Obama's Kingdom of Heaven on Earth

Via Drudge comes this CNN report of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) reaching for the stars while addressing an evangelical congregation in South Carolina:

"We're going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth."

More here.

I'm not a fan of religiosity in politics (I'm not completely turned off by it either, and I especially savor the irony that it was a super-religious fellow, Roger Williams, who most forcefully argued for fully secularized government, God bless him). But Obama is making noise about reclaiming "faith" and "values" from the GOP and that never turns out well--it just adds another layer of moralizing goo to the seven-layer bean dip that we've already got when it comes to sanctimonious pols telling everyone how they should live. Establishing the kingdom of heaven on earth always means rendering more to Caesar than what was originally due.

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  • ||

    Will he be smiting his enemies?

  • ||

    Obviously you never read Obama's book, The Audacity of Smiting.

  • ||

    Well, no, but I did read Hillary Clinton's To Smite a Village.

  • ||

    I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth.

    Remember when the American system of government was predicated on NOT being a kingdom? And a candidate for president calling for an American monarchy was just unimaginable.

  • ||

    "Establishing the kingdom of heaven on earth always means rendering more to Caesar what was originally due."

    Amen, Brother Gillespie. ...creating a kingdom on earth seems to directly contradict what the King of kings is supposed to have taught.

    I assume Obama knows that as well as we do too. It makes me question his integrity. ...not that I expect campaigning politicians to have any.

  • Brian E||

    Don't immanentize the eschaton!

  • ||

    Wait, who was the guy who offered Jesus the whole kingdom of Earth to rule over? Maybe Obama, Huckabee, et. al. can have a forum with him.

  • rimchamp77||

    Actually when religious values are enforced by government they cease to become religious. Secularization of religion actually destroys true faith. You can't be religious if doing so is dictated by someone else. It becomes a dictated value and one loses ownership.

  • ||

    rimchamp77,
    Your ideas intrigue me and I'd like to subscribe to your news letter.

  • ||

    I'm getting tired of people finding the Jebus when they speak in front of congregations.

    These people are so moved by their theism that they are blinded to the fact that they're being used as sheep.

    It's sad, really...

  • ||

    Kingdom (with Obama as King)?Instrument of God?

    How about a little humility! Pride is a sin, isn't it?

  • ||

    I assume Obama knows that as well as we do too.

    I wouldn't assume that Obama has any deep familiarity with Biblical teachings.

  • VM||

    Instrument of God

    Jake and ProGLib - you're forgetting the famous, Profiles in Smiting!!

  • ||

    Most politicians are religious to one extent or another.

    However, Obama's statement is deeply indicative of his mental state, and, quite frankly, his using a phrase like that freaks me out.

    The last thing this country needs is another president with a messianic complex.

  • stephen the goldberger||

    I think it's indicative of his desire to say meaningless drivel that gets a huge crowd reaction when he speaks. I doubt he really has any idea what he's truly saying half the time.

  • ||

    I would argue that Obama's playing the race card more than the religion card. Throughout the race he's faced criticism that he's not black enough, and so he goes before a black congregation to show he's one of them. Here on the South Side of Chicago, it's routine for black politicians speak before the larger black congregations, and the voting records of these politicians bears little in common with your Republican Evangelicals.

  • M||

    Why didn't he just say "King me!" It would'a been the new Checkers Speech.

  • Mad Max||

    "it was a super-religious fellow, Roger Williams, who most forcefully argued for fully secularized government, God bless him"

    The background to that is interesting. Williams, like most New Englanders at the time, was a good Calvinist who held that God had arbitrarily predestined some people for salvation and others for damnation. The purpose of the church, in Williams' view, was for for all the saved to get together and worship. Williams thought that the true church must not include any of the damned.

    All existing ecclesial institutions which Williams tried out turned out (in his view) to contain members who were soteriologically-challenged, or to be linked to other ecclesiastical institutions which had soteriologically-challenged members. Ultimately, I think he ended up quitting every ecclesial institution he joined.

    Holding these views, Williams naturally thought that the established churches of England and Massachusetts were not proper churches at all, because they had reprobates as members.

    Williams' church/state views were a natural development of this quest for purity.

  • ||

    rimchamp writes, It becomes a dictated value and one loses ownership, and in doing do, translates the Second Commandment into Libertarian.

    And on the flip side of the coin, the showy sanctification of politics - the "ceremonial deism" of In God We Trust and One Nation Under God - is an attempt to use God like so much crepe paper and mood lighting, and should also be considered the use of God's name in vain.

