Friday, October 10, 2008

Fellow Evangelicals, Will You Please Speak Out Against McCain/Palin Hate-Mongering?

I am excited to see my candidate doing so well in pre-election polls. But I am afraid as well, seeing a swelling of anger and verbalized violence among many of John McCain's core supporters. His base, I am told, contains nearly 3 out of 4 Evangelical Christians. And that deeply troubles me. Are Evangelicals in the Republican party calling on their candidates to stop encouraging their audiences toward hateful words... and potentially actions?

"Kill him!" shouted one audience member after Gov. Sarah Palin again accused Barack Obama of "ties" to former terrorist Bill Ayers. Did the man want Ayers or Obama dead? And was Gov. Palin aware of what her jingoist repetition of this non-news was creating in the audience? "TERRORIST!" yelled another man during a McCain speech which also focused on the alleged Obama/Ayers connections.

Ayers, a member of the violent Weather Underground in the 1960s, went to prison back then for his part in a bombing incident. At the time, Barack Obama was eight years old. Obama met Ayers through a Republican (one who contributed to John McCain, it turns out) as part of a committee aimed at school children in Chicago. Ayers is now a professor at the University of Chicago.

But let's really look at why, and what, John McCain is doing here. I'm not asking you to vote for my candidate, mind you. I'm just asking you to stop McCain/Palin from creating a dangerous environment and encouraging dangerous minds.

Even someone as calm as commentator David Gergen worries that the Republican Party is creating a potential for violence with their current anti-Obama crusade.

"There is this free floating sort of whipping around anger that could really lead to some violence. I think we're not far from that," he told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday. "I really worry when we get people -- when you get the kind of rhetoric that you're getting at these rallies now. I think it's really imperative that the candidates try to calm people down." [CNN]


Consider this new McCain/Palin slogan: "Who Is Barack Obama?"

Could this question be seriously asked of anyone who was named "John" and didn't have the middle name Barack has, or the funny-sounding (to many American ears) last name?

Could this question be seriously asked of a white candidate?

And SHOULD this question be asked by Evangelical Christians, even those who may be disheartened by their own candidate's slip in the polls?

No, it should not be. We know who Barack Obama is, and whether or not one chooses to vote for him, the hate mongering campaign currently being mounted by McCain/Palin's ticket is outside the bounds of propriety, decency, and -- can I clearly say this and be heard? -- Christian discipleship. We are called to be Jesus followers. Even in the midst of disagreeing over which candidate is better for our nation, we must not dishonor the name of Jesus Christ by allowing a hateful, xenophobic rage to enter our discourse.

Rage is a self-righteous anger which excuses its own excess. Unbelievable acts of horror -- including 9/11, I might add -- occurred as the result of arrogant rage. This type of anger dehumanizes its targets. Once dehumanized, they become puppets in the hands of hate, to have done to them whatever the hater in his/her own distorted sense of duty finds to do.

This election is historic. We've seen the first black man ever nominated by a national party as its candidate for President. Unfortunately, we're also learning this election season that the old American demons can be recalled. Rage is a tool, but so is Christian charity. Disciples of Jesus, whomever you support, make sure your calling is manifest in how you support them. And here's an Obama campaign response to "Who Is Barack Obama?" -- a video that shows us the same guy we've been watching all election long. We know who Barack is. Whoever you support, stop the hate.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am sorry - but "Christian religeous leaders" from Chicago leave a lot to be desired in terms of keeping a non-hatred filled speech. Why don't you go tap on fellow Write's door and have a chit-chat with him? Clean up your own backyard.

William Breeze said...

Thank you very much for this kind and considerate post. Though I cannot say that I share your theological views, I do have great admiration and respect for the clear character you possess. It is heartening to find your website.

@bdul muHib said...

Another rally had someone yell out, "Off with his head!" when Obama was mentioned, in shades of Lewis Carrol. To be fair, I think in one of those rallies, when McCain heard the hate speech, he looked stunned and surprised and a bit disgusted, though he didn't say anything. But I fear that, when Obama wins (as it really is trending that way), what Palin/McCain is doing right now is really stoking the fires of hatred and preparing a large base of potential assassins.

Ruth Tucker said...

Jon,

I think a lot of people are seeing the light with McCain and Palin. Earlier today I posted the following:

Headlined in today's Grand Rapids Press: "Milliken backs away from McCain." Here are the first sentences:

GRAND RAPIDS--He endorsed John McCain in the presidential primary, but now former Republican Gov. William Milliken is expressing doubts about his party's nominee.

