Praying to Obama?

A while back I wrote: Are we making Idols of our Ideologies?

It’s a good question, one to keep on a personal backburner whenever we find our political passions inflamed.

I thought of it today as I watched this video of Obama supporters apparently calling on the name of the then-president-elect, in their intercessory prayer.


Ed Morrissey
rightly wonders what it is we’re hearing.

When I first watched it -guided by the captions- I heard “Obama,” and of course, reacted to that with disgust. Since Ed’s First Mate is blind, and -Ed relates- she immediately heard “Obama,” I tried it with my eyes closed, too, and then I heard other things. I cannot tell if this crowd is saying “Obama,” or “O God.” Or -perhaps- “O Father.”

Toward the end, it seems very much like “O Father,” to me.

I suspect I am hearing many things because many things are being said. At one point a woman clearly uses “O God,” her voice raised as if to make the point to others.

So, I hear all three things, and this suggests to me that perhaps some at the rally did -for whatever reason- begin by using the name “Obama.” People can be very irreverent and think they’re merely being clever, or having a little lark. But upon repeated listenings, I think it is wrong to jump the gun on this and make the accusation of idolatry. If we insist on hearing what may not be there, then we need to ask if our own ideology, which may tempt us to believe the worst simply because that’s what ideology does, is in charge of us. And if our ideology is in charge, name the Idolater.

But all of this reminds me again, how easy it is to allow our political enthrallment to overtake our good judgment. And then we open ourselves up to a very different sort of judgment, don’t we?

Today is the feast of the holy archangels. Let us ask these messengers of God to help our reception! :-)

What do you hear in the tape?

Michelle Malkin has background noise

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://dailywoof.wordpress.com Kensington

    I hear “Oh, God” and regret how many people have presented this video as an example of idolatry. Doing so makes the Right look foolish and a little crazy, I fear.

    Lots of clear, obvious, and disturbing videos featuring Obama worship have already come to light. We don’t need to grasp at straws with others that require interpretation in order to make the point.

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  • http://lowlytuber.blogspot.com tim maguire

    I remember in college a certain christian group liked to set up TVs with VCRs in the student lounge and play recordings of popular songs. And then they’d play selections backwards, with subtitles pointing out the prayers to Satan. It didn’t much sound like a prayer to Satan on the first hearing, but they helpfully replayed each example three times to help your imagination fill in the blanks.

    In my opinion, that’s what’s going on here. I hear “Oh God”.

    Early on, the leader clearly sends up a prayer to the profit Martin Luther King. Maybe that’s ok because he is dead and almost certainly in heaven, but to my knowledge he hasn’t been sainted by any major religious group so it’s still a little off.

  • http://lowlytuber.blogspot.com tim maguire

    Oops, the prophet MLK

  • Gerry

    The phrase “the prophet MLK” gives it away. Don’t be so charitable as to disbelieve your own ears. They are praying to Obama. Deal with it.

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  • Skatman

    Archoress,

    With all of this “Cult of Personality” going on with the President it is easy to believe they were praying to Obama. Then again as a man of God and that this apparently took place in a church and the prayer was being led by a minister and based upon my hearing they were pretty clearly praying “Oh God.” This said they did pray to the prophet MLK this to a Catholic is objectionable since the Vatican is the only one who can confer sainthood. But I don’t really want to go there with MLK because as you know we get taken to task from non Catholics for praying to the Holy Mother and other Saints.

    Anyway I am starting to worry that some people are trying too hard to make “dear leader” into a boggy man and if some nutroots gets a hold of things like this and filter out the background noise we will end-up with egg on our face. Still I could be wrong but I wish Andrew would have cleaned-up the sound before posting it so we would know for sure.

