Sunday, February 24, 2008

Farrakhan endorses Obama

The Associated Press carries Louis Farrakhan's glowing endorsement of Barack Obama.(Hat tip: Astute Blogger)

The 74-year-old Farrakhan, addressing an estimated crowd of 20,000 people at the annual Saviours' Day celebration, never outrightly endorsed Obama but spent most of the nearly two-hour speech praising the Illinois senator.

"This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better," he said. "This young man is capturing audiences of black and brown and red and yellow. If you look at Barack Obama's audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed."

Farrakhan compared Obama to the religion's founder, Fard Muhammad, who also had a white mother and black father. "A black man with a white mother became a savior to us," he told the crowd of mostly followers. "A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall."

Saviour's Day, for those who don't know, "is the annual commemoration of the Birth of Master Fard Muhammad, February 26, the Founder of the Nation of Islam." What's really interesting about Farrakhan's speech is the way everything is cast in terms of race. "This young man is capturing audiences of black and brown and red and yellow." How many people walk around thinking of themselves as "black and brown and red and yellow" instead of "Jacques or Joe or Pham or Pedro" as a primary descriptor?

Maybe it's time to revive the entire clanking machinery of racialist politics at the behest of the Nation of Islam. Terms like Quadroon, Octoroon, Quintroon and Hexadecaroon should once again be used to describe persons, such as candidates for President.

The existing Federal system of racial classification already forces people to choose an "ethnicity" based on completely arbitrary definitions. The difficulties are especially pronounced when persons are of a multi-racial and multi-ethnic background. ...

The system forces individuals of mixed racial and ethnic backgrounds to choose one ill-fitting label. Until the 2000 census, for example, Latinos were required to identify with a single race despite the long history of racial mixing in Latin America (Note: the EEOC continues to define Hispanics as a separate and distinct "race.") Also, consider the following scenario: how might an individual whose mother is of European and Asian ancestry and whose father is of Native American and Hispanic origin be expected to classify himself?

What audience is "American"?

Farrakhan's fulsome praise is especially interesting because Barack Obama pointedly "distanced" himself both from Farrakhan and his pastor, Jeremiah A. Wright Jr in the following statement

"I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan. I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree."

A perceptive article on the religious message of Barack Obama in the Stranger describes him as a man who sees religion less in eschatological terms than as a means for providing meaning to the Lost in the here and now.

Obama is cagey, in a lawyerly way, about the supernatural claims of religion. Recounting a conversation about death that he had with one of his two young daughters, he wrote, "I wondered whether I should have told her the truth, that I wasn't sure what happens when we die, any more than I was sure of where the soul resides or what existed before the Big Bang." So I think we can take it that he doesn't believe—or at least doesn't exactly believe—in the afterlife or the creation. His conversion to Pastor Wright's brand of Christianity was "a choice and not an epiphany," born of his admiration for "communities of faith" and the shape and purpose they give to the lives of their congregants.

It's an anecdote with a curious resonance for me because I just had a similar conversation with my own son on the same subject. But my answer was different from Obama's. I told my son I didn't know what happened when we died; but that I believed that the good was never forgotten and hoped we would see each other again as Jesus taught. Yet if I were a politician it might have been better to have provided a more definite answer, to hold out certitudes instead of the fragile hand of faith. Obama understands what I think few contemporary politicians do: that people don't crave the little "gifts" that Hillary Clinton has to offer, the small packages of benefits and percentage improvements. They want comfort, salvation and meaning. And in a world where secular society has destroyed every tradition of transcendance, the world is a wide open market for anyone who can offer -- not national security, economic growth, or the right to keep and bear arms -- but Hope. Obama has this market all to himself and provides "shape and purpose to the lives of his congregants" in a way that his rivals don't even know is necessary.

Whether Obama leads his flock coldly and calculatingly -- as the article in Stranger suggests -- on his own authority using the structure of religion as a convenient organizing principle or whether like Moses in Exodus 17 he inwardly listens for a presence beside him as upon a rock in Horeb, is something we cannot know. At the heart of the Obama mystery lies a curious duality. He is man who self-identifies with a particular race on the way to achieving the vision of making all men brothers; a man who appeals to our better natures yet speaks to Tony Rezko; a man who would lead a brotherhood of the downtrodden but with George Soros at his side; a man who distances himself from Louis Farrakhan yet receives his accolades on Saviour's Day.

