Friday, April 04, 2008

Religiously Speaking, of Course!

There's been a strange interest in making things "spiritual" during the current presidential campaign. The three candidates still standing have not been shy about speaking of their various faiths, though they've kept their pronouncements relatively low-key. Senators Clinton, Obama and McCain worship, respectively, in the Methodist, United Church of Christ and Baptist traditions.

There's been some variation, of course, since Obama's religion became a campaign issue because of the unbelievable rants of his pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, recently retired from Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Obama, in his 20-year association with him, presumably heard some of the things Wright preached, but had never made any public statements about them until Wright's performances began appearing all over the Internet and in the print media, as well.

Obama, instead of simply denouncing Wright's sayings, such as the one about the U.S. government somehow (he didn't say how) afflicting the African-American community with HIV/Aids, chose to make a speech on the subject of race but, of course, actually made a speech about…well, virtually nothing. He attempted to explain why Wright should feel compelled to make statements like the above, apparently not understanding that Wright has been quite successful in his chosen field and has not suffered from AIDS or anything else that can be accounted as purposeful persecution by the government. The speech was a feel-good-can't-we-all-get-along exercise…nothing new. The ladies swooned and the men shrugged.

The spiritual angle appeared early in the campaign as Obama was accorded a messianic bearing by both blacks and whites, at least in the Democrat Party, sort of compared to that of Jesus Christ as a historical figure and Savior for Christians, as well as a future Deliverer for Jews, in their case a sort of Moses-figure leading his people out of bondage. The bubble was burst a bit when he appeared on a zany TV show called The View to be told by septuagenarian Barbara Walters that he was sexy. A sexy Messiah? Eat your heart out, Moses. Obama also did the shimmy or some such hip-swinger with Ellen, the networks' current star lesbian, but she didn't have a "Samaritan woman at the well" experience.

Deborah was an Old Testament judge over Israel who accompanied Barak, her general, and 10,000 warriors to the battlefield one day, the upshot being an overwhelming victory over General Sisera and his army, which included, besides his infantry, 900 iron chariots. Sisera, seeing an untimely end, fled and took refuge in the house of a lady named Jael, who slaked his thirst and made him comfortable but while he was asleep drove a spike (okay, a tent peg) through his head with a nine-pound hammer, just like legendary John Henry building railroads.

Question: Is Clinton a type of Deborah or Jael? She has said that she's as ready as a Deborah-type to do a Jael-number on any force on earth if her presidential phone rings at 3:00 a.m. on the very day of her inauguration but that Obama would be more like a Jonah ensconced inside a whale without a clue as to how to get out. Clinton also did the usual Leno-number, announcing that she was afraid she might have to dodge sniper fire on the way in…talk about bad form.

It's become normal for candidates to make fools of themselves in weird ways. Hillary went on the Ellen clambake, too, recognizing that outlet as the epitome of sophistication and therefore worthy of her presence. She said something to Ellen about the "boys" out to get her, making herself more like Salome, with the seven veils and the demand for the head of John-the-Baptist, which she got. Maybe that was her warning to Barack and John. After all, she survived when Monica played Delilah to Bill's Samson.

So…what about John McCain, spiritually, that is? Perhaps he's the senior edition of a young David, who, with a mere slingshot, put out the lights of the giant Goliath, the Philistine Champion from Gath, and thus won the day for the Israelites…just like McCain, broke and flying coach last year, buried his well-heeled opposition with just a few flicks of the tongue. Of course, after David did his derring-do, his king, Saul, tried later to put out his lights, just like the quirky ultra-conservatives in his own party seem hell-bent on deep-sixing the former navy guy, who actually could be counted on at three a.m. to know what to do.

Yeah…the spiritual has come to the fore. Seriously, though, it's good to know these are folks of faith, notwithstanding the constant effort of outfits like the ACLU to take God out of America, as if any entity could do anything with God. The fact is that America is in God, the maker of it all – not the other way around – and nothing can remove its people or any other people of the world from God. Impossible!

And so it goes.

Jim Clark

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