How Obama Did It: The Ground Game

Now that Barack Obama is president-elect we have to figure out how issues pertaining to religion contributed to his victory. … Continued

Now that Barack Obama is president-elect we have to figure out how issues pertaining to religion contributed to his victory. I will get to the exit-poll data tomorrow, but tonight I want to float the following theory: On the Faith and Values front Obama won this election, in part, because he avoided all the errors made by the Kerry campaign in 2004.

Not “an Evangelical’s worst nightmare”: Unlike Kerry, who scared the bejesus out of many conservative Christians, Obama gave them no salient reason to loathe him. He was a proud servant of Christ. He had no problem giving a shout out to Jesus. He could thump Bible with the best of them. And–this is very important–he did not give off the dreaded “Petrus-sipping secularist” vibe that always seemed emblazoned across Kerry’s forehead (Readers, I am taking bets: how many times do you think the president-elect mentioned the phrase “Separation of Church and State” in nearly two years of campaigning?).

Sure, Obama was pro-Choice. But he was pro-Choice in that pained, every-abortion-is-a-tragedy sort of way that the Democrats have found so rhetorically effective of late. This doesn’t mean, of course, that Evangelicals would vote for him (the majority did not, though as we shall probably see tomorrow he made small but significant gains). But it does mean that Obama avoided having one quarter of the American electorate passionately campaigning against him. This was a luxury that John Kerry did not have.

No Catholic meltdown: Obama’s selection of pro-Choice running mate Joseph Biden did not, as I had predicted, trigger a spate of “communion-denial stories.” The Democratic ticket was able to avoid countless, TV-reporter-standing-in-front-of St.-Mary’s-Church-asking-parishioners-about-the-Bishop’s-excoriation-of-Kerry stories which were a quotidian occurrence in 2004. How did they avoid that catastrophe ?

The ground game, silent but deadly: They avoided that catastrophe by methodically and expertly developing dense networks of surrogates and influential supporters in Catholic communities (and other communities). So, whenever a potential crisis emerged, Obama had scads of well-connected Catholic movers and shakers mobilized and ready to defend him. For example, every time, a conservative Catholic leader would criticize the Democratic ticket, a 527 group called Catholics United would swing into action with emails and media broadsides geared towards pushing back.

Another example: For months I have been hearing about religiously themed “house parties” in which a religious leader in the community who supports Obama gathers locals together at someone’s house to talk God and Obama. I had the darnedest time finding out about these parties in some official capacity (try Googling it and see what you get). But I spoke to dozens of people who attended them and apparently the guests had themselves some ‘dip, a whole lot of fun, and oodles of pro-Obama banter. They could have been playing Twister for all I know, but it worked.

All sorts of different faith communities were targeted for these events. Therefore, I am starting to think that the single biggest F and V story of 2008 occurred underneath the Culture War radar screen. It had to do with the ability of the Obama team to line up religious leaders on the grassroots level as a means of, 1) gaining votes, and, 2) neutralizing potential faith-based threats to his candidacy.

So the narrative that emerges is of a candidate who spoke about religion enthusiastically, but not excessively in public. But on the less manifest level, there was a lot of community organizing afoot (thus answering the question asked at the Republican National Convention as to what that particular vocation entails). This out-of-sight, local, religiously based outreach is the most devastating innovation of Faith and Values technology since candidates started saying “May God Bless America.”

A little luck: Reverend Wright and the cunning of history: John Kerry was singularly unlucky in 2004 (think of Osama Bin Laden videotaping a commercial for George Bush). Not so Obama. His association with Reverend Wright could have been a world-historical game changer and candidacy wrecker. But it wasn’t. True, luck is the residue of design. But man was Obama lucky!

A few months back I discussed the theory that had the Clinton campaign played the Wright Card before the Iowa primary it would have changed everything. But for some reason they didn’t. During the long summer months McCain could have invoked Wright. But he never did that. That was probably because his own courtship of Pastors Hagee and Parsley had cancelled out Obama’s pastor disaster. And in the aftermath of the market meltdowns, as he was losing control of everything but the Conservative Evangelical base, McCain could have looked to Trinity United Church of Christ for inspiration. But he didn’t do that either.

Only in the last few days did expenditure groups start running Wright attack ads in swing states. The website gawker.com makes the good (and extremely funny) point that the only ostensible purpose and effect of these eleventh-hour advertisements was to “annoy the hell out of Democrats while they [were] trying to watch their liberal shows.”

So congratulations to President-elect Obama who learned from Kerry’s mistakes. And since we have been speaking about religion, let me remind him that we Americans are going to need something akin to a Messiah to get out of the mess we are in. Tomorrow, we look at the numbers (and stay tuned for some special features).

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
November 4, 2008; 9:51 PM ET


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  • Obama Well Wisher

    Congratulations President-in-waiting Obama and Vice President-in-waiting Biden!

  • Obama Well Wisher

    The victory for the Obama-Biden team (even before Obama selected his running mate had been sure, only the margin of victory had not been – landslide, moderate or minimum.

  • Roger

    In time we will see what truly happens from this election. IF, and IF it is what he says and we don’t turn into a SOCIALIST America. I will give my public apology. However, until that is proved, this country will soon see what it’s like to be lead by a socialist.

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations MrPresident. Hope now you dont fear to visit a mosque which you deliberately avoided fearing vote loss eventhough you attended churches and synagogues

  • Obama Well Wisher

    There is no need to panic about America turning a little more socialist. West European style socialist democracy is a wonderful thing. * The poorest have their basic needs met. Yet they are inspired to go beyond meeting their basic needs.* Meeting of basic needs keeps crime rates low.* The gap between the middle class and rich is not a great chasm.* The poor do not have to work at three jobs to make ends meet.* Universal health care contributes to better quality work and level of happiness among the poor and middle class.* The rich don’t suffer because they have to pay a little extra tax. Low taxes for the rich and low pay for the working class and poor is a kind of modern slavery which goes by the name corporate greed.

