Southern Religion

Hear our prayer O (with undertones)

Bloggers who fell for and did not issue flat-footed corrections regarding the blasphemously doctored “hear our prayer” video are squirming now, and Mollie Wilson O’Reilly is for the best of reasons disinclined to turn down the heat.

She writes [and we do agree]:

No one, especially not anyone who values religion and dislikes seeing it dragged through the muck of partisan politics, should have believed in and disseminated a video of health-care-reform activists “praying to Obama.” The video didn’t supposedly show “secular messianic devotion” — it showed a minister, in vestments, leading a prayer service. To believe those people were saying “Hear our cry, Obama!” was to believe that they literally regard Obama as some sort of deity. And that’s silly … .(A lot of people said some creepy things about Sarah Palin, but if anyone ever claims to produce a video of right-wingers actually praying to her — “Hear our cry, O Palin!” — sensible people should regard it with enormous skepticism.).

Mark Silk at Spiritual Politics looks at why some religious conservatives, among them perhaps some journalists of whom we might have expected more, could have fallen for such a bizarre contrivance. He writes:

Within conservative evangelicalism, George W. Bush came to be seen as a hieratic figure–“Our Christian President,” an anointed leader. The most notorious image of this conceptualization comes from the 2006 documentary Jesus Camp, where youngsters are shown praying ecstatically around a cardboard cutout of Bush.

You can, then, be a religious conservative in America today who doesn’t believe that Barack Obama is the Antichrist but who nevertheless thinks that his more strenuous followers look at him as your own strenuous folks looked at George W. Bush. There is no evidence that religious liberals are worshiping Obama, but religious conservatives have reasons to imagine them to be doing so.

Add to Silk’s observation the possibility that O’Reilly perhaps unintentionally calls to mind for us by mentioning Sarah Palin, who is not a black woman.

The congregation defamed by the video doctoring is predominately black.

There is no “card” to be played here. The circumstances say there is something more poisonous involved than straightforward gullibility of conservatives who should know better than to think so reflexively ill of liberals in general.


October 3, 2009 - Posted by | Churches, Cultural, Religion | ,

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