Do They Really Want To Go There?

by: Paul Rosenberg

Sat Sep 06, 2008 at 10:54



Governor:
Pontius Pilate



Community Organizer:
Jesus Christ




Governor:
George Wallace



Community Organizer:
Martin Luther King




Governor:
Sarah Palin



Community Organizer:
Barack Obama


Too Late. They Already Did.

Paul Rosenberg :: Do They Really Want To Go There?
Obama's made a decent start in replying to them:

I would argue that doing work in the community, to try to create jobs, to bring people together, to rejeuvenate communities that have fallen on hard times, to set up job training programs in areas that have been hard-hit when the steel plants close, that that's relevant only in understanding where I'm coming from, who I believe in, who I'm fighting for, and why I'm in this race.

And the question I have for them is, why would that kind of work be ridiculous? Who are they fighting for? What are they advocating for? Do they think that the lives of those folks who are struggling each and every day, that working with them to try to improve their lives is somehow not relevant to the Presidency?

I think maybe that's the problem. That's part of why they're out of touch and they don't get it, because they haven't spent much time working on behalf of those folks.

But this should be only the beginning.  I want to hear him start talking about Jesus.  If he's going to go after evangelicals, I want to see him go after them.

As in, for example, Matthew 25:

Matthew 25:31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

41 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

44 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

45 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

46 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Cut welfare spending: go to Hell.  It's just that simple.

They are the scribes and Pharisees.  Woe unto all of them.


p.s.  Also check out D Wreck's diary, "Palin's Smug Hypocrisy on Community Organizing", which starts off quoting Matthew 25:40.


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Bravo. (0.00 / 0)
On a more serious note, an interesting discussion of Obama's evolving position on the role of "community organizing" can be found here:

http://tnr.com/politics/story....


"Cut welfare spending: go to Hell. " (4.00 / 5)
I fucking love this line. Thank you Paul.

Agreed. (4.00 / 1)
The only problem is that, on these grounds, first in line to Satan's workshop is a guy named Bubba: remember him?  

[ Parent ]
Indeed I Do (4.00 / 5)
And I also remember that Marian Wright Edelman's husband, Peter, resigned in protest when Clinton signed the bill.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
There are a lot of progressive democrats that aren't particularly fond of him (4.00 / 1)
fo that reason, and a myriad of others.  Better than Bush, better than Reagan, perhaps limited by circumstance.  

But, Clinton was what an adequate president is.  He wasn't a great President.  


[ Parent ]
Keep religion out of it. (0.00 / 0)
I agree that we can and should defend the noble work of community organizers.   However, I would prefer to do it without the religious references.  It just does not feel right and I think it could come back to haunt us.  

I think you are right ... (4.00 / 1)
and it could lead to trouble .. but the other problem I have is ... fighting fire with fire .. we all know that most Republican politicians don't really give a damn about Jesus' teachings .. they use it to drive a wedge .. so there is an itch to fight back .. and we are on solid ground too .. "That what you do unto the least of my brother .. that you do unto me" ... do Republicans believe that? ... they'd just as soon beat you up and take your money .. if their is a way to go medieval on their ass .. with out taking it too far .. I say go for it

[ Parent ]
They choose what to emphasize (0.00 / 0)
and they picked the list of crap in the OT long ago.  Though, for some reason, they ignore the Leviticus fashion tips.

[ Parent ]
Disagree (4.00 / 6)
Jesus Christ is a truly inspiring figure in many people's lives, and it is heartbreaking to see how this figure is twisted to justify lifestyles of uncaring consumption and intolerance.  Lost in all the modern cant is the message that He originally brought, of love and hope and tolerance, that inspired the common citizens of Rome to cast off the conformist patriarchial state religion.  

Unfortunately we live now with the result of the Roman state's assimilation of Christianity, from Constantine's adoption of Christianity as the new (conformist patriachial) state religion, to Theodesius' banning the pagan religions that the aristocracy was still trying to hold on to.  But we don't have to be trapped by history.