  • From Europe

    To “Obama Well Wisher”…I just want to say that I live in Central Europe where the government is a parliamentary republic that is socialist. I do not panic, but I see the reality here. There are many problems, much poverty, high rate of depression and suicide. Tax rates are extreme and most people try to survive through gray and black market to avoid the taxes. The socialized medicine system is collapsing and going bankrupt (public transport is also in trouble.) Medical care is quite uneven, the people not near big cities have dismal opportunities for care. I have seen people with serious health issues told they must wait many months for tests such as an MRI (I said I could pay cash, full-price, since I’m not on the national health care system, and I got my MRI the next morning. I felt guilty and bad for the other people, but I was in extreme pain and needed the tests.) People tend to go to the doctor for any little thing such as a cold, but then the system is tied up with them and those who really need it must wait a long time to see the doctor. Many people here work multiple jobs to support their families, many people are leaving the country looking for work in other places. I personally know doctors who cannot live on their salary and have started other businesses on the side, or who have stopped practicing and gone into pharmaceuticals or something else. There is a shortage here of doctors, nurses, and teachers because although it takes a lot of education, the pay is very low. All of this said, this country is not considered to be all that poor compared to many, but this socialism is not working very well. I pray it does not go this way in the United States.

  • From Europe

    To “Obama Well Wisher”…I just want to say that I live in Central Europe where the government is a parliamentary republic that is socialist. I do not panic, but I see the reality here. There are many problems, much poverty, high rate of depression and suicide. Tax rates are extreme and most people try to survive through gray and black market to avoid the taxes. The socialized medicine system is collapsing and going bankrupt (public transport is also in trouble.) Medical care is quite uneven, the people not near big cities have dismal opportunities for care. I have seen people with serious health issues told they must wait many months for tests such as an MRI (I said I could pay cash, full-price, since I’m not on the national health care system, and I got my MRI the next morning. I felt guilty and bad for the other people, but I was in extreme pain and needed the tests.) People tend to go to the doctor for any little thing such as a cold, but then the system is tied up with them and those who really need it must wait a long time to see the doctor. Many people here work multiple jobs to support their families, many people are leaving the country looking for work in other places. I personally know doctors who cannot live on their salary and have started other businesses on the side, or who have stopped practicing and gone into pharmaceuticals or something else. There is a shortage here of doctors, nurses, and teachers because although it takes a lot of education, the pay is very low. All of this said, this country is not considered to be all that poor compared to many, but this socialism is not working very well. I pray it does not go this way in the United States.

  • Mike S

    Just a reminder – we don’t elect messiahs. We elect Presidents, all of whom are fallible.Congratulations to President-elect Obama. We should all pray that God will aid and guide him.

  • Obama Well Wisher

    From Europe:Are you writing from Poland?

  • Obama Well Wisher

    From Europe:Just asking since Germany is known as the typical Central European country, before Poland became part of EU. The situation is Germany is not what you describe.

  • justice for all

    the right of the people by the people and for the people.

  • Obama Well Wisher

    From Europe:Besides Germany has the grand coalition SPD/CDU-CSU.

  • Anonymous

    Roger wrote regarding Obama:’this country will soon see what it’s like to be lead by a socialist.’Are you aware Roger that no leading Republican is advocating the abolishment of our progressive income tax code?And if they’re not, then they advocate the redistribution of wealth.And if they advocate the redistribution of wealth, they are (by McCain’s definition) socialist.Who’s a socialist by McCain’s definition? Every one of us.

  • B-man

    God Bless America, Barack Obama has won!!!

  • Geoff M

    Thanks for using profanity offensive to Christians in para 2! I stopped reading there. Just imagine if someone wrote a column about the Jewish vote that said something like, “they were jewed out of their vote.” No newspaper would even print something so offensive.

  • Anonymous

    Only Satan would have been worse than the Bush regime. Therefore it could be argued that the new administration in the USA could never be worse than the one which divorced the hearts and minds of Americans from their brothers in the international community, which appalled the rest of the world with shock and awe tactics that included concentration camps, torture, mass murder and utter disrespect for international law. Yet in choosing Obama, the people of America have opted to come back into the international fold. Welcome back, friends

  • Danny

    Jacques, if Obama was bold to talk about Christ, why then does he take with him a hindu monkey idol everywhere he goes? Be it luck or anything.. Dosn’t the first commandment itself say.. no to idols and says its a terrible sin? Does that mean Obama does not know even the first commandment or is it that he doesn’t care about practising what he preaches?

  • Indonesia

    GO…OBAMA….GO OBAMA….GOD BLESS YOU!

  • Sharon Kass

    You say Obama is “a proud servant of Christ”?You can’t judge a book by its cover.The un-Christian nature of Obama’s views has been well analyzed by those who actually know what Christianity is all about.People have been disguising their disregard of religion as religion itself all through history. The Book of Amos deals with this.You really don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • Arminius

    Yes We Can!The shroud of pride and greed that has darkened the skies of our country for eight long years is lifting, and a new dawn comes. With tears of joy in my eyes, this old man humbly thanks God for this historical opportunity for ALL of us to set things right. It won’t be easy – the shambles left after eight years of incompetence and ego-strutting will not go away overnight. It will take long, hard years. And our new president knows this, and said this. He asks us all to pitch in and help, he didn’t tell us to go shopping, he tells us to sacrifice. Finally we have a real leader again.God bless America!

  • Jim

    Here’s help for people with troubled mortgages. A list of approved FHA lenders is available at

  • Patrick

    it is easy, president-elect Obama did not evoke the GOD vote nor did he fall in the trap of placing himself in any religious group. President-elect Obama left his religion in church where it belongs, as all people should leave their religion, and practice their religion for the benefit of others and not self or your political party. Hopefully this calling of christian religion for leadership will come to an end.A person’s religion is a personal thing and should remain as such.A Black Nichiren Buddhist with hope for the future.Patrick

  • that’s why we won’t have a Jewish president

    So, if Obama was Jewish and he couldn’t give a shout out to Jesus, he would have lost.I have always thought that there would be a Black presient and a female president before there was a Jewish president. I am right so far.

