Should we judge Obama by his former pastor?

Or should we judge an individual by the church they attend?  If we were to examine the dynamics of how churches operate, we would see all types of church members with differing views.  There are many church members who idolize their pastors and think they can do no wrong.  They never question what their leader says and everything that comes out of their pastor’s mouth is gospel truth to them. 

Then we have church members who agree with their pastors on some things while they disagree on others.  Such members may not see the point in arguing with them over their differing opinions, although in some situations they may express that they disagree, but they remain in the church because there are some positive things going on and they want to be involved.  Sometimes they stick around with the hope of changing whatever they see is wrong that is occurring in their congregation.

There are also people in churches who dislike the pastor no matter what he or she does.  It could be that the pastor offended them in some way and they don’t want to forgive them.  Or it’s possible that they have envy or jealousy in their heart against the pastor for whatever reason.  Yet they still attend the church to either do their small part or to criticize and cause trouble for the church leader at every opportunity they get.

Whatever the case is, I believe that most people who go to church understand that even if they are part of a group, they are also an individual with personal opinions–right or wrong.  We have genuine Christians who attend liberal churches where pastors believe abortion is okay or that homosexuality is normal, but they hold true to what the Bible says in spite of what their pastor teaches.  Then we have people who call themselves Christians that attend church where the preachers teach against abortion, adultery, drunkenness, and fornication, but these churchgoers are involved in these various sins themselves in their personal lives and have no intention of giving up their views, no matter what the pastor says.

We have plenty of Roman Catholics who hold public office and support their church, but do we attack them when a Catholic priest who served in their church turns out to be a child molester?  Do we criticize them for giving financial support to Catholic organizations where the money can be re-directed to take care of the millions of dollars they owe their victims?  There are also plenty of male pastors who hold to the idea that women should not be allowed to preach in church and that they should only be housewives who raise children, but do we viciously attack the male or female politicians that are in their congregations for associating with the pastor?

This situation reminds me of the letters Jesus had John send to the churches in Revelation.  There were churches that were doing wrong in God’s eyes and he promised to judge them if they didn’t repent.  However, in the midst of the sin that was going on in Thyatira and Sardis, there were a few individuals who were commended for not giving in to the sin of the majority around them and they received encouragement and a special promise from the Lord for their obedience.  If Jesus judged church members on their individual behavior and individual doctrines, should we do any differently?

Personally, I believe that many of the policies Barack Obama promotes are too liberal for my tastes, but I think those who are attacking him based on who his pastor is are being hypocritical.  Yes, Jeremiah Wright is wrong on some issues, but the real reason that Obama has been scrutinized by many for his now defunct relationship with Wright is simply for the fact that many who don’t want him as President don’t want him in office based on the fact that he is black.  We try so hard to avoid mentioning the simple fact that there is a substantial portion of American citizens who still pass down their prejudicial ideas to their children, grandchildren, or family friends.  There are still some places in America where people cross the street if they see a black person approaching.  There are still some women who will clutch their purses tightly if they are near a minority male in a store, even if he is dressed nicely.

Wouldn’t it just be better to attack Obama on the real issues like education, immigration, the economy, etc.?  If we’re honest with ourselves, we would realize none of the candidates is squeaky clean.  Have we forgotten that when Bill Clinton was President, the Chinese government made substantial campaign contributions to his campaign or that under his administration there were a record number of leaks from Los Alamos National Laboratory to the Chinese government and that they blamed the leaks on an innocent Chinese American?  Remember how Bill Clinton pardoned that scoundrel Marc Rich, who was found guilty of tax fraud, tax evasion ($48 million), and illegal oil deals with Iran, when his ex-wife had made donations to the Clintons?  If his wife gets elected, expect more of the same.

And what about John McCain?  Did we forget that he wanted to pass the Immigration Amnesty Bill when the overwhelming majority of Americans were against it?  His actions made it clear that the will of the American people was not his concern.  If that’s how he handles his Senate seat, then what will happen when he becomes President?  We don’t need another person in office with George Bush’s mentality, in my opinion.

Even though I have many concerns about Obama, the dustup about Jeremiah Wright is much ado about nothing.

–posted by Harry A. Gaylord–


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