What is he? Messiah or huckster? Whatever he is, our fundamental condition as a people wandering in the desert is less in doubt. There is a deep hunger for meaning in much of Western society, a vacuum which no amount of physical pleasure can satisfy. Obama has every right to try and 'transform' his audience. But only his audience can decide whether they want his kind of transformation.


The following quote is often mis-attributed to GK Chesterton. "When a Man stops believing in God he doesn't then believe in nothing, he believes anything." Chesterton.org thinks it the quotation is really amalgam of two Chesterton quotes.

It's the first effect of not believing in God that you lose your common sense. ["The Oracle of the Dog" (1923)]

You hard-shelled materialists were all balanced on the very edge of belief - of belief in almost anything. ["The Miracle of Moon Crescent" (1924)]




18 Comments:

Blogger Joshua said...

There is now officially an albatross about Obama's neck (the first of many, no doubt), and its name is Louis Farrakhan.

If I'm John McCain right now, I'm... well, doing whatever John McCain does when he gets really, really good news.

2/24/2008 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger Pangloss said...

On an amusing, but relevant, tangent, the identity politics of Farrakhan and other race hustlers bring to mind the question, will Obama follow the logic of his Change mantra to encourage his followers to change their politics of victimhood and class warfare into a politics of ideas and honor? If made, can the call succeed?

More at Change, OODA Loops, and what the Winter Warlock and the Heat and Cold Miser have to do with it

2/24/2008 10:41:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

McCain ought to run ads RIGHT NOW showing Farrakhan's endorsement of Obama, Obama's black racialist church, Obama's Preacher.

With juicy selected quotes from Farrakhan.

2/24/2008 10:42:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Also points out the danger of people doing their own thing. This was entirely predictable, since Obama IS the Black Racialist Candidate. And that's all he is.

So he can expect more of that.

McCain is the Establishment Republican Candidate. There are advantages to top-down hierarchies.

2/24/2008 10:43:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat@hotmail.com said...

I used to keep the company of a bunch of "Liberation Theology" churchmen in my 20s. After a time it dawned on me that -- despite their lofty ecclesiastical titles -- they were really talking about atheism in code. They were really atheists pretending to be Christians. And what I took exception to wasn't the atheism; it was the code.

That unease extened to those who tried to pass off Communism under the guise of "liberation theology". I didn't think there was anything wrong with Communism, if you sold it properly labeled. But it was the subterfuge; the deceit which bothered me.

The question I always asked myself is if one were really proud of being an atheist or Communist, why one wouldn't shout it out from the rooftops. The answer of course was the same as the wolf would give if asked why he donned sheep's clothing. It was advantageous to keep up the subterfuge. The better to eat you with.

Much of what passes of 'religion' in the West is no such thing. There's probably more spirituality in one of Barack Obama's speeches than in dozen of Rowan Williams' sermons. I think people know this and prefer a spiritual atheism to a hypocritical piety. Never mind that both are really, intellectually speaking at least, the same thing. The one is at least human and emotive and other is merely tea-time drivel.

Yet having survived and rejected both, I am convinced that I am better off without either. Why should one live with a substitute God? The god of blackness or the god of tea and cucumber sandwiches are alike entertainments I can do without, being neither black nor fond of cucumber sandwiches.

I can see why the Rev Wright gave his award to Farrakhan. It was salute by the practicioner of one narrative to the practicioner of another. God or Allah was secondary to the god of blackness; to the goal of giving meaning to the life of those who would otherwise have beens swallowed up by drugs, crime and daytime TV.

Farrakhan and Wright were working the salvation of their flocks through narratives which were not the end in themselves. What was the end was that the black race; for so long downtrodden, reviled and spat upon, should feel proud and thereby be saved.

But it is at this point that I must object. Wright and Farrakhan have drawn their circle too closely. It has left me out. And all of the others who through no fault of their own, are neither damned nor blessed enough to be black.

Where do I go if I am merely a man?

The Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal was condemned by the Spaniards for being a doctor, polymath and intellectual because he has an indio. Indios had no claim to those aspirations.

And he was condemned by the Filipino revolutionary movement for being a doctor, polymath and intellectual because he was an indio; and therefore had aspirations beyond his station.

No one asked why anyone should give permission to become a man.

The path to untrammelled manhood is a lonely one because no one give you permission to do it. Ultimately, Dr. Jose Rizal understood that to be man meant casting your bread upon the waters. He declined both the demand of the Spaniard to become a subservient indio and the demand of the Filipino rebellion to be as one of them.

He went to his death on Bagumbayan field alone but for God. It is one of the great ironies of Philippine history that the great anti-cleric should finally realize that the only lasting alliance is between one's self and the truth. As he put it:

Mi patria idolatrada, dolor de mis dolores,
Querida Filipinas, oye el postrer adiós.
Ahí te dejo todo, mis padres, mis amores.
Voy donde no hay esclavos, verdugos ni opresores,
Donde la fe no mata, donde el que reina es Dios.


And so he went, without the Rowan Williamses. And without the Barack Obamas.

2/25/2008 04:34:00 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

I find it worrying that in spite of Obama "distancing himself" from Farrakhan, the latter still expends all this time and passion beatifying him.

A few days a go, this article on Al-Ahram drew my attention,

http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2008/885/op111.htm

in which Hamid Dabbashi, after expressing disappointment with Obama's speech to AIPAC, nonetheless decides to support him "At this point, I am afraid the votes of my two children are all I can offer Brother Barack."

"Brother Obama", Hamid reassures his readers, "is after all one of us, however he may think it politically expedient to pick and chose one thing or another".

And who is "us"?

"Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Arabs, Muslims and all the most recent (legal and illegal) immigrants to this land".

Note the similarity to Farakhan's list of who is included and excluded from the shining future he envisions for obama's kingdom:

"This young man is capturing audiences of black and brown and red and yellow."

So I ask again, why are these two men endorsing Obama, even though he has spoken specifically against the kinds of solutions they crave?

2/25/2008 06:25:00 AM  
Blogger charles said...

As a black man I have to acknowledge that Farrakhan is without a doubt the most fantastic orator I have ever heard. It's interesting that Farrakhan is also bi-racial, his father is white and may even be Jewish.

I have to wonder, after seeing the success Obama has had with whites, if Farrakhan regrets not having adopted a more universal, less racially polarizing, message.
With the Obama phenomenon unfolding before all of our eyes, there must be a sense that his own potential has been wasted by the smallness of his assumptions.

So Brother Minister, are you still so sure that the races can not co-exist?

2/25/2008 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger pst314 said...

"There's probably more spirituality in one of Barack Obama's speeches than in dozen of Rowan Williams' sermons."

That's got to smart. Pity that Rowan Williams is unlikely to read this blog.

2/25/2008 07:32:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

Wretchard,

That was a brilliant post, and it states the unsolvable conundrum of the theology of blackness espoused by Barrack Hussein Obama and al Farakhan ibn Shaytan: it never addresses THE soteriological mystery of our faith - how to be truly reconciled with being a human being and true child of God.

I too used to, as a university undergrad and later as a Jesuit graduate student, dabble in Liberation Theology. But, I take exception to one aspect of what you had written. I was not an atheist and in fact was always trying to straddle the tension between the metaphysical materialist reductionists, who were the bulk of practicing socialists I knew, on the one hand, and the Catholics like me who were truly trying to implement the horizontal dimension of the Cross with its vertical dimension. I never felt truly at home in the socialist camp during that ten-year period of my life. There was always a subtle undercurrent - and sometimes there were diplomatic attempts to question why I remained a Catholic Christian - of condescension towards me because of my faith.

I always took the conservative critiques of Liberation Theology seriously, and was constantly searching for how I would honestly answer those criticisms.

Eventually too many moments of cognitive dissonance drew me to the conviction that socialism is a failure and always will be a failure. "Correct" structures will not make a human being moral. Every socialist experiment and country has its criminal undercurrents. Socialism does not make a new moral man.

