Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Stop Hyperventilation over Obama

Listen, I’m no fan of Barack Obama, but the hyperventilating about him saying he wants to establish “a kingdom on Earth” while speaking from a pulpit over the weekend is apropos of nothing. It’s typical religious language, and hardly means he wants to declare himself king.

You’d expect right-wing pundits to know this, since a significant part of their coalition is the religious right, but apparently enough of them are ignorant that they started firing the cannons without thinking about it.

A similar hyperventilation occurred on the left (and in Europe) during the 2004 elections when Bush said he “talked to God” a lot. This is commonly used in many Christian groups as a euphemism for “Prayer.” When my European friends (I have many) came to me concerned that Bush was an out-of-control theocratic freak, I explained to them that the phrase essentially meant nothing; Bush wasn’t saying he spoke and God answered, but rather using a linguistic construction that churchgoing people of his faith would understand to mean praying and living a Christian life. No more, no less.

So give Obama a break on this, already. There’s plenty to criticize him for without digging this up.