Freedom is the distance between Church and State

Why be born again when you can just grow up?
JANUARY 20, 2013 7:08PM

What's Missing From Obama's Second Inaugural.

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Answer? The same thing that was missing in his first.

 I'll not provide the footnotes for I presume you are all familiar with recent history but let me refresh a few recollections.

First there was the disgraceful embarrassment of recruiting Donnie McClurkin who was the “... black preacher who sang at the Republican National Convention in 2004" and “gained notoriety for his view that homosexuality is a choice and can be “cured” through prayer, a view ridiculed by gay people.” Since McClurkin's notorious reputation was well know this was no accident but the backfired SOP wherein State bows to Church.

Then there was his utterly revolting choice of the soon-to-be bankrupt homophobic tub-thumping Rick Warren, pastor of the Saddleback Church in Orange County, Calif., to deliver his smarmy sophistry at the first inaugural. Aside from his infamous homophobia there was his anti-Semitism. As the late Christopher Hitchens reported in his Fighting Words against 'crackbrained religious nut-bags', when the purpose driven huckster and “end-of-days ranter” Warren was present at a meeting of the Aspen Institute he was asked by Lynda Resnick—she of the pomegranate-juice dynasty—if a Jew like herself could expect to be admitted to paradise, “Warren publicly told her no. What choice did he have? His own theology says that only those who accept Jesus can hope to be saved.” So the first man Obama knowingly chose to deliver his inaugural invocation was,

“a relentless clerical businessman who raises money on the proposition that certain Americans—non-Christians, the wrong kind of Christians, homosexuals, nonbelievers—are of less worth and littler virtue than his own lovely flock of redeemed and salvaged and paid-up donors.”

Then the pundits and sycophants applauded (nary a bubble of protest) the front page spin wherein Obama Admin confected new spin on old ketman to, cavalierly, eight years late, toss over the same classic segregationist 'Separate but Equal' 'States' Rights' rubbish claptrap the patronizing Dick Cheney dished-out almost a decade before; but who even noticed? Then a miracle happened! Even the NAACP 'evolved' (watch out for that “e” word!) and ceased disgracing it's legacy and one of the Civil Rights Movement's most towering heroes.

Julian Bond, you may recall notably boycotted the 2004 funeral services for Coretta Scott King on the grounds that the King children had chosen an anti-gay megachurch. This was in contradiction to their mother's longstanding support for the rights of gay and lesbian people. Throughout his entire tenure as chairman of the NAACP (from 1998 to 2010) Bond had to make it clear that his support for Marriage Equality was his personal position and not that of the NAACP which stood obstinately at odds with him under the direction of NAACP president Kweisi Mfume. Mfume, you may recall, finally only 'evolved' (there's that 'e' word again!) when he feared his own political rump might get roasted if he did not keep up with public opinion that was evolving faster than he was. And he lost that election. It was only after Obama 'evolved' that the NAACP too held its finger to the wind and followed.

So understand this word 'evolved' as used in American politics: It is the politically correct euphemism for holding one's finger to the wind to see which way it blows and then proposing to dole out civil rights piecemeal. Roll over in your graves Coretta and Martin Luther King, Jr. In turn, 'Political Correctness' is a euphemism for the doctrine fostered by a delusional, illogical, liberal minority, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

With all I have read about this issue I find it amazing that so few have abjured spin and propaganda for a genuine effort to educate. (See, e.g., the 2006 Bay Area Reporter op. ed. titled “Untangling Barack Obama's audacious mumbo jumbo”.)

Cut to the present. Yet again who did Obama choose to deliver a 'benediction' at his second inauguration on January 21st? Louie Giglio, the pastor who has called homosexuality “probably the greatest addiction” and said marriage between same-sex partners is “absolutely undermining the whole order of our society.” And there we were: sameol, sameol religious poison.

 Isn't it amazing what you can get away with in America if you just shove the word “Reverend' in front of your name?

Abjuring journalism for public relations spin Lisa Keen wrote “It appears the president may have been unaware of Giglio’s LGBT sermon from the 1990s.” Wiggle, equivocate, and wiggle some more. Sorry but that’s just not a credible statement. Indeed it strains credulity. This is far too sensitive an issue, it has already caused Obama too much embarrassment, angered too many people, and he has a splendid professional staff. These things are vetted into infinity by the spin masters and they do not happen by accident. While Giglio did withdraw I suspect he was asked and permitted to do so as a face-saving device for a dis-invitation would surely have angered the religious lobby.

And now, after the Inaugural Committee announced Friday (January 18) that it has invited Rev. Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, to deliver the sermon, Lisa Keen takes the spin that Inaugural pastors [are] now more moderate.

What's missing here? Heaven forbid the propagandists and spin doctors be upstaged by an authentic journalist asking relevant questions. Fuggetaboutit!

With this foundation, let's now return to the opening question here: What's missing in this second inaugural and why does no one notice?

In his book Dreams From My Father, author Barack Obama wrote at length about what his Christian faith was founded on and why he chose the United Church of Christ as his denomination. Why is it that President Obama has twice failed to choose a minister from his own Christian denomination to participate in this inauguration?

Do you think it might be because Americans United for Separation of Church and State was founded by lawyer Barry W. Lynn who was also a United Church of Christ minister and the head of AU who has spoken out repeatedly against Obama's (Bush established) Faith-Based initiatives?

Or could it be because, as far back as 2005, when, in the name of religion, and using Jesus as its model, the UCC Synod (Obama's own denomination) issued a declaration of Equal Marriage Rights For All” and did so several years before this “civil rights lawyer” disapproved of those equal rights purely because of the 'religions connotations’ to marriage”? Like most politicians the language Barack Obama speaks most fluently is Ketman.

If much here comes as news to you it's not entirely your fault if you have been duped by the spin-doctors and propagandists. As R. M. Dworkin wrote in Is Democracy Possible Here?: Principles for a New Political Debate,

"The vicious spiral winds downward. If the political consultants tell the politicians to treat us as ignorant, we will remain ignorant, and so long as we are ignorant, the consultants will tell the politicians to treat us that way.. No candidate can afford to jump off that spiral ...... Truth as a gold standard has become obsolete.”

Since Barack Obama has finally 'evolved' to where Dick Cheney was over eight years ago perhaps, in his second term, I hope Obama will have the courage to devolve back to where his own church was before Dick Cheney evolved. To many non-believers (the fastest growing group in America) the very idea of the necessity that a cleric be marched into the public square, to bless a secular ceremony under a secular constitution, is offensive and reminds me of Denis Diderot's famous line, “Et ses mains ourdiraient les entrailles du prêtre, Au défaut d'un cordon pour étrangler les rois. “ There are many variations but in modern American vernacular it's, 'Mankind will never be free until that last politician is strangled by the entrails of the last preacher.'

Yet again, as religion threatened to poison secular function, I was reminded of Lord Byron's question: "What is hope? The paint on the face of existence. Just a touch of truth rubs it off and then we see what a hollow cheeked harlot we've got hold of." Then again hope is like a splinter of light: just a tiny crack and it will always break through the darkness. When it comes to Realpolitik in the United States of Dollaria Obama is about as good as it gets and we must take our victories as we find them; but that does not mean deceit must be met with deceit. Jaded cynics applaud winning the propaganda war by exploitation of ignorance. Others think education the better road and some agree but urge there is no time for education– minds must be bent and hearts programed now and that's what Madison Avenue is for.

So it's been a battle on two fronts: the courts (which decisions are the very best education and easy enough for a high school sophomore to comprehend) and the activist and journalists engaged in bald propaganda wars. Unfortunately, most Americans having the reading skills of the Three Stooges and the attention span of poodles, are perfect targets for propaganda and spin and expect education on a bumper-sticker or in a tweet.

For the most part politics is always a snow job. I have compassion for Barack Obama the person. He is a tightrope walker. One can't simply march into the Oval Office and do what one pleases--unless they are George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan–and certainly not when they, like Obama, have been stuck with the wreckage of a 30 years in the making disaster that could only transpire behind the smokescreen Kulturkampf of rabid, homophobic, fundamentalism and gun-slinging nutjobs who can't comprehend the plain language Second Amendment that refers to a “well regulated militia.” So I have little patience for those who accuse Obama of not sprinkling magical fairy dust to transform the lives of every feverish selfish little clod of ailments who complains the world will not devote itself to making them happy. What a pity the country lacks leadership when hoards of unemployable internet trolls have the answers down pat?

In case you get the message but miss the meaning the lesson here is not that Obama played the requisite game of political hypocrisy behind the mask of power but that the 'manufacture of consent' was so easy to get away with. On the left and the right this took a dumbed-down electorate of legal illiterates who do not comprehend the most rudimentary legal bedrock principles laid out in our Bill of Rights. This is not rocket science and it's easily taught.

How uniformed is the American Public? Brace yourself. According to The National Constitutional Center only 6% of Americans can name all four rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. (Twenty-four percent cannot name even one and 27% can only name one while 43% can name two or three.) Sixty-two percent cannot name all three branches of the Federal government. (One-third cannot name even one, 14% can only name one and 15% can only name two.) Thirty-five percent actually believe that the Constitution mandates English as the official language and only a mere 7% can correctly identify the Constitutional Convention as the authors while 84% believe that the U.S. Constitution is the document that states that "all men are created equal," thus confusing it with the Declaration of Independence. One out of 6 believe that the Constitution establishes America as a Christian nation, 32% believe that John Hancock had a hand in drafting the Constitution, and only 5% can correctly answer 10 rudimentary questions about the Constitution. We have produced a confederacy of dunces! What a disgrace.

Why do you think education is so dumbed down and is the first to suffer budgets cuts? To paraphrase Lady Augusta Bracknell in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest,

We do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate, exotic fruit. Touch it, and the bloom is gone. The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound. Fortunately in America at any rate, education produces no effect whatsoever. If it did it would prove a serious threat to the upper classes, and probably lead to acts of violence in Zuccotti Park.

And what a gift to propagandists and spin-doctors. With an ill-educated electorate of legal dunderheads, as the nearly blank slates and empty heads for the press/propagandists and spin-doctors to write on, it was simply a matter of who had the better propagandists for, as been said before quite perfectly, Obama's legal position on Marriage Equality should have been an embarrassment to lawyers and subject of ridicule for any second year law student. The disgraceful part is that almost no one in the main stream made the least attempt to vet his legal rubbish by educating voters to think for themselves based on sound legal principals that are easy to understand. We are no doubt lucky it came out as well as it did but unless we teach Americans critical thinking we might easily go back to being as lucky as we were from Reagan through Bush II.

Francois Arouet 

Copyright © January 2013

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Do you hear dog whistles like I do?

As to religion, I think Obama is about as religious as you or I am. Some day, this country will pay more attention to agnostics and atheists. We're way behind the LGBT population in recognition and acceptance in many respects.
and don't forget Obama's insistence on adding, "So help me god" to his swearing in. THAT speaks volumes.
Thanks Amy: I have to agree with Lefty. I don't believe Obama is at all religious but must exercise the requisite hypocrisy or he'd never be elected to anything in America.

Indeed, if your read his first book, he made it quite clear that the only reason he joined any church was because he was told, in no uncertain terms, that if he did not he'd never get the support of black community in Chicago.

What is interesting is that he joined a denomination that unequivocally supported marriage equality since 2005. There has been absolutely no discussion of this salient fact. Debate? What debate. I have witnessed no debate. Just propaganda and spin.
[r] so well told, once again! shallow religious jingoism is a tragic given. best, libby
Purists will always be disappointed...yet they and their cries of disappointment are necessary to drive things forward.

Seems to me it was a bit of evolution for O's people to have moved within the space of weeks from inviting Giglio (who had the good sense to bug off) to speaking specifically for gay rights in the inauguration speech...and linking Stonewall with Selma and Seneca. O has had to be pragmatic (i.e., extremely unpure) to get anywhere as a politician, and unless the people do a mass thing every week (Occupy looked promising, but where is it now?) politicians are the only ones who can effect change, but his having been pushed on gay rights now looks to be pushing the laggards in the black churches and elsewhere...
Many thanks to the good intentions paving company.

"If a Nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be... if we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed." -- Thomas Jefferson

What is it about the Internet that corrupts reading skills? It is truly unfortunate that so many simply miss the point completely. I am not the least bit interested in colluding in propaganda, or perpetuating and/or appealing to ignorance, with a wink and a nod, for covert political purpose. I am interested in puling OFF the wool from eyes and not the reverse; interested in getting people to actually think before they swallow and to urge the gullible to vet the propaganda spoon-fed to them. Even (nay, especially) when it's spoon-fed by their purported 'friends'.

Get real: If your lawyer defrauds the court and lies to protect you (and gets you to pay his fees) then do you really trust he may not betray your interests for his later benefit? Really? Remember? Have they learned nothing?

The issue is a simple one: If, as Obama claims, he is a “Christian” and a Civil Rights lawyer who respects Separation of Church; if, as he claims, he joined the UCC in good faith; if, as he claims, he genuinely respects gay marriage equality; if he respects the Declaration of Marriage Equality issued by the synod of his own denomination; if he feels his “deeply held” religious beliefs have a place in the public square; and if, as he insists, he must have a cleric to bless his secular inauguration, then why does he not have the 'AUTHENTICITY' invite a minister from his own denomination which called for full Equal Marriage Rights For All way back in 2005? And why did he disavow and disrespect his own synod's resolution to reject civil (SECULAR!) marriage rights in the very name of religion (the above links are there for good reason) and why did he do so in direct contradiction to the wisdom of his own church leaders? Is anyone paying any attention? Or do liberals have the attention span of poodles?

Gullible sheep eager for another fleecing fail to vet at their own peril. To fail to ask those questions and demand answers is to go willingly on a fool's errand. Do not complain if your are duped again when you have colluded in your own fleecing.

Obama could only get away with such hypocritical, intellectual, and legal rubbish, if people are kept in ignorance and distracted by propaganda or if they quietly collude in it as they, yet again, fail to think before swallowing. In either case do not dare cry victim.

It is not for Obama to impeach himself but for journalists (not Madison Avenue spin doctors and propaganda shills) and thinking (informed) citizens to call him out and hold his feet to the fire. Politicians walk the walk and they talk the talk but the question always is: who will make them walk their talk? That is our responsibility!

We all know why he does this but “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions” and educating people to think for themselves, getting them to ask the relevant questions, to see the fallacies, to VET the propaganda, and to call-out the speaker, are the only things that will make for an educated electorate.

This all goes precisely to the issue Progressives complained of after the last election and I greeted such complaints with little sympathy. To blindly follow is be herded like sheep. In which case none can complain of being fleeced where they colluded in their own fleecing.
Wow, Frank.

Way to COMPLETELY ignore what the man said and to IMMEDIATELY jump to character assassination and personal insult.

No wonder you, KS and Beck all eat from the same trough.
Thanks Amy. Glad you noticed. And I will add “who suck on the same bottle of poison.” This creep has the social skills of Jared Lee Loughner. I'd tell this stalking troll to go annoy his friends but I doubt he has any. He can't follow a thought farther a civic center pigeon can fly. What a life. Did I say 'life'? Sorry. Witness a nasty, mean-spirited, red-faced, senile old fool who's sole joy in life is to piss on others.

I (and others you will note) have repeatedly had to clean up the demented shit this tired old sack of venom loves to dump in others' space. Always the no-life troll with nothing to do, nothing to contribute, hiding in wait, looking for a place to spill his spleen. Always the serpent sinking his fangs into others I have had to ban his hideous ad hominem before and I generally delete his comments without reading for we can see the same, consistent, poisonous pathology. So clean it up I do - my choice of course.

Let's hope such trolls slam their keyboards and spit their venom from the confines of a locked facility. I prefer to not look lunatics in the eye. These are the kinds of tricky personalities we hope are prevented from getting hold of guns.
Troll shit deleted here.

Internet troll: a cyber-bully or “Flamer” is a cretin with a borderline personality disorder and a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, a sense of entitlement, and an unreasonable expectation their crass insults deserve especially favorable treatment from those they piss on.

Their sole purpose in life is to seek out or stalk people to argue with, to inflame discussion, and to bait discord. They are the type of anti-social cretin who accepts an invitation to a discussion only to take umbrage when they are thrown out for shitting in their host's space. They are inter-personally exploitative and take advantage of others to achieve their own nasty ends. Encountering such wild-eyed, foam-mouthed mongrels snapping their jaws in the air, few of us can be bothered to wonder precisely how the dog became rabid. There is no point arguing. The inevitable devastation of the troll’s dearly sheltered assumptions probably feeds their sense of aggrieved outrage even as the attention strokes their sense of self-importance.

They cannot, by themselves, stop. Some moderators will ask that the troll not be fed, while others will ban them outright. I find the later works best: never look lunatic in the eye.

While indifference may cause the juveniles to seek their pleasures elsewhere the dedicated and mature stalker of Open Salon variety of Ignoramus Americanus must either be perpetually tolerated or summarily exiled. But you may notice they usually continue to haunt the premises since they regard their venom as evidence of their own existence. Track their comments and you will discover many who are attracted to full-time bile. They are almost always reacting and seldom creating and they delight in expectorating their unwanted flatulence on your blog or web site.

The most pathetic wackass antisocial personality disordered are the apparently “mature adults” who rarely appear to have legitimate qualifications and jobs. They display a persistent pattern of obstructing on-topic discussion, pretend to throw arbitrary tantrums, and never hesitate to contribute absurd, non sequitur remarks at any perceived opportunity. The precise etiology is still being researched, but some scholars think such afflicted individuals usually enjoy some type of unfulfilling (and unsupervised) employment situation where they have access to computers with internet connections. Others are no doubt just keyboard colonels slamming others from their tailors in East Gas Pump Ohio with a bottle of poison close by.

Astute observers may notice their grandiose sense of self-importance and the expectation of being recognized as superior without earning that reverence. Often preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited brilliance they require excessive admiration, regardless of whether they earned it and throw a hissy-fit tantrum if they don't get it. And, again, there is almost always that sense of entitlement and the unreasonable expectation of especially favorable treatment from those they stalk to insult.

None of us must tolerate the intolerable so it's courtesy to others when we flush down the troll-shit before our friends step in it.
The infestation of venomous trolls at Open Salon has only gotten worse --I guess these must be the pathetic wackasses who have been barred from places like the Huntington Post. Open Salon really should include a feature to allow writers to block disturbed users who think a comment section is intended for their sick amusement.
When you fart, does your mamma still wipe your ass? That could be something you want to keep up to remember me by.
Gee, Ben Sen... that is REALLY profound. Where'd you pick that up from, the 3rd grade playground?

Grow the fuck up, why don'tcha? Geez...
Thanks Amy. You think the moron might at least take the 5th instead of providing a written confession of his own wackdom. I'll leave that one here as evidence of just how boldly these sick trolls tell on themselves. What an absolutely perfect fit verifying my comments. At least Jared Lee Loughner and James Holmes are locked up. Perhaps we can introduce them and they can all have a 3 way conversation. Hey get scared, these are the kinds of demented nut-jobs who want to own guns.