Campaigns/Elections

Guess the Divinely-Inspired Politician

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Obama chats with God

Splashed on the AP wire today, these words from a prominent national politician:

"Lord—Protect my family and me. Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will." 

The words are Obama's. As is traditional, he placed a small scrap of paper bearing the prayer in the cracks of Jerusalem's Western Wall on his visit there this week. In an act that might be called warrantless wiretapping on a phone call to God, someone pulled the note and handed it off to an Israeli paper, which published it.

So far, coverage has been very low key, with most stories emphasizing the serious party foul involved in stealing someone's prayer. My question: What if the same note had come from George Bush's pen? One can only imagine the headlines: President Sees Self as "Instrument" of God's Will!

NEXT: Surge Overkill

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  1. Remember kids, it’s not pandering either. It’s reaching out to the Jewish community.

  2. I know he’s running for president and all, but snagging someone’s prayer and publishing it is pretty sleazy.

  3. Or perhaps “Bush, like countess other Christians, Muslims, and Jews, asks to be an instrument of God’s Will.” Damn the MSM!

  4. Sounds like a pretty normal prayer in the judeo-christian method. Really not some kind of earth shattering news.

    I have to say stealing someone’s prayer to run in a newspaper is kind of scumbaggish. Other than that, BFD.

  5. Seems like standard Christian boilerplate to me. I take it about as seriously from him as I do from Bush the Lesser.

    p.s. It’s not pandering unless it’s written in Ancient Hebrew.

    BTW, this is full of win:

    In an act that might be called warrantless wiretapping on a phone call to God…

  6. Way I see it, asking for wisdom from a wall is a deal breaker. Obama is too crazy to hold office.

  7. There’s a similar tradition by the grave of Rabbi Loew (the creator of the Golem) in Prague. According to legend, a young Dick Nixon visited the grave and left a note.

    The note supposedly read something to the effect, “Please make me president.”

  8. Is it cool for a non-Jew to wear a yarmulke?

  9. KMW –
    I think you’re missing the point of what creeped people out about Bush. It wasn’t so much claims from him, but rather his supporters who saw him as taking his instruction from God. People looked to him as some sort of ruler-appointed-by-God.

  10. Obama prays at Wailing Wall. What shocking behavior considering the stellar track record of everyone who’s ran for President as a staunch atheist. Godjesusallah always gets his due.

    Anti-atheism. The gross bigotry that dare not speak it’s name.

  11. Is it cool for a non-Jew to wear a yarmulke?

    I believe that, in Jewish temples and other holy places, it’s considered the polite thing to do.

  12. If Obama didn’t know someone was going to yank the paper the minute he stepped away, he’s too stupid to be POTUS. Or too stupid NOT to be POTUS.

  13. I believe that, in Jewish temples and other holy places, it’s considered the polite thing to do.

    Good to know.

  14. Is it cool for a non-Jew to wear a yarmulke?

    I thought some orthodox Christian sects wore them, too.

  15. This was obviously Obama.

    George Bush or other religious-right figures would never consider that they might not already be awash in God’s wisdom. They wouldn’t open up with “forgive my sins” because they consider their conversion episodes to be all the forgiveness of, and protection from, sin that they need. This language has Lincoln’s “I don’t claim to be on God’s side; I pray that I am on his” all over it, so it couldn’t come from any contemporary Christianist – as opposed to simply Christian – politician.

    My question: What if the same note had come from George Bush’s pen? The same prayer wouldn’t have come from George Bush’s pen. If I found out George Bush expressed those sentiments in prayer, it would change my opinion of him a great deal.

  16. Is it cool for a non-Jew to wear a yarmulke?

    As it happens, I am a non-Jew and was at the Wall 2 weeks ago. It is REQUIRED to cover one’s head at the Wall. They have a big pile of kippahs by the entrance and one is expected to take one if one isn’t wearing one.

  17. My Answer:

    There’s a distinct difference between a statement like that coming from someone who’s vaguely spiritual vs. someone who interprets scripture literally. A large majority of theists probably express a desire to do god’s will – in the sense that they want to do what he wants, but know they won’t always – as opposed to the monkey in office now who thinks that whatever he does IS god’s will.

