Than A Maggot," "Emissary Of The Devil," The Huffington Post, March 19, 2008.

A video has surfaced ... giving a vitriolic sermon ....

"Maybe the reason that Democratic candidates haven't used religion in AGES is because the it's polled as more of a negative than a positive by the majority of their base.'

Televangelists did an excellent (albeit unintentional) job of making the public perception of Christians an appalling parody of the new testament's teachings. Once that's what "religion" came to mean in the secular public's eye, there's little wonder religion polled badly among liberals.

"Remember, religion is party-blind."

Well, I don't think God could be a Republican; if he was he never would have kicked ass on the moneylenders.

"I don't see a lot of difference between your make-believe "conservative" religious rant ("Damn gays to hell, and don't rent to them either") and the REAL rants of the Rev. Wright ("God Damn America!"; AIDS is a white ploy to exterminate blacks). All are horrible and shocking, at least to me."

Of course they're horrible and shocking. These are preachers speaking, not politicians. Shocking the flock is the point.

In context, though, Rev. Wright's "God damn America" was probably not intended to be quite so horrible and shocking as it's made out to be by the press. As I hear it (and I grant opinions on this may differ) he's not calling for the damnation of America, he's pointing out that the result of the problems he decries is likely to be damnation. There's a world of difference.

To be more clear he should have said "God will damn America for this", but that woud have been a rhetorically feeble riff on "God bless America". He sacrificed clarity for rhetorical power, and he got that power in spades... more than he could handle, as it turns out. But again, this is a preacher talking, not a politician. He's not trying to please anyone; he's trying to move his own congregation. On that score, I imagine it was mission accomplished. If it had never been videotaped, probably no one would now remember it, probably including Rev. Wright.

All that said, the AIDS thing is just wacky.

"He thought he saw a buffalo upon the chimney piece, he looked again and found it was his sister's husband's niece."

Is that pretty close?

No, Pat.

It's more like: 'But I don't want to go among mad people,' said cc. 'Oh, you can't help that,' said Pat. 'We're all mad here.'


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Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 225
At this date last year: 71
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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