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Another Obama Email

Fr. John Chagnon

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Got another Obama email today. I've had a few over the past months.

Some have been conspiratorial, some have had facts, some have been a little of each. In this case the email was an article written, apparently, by a New York journalist which attempted to bring the "real" Sen. Obama to light. Large portions of it were accurate. Sen. Obama is very left leaning for an American politician and despite his rhetoric about change and unity his voting record indicates a person occupying a fringe of the political spectrum. People who appreciate his speaking skills, and like many politicians he is adept at saying much about little, probably have never taken the time to actually examine his record and if they did some of them may be shocked.

One of the great problems in the politics of our country is that too much of what we see and hear is filtered through media and people in this country are still naive enough to believe what the television tells them without learning for themselves. At present the television loves Sen. Obama and to date very few hard questions have been asked. The article, written by an African American journalist (therefore avoiding the Obama campaign's not so subtle argument that any criticism of the candidate is, in fact, closet racism) opens up the record and exposes what, for traditional Christians, may be some significant issues in the realm of life, family, and marriage among other things.

The hard part came at the end when the person who sent the chain email, not the author of the article, added "The book of Revelation teaches that the antichrist will be a man of Muslim heritage in his 40's...". and then went one to describe this antichrist as a person with flowery language who persuades the world to follow him by offering peace and harmony and then suggests that perhaps "you know who" might be that figure. Talk about a stupid addition to a thoughtful article.

Conspiracy thinking is lazy. There is a simple reason that our culture may be on the verge of electing someone to its highest political office whose values on issues of life, family, and marriage are only tangentially connnected to historic Christian faith. We're lazy. Given the freedom to proclaim our message and live our faith we've chosen largely to do neither and because of this our impact on the larger society has drastically decreased. In large swaths of America the church is no longer taken seriously because, quite frankly, the people inside the church don't take it seriously either.

And that's what I wrote back to the those who received the email. Conspiracy thinking is just a way for Christians to avoid responsibility and blame others for the world they let happen. When Christians bend their knees and roll up their sleeves we'll really have the "change we can believe in". It's as simple as that.

Fr. John Chagnon is pastor of St. Elias Orthodox Church in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, and blogs at The Traveling Priest Chronicles.

Read the entire article on The Traveling Priest Chronicles blog (new window will open).

Posted: 26-May-08

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