  • John Civillo

    America can be proud of electing Obama. I am afraid if this will cause to widen the gap among religions rather than bridging it. I can understand why Obama had to abstain from Muslims and Mosques. Having got elected, I hope he will pay efforts to close the gaps among different religionists. He may be the only leader who is capable doing this. I also hope Obama is capable of seeing the international issues through the eyes of the world. I do pray God for his safe survival. For, I am afraid of White Racists assassinating Obama using a hired “Mulsim” or hired ” arab”. Getting Obama assassinated through a hired “Muslim” or “Arab” may help not to deepen the racial divisions in America and to continue whites’ hegemony over blacks without any collateral damage. But, this will have ctastrophic effect. Blacks, who are currently pro-Muslims and Pro-arabs, will also turn against Muslims and Arabs. So, religious rift will widen… The climax will be anti-thesis of Obama election… May God forbid it…

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Predictions for the next four years in no special order:- US taxpayer investments in banks, brokerages and the auto industry will help pay off the national debt.- President Obama and his family will become “Crossanized” Christians.- Religions will continue to converge and be downsized as historical/archeological analyses, common sense and reality spread amongst the “pew sitters and bowers”.- The killing rate of womb-babies in the USA will remain at one million/yr but the rate will become more difficult to ascertain as RU-486 becomes more available without prescription.- The rate of STDs/yr in the USA will remain constant at 19 million per year.- Oil prices will moderate as the world turns more towards nuclear, wind/wave power and natural gas to generate energy. – The globe will continue to get a bit hotter not because of green house gases but because of the small by continuing increase in the size of the Sun which will consume the Earth in about four billion years. – Governments will become more dominated by the people as e-mails to Senators and Representatives become the driving force for Congressional voting.

  • kaj_pagan

    I do believe that God has spoken loud and clear. Start listening.

  • Roy

    Sharon Kass:The un-Christian nature of Obama’s views has been well analyzed by those who actually know what Christianity is all about.And would you be among those, Sharon, claiming to have exclusive knowledge?Your agenda to turn America into your private neochristian theocracy is derailed at least for four years if not more. Move to Colorado Springs and worship Dobson or, better still, to Alaska and chill for a while with the intolerant white evangelical Palin.

  • michaelmaedoc

    Its clear Obama’s efforts nullified the values voters and his Christian talk helped him. Its also clear that his views are basically secularist and marxist. When the democrats lost the last two elections they suddenly took on Christian voters not because they care about their values but because they needed to use religion to win. They’ve been using Catholics for years now, its just more of the same. No Change here!

  • Lena

    To Sharon Kass:Would you please define “un-Christian views.” Also, politically, there is no such thing, since religion has no connection to politics in America.

  • spiderman2

    The people in Chicago were like people on a bus going to a picnic. What are they happy about? Do they know where the bus is going? VERY CLUELESS.This day is the start of a countdown towards their doom. This is the moment where you can truly say that IGNORANCE IS BLISS until the wreckage (a very big one) occurs.Yes it is a historic day. This is the day when I think Doomsday could have been averted if the people made the right choice.CHANGE, it will be but not the change these people envisions. God will dictate what CHANGE The FORBIDDEN FRUIT just proved too much for liberal Americans to resist. Don’t despair CONSERVATIVE AMERICA. The world will be ours 10 years from now. You can bet on that. We can give this next 8 years to them coz I think that would be their last. Historic INDEED.As much as I would like to congratulate the Democrats for winning, it’s hard to do for I know in advance that they will be driving the bus towards their DOOM.Even as I speak, Obama plans to have full trade with Cuba. Exactly what the democrats have done with China. Make your enemies rich so it has a chance of fighting back fair and square when a face-off occurs.BRAVO !! Let the stupidity reign.

  • Adebukola

    As a Christian, it was heartwarming to hear someone talk about other issues, which are indeed important to Christians. While abortion is abhorent, Christians also believe war is too. And poverty, injustice, hate, and war. As Christians we believe that everyone is different. A big part of love is caring enough to find out what really matters to others. Obama reached out and touched our souls.

  • DocNGo

    Thank you for a very well written and balanced article. This election could have gone the other way. This is truly historic. Let us pray that God will continue to bless him and use him to redeem some of our lost values, and indeed regain our standing on the world stage. God Be Praised.

  • Thomas N

    Reading from abroad I’m puzzled by this debate. To me the most troubling about Obama is not that he pretends to be a Christian but that he seems to be an actual Christian, where for example the Clintons and even McCain obviously are “political Christians” covering their more or less obvious atheism. It’s troubling to imagine that USA once more will have a born again president who will seek council with his unconscious self (God) when he is about to make difficult decisions. As president of the most powerful state he of course will have to take make difficult choices for which he alone is responsible for. I fear that he, like Bush, will invoke religious reasons for actions affecting millions of people, perhaps even me. I can only hope (pray?) that he is more secular than he seems.

  • War Eagle

    Opposition to Obama was race-based here in Alabama — though most would not have confessed that. Religion became the substitute marker for Obama’s otherness. While logic was in short supply among McCain supporters (or, more accurately, anti-Obama forces) even they could not reconcile the notion that Obama was pro-Wright and a secret Muslim.The attention on Rev. Wright helped undermine the secret-Islamist rumor, so it was actually beneficial to Obama.

  • Miles2go

    I will hold my congratulations for when this national mess is cleaned up with no negative impact to how much money I take home to feed my family. Results is what matters. Don’t forget to communicate your wishes to all your elected officials.

  • gratcon

    I invite everyone to see Bill Haher’s movie “Religulous”. The film shows how divisive religion is in the world, what atrocities have been committed in the name of God, and how people all over the world are being fleeced by men heading these churches. It’s a real eye-opener with a touch of humor.