  18. I believe that, in Jewish temples and other holy places, it’s considered the polite thing to do.

    I remember as a goy in an Orthodox temple when I was a kid (visiting a friend) that the Rabbi told me that wearing the Yarmulke was basically a requirement while remaining in the Synagogue but the tallit was optional for us non-believers. Although this was many years ago, I still remember the Rabbi lecturing the gathered youth about not fiddling and untying the tzitzyot while slogging through the service because they were emblematic of the 613 laws.

    It’s weird what the brain chooses to record for posterity.

  19. You know how most people who aren’t versed in libertarian poltical philosophy don’t pick up on the differences between a libertarian, free-market statement and a Republican, corporatist statement? So you all are constantly being accused by uneducated lefties of being fascists who want the government to enslave us all to the corporations?

    Sort of the same thing here.

  20. as opposed to the monkey in office now who thinks that whatever he does IS god’s will.

    Precisely. He knows it’s God’s will, because he is a godly man, so what he does must be God’s will.

    It all goes back to the doctrine of Salvation by Grace Alone.

  21. I told ya he was a dirty Muslim Jew. NOW do you believe me?

    BTW, I’ve been playing with myself. The way it works is I go to cnn.com and click on the World tab. Then I return later and refresh to see how many different Obama stories they can fit into one day’s news. I’ve only seen two so far today. First it was “Obama heads to Paris after enthralling Berlin”. Now its “Obama link NATO troops to U.S. tax cuts”. Can’t wait for the next update – might have to get a jar of vaseline to help pass the time.

  22. “Is it cool for a non-Jew to wear a yarmulke?”

    When the first Bush visited the wall and donned the yarmulke, I remember many white supremacists took it as a sign that he was a secret Jew.

  23. I’ve got to agree that the context here is important. George W. makes no secret of his belief that he is the divine hand of God acting out His will. Couple that with his belief that Jesus Christ is his favorite philosopher (just… wow), and you pretty much need to take his religious statements literally. Obama, on the other hand, hasn’t presented himself in the same way, so you can take his religious statements as the sort of boilerplate that most people say in those situations.

  24. I wouldn’t be surprised if Obama knew the note would be recovered, or even if someone in his campaign was the one to give it to the press.

  25. Not just “favorite philosopher,” Marcvs. Favorite POLITICAL philosopher.

    You know what I took from that? George Bush can’t name any political philosophers.

  26. joe, you don’t need to spin so hard. Nobody here cares that he did this and nobody is alarmed. Jesus Christ, it’s like you’re his campaign manager and mistress at the same time. Calm down and save it for another thread.

  27. I don’t see any problem with naming Christ as your favorite philosopher. It’s a pretty good philosophy, in my opinion.

    The only problem is if he named Christ simply because he couldn’t think of any others. Which I wouldn’t doubt as being more than possible.

  28. So, basically, I must be wrong because I’m a Democrat. Again.

    Tell you what: I’ll write whatever the heck I want, and if you see something you think is wrong, THEN you criticize it.

    Have you noticed, Episiarch, that for all of your yammering about how partisan I am and how everything I write is spin, you never actually manage to point out anything wrong or inaccurate in my comments? You’d think somebody so dishonest and partisan would actually fudge the truth now and then. Odd, that.

  29. Another problem with naming Christ is when you only follow some of His tenets, and ignore the ones that are inconvenient.

  30. Another problem is that He wasn’t a political philsopher.

    Yet another problem is that He was executed on false charges having to do with alleged political activity.

    Yet another problem is that He was betrayed largely because he refused to advocate for a political cause.

    That answer was all kinds of awful.

  31. joe, you have contributed 1/6 of all posts on this thread so far. The tenor of your posts is so adoring of Obama that it’s fucking embarrassing.

    Keep going, though. I doubt you can stop. Politics is your drug and Obama is crack.

  32. Well, at least praying at The Western Wall will finally put the “Obama is a Muslim” question to rest once and for all. He’s obviously a Muslim, why else is he wearing a yarmulke?

  33. Episiarch, have you ever noticed how uncomfortable you get when I write about a topic you don’t know very much about?

    Why is that?

    You don’t have to be the most educated person one every single subject, you know. It’s ok if someone knows more than you about something, especially if it’s something you don’t care very much about.

