Obama is the new religion

Today, while trawling the blogosphere, I stumbled upon a post by one of my fellow opinionaters that has left me utterly bemused.

Caleb Land, who describes himself as “the Student Pastor at Mabel White Memorial Baptist Church in Macon, GA” posted a quote from W. Bradford Wilcox, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia, saying:

“…the more the state steps in to reduce the economic and social insecurity of its citizens, the less likely fair-weather believers are to darken the door of a church on Sunday. Now, to paraphrase Charles Krauthammer, Obama hopes to expand the size of the welfare state by offering cradle-to-grave health care and cradle-to-cubicle education to Americans. If he gets his way, Americans will not have to trust in God, or their fellow congregants, to support an ailing parent, or to help them figure out how to pay for their daughter’s college tuition. Instead, they can put their faith in Uncle Sam.”

Willcox cites a study of religion in 33 countries by Anthone Gill and Erik Lundsgaarde, political scientists at the University of Washington, which indicates that there is an inverse relationship between faith and state spending on welfare.

He argues that “the nanny state [Obama] is seeking to build will likely crowd out religious institutions in America”. Without religion, he says, “social solidarity [goes] down and social pathology – from drinking to crime – [goes] up.”

Not only does this argument confirm the line that atheists have been taking for hundreds of years – that people only turn to religion in desperation, as articles chronicling the increase in churchgoers since the onslaught of the recession have noted – but it actually seems to suggest that the healthcare system will cause a rise in crime.

Are we seriously meant to believe that people not having to beg for help to send their children to college is a bad thing? And as for the idea that with better state care fewer “fair-weather believers will darken the door of a church” – surely this is not genuine faith and certainly not the kind that the Baptists advocate?

The American electorate turned away from the Bush regime because they finally saw that it was morally bankrupt, elitist and, above all, greedy. They have placed their hope in a man that claims to be none of these things. His dedication to universal healthcare is the greatest proof of this to date.

The future is uncertain and the path is dark. But for those who wish to provide a safety net for the most vulnerable and who value the fundamental Christian values of faith, love and charity above the powerplay statistics of congregations attendance and funding of religious institutions, Obama is the light at the end of the tunnel.


5 Responses to “Obama is the new religion”

  1. 1 cland13 March 4, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Dear Cazhenshaw,

    I am Caleb Land, the writer of the post you are discussing. A couple of observations.

    First, in my post I never said I was excited to have fair-weather church members or that I am driven by “powerplay statistics of congregations attendance and funding of religious institutions.” In fact, my only comment on the article was the following:

    “If this comes to pass the onus will be on Churches and individual believers to adapt to a new world and continue faithfully proclaiming the gospel in a post-Christian America.”

    I believe that in many cases churches have been just as debilitating as the government when it comes to giving handouts to people rather than helping them transform their lives. Giving a handout is the easy way out. Walking beside someone for the long haul is hard work. Sadly, most churches and Christians are to “fair-weather” for that kind of commitment as well.

    I also am deeply troubled at the fact that so many people are duped by the promises of universal healthcare when it has utterly failed everywhere it has been tried. Canadians pay for their healthcare in the form of insanely high taxes, then have to wait for months for substandard care from doctors who have no motivation for high performance.

    Not to mention the effect that it will have on the discovery of new medicines. Can you name a single drug or medicine that has been created in Europe since their healthcare was standardized in the 70’s? I didn’t think so. Yet, their liberal politicians have no problem benefiting from the cancer medicine created by the evil, capitalistic American pharmaceutical companies. I doubt you would have a problem with it either.

    Yet, I can sympathize with your views and I know that most liberals do what they do and believe what they believe out of genuine compassion for others. Unfortunately, liberalism just doesn’t help people, it only systematizes the societal problems and creates a welfare state with little chance for success or achievement.

    I’m reminded of Doctor/Writer Theodore Dalrymple who, as a young communist in London decided to devote his life to the poor and mentally ill of the London Ghettos. A noble goal. Unfortunately what he learned was that the people he was trying to help were being crippled by the British welfare state. He wrote wrote in the 2001 the following words which can still apply to America if liberty and free market remain after the Obama administration:

    “Despite it’s reputation for being ossified and class-ridden, Britain is still a country in which social mobility is possible. Provided, of course, that a belief that Britain is an ossified and class-ridden society doesn’t completely stifle personal effort. It is the mind, not society, that forges the manacles that keep people enchained to their misfortunes.”

    This hasn’t always been the case, even in America. But, as President Obama so clearly illustrates, anyone in America can rise above the circumstances of their birth and make something of themselves. Some have a harder time than others, but it is possible. It will not be possible if our citizens become dependent on the government and refuse to strive to make something of themselves.

    Now, that was the conservative side. As a Christian I want to follow Jesus’ commands of loving God, loving others and sharing the gospel with the world. It is obvious from scripture that God wants His people to care for the sick, helpless and needy. We don’t do a very good job of it right now, but I don’t want to see us turn it over to the government. Jesus never told Rome to care for the poor, the orphans and widows. He told his people to do it. My point was, we need to do a better job of it.

    Finally, I can’t tell from your post if you are a Christian, but it sounds to me like your faith and hope are placed in President Obama. Obama is the “new religion” and the “light at the end of the tunnel.” That’s some pretty intense faith. I am afraid that one day President Obama will let you down. Without sounding coy, I would like to share with you my belief that Jesus is our only hope for ultimate salvation.