  • Anonymous

    Spidermean,Have a little faith in the Lord, my friend. Your permanent panic about the world is, may I say, misdirected, and unhelpful. To anyone.Dwell in Him who is changeless. Remember Him. Love Him. And love others.If you were to put your enormous energy and intellect toward imbibing His Peace and His Love, you wouldn’t be so tormented by the ever-shifting political landscape.Give it a try. You’ll be happier. And so will we who read your posts.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t yet celebrate folks. A lot of trouble is still coming. Knowing the prophecy, Im truly glad that the Republicans will not be the one to face the troubles ahead. Let the Democrats rule for 8 years. That is my wish.A new dawn is coming where stupidity will be wiped out off the face of the earth.God reserves that time for Conservative Christian Republicans to rule by then, and not now.So sit back and relax and see how Jezebel builds her tower and witness how it will collapse.

  • spiderman2

    Don’t yet celebrate folks. A lot of trouble is still coming. Knowing the prophecy, Im truly glad that the Republicans will not be the one to face the troubles ahead. Let the Democrats rule for 8 years. That is my wish.A new dawn is coming where stupidity will be wiped out off the face of the earth.God reserves that time for Conservative Christian Republicans to rule by then, and not now.So sit back and relax and see how Jezebel builds her tower and witness how it will collapse

  • sparrow4

    arminius- I see you were here already:-)electing Obama was just a first step. To all the naysayers and marxophobics and religofascists- its a new day. Get used to it. the voters spoke loud and clear. we’re sick of fear. We’re tired of G-d based fascism. No to racism. Yes to making the country and the world a better place. You can either join us and work with us to the betterment of all, or you can stand aside and watch the juggernaut. I have never been prouder of my country than I was last night. I have never been more hopeful that we set ourselves on a new course. No I don’t think we’ll get there today, or tomorrow or even in 8 years. But we took a giant step in the right direction and its now up to everyone to go forward on the same path. If you can’t – I feel sorry for you. But it’s going to be your problem, not ours. We’ve got better and bigger things to do.

  • spiderman2

    “We’ve got better and bigger things to do.”Like Iran. It won’t evaporate out of the picture, you know.Ahh, what a sigh of relief that the Republicans won’t be blame for this coming mess.

  • Angel

    I think it is a fallacy for people to think that most Christians (evangelical or not) are conservatives and for the republican party just because they like to throw God’s name around a lot. They’re not. They are as diverse as the country itself. I wager to think that most people who really love to glorify the Lord and not men go by the actions of men in weighing whether or not people are in their hearts for righteousness. Greed, lies, cheating, war mongering and robbing from the poor to continue to build the rich, leaving people to fend for themselves even when they have nothing to fend with…not Jesus qualities. No…

  • JoeMac

    If you believe in the Bible and what it says, then you have to accept the fact that God is in charge and He determines who rules and for how long, etc., e.g., see Daniel 2:21, among myriad such references. God alone is sovereign and in control. From this perspective, He determines the reign of even those who are violently opposed to Him (think Hitler, Stalin, etc. etc.). The Bible also says that there will be those who draw near to Him with their lips rather than with their hearts, e.g., Isaiah 29:13, among many. So where am I going with this? Obama’s rise is God-ordained, and will serve God’s purposes, but that doesn’t mean that the prez-elect is ordained of God. Watch and listen. JM

  • sparrow4

    JM- I feel sorry for the likes of you. You people will rant and rave and quote the bible- all out of fear and loathing, not love or hope. Enjoy the next 8 years while you huddle in little masses yearning to breathe free and always terrified to do so.

  • rosem

    Catholics United is funded by George Soros.

  • Coherence

    Welcome to the theocracy. Now I think I understand: If you are on the left, you are excluded from the requirement of being a secularist. Democrats are free to indulge all their wacky religious fantasies, but if conservatives do it, they are stupid. What a country!From my perspective as a strict secularist, Obama is absolutely appalling. True, fundamentalism is a threat to scientists who perenially have their hands out for patronage, but poses no real challenge to the basic ideas about democracy embodied in our constitution–your view of religion and the Bible winds up being irrelevant in 99.9 percent of pubilc policy discussions, which are on pretty mundance topics. Liberation theology pokes its nose into much, much more business that religion should not be a part of. For example, I am already sick to death about the lefty moral and ethical sanctions against “Wall Street” greed. If you ascribe to this, you are taking a religious stance; stop deluding yourself and come clean. Greed or combatting it IS NOT a public policy issue. An optimal and equitable allocation of society’s resources and the returns from employing those resources is what matters. One thing you can always count on is that rationality will never prevail in America. It has been obvious for decades that liberals are in fact more conservative with respect to religion, only they are less coherent in how they go about it, and think that deleting god from the discussion somehow legitimizes what are still unambiguously Judeo-Christian ethics. That is the foundation of the modern notion of “social justice”. Conservative Christians also care about social causes, but don’t think it is a matter for the government. By not codifying it, leaves the possibility of being hypocritical or lazy, and these are the “crimes” liberals fixate on. The founding fathers, however, allowed for the option of not caring at all. Maybe I care, maybe I don’t, but I demand that option.

  • Coherence

    Thomas N:It is even more troubling that not a single journalist picked up on something so obvious.

  • Anonymous

    PATRICK G RODGERS

  • Anonymous

    Does a lie repeated often enough become the truth for some people? Millions of death in Iraq is due to U S invasion. Sunnis and Shias unitedly faught Americans. If you dont believe me when cluter bombs weighing 800kg is dropped put CCNL beneath and see it for yourself

  • sparrow4

    “Conservative Christians also care about social causes, but don’t think it is a matter for the government. By not codifying it, leaves the possibility of being hypocritical or lazy, and these are the “crimes” liberals fixate on.”That would be true if, in fact Conservative Christians didn’t work so hard to force their views into law- like Prop 8 for example. Just look at the last 8 years- that puts the lie to your belief that Conservative Christians don’t want to codify social causes. that’s exactly what they have been trying to do for years. As for you being a secularist- and you think they posed no threat to our constitutional freedoms? I have to ask you how you define “secularist.”

