GQ has an article on The Barack which includes this lovely little anecdote:
There are several black clergymen here, and when Obama encounters one of them, it’s as if they share a secret language, one Obama learned in the early ’80s, toiling as an idealistic college grad organizing churches on Chicago’s South Side. “Reverend, so nice to see you!” he exclaims to one pastor, vigorously shaking his hand. “Appreciate you! God bless you! Lift me up!”
The pastor nods his head and smiles at Obama’s biblical reference. But he’s interested in discussing more earthly matters. “With the faith-based initiative,” he asks, speaking of President Bush’s signature program, which has largely become a White House slush fund to reward religious allies, “can you kinda get us back in with the—” He pauses, trying to find the right words. “You know, it’s been very limited as far as churches are concerned.”
“Well, it depends on which church,” Obama replies. “There are some churches where it hasn’t been limited.”
“Right!” the reverend responds, lighting up and sensing that Obama understands where he’s going.
“One of the things that I’m going to do when I’m in there,” Obama says with the extreme politeness he turns on when saying something that won’t fully please his interlocutor, “is to look at this faith-based initiative and see how it’s worked and where the money is going. What you don’t want it to be used for is a way of advancing someone’s political agenda and rewarding friends and not rewarding enemies. Know what I mean?” The reverend tightens his lips, nods his head, and gives Obama a fairly unconvincing “mm-hmm.”
Obama revels in moments like these, when he has the chance to turn down an easy pander and tell a hard truth.
Meanwhile Mother Jones has a piece on Hillary Clinton which includes this subtitle:
For 15 years, Hillary Clinton has been part of a secretive religious group that seeks to bring Jesus back to Capitol Hill. Is she triangulating—or living her faith?
Here are some excerpts from the article:
Through all of her years in Washington, Clinton has been an active participant in conservative Bible study and prayer circles that are part of a secretive Capitol Hill group known as the Fellowship. Her collaborations with right-wingers such as Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) grow in part from that connection. “A lot of evangelicals would see that as just cynical exploitation,” says the Reverend Rob Schenck, a former leader of the militant anti-abortion group Operation Rescue who now ministers to decision makers in Washington. “I don’t….there is a real good that is infected in people when they are around Jesus talk, and open Bibles, and prayer.”
When Clinton first came to Washington in 1993, one of her first steps was to join a Bible study group. For the next eight years, she regularly met with a Christian “cell” whose members included Susan Baker, wife of Bush consigliere James Baker; Joanne Kemp, wife of conservative icon Jack Kemp; Eileen Bakke, wife of Dennis Bakke, a leader in the anti-union Christian management movement; and Grace Nelson, the wife of Senator Bill Nelson, a conservative Florida Democrat.
Clinton’s prayer group was part of the Fellowship (or “the Family”), a network of sex-segregated cells of political, business, and military leaders dedicated to “spiritual war” on behalf of Christ, many of them recruited at the Fellowship’s only public event, the annual National Prayer Breakfast. (Aside from the breakfast, the group has “made a fetish of being invisible,” former Republican Senator William Armstrong has said.) The Fellowship believes that the elite win power by the will of God, who uses them for his purposes. Its mission is to help the powerful understand their role in God’s plan.
Clinton has championed federal funding of faith-based social services, which she embraced years before George W. Bush did; Marci Hamilton, author of God vs. the Gavel, says that the Clintons’ approach to faith-based initiatives “set the stage for Bush.” Clinton has also long supported the Defense of Marriage Act, a measure that has become a purity test for any candidate wishing to avoid war with the Christian right.
Again, this is why I’m voting for Obama. He may be religious, but he understands and respects State/Church separation better than any other candidate.
[tags]atheist, atheism, Democrat, Republican, Religious Right, fundamentalism, Christian[/tags]