"He is not the McCain I endorsed," said Milliken, reached at his Traverse City home Thursday. "He keeps saying, 'Who is Barack Obama?' I would ask the question, 'Who is John McCain?' . . . I'm disappointed in the tenor and the personal attacks on the part of the McCain campaign, when he ought to be talking about the issues."

sleepybomb said...

thank you, thank you, thank you for this voice of reason. i fear for the life of this man. nothing is worse than the hate which is being shown in mccain's rallies. we need to be one in this time and not allow ourselves to be whipped up by prejudices accelerated by innuendo and rumors.

burkhardtjrjh said...

Not all polls indicate Obama is that far ahead of McCain. One poll has Obama out front by only 2 points. The man at the McCain rally asks how we got in this position with Obama out front. Obama is well educated and clever and is stirring up the anger of people in a sophisticated way. The people need to call time out, cool off, list the attributes of a good leader for America and compare the candidates. I have almost always voted for independent candidates. I have voted for Alan Keyes and would vote for Thomas Sowell if he ran for office. So it’s not about race. It’s about the views (including his willingness to permit the killing of a living infant that survives the abortion process) and record of Obama. I am so concerned about the facts on Obama that I will vote for McCain and trust the Congress to provide the appropriate checks and balances. The democrats and Obama and their entitlement program for housing have birthed a worldwide economic crisis that far overshadows the impact of the Afghan and Iraq wars.

Beverly H Tatum said...