  34. Yawn.

    Have some more Obama, it should stop the yawning and make you feel all tingly.

  35. I realize this will be discounted by 99% of the people here because it came from a publication with an allegedly unacceptible bias, but here’s a Jew’s take on the Wailing Obama Wall.

    http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=13594

  36. I don’t necessarily disbelieve Obama’s interest in spirituality, but I do find it interesting how much he’s been stressing it in this election. It’s not like he’s going to lose the Atheist vote (mostly Democrats, I’m guessing) because of his spirituality, but he may actually win over some people who would otherwise be disinclined to vote for Democrats on religious grounds.

  37. Episiarch, have you ever noticed how uncomfortable you get when I write about a topic you don’t know very much about?

    Wow, you can read my mind through the internet! What number am I thinking of right now?

  38. “I think you’re missing the point of what creeped people out about Bush. It wasn’t so much claims from him, but rather his supporters who saw him as taking his instruction from God. People looked to him as some sort of ruler-appointed-by-God.”

    That’s utter bullshit.

  39. Nobody here cares that he did this and nobody is alarmed.

    For the record, I do care and not in an approving way, but I’ve grown used to politicians pandering to the religious so am not alarmed. As pandering goes this is pretty minor-league, but still creepy from a rationalist POV.

  40. What Bush and Batman Have In Common

    That’s real moral complexity. And when our artistic community is ready to show that sometimes men must kill in order to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate their values in order to maintain those values; and that while movie stars may strut in the bright light of our adulation for pretending to be heroes, true heroes often must slink in the shadows, slump-shouldered and despised — then and only then will we be able to pay President Bush his due and make good and true films about the war on terror.

    Wall Street Journal

  41. The exact question, I believe, was for the candidates to name their favorite “political philosopher or thinker,” so perhaps Bush understood the question as being either a political philosopher, or a thinker.

    In comparison to what some other candidates have said recently, it’d be a pretty small mistake.

  42. “They wouldn’t open up with “forgive my sins” because they consider their conversion episodes to be all the forgiveness of, and protection from, sin that they need.”

    How on earth do you come up with this crap? Joe, your ego outshines Obama’s.

  43. Righty –
    Do you deny that there are voters who actually thought that Bush the W took much of his instruction from God?

  44. “It all goes back to the doctrine of Salvation by Grace Alone.”

    Again, I call bullshit. Please produce this alleged doctrine.

  45. Epi,

    Tweaking your analogy a bit: Politics is your crack pipe and Obama is your crack du jour.

    Yes Joe is being particularly tiresome today.

  46. “I’ve got to agree that the context here is important. George W. makes no secret of his belief that he is the divine hand of God acting out His will.”

    Proof please?

  47. Righty,

    You’ve never heard of the theological debate over whether salvation is achieved through grace alone vs. through grace and works?

    Seriously? It’s the fundamental theological dispute that led to the Protestant schism from the Catholic Church.

  48. Tonio,

    and here I thought was just me. 🙂

    For record, I don’t usually find Joe tiresome. Just today.

  49. That’s utter bullshit.

    Well, *someone* clearly hasn’t seen Jesus Camp!!

    FWIW, seeing kids pray towards a cardboard cutout of Bush the Lesser made me nauseous. They say they were praying “on his behalf”, but it sure as shit looked like “praying to a graven image” to me.

  50. Katherine, the words Obama uses, “make me an instrument of Your will” are a paraphrase on the prayer of Saint Francis, perhaps most widely known for having been sung during the funeral of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. For Christians, the challenge is ever and always to do God’s will, and place it first, that we may be instruments of God’s intent in the world.

    Your ignorance and arrogance regarding his faith and understanding of his place as a Christian is inexcusable.

  51. “Favorite POLITICAL philosopher.”

    Christ did do a bit of political philosophizing in his day. You know, render to Caesar and all of that stuff.

  52. Politics is your crack pipe and Obama is your crack du jour.

    Politics is your heroin addiction and Obama is your morphine suppository?

    I should watch Trainspotting again.

  53. “Have you noticed, Episiarch, that for all of your yammering about how partisan I am and how everything I write is spin, you never actually manage to point out anything wrong or inaccurate in my comments?”