"What Would Jesus Do?"  What a wonderful rallying cry for religious progressives who want to take back Christ from the hate-filled preachers on the right, and their fat complacent flocks.

I see this as a wonderful opportunity.  Jesus Christ as a community organizer?  Bring it on.


[ Parent ]
I would also attack the fake Christian Republicans head on (4.00 / 2)
Why not call out these phonies for what they are--degenerate mobsters and thugs masquerading as pious Christians? When did Jesus teach hate and deception? Why not mock their fake Christian religion? I see no reason to show any respect for their self-serving beliefs whatsoever.

I don't sound much like Jesus but as I recall he had little tolerance for hypocrites like these.


[ Parent ]
Jesus damned them to hell. (0.00 / 0)
Talk about zero tolerance.

If these people actually read their Bibles they would never sleep again.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
I like using (4.00 / 1)
"who would Jesus bomb?" as a rallying cry.  It just lays the whole insanity of Christian militarism quite bare and stark.

[ Parent ]
The left should embrace religion (0.00 / 0)
It's a fact of life in this country.  Ignoring it is foolhardy.  There isn't anything to fear.

Making a direct comparison between Obama and Christ is a touch dangerous, because of the Messiah complex argument.


[ Parent ]
I'm wary of injecting religion in to the narrative (0.00 / 0)
but in this case, I don't have a problem with this guy using his megaphone to push back on McCain & Palin

Community organizers are now most focused in the faith community, working with tens of thousands of pastors and laypeople in thousands of congregations around the country. Faith-based organizing is the critical factor in many low-income communities in the country's poorest urban and rural areas, and church leaders are often the biggest supporters of community organizers. And many of them felt deeply offended by Palin's remarks.

http://blog.beliefnet.com/gods...

What has John McCain done for veterans?


[ Parent ]
Jesus was a liberal (4.00 / 1)
Any objective review of Jesus's life and the positions he took confirms that Jesus was a liberal.    That is a great subject to explore in the right context.    

However, saying that Jesus was a community organizer (which he was) and saying the Barrack was a community organizer (which he was) and implying some kind of connection between the two is "over the line".  

As a Christian it makes me uncomfortable.    The risks are much greater than the potential benefits.  


[ Parent ]
Also Disagree (4.00 / 2)
There is no danger here.  While religion is irrelevant to me, when one sticks to the teachings of Jesus and what he (supposedly) actually did and said, the guy was one of the most progressive people who ever lived.  

Whether we like it or not, an overwhelming majority of people in this country grew up with Jesus as the ultimate model for how to live a good life, and pointing out that the entire Republican platform is the exact opposite of that is not only safe, but a moral imperative.

Even I, agnostic almost to the point of atheism, have no trouble saying that my values and how I try to live my life are based the example of Jesus, the human being who probably lived a couple of thousand years ago and probably said and did most of the (non-magical) things he supposedly said he did.  This is totally a nobrainer.  

"Ignorance is the most dangerous element in any society." - Emma Goldman


[ Parent ]
Palin's pic (4.00 / 1)
Isn't Palin.  It's a model named Sabine Ehrenfeld.

overstock.com (0.00 / 0)
Is she the one who does the overstock.com commercials?

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
I Don't Know WHAT You're Talking About! (0.00 / 0)
No, seriously, this is a sign that I really should have had my first cup of coffee hours ago when the kettle went off, instead of blowing it off.  I just picked the first Google image that looked like an official government portrait.  It didn't look exactly like her more familiar photos--but, then, I'd seen others that didn't either.  If I'd just scrolled down into the page I grabbed it from.... But, you know, no coffee.

Still, it is rather remarkable how hard it is to find a photo of her where she's striking anything remotely close to a serious pose.

I did find one, though, so now it's fixed.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
This is the best statement on the Repub strategy (4.00 / 2)
that I have seen anywhere, Glenn Greenwald wrote it.

