As one of the early trailblazers for the Rev Wright put it, greater love hath no man than to lay down his friends for his life. In among all the usual presidential ditching of inconvenient associations, I can’t think of anything to compare with Obama’s dumping of Trinity. It’s like Jimmy Carter renouncing his Baptist Church in Plains, Ga – although Carter never went so far as to title his campaign-launch promotional book after one of his preacher’s sermons. Perhaps it’s closer to Howard Dean quitting the Episcopal Church in Burlington, Vt over its objection to a proposed bike path – although even that arcane theological dispute seems more principled than Obama’s wholesale abandonment of Trinity, its congregation, and the man who married him and was entrusted with the spiritual education of his children.
Over at Powerline, Paul Mirengoff says: “Obama left Trinity Church for the same reason he joined it — political opportunism.” Faith-wise, Obama would seem to be closer to Dean than Carter – an essentially secular figure whose genuflections to religion were driven more by political expediency. In Governor Dean’s case, this involved flying down to Georgia in the last primary campaign to appear with President Carter at church in Plains. A little obvious but it was just for one desperate Sunday morning when the numbers were wobbling. Senator Obama has 20 years of Sunday mornings: in effect, he’s asking the media to give him a pass on unloading virtually his entire adult life. He’s demanding an industrial-strength version of Herblock’s famous “one free shave” to Nixon – in this case, a full head-to-toe depilation.
Will the media give it to him and continue the fawning iconography? Or will Bob Herbert, Joe Klein, Garry Wills and the other bobbysoxers resent being made to look like saps over their this-is-the-greatest-speech-since-Gettysburg hooey and confront the fraudulent nature of the image they’ve promoted so assiduously?
Gee, that’s a tough one…