Thank you for being a voice of reason. I am an Obama supporter and the level of hate-spewing slander against him by McCain and Palin has shocked me. When I began see the violence and rage it was inciting in the crowds on TV I felt this was spiraling out of control and could not believe the Secret Service was not investigating the McCain campaign and that a supposed man of honor would stoop to such dangerous language. I saw Gergen on CNN myself and felt some relief that I was not alone in my concern over the level of rage and violence McCain and Palin were creating. I kept thinking how could a Christian do this? If his supporters are Christians, how can they sit silent and condone this?
What ever happened to "not bearing false witness" I thought?
We can certainly disagree on issues but attacks of such hatred and vile lies cross the line of basic decency. I was so relieved to hear that McCain finally spoke the truth today in trying to calm down another rageful audience.
His statement was the first decent thing I have heard McCain say or do during this whole campaign. He has been disrespectful and comtemptous every time the two candidates have been together. McCain's wife has not acted with much dignity either. I consider myself a Christian, although not Evangelical, and I find it disheartening to see that McCain and Palin seem to pick and choose which of the Ten Commandments they follow and which bits and pieces of Christianity they display at the politically correct moment. Adultery, lies, corruption, stealing, comments bordering on racism (we are all God's children)and outrageous junk I have seen about Obama being the Antichrist. I wonder have these people even read the Bible. I don't remember John describing the Antichrist as a half black/half white American man who was raised in a Christian home by his white grandparents. John does not call out the person as Muslim either since Islam did not rise as a religion until 500 years after John wrote Revelations.
You are right. We do know who Barack is and he has answered every question and been on every network, radio and TV show for the past 20 months. He is intelligent. He is a good and decent man who loves his wife and believes in instilling good values in his daughters. He is an American-born citizen unlike some more ignorant comments I have seen. He could have never been elected to the US Senate if he were not a verified US citizen. He has never been a Muslim. At one point in his life he sought out his father, who left him at age 2, and visited Kenya to discover the other part of his heritage, meet his father, meet his father's family and try to understand why his father left. He found his father not to be the man he claimed to be and returned home hurt and disappointed. He never saw his father again. Barack spent time in other cultures, such as when his Mother married an Indonesian man and he lived there for a short time. His Mother sent him back to the land of his birth and to his loving and accepting grandparents who raised him and tried to give him every opportunity to succeed. He did not waste those lessons and went onto to receive and Ivy League education, attend Harvard Law School and was head of the Law Review which is not given out lightly, and then spent time teaching constitutional law. He could have gone into his choice of law firms but he felt called to serve and went back to his old neighborhood and worked to help people there. Barack respects all people from all walks of life and know what it means to work for what you want. He believes in people and helping everyone reach their potential. This is why he is a Democrat and supports the programs he is suggesting. He wants to protect Social Security, Medicare, stop the greedy insurance companies from their current practices and make sure everyone has the right to decent healthcare. He believes in education as a means to better a person. He is promoting public service among young people to bring back values of caring about those less fortunate than you. No one is perfect but Barack has lived his life according to his Christian and humanitarian beliefs. How that is wrong and attackable is beyond me. McCain was a child of priviledge who ran wild, squandered his education and laughs about being at the bottom of his class, laughs about all the partying he did and we all know his reputation as a womanizer. He is an admitted adulterer. He has even cheated on his current wife in the past. He went into the Vietnam War because the military was a family tradition. He got shot down on his first mission and spent the war as a POW. He was not part of the war and does not understand what war is really like for those who fought and watched others die in battle. He was mistreated in prison but he was never in battle and I think this is why he so easily is ready to go to war. I have seen it over and over. Men trained in the military who never fight in a war do not understand the horrors of war. They want to engage in war to use the skills they spent their career learning. Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld all wanted to play war and look at what it has cost us in lives and economic disaster. There is no winning in Iraq. It is another Vietnam. Muslim countries are built around religion and almost all are theocracies. They will never be a democracy. The best we can hope for is a peaceful nation where two very different Muslim groups will respect each other's views of their common religion and work together for the good of their country. We cannot force it. They have to want it and do it themselves. We need that 10B a month we are spending there back here at home. We also need to bring home our children who are still dying in a war we were lied into accepting.The current Generals in Iraq and Afgahistan have stated they do not support McCain's plans in those regions. McCain is of the past and is too old to lead in a new world that he does not understand. He is not even computer literate in a world that thrives on technology. Palin is in over her head and has no business being on a national ticket on a Federal level. She is not ready and thus comes across as ignorant and incompetent. Her religious views and those of her church are very extreme and she is known in Alaska as person who has no tolerance for anyone who disagrees with her. She is vindictive and this is what has led to her conviction of ethics violations and abuse of power in her short time as a Governor. In her state these are impeachable offenses. Her family is a disaster and her reputation destroyed. She needs to go home and clean up her governmental messes and handle the huge issues within her family. Her favorability rate among Americans has plummeted to that on par with George Bush. Republicans are speaking out against her and even the most conservative Republicans think she needs to be removed from the ticket. McCain has destroyed his reputation with this hate ads and he cannot recover the character and honor he threw away in a desperate attempt to grab votes. He is done and will retire from politics in disgrace being remembered as the most dirty campaigner ever. It's sad. Obama will be our next President and he will do us honor. You may not believe in everything he believes but he will bring intelligence, honesty, and character back to a White House where it has been missing for a long time.Regardless of Party, he is a decent man with strong values in the caring and respect of all people. Obama is an American citizen who loves his country and its people. He is a Christian man and always has been. He is not radical or dangerous as McCain has tried to paint him. He is a man of character and integrity and should judged on the content of his strong character and not by the color of his skin or because he has a name that is different from the white part of America. This hateful rage McCain and Palin have created is not Christian and is not representative of true Christians. It is reckless and dangerous and must stop now.

Blayze Kohime said...

Unfortunately for Christians, their religion is seen as a hate-filled bitter movement slanted more towards violence than love by many non-Christians now, and its not like history doesn't back that idea up (ie, the Crusades, the Dark Ages). In my opinion, they just need to stop believing what their leaders say without actually questioning if it matches up with the actual religion.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your article.

Let me say as a regular reader of right wing blogs, the level of hate that is manifesting itself is considerable. If their hateful rhetoric isn't scary enough, now the hate is being shown on national television for all to see.

And still Americans have the gall to misdirect the conversation or to insinuate that Obama is somehow to blame for this. How about racism is showing its ugly head?

Do not get me wrong, legitimate differences of opinion or even personal attacks are not what I am referring to here. "Kill Him!" and he is an "Arab" in the context it was presented IS without a doubt - racist and hateful.

McCain/Palin please show some decency and stop the madness. No election is worth courting the hate vote.

Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix said...

Are you serious? You have got to be insane. This isn't about his color. (Obama is HALF WHITE, you idiot), this is about his socialist stance. Nationalized health care IS NOT FREE. Someone has to pay for it and you know who that will be? US. The American Taxpayer. It will cost us an addtional 250+ BILLION dollars a year to pay for that. That averages out to about $3000 a family a year. Wouldn't you like to have an extra 3 grand in your pocket? No? Well, I do. I'm sick to death of you bloody liberals taking my tax money and handing it over to people who are unwilling to work (NOT unable) and those who shouldn't be in this country by rights.