Every four years, the GOP unleashes unrestrained personality attacks on Democrats and exploits cultural resentments. Every four years, Democrats tell themselves that such attacks don't work and are counter-productive. And every four years, that belief is disproven. These "character" issues end up mattering largely because Democrats, in election after election, allow wars over "character" to be waged in a largely one-sided fashion.

http://www.salon.com/opinion/g...


character attacks (4.00 / 1)
John McCain is a liar who will do or say anything to win.

miasmo.com

[ Parent ]
If Jim Wallis wants to do something really useful this year (4.00 / 3)
he should spend less time whining about the Dem platform's wording on a woman's right to choose, and more time talking about this.

This is his chance to pull his own community back towards the Social Gospel.  I hope he strikes while the iron is hot.


Flying Pigs (4.00 / 3)
I'm afraid that Wallis is going to fail this test, "big time" as America's #2 war criminal would say.

But good for you for bringing it up.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Yeah, I'm not holding my breath on this one (4.00 / 1)
I don't think there's much point in trying to "flip" many evangelicals with this rap, though I don't know if anyone's polled evangelicals on Palin yet.  I guess the point of "Governor or Organizer" is to make Palin seem less like "one of us" to the swing voters.

But if anyone could reach evangelicals, it would be one of their own, especially since Palin's presence on the ticket reinforces the already-powerful tribalism at play here.

OT:  not to open a can of worms here, but I'd be interested in your opinion of how the Palin pick will affect populism in US politics.  I read her appeal as very populist in a right-wing sense -- based on nationalism, religious identity, militarism, and racism (taking "hockey mom" as "white").  All the attacks on media elites and liberal elites were classic right-wing populism.  I'm worried that the Dems will take a non-populist tack in response, a sort of "Now now, let's let responsible people run things, here..." rap.


[ Parent ]
This Is Definitely Muy Importante (0.00 / 0)
Cultural symbols up!

Living standards down!

What's not to love?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
This is why Biden's response is so effing fantastic: (4.00 / 1)
"what do you talk about when you have nothing to say?  What do you talk about when you cannot explain the last eight years of failure?"

It disables all of this.  It is directly calling them vapid, stupid, and counterproductive.  It exposes them as the liars they are.  And it doesn't force the Dem ticket to stoop to their level.


[ Parent ]
Funny! (4.00 / 2)
Unfortunately, the actual text of the Bible doesn't seem to have much to do with evangelical theology (except for maybe the Book of Revelations and a few of the gnarlier bits of the Old Testament), so I doubt this argument would be very effective.

And, Of Course (0.00 / 0)
Revelations is only in the Bible because of an editing error (as an editor, I hang my head in shame).  They got their Johns confused, otherwise it would have never made it in.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
time to introduce the Governor to national politics (0.00 / 0)
I'm not sure I like that approach. Comparing Obama to Jesus and MLK could just play into their meme that he is full of himself. I suggest instead going hard after Palin and labeling her a liar (because she is -- has she said one true thing about her own record or Barack Obama yet?), trashing her claim to be a reformer by pointing out her lobbying for pork including the Bridge to Nowhere and her associations with Abramoff and Stevens, linking her to Bush and Rove for her negative attacks on Obama, and calling her cowardly and unprepared for not talking to the press. My first inclination was that it would be best to ignore her and focus on McCain, but I don't think it would be wise to let the cult of personality that is developing around her to grow any bigger. She needs to be taken down to size and she's given us reams of ammunition to do it, so it won't be difficult.

I dunno... (4.00 / 1)
...it may be even harder to cut Palin "down to size" if the McCain campaign truly limits the media's access to her. Basically, the public's going to begin clamoring for her to appear and say just about anything. Call her a liar, and she shows up someplace, looks into the camera and says, "I'm not a liar. Religious hockey moms don't lie. Elitist community organizers? They're the ones who can't be trusted. How many of them do you know?" And then she gets whisked away leaving spinners or whomever, not her, to debate what she didn't say. A celebrity-driven media's weird that way.

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

[ Parent ]
ask McCain (0.00 / 0)
Well if Palin won't talk, the media can always start asking McCain why his running mate is lying. Not likely, I know. Thank God for Keith and Rachel.

