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Web Letter

Have we learned nothing from the Republican Party's flirtation with (and shotgun marriage to) the Religious Right?

The secrecy surrounding the names of those in attendance as well as the topics discussed is eerily reminiscent of Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force (looks as though we have learned something from the Republicans). Already, we have the candidate who has promised to open up his Administration to the cameras of C-Span withholding the names of religious leaders with whom he's meeting. And when details of the meeting begin leaking out, they stand in stark contrast to flattering news reports? (uh-hum, Reverend Obama, "thou shalt not bear false witness..." I think it's one of those ten rules that the people you're meeting with want to be printed on our money or tattooed onto the inside of our eyelids.)

The Religious Right has hijacked the Republican Party, much to the chagrin and consternation of the members of the moderate wing of that party. They engage in the worst kind of divisive politics in pursuit of their single-minded agenda. They are like ants at a picnic. Rather than inviting them into our tent, I think it's best we call the Orkin Man.

Daniel Todd Vuic

San Francisco, CA

Jul 6 2008 - 10:32pm

Web Letter

If these tax-exempt religious organizations are forbidden BY LAW from political activity, why is no one prosecuting them and taking away their tax-exempt status? Any lawyer want to explain?

Eliezer Pennywhistler

Trenton, NJ

Jul 6 2008 - 5:13pm

Web Letter

The real elephant in the room that is being studiously ignored is that Barack Obama is the real "do anything, say anything to get elected" candidate. He took money from the energy company Exelon and then rewrote legislation to satisfy them (and voted for Chemey's energy bill). He said he didn't take money from oil companies, but he takes it from oil company executives. He said he opposed the FISA bill before he supported the FISA bill. He says he supports gay rights, but tours with and calls upon homophobic ministers. He says he supports abortion rights, just as long as conservative exceptions limit a women's right to choose. He abandons universal health care before the fight starts, but lies about Sen Clinton's plan in order to run her out of the race. He wants to be rich, so he hangs out with rich, corrupt people like Tony Rezko. He is ambitious, so he abandons or has no principles to abandon in order to be elected. He is a fraud, like Bush, and the progressive or liberals who support him will not face it because their egos will not permit them to admit they were wrong about him. We should have put Jesse Jackson over the top in 1988. He came really close. Or we should have stuck with John Edwards or Hillary Clinton, the true liberals who could have beat John McCain. We picked a fake.

Linda L. Schuppener

Iowa City, IO

Jul 4 2008 - 6:31pm

Web Letter

While people criticize this or that position taken by Obama, the real reason he is doomed is not mentioned for fear of violating political correctness. Obama as a black man cannot be elected. Neither could Hillary as a flawed female candidate. Let's face facts. We are not ready for a black President. The Democratic party again will have grasped defeat from the jaws of victory.

When Obama, this interesting and different sort of black, came along, many of us became entranced with him and with the possibility of his candidacy changing our racial attitudes and problems. But we have since learned how naïve we were.

Chalk it all up to wishful thinking. After eight years of an ignorant President and a passive Congress, we had pinned our hopes on a dream. We are now awake and will have to take what we can get: John McCain, with all his faults and flaws. He is at least a white man.

Norman Ravitch

Savannah, GA

Jul 3 2008 - 10:48am

Web Letter

While I found this article to be an excellent narrative of Obama's relationship with the religious community, I must say it did ignore a 1,600 pound gorilla in the room. What about the firestorm that erupted in the progressive world over his pledge to continue funding faith-based charities? Not a word here. I hope I won't be out of bounds if I mention that along with issues contained in Mr. Blumenthal's piece.

I have always described myself as a liberal and definitely not a progressive. When people inguire as to the difference, I usually quip, "Liberals can read." OK. I may be a liberal/smartass, but after what happened on progressive sites yesterday, I worry I may not be that far off the mark.

Why were progressives surprised? It has been well documented that as a community activist, Obama often worked with churches in providing services for the needy. I call that pragmatism. During the recent flap over Father Pfleger, almost every account of their relationship noted that Obama, while in the Illinois state house, arranged for public funds to be supplied to the Father's parish. The last time I checked, the Catholic church is a faith-based institution that only hires male priests.

Of course, thousands of history-challenged Secular Progressives couldn't wait to post a Thomas Jefferson quote. Well, maybe, like many of the Founding Fathers, Obama disagrees with Jefferson. After all Jefferson had an extremely radical view limiting the powers of government. That would include federal government's right to abolish slavery. Should Obama be expected to sign on to that?

Why the shock and awe? Why the sense of betrayal? Can't these people read?

The fact is there is nothing new in Obama's pledge to use federal funds for religious charities. He simply reiterated princples he has adhered to in the past.

We can debate wheather or not he should change his position. I say he shouldn't. Many churches are deeply involved in providing food, shelter and medical care for poor people. They should be considered for the good they do and not their theology.

I know people reading this may be screaming about the Constitution. I'm not a lawyer, but I read it and it says what it says. Nowhere does it say that rights are two-tiered, with religious people receiving less accommodation than anyone else. To believe otherwise, I argue, is a danger to the liberty of us all.

Perhaps people are so disappointed in Obama because they have see him as a political Second Coming. He is not.

He still may make a damned good President.

Robert Stephens

Flagstaff, AZ

Jul 2 2008 - 3:26pm

Web Letter

These people are a bomb that will go off in his face! Obama can't seem to learn from experience. You can't be all things to all people. He seems to have forgotten the First Amendment with regard to religion. He is an opportunist!

Pervis J. Casey

Riverside, CA

Jul 2 2008 - 2:50pm

Web Letter

When speaking of American religious piety, someone once described the United States as "India run by the Swedes." I wish we would aspire to being something better, more modern, and more true. It sickens me that every major politician in this country has to kow-tow to the likes of Graham or Dobson. These guys are little better than witch doctors. We have real problems to deal with in this country and the world that are bigger than the superstitions these religious kooks represent. Deep down, every one of these loudmouth religious zealots knows that his career is based on a big, empty lie. That is why they grasp so desperately for secular power and wealth. These latter-day Savonarolas get more than enough from picking the pockets of their sheepish adherents. They do not not deserve any favors or explanations from our political leaders. Mr. Obama, tell them all to go to Hell!

Robert Austin

Seminole, FL

Jul 2 2008 - 8:01am

Web Letter

The senator would do well to stay clear of these hate-based people.

James Pinette

Caribou, ME

Jul 1 2008 - 11:03pm