Get a grip you grandstanding, self-righteous, narrow-minded imbecile.

Jo Ann said...

Thank you for your kind comments. I am very worried about what actions the words may cause.

@bdul muHib said...

Dear Anon:

I wish I could have a chat with Rev. Wright. Rarely have I heard a man standing so closely to the Gospel when he speaks.

@bdul muHib said...

Burkhardtjrth-

Your right. One poll out of ten indicates only a two-point lead. Pollsters call that an "outlier", and find it much more helpful to average out recent polls on a state-by-state basis. See http://www.electoral-vote.com/ for something more helpful.

I think you haven't been around for the last two years. All non-biased observers have been very impressed at how *little* Obama has stirred up anger, how calm he is, and how non-negative he's been. Sure, he's gone negative, now, in response to McCain, late in the game, and not near to the extent of McCain. Again, if you look at everwhere but Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, you'll be able to verify this; it's widely known. The anger issues, however, are with your candidate.

Read Jon's recent posts on who is more likely to reduce abortions. They are insightful. The idea that he is willing to kill infants who survive abortions is a myth.

If you believe that the Democrats have caused the housing crisis and economic collapse, you have a right to that belief, but you are in the substantial minority- among people, economists, and Republicans themselves.

@bdul muHib said...

Beverly,

While I agree with much you said, McCain tends to downplay his religious beliefs and his commitment to Christianity. I don't think we should judge him by or hold him accountable to the Christian standard.

@bdul muHib said...

Lucias,

I got confused. When you talked about socialism and spending billions of dollars, were you talking about the current administration, or Obama?

At least Obama will pay-as-you-go, not driving us into economic disaster by borrowing, and will spend the money on those who need it in America, rather than a trillion on killing people outside America.

BigMama said...

Unfortunately, the racism doesn't seem to be a black/white thing, but rather racism against Arabs. When a woman started saying she was afraid of Obama because he was an Arab, McCain was right in stopping her, but he still missed it -- he's still perpetuating the idea that we need to be afraid OTHER Arabs, just not Obama.

Right now it seems like the only person that we don't know anything about is Sarah Palin. But those questions don't seem all that important...

bob brown said...

Sigh…don’t worry my Liberal
Brethren and Sistern :-). Y’all are gonna win.

And if, by some miracle/tragedy there should be a President McCain, history shows him to be more likely in danger than a President Obama: four assassinations in upcoming 44 Presidents with attempts on FDR [perhaps arguable about who the target was], Truman, Ford (twice), and Reagan (near fatally wounded.)

Statistically, the Right has much more to worry about from the Left. Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, Ford, and Reagan were all Republicans with Kennedy the only Democrat successfully assassinated.

President Obama has more to fear from muslims worldwide who have concluded without Right Wing help – in fact I think one of the Messiah’s half brothers allowed he thought Barry was a muslim - that based on BHO’s name, origins, and life history that he too is muslim.

If Pres O. pursues ‘Crusader’ policies or continues to show his Christian attributes post-election, he will be regarded as apostate and the appropriate ‘fatwa’ will be issued by the usual Islamo-nazi suspects.

However, our Secret Service is a dedicated bunch who will do a good job in protecting President Barry-O. As Sarah Barracuda (PBUH) might say “I’ll be rootin’ for ya.”

//bb

bob brown said...

Speaking of the Secret Service:

"SCRANTON – The agent in charge of the Secret Service field office in Scranton said allegations that someone yelled “kill him” when presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s name was mentioned during Tuesday’s Sarah Palin rally are unfounded."

http://www.timesleader.com/news/breakingnews/Secret_Service_says_Kill_him_allegation_unfounded_.html

The article goes on to detail how oh so very seriously the secret service takes any threats like that one. They questioned all the private security observers who worked that event with...nada. Nobody heard it. They questioned others who were there...nobody heard it.

Of course the Times-Tribune editor said “We stand by the story. The facts reported are true and that’s really all there is.”

Who ya gonna believe...a bunch of right wing, fascist SS (secret service) or the always honest, beyond reproach news media?

Things that make you go hmmmm.

//bb