Obama is Bent on Proving Me Right

Reading right-wing blogs like Redstate and Instapundit is always a good way to question Democratic assumptions on how politics works. Lately it’s not even as frustrating as it was the last time I tried, since they post primarily about horserace politics.

Now Redstate reports Obama’s latest God gaffe:

In his race for U.S. Senate, Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr. (D) has been outspent by millions, and his image has been battered by a barrage of negative ads, including the now-infamous spot with a blonde floozy that has been pulled off the air. Several polls show him trailing.

But being an underdog has its own righteous appeal, and the campaign used that status yesterday not only to rally voters but as evidence that God had looked with favor upon the Democratic campaign.

The fact that they are still in the race despite the odds, Ford told an African American crowd at Mount Zion Baptist Church here, was evidence that “we got something else at work.”

“I think the congressman said something wise — we got another manager in this race,” Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told the group.

Obama really is a left-wing Dominionist. On the other hand, Redstate is overhyping the issue. Obama’s Dominionism is still not so bad as this of less liberal politicians, like Bush or Lieberman. Obama is a fundamentalist, but he’s still better than the religious right, which says “It’s Dominion that we want, not just a voice.”

And of course, the people on Redstate couldn’t resist making a “The Democrats are hostile to people of faith” argument. The Democrats aren’t hostile to people of faith. They’re not hostile to Byrd, and they had no problem with Lieberman’s fundamentalism; Lieberman got the boot because of his support of Bush. In contrast, I can’t get through a whole week without reading Amy Sullivan rant about how atheists are oppressing her and how the Democrats need to muzzle everyone whose religious views are more liberal than Obama’s.

8 Responses to Obama is Bent on Proving Me Right

  1. SLC says:

    Mr. Levy is taking a leaf out the PZ Myers beat up on Ken Miller playbook in his approach to Senator Obama. I would also take exception to his characterization of Joe Lieberman as a Dominionist. Lieberman is an Orthodox Jew who has no intention of imposing his religious beliefs on the rest of the population,unlike the Dominionists (or Christian Reconstructionists). By the way, Lieberman is favored to win tomorrow, which would falsify the getting the boot comment. There is no evidence either that Senator Obama wishes to impose his religious beliefs as the law of the land either. By the way, does Mr. Levy consider Ken Miller to be a Dominionist?

  2. mtraven says:

    Waitaminit. Obama is a Dominionist? Where is the slightest evidence for this? He might believe God is on his side; it’s a hell of a big jump from there to wanting to impose a theocratic regime. I also doubt he or Lieberman are fundamentalist in any of the usual senses of the word.

    I don’t see the point in trying to lump all manner of religious beliefs into one bucket, even if you are hostile to all of them. Look how well that tactic is working out in Iraq. It’s smarter to divide your enemies.

  3. Alon Levy says:

    Lieberman went on record saying atheists have no morals. Obama tried playing moderate and ended up dissing atheists who complain that the Pledge of Allegiance is discriminatory (which it is).

    When I said “got the boot,” I meant in the Democratic primary. The Democrats replaced him in the primary not because he’s a religious fundamentalist who hates secularists, or even because he’s a war hawk, but because he’s a war hawk who praises Bush’s foreign policy.

  4. mtraven says:

    Don’t play stupid. Obama may be wrong about the pledge of allegiance and other matters, but his position is nuanced to a fault, he’s a politican dancing on the edges of various interest groups, including the religious. That doesn’t make him a Dominionist. Theocrats don’t say stuff like this

    In fact, because I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality, I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and ethics and values without pretending that they’re something they’re not. They don’t need to do that. None of us need to do that.

    The choice in US politics comes down more-or-less to the party of authoritarian fundamentalism vs the party of softer religion. Your position reminds me of those who thought that there was no significant difference in 2000 between Bush and Gore.

  5. SLC says:

    Re mtraven

    The people in Florida and New Hampshire who voted for Nader, thus putting the coke snorting, pot smoking, lying, draft dodging drunk in the White House.

  6. belledame222 says:

    He’s not a bloody Dominionist, for fuck’s sake; there -is- no such thing as a left-wing Dominionist, and if there were, he wouldn’t be it. he says things that people who aren’t Christian find unpalatable. he’s hardly alone in it.

    and frankly, there are some worthy passages out of the Bible it might be worth remembering. the one i always hold to is,

    “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

    when Obama starts going to prayer breakfasts with the Family and supporting Pat Robertson and otherwise making moves that would basically indicate he does not value American democracy as we know it, i’ll get concerned. meanwhile:

  7. Alon Levy says:

    Theocrats don’t say stuff like this

    Actually, they do. Jim Wallis on the one hand says religion has no monopoly on morality, and on the other advocates bans on abortion and gay rights based on his religion. Most of the specifics Obama’s speech mentions are odious:

    But what I am suggesting is this – secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square.

    If secularists asked believers to leave their religion at the door, they’d be wrong. But they don’t; instead, they ask believers not to trample atheists’ rights. Ken Miller has attracted criticism from atheists for being Christian – after all, the issue of God’s existence is a bone of contention – but the only time he attracted any political criticism was when he said something that could be interpreted as pro-creationist. Secularists tend to criticize the sort of people who are sure the entire American left is anti-Christian and tell non-theists to shut up, like Amy Sullivan.

    Also, this would be called concern trolling were it a comment on Pharyngula:

    Our failure as progressives to tap into the moral underpinnings of the nation is not just rhetorical, though. Our fear of getting “preachy” may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in some of our most urgent social problems.

    After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten point plan. They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness – in the imperfections of man.

    That’s just bad advice. When liberals talk about poverty and racism in moral terms, they get castigated for being feel-good. Why wouldn’t they? You can talk morality to guilt people into opposing segregation. You can sometimes guilt them into supporting affirmative action, but not always.

    If you want to change people’s values, you need to use various mechanisms of center-shifting as well as explain why your value system works. That means being pragmatic: justifying affirmative action based on present rather than past racism, justifying single-payer health care based on costs rather than universality, justifying welfare based on equal opportunities rather than equality, and so on. The people who consider these three planks moral imperatives already vote for the left, though they’d probably be more enthusiastic about doing so if the left stopped taking them for granted.

    The choice in US politics comes down more-or-less to the party of authoritarian fundamentalism vs the party of softer religion. Your position reminds me of those who thought that there was no significant difference in 2000 between Bush and Gore.

    No, it comes down to the party of authoritarian fundamentalism and the party of softer authoritarian fundamentalism. A party that approved the Patriot Act almost unanimously is authoritarian. The party of softer authoritarian fundamentalism is overall better, if only because it has a contingent of people who are neither authoritarian nor fundamentalist, but let’s not pretend the difference is that big.

  8. SLC says:

    Re Ken Miller

    Mr. Levys’ statement that, “Ken Miller has attracted criticism from atheists for being Christian – after all, the issue of God’s existence is a bone of contention – but the only time he attracted any political criticism was when he said something that could be interpreted as pro-creationist,” is an interesting slight of hand to avoid the question I posed, namely is Ken Miller a Dominionist. Aside from avoiding answering the question, I maintain that Miller has been under continuing attack on PZ Myers’ blog because, unlike Prof. Myers, Miller is not a philosophical naturalist. However, he is every bit the methodlogical naturalist that Myers is. I would like Mr. Levy to point out when Miller ever said anything that might be construed as being pro-creationist. I have downloaded half a dozen lectures by Miller and read his book and have failed to detect any such comment by him. As a matter of fact, the late Stephen J. Gould who was a philosophical naturalist was far guiltier of carelessness in his language then Miller is.

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