March 03, 2008
Barack Obama's church - comment on Stefan's post

Have at it.

by Stefan Sharkansky, 11:25 PM Barack Obama said today:

that he is a devout Christian who prays to Jesus every night. He told audience members they would feel right at home at his church in Chicago.
I usually shy away from discussing other people's faith. But since Obama is injecting his church into the campaign, it's fair to recall this New York Times article about Obama's church and its pastor, Jeremiah Wright:
On the Sunday after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Mr. Wright said the attacks were a consequence of violent American policies. Four years later he wrote that the attacks had proved that "people of color had not gone away, faded into the woodwork or just 'disappeared' as the Great White West went on its merry way of ignoring Black concerns."
And then there's Wright's visit to Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, in the day when Libya was one of the world's main sponsors of terrorism.

Feel "right at home" yet?

Posted by SouthernRoots at March 03, 2008 12:46 PM | Email This
1. My main comment is that I wonder what happened to Stefan prior to or during his hiatus. He's taken to drive-by postings of closed topics; the Stefan I remember stood behind his postings and wasn't afraid of his audience.

Posted by: scaredy-shark on March 3, 2008 01:09 PM
2. Maybe it's just as simple as he doesn't have the time to reply or monitor the replies.

Sometimes, "a cigar is just a cigar".

Posted by: SouthernRoots on March 3, 2008 01:31 PM
3. "Drive-by postings". I like it.

As to what has happened to Stefan: one can only speculate. It is his blog however, and he has the right to do what he wants with it, choosing to open or close the comment section. But it does make you wonder. In this stage he's in, I have found some of his posts rather irritating.

For example, in this Barack Obama post, he says, "I usually shy away from discussing other people's faith." Oh really?

In a not so round about way, he has ridiculed judeo-christian ideas, calling a certain presidential candidate with many Christian supporters a "genitalia-obsessed science-phobic yahoo Huckabilly," simply for having stated his personal opinions on homosexuality and the theory of evolution.

Posted by: Michelle on March 3, 2008 01:40 PM
4. Actually, he says that Barack Obama is injecting his church into his campaign, but in reality, it's ignorant rednecks who just learned how to use the forward function on their email clients that get the emails straight off of and forward them to everyone they know, warning them of the evil black muslim that is going to turn us into an immoral, socialist, muslim (wait, what?) country.

Or whatever. I'm sure you guys have seen the sort of email forward I'm talking about - hopefully my readers are intelligent enough to not be the ones forwarding it.

Posted by: Andrew Brown on March 3, 2008 02:25 PM
5. "Ignorant rednecks" is a bit overboard, don't you think? But yes, I have received one of those forwards you're talking about, and I repudiated it to the sender and the sender and the entire open list that was cc'd. The sender was well intentioned, but I would never call him an "ignorant redneck".

But that isn't want Stefan's post was about. It was about legitimate concerns over Obama's actual church. And my comment above was about the topic of Stefan's choice to close his comment section on his posts and his own religious bigotry towards believing Christians.

Posted by: Michelle on March 3, 2008 04:06 PM
6. Steff just forgot to put in one little itsy-bitsy fact when he posted that stuff; the pastor that he was so upset about retired on Sunday, February 10th, 2008 after 36 years of service.

That's the biggest problem with his driveby postings; there is little-to-no chance of anyone correcting his errors in a meaningful way. How many will see the messages here? Most will just read what was posted and go off on a tangent about how bad the preacher at that church is, never knowing that he has retired.

Posted by: SeattleMike on March 3, 2008 06:13 PM
7. I will accept that Obama is a Christian on the day he publicly denounce that he is not a Muslim. By the virtue of being born to a Muslim father, and only through denounciation of Muslim faith can he become non-Muslim (or an apostate).