    Well I sure as fuck have.

  54. “You’ve never heard of the theological debate over whether salvation is achieved through grace alone vs. through grace and works?”

    I believe you are mistaken which is why I asked for proof. Your words alone are innacuate. They have no value. Again I ask, show us this doctrine.

  55. joe,

    It’s the fundamental theological dispute that led to the Protestant schism from the Catholic Church.

    Bullshit.

    (Oh wait… that does count as a valid counter-argument, right? Maybe just on this thread?)

  56. I’m going to go back to Episiarch again, because his comment proves my point so well.

    Episiarch hasn’t the foggiest idea what I’m talking about. Chris Potter gets it. brotherben gets it. thoreau gets it.

    Episiarch? I might as well be speaking Martian. So, he assumes it must be pure spin, gobbledygook with no actual meaning at all, because the only content he understands is that what I’m saying has something to do with Barack Obama, and makes him look better than George Bush.

    The actual meaning of what I wrote requires a certail level of awareness about Christian theology and how it differs between groups, and he knows about as much about that as I know about Isaac Asimov novels (virtually none). He can’t perceive the differences I point out because he doesn’t know enough about the subject, so he concludes that Obama’s prayer is exactly the same as what George Bush would write, and any claim to the contrary is obvious bullshit.

  57. No, joe, the number was 4. And here I thought you could read my mind and know what I thought and what motivated me to post. Bummer, I figured we could make a killing in Vegas.

  58. “Do you deny that there are voters who actually thought that Bush the W took much of his instruction from God?”

    Who can truly know? There are voters that believe Al Gores’ Late Great Planet Earth religion.

  59. Dave is right..it’s a riff on St. Francis.

    After reading it I’ve got “Make Me A Channel of Your Peace” playing over and over in my head. Epsicopalian and Catholic heritage.

  60. Righty,

    Christ did do a bit of political philosophizing in his day. You know, render to Caesar and all of that stuff.

    All of his “political philosophy” amounted to “don’t worry about that stuff. Go along to get along, because politics isn’t important.”

    Righty,

    How does one “show” a doctrine?

  61. Wiki on Divine Grace.

    Outlines it satisfactorily to this philosophy/religion minor. (In case you don’t want to slog through it… joe’s right. (Not that I doubted him.))

    As for Obama v. Bush: What a candidate for national office does on the campaign trail is weak evidence of his personal beliefs.

  62. I don’t see how you can possibly know what Bush or Obama actually feel and believe.

    You can’t any more claim that what Obama said is different than he can claim that it’s the same.

    Given that they’re both opportunistic politicians, Epi’s claim seems to me stronger.

  63. Whoever the vulture was that was following Obama, they’re not very observant. They grabbed the prayer of someone else. Here’s what Obama’s prayer really said:

    “Allah, please strike this infidel wall with lightning after I leave. And forgive me for wearing the cover of an infidel. And please don’t let that intern be preggers. Amen.”

  64. “All of his “political philosophy” amounted to “don’t worry about that stuff. Go along to get along, because politics isn’t important.”

    Most would consider that a political philosophy.

  65. Most would consider that a political philosophy.

    There’s a little more paint in the bucket if you’d like to back further into the corner.

  66. “How does one “show” a doctrine?”

    Well, here’s one way:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monroe_Doctrine

  67. there is such hypocrisy all around this entire story

  68. Who can truly know? There are voters that believe Al Gores’ Late Great Planet Earth religion.

    You think we support Al Gore here? What are you f’ing nuts?

  69. Anyone else notice the banner on top advertising “Learn Biblical Hebrew”…”with the Holy Land’s best teachers”.

  70. Here and here. Google “George W. Bush, God” and you’ll find stories like this and others.

    With divers sources quoting Bush saying things like “I trust God speaks through me. Without that I couldn’t do my job” and “God told me to strike at al Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam Hussein, which I did” and the like denials from his flaks are less than convincing.

    It might be one opponent making this stuff up if it only sowed up once. But when it appears at rallies in Texas and comes from sources like mennonites in PA to the Palestinian PM it sounds pretty much like it actually happened.

    And I’m with the contingent who thinks that the whole exposure of BO’s prayer thing is full of douchebaggery, from whoever pulled the it from the wall to the newspaper that published it.

