Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Pastor Hopeface

I believe I recently swore off making fun of Sojourners on this blog. But I can't find that particular post right now and, frankly, someone needs to make fun of this.

Did you know that Barack Obama, in addition to being our new president, is also our pastor-in-chief?

What should I expect from the group that declared Obama to be the new Joshua? If he can be Joshua 2.0, he is certainly qualified to be a pastor.

Diana Butler Bass explains:

In Elkhart, Indiana, and Fort Myers, Florida, President Obama listened to people’s concerns and answered questions with a kind of intellectual and emotional honesty that is too often rare in public life.

Intellectual and emotional honesty, eh? Would this be the same intellectual and emotional honesty that says the only way to avert economic disaster is to embrace the trillion dollar pork bomb that just went off in the Senate? That used to be known as the politics of fear. Now it's downright pastoral.

She continues:

As President Obama heard homeless Henrietta Hughes plead for assistance, I thought of the many times I have held someone’s hand at the church door after preaching and how people pour out their hearts to leaders who listen.

How credulous. Here's the story Homeless Henrietta Hughes (HHH). The Obama campaign wanted a homeless woman, and HHH has a media-friendly story. So the Obama team gave her a ticket to his event. Seizing an opportunity, the campaign arranged a stunt whereby a state representative (Nick Thompson), who just happened to hear HHH's sob story, would give her a house.

Now, that's great political theater, and will earn Obama some nice news coverage. But the pastoral equivalent would be Benny Hinn's traveling charismatic roadshow, where he slaps paid actors on the head that they would be "healed".

Her fawning concludes:

As the president engaged the crowd, he maintained the demeanor of pastoral politics—holding the nation’s metaphorical hand and offering comfort, reassurance, and help.

Right. That's what pastors do. Hold up metaphorical hands. I suppose, if you attend an Episcopal church, metaphor is the most you can ask for.

For years, left-wing groups (like Sojourners) criticized conservative Christians for making George W. Bush into a religious figurehead, and rightly so. The notion that a secular state should have a pastor is the stuff of fascism. Our nation does not have a hand to extend, metaphorical or otherwise, for America is not a collective body.

Anyone who cannot distinguish between a government and a God loses all credibility in discussing either.


Anonymous John Mulholland said...

While out differences on the Derek Webb boards set us at odds...I love your political commentary.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreed. You hit the nail on the head.

12:24 PM  

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