Thursday, March 20, 2008

Obama & religion

Obama's not a Muslim. I wonder if he half wishes he were for all the trouble the Trinity United Church is causing him. As I said, I thought Obama's speech on race wasn't bad. In fact, I liked it, at least parts of it.

However, the more I read about the Trinity United Church the more I think this could be a bigger problem for Obama than the racist stuff. From the web site:
We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.
I know this this doesn't fit the stereotype, but Obama has a real appeal to many evangelicals. Many have been drawn to his candidacy and this has not gone unnoticed in the media. From the Washington Post (Feb 25):
The role of evangelical voters in the November elections will be one of the most interesting things to watch this year. We already have seen evangelical party affiliation change in the past three years. In late 2004, 50 percent of evangelicals were registered Republicans; that's now down to 40 percent, driven largely by younger evangelicals who are becoming independents and Democrats. If Barack Obama were the Democratic nominee, there would be good reason to think those younger evangelicals might support the Democratic ticket in November; a recent poll by Relevant magazine (for young evangelicals) found that Obama was the biggest vote-getter among the magazine's readers.
The theology of the Trinity United Church is way outside mainstream Christianity, however. The Church is "unashamedly Black", etc. This is the kind of thing that will turn off his Evangelical voters in a hurry.

I read more about the theology of this church here. I'm not going to get too worked up about it, but I think there are going to be a lot of people wondering if Obama's really a Christian after all. He might get the Romney treatment from liberal Evangelicals.