  71. sage wins the thread!

  72. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.

    This is a request for divine guidance, not the assumption that it has been given. If you don’t see the difference, substitute “a blowjob” for “divine guidance.”

  73. Most would consider that a political philosophy.

    Touche. OK, I can buy that.

    If we want to assume that that is what George Bush meant (which is a bit of a stretch, given the things he’s said about the proper role of religion in government), then his answer becomes even worse, because that political philosophy doesn’t have the slightest relationship to Bush’s own.

  74. My 2:56pm post was in reply to Righty at 2:38pm.

    Should have noted that.

  75. joe,

    Maybe it was “favorite political philosopher” in a Tiger Beat context. Like “That Jesus! He’s just so dreamy…”

  76. Well, here’s one way:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monroe_Doctrine

    So, in other words, you are perfectly capable of looking up the subject on your own, as SugarFree did.

    If you have a point, just go on and, you know, throw it out there.

  77. SugarFree,

    joe,

    Maybe it was “favorite political philosopher” in a Tiger Beat context. Like “That Jesus! He’s just so dreamy…”

    I’d give him a 98. You can’t dance to him, but he touched my heart.

  78. “Wiki on Divine Grace.

    Outlines it satisfactorily to this philosophy/religion minor. (In case you don’t want to slog through it… joe’s right. (Not that I doubted him.))”

    My point is that Jo left out the faith componant.

    Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians 2:8
    For by grace are ye saved through FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

    Here’s what Joe wrote:

    You’ve never heard of the theological debate over whether salvation is achieved through grace alone vs. through grace and works?

  79. All presidential candidates are doing “God’s Will”. It just depends on how you define “God”. I think that “God’s will” definitely has to do with being “right” and “just”. But once again it depends on your definition of “right” and “justice” are. Frankly his letter is just as creepy as some of the stuff you can find on the sides of government buildings in DC.

  80. “So, in other words, you are perfectly capable of looking up the subject on your own, as SugarFree did.”

    So you’re point is that you never have to substantiate what you write because I have acces to Google?

  81. Given that they’re both opportunistic politicians, Epi’s claim seems to me stronger.

    I made no claim at all. joe is imputing positions to me that I did not take, and I enjoyed watching him arguing with the Episiarch in his head.

  82. Righty,

    I see what you’re saying, about faith. I wish you’d just come out with that at the beginning.

    Both theological strains lay claim to that passage, so it’s not as though one group and not the other believes in “faith.” The dispute, which arose in the Middle Ages, not the time of Paul, was about “grace” vs. “grace and works.”

    So you’re point is that you never have to substantiate what you write because I have acces to Google? My point is that I don’t do your homework for you. If you wish to argue against something I’ve written, find your own evidence.

  83. I made no claim at all.

  84. My point is that Jo left out the faith componant.

    Actually, since faith in God is a prerequisite for grace in both the formulation “grace alone” and “grace and work,” the fact joe left it out is irrelevant.

    I had an Episiarch in my head once, but my son the blacksmith got him out with an axe.

  85. I made no claim at all.

    You claimed that what I wrote was spin. I dispoved that by demonstrating that my criticism of what KMW wrote was substantive, and not merely a different way of describing the same thing.

  86. Epis,

    69 dude!

  87. I wonder why Obama left “praise be in the name of joe” off the prayer.

  88. Because Obama is a monotheist, and I contain multitudes.

  89. I can’t believe that you guys do this every single day.

  90. I am weary of seeing bloggers debase themselves with the tired old saw: “Imagine the outrage if the same thing was said/done by a Republican!”

    Apparently instead of Reason today, Katherine has chosen to fire another set of synapses: the ones that also sniff, scratch, bay, and howl after imaginary shadows in the librul media.

    Katherine, in fact, that headline would never surface because it’s already assumed, but never questioned, and it’s not news. The barely suppressed assumption that George Bush is doing God’s will in the Middle East is as old as his candidacy. It mobilized scads of delusional voters, fuels their sense of moral superiority, and sustains their moral outrage at other more liberal and enlightened Americans. I loved hearing Evangelical voters in Florida canvasing for Bush in 2004. One said with deadening seriousness, “Your vote for John Kerry will hasten the apocalyse!” as if that were a bad thing. Another said, “I’m voting for George Bush because is doing God’s will to bring on the Apocalyse!” as if that were a good thing! [I loved the “Bring it on!” echoes.]

