Monday, May 7, 2007

Breaking News! Presidential Candidate Embraces White Value System!

Breaking News! You heard it here first on the Cheerful Iconoclast.

It turns out a leading Republican presidential candidate is a member of a church which practices racial separatism. On their web page -- until it was recently taken down -- his Congregation explained that "We are a congregation which is Unashamedly White and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the White religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent." And his church has adopted a 12-point "White Value System" which it believes "must be taught and exemplified in homes, churches, nurseries and schools, wherever Whites are gathered"

His church's 12-point White Value system:

1. Commitment to God

2 Commitment to the White Community

3 Commitment to the White Family

4. Dedication to the Pursuit of Education

5. Dedication to the Pursuit of Excellence

6 Adherence to the White Work Ethic

7. Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect

8. Disavowal of the Pursuit of "Middleclassness"

9. Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the White Community

10. Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting White Institutions

11. Pledge allegiance to all White leadership who espouse and embrace the White Value System

12. Personal commitment to embracement of the White Value System.

Now some of these virtues are unobjectionable, or at least expected. As an atheist, I would reject "commitment to God," but most people in the United States are religious, so I expect our next President will belong to a church, and whatever church he (or she) belongs to, they will claim to be committed to God. Likewise, nobody objects to education, excellence, self-discipline and self-respect.

Yet other aspects of this creed are quite troublesome. The commitment to the White Community implies that one is less committed to other communities -- Black, Hispanic, Asian, etc. The commitment to the "White Family" implies that the families of other racial groups are somehow less worthy. And how exactly does the "White work ethic" differ from the plain old "work ethic"? The bit about pledging allegiance to White leaders who embrace the White Value System seems almost like a fascist "leader principle."

Even weirder is the bit about how they're supposed to disavow the pursuit of "middleclassness." Huh? Being "midlle class" is what Americans are supposed to aspire to -- it's the American dream. And middle class values (like, uh, the work ethic, education, and self-discipline) lead directly to economic success.

OK, everybody has probably figured it out by now. I played a trick: I substituted the word "White" for "Black." The candidate whose church embraced this creed is Barack Obama. The archived version of the "Black Value System can (for now) be found here. Bloggers were, as usual, head of the curve -- this was discussed by Illinois Review back in December, and I owe commenter Don Castella credit for the admittedly not-particularly-original idea of substituting "White" for "Black."

Now a few more bloggers -- including big-timers like Insty, Kaus, and Steve Sailer -- are all over this New York Times Story about Obama's ties to the afrocentric Trinity United Church of Christ and its pastor, one Reverend Jeremiah A. Wright.

This is some scary stuff. Wright isn't just the minister of a church that Obama happened to go to because it was in the neighborhood. Rather, Obama consciously chose Wright as his spiritual mentor. And he did it as an adult. The title of Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope, comes from one of Wright's sermons. And Obama is a sincere follower of Wright's Afrocentric creed. The New York Times story quotes Jim Wallis, an activist and friend of Obama's as saying “His faith is really a personal and an adult choice. His is a conversion story.”

Whoever is elected president is going to be an avowed believer, most likely a Christian of some sort, although I might hope for a secret freethinker. But Obama's conversion story is troubling because he chose to convert to a goofy Afrocentric church whose mission statement embraces everything Black (always capitlized) and eschews "middleclassness." Now, for an individual person, I suppose that's a voluntary choice. But Obama is running to be the President of the United States. And it's worth noting that, on the page I quoted, there are several references to Africa, but none at all to the United States. He was a grown adult. He chose a church which identifies exclusively with one racial group. I'm thinking that his interest in racial unity may be a bit less sincere than he would have you believe.

I have not yet gotten around to reading Dreams of My Father, but Obama's choice of churches does seem to provide circumstantial evidence favoring Sailer's side of the Sailer/Koznetzki debate. If nothing else, it is interesting: Barack Obama is a mixed-race man who is abandoned by his father and raised by his white mother and her family. As an adult, he joins an Afrocentric church led by a charismatic father figure.

We've had one President with Daddy issues who got religion as an adult. How has that worked out for us?


Anonymous said...

A church that listed a similiar 12 point plan for "Whites" would be viewed by most if not all as an incarnation of the Klan -- that comes from historical baggage and frankly, because of that baggage, is not an unfair read.

Another comparison would be to substitute ethnic ties for "Black", rather than "White": Committment to the Jewish Community, to the Irish Community, etc. It's tribal, yes, but not necessarily more limiting than other groups self-identifying. Community identity does not necessarily preclude individual identity or a larger world view. But it can, and historically, often does. For that reason, it is the blind allegiance statement, No. 11, that is very, very problematic.

In this case, the community identity issue perhaps touches on a whole host of "rights" issues -- affirmative action, etc. -- but we know independent form this snippet from a Church website where Obama stands on these issues.

cheerful iconoclast said...

You're right that if you consider "black" an ethnic tie like "Irish," it wouldn't be quite so offensive as "White."

But somebody who went to an Irish-only church so focused on Irishness and Ireland -- Irocentric as his church is Afrocentric -- would definitely be acting tribalistically rather than universally.

And don't we want our President to be somebody who is drawn to universlity? Wouldn't you feel better about Obama if he had sought out a racially-integrated church?

Anonymous said...

I said it was tribal.

I think the ability and willingmess to see and identify outside the "tribe" is crucial -- as long as its not some faux politically correct statement of universality. Some level of tribalism does not preclude or moot this ability or willingness. But, in this case, as I noted, the pledge of allegiance in the Church's 12 point plan would appear to do just that and is a huge problem. Imagine if I substituted German for Black and this was in 1930s Germany (although at this point I don't see this Church as advocating the elimination of other races).

These are the kinds of plans downtrodden groups come up with to yank themselves out of their circumstances. I'd rather see this Church encourage its young and members to pull themselves up by encouraging individual merit rather than community allegiance or socialist ideals, but I don't have a problem with the Church encouraging its members to pull together, work hard, and help each other.

J. Allen said...

Okay, still sorting out my feelings about Obama. I get the feeling that a white guy like me wouldn't be welcome at Mr. Obama's church.

You know, until Bush 2 came along, a President's religion didn't matter much to me as I don't believe it is necessary to belong to an organized religion to be a good leader. But after this Bush, I think I'd rather have a president who doesn't have a god telling him to invade foreign countries.

Another comment forthcoming...your post is up at my place. Thanks


J. Allen said...

Hey, Cheerful, I don't agree with this, despite (sort of) getting your point: ...other aspects of this creed are quite troublesome. The commitment to the Black Community implies that one is less committed to other communities...

Black and Hispanic communities (especially children) desperately need successful Black and Hispanic role models to actively give back, participate and be committed to helping the rest of their specific community.

It's a bit naive (and not helpful today at least) to expect minorities to play by the same rules as the non-minorities.

J. Allen

(comment and post up at my blog)