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Why Obama’s choice of churches does matter

Gary Hubbell

When I grew up in Carbondale, Colo., my parents started looking for a church for our family to attend. They visited several churches on successive Sunday mornings until they settled on the Methodist church led by the Rev. Jim Cavender. The lessons I learned in that church had to do with community, with helping, sharing, and love of Christ and God’s word. I do not recall ever hearing words of hate, division, injustice or racism.

Carbondale was a rural ranching town in those days, but it was not a “white bread” community. There were families of all extractions ” Mexican, Polish, Indian (they didn’t like the term “Native American”), lots of Italians, one or two black families, and even an Eskimo family. There were Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Jews, all manner of Protestants and, with the tie-dyed hippy community, even some Hindus and Buddhists.

I consider these factors a crucial part of my upbringing. Now, because my wife and I have moved our sons to a new town, we are engaging in a similar search for a church to attend.



We want to learn more about the Bible and Jesus, and we want our children to have an appropriate religious upbringing. We want them to be good citizens.

Twenty years ago, U.S. Sen. Barack Obama engaged in a similar search for a spiritual home, but I have to question his motives. Were his motives spiritual, or were they political?




One has to recognize that Obama aspired to the presidency from an early age. He made all the right moves. He got an outstanding education at top schools, showed leadership skills from the beginning, dedicated himself to public service, and became a politician. But Obama made a crucial mistake. He pandered to the black vote. He engaged in racist politics.

Obama aligned himself with a Christian church, as politicians do, because churchgoing is an important line in a candidate’s resume. Unless I miss my guess, Obama’s choice of a church was carefully selected as the source of a political power base. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s church on the South Side of Chicago is a large church packed to the brim every Sunday with rapt worshipers who listen to a charismatic, powerful speaker with a gift for enthralling oratory.

Attending this church was a canny political move that helped Obama win a seat in the state assembly and later become a U.S. senator. What could deliver the black vote better than the biggest black church in the predominantly black area of Chicago? Aside from Wright’s comments that we’ve all heard, calling our country the “USKKK of A” and “goddamn America,” the tenor of the preaching is clear. The church is “unashamedly black and unapologetically Christian,” according to the its website. “We are an African people, and remain ‘true to our native land,’ the mother continent … It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people and a congregation.”

Oh, I get it. “Poor me.” Make me a victim. Make me suffer racial prejudice. Give me reparations for slavery. Give me housing. Set aside some spots for me in the fire department and police department, even though I might test lower than other candidates. Save us some contracts every time a street is paved, a bridge is built or a convention center is planned.

And watch out, because we’ll picket you and call you a racist if we don’t get what we want.

The average American, regardless of color, creed, or gender, is sick to death of this kind of garbage. If I had been sitting in the pews when the Rev. Wright growled forth his hate, it wouldn’t have taken me 10 seconds to collect my family and head for the door. I think most Americans can’t imagine staying for a 20-year dose of that crap and then making the good reverend a campaign advisor. From a purely political perspective, it was suicide, and it makes one wonder about Obama’s judgment. Most people simply cannot imagine exposing their children to a weekly dose of hate, vitriol and victimhood. No wonder Michelle Obama says she isn’t proud of America, the land that gave her immense opportunities, a quality education, a great income and a husband who is a serious presidential candidate.

I have a question for Barack Obama. In his career as a “community activist,” was he a person who indeed brought people together to achieve consensus and arrive at solutions that benefited the community as a whole, or was he just a slick rabble-rouser organizing picketers to make sure the set-asides were there for the black community? This is an honest question, and I’d like to hear an honest answer.

Is America ready for a black president? Sure. Absolutely. That’s what America is all about. Work hard, prove yourself, get ahead and succeed. Does the average American resent the idea of a black leader? No. This fact can be easily proven by Obama’s groundswell of support. Look at his poll numbers and the fact that he won 11 primaries in a row. The fact that his platform is basically a socialist agenda identical to Hillary Clinton’s is a policy issue, not a race referendum, and those who don’t support him simply disagree with his politics, not his race.

Obama says that he could not abandon the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, no more than he could abandon his grandmother or the black community. That’s probably true. He’s made his bed and he has to lie in it. The die was cast 20 years ago when he made a political calculation to pander to a certain subset of voters as his power base. America was hoping that he was bigger and better than that.

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