  • ||

    Funny, I agree with joe and rimchamp. and I'm an atheist.

  • GILMORE||

    Warren | October 8, 2007, 9:48am | #
    rimchamp77,
    Your ideas intrigue me and I'd like to subscribe to your news letter.


    Warren, you be biting my quotes!

    also, the kid has a point. I usually reserve that smackdown for the people who post 2000 word screeds instead of at least trying some kind of dialogue

  • ||

    Most politicians are religious to one extent or another

    Or claim to be.

  • GILMORE||

    J sub D | October 8, 2007, 10:39am | #
    Most politicians are religious to one extent or another

    Or claim to be.


    No, claiming and being are the same thing in this case, basically. It's a prerequisite for holding public office, which deep in people's minds is our secular priesthood... our Ephors, if you will :) (THIS IS SPARTAAA!)

    (insert my constant quote from Spartacus = re: Crassus' "if there were no gods I'd still revere them")

  • ||

    And on the flip side of the coin, the showy sanctification of politics - the "ceremonial deism" of In God We Trust and One Nation Under God - is an attempt to use God like so much crepe paper and mood lighting, and should also be considered the use of God's name in vain.



    Gee, if only He'd do something about it.

  • Gee (the Ambiguous)||

    Gee, if only He'd do something about it.


    I did. I created reason.

  • ||

    Could it be that Obama is thinking a little deeper than all you piling on him believe him capable?
    It could be said, could it not, that Julian Simon was calling for a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
    Besides, I can't fault any politician for beseeching church-goers to take their eyes off the Heaven in Heaven at least long enough to cast a damn vote here on Earth.

  • ||

    GILMORE,
    Yeah I'm sure I'm abusing that quote. I meant to suggest that what he was saying, is established dogma around here, but gets the moonbat treatment elsewhere.

  • iih||

    I would rather they follow Obama's Kingdom than Huckabee's.

  • Rhywun||

    claiming and being are the same thing in this case

    Good point. How would one even distinguish the two? Which is another reason I am completely disgusted by the insertion of religion into politics--it's just so much suck-up.

  • MikeT||

    He has no idea how ironic it is to stand before a congregation of evangelicals, claiming that he, a man who isn't Jesus Christ, wants to try to create a kingdom of heaven on Earth. He might as well be saying, "A Vote for Obama, is a Vote for the Anti-Christ." WRT to civil liberties, you can pretty much take either party's front runner and substitute Obama in that sentence with their name, and it won't be far from the truth.

  • ||

    The statement about rendering unto Caesar (government) the things that are Caesar's and to God, the things that are God's (faith) does not really refer to religion, which too many people confuse with faith in God.

    I believe the Bible promises that there will be a new heaven and a new earth for which there will be no more sea according to the Book of Isaiah 65:17 and Revelation 21:1.

    Seperation of Church and state refers to separation of religion and state, not separation of faith in God and state.

  • ||

    Gee, if only He'd do something about it.


    I did. I created reason.



    Lanny Friedlander is God?

  • ||

    It could be said, could it not, that Julian Simon was calling for a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.

    Not if Julian Simon did not, in fact, call for a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. I'm not aware that he ever did. You got a quote?

  • ||

    Seattle did create a Kingdome on Earth.

    They blew it up a few years back.

  • ||

    another layer of moralizing goo to the seven-layer bean dip

    Mmmmm.... seven-layer ecumenical religiosity bean dip ...

  • ||

    Seattle did create a Kingdome on Earth.

    Good thing they blew it up too. If heaven is a giant taxpayer-subsidized cavernous concrete parking garage, I'd rather get on the monorail straight to hell.

  • ||

    Could it be that Obama is thinking a little deeper than all you piling on him believe him capable?
    It could be said, could it not, that Julian Simon was calling for a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth.
    Besides, I can't fault any politician for beseeching church-goers to take their eyes off the Heaven in Heaven at least long enough to cast a damn vote here on Earth.



    Yeah, because someone who claims to have my best interests at heart would never do anything wrong!

    Why, Obama has my interests at heart, and my interests are part of establishing a kingdom here on Earth!

    Nothing could possibly go wrong!

  • ||

    Not if Julian Simon did not, in fact, call for a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. I'm not aware that he ever did. You got a quote?



    I don't know about Julian Simon, but it's indisputable that Belinda Carlisle did, back in the '80s.

  • ||

    No, claiming and being are the same thing in this case, basically. It's a prerequisite for holding public office,...