Posted by: DopioLover on March 3, 2008 07:28 PM
8. Well, I apologize for typos and an incomplete sentence in my previous posting. Here is how it should read:


I will accept that Obama is a Christian on the day he publicly denounces that he is not a Muslim. By the virtue of being born to a Muslim father, his is a Muslim in the legalistic sense, and only through denounciation of Muslim faith can he become non-Muslim (or an apostate).

Posted by: DopioLover on March 3, 2008 07:31 PM
9. DopioLover,

I do not support Obama for many reasons, but he has publicly announced that he is not a Muslim and only those who choose not to hear it can possibly claim otherwise at this point.

If you don't believe me, please note:

Posted by: Andrew Brown on March 3, 2008 08:46 PM
10. If you want to comment on one of Stefan's posts, just copy the post over the public blog section and flail away. His blog. His post. His rules. If you don't like it, don't play. Jeezus you lefties are whiny.


Posted by: Hairy Buddah on March 3, 2008 09:26 PM
11. First, thanks to Southern Roots for putting this up, I had to leave and couldn't get to it. Let me make a couple of comments before my discussion on the religion issue.

Like most posters, I agree that Stefan can do what he dang well pleases, but let me throw out a couple of observations for the site gurus to chew on. This is a conservative site and the question is does the site have the mission of advancing conservative ideas or is it simply a propoganda site, is that its mission. If it is pure propoganda, there is no expectation of discussion and then it is what it is.

Now, on the issue of religion, unless one has studied another religion deeply, one fails to get the nuance and meaning. For example, I have read enough about the Jewish faith to know that in this country there are three main threads which are Orthodox, Conservative and Reform. I know that there are subsects of each. What that means I really don't know and so I am on thin ice commenting on that.

Now, Obama's pastor is affliated with the United Church of Christ which is a Christian denomination that puts great emphasis on social justice as contrasted with the Southern Baptists who put the emphasis on literal interpretation of the Bible. Rev. Wright's particular theology is called Liberation Theology with the focus on "Blackness" as defined by the proponents. Other Black Evangelicals like Bishops TD Jakes of the Potter's House in Houston and Eddie Long and Dr. Creflo Dollar have moved into Empowerment Theology which is more inclusive. Bishop Jakes has a worldwide multiracial following and so do the others. I am not aware that heaven is segregated, so that if I had to venture an opinion, I think Empowerment theology is more fitting.

I did not disagree with Stefan's premise which is a person who seeks to be president of ALL these United States has to be questioned and answer how can you accept a theology that seems to be so limited. Obama will have to answer that question, I think it is fair.

I get a little leary of a non-Christian delving into theology, just as I am sure that my Jewish brothers and sisters would not like me delving into their theology.

Just ask the question directly, it is many ways similar to the question I addressed the Paul supporters about Duke. In my opinion, a person cannot be president of ALL if they have an exclusionist philosophy.

Right now, he is appealing to dems, if he gets the nomination, he will have to appeal to a broader audience and he will have to answer about the philosophy of his church. I would not be surprised if advisors don't tell him to cut his ties. The exclusionist philosophy is the question, not going into theology.

Posted by: WVH on March 3, 2008 09:57 PM
12. Obama's referring people to the Sermon on the Mount to justify gay marriage was weird.

Posted by: Misty on March 3, 2008 10:12 PM
13. “6. Steff just forgot to put in one little itsy-bitsy fact when he posted that stuff; the pastor that he was so upset about retired on Sunday, February 10th, 2008 after 36 years of service.”

So what. He had been Obama’s minister for many years before the retirement, and with the retirement being only a few weeks ago, it’s a non-issue.

I think the topic is legitimate in how it questions the influence of Mr. Wright on Obama.

George Bush was mocked and ridiculed for his faith, how he came by it and in how he practices it. John Kennedy was questioned about his Catholicism and whether he would be an independent leader or a puppet of the Pope.

He had sampled various faiths but adopted none until he met Mr. Wright, a dynamic pastor who preached Afrocentric theology, dabbled in radical politics and delivered music-and-profanity-spiked sermons.

