Archive - 2008
I'm sure many people who read today's HuffPo piece by Christine Wicker titled "If You Love Jesus, Vote for Obama" (link) won't appreciate it, won't get it. I do. Though I wouldn't tell anyone that a love of Jesus requires voting for any particular candidate (which, by the way, is what many on the religious right actually do), I'm in agreement with much of what Wicker writes in the article. For example:
After more than 20 years during which the Religious Right has been the dominant ethical and moral voice in the public square, the reputation of American Christians is at an all time low, especially among young people. As the political ambitions of the most right wing Christians have soared, the influence of Christian teachings on popular culture has plummeted.
I recommend following the link above and reading the whole piece. Personally, I like Wicker's article because it expresses in a clever and provocative way ("If you love Jesus, vote for" is certainly provocative language) something that I believe to be true: the strong association of the religious right with the political far right is a liability in accomplishing the mission of the church among about half of the population.
I think there is a real danger for the stink of politics to mask the beautiful aroma of the gospel. Look at the way the current campaign has inevitably ended up in the gutter despite the initial promise of a different kind of campaign from these two candidates. And the way people like Dobson wield political power is so distasteful to me. And the culture war? That's the way to engage outsiders? There's a reason why they like Jesus but not the church.
I don't think the answer is for the religious left to become the new religious right in the political realm, but I think it would be very healthy for it to be more obvious that Christianity and Republicanism are not synonymous.
A week ago I went to see Shellac play at the Crofoot in Pontiac, MI. I actually had a couple of tickets (that my mother-in-law picked up for me) but couldn't find anyone to go with me (Prentice was on his honeymoon and no one from Nashville could make the trip). Phreddy Wischusen, general manager of the Crofoot, told her that by getting the tickets for me she proved wrong all the late night talk show hosts with their jokes about mothers-in-law. The Crofoot is a fairly new and nice venue. I was standing right in front of the stage. Last time I did that was with Matt at Slint in Chicago. Chris Brokaw opened the show. The dudes talking loudly behind me during Brokaw's set were annoying. The Shellac set was loose and enjoyable. Here are some photos. More here.
More piano from the boys:
The fact that for a moment I thought "It's crazy, but I wonder if she really did pretend to have her kid's baby?" helps me understand how some folks can believe the stuff they do about Obama.