  • Skatman

    Archoress,

    With all of this “Cult of Personality” going on with the President it is easy to believe they were praying to Obama. Then again as a man of God and that this apparently took place in a church and the prayer was being led by a minister and based upon my hearing they were pretty clearly praying “Oh God.” This said they did pray to the prophet MLK this to a Catholic is objectionable since the Vatican is the only one who can confer sainthood. But I don’t really want to go there with MLK because as you know we get taken to task from non Catholics for praying to the Holy Mother and other Saints.

    Anyway I am starting to worry that some people are trying too hard to make “dear leader” into a boggy man and if some nutroots gets a hold of things like this and filter out the background noise we will end-up with egg on our face. After I wrote this I listened to the cleaned up copy at Michelle’s site and now I am positive they are saying hear our prayer “Oh God.” No One is saying Obama. I will post this to Michelle on facebook can you e-mail her. Thanks

  • http://www.savkobabe.blogspot.com Gayle Miller

    Skatman – considering some of the nonsense being promulgated by some ministers (Rev. Al Sharpton comes to mind), I wouldn’t rely too heavily on the fact that a minister was present. On the other hand, if these people were praying to Obama, they’re doomed to disappointment. He’s only a man – and an imperfect one at that – and it is unfair and unChristian for people to put all their hopes and dreams on his shoulders (even if he did ask for that). We should be depending on the Lord and hard work and prayer for what we need, not on a temporal man.

    In the meantime, I depend on the Anchoress for her clear and kind view of the world. She is truly a gentle and kind soul on which to place a teensy bit of reliance when we need a little guidance.

  • Zophiel

    When I first played it this morning, I turned to reading something else, and heard “Obama”. It was clear enough that chills went up my spine, I stopped reading and flipped back to the window it was playing in, only then seeing the titles. I’m sure there was a variety of responses, but enough were “Obama” to make this at least a little creepy.

  • Gary Keith Chesterton

    It sounds like “God” to me most of the time, though there’s one or two where it could be “Obama”. Hmmm.

    Anyway, I forgot to take that photo of the St. John Vianney statue at the Basilica of the Nat’l Shrine for you, Anchoress, but I’ll do it today. I’m on my way over there anyway. (May Obama forgive me for forgetting. ;-)

    [Thank you! admin]

  • Dagwood

    My impression is the same as GKC’s. There might be one or two saying “Obama,” but I don’t think that’s what is being said by the majority. Also, it sounded to me as if Dr. King was being cited as an example of one who fought against all inequality. I didn’t catch anything to give me the impression that he was being petitioned as a prophet.

    I agree with Kensington. If we begin grasping at every little thing that smacks of Obama-worship and we overreact when such unclear things as this arise, then why should more independent-minded people pay attention to us when we raise topics of real concern?

    [I must say re the MLK line, too...I didn't think they were trying to call him a saint, either -admin]

  • dry valleys
  • John Bey

    I agree with your conclusions at the end of your blog. It is hard not to get carried away sometimes by our own faults. It takes a great deal of patience to figure things out. I don’t agree with all of the group meetings and chantings on either side. It is just the emotional aspect taking hold of the situation. Unfortunately there has been not much reason for quite a number of years in Washington, just a lot of partisan fighting. It’s gotta stop. Otherwise we’ll have no country left.

  • Myssi

    I heard both “O, God” and “Obama”. And I wasn’t looking at the video either time. I still haven’t actually watched it. Blasphemy has its own punishment and it’s not mine to mete out; however, I feel a distinct need to fast and pray for my country again. Perhaps I’ll give something up from now to Thanksgiving and then give proper focus to celebrating Advent. Hmmm…definitely a time for serious prayer.

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  • Justamom

    I also heard “Oh God.” I think universal health care is a very worthy thing to pray to God for. I guess it’s possible that some members of the audience might have been confused and appealed to the President to listen to their prayers and appeals in the hope that he would be moved to help find solutions for the uninsured, not because they see him as a deity, but because he is in a position to strongly influence the process.

