The Democratic Party and mainstream media are all doing their part to give Illinois Senator Barack Obama a full makeover in the public eye — attempting to define the Senator as a mainstream Christian with the same values and faith that many people of faith in this country hold dear.
Recently, the senator from Illinois began appearing in ads broadcast on evangelical radio in Colorado Springs (home of Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family). The ads focus on his spirituality and Christianity, while neglecting to discuss any significant issues. Likewise, he made an even broader attempt to reach out to evangelical voters this week by giving what has been termed a “faith” speech in which he announced his plans to expand President Bush’s faith-based initiatives if he were elected president.
However, as the senator begins to reach out to the conservative, evangelical base, looking to swing that statistical percentage that would all but secure his election, he couldn’t help but reveal his true radical, liberal underpinnings. No amount of makeup should be able to hide these blemishes.
The guiding principles of an Obama faith-based initiative include language that should concern all faith-based organizations engaged in providing public services that receive federal support. Specifically, the third tenet of the Obama plan included the phrase, “Religious organizations that receive federal dollars cannot discriminate with respect to hiring for government-funded social service programs.”
Senator Obama’s proposition no longer keeps with a main tenet of charitable choice that was passed by a bipartisan majority in 1992 — that faith-based organizations should not be required to relinquish their religious identity as a condition for participating in government-funded programs. Instead, the senator’s plan will require that religious organizations abandon their faith — the very thing that makes them faith-based organizations in the first place.
The question then becomes: Senator Obama, how do you support or run a “faith-based” initiative if you want to undermine the confidence, allegiance or loyalty an organization has to its core beliefs?
The impact of such a drastic change in the faith-based programs set up by President Bush leaves faith-based programs with only two choices should Obama’s plan be put in place. Either submit to the strong arm of the government under the Obama plan or lose the funding to help the needy. And what about the commitment to the poor and the needy who rely on such services and faith-based programs? And those that are looking for shelter or food, when they arrive at the doorstep of a program that has been forced to shut down? Where will they find compassion?
An oft-quoted verse in the Biblical book of James is: “Faith without works is dead.”
Senator Obama appears to be attempting to rewrite this passage to say: “Works without faith is preferred.”
There is a deeper reason, however, that the Illinois senator does not seem to mind strong-arming the faith-based organizations, or rewriting their theology. Obama does not have a traditional Biblical worldview, and he doesn’t think traditional Christians should either. In an interview with The Advocate, a homosexual advocacy news-magazine, Obama responded to questions by the reporter concerning perceived African-American homophobia. He said, “Most African-American churches are still fairly traditional in their interpretations of Scripture.” As a “progressive” Christian, he believes that traditional Christian beliefs must progress to a new “truth” or “reality” — essentially a new interpretation of scripture.
This is, after all, the same politician who wholeheartedly supports an Employment Non-discrimination Act, a Hate Crimes Bill, and the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — all threats to the religious liberty of Americans and religious organizations that value their religious identity.
At the end of this makeover, hopefully the public will not be swayed by such marketing. The conversion that matters to Obama is the conversion of someone who casts a traditional conservative vote to cast a vote for Obama. And his manipulation of Christian ideals and marketing for political purposes will not result in a safer America for conservatives because, in the end, it will be Biblical theology that has undergone an extreme makeover. Personally, I’ll stick with the Bible and not the book of Obama.