Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Alexandra Pelosi holds mirror up to US conservatives in new film

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Alexandra Pelosi is the daughter of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a filmmaker. She is best known for her documentary “Journeys with George” which showed the lighter side of George W. Bush in 2000. On Monday, February 16th on HBO, she turns her camera on how some conservative voters felt and acted during the recent 2008 Presidential election especially when Barack Obama won. It is her attempt to show there are at least two different countries in the US trying to coexist with each other.

Here is the blurb from the HBO website. *Note* in my TV lisiting it says it is on the main HBO channel so check your local listings for time and channel.

Right America: Feeling Wronged – Some Voices from the Campaign Trail

On the day Barack Obama was elected the 44th President, more than 58 million voters cast their ballots for John McCain. In the months leading up to this historic election, filmmaker Alexandra Pelosi (HBO’s Emmy®-winning “Journeys with George”) took a road trip to meet some of the conservative Americans who waited in line for hours to support the GOP ticket, and saw their hopes and dreams evaporate in the wake of that Democratic victory. These voters share their feelings about the changing America in which they live. Premieres Monday, February 16 at 8pm (ET/PT) on HBO2.

For her fifth HBO project, Pelosi visited 28 states and spoke about the fight for the soul of the country with mostly conservative Americans, who feel underrepresented by the mainstream media. From the Pulpit Freedom Day in Bethlehem, Ga. to the NASCAR circuit, RIGHT AMERICA: FEELING WRONGED – SOME VOICES FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL shows a country at war with itself over the religious and cultural identities that define America. Many interviewees were particularly incensed by what they saw as a lack of any meaningful media attention given to their message during the election campaign – including their views on such hotly contested issues as gun control, abortion rights, religion and gay rights – and by a perceived media bias against McCain and running mate Sarah Palin.

“The way the press handles the election, we feel like our side’s never being really represented, never really given a fair shake,” says one man. “It’s almost like they think of us as a bunch of hicks, a bunch of idiots. And they don’t even wanna hear our side or understand us.”

“The liberal media is selling the American people short,” observes one woman. “That’s ridiculous and people should be outraged. And millions and millions of us are.” “We’re the backbone of this country,” says another man. “We’re hardworkin,’ blue- collared workers that keep this country runnin.’ He [Obama] talks like he knows us; he doesn’t know us.”

Right America: Feeling Wronged – Some Voices from the Campaign Trail

I thought it amusing that the quotes say they thought the media didn’t represent their views. Maybe not the right wing nut type of views but the media did a good job of pushing the conservative talking points during the whole campaign. I’m not sure what media they were watching.

Pelosi was also interviewed on the Rachel Maddow show on Friday night on MSNBC. Here is her segment. It starts a minute or two into the actual clip:

Rick Warren showing his bigotry once again

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Usually when one causes trouble in the public arena, a good move is to lay low until the dust settles as it usually does. When the selection of Rick Warren to give the invocation at Barack Obama’s inaugural caused a fire storm in the gay and liberal audiences, you would think Warren would try to say as little as possible and let the issue blow itself out. Well guess again. In a 22 minute video log posted on his church’s website, on Sunday, Dr. Warren made the issue out to be the fault of the left and “Christophobes” trying to silence his free speech rights and he tried to deny he ever equated gay marriage with incest and pedophilia.

The Rachel Maddow Show, on MSNBC, on Tuesday showed a clip of the video:

Religious bigot Rick Warren to give invocation at Obama inaugural

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Boy do I feel like a bit of a schmuck. After praising Barack Obama’s commitment to science and facts in policy decisions, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced that Dr. Rick Warren, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA would give the invocation at the inaugural on January 20th. Warren is not someone a progressive person would invite. Basically, to me, he is a right wing religious tool.

