Reuters has reported that U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama came under fire on Friday for saying small-town Pennsylvania residents were “bitter” and “cling to guns or religion,” in comments his rivals said showed an elitist view of the middle class. Video of the fund-raiser, which was closed to the press, surfaced as Obama was campaigning in Indiana.
“You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them,” Obama, said. “And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations,” he said.
Obama’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, and Republican presidential nominee John McCain both pounced on the comments Obama made last weekend at a fund-raiser in San Francisco, claiming Obama was elitist and out of touch with the middle class.
More disturbing to me, however, is Obama’s presumption that people cling to religion because they are bitter and frustrated, as well as his grouping religion with guns, antipathy to people who aren’t like them, anti-immigrant sentiment and anti-trade sentiment.
From these comments and others Obama has made, it is clear his views on religion and traditional values are not favorable. Senator Obama’s public profession of Christian faith, his Muslim background, and his relationship to his church, the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, where until recently Obama’s spiritual mentor, Dr. Jeremiah Wright, was pastor, all require careful and prayerful consideration by Christians desiring to make their vote count in November.
CBS News reported that the roughly 8,000-member Trinity United Church of Christ has “often championed liberal causes, from gay rights to opposition to the Iraq war. It also emphasizes its African roots and asks parishioners to accept the ‘Black Value System.'”
Church pastor Jeremiah Wright told The New York Times in an interview published March 6: “When his (Obama’s) enemies find out that in 1984 I went to Tripoli” with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to visit Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, “a lot of his Jewish support will dry up quicker than a snowball in hell.”
Wright has made numerous anti-Semitic (and anti-American) comments during his career and publicly embraced Islamic and Palestinian causes. According to the Washington Post, in 1982, Trinity United Church of Christ launched Trumpet Newsmagazine where Wright’s daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year Trumpet Newsmagazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said “truly epitomized greatness” — Louis Farrakhan.
Obama has recently distanced himself from the man he has called his mentors, but can the apple really fall far from the tree? Careful and prayerful consideration must be given when choosing the man or woman who will lead America for the next four years.