[ Parent ]
Another question: (0.00 / 0)
Is the Palin-as-closet-secessionist story dead? Maybe that's an attack soundbite: "It kinda figures that a closet secessionist might not wanna speak directly to the American people." Yes, it's the gutter, but I'm just sayin'...

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

[ Parent ]
and don't forget (4.00 / 3)
Governor-General, Viceroy              Community Organizer
           Victor Hope                              Mohandas K. Gandhi


The governors (4.00 / 1)
don't win much, do they?

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
The Win What They Aim For (0.00 / 0)
Re-election, mostly.

"Where there is no vision, the people perish."

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
There is a real reason (4.00 / 1)
for the obsession our simpler brethren have for Adam, Noah and Moses. Fundamentalism is Old Testament based. If, as many of the mainline churches do, you de-emphasize the OT, there ain't a lot of literalist arguments left.

Even so, it's the OT that set up a system whereby all land sales were automatically voided after a set number of years. It's the OT that tells believers not to eat pigs or lobster, and that puts the person who eats a cheeseburger into Hell. It's the OT system that required a certain amount of all food produced to be freely available for the use of the poorer members of the community. The poor weren't forced to beg, it was taken for granted that they got food. It was the OT that forbade believers charging other believers interest on loans.

As for the teachings of Jesus, hanging out with IRS agents and drunks, eating and drinking with unbelievers, refusing to judge people who had done something widely frowned upon, prohibiting divorce for men, but not for women, refusing to mix politics and religion, it's all there.

The problem is, the Bible is big enough, and diverse enough, to allow a person to prove anything by selecting the right examples. IF someone actually chose to fight literalism with other literalism, the results would mean nothing to believers. It takes a near schizophrenic personality to buy into literalism today, with all the twisted reasoning that is required to avoid the point that they pick and choose passages that meet their needs just like everyone else does. Once a person self-identifies as a fundamentalist, the argument is over, nothing an opponent says or does will influence the thought processes of the believer. Fighting back with counter examples just angers the believer further. They see it as DEADLY sin and worthy of a fire bombing to "twist the meaning of the Bible!"

Social gospel be damned, all these people care about is imposing their beliefs onto everyone else (for the good of the sinner's soul, of course. Forced Christianity is better than no Christianity.).

My point is, don't waste your time and breath trying to reason with these people. They're not open to argument.
 


Except, This ISN'T A Literalist Argument (4.00 / 5)
Literalism is just part of what goes into the mix here.  And I'm not expecting us to convince any of the wingnuts.

I am saying that it's important to challenge their religious warfare directly, and stop letting them get away with both heresy and murder.

There are a lot of very sensible Christians out there, as well as many who are conflicted.  Staying silent--or, almost as bad, always on the defensive--is really a form of political suicide.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Christians for Christ?? (4.00 / 1)
They still exist?

[ Parent ]
Actually, Yes. (0.00 / 0)
But they don't have high-visibility spokespeople.

Here in LA there are a lot of locally-known clergy that do a lot of very good work on social justice issues.  But they are virtually unkown in the media, with a few high-profile exceptions.  For decades, James Lawson--who pioneered nonviolent civil disobedience even bofore MLK--was the dean of LA area progressive Christian leaders, but he's 80 years old now, and husbands his energy, and choses his spots--usually on the national stage these days.  (See here for example.)  I don't even think he lives here anymore.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
what a question (4.00 / 5)
obama has been running for 19 months and he is still getting asked questions about his background, palin has more skeletons in her closet like all the gop reps and she refuses to talk or answer questions, the right wing media are at it again and trying to torpedo any positive change america might get to help the citizens realize the american dream, rather then continue the american nightmare better know as gop governing.

 


She's White, She's A Hockey Mom, She's A Republican (4.00 / 2)
What more do you need to know?

More to come on this, I promise you!

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Wrong comparison! (4.00 / 2)
Obama isn't a community organizer. He's a senator. He was a community organizer after college. After college Palin was a SPORTS REPORTER.