  • JoeMac

    sparrow, your response reads more like a rant and rave. ;-) My post was calm and matter-of-fact, for those who subscribe to the Word. I didn’t make it up, I only referenced it. Go look for yourself. I highly encourage it! :-) I believe that the markers are there for all to see and hear, if we choose to do so. Why pity those whose faith is in God while praising blind faith in a mere man? Either way, it is faith in something – or someone. We all choose. No, my little bird friend, it is not out of fear and loathing, but rather, out of trust that God indeed means what He says. It’s there in black and white. Again, read it for yourself. It certainly can’t hurt…

  • sparrow4

    Thomas N and coherence- he was upfront about his faith, and as also upfront in saying his faith is personal. Kennedy ran into the same problem and no one could ever accuse JFK or running the country according to the Pope’s wishes. That’s because there are religious people who still believe in religious freedom for everyone, not just for those of their faith.His faith makes him the man is is, and part of that is believing in our constitution and his ethics demand he govern in the best interests of all of us.

  • Coherence

    It is absolutely false to state the progressive tax code is evidence of socialism. The value one receives from the public goods provided by a government increases at an increasing rate according to wealth and income. The wealthiest individuals benefit monetarily more per dollar from a stable society, and furthermore marginal utility of additional wealth is lower. The monetary benefits are bigger and the costs (foregone utility) of preserving those benefits are lower per dollar of tax paid. That is why the progressive tax system is rational and why a flat tax is ludicrous.

  • Osie Broussard

    I am probably the most heartbroken by Catholics who could some how convince themselves to vote pro choice. God bless the wonderful Bishops who came out and spoke so clear about this most important issue. I sincerely pray for the rest of priests and Bishops who failed 8 years ago to speak out so loudly for the countless unborn who were murdered in their mother’s womb. It’s difficult for me to even type out this sentence. Perhaps if we as Catholics along with our leader had not sat quietly by, not wanting to step on anyones toes, things would have been different this election. I have spent 40 years working for social justice issues in my communities, but none of that compares with abortion. I truly sorry for the liberal priests and religious who are so misinformed. Pray your rosary, pray your daily prayers, say the Mass in the deep reverance it deserves and you will come to the truth. Jesus said”you’ll always have the poor with you”. I feel he was saying we should always care for each other in need and not just ourselves. He also said” those who don’t work, don’t eat”. This sounds harsh but i feel He was saying we can’t be lazy -sloth- this is a cardinal sin. Our government has created a society of slothfull people by encouraging generations of welfare families. I’ve worked in school food services and i heard the “lies” to get fee lunch. I prayed over my computer everyday and finally quit i was so struck with grief—- i had taught my 5 children that Satan is the father of all lies and always tell the truth no matter your punishment. Nowhere in my readings of sacred scripture or lives of Saints, etc did i ever read that it was ok to “kill” and oh my God, in what is supposed to be the safest place— a mother’s womb.

  • shi

    Americans came a long way with this election. But after reading this article, I feel this country still has a long way to go.You are not just suppose to break Race barears. You need to break religion barriers too.Have faith in your god. Also have faith in people who have different faiths…..

  • sparrow4

    “Why pity those whose faith is in God while praising blind faith in a mere man? “I pity no one who has faith in G-d and I don’t praise blind faith in anyone. Obama is a mere man- but he is some leader. He has faith- certainly more than I have. what he doesn’t have is rigid blinders-on faith. I do pity spidey- not for his faith. But because his idea of faith is to pray for the death of millions and to be terrorized by his vision of an awful G-d. His is not faith- it’s madness.

  • Phyllis Spruill, Atlanta, GA

    I am surprised that what you see is President Elect Obama’s “luck” and near perfect campaign strategy when what I and other believers see is God’s divine plan at work. The Heart change, Head change and Political change is God giving His people another chance, just as He provided it through many prophets in the Old Testament. He is gathering all the people together..Jew, Gentile, Republican, Democrat, Liberterian, Each Ethnicity and asking us to seek a higher purpose. When we do, we can crawl out of the hole we are in, experience love and move closer to God. Prosperity, at all levels, awaits!

  • Coherence

    Sparrow4,It is unlikely that I will be able to remedy you from the impairment that prevents you separating ethics from religious values, but here it goes. Not cheating on your taxes==ethics. Believing we should feed homeless people==religious values. A stable government must be ethical, because ethics contain the key to the equitable application of the rule of law. Stop. Most things on the “social justice” agenda are religious.Neither I nor Thomas N claimed that Obama was not upfront about his faith; putting words into people’s mouths makes you seem like a nitwit, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Obama pretty much advertised his faith, and his socialist tendencies–which I admit he did not highlight–are a direct extension of and reenforced by his religious beliefs. You are utterly incorrect when you say that religion was not an issue; it was out there, but Obama did not invoke it in an explicit way. Smart move. The media either chose to leave it alone or were too stupid–I reckon the latter–to pick up on it. Being blind to this is inexcusably dumb.Also take note: The Kennedy comparisons have got to stop. Kennedy, or any Catholic running for high office (like Biden) has had to more or less renounce their Catholicism and truly embrace secularism because the Protestant majority hates Catholics. As a Protestant, Obama faces none of that pressure from the right, and as a Democrat, faced no such pressure from the left either (Berlinerbrau’s thesis–pay attention). How logical is that?What a sad country.

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    And President Obama did not need the Jewish or Pagan vote afterall.

  • MikeB

    “Evangelicals didn’t loathe him”? Please, give me a break. I *AM* an Evangelical, a white one, too. I donated several hundred dollars, knocked on at least 1,000 doors, manned a telephone bank, handed out literature, and posted on hundreds of forums like this one, to elect Barak Obama. My support and the support of hundreds of thousands of Evangelicals was a key part of Obama’s victory. I think you have us confused with “Fundimentalists”, the ultra right wing followers of Dobson, who really aren’t even Christian’s. In the future, please be a bit more careful with your language. “Evangelical” = Christian = political moderate; “Fundamentalist” = pseudo-christian = far right, hate filled nut jobs. Please, please, please, quit calling Dobson’s Neanderthal’s “Evangelicals”.

  • Kert

    Congratulations to Obama and his supporters. This will definitely go down as an historic election.I get kind of sick of this analysis of elections. I think candidates win because they get more people to vote for them. More people wanted Obama, plain and simple.Let’s pray that these new or old politicians are actually ready to do the right thing. We have got a lot of problems to solve, while sticking to American values. Our politicians need our prayers and need to be held to the promises that they will make things better.