As the People for the American Way put it:

It is a grave disappointment to learn that pastor Rick Warren will give the invocation at the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Pastor Warren, while enjoying a reputation as a moderate based on his affable personality and his church’s engagement on issues like AIDS in Africa, has said that the real difference between James Dobson and himself is one of tone rather than substance. He has recently compared marriage by loving and committed same-sex couples to incest and pedophilia. He has repeated the Religious Right’s big lie that supporters of equality for gay Americans are out to silence pastors. He has called Christians who advance a social gospel Marxists. He is adamantly opposed to women having a legal right to choose an abortion.

I’m sure that Warren’s supporters will portray his selection as an appeal to unity by a president who is committed to reaching across traditional divides. Others may explain it as a response to Warren inviting then-Senator Obama to speak on AIDS and candidate Obama to appear at a forum, both at his church. But the sad truth is that this decision further elevates someone who has in recent weeks actively promoted legalized discrimination and denigrated the lives and relationships of millions of Americans.

Rick Warren gets plenty of attention through his books and media appearances. He doesn’t need or deserve this position of honor. There is no shortage of religious leaders who reflect the values on which President-elect Obama campaigned and who are working to advance the common good.

People For the American Way ‘Profoundly Disappointed’ that Rick Warren Will Give Invocation

And Greg Sargent over at Talking Points Memo added:

After all, the decision really gives Warren an extraordinary platform — not to mention yet another data point supporting the bogus notion that the radical Warren is some kind of “moderate.” If the first black president doesn’t mind him giving the invocation at his historic inaugural, how bad and bigoted can he really be?

Top Liberal Group Hammers Decision For Rick Warren To Deliver Obama’s Inaugural Invocation

This is also a slap to the GBLT community so soon after the tragic passage of Prop 8 in California which Warren supported.

Barack Obama’s administration to value science and facts

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After 8 years of having religious ideology destroying Federal agencies and policies dependent on rational scientific thought and methods, President-elect Barack Obama said exactly what I wanted to hear.

“My administration will value science,” Obama said, in what sounded like a pointed reference to his predecessor. “We will make decisions based on facts.”

Obama went on to describe combating global warming as “a leading priority of my presidency and a defining test of our time.”

He appointed Steven Chu, a physics Nobel laureate, is his new energy secretary. Carol Browner, the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency, is the head of a new policy council to coordinate climate, environment and energy issues. And Lisa Jackson, the chief of staff for New Jersey’s governor, is head of the EPA.

Obama: My Administration Will Value “Science” And “Facts”

I am starting to feel better about the upcoming Obama years.

Yea Science!

What does a President Obama mean for secularists and non-believers?

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With the 2008 Presidential election being, what does a President Obama mean for secularists, non-believers, and church state separation? Well, based on the campaign it doesn’t seem much will change but then again with a more liberal President who hasn’t worn his religion on his sleeve, there is hope for us.

Barack Obama is a Christian – no doubt about that, but he came to religion in the mid 1980’s. His father was an atheist or agnostic and his mother held a detached view of religion.

For my mother, organized religion too often dressed up closed-mindedness in the garb of piety, cruelty and oppression in the cloak of righteousness.

This isn’t to say that she provided me with no religious instruction. In her mind, a working knowledge of the world’s great religions was a necessary part of any well-rounded education. In our household the Bible, the Koran, and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology. On Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites. But I was made to understand that such religious samplings required no sustained commitment on my part. Religion was an expression of human culture, she would explain, not its wellspring, just one of the many ways — and not necessarily the best way — that man attempted to control the unknowable and understand the deeper truths about our lives.

In sum, my mother viewed religion through the eyes of the anthropologist she would become; it was a phenomenon to be treated with a suitable respect, but with a suitable detachment as well.

Who Is Barack Obama?

Obama seemed to restate this view in a speech given in 2006 to “Call to Renewal’s Building a Covenant for a New America: conference”:

While I’ve already laid out some of the work that progressive leaders need to do, I want to talk a little bit about what conservative leaders need to do — some truths they need to acknowledge.

