The fanatical right wing, after taking a few days off to
catch their breath, is back again with a vengeance.
Name anything that President Obama is doing, and this broken
wing will try to slap it down, unmindful that more than two-thirds of Americans
support the president, with his popularity rising each week, according to
several independent polls.
During the campaign, they attacked Obama for being a Muslim.
After all, they figured anyone with a name that wasn�t WASP-sounding must not
be a Christian. Of course, they overlooked the Constitution, which says anyone
-- Christian, Muslim, Jew, or even atheist -- has a right to be president.
When the Muslim connection didn�t wash with the people, the
right wing said that Obama went to the wrong Christian church. The
United Church of Christ, many claimed, wasn�t even Christian because it allowed
people of all views into its congregations. For the shrill-voiced pretend-Christians,
their religion is more a religion of exclusion than of inclusion.
This past week, the holiest of Christian holidays, the
lunatic fringe has shown just how far from Christianity it is. On talk shows
and in vitriolic columns, the hard-core conservative base blasted the president
for not going to church every Sunday. But then, the president and his family
attended Easter Day services at St. John�s Episcopal Church. The family�s plans
had been kept secret, both for security reasons and because the president had
stated many times both before and after his inauguration that he needed time to
find an appropriate congregation and because he was mindful that his presence
would, even unintentionally, disrupt services.
Undoubtedly, the harpies of the extreme right wing will now
suggest that the president attended services only because they had raised the
issue, and that his attendance was solely for political reasons.
What these self-righteous harpies don�t point out, is that
while the president and his family are looking for an appropriate church, he�s
hosted prayer meetings and a Passover Seder, and acted in a way that is far
more what Christian charity asks than many who put out litmus tests made up of
requirements that might make God weep.
So, here�s a few facts for this group -- just in case they
were foaming at the mouth during their own religious education, and didn�t hear
One: More presidents didn�t attend church weekly than did.
Among those who had very irregular church attendance was Thomas Jefferson, a Deist
not a Christian, who had insisted that freedom of religion be a part of the
Two: People can go to church twice a week, and participate
in every ritual and still not understand the words and teachings of God and his
Three: Persons who don�t go to church every week aren�t
worse than those who do.
Four: A church is a building. If God is omnipresent, he is
present in every part of this universe, not just in buildings. Persons can
understand and have their own faith without going into a building, for the
spirit of God is within their hearts.
Five: No one has absolute truth, and any attempt to impose
one�s faith upon others is a selfish and egocentric approach to religion,
something Moses, Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, and Mohammad would find appalling.
Finally: If the fanatics continue their shrill screeches
that President Obama and his family attend church every Sunday to show the
nation they are �true Christians,� they should consider that one of the most influential
conservative presidents never attended Sunday services while president,
believing his presence would disrupt Sunday services. That man was Ronald
M. Brasch is a university professor of journalism, social issues columnist, and
the author of 17 books. His current book is �Sinking the Ship of State: The Presidency of George W.
Bush,� available from amazon.com, bn.com, and other stores. You may contact him
through his website, www.walterbrasch.com.