A lot of the younger voters in the country have not reached that moment of disillusionment yet. I have faith that if they finally experience the failure that socialism is, they will come around. It is only fitting that at this moment in our history that we are going to have a national referendum about the Left. I think human beings learn their most important lessons from failure, not success. Therefore, my hope is that the under-40 crowd in this country, after four years of an Obama administration beset with crises and failures, will learn the necessary lesson.

I believe the United States is strong enough to survive four years of this. We came back from the disastrous four years of Jimmy Carter during the Cold War, and most of my fellow undergrads in 1980 voted for Reagan, not Carter. They got that lesson right. I almost want to say that if it takes four years of Obama to finally expose the Left's fantasies for what they are, then bring it on and let this thing be killed and buried.

We just have to hang on, and have the opponents of Obama's socialism build a new conservative movement at the grassroots during this period in the wilderness.

2/25/2008 08:31:00 AM  
Blogger al fin said...

Obama--muslim by descent, african racialist supremacist by choice, master orator by vocation.

Is that enough to get elected US President?

Obama Messiah indeed!

2/25/2008 08:36:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Wretchad said:

"I used to keep the company of a bunch of "Liberation Theology" churchmen in my 20s. After a time it dawned on me that -- despite their lofty ecclesiastical titles -- they were really talking about atheism in code."

The people I knew who believed in Liberation Theology were garden variety Communists with a religious patina.

I am convinced the following two AgitProp narratives were the products of Soviet KGB genius:

1) Radical environmentalism as expressed by the German Green Party.

2) Liberation Theology as practiced in Latin America.

German style Green Politics was almost perfect Soviet AgitProp, e.g. anti-military, anti-American, anti-capitalist but not obviously pro-Soviet. The only things that kept the Warsaw Pact from sweeping through Europe in the 1970-1980s was the NATO Alliance (US Army), assured mutual nuclear destruction and a thriving European economy. German Green Politics was the perfect tool to knock out all three barriers to Soviet victory.

If one looks at Latin America during the 1970s, one sees a group of people with a deep yearning for Cuban style communism. Communism should have swept through Latin America like a wild fire but did not. Why not? I believe most potential converts in Latin America rejected communism because they could not accept communism's advocacy for atheism. Ironically, atheism was only a minor aspect of communist ideology (could easily have been deleted) and yet in Latin America, atheism stopped communism's advance dead in its tracks. It is my belief that some genius in the KGB saw this problem and dreamed up Liberation Theology. What a perfect solution! Just repackage communism as a new form of Christianity.

German style Green politics and Liberation Theology failed mainly because they were implemented too late in the Cold War. Had the Soviets implemented those ideologies in the late 1960s rather than stick with doctrinaire Marxism, they could have won.

We got lucky (again).

2/25/2008 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Fred said:

"I believe the United States is strong enough to survive four years of this."

We're dealing with a different enemy (Islamic fascism) and a very brittle economy. There were lines the Soviet Union would not cross because they feared nuclear war. Perhaps worst of all, the basic fabric of our society has been damaged by decades of Soviet AgitProp pumped into us during the Cold War (call it Gramscian damage if you like). Flocks of moonbats shrieking for Obama's messianic salvation are symptomatic of that damage.

We will need to be very lucky if we're to survive the next decade intact.

2/25/2008 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Elijah said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/25/2008 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

eggplant,

I know that you know that I am not an Obama supporter, am not a Democrat (anymore), and will hold my nose and vote for Senor McCain. But, as I take stock of what I see round me and read all that I can about the political currents in this country, I see some startling parallels between this election and the one in 1976. Both of the darlings of the Left and the media are using the same kind of tactic: the stealth campaign. Many of the people who are going to sweep Obama into office are the the people who do not hew to either the Left or the Right. Sure, a lot of independents are going to vote for McCain. There is no doubt about that. But, the political pendulum has swung Left of center in this country and the demographics now favor Obama, not McCain.

I am completely cognizant of the fact that MAD does not work with the head choppers. It isn't just a four year term of a failure-ridden Obama administration that will have failed to deal with an Iran with nuclear weapons. Our current POTUS has had his hands tied on this by the CIA, State, and parts of the Defense establishments, and it all led up to the latest NIE foolishness.

