Last week, the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) church, which is the oldest religious denomination in America, hosted Michelle Obama as a keynote speaker at their General Conference. They were impressed with her “commitment to family” and her “leadership” in fighting childhood obesity. Now the Obamas are a lovely family, but as people of influence, it is not just a matter of what they are, but just as importantly what they stand for. And the Obamas stand for anything but family values in terms of actual policies and positions. Let’s not forget that Obama directed the Justice Department last year to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which is a bipartisan, duly passed law by Congress. Michelle Obama, during Barack Obama’s campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2004, wrote a fundraising letter defending the gruesome practice of partial-birth abortion. In this letter, she argued that the federal ban on partial-birth abortion was “flawed law” that was “clearly unconstitutional.” She closed the letter with a promise that if Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate, he would keep George Bush from appointing a Supreme Court justice that would vote against Roe v. Wade (the Supreme Court decision that stated a woman had a constitutional right to an abortion).
In 1997, while an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama opposed a ban on partial-birth abortion. In 2001, he was the only senator to speak against the Illinois Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA) which would have protected babies who survived a late-term abortion. Essentially, if a nine-month old fetus, against all odds, survived an abortion, Barack Obama did not believe the child had a right to live, so it should be denied any medical assistance and left to die. He subsequently led opposition against this bill in 2002, and eventually killed the bill in 2003 at a committee meeting in which he presided as chairman. The bill referenced fully born infants, but nonetheless, Obama felt a “previable fetus” does not qualify as a human person. We already know that he is unsure if life begins at conception, but apparently he’s not sure even if a fetus is in its ninth month of development. And clearly, his wife, Michelle Obama is in complete agreement with him. Well, so much for their “commitment to family.” How the AME church missed these facts is highly troubling, and indicates that like the Obamas, the Bible may not be their ultimate authority either.
Perhaps the AME church missed the Obama position on religious conscience as well. Earlier this year, President Obama’s Health and Human Services department, as a part of the healthcare law, announced that religious institutions must provide free birth control coverage in their employee health care plans. This was unprecedented since the federal government has always provided conscience exemptions that did not cause religious institutions to violate their deeply held religious beliefs. That is until now. Dozens of Catholic institutions are suing over this mandate since it is a violation of religious freedom. Of course, President Obama tried to pander to the Catholic Church by offering to shift the cost to insurance companies by mandating them to provide the coverage for free, but this was no accommodation since many Catholic institutions are self-insured, and even if they weren’t, they would have to pay for birth control coverage through premiums anyway. So where is the AME church on this? I hear crickets chirping, as apparently religious freedom is none of their concern.
And then we have the issue of gay marriage. President Obama decided that after having conversations with Michelle, his kids, and a gay couple with children, that the “right thing to do” is to support gay marriage. Well we all know that the Obama’s are really not church going people anyway except for political gain, but they do claim to be Christians. So it is not surprising that the Bible is not their authority when it comes to homosexuality, which is further borne out by comments President Obama has made about the efficacy of the Bible in influencing public policy. Now this is fine for Obama, but with such a position on gay marriage, along with his disapproval that the Bible would inform public policy, why would the AME church go out if its way to have Michelle Obama address the church at its annual convention? It is abundantly clear that the Obama’s do not adhere to orthodox Christian doctrine, and are even hostile to it. So having Michelle Obama offer words of biblical wisdom is the equivalent of asking a captured war enemy to help devise your attack strategy. Michelle Obama hardly exhibits leadership or shared values in matters that are important to the Christian community, so it is inexplicable that the church is embracing the Obama’s instead of campaigning against their war on religious freedom and traditional values.
I have concluded that the AME church has become nothing more than a political organization aligned around social justice, and that is why it has cast its lot with Obama. Apparently they still believe that black people are so oppressed that our only way to improve our lot is through big government programs that Obama advocates. The AME church, in my view, sees progress through government action and largesse, instead of through hard work, determination, personal responsibility, and faith in God. It doesn’t matter that the policies of the Obama administration are antagonistic towards people of faith, so I wonder if they believe the Bible is nothing more than a collection of old stories and is not authoritative, as do the Obama’s. Now they might argue that having Michelle Obama speak does not mean they necessarily agree with her views, but at such an important event as a keynote speaker, why would they invite someone to impart wisdom that doesn’t share their values? Well I think it is because they actually do share the same values, and that the black church has become nothing more than a socialist political organization that is an extension of the Democratic Party. I wish I could say this phenomenon is limited to the AME church, but even my Baptist home church in Virginia has heartily embraced Obama. A minority of courageous black churches have spoken out, but as with my home church, most are silent because apparently having a black president trumps what that president actually stands for, even if it is against Christian principles. And that, I believe, is a tragedy within the black church today.