For one, they need to understand the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy, but the robustness of our religious practice. Folks tend to forget that during our founding, it wasn’t the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective champions of the First Amendment. It was the persecuted minorities, it was Baptists like John Leland who didn’t want the established churches to impose their views on folks who were getting happy out in the fields and teaching the scripture to slaves. It was the forbearers of the evangelicals who were the most adamant about not mingling government with religious, because they did not want state-sponsored religion hindering their ability to practice their faith as they understood it.

Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America’s population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson’s, or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So before we get carried away, let’s read our bibles. Folks haven’t been reading their bibles.

This brings me to my second point. Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

‘Call to Renewal’ Keynote Address

Sounds like some of the skepticism I experience in my monthly Humanist meetings.

But of course during the campaign, Obama promised to continue and expand Bush’s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. However he planned to restore the restrictions on proselytizing and job discrimination based on religion that President Bush had relaxed.

Obama opposed California Prop. 8 that banned gay marriage but he felt marriage was between a man and woman. He has said that he supports civil unions but that marriage laws should be decided by the states.

I also think that Obama would be more incline to select a liberal Supreme Court justice should a vacancy come up and that would, at least in the short term, maintain the 5-4 votes that have happened recently on hot button issues. If another vacancy happens then it could tilt the court to a point of view that more strongly supports church state separation. I admit it might be a gamble. But then until there is a viable non-theistic candidate then we need to vote for a believer who will be amenable to our point of view. I think Obama is based on his past speeches and writings.

Just for your information, here is a graphic showing the percentage of votes by religion. You’ll see that 75% of people reporting no religion voted for Obama. Let’s hope we didn’t make a mistake.

Yes, we know about Obama and Rev Wright but what about McCain, Hagee, and Parsley

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The mainstream media (MSM) sure have been in a tizzy about Democrat candidate for President Barrack Obama and his relationship with the pastor of his church Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Even after Obama strongly rejected Wright’s comments and Wright is no longer associated with the campaign, the MSM just can’t let it go.

Not only that but it is one sided. They have said nothing about the GOP candidate John McCain and the endorsement and close relationship with Pastor John Hagee and Rev Rod Parsley.

As I wrote about earlier today, John McCain yesterday happily received an endorsement from, and then expressed lavish gratitude towards, one of the most hateful and radical evangelical ministers in the country, Pastor John Hagee. As documented in that post, Hagee has a history of making some of the most extreme and twisted statements of any religious figure in the country towards multiple groups of Americans.

[Catholic League’s President, Bill] Donohue contrasted McCain’s embrace of such a hateful and radical figure with Obama’s denunciation earlier this week of Louis Farrakhan: “Obama did the right thing. You’ve got to throw overboard the people who are the bigots even if they’ve done good work here and there. This is the problem I have with McCain.” And he added that Hagee’s bigotry is hardly confined to Catholics, noting that a “prominent rabbi” had contacted him earlier today to ask that they issue a joint denunciation of Hagee/McCain, as the rabbi was deeply concerned that “too many Jews have also been mislead by Hagee.”

Interview with Bill Donohue: Catholic League denounces McCain

And there is Rod Parsley:

Senator John McCain hailed as a spiritual adviser an Ohio megachurch pastor who has called upon Christians to wage a “war” against the “false religion” of Islam with the aim of destroying it.

On February 26, McCain appeared at a campaign rally in Cincinnati with the Reverend Rod Parsley of the World Harvest Church of Columbus, a supersize Pentecostal institution that features a 5,200-seat sanctuary, a television studio (where Parsley tapes a weekly show), and a 122,000-square-foot Ministry Activity Center. That day, a week before the Ohio primary, Parsley praised the Republican presidential front-runner as a “strong, true, consistent conservative.”

John McCain’s “Spiritual Guide” Calls For Destruction Of Islam

Hagee is also leader of Christians United for Israel (CUFI) which is a radical pro-Israel group that feels supporting Israel will bring about the rapture. I wrote about the group in the entry Christian Zionism and Politics – a deadly mix

It is clear that when it comes to religious bigotry, the press gives the GOP a pass.