The plan to woo evangelicals was masterful and working until his minister, Jeremiah Wright, hit the TV news channels. It appears support from this newly converted group is slipping away in the aftermath of the disturbing revelations about his pastor of 20 years, Rev. Wright. Wright’s hate-filled, racist, anti-American ranting, profanity and taking the Lord’s name in vain doesn’t sit well with most Americans, but they are especially distasteful to Christians. Such venomous and hateful words go against the basic tenets of evangelical Christianity.
Barak Obama’s church, Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, is dedicated to Black Liberation Theology and income redistribution. This liberal theology goes hand-in-hand with the liberal politics which Obama espouses. Obama’s faith is heavily based in the social gospel, meaning an emphasis is placed on the humanitarian example of Jesus. Humanity’s need for a savior to pay the debt due because of sin, which is satisfied by Christ’s death and resurrection, is relegated to the sidelines.
Obama’s theology is now the subject of intense review on several Christian Web sites. What is raising eyebrows with evangelicals is what Obama said while speaking at a town-hall forum in North Carolina on March 26, 2008. When asked, he spoke about his Christian faith and then mentioned his late mother who was “not a believer.” He continued, "But she was the kindest, most decent, generous person that I have ever known," Obama said. "I'm sure she is in heaven, even though she may not have subscribed to everything that I subscribe to."
A basic tenet of evangelicals is that people believe in Jesus Christ in order to go to heaven. Evangelicals do not believe the door of heaven is open to every “kind” and “generous person.”
All of Obama’s hard work at packaging to persuade the white evangelical vote may have been hindered by the proverbial genie being let out of the lamp. And once the genie escapes, it’s nearly impossible to squeeze him back in before damage can be done. Time will tell how much ground Obama has lost with evangelicals, and if he will be able to win back some evangelical voters who will make the difference between winning and losing in November.