“My values”? How, um, elastic a measure. Thank you, MSM, for vetting this clown.
I read a 2004 interview here and learned more about his Christian values than I ever learned during the election cycle.
Why wasn’t this dug up before? I suspect because his views and those of many in the MSM align quite closely. And they were nuanced enough to know that Obama’s words would cause a firestorm in the Christian community. In fact, the "confused" comment was shared in the MSM - they just didn't give any import to the rest of it. Well, I do.
Let’s go through his words:
Obama tells us that there are many paths to Heaven:
So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith.Many paths? The deviations from the Bible are so many in this interview that I am not going to count. John 14:6 (NIV): Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences.
I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10.
My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim.
And I'd say, probably, intellectually I've drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith.
So, I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.
Obama tells us that Rev. Wright’s church has a “good service”:
FALSANI: Do you still attend Trinity?I thought he wasn’t paying attention …
OBAMA: Yep. Every week. 11 oclock (sic) service. Ever been there? Good service.
I think Obama is saying that talking to himself is the equivalent of praying to G-d:
ALSANI: Do you pray often?OK, not quite that bad – it’s an “inner voice”:
OBAMA: Uh, yeah, I guess I do. It's not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I'm constantly asking myself questions about what I'm doing, why am I doing it.
And so, the biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass. Those are the conversations I'm having internally. I'm measuring my actions against that inner voice that for me at least is audible, is active, it tells me where I think I'm on track and where I think I'm off track.But who’s responding, O?
The Holy Spirit?
FALSANI: What's that power? Is it the holy spirit? God?Who you calling "they"? Luke 10:21 (NIV): At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.
OBAMA: Well, I think it's the power of the recognition of God, or the recognition of a larger truth that is being shared between me and an audience.
That's something you learn watching ministers, quite a bit. What they call the Holy Spirit.
Concerning Jesus, he says:
FALSANI: Who's Jesus to you?Obama quite neatly labels Jesus as a bridge only in the Christian faith. I take that to mean that in the other faiths from which this worldly man draws, Jesus is merely an historical figure. John 11:4 (NIV): When he heard this, Jesus said, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it."
(He laughs nervously)
Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he's also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher.
And he's also a wonderful teacher. I think it's important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history.
Concerning reading the Bible and praying regularly:
FALSANI: Do you try to take some time for whatever, meditation prayer reading?There he goes talking to himself again and equating it to prayer. This was also in 2004 when he running for the US Senate. He thinks he was busy then? you need to set some priorities, son.
OBAMA: I'll be honest with you, I used to all the time, in a fairly disciplined way. But during the course of this campaign, I don't. And I probably need to and would like to, but that's where that internal monologue, or dialogue I think supplants my opportunity to read and reflect in a structured way these days.
What about spiritual guidance?
FALSANI: Do you have people in your life that you look to for guidance?All words somehow lost in the most-recent campaign: Enormous respect, interact closely, good friends, dear friends.
OBAMA: Well, my pastor [Jeremiah Wright] is certainly someone who I have an enormous amount of respect for.
I have a number of friends who are ministers. Reverend Meeks is a close friend and colleague of mine in the state Senate. Father Michael Pfleger is a dear friend, and somebody I interact with closely.
FALSANI: Those two will keep you on your toes.
OBAMA: And theyr'e (sic) good friends. Because both of them are in the public eye, there are ways we can all reflect on what's happening to each of us in ways that are useful.
I think they can help me, they can appreciate certain specific challenges that I go through as a public figure.
Moving onto the Ticket to Hell:
OBAMA: … There's the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven't embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior that they're going to hell.Obama’s words conflict with the Bible. All aboard! Next stop Hell! 2 Peter 4:9 (NIV): For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell,[a] putting them into gloomy dungeons[b] to be held for judgment; if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment ...
FALSANI: You don't believe that?
OBAMA: I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell.
I can't imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity.
That's just not part of my religious makeup.
And now for a gratuitous slap at conservative media – and a complete ignoring of the recent (and not new) public statements by the Catholic Church concerning denying Communion to followers that support abortion:
FALSANI: Do you ever have people who know you're a Christian question a particular stance you take on an issue, how can you be a Christian and ...So as a conservative, I am “confused.” You cannot recall someone ever challenging the disconnect between your political positions (when you’re not voting “present” that is) and your claim to be a Christian? Must be nice to tune out such a large segment of the voting population.
OBAMA: Like the right to choose.
I haven't been challenged in those direct ways. And to that extent, I give the public a lot of credit. I'm always struck by how much common sense the American people have. They get confused sometimes, watch FoxNews or listen to talk radio. That's dangerous sometimes. But generally, Americans are tolerant and I think recognize that faith is a personal thing, and they may feel very strongly about an issue like abortion or gay marriage, but if they discuss it with me as an elected official they will discuss it with me in those terms and not, say, as 'you call yourself a Christian.' I cannot recall that ever happening.
So was he actually paying attention to Rev. Wright as he spoke his, um, sermons:
I spend a lot of time in the black church. I have no qualms in those settings in participating fully in those services and celebrating my God in that wonderful community that is the black church.I guess so.
We talked about the apparent non-existence of Hell. Let’s try Heaven:
FALSANI: Do you believe in heaven?So the measuring rod is him – how good he does – it has nothing to do with a standard set by G-d. He also seems to think that anything in the Bible concerning Heaven is not be relied upon because it seems that the whole “life after death” bit is above his pay grade. Just so we're clear on this concept - 2 Corinthians 5:1 (NIV): Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
OBAMA: Do I believe in the harps and clouds and wings?
FALSANI: A place spiritually you go to after you die?
OBAMA: What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don't presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, the aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing.
Let’s talk sin:
FALSANI: What is sin?His values? There's a money quote. No external standard here? G-d’s words in the Bible are second to his standards? Whew!
OBAMA: Being out of alignment with my values.
FALSANI: What happens if you have sin in your life?
OBAMA: I think it's the same thing as the question about heaven. In the same way that if I'm true to myself and my faith that that is its own reward, when I'm not true to it, it's its own punishment.
We also get another view of Heaven and Hell – it’s here! Good and bad acts are their own reward and punishment. Must be a South-Side of Chicago thing. I might be wrong, but I think sin is measured by an external standard - Galatians 5:17 (NIV): or the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
Let’s go back to his pew-sitting in Wright’s church:
FALSANI: Where do you find spiritual inspiration? Music, nature, literature, people, a conduit you plug into?Am I wrong in remembering that he said he wasn’t paying too much attention? That Wright’s sermons contained things he never quite heard before – even though he sat there for 20 years? What’s going on here?
OBAMA: There are so many.
Nothing is more powerful than the black church experience. A good choir and a good sermon in the black church, it's pretty hard not to be moved and be transported.
This is a Christian? Obama is the most openly non-Christian we’ve ever had as president. At least Clinton shut up about it, as he went to church on Easter Sunday and then to Monica’s kneepads afterward.
Obama – you can’t redefine the Bible and say that the “new definition” means you’re a Christian.
It. Doesn’t. Work. That. Way.
What some more? "If I could talk to Jesus Christ, I would want to know if I was going up or down":
Interesting guy, this President-Elect of the United States.