The Gramscians control the dreamworld of kids in school and university. Reality will slap these kids in the face and force most of them to finally grow up. Even if they are not likely, because of their educations, to store up and deal with the thick folder of cognizant dissonance that I dealt with eventually, reality will render any subtleties unnecessary. A lot of them will figure it out. And then the people in the middle muddle will get it all clarified without having to undergo an intellectual rotor-rootering. We can survive this. It won't be pretty, and some of the damage will be substantial. However, I think Newt Gingrich has been right all along. The base of the conservative movement has not been nurtured or expanded. The Bush clan and their advisers have merely exploited and failed what many years of hard work had built.

2/25/2008 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

Two things, Wretchard:

As you and Fred were, I too was drawn to Liberation theology. I think the attraction was that it offered something in the here and now to allieviate the suffering of the poor. It is much harder to accept what is than to bustle about "curing" poverty. It takes a long time to learn "don't just do something, stand there."

Liberation theology, even w/o its Marxist trappings, turns out to be the height of hubris. There is no room for moderation, modesty, or quiet aspirations based on discernment (discerning as best we can). Liberation theology is the armor of the fearful and thoughtless...that's why it appeals to the young.

You said to your son, about dying:

I told my son I didn't know what happened when we died; but that I believed that the good was never forgotten and hoped we would see each other again as Jesus taught.

That was a balanced view that permits him to have both doubt and faith --i.e., room for ambiguity and the mystery of existence.

Faith/doubt are just sides of the same coin. "True believers" and "true atheists" don't doubt at all. They know and it allows them to proceed with a sense of existential certainty.

2/25/2008 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Fat Man said...


Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism
is a must read for this election season. He explains the connections between fascism, progressivism, and liberalism and the roles of Wilson, FDR, JFK and LBJ in making them the center of American politics. He discusses Hillary as the prime example of Liberal Fascism in current politics.

The book was written before Obama’s ascent, but it is clear that he is the very model of a liberal fascist politician. His messianic message sounds like an invocation of the fuhrerprinzip. Obama's affiliation with a black supremest church is not an accident, it is a reflection of his fundamental commitment to liberal fascism.

Read Goldberg before it is too late.

2/25/2008 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

The difference between Dr. Rizal and Farrakhan and Obama on the other is FEAR.

Farrakhan and Obama are both afraid. Afraid they are not "black enough" and afraid that inter-marriage (as they can see in the mirror every morning) will simply disappear the "Black Race" into the wider population. Hence all the exclusionary rhetoric.

Dr. Rizal, like Dr. King, understood that individualism rather than racial identity was the key to human freedom and happiness. Individualism allows each to choose for themselves who and what they will be. And usually that is a wider choice: Christian, Jew, or Muslim. American, Filipino, or French. The genius of Western Civilization is to extend that choice to as many as possible, in networks that are wide and deep, and mobilize human capital in superior fashion.

Obama's great weakness is that he can only speak really to the fear of Black people being absorbed into American society. He can't, because his core message LIKE FARRAKHAN is exclusionary, speak to the wider White, Asian, etc. audience. Farrakhan's words posit an Us-Them: Whites/Asians vs. everyone else. Americans vs. everyone else. Given that most voters are White and patriotic, this is a loser. Particularly since it will symbolize in most voter's minds that Obama = Farrakhan.

2/25/2008 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Farrakhan's fulsome praise is especially interesting because Barack Obama pointedly "distanced" himself both from Farrakhan and his pastor, Jeremiah A. Wright Jr in the following statement

Too late. The chickens are roosting and Obama will have Hell to pay trying to avoid getting spattered with their droppings. As others have already noted, racialist politics cut both ways and such a ponderous sword is very difficult to stop in mid-swing. The follow-through is going to be very bloody for Obama.

I can see why the Rev Wright gave his award to Farrakhan. It was salute by the practicioner of one narrative to the practicioner of another. God or Allah was secondary to the god of blackness

Le bingo! Obama is now confronted with differentiating his narrative—because that's all he really has, politically the man is an empty suit—from those of his race-baiting cohorts without rejecting the common mode carrier of racialism. At the very least, his verbal and moral gymnastics should provide some real entertainment value.

3/01/2008 08:42:00 PM  

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