Saturday, May 24, 2008


I received an interesting forward today in my email. I am not sure if the person who sent it was supporting the content of the forward or if they were just passing it on to everyone. I suspect the person does support the emails content. In any case it got me thinking about a few things.

The content of the email was about Barak Obama refusing to solute the flag (you can find a ton of stuff on youtube regarding this matter). The email quotes Obama saying,

“As I've said about the flag pin, I don't want to be perceived as taking sides . . . There are a lot of people in the world to whom the American flag is a symbol of oppression. And the anthem itself conveys a war-like message. You know, the bombs bursting in air and all. It should be swapped for something less parochial and less bellicose. I like the song 'I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing.' If that were our anthem, then I might salute it.”

To begin, I was given no indication as to where and when Obama said this. The quote has no source.

In any case, I want to consider this quote based solely on its own terms (words): (1) What if a Christian president took office not based on sides (America vs. the world)? (2) What if it’s true that the American flag is a symbol of oppression? We might about this in terms of war or global capitalism, if not just the shear ability to waste all our resources with a thought. (2) What if Obama wants to move America beyond its identity as a war-driven nation? Is he not aloud to critique or even protest and still be nationalistic? (3) Would it not be refreshing to see the president of the United States be driven by world peace through a common song/harmony?

To top is off this is what the person followed up with in their own words after this quote in the email:

“Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this could possibly be our next president!! I, for once, am speechless. He has absolutely NO pride in this country!!!!! This is outrageous!!!! He doesn't deserve to be [a] dogcatcher!!! (Oh, sorry dogcatchers, I mean you no disrespect.) LET'S SEND THIS CLOWN DOWN THE ROAD KICKING ROCKS!!!! Forward this to EVERYONE YOU KNOW.”

I suppose I am doing exactly what he wants. However, if someone comes across this on this blog I would hope that they might explore some of the other posts and consider the person (me) who wrote them as nonsupporting and that they might think critically about the content (of the email and my blog).

To clarify, I am not arguing in favor of Barak Obama. I am not in agreement with the content of his defense regarding this matter for a variety of theological reasons that I won’t go into now. I only offer this post as an attempt to expose some of the ignorance (with all due respect) of the church (and yes the email provider is a Christian) to think critically about these matters. To think about them in light of the gospel that challenges every assumption about the way things are in the world, even the Church. We all stand under the (loving) judgment of Jesus Christ who never wants to silence the other. Both Obama and his email opponent stand to be called into question by the gospel. Let’s see more of those emails flying around that speak with love and humility and respect to those who disagree in hopes that both sides might be called into question by the gospel because the Kingdom belongs to God, not His church.


Anonymous said...

This apocryphal Obama quote originated from an October 27, 2007, satire piece written by conservative John Semmens.

It can be seen in its original, satirical context at

Scott Savage said...

Thanks for the link to the article!


Anonymous said...

kallie said...

We've gotten this email as well; the bit about dogcatchers reminded me of Talladega Nights when Ricky Bobby would say horribly offensive things excused by coupling them with 'with all due respect'. Let's all adopt such etiquette huh? 'You're the lowest form of being on the planet and your very existence is disgusting. No disrespect! Kisses!'

mindy said...

It will be a happy, happy day for me when/if we ever have a president who could produce such a quote (probably nobody's stupid enough to be quoted as saying that though).
"Bless his heart" is another one of those phrases like "with all due respect." So let me close by saying, I wish ignorant Christians were not so enslaved to their nationalism, bless their hearts...