    Huh? Professsed honesty is a prerequisite for holding office as well. Is claiming and beign honest the same thing? Or do politicians often lie about themselves in order to get votes? I suspect the latter.

  • Minion of URKOBOLD||

    JAKE BOONE SHALL HAVE HIS TAINT WHITHERED AND TRANSMORPHED INTO HIS BROTHER DANIEL'S COONSKIN CAP.

    FROM THE SIDE IT'LL BE HILARIOUS. HE'LL HAVE TWO TAILS. THEN EVEN BELINDA WOULD BE "MAD ABOUT YOU".

  • Franklin Harris||

    Obama = sanctimonious huckster.

  • ||

    I did. I created reason.

    Umm, drink?

  • Gee-the-not-always-ambiguous||

    RC - just the opposite this time.

  • ||


    Franklin Harris | October 8, 2007, 1:19pm | #

    Obama = sanctimonious huckster.



    And how, precisely, does this distinguish him from every other candidate?

  • iih||

    In the meantime, here is Romney confronted on medical marijuana.

  • ||

    Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and render unto God what is God's. Jesus was speaking to legalistic Jewish scholars trying to trap him. His audience knew exactly what belonged to God: everything! There is nothing left to render unto Caesar.

  • ||

    Especially since we know that anyone who even comes close to atheism is going to be considered the Antichrist.

    I doubt even a Unitarian could qualify at present.

    Ah, well--it seems that every N years or so the U.S. goes through one of its fits of inane religiousity--the one I've read about the most is the 1890s mess, where "in their rhetoric the politicians invoked Christ with the freedom of medieval kings in a brawl over the border." (T. Beer--The Mauve Decade)

  • iih||

    Wrong link, let me try this again:

    In the meantime, here is Romney confronted on medical marijuana.

  • ||

    R C Dean,
    Julian Simon was saying the world was becoming more like Heaven in that people are living longer, and so forth. You know the indicators. Julian never implied that any one of us could speed up the process of improvement in standards, but that politicians can slow it down.
    That said, many evangelicals consider Earth nothing but a vale of tears, and see many signs of "end times." Woe is us, etc.
    You know one of the biases of voters Bryan Caplan has recently written about is pessimism. Pessimism may be caused by religion....
    So I think it was bold of Obama to get them to snap out of that mindset, at least long enough to get his ass elected.

  • ||

    "What has always made the state a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven." - F. Hoelderlin

    a quote that hayek uses in "the road to serfdom"

  • Syloson of Samos||

    Nick Gillespie,

    Data point in your favor:

    Cromwell's regime disintegrated after his in part because of the high taxes needed to support the New Model Army.

  • ||

    Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and render unto God what is God's. Jesus was speaking to legalistic Jewish scholars trying to trap him. His audience knew exactly what belonged to God: everything! There is nothing left to render unto Caesar.

    Actually, Jesus first asked whose picture was on the coin, thus allowing him to make an ambiguous statement implying it is OK to give Caesar back his own coins, thus not handing the Jewish scholars a statement that would get him crucified for opposing the temporal authority of the Romans. The point for his followers, though, was that the important thing was living our lives so that we can return to our Heavenly Father, rather than chasing money for its own sake.

    This kind of ignores the fact that by building wealth, you can benefit others via Adam Smith's invisible hand, but Jesus was trying to teach ignorant peasants morality rather than school them in the finer points of advanced modern economics.

  • Mike Laursen||

    We're going to keep on praising together.

    "To praise" is a transitive verb. Can we assume he was blowing off proper sentence structure in an effort to sound like a generic freedom of religion supporter?

  • ||

    We must be careful not to overinterpret Obama's statements, finding meaning which is just not there. The best observation about the guy I ever heard was that he is a gasbag.

  • ||

    When politicians pick up the Bible and use it as a prop, I think about all the hell on earth that false prophets like Jim Jones, David Koresh, et. al. brought to their followers.

  • ||

    prolefeed,
    Thanks for what you said.
    What I'm saying is that Obama had a message similar to Jesus': Over the head of those here at H&R, but perfectly appropriate for his immediate audience.

    Another thing: Is everyone making the assumption here that religion is the cause of taxes being too high?

  • ||

    David -- thanks for your comment. But, I think that the people here get what lies behind Obama's comments, while those implications went over the heads of his immediate audience. What Obama is saying is he wants a larger government and more taxes to "help" people, while ignoring the fact that Jesus never once advocated involuntary "charity" or government-run charity.

    Religion doesn't cause higher taxes, but politicians pandering to religious people sure can impose those taxes.

