Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Now I’m Really Concerned

It might come as a surprise to some of you now, or who know me now, but for years I was an avid listener and dare I say fan of right wing talk radio. In my office and workshop I nearly forced my crew to listen to Rush, G Gordon, and Savage. My television was locked on Fox News, I subscribed to National Review, and when I did not vote Republican it was because they were too liberal for me.

By the Grace of God and some caring liberal friends I got better… I mention it because I want you to understand a bit of where I am coming from with what I am about to say.

About six weeks ago I wrote an article entitled “I’m Beginning to Become Concerned”. The main point of that article was that I am becoming worried about the level of hopes and dreams many on the political left are placing in Barrack Obama. I’m becoming concerned that no mere human can live up to the salvific vision of many Obama supporters. I will admit I feel a political and personal affinity for Senator Obama myself, but I worry that too much is being placed upon him. Either he will not be elected, or he will not be able to live up to the unrealistic expectations being placed upon him. In the case of the first, I fear the reactions of those whose dreams are dashed, in the second I fear that it will set back the liberal and progressive vision for our country by a generation.

That concern is still there, but it is now compounded by the enormous fear and hatred I sense coming from the more radical ends of the political right. I know that fear and hatred, I used to hear it every day in the calls of my fellow listeners to Rush and Savage. I know that for years that fear and hatred has been looking for a target that it could lash out at. The right wing radio personalities have used that fear and hatred as their weapon, and it is their base… and it is angry and frustrated… and poised.

Now, at a level never before seen, Politicians on the National Stage are doing the same thing. They are intentionally inflaming this hatred and fear, and are giving it a specific target… Barrack Obama.

I ended my article six weeks ago with this prayer, and I pray now that it does not turn out to be prophetic…

“So, for me it is not just an American Prayer, it is a Human Prayer…. Please God, let the movement be more than the man… And protect him… please protect him…”

James Oliphant, a columnist I read regularly and whom I respect, recently asserted as a statement a question I have been asking myself… Is the negative campaign strategy being practiced by his opponents putting Barrack Obama’s life in danger?

At first, I want to say no, that we as a nation have moved beyond such things… but then I remember the hate-filled calls into the radio shows of Rush and others, and I remember how those radio hosts fanned the flames of those calls. Then I see the video of people at political rallies yelling “Terrorist”, “Traitor” and “Kill Him!”.

From the one side, all the hope and dreams of so many being placed onto the shoulders of one man. From the other side, all the fear and hatred of so many being placed on the shoulders of one man.

I will admit it… I am afraid…

Yours in Faith,


5 Thoughts on “Now I’m Really Concerned

  1. The evidence behind my concern was continuing to build while I was writing this essay.

    The hatred and venom from the crowd at a McCain rally in Lakeville Minnesota today was so severe that John McCain himself was moved to speak against it. He told one man that he did not have to be afraid of an Obama Presidency, and corrected another woman when she said that Obama was an Arab. (That there is nothing wrong with being an Arab is besides the point.)

    When he told the crowd that Obama was a good man and a patriotic American, and that they should oppose his policies with respect… he was booed by his own crowd.

    They do not understand the energies they are playing with so cavalierly.

    Click here for the story in print


    Click here to see the video and commentary on it by Rachel Maddow


    Yours in Faith,


  2. Rep. John Lewis made the following statement on Politico.com, a day after I wrote the above article:

    As one who was a victim of violence and hate during the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I am deeply disturbed by the negative tone of the McCain-Palin campaign. What I am seeing reminds me too much of another destructive period in American history. Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are sowing the seeds of hatred and division, and there is no need for this hostility in our political discourse.

    During another period, in the not too distant past, there was a governor of the state of Alabama named George Wallace who also became a presidential candidate.

    George Wallace never threw a bomb. He never fired a gun, but he created the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans who were simply trying to exercise their constitutional rights. Because of this atmosphere of hate, four little girls were killed on Sunday morning when a church was bombed in Birmingham, Alabama.

    As public figures with the power to influence and persuade, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin are playing with fire, and if they are not careful, that fire will consume us all. They are playing a very dangerous game that disregards the value of the political process and cheapens our entire democracy. We can do better. The American people deserve better.

  3. As a recovering conservative myself I agree with everything you’ve said.

  4. David,
    I hear your concerns about our putting the Senator up on a pedestal, making him the savior of our broken political system, liberals casting their vote and waiting for Barack to magically change everything once he is in office. I think the media is doing a great job of hyping his celebrity status and forgetting that his message is against that, his whole campaign is against that. You can watch clips of the rallies, hear the sound bites of people praising him as the greatest thing to happen to liberal politics, but where you will truly see what he is doing is in his campaign offices.
    I have been volunteering for the campaign in Philadelphia for the last week and while getting to see the senator speak at a rally in North Philly was very inspiring, what I will always remember from that amazing week were the people who are working everyday to support this campaign.
    The use and empowering of grassroots politics is really his greatest achievement.
    The idea of grassroots politics wasn’t invented by Senator Obama, but it has succeeded so well because that ideology is a core part of his message. He can’t change America, only concerned citizens can change America. He has reminded the population that they can be a part of politics, that their efforts do make a difference and only by getting involved will change really happen.
    I left those offices so energized by the capacity of human being to become involved. There is a new generation being trained in how to create change, not just left it happen around you. I think of all the amazingly dedicated field officers, the unpaid volunteers who traveled to work on this campaign, the average citizens who come in for a few hours to help and I wonder what they will do after this campaign. The senator isn’t just mobilizing a core to get him elected, his is mobilizing people to take control of their communities again.
    Imagine just a tiny percentage of the thousands and thousands of people who have contributed time and funds to his campaign continuing in their communities with the training they received. Seeing problems and not petitioned government to fix them, but now feeling empowered and capable to take on these challenges. To be honest I am less excited about seeing Obama the president as I am in seeing Americans taking control of their country again. While I would hate to see Obama not make it to the white house, or worse something happen to him, I think he has helped reignite a flame of involvement that could not and will not be extinguished no matter what happens in November.

  5. Adam,

    That is very good to hear… and the volunteers and grass roots organization you are talking about is exactly what I meant in hoping that “the movement would be more than the man”.

    My concern is not with those who are actively involved in working in the campaign, or even with those working in other organizations that share similar values. My concern is more with those that are not engaged in actual work in liberal movements, but who are investing so much faith in one man. Those who are working know its a movement… for others, I’m not so sure.

    Thanks for the incredible post!

    Yours in Faith,


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