January 15, 2011
Rev. Obama's Revival Meeting
Although a committed Christian, I've never appreciated whipped up revival meetings complete with dancing, falling backwards, or crippled people being yanked out of wheelchairs. After three decades of voyeuristic research, I possess a heightened ability to spot a snake oil salesman a mile away. Oftentimes, under bouffant hairstyles, oversized pinky rings, and weepy confessions, one finds self-absorbed individuals who exploit the Gospel for gain while living contrary to the message they preach.
Yet, year after year, gullible sheeple continue to support ministries, submit to fleecing, and attend events where flesh and blood are exalted and where the credulous place unquestioning faith in fraud.
It was that kind of finely honed discernment of mine that spotted a similar dynamic at work at the memorial service, where Barack Obama spoke in honor of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, thirteen severely wounded bystanders, and six individuals, including a nine-year-old girl, all mortally wounded by a madman on a mission.
To the untrained eye, the University of Arizona ceremony appeared to be a well-meaning memorial service visited by a somber president attempting to heal the nation. However, to an educated onlooker, the event closely resembled a tent revival run by a hypster whose pious pontificating was more about furthering a political agenda than consoling the aggrieved.
Was I the only one who recognized that when Obama entered the packed stadium, all that was missing was a donkey and palm branches?
The tenor in the room was one of an energized rock concert. In the bleachers were those who came to the memorial to hear the message and catch a glimpse of a superstar. "The university ... opened up the football stadium for the overflow crowd. People started lining up at about 6:30 am to get into the event. Many people ... brought children."
On one side of the stanchions, the tiered rows were abuzz with emotion, anticipation, and adoration. On the floor, closer to the stage, were dignitaries, the press, and wide-eyed family members huddled closely together.
Although the event was intended to be a solemn tribute to the dead and wounded, within seconds, it morphed into a quasi-worship service, where the headliner became the focus of the occasion. In fact, untraditional components were utilized to rev up the audience, like tee shirts draped over the seats with campaign-style logos that reminded congregants, in a state Obama is in the process of suing, that "Together we Thrive." Can anyone say "Benny Hinn Prosperity Prayer Shawls"?
The "memorial service" had all the accoutrements of an energized crusade. A Pascua Yaqui, eight-minute blessing was pronounced over the assembly by Native American/Mexican associate professor of medicine Carlos Gonzalez, who was recruited to open the diversity-sensitive proceedings. Gonzalez' tribal incantation was accompanied by eagle feathers that were a cross between a dusting implement and a quill pen. Carlos showered the flock with spiritual entreaties that referenced everything from "winged" things to "Father Sky [and] things that 'slither.'"
In lieu of a church organist, entertainment was provided by the Arizona Choir and the University of Arizona Symphony Orchestra, who performed Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring ballet suite rendition of the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts."
Then, in the tradition of adulterous televangelist Jim Bakker, Scripture was read by three individuals: Department of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Eric Holder, and President Barack Obama -- all of whom, when not selectively reading Bible verses before thousands of people, heartily endorse anti-Biblical policies like destroying unborn babies.
Attempting to channel a tempered Billy Sunday, Obama is more like charlatan man-of-the-cloth Ted Haggard. Haggard lived a lifestyle diametrically opposed to the one he espoused at the pulpit, as does the president, who eloquently encouraged the cheering crowd to do a laundry list of what he has yet to do, such as refraining from passing blame, choosing not to turn on enemies, acting humble, curtailing finger-pointing, and carefully listening to others. Obama said:
What we can't do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.
The camera didn't scan the crowd, but I bet if it did, in honor of a former Reverend Jeremiah Wright Sunday service, quite a few attendees would have been seen waving affirmative handkerchiefs, hollering "amen," and swooning backward into their seats.
As in every fraudulent tent meeting, the run-up to passing the collection plate is always peppered with words and images that tug at heartstrings, incite tears, and prime pockets for emptying. With regards to filling the basket with renewed momentum, revived poll numbers, and positive public approval, Reverend Obama did not disappoint. As the audience wept, the president chided the nation with flowery language that implied that Americans fail to live up to the expectations of a murdered child's vision of democracy.
While there were no political hallelujahs and exhortations to "turn to your neighbor and say 'hope and change,'" there were inferences that Americans don't give enough, care enough, or do enough, which is the type of exploitative rhetoric that successfully fills coffers at sports arenas hosting miracle crusades.
Then, like a shameless pastor fallen from grace, after robbing future generations blind by placing the nation in insurmountable debt, in memory of little Christina Taylor Green, Obama beseeched the financially hamstrung to do "everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our children's expectations."
After all the hype and false religiosity, sanctimonious fakery, manipulative exploitation, and acceptance of accolades from an arena supposedly gathered in somber tribute to the dead and wounded, probably the most shameful exhibit came when Barack Obama intimated that his presence was a catalyst to healing.
"In an electrifying moment, the president revealed that Giffords, who ... was shot point-blank in the head, opened her eyes for the first time shortly after his hospital visit[.]" Obama's comment was obliquely suggestive of Jesus saying, "Talitha koum!" (That means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!")
Like a faith healer working the crowd with stirring images, Obama painted a picture of his presence in a room stimulating a response from a woman in a coma. The crowd and the nation was so taken by the whole affair that in one sentence, Obama went up in the polls, sent tingles up the leg of pundits on both the right and the left, probably settled the Arizona lawsuit, and quelled any further opposition to health care reform.
Nevertheless, as a person who prides herself on recognizing the genuine from the counterfeit, it appeared to me as if Vicar of Veracity Barack Obama, in Christina's stead, was attempting to "jump in rain puddles" by quoting from Job. Unknowingly, Obama revealed the underlying spirit of the service with words from Job 30:26 that, when spoken in context, say, "Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness."
Author's content: www.jeannie-ology.com