  • ||

    David -- P.S. Jesus was trying to confuse the equivalent of politicians while communicating with the common people. Obama is trying to confuse the common people while communicating to politicians who understand what he wants to force upon us.

  • ||

    Julian Simon was saying the world was becoming more like Heaven in that people are living longer, and so forth.

    Assuming that he did say this (in absence of a link) - what on earth does this have to do with establishing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.

    Yesterday I told my wife her cream cheese brownies were heaven on earth. I wasn't accusing her of immanentizing the eschaton or of establishing a hierophantic regime.

  • ||

    I couldn't read all the comments so I don't know if this has been addressed but theologically there is an eschatological view that was popular in the late 19th and early 20th century. It remains the predominant position of most mainline protestant denominations to which Hilary (United Methodist)and Obama (United Church of Christ) belong. This position maintains that humanity is progressing toward complete perfection and does so by Christainity's influence on all the world's political and social structures by bringing social justice (primarily through economic equality). Slowly these Christians will transform the world into the earthly kingdom to which Jesus will then return and set up his final kingdom. I said above it was popular in the late 19th and early 20th century and was advocated by the Progressive movement of the time; they really thought they were close to achieving it; however, WWI came along and burst their utopian bubble.

  • Mason Jahr||

    Would you like to know something about the upcoming Obama Kingdom? This is from the web site of the Trinity United Church of Christ where Mr. Obama is a member.

    We are a congregation which is Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian... Our roots in the Black religious experience and tradition are deep, lasting and permanent. We are an African people, and remain "true to our native land," the mother continent, the cradle of civilization. God has superintended our pilgrimage through the days of slavery, the days of segregation, and the long night of racism. It is God who gives us the strength and courage to continuously address injustice as a people, and as a congregation. We constantly affirm our trust in God through cultural expression of a Black worship service and ministries which address the Black Community.

    The Pastor as well as the membership of Trinity United Church of Christ is committed to a 10-point Vision:

    1. A congregation committed to ADORATION.
    2. A congregation preaching SALVATION.
    3. A congregation actively seeking RECONCILIATION.
    4. A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA.
    5. A congregation committed to BIBLICAL EDUCATION.
    6. A congregation committed to CULTURAL EDUCATION.
    7. A congregation committed to the HISTORICAL EDUCATION OF AFRICAN PEOPLE IN DIASPORA.
    8. A congregation committed to LIBERATION.
    9. A congregation committed to RESTORATION.
    10. A congregation working towards ECONOMIC PARITY.

  • Perry||

    Seriously?

    this much uproar over a religious man, speaking in front of a church - using the symbolism of the Kingdom to signify creating a better place on earth?

    If you actually take the time to think about his comments in context, you see that he is normalizing the expression of religion in a general sense and not just keeping it the domain of the far right to be held only in connection with teaching creation, intolerance of gay marriage and the like.

    "At least in politics, the perception was that the Democrats were fearful of talking about faith, and on the other hand you had the Republicans who had a particular brand of faith that oftentimes seemed intolerant or pushed people away."

    I wonder how many of these commenters say nothing when Dubya says things like 'God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq'.

    Really? God did, did he? Now THATS the scary stuff...

  • ||

    I wonder how many of these commenters say nothing when Dubya says things like 'God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq'.



    Approximately zero, I think. Folks around these parts like to call bullshit when they see it... no matter which side of the aisle is doing the shoveling.

  • ||

    Jake,

    I think there just might be a few more closeted Dubya style conservatives around here than you think..

    but thats just me..

  • ||

    im in ur booth
    tappin ur footz

  • ||

    Perry,
    See?
    U wuz rite.

  • ||

    negatore, (at 3:34) don't give Koresh credit for all the hell on earth he brought his followers. He had government help.

  • ||

    Mason:

    Ah, it's all the same old communist horse shit.

  • ||

    You speak the language of the people you address, not those who are listening in . . . The evangelical movement has been grossly negligent in living up to Christian ideal of charity and compassion, being completely me-centered and living for the herafter.
    Obama's words are, if you know the traditions, an admonishment, an urge to be truly progressive and caring.
    I know some UCC folks, by the way, and they are not only very progressive and active, they have accepted my atheist ways . . .

  • ||

    "We're going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth."

    What was so wrong with that statement?

    When asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, in Luke 20-21, Jesus said in reply, "The coming of the kingdom of God cannot be observed,
    and no one will announce, 'Look, here it is,' or, 'There it is.' For behold, the kingdom of God is among you."

    I know Obama is no Christ, but why is what he said so wrong?

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