    A better question, Katherine, is just what role you think religion should have in foreign policy or in the personal life of a politician. To the latter question, I’d encourage you to believe it’s none of your business. To the former question, you really should have a response, because the issue is pretty well explicated by the principals involved, Hagee, Dobson, Robertson, and so forth, and the stakes are pretty high.

    So with all the great debates available to you, Katerine, including the role of Reason in politics, faith, and policy, you really should engage your brain and abstain from harumphing over imaginary petty hypocricies.

  91. Way I see it, asking for wisdom from a wall is a deal breaker. Obama is too crazy to hold office.

    You assume his piety is something other than feigned. I assume that I’ll never know what politicians really believe. 536 congresscritters and only one has the balls to admit to atheism. It’s all about getting the rubes to vote for you. Paris is worth a mass.

  92. Unclench, MMMM. We’re all just going to relax and have a drink. (We don’t actually have a choice because, according to the H&R drinking game, we all have to after your oh-so-tired play on the magazine name.)

  93. It wasn’t so much claims from him, but rather his supporters who saw him as taking his instruction from God. People looked to him as some sort of ruler-appointed-by-God.

    I think you spelled Obama wrong….Which is kind of weird…i mean the Obama is spelled nothing like “Bush”

  94. Good on you! It’ll make you more interesting.

  95. I’m going to say that joe @1:58 and 2:05 is engaged in self-parody. A textbook example of BDS. God knows I have little use for Southern Baptists and their smarmy ways, but c’mon.

    If I found out George Bush expressed those sentiments in prayer, it would change my opinion of him a great deal.

    George Bush on what he prays for :

    I pray for strength. I pray for wisdom. I pray for our troops in harm’s way. I pray for my family. I pray for my little girls.

    Praying for wisdom and strength sounds an awful lot like:

    Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.

  96. Not just “favorite philosopher,” Marcvs. Favorite POLITICAL philosopher.

    Jesus was a small government guy. To bad Bush did not listen to him.

  97. prewritten prayer
    every syllable chosen
    just like a haiku

  98. How on earth do you come up with this crap? Joe, your ego outshines Obama’s.

    How can The Instrument of God have an ego?

  99. This was obviously Obama.

    George Bush or other religious-right figures would never consider that they might not already be awash in God’s wisdom. They wouldn’t open up with “forgive my sins” because they consider their conversion episodes to be all the forgiveness of, and protection from, sin that they need. This language has Lincoln’s “I don’t claim to be on God’s side; I pray that I am on his” all over it, so it couldn’t come from any contemporary Christianist – as opposed to simply Christian – politician.

    My question: What if the same note had come from George Bush’s pen? The same prayer wouldn’t have come from George Bush’s pen. If I found out George Bush expressed those sentiments in prayer, it would change my opinion of him a great deal.

    Are you fucking kidding me!!!

  100. Maybe Obama is trying to dumb down his image.

    http://article.nationalreview.com/print/?q=NjEzOTM1YmM4ZmYxOTExMTg1MTZmODlhZGM0N2RkY2I=

    We Americans are easygoing about inequalities of wealth, much more so than Old World countries. There is something about inequality of smarts that just sets our teeth on edge, though.
    Until recently there was quite a strict taboo on mentioning the idea that some people might be smarter than others. Remember what abuse The Bell Curve came in for. It seems to me that we are starting to be a little more open and truthful about these matters. Columnist Chris Satullo in the Philadelphia Inquirer back in May pointed out that the charges of “elitism” then being hurled at Barack Obama were really about smarts.

    The charge of elitism isn’t about people flaunting income; it’s about people flaunting IQ. Americans, as a rule, don’t resent people who have more money than them – particularly if the wealth is seen as earned. Envy, maybe, but not resent. You don’t resent people whom you hope to emulate. And most Americans dream easily about having much more dough than they do. What Americans more readily resent is someone who is smarter than them, who knows it, who shows it, and who seems to think being smart makes you better than everyone else. A gap in income, you can always dream of closing. A gap in IQ, not so much. It’s more personal, thus easier to resent.

  101. OK, is referring to “Bush Derangement Syndrome” in a non-pardoic manner an immediate loss, like a Godwin? Or is it just strongly indicative of a loss?

    Praying for wisdom and strength sounds an awful lot like:

    Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.

    Yes, that part sounds like Bush. You might have noticed, I didn’t claim that line didn’t sound like Bush. Instead, I claimed that other passages didn’t sound like Bush.

  102. What Americans more readily resent is someone who is smarter than them, who knows it, who shows it, and who seems to think being smart makes you better than everyone else. A gap in income, you can always dream of closing. A gap in IQ, not so much. It’s more personal, thus easier to resent.

    Nope.

    IQ in America perceived as an untested quality. While working solutions and the quality of ideas are good qualities. Fundamentally what you are seeing is that americans value equality under the law (or moral equality) more then economic equality and then making the mistake of thinking this is an attack on intelligence.

  103. make me an instrument of your will. suggests a certain humility about whether one actually is an instrument of God’s will.

    You don’t get that from George Bush. As with the question of whether America is doing good, the righty just assumes it, and the lefty frets over it.

    That line stuck out like a sore thumb to me.

    On “wisdom” Obama prays for the wisdom to do what is right, in the same line that he asks to be made an instrument of God’s will. There is a strong suggestion in this formulation that the wisdom he seeks is the wisdom to know what is right.

    That most certainly does not sound like I pray for strength. I pray for wisdom. I pray for our troops in harm’s way. I pray for my family. I pray for my little girls. He leads off with strength. He includes wisdom, but lists it among a number of other items that he already has, and is asking God to empower and protect.

  104. Things we’ve learned from this thread:

    1. Katherine Mangu Ward occasionally writes stupid blog posts making incoherent cheap shots.

    2. Obama is a Christian, who, despite his muslim sounding name and propensity to wear jewish clothing, says and does things consistent with actually believing in God.

    3. Joe is the smartest man on the planet, and no one better say otherwise.

    4. He’s also tiresome and overbearing.

  105. Oh sweet zombie Jesus, we are actually dissecting a fucking private prayer.

    Mein Gott.

  106. make me an instrument of your will. suggests a certain humility about whether one actually is an instrument of God’s will.

    It also suggests that he thinks of himself as the instrument of god.

    On Obama MSM presumes the former with Bush MSM and Joe presumes the later.

    Mangu making that fairly obvious point really has not deserved such attention. Joe just has an ax to grind.

    R C already nailed him when he quoted that Bush prays for wisdom.

    Weather or not joe digs his heels in or back peddles is really not all that interesting.

  107. It also suggests that he thinks of himself as the instrument of god.

    Asking for something is the same as assuming it is true? No, not really.

    “Make you an instrument of your will” is a pretty common Christian prayer. It’s closely associated with the Catholic St. Francis, whose “Prayer of St. Francis” opens with “Make me a channel of your peace.”

    Thank you for sharing your feelings, joshua, but as usual, you don’t have any arguments or points. Just feelings, and certainty that they are right.

  108. I love the fact that it’s a character flaw for me, and only me, to argue that I’m right when someone takes exception to my ideas.

  109. Thank you for sharing your feelings, joshua, but as usual, you don’t have any arguments or points. Just feelings, and certainty that they are right.

    You wrote: George Bush or other religious-right figures would never consider that they might not already be awash in God’s wisdom.

    RC Dean quoted Bush: I pray for wisdom.

    Game over.

    You lose.

  110. I think the real issue is, during a close election, WTF is Obama thinking of going to places where hardly any American voters live?

  111. Is that John Derbyshire from NRO posting at 4:09?

  112. WTF is Obama thinking of going to places where hardly any American voters live?

    Building foreign policy cred and in the case of the wall prayer thing, helping Jewish-American voters feel more comfortable about voting for him.

    Plus, you know, praying to god.

  113. I think the real issue is, during a close election, WTF is Obama thinking of going to places where hardly any American voters live?

    Didn’t you hear? Obama’s already won the election. He’s now on his victory tour of the world.

  114. RC Dean quoted Bush: I pray for wisdom.

    Game over.

    You lose.

    I then I discