I guess the fact that yesterday was Sanctity of Life Sunday was lost on these churches.  I guess I can understand that to a point with today being Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  To a point, but what took place yesterday in some African-American churches can I say came close, if it didn’t cross the line, to idolatry?  I’m sure some will label me intolerant and racist, well that’s your right.

One example of many:

More than 300 people filled the pews at First Cathedral in Bloomfield, Conn., to praise King and Obama before many headed home to pack for bus trips Monday to Washington.

“Obama talked about hope — this solidified it,” the Archbishop LeRoy Bailey Jr. said at the service, in which members of the suburban Hartford congregation watched tapes of King giving speeches that included his 1963 address at the Lincoln Memorial.

Read the rest.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Last time I checked, hope comes from Jesus.  The purpose of worship (in Christian churches) is to praise and exalt Jesus Christ.  I can tell you that in 2001 and 2005, no matter how beholden you think that white evangelicals are beholden to the GOP we did not witness a display like this when Bush was inaugurated.  We shouldn’t see it now.  There is only one Savior and his name isn’t Barack Obama.

Update: Just some additional thoughts after receiving a few comments to clarify the original post.

  • I am not saying that President-Elect Obama being inaugurated isn’t a historic event.  It certainly is and we as a nation can and should be proud that this election transcended race.
  • I’m not saying it is inappropriate for people to be joyful over President Obama’s election.  I imagine that there is a tremendous sense of pride and joy especially within the African-American community.  I certainly do not want to take that away.
  • This post really doesn’t have anything to do with President Obama himself, but rather those who I’m afraid have put him on a pedestal so high all he can do is fail.
  • I’m just calling the Church specifically to remember, regardless of race, regardless of denomination, and regardless of political party; that politics do not transform hearts and lives.  Our hope should be in no politician, but in Jesus.  Politics and government can only do so much.
  • Also I’m not basing this opinion on just the quote above, read the rest of the article.  I could point you to several videos, articles, and share with you some personal experiences that I’ve had with Obama supporters.  Idolatry, ok probably not, but certainly misplaced hope for some.

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  1. I got to say, Shane, I think you have completely missed the point on this one.

    To equate the hope that people are finding in Obama with the hope that we find in Jesus is faulty at best, dangerous and disrespectful at worst. Tomorrow marks a monumental day for this nation, not to mention people of color. This is irrespective of Obama's politics. To have this inauguration on the heels of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday is something of Providence, I believe.

    I cannot understand why people–particularly conservative commentators like Hannity and Beck–are discounting the Obama presidency before he has even stepped foot into office. You step dangerously close to being in this camp, and I honestly do not know why.

    This transcends politics. It is a triumph for civil rights. It should be celebrated, not condemned. You have to ask yourself what this means for your brothers and sisters in Christ who are of color. It may give you a different perspective than the one you currently have.

  2. Oh come on Shane. Go watch the movie “Jesus Camp” sometime. Evangelicals – well some anyway – went way over the line in their worship of George Bush.

  3. Ok, I disagree. Take Obama out of the picture. Take party out of the picture. Should any one ascribe this type of hope to a man?

    I agree that having our first African-American president is something to be celebrated. It is historic. I wouldn't consider the timing providence since MLK Jr. Day has always been at the time of the inauguration. But the significance of it isn't lost on me.

    I am not even discounting President-Elect Obama. I hope he does well, for the sake of our nation. I've got a scheduled post for tomorrow that we need to pray for him.

    So what I've read, watched and have personally experienced with some people I don't think I am missing the point. I think placing this much hope in one person is dangerous and faulty, and inappropriate for believers.

    But please, don't think that I am not happy for my African-American brothers and sisters in Christ. I am. This is a significant event for our nation.

  4. I've seen parts of it. The making of it is suspect.

    But I agree with you (well there's a first) what I did see was inappropriate. I can tell you that isn't mainstream – most evangelical churches try to keep politics out of their services.

  5. Shane – I beg to differ on your comments

    I believe you are reading into the rhetoric of the article too much. Have you praised your child for doing something right? When it says they praised Obama and King, did they literally get on their knees and give praises to them? I highly doubt it.

    I do agree that hope comes from Jesus and worship is met for Jesus alone. But the feeling of hope that you are speaking out against is the same hope numerous evangelicals felt when Bush was elected. I know this because I was a part of it. I was a part of putting my hope in a man…simply because he was a Christian.

    From the outside looking in…I think you have been blinded by this one.

    You are missing it.

  6. is it different than Sarah Palin asking the congregation to pray for a pipeline? And going to Iraq is “God's plan”? I think you're taking “hope” too literally. I was taught to respect other's religions, your team colors and mascot may be different, but we're all playing the same sport, right? (That WAS a sports reference). I believe no one else but God has the right to judge, if God is bothered by the words said at that service, the God will deal with it accordingly.

    the white folks rent a ballroom

  7. You new update says this:

    “I’m just calling the Church specifically to remember, regardless of race, regardless of denomination, and regardless of political party; that politics do not transform hearts and lives. Our hope should be in no politician, but in Jesus. Politics and government can only do so much.”

    Let me ask you something. Say a church is struggling. Attendance is down; offering dollars are down; staff is leaving; parishoners are unhappy.

    Suppose a new pastor is called after the old one leaves for a different parish.

    Suppose the people of that church have a slight glimmer of hope that this new pastor can turn things around. Suppose they even throw a welcome party for him at the church, in the sanctuary even. For whatever reason, and for the first time in a long time, the people of that church actually have hope that things for their church might turn around.

    Are they worshiping the new pastor? No. Not at all. Their hope still remains in Jesus–profoundly so. They just happen to be a little excited about the new guy in town. And that's okay.

    I hope I don't need to connect the dots for you in this analogy. I doubt you'll find any churches “bowing down” to Obama or King (as Dave said) in the middle of their sanctuary. For the first time in a long time, people are excited and hopeful about the direction of this country. And yes, that excitement happens to surround a black man named Obama!

    Romans 13:1: “All governments have been placed in power by God.” Sincerely and with all due respect, Shane, Obama won. Get over it.

  8. Justin,

    I totally get your point. I will confess that I should not have used the word idolatry. This post was not the result of one article. I'm not going to belabor the point. Fine they are excited. Fine they have hope that things will change. Ok.

    Now when you tell me to “get over it” you seem to be implying that I haven't accepted that President Obama won. What? Give me a break Justin. I haven't whined about his election. I will disagree with him on some of his policies, but I've been pretty fair I think so far.

    I also don't deny Romans 13:1 – he's the man of God's choosing. Yes and that is why I will respect him and pray for him.

    Let me ask you this – did you confront and criticize those of your peers who demonstrated utter contempt and disrespect for President Bush? Romans 13:1 applied to him as well.

    I can pledge to you that I will not treat President Obama in the disrespectful, disgusting manner that President Bush has been, in particular, for the last 3-4 years.

  9. What a very thought provoking post. I am so emotionally torn right now. I rejoice for the African American culture and for the strides made against hatred…but I grieve for the unborn. And I agree that true hope is found in Christ alone.

  10. I don't want to sound like your white and you don't get it, but your white and you don't get it. 🙂

    As a white woman, married to a black man, and the mother of black children … I guess I get it a little more because I am surrounded by black people and I hear what they have to say. It is not that they worship Obama. It is not that they think he will right every wrong, change everything they disagree with, or make the world a utopia. That is not it.

    Obama fulfills the dreams of a man that means a lot to them. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood up for the rights of black people. He was a voice calling out to the people, giving them hope for a day when they would be equal and truly free. Because of that struggle, because of men like Martin Luther, because of that fight … the impossible has happened. A black man has been elected President of the United States of America. Something they never thought they would see happen. For many … they thought it would never happen.

    It isn't that they don't care that it was Sanctity of Life Sunday. And, honestly … no where in the Bible does it say they have to honor that day. It was made up by man just as Martin Luther King Jr. Day was. But, Martin Luther King was a real person who actually impacted their lives. Obama is a dream come true.

    I also agree with Justin's example of the church party. It really isn't much different. And … honestly … there was some GOP Worship going around back in 2000. To even claim to be a Democrat and a Christian could get you kicked out of church back then. 🙂

  11. As far as your question, “Let me ask you this – did you confront and criticize those of your peers who demonstrated utter contempt and disrespect for President Bush?” The short answer is: Why would I?

    “Bush-basher” critiques didn't come before Bush took office. Obama hasn't stepped foot into the White House yet. Bush at least had a track record people could look at. (And by the way, I think Bush has taken a lot of unfair criticism. Be careful before you lump me in the same category as those who disapprove of Bush. I voted for him in both elections.)

    You cannot blame me for the language of my peers. You can only hold me accountable for what I say myself, just as I will only hold you accountable for what you say. My main point in commenting on this post is to question where your objections to the behavior of the people mentioned in your post come from.

  12. Angel, thank you so much for your perspective. You put words to the disagreements I have with this post that I can't seem to verbalize. Well done.

  13. I didn't intend on lumping you in with any group, nor am I blaming you for the language of your peers. I apologize if that is what you felt by the question.

    Like I mentioned before my objections to this type of behavior do not stem from this article. It is from comments made by friends and family who have supported Obama. It comes from videos that I have watched. Other news articles. My wife read an article in U.S. News & World Report which had behavior that would be more objectionable than this – she actually thought this article was pretty tame, but I haven't read it and can't find it online.

    So anyway. I didn't write this post because I'm not “getting over” Obama winning. Congratulations to him and to his family. This was a great day for America. I watched the Inauguration just like millions of others, and I wish him well and will pray for him.

  14. Angel,

    “It is not that they think he will right every wrong, change everything they disagree with, or make the world a utopia. That is not it.”

    I won't say that is a collective attitude, but from friends and coworkers of mine who supported Obama – that is the type of rhetoric I'm hearing. So newspaper articles aside, that is my experience. And it isn't just African-Americans, but white supporters as well.

    My point wasn't really about Sanctity of Life Sunday, I can understand why they would celebrate MLK Day.

  15. hi.
    i understand your frustration with a christian church praising King and Obama.
    I want you to know i share the same sentiment. I attended the Martin Luther King Sunday service at The First Cathedral. We did not “praise king and obama”. The Sermon of the Morning was entitled “The Gospel of King and Obama” and focused on the work of God through their lives, how God used them to liberate the African American Ethnic and Racial Group

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