  • Enemy Of The State

    RE: “Petrus-sipping secularist”

  • TRUTH

    gratcon wrote: Maher and those who think the same way grossly understand God and religion with regard to man. The keyword here is ‘man’. Fleeced by ‘men’…assumed atrocities committed in the name of God by ‘men’. Where does scripture back this up? This is the first fundamental point of religous confusion, both believer and non believer, today. The bible is referred to as a book that is filled with incest, killing, bigamy, on and on. Yes, it is filled with those things. Why? Because, along with the guidelines God inspired to be written within scripture, scripture is also a chronology mans life apart from the true knowledge of God, which mankind rejected in Eden by taking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thus taking into our own hands to decide what is good and evil. Hasnt been the best decision made by us …even to this day. God, seemingly to many, goes along with all the wretchedness accounted for in scripture. But He does so only for his own purpose. Remember, we rejected him, overall, from the get go. But He still has a purpose, whether we understand it or not. And there are some that understand it. Hopefully, our new pres-elect will see the wisdom in following the laws God set forward for the good of mankind. Laws that, unfortunately, a left-leaning government would not embrace and thus further the misery that is nothing but by the making of mankind.

  • sparrow4

    Conservative Christians did try to push religion into a few specific issues.sp(A few specific issues? Well, ok- ou can believe that if you want.)”And furthermore, it does not excuse liberals when they attempt to do so.” sp(You mean like in the Constitution and Bill of rights?) “It is unlikely that I will be able to remedy you from the impairment that prevents you separating ethics from religious values, but here it goes. Not cheating on your taxes==ethics. Believing we should feed homeless people==religious values. ” sp(Actually, there are millions of atheists and agnostices who believe in humanity and compassion and have worked to get them fed. that’s not a religious value. It’s a humane value.)Neither I nor Thomas N claimed that Obama was not upfront about his faith; putting words into people’s mouths makes you seem like a nitwit, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Obama pretty much advertised his faith, and his socialist tendencies–which I admit he did not highlight–are a direct extension of and reenforced by his religious beliefs. You are utterly incorrect when you say that religion was not an issue; sp(Who is putting words in whose mouth now? I give you the benefit of the doubt as well?)It was out there, but Obama did not invoke it in an explicit way. Smart move. The media either chose to leave it alone or were too stupid–I reckon the latter–to pick up on it. Being blind to this is inexcusably dumb. (Unless you’re focussed on the kind of president he’ll make rather than which G-d he worships. And if he worshipped no G-d, it wouldn’t make him less capable. I’m no atheist, but I am intelligent enough to see what human qualities make a good leader. If you think a beleif in G-d will make you that, you have a lot of reading to catch up on. Start with Bush).”Also take note: The Kennedy comparisons have got to stop. Kennedy, or any Catholic running for high office (like Biden) has had to more or less renounce their Catholicism and truly embrace secularism because the Protestant majority hates Catholics. As a Protestant, Obama faces none of that pressure from the right, and as a Democrat, faced no such pressure from the left either How logical is that?”sp(seems to me it puts Obama in an unique position to unify the country- something you son’t seem to want. As far as Christian internecine battles- that’s your problem. I am not christian.)”What a sad country.” sp (Well for you. For millions of us it is hopeful and full of life. Too bad you can’t join us. Cut off your nose to spite your face? Now who’s looking like a nitwit?)

  • Fran

    How anyone can justify voting for ripping and tearing an innocent baby out of their Mother’s womb is beyond my comprehension. But then man can justify any type behavior because the more evil you tolerate the more God removes your ability to see the light. The death penalty – at least 12 years before you’re put to death; starvation – where there is life, there is always hope; war – it always ends eventually; abortion – a matter of weeks before you are tried and murdered. Over fifty million babies murdered since Roe and now more millions will be slaughtered. But you can be Pontius Pilate and wash your hands; after all you support LIFE, even if you do vote for the annilator.

  • sparrow4

    fran- put a sock in it and get a life. A mass of dividing cells is not a baby and calling Obama the annialator is laughable considering you haven’t said a word about the soldiers who have died in Iraq thanks to the moronic george Bush. what’s your plan- birth ‘em, then kill ‘em?

  • G. Ziemann

    Just two days ago, a similar space was devoted to the Catholics and their premise that this was a one-issue election, the issue was right to life and the candidate was McCain.Today, we’re suddenly going to revert to logical reasoning?

  • Concerned The Christian Now Liberated

    Our War on Terror and Aggression will continue under President Obama because the Worst Book Ever Written, aka the koran, continues to drive the crazies of Islam.

  • Coherence

    sparrow4: As I said, taking Christian values and deleting god, which for reasons I cannot fathom, you refuse to spell out, does not equate to creating a new system that magically satisfies the separation of church and state. It, secular humanism, is still religion. Keep your religion to yourself, OK.The rest of your post/tantrum is so devoid of logic that I concede. I could never compete with such enthusiastic stupidity.

  • G.D.Wymer

    Wright’s association with Obama could have been a “world-historical game changer?” Please! This simple-minded statement demonstrates the increasingly facile minds and power of those like yourself who still embrace such balderdash. The future we must embrace is one without the inferred or actual effect of religion on our way of living in this world. We actually have a chance to move ahead with intelligence and faith in our selves and the world of humanity. The only way that Obama will bring up religion now is when the idiot religionists in this country and the pandering press brings up the subject.

  • spiderman2

    coherence and sparrow,The two of you are intelligent. Inteligent but idiots.”Intelligent idiots” are the kind of people who invents a gun but ended up shooting themselves or discovering the fire and ended up burning themselves.Be careful of yourselves.

  • sparrow4

    well, er…thanks…I think, spidey :-)

  • Craig

    Oh Spidey, I know I can always count on you to peg the crazy meter. :)spiderman2:So are you going to herd up all the liberals and shoot us or….?”Even as I speak, Obama plans to have full trade with Cuba. Exactly what the democrats have done with China. Make your enemies rich so it has a chance of fighting back fair and square when a face-off occurs.”I wasn’t aware that China or Cuba were our “enemies” in the usual sense. Or is it just because you see *everyone* else in the world as (y)our enemy?