Obama has been a member of this church for twenty or so years. He has said that joining this church was a formative time in his life. Since Mr. Wright has been his minister for almost half of Obama’s life, and most of his adult life, it reasonable to ask what influence Mr. Wright has had with Obama.

Could the ideas embodied by Mr. Wright have formed the concepts, thoughts, and actions that drive Obama today? If it is possible, then a closer look at those influences on the man that wishes to be president would be in order. Of the controversial concepts Mr. Wright has espoused, how much are they an influence on Obama. Does Obama’s legislative record show an independence from Mr. Wright, particularly on the more controversial issues, or does the record show Obama reflecting those ideas more than he wants us to know?

Posted by: SouthernRoots on March 4, 2008 09:42 AM
14. Stefan's tack lately is uncomprehensible. He not wants to go about spreading falsehoods, which is what the Muslim rumor is and the so-called tie to his church. It is slander. Stefan knows what he is doing. He isn't promoting falsehood, innocently. It is time for everyone to call him to task.

A couple of facts:
1. To be a "member" of a UCC church doesn't require one to acknowlege or agree with the denomination's stance or the particular congregation's pastor(s). is a good summary of what Church membership is in the UCC church. is Trinity UCC mission statement.

2. The UCC church's roots is in Reformed Theology and Congregational in government. It means that the church's theology is very similar to other Reformed church's such as Presbyterian, Reformed Church in America, Dutch Reformed, and others. Its governement style means the individual congregation runs the church, typically via a board of directors/board of deacons. This is opposed to the Presbyterian Church that has levels of control from the local church session, the presbytery, and the General Assembly, or to more top-down driven churches that have bishops, like the Methodist church. In UCC, the pastor is a member of the church (as opposed to Presbyterian Church where the Pastor is a member of the presbytery). However, the Pastor is only one vote in the congregation and typically is not on the Board of Trustees for the church, which has the civil responsibility for the church.
3. There is testimony from many within Barack's church and outside of his church regarding his faith. For two outside commentaries on Barack's faith and the so-called Muslim controversy, one can go to this article by Jim Wallis, or this article by a Christian minister who just happens to have a muslim name.

Stefan, feel free to attack policies and positions, but to slander someone with falsehoods and rumors that have been proven to be false only goes to show you to be a bully and weak-kneed person. Get a spine and talk about real facts and open your posts up for comments, so we can call you on the slander directly in the post, instead of having to go about it in a round-about way. You are being a coward.

Posted by: tc on March 4, 2008 12:31 PM
15. I have a friend from Canada with family in Canada. Last year when the story broke of the extremist cell discovered up there it turned out that my friend's family lived next door to one of the alleged terrorists who was arrested. The story from that family member was one of shock and amazement. The alleged terrorist neighbor was a friend. A professional. Not even thought to be Muslim and thoroughly integrated into the community. No one in that neighborhood would have imagined this secret life being lived and this guy's involvement in a terrorist cell planning unthinkable acts against innocent men, women and children.

But we have Barrack Obama's word, sort of, that he rejects the acts of extremist Islamists. We are led to overlook his friend Rezko's ties to Syrian terror fundraiser Auchi. Because since Obama attends a Christian church and talks of hope and change, we can feel safe that his early Muslim upbringing, grandfather, and stepfather's conversion to Islam didn't stick for Barrack.

For most any other elected office in the land I would give this candidate the benefit of the doubt. But given Obama's less than forceful denials of Islam and his troubling connections to individuals suspected of involvement, not to mention this nation's current involvement in a war against extremist Islam, I think we're nuts to consider him as our commander in chief.

Am I alone? Is this too politically incorrect a concern to express? Does political correctness and some high standard of principle mean that America can't consider these troubling issues with this candidate?

I just heard Hollywood's latest orgasm over Barrack Obama, and I'm beginning to feel like a lamb being led to the slaughter.

Posted by: Are we nuts? on March 5, 2008 02:40 PM
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