For Blake, “Obama is a progressive Christian who blends the emotional fire of the African-American church, the ecumenical outlook of contemporary Protestantism, and the activism of the Social Gospel, a late 19th-century movement whose leaders faulted American churches for focusing too much on personal salvation while ignoring the conditions that led to pervasive poverty.”
And Blake wants to place Obama in the line of Black Christians like Martin Luther King, Jr., who said that “any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them …is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.”
But Barack Obama is no Martin Luther King, as our president has proven himself to be a great divider whereas King was a great unifier. And King, for his part, would not have shouted “Amen” to the sermons of Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s mentor, whose often shrill version of black liberation theology formed the ideological basis of Obama’s Christianity. With spiritual foundations like that, it is no wonder that the president could make the obscene comparison between “Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf” and gay marriage.
Blake closes his article by pointing to research done by Marcia Pally, author of the book “The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good.” He writes that Pally’s “perspective suggests that Obama’s faith may be treated by history in two ways: He could be seen as the last embodiment of a progressive version of Christianity that went obsolete. Or he could be seen as a leader who helped resurrect a dying brand of Christianity for a new generation.”
Pally and Blake fail to consider a third, more likely scenario: Obama could be seen as a religious apostate, a man who denied some of the most fundamental values of Christianity (what else can be said of a political leader who three times vetoed the Born Alive Infant Protection Act “that would require medical care for a baby who survives an abortion”?), a man who used the Bible to back a radical, often harmful social agenda. In that regard, Obama is more a disciple of Saul Alinsky than of Jesus.
Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, includingLine of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.