So lets try this again:

Sports Reporter: Howard Cosell
Community Organizer: Jesus

Sports Reporter: Bob Costas
Community Organizer: MLK

Etc.

Palin isn't Pontius Pilate she's Tre Wingo.


I'm Trying To Give Her The Benefit of the Doubt Here (4.00 / 1)
Experience-wise, at least.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
Too bad... (4.00 / 1)
...we had to muddy up Howard Cosell. As sportscasters go, he was a pretty principled individual, no?  

"This ain't for the underground. This here is for the sun." -Saul Williams

[ Parent ]
Not to mention .. (0.00 / 0)
actually kinda cool ..  he is everything Dick Vitale wishes he could be .. I mean .. John Lennon even appeared on MNF when Cosell was there .. Cosell was a lawyer by training .. and had knowledge on a wide variety of subjects

[ Parent ]
I was avoiding (0.00 / 0)
putting Olberman in there. :-)

[ Parent ]
Sweet (0.00 / 0)
Love the pictures.  

Not the same Jesus (4.00 / 1)
Much has been made of the recent revelation that Sarah Palin may be connected to the "Alaska Independence Party", but not revealed is its connection to the far-right Constitution Party--and she not only has attempted censorious campaigns in office, but was also apparently put in the GOP vice-presidential spot by none other than the kingmakers of the dominionist movement in the US.

There are quite a number of extremely troubling links between Sarah Palin and neopentecostal dominionists--enough that, in truth, she may be ultimately as much of a "dream candidate" for the dominionist movement as was Mike Huckabee.

These "Christians" do not believe in the "community organizer" lamb-like Jesus who fed the five thousand, but in the "strong Jesus" of "Destiny" and "Joel's Army".

Joel's Army is prophesied to become an Armageddon-ready military force of young people with a divine mandate to physically impose Christian "dominion" on non-believers.

"An end-time army has one common purpose - to aggressively take ground for the kingdom of God under the authority of Jesus Christ, the Dread Champion, The trumpet is sounding, calling on-fire, revolutionary believers to enlist in Joel's Army. ... Many are now ready to be mobilized to establish and advance God's kingdom on earth."  


This is pretty good, but I still like the Palin=LIAR attack better (0.00 / 0)
Here

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.

Comparing Obama to Jesus... (0.00 / 0)
will simply provide fodder for the right to accuse him  of having a Jesus complex. We've seen enough insulting religious comparisons from the McCain camp.

I think we should leave Jesus out of it for obvious reasons, none the least of which is to not offend voters of other religions and non-religious voters.

We really don't need to turn the campaign into a WWJD crusade.


Hello! (4.00 / 2)
We really don't need to turn the campaign into a WWJD crusade.

It already is a WWJD crusade.

The only question is if we're going to fight back.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
Yes, true (0.00 / 0)
It is in effect a war on the religious far right especially if we let the McCain camp frame the debate.

I agree, that we need to fight back but not on their playing field.


[ Parent ]
Obama should not compare himself to Jesus (4.00 / 1)
I think we all agree on that point.

But that does not mean this basic point on community organizing should leave Jesus out.  The religious left has begun to reemerge these past few years and seriously needs to take on the fundamentalist authoritarians.

I'm always amazed how many Christians can ignore Jesus, himself.  I'm fairly liberal, but I'm not nearly as liberal as Jesus.


[ Parent ]
It's Not About Obama COMPARING Himself To Jesus, Though (0.00 / 0)
This argument is totally off-the-wall, and derives from rightwing projection, as those folks really do think they are like Jesus, particularly when they are most unlike him. (Holy war, anyone?  How's about trampling on the least of these?  Locking folks up in prison, and throwing away the key?  Etc., etc., etc.)

Rather, it's about trying to model oneself after Jesus, which all manner of Christians have believed in doing, one way or another, for two millenia now.

And, of course, the example of Martin Luther King helps illustrate that process, which is one big reason why I put him there in the first place.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


[ Parent ]
ironic (4.00 / 1)
I'm not Christian.  And I try to follow Jesus's words and advice as much as possible.  

[ Parent ]
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