    I appreciate your passion for helping the poor and broken of this world and your passion in support of President Obama. You seem like a great and intelligent person. I hope you’ll see things the way I do one day, but if not, no hard feelings.

    Regards, Caleb Land

  2. 2 Caroline March 4, 2009 at 4:34 pm


    Thanks for your comment and for reading my blog, it means a lot to me.

    I take on board your point that I sound a bit too pro-Obama. As I have noted in one of my previous posts, I, like many other bloggers, have a tendency to become more outspoken in my views when posting, so please take some of my more outlandish remarks – especially those relating to Obama being “the light” – with a pinch of salt.

    I appreciate that Obama will no doubt let many people down over the coming months and years but I do believe that he is the best chance America, and the world, has is these dark times.

    As to your comment that I mis-quoted or wrongly paraphrased your argument, that comment was directed at Willcox’s point, not yours, though your quoting his words without criticism did imply that you agree with him, at least in part. I apologise if you thought that was a personal attack, but I very strongly disagree with your arguments.

    First, you say: “liberalism just doesn’t help people, it only systematizes the societal problems and creates a welfare state with little chance for success or achievement.” And what, conservatism/Republicanism does? I would take that last 8 years as an argument that it does not.

    As for the claim that it systematizes societal problems, that is both reductive and counterproductive as a position. That’s like saying that people are only poor because they choose to be and giving them education or healthcare for free will only encourage them to stay poor.

    That misunderstands both the causes and effects of poverty. In order to advance themselves, people must believe that advancement is possible and this will never be the case if they are not provided with basic rights to education, healthcare and housing. The Church/Christians have the best intentions in this respect, but they cannot provide the fundamental necessities required by those in greatest need of them.

    You also say that you are “troubled at the fact that so many people are duped by the promises of universal healthcare when it has utterly failed everywhere it has been tried.” I argue that that is untrue. Finland and Sweden, for example, have two of the best healthcare systems in the world, both largely or entirely state funded.

    Even the NHS in the UK (though many I’m sure will not agree with this) has a decent system largely run by honest people with genuinely good intentions. It is not perfect but it is something and it means that when people are ill and in trouble they will be cared for, whatever the state of their bank accounts.

    It seems to be that you have a very dim view on humanity, Caleb. You say that the problem with a welfare state is that it removes the impetus for people to care for their neighbours and stifles innovation and personal advancement. Do you really think that people are only motivated by money? Do you really believe that Canadian doctors chose that career because they wanted to make profits from sick people?

    I would dare to say no. I, for one, have chosen a career that will very likely never make me any money because I believe it is important and I know many others who have made the same choice. For someone who follows Jesus, you seem to have little faith in the good in people.

    I am sorry if I have offended you but I stand by my points. I can understand your position to a certain extent but in the end I disagree with your fundamental belief that “liberalism”, as you call it, does not work. The Nordic states are some of the most successful societies in the world in terms of quality of life, as well as the most liberal and socialist. They are not perfect, but they’re a damn sight better than the UK and the US, that’s for sure.

    It isn’t that socialism, liberalism, whatever you want to call it, doesn’t work. It’s that we haven’t worked out how to apply it yet.

  3. 3 cland13 March 10, 2009 at 6:07 pm

    Caroline, Thank you for your kind and thoughtful reply. I’m not offended by our ideological differences. I also want to point out that I am not a libertarian. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it basically means someone who believes in totally decentralized government.

    I think the government should help level the playing field for its citizens because the reality is, we don’t start off on the same footing. Many people are blessed to be born into educated homes or wealthy homes or loving homes while others are not. The government and churches can and should help less fortunate people to get an education, get healthcare, etc. until they can provide for it themselves. However, there should be motivation to achieve and advance!!

    That motivation doesn’t have to be money, maybe it is education, the ability to serve others, a better life for ones family, etc. However, people need motivation to succeed. I don’t doubt that doctors work for reasons other than money, my brother is a doctor and he certainly sees it as a ministry, but the reality is that medical research costs a fortune and only free market economies produce new medicine. For good or evil, business, technological advancement, etc thrives in a free market economy. Countries like Sweden still benefit from US Pharmaceutical Companies.

    More than likely neither of us will be swayed in our political convictions anytime soon, but you’ve made me think and I hope I have you as well.

    As to my view of humanity, well, as a follower of Jesus I believe Jesus had to come for some reason. He had to come to die in our place because of sin. I believe that humans are ultimately sinful and that is why poverty, oppression, evil, slavery, death, disease, etc. all exist, because of our sin. Conservatives, Liberals, Christians, Muslims, are all sinful and need a savior. I believe that we can only get over our sin problem through Jesus. But I admit, that my view of sin does affect my general outlook on human behavior. Maybe I know my own propensity towards sin a little too well, but I digress.

    Anyway, I’m glad of your motivation to help people through your career choice. I certainly won’t be making much money as a minister (I’m not the type on TV wearing gold chains and conning people out of money, and if you ever see me there please call in and tell me I’m a hypocrite!). Have a great day.

  4. 4 RaiulBaztepo April 1, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

  1. 1 Cazenshaw “Obama is the New Religion.” « The Green Leaf Blog Trackback on March 4, 2009 at 3:15 pm

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