Saturday, December 27, 2008
Rick Warren and Barack Obama
by Larry Geller
Sam Smith, editor of the Progressive Review, posts his essays on his Flotsam and Jetsom blog. Here’s a short snippet from his recent article, Evangelicalism in Politics. Rick Warren, of course, is Obama’s controversial choice to offer his inaugural invocation.
It’s probably unfair to snip small portions of Sam’s work, but I’m doing it to encourage you to click over and read the full essay. If you like, you can post comments on what you think of his take on Obama’s candidacy and beliefs here or on his own website.
Warren is an evangelical of the born again Christian right and Obama is an evangelical of the born again Democratic center right. They both got where they are not by saying the right thing as making it sound like the right thing whether it really is or not, which is why preachers are more popular than investigative journalists.
I have sometimes challenged the converted to come up with a single thing Obama said during the campaign that is worth remembering. They tend to mumble and change the subject. Because in the end it wasn't the lyrics but the tune and how they were sung. And, of course, the melanin density of who was doing the singing.
The Obama base was not a constituency, but a congregation. He did not give speeches but sermons, and, with remarkably consistency, spoke down to his followers from a sectarian pulpit. Like the religious evangelical, his act was based on using a Bible - in this case the Democratic platform - as the backdrop for a performance that stirred show business and the spiritual into an inseparable stew, all designed to make the crowd accept the man in front of them as the sina qua non of salvation.