The Internal Revenue Service has notified the United Church of Christ that it has opened an investigation into possible “political activities” connected with Senator Barack Obama’s speech at the denomination’s national convention last year.
Muslim Americans and political observers heralded the 2006 elections as a sort of debutante’s ball for the Muslim voter, when anger and organizational heft pushed unprecedented numbers of Muslim citizens to vote and get involved with U.S. politics.
Efforts to portray the Chicago church of which Senator Barack Obama is a member as racist and anti-American are “absurd, mean-spirited and politically motivated,” said John Thomas, head of the United Church of Christ.
The stereotypes seem etched in stone, as definitive as the Decalogue: Democratic politicians are hostile to faith; they believe that church and state should remain forever separate; they’re uncomfortable in front of evangelicals.
One of the bright points in Barack Obama’s rising political star is his ability to talk about Jesus without faking it. But his enemies, including right-wing bloggers and TV pundits, are complaining that Obama’s church—Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago—embraces an Africentrism that is separatist or even racist. Just what is this Africentrism?
The Obama phenomenon is hurtling past the best analogies that we have for it. Three years ago Barack Obama shot onto the national political scene with a sensational speech at the Democratic National Convention. Two years ago he joined the U.S. Senate as its only African-American member.
White mainline Protestants who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning voters favored Senator Barack Obama (D., Ill.) slightly over Senator Hillary Clinton (D., N.Y.), 27 percent to 24 percent, as the party’s nominee for president in a late March national survey.