  • Karen

    Our purpose here is not about us, it is about God. We were made in his image and everything we do in this life is for Gods glory. If any self proclaimed Christian thinks that God would go along with any form of abortion, then that person is in total denial of Gods word and his purpose for us in this life and the life there after.

  • Marchino

    Political expediency may have required that Barack Obama claim Christianity as his religion. It has always been the politically correct thing to do to claim that one is a Christian… Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter both did it, and the rest of the liberal Democrats have played this very important Christian card, including Barack Obama.One needs to see how Mr. Obama’s beliefs and faith has affected his practical politics: Barack Obama claims to be a Christian, but consistently voted against the lifesaving Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act (BAIPA) which requires a surviving late term aborted child to receive the same rights as a newborn infant. He supports late-term, tax-supported and funded abortion on demand at any term (early or late, partial birth, etc.). He states he believes in Jesus Christ, but State transcripts record that Mr. Obama stated that babies who survive abortions should be refused rights because, “… this would be an anti-abortion statute.” Mr. Obama states he believes in the Bible, but favors homosexual civil unions and same sex marriage and calls for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.Mr. Obama’s actions do not line-up with his words. When one’s past actions conflict with one’s words, then actions speak louder.

  • Karen

    Our purpose here is not about us, it is about God. We were made in his image and everything we do in this life is for Gods glory. If any self proclaimed Christian thinks that God would go along with any form of abortion, then that person is in total denial of Gods word and his purpose for us in this life and the life there after.

  • spiderman2

    craig wrote “I wasn’t aware that China or Cuba were our “enemies” in the usual sense. “That is because liberal people are stupid. Say that again a few years from now. China is building up it weaponry and is investing big on high tech weaponry.On the other hand, Obama is cutting defense spending for high tech weaponry.If ever China catches up in terms of high technology weapons, you guys are toast.

  • pkiwi

    It still ironical that your constitution is for separation of religion and politics, while your politicians have to be mix the two (devoutly). Fantastic for choosing an african-american for the White House – how about an atheist sometime?

  • Chris

    There is nothing in Obama’s life that gives truth to the statement he is a “proud servant of Christ”. That only comes from the mantle he wore on his four year dash to the White House. To the contrary, his policy positions, the friends that surround him, and his life choices place him squarely in the secularist, anti-Christian camp. All of the Catholics and evangelicals that either supported him or failed to oppose him and who are serious about their faith will come to recognize the grevious mistake they made. And then it will be too late. We are condemned to reap what we have sown and it will be a bitter harvest.

  • Samuel

    I wept last night when I saw that Jewish voters supported Obama by a large margin. As my ancestors stood by when the Nazis swept into power, so we have opened the door to our own destruction by helping elect the most anti-Jewish and anti-Israel candidate in the history of the American republic. When he nods approval and allows his co-religionists in the middle east to destroy the nation of Israel, it will unleash a holocaust that will see the end of the world.

  • COHERENCE

    Sparrow,I was a bit hyperbolic–I could fathom why you did not spell out god. You know, some Christians try to pick up more orthodox Jewish customs such as this one in order to somehow seem, I dunno, super-devout; how do you feel about that, I wonder. Anyway, I would not make light of anybody’s religious superstition because it has psychic importance to them, and does not affect me in any way. As I mentioned, I AM ethical at least.I am working on my dissertation on this backdoor infiltration of religion that I am whinging about. Yes, the progressive movement was begun by what we would call evangelical Christians. The morphing into modern liberalism carried it through the sixties, where the religious scope was expanded (unless you were Catholic, I surmise), and into the present day when people figured out that you could eliminate a lot of unproductive distractions by lifting the values from the religious context. So people ask now, where did these values come from? Well, don’t you know they were “obvious” things that smart people just know! Balderdash! And you don’t have to be particularly clever to see through this sham. Anyway, Obama has it right that religious conservatives and the typical “bleeding heart” liberals are all generally on the same page of the book of good feelings, although some people have earlier editions, and apparently some people only have copies their dogs chewed on a bit. I don’t think this has anything to do with how the framers of the constitution envisioned things, but I am admittedly a dinosaur.Somewhere along the way, some pseudo-intellectuals in Latin American threw in Marxism, to try to fuse something thoroughly anti-religious with religion. I have not concluded if this was some massive misunderstanding or a cruel joke. People really did not fall for it, but liberation theology raises some red flags for me (who was born in the wonderfully productive world of the USSR). Let me know if you would like to read about all this when I get it all sorted out. This discussion has helped me clarify a few points for myself. Thanks, have a nice life!

  • stevesag

    The CandidatesHe came a long way as a boy from the mountains of ScrantonAs a fighter pilot he was shot down over the jungle in Viet NamAlong came a dark- haired beauty mayor from small town Wasilla

  • sparrow4

    coherence- oddly enough I find quite a bit to agree with you about- especially the “back door” idea. I’m definitely not a nihilist though, and most of my ideas about social responsibility come from my background in (my degree) anthropological studies and in the laws and ethics of Judaism. I’m not devout- I probably lean more toward agnosticism. I think I’m closer to something I call humane pragmatism (or is it enlightened self-interest?). For my part, I am of the mindset that the framers of the constitution envisioned a country more on the order of individual and religious laissez-faire, which they thought of as the common good. But there is enough in the constitution to make me also beleive that they envisioned a compassionate society where to some extent we are all our brothers helper, not keeper. In countries where freedom and equality are founding concepts, I don’t see how we can be anything but, itf we are to succeed.But yes- I would be interested in your thesis. (FYI- my mother was born in Russia, as my fathers family.

  • rmk3551

    Obamma as a Christian bridged many streams and rivers. How can a fellow Christian demonize another Christian? He has shown that Christians also have many different views on government and issues and they do not always follow what would be the traditional Christian view that many view Christian Right as. Obamm appealed to the middle not the fringe left or right of the Christian faith. Other issues are just as important as the abortion and gay rights issues that have dominated the past and have led to some disaster votes (Bush/Cheney) for our country as a whole. Christians of today see the whole forest through the trees.

  • Ahab

    Have you noticed how those conservative radio talk show hosts have suddenly altered their tune? I cannot help but feel sorry for them. At one time they could barely conceal their delight in the prospect of a war with Iraq and most recently tried feverishly to discredit Obama. Now they could not conceal their worry about losing their jobs to the “Fair broadcasting Doctrine”. Glory to Him who changes circumstances and people.

  • wardropper

    Of course I cannot judge Obama’s commitment to his religion, but, after eight years, I feel I can offer the humble opinion that Bush’s administration was entirely godless.

  • Jerusalemight

    Obama’s smartest move, I think, was to position his religion squarely in the “I do believe” camp.The Democratic party had gotten ‘way too far “rainbow” for the conservative American public, and Obama gave it a good whack back to center.

  • wardropper

    Samuel, you wept when you saw that Jewish voters supported Obama by a large margin.Can we not find the positive note together in this election?I truly understand that Israel is vulnerable, but many non-Jewish people fear that THEY would have been too vulnerable if what is commonly called the “neocons” had had their way.Personally, I have most hope when I see what individuals like Daniel Barenboim try to do – and succeed – through the medium of music to unite people who were brought up to think it was impossible to work together with the “enemy”.God be with you, Samuel.

  • Buddy in Pa

    Christians (Whether They Call themselves Conservative or Mainstream) albeit those that keep trying to legislate morality make the same mistake that the Pharisees did in Jesus Day. Morality is not about keeping the law (As No Man Has Been Able) but morality is about loving your neighbor as yourself and loving God in a relationship with him.If these Christians who so adamantly condemn others would take the time to love and empathize rather then condemn they might find that the morality they are searching for is right at their fingertips.

  • JoeMac

    Sparrow, the Apocalypse isn’t just another blood-and-guts Hollywood script, it’s all over the Bible, and parked in particular in a few key books, such as Revelation, Daniel, Isaiah, the NT and so on. Again, we aren’t making this up – it’s in there. Do I wish for a peaceful world? You bet! My kids are on the verge of starting their own families. I want the most stable, predictable and free world possible for them to grow and thrive in, etc. I would much rather spend time bouncing grandkids on my knees than worrying about political and economic turmoil, wars and rumors of wars and so on. But I’m also a realist. God means what He says, whether you drop the ‘o’ or not. Jesus was imminently clear. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.” John 14:27 NAS. What is His peace? Peace of a better world to come. The peace of knowing that this life is temporary, as is its pains, suffering and sickness. Man’s peace is always temporary, and often counterfeit. Should we strive for peace as man defines it? Yes, by (nearly) all means (mind you, I am not one for capitulation or peace at any price), but what is TRULY important in this life – indeed, the purpose of this life – is to seek the peace Jesus offers to those who repent and believe on His name. To those be the promise of eternal Peace in the presence of God. THAT is a truly noble cause. ~ JM

  • incredulousinboyntonbeach

    Samuel –You are very much mistaken. Obama is actually a better friend of Israel than either Bush II or McCain. Please Google “Dennis Ross” and first learn who Dennis Ross is (so you will appreciate and respect the authoritative nature of his opinions) and then read the Palm Beach Post op-ed article that Ross wrote last month on this issue.I hope that Obama appoints Dennis Ross as Ambassador to Israel (BTW, Ross is Jewish, as am I) and that peace will finally come to the Middle East. Without that, Israel will be forever in jeopardy, a jeopardy that was exacerbated by the Bush II actions, including the invasion of Iraq that has led to even further destabilization of the political situation in the Middle East, strengthening of the fundamentalist lunatic fringes on both the Muslim and Chasidic sides, strengthening of Iran and its lunatic leader, and hardening of hearts all over the place. Please, Samuel, educate yourself appropriately instead of blindly swallowing the cynical fear-mongering of the Republicans. L’chaim.

  • sparrow4

    joemac- But that’s your religion, not mine. to my way of thinking it’s an awful way to live. You talk about G-d’s love and on the other hand talk about the millions of “unbelievers” who will burn in hell.Jesus didn’t write the New testament, men did. Some men knew him but the apocalyptic books were (according to a friend who has studied the bible and is a born-again Christian) written hundreds of years later. Experts who study the bible don’t agree, and the history is so complicated that no one can say anything with total certainty. What I do believe is the law, and tradition, and that how I treat my fellow man has more weight with G-d than how rigidly I follow the letter (as interpreted by man of course) of the Law. Or if I believe in Jesus- which I don’t. I don’t see the joy or rapture fundamentalists talk about when you all are so eagerly anticipating the horror and death of the Apocalypse you think is coming. When G-d took the Hebrews out of Egypt He admonished them not to celebrate the drowning of the Egyptians, because they are also His children. Too many of you seem to relish condemning “unbelievers.” Or as you interpret the term “unbeliever.”I read the stuff posted here by so many and it’s repulsive. spidey can’t wait til we’re all blasted to hell (not only unbelievers, but democrats! Who knew G-d endorses political parties?) The people who do nothing but scream over abortion rights are thrilled to condemn those who believe in choice to hell. Sorry- there is nothing loving or compassionate or G-dly in such people. These fanatics are the last place I would look to for guidance or the teachings of Jesus.I believe in making this life as good and joyful and compassionate as I can. that’s how I think I can best pay homage to what G-d has wrought, and to His Word. According to your lights I am an unbeliever, and condemned. Again, that’s your problem, not mine.

  • BennyFactor

    I found McCain to be very luke-warm, even as an avowed Christian. I suspect he is a politician who attends church as a pre-requisite rather than by faith. While obama, although he took part in a Blacks only church, seemed to know scripture and how to apply it as a grounding for policy. He clearly understands that the republican mantra of “every man for himself – and God for us all” is antithetical to Christ’s teachings. Yet, he didn’t try to shove it down anyone’s throat.