  • http://lowlytuber.blogspot.com tim maguire

    Dagwood, the first prayer is offered up to “the prophet Jeremiah”, the second “with the prophet Martin Luther King Jr.” That one is clear, they call him a prophet.

  • Dagwood

    I decided to give it a closer listen, Tim. I believe that the words beginning the first prayer are “With the prophet Jeremiah we cry out…” – especially since what follows is taken from Jeremiah 8:22. The next prayer begins “With the prophet Martin Luther King, we cry out…” followed by a King quote.

    “Prophet” in each of these cases apparently refers not to the God-given ability to foresee future events, but to the more common spiritual gift of proclaiming truth and revealing sin and injustice. I don’t feel that describing Dr. King in this way is necessarily sacrilegious, or that the event smacks of Obama-worship.

    As an aside, maybe if people would take a good hard look at Dr. King’s life and compare it to that of our president, they’d begin to grasp what real courage and commitment in the life of a fragile, stumbling human being can accomplish – and why Obama falls so woefully short.

  • Bryan

    I’m sorry but this is extremely sad to see drivel like this published by ANYONE who claims to be moral. The subtitles on this video are pure deception. I’m an English professor and a pastor deeply concerned and embarrassed about the honesty of many Christians as well as media sources. The subtitles do not at all match what the people are saying. They are saying “Deliver us O GOD”, “Hear our cry, O GOD”, NOT once are they saying Obama. I can say this unequivocally as a professor of English with 15 years experience teaching English. The subtitles condition you to hear what just is not there AT ALL. There is no M pronounced and there IS a G. In addition it is very clear that TWO syllables are being pronounced NOT three. O GOD is two. O-BA-MA is three. People ARE sometimes saying things at different speeds, which superficially gives the appearance of more syllables than there actually are. It is extremely serious misrepresentation and deception by whoever added those subtitles. Anyone who is concerned about honesty will not promote this video or spread it. I am NOT a democrat or a republican. I voted for 8 republicans and 7 democrats this last election. But, false allegations have NO place in the lives of Christians, they should have no place in the media and they certainly have no place in civilized discussions. They fracture and alienate people falsely and the Bible calls all forms of dishonesty abominations. I personally have lost $170,000 due to lying business partners which has also severely damaged my marriage and it has been so extremely painful. I can’t let any shade of deceit go by without confronting it as the demonic, hideous, destructive evil that is damaging to human relationships and integrity that it is. I hope that the moderators will put this at the top of the comments list since dishonesty should have no place in a civilized society. It is inhumane and unjust and dehumanizing to all.

    [Did you actually read my post? -admin]

  • dry valleys

    O/T. Artificial island could devastate New York's only natural reef

    [Edited to repair link. The coding was sort of adorable but didn't work! :-) -admin]

  • Drew

    Aloha,

    I was the organizer for Gamaliel for this action – we were trying to get the attention of a large insurance comapny (UHC). I voted for Obama, and most us in Hawaii like him – but praying to him would be crazy, not to mention sacrilegious. Really, serriuosly we would never pray to Obama.

    Here’s the liturgy we used for the record:

    With the prophet Jeremiah, we cry out, Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of my poor people not been restored?
    Hear our cry, oh God!

    With the prophet Martin Luther King Jr., we cry out, Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.
    Hear our cry, oh God!

    From health care systems and industries that place profit over people,
    Deliver us, oh God!

  • Jack Fids

    Harry Nilsson said it best in his cartoon THE POINT and under the guise of The Rockman..
    “The deal is….you see what you want to see and you hear what you want to hear. Have you ever seen New Dehli? or heard the symphony? It’s because you either didn’t want to or you did.”
    The right has spiraled down into grasping at straws to influence their mindless minority. DID you know that Obama has ordered ALL of the Militaries helicopters painted BLACK or that as part of the GM bailout he has ordered that NO CARS be painted WHITE…? NO? Just wait, some self serving elected rep will announce it before this year is over!


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