Last week, I marvelled at the fact that Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission seemingly had nothing better to do than to go through remarks delivered by President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast and try to refute them line by line.
In that post, I noted that the remarks Cass dedicated himself to attacking were actually delivered in 2009 … so, of course, Cass has now gone through the remarks Obama delivered last week and done it all over again:
Now, for those of us here in Washington, let’s acknowledge that democracy has always been messy. Let’s not be overly nostalgic. Divisions are hardly new in this country. Arguments about the proper role of government, the relationship between liberty and equality, our obligations to our fellow citizens — these things have been with us since our founding. And I’m profoundly mindful that a loyal opposition, a vigorous back and forth, a skepticism of power, all of that is what makes our democracy work.
The Founders gave us constitutional limits on the role of government and did not promise absolute equality in outcomes. Our obligations to our fellow citizens are based on our individual duties to God, and therefore not the governments concern.
And we’ve seen actually some improvement in some circumstances. We haven’t seen any canings on the floor of the Senate any time recently. So we shouldn’t over-romanticize the past. But there is a sense that something is different now; that something is broken; that those of us in Washington are not serving the people as well as we should. At times, it seems like we’re unable to listen to one another; to have at once a serious and civil debate. And this erosion of civility in the public square sows division and distrust among our citizens. It poisons the well of public opinion. It leaves each side little room to negotiate with the other. It makes politics an all-or-nothing sport, where one side is either always right or always wrong when, in reality, neither side has a monopoly on truth. And then we lose sight of the children without food and the men without shelter and the families without health care.
This is progressive double speak. It is President Obama’s tactics of shutting out debate and compromise that has doomed his own agenda. He is unable to listen to anything that does not fit his socialist schemes. Ironically, Obama says no one has a monopoly on truth, but as a Unitarian he does not believe in truth. Just because people object to his radical socialist proposals he assumes they don’t care about the children or families and health care.
Empowered by faith, consistently, prayerfully, we need to find our way back to civility. That begins with stepping out of our comfort zones in an effort to bridge divisions. We see that in many conservative pastors who are helping lead the way to fix our broken immigration system. It’s not what would be expected from them, and yet they recognize, in those immigrant families, the face of God.
So Obama is surprised to find that conservative pastors aren’t absolutely heartless. Well that’s refreshing. He laments the polarity between people and yet he is incredibly bigoted and biased. A conservative can do what liberals can’t. They can distinguish between helping someone truly in need and still uphold our laws. If someone breaks into my house just because he wants to live in a nicer home, am I obligated to let him stay? True refugees who flee from religious and political oppression have always been allowed refuge in the US. Why are we obligated to open our nation to people who just want a higher standard of living? If it is a true moral obligation then we owe it to the entire world’s population, not just those who have easy access to our borders. The fact is our immigration laws are compassionate and just, but Obama wants to grant amnesty so he can keep progressives in power.
We see that in the evangelical leaders who are rallying their congregations to protect our planet.
But evangelicals don’t see man as the problem with the planet and reject the socialistic environmentalists who simply want to use ecology as a means to destroy capitalism. Stewardship of and dominion over creation is God’s mandate.
We see it in the increasing recognition among progressives that government can’t solve all of our problems, and that talking about values like responsible fatherhood and healthy marriage are integral to any anti-poverty agenda.
Finally a realistic view of government and a proper appreciation of God’s first institution.
Stretching out of our dogmas, our prescribed roles along the political spectrum, that can help us regain a sense of civility.
Civility also requires relearning how to disagree without being disagreeable; understanding, as President [Kennedy] said, that “civility is not a sign of weakness.” Now, I am the first to confess I am not always right. Michelle will testify to that. But surely you can question my policies without questioning my faith, or, for that matter, my citizenship.
But apparently Obama can call into question the motives of conservatives who simply want to see a birth certificate and maybe some outward attendance at church.
Cass claims that this was necessary because President Obama “demonstrated a very confused theology” which needed to be clarified with Cass’s “analysis of his remarks from a biblical perspective.”
And apparently attacking Obama’s “socialist schemes” and “radical socialist proposals” along with health care and immigration reform while calling him a bigot and throwing in a little bit of Birtherism for good measure is what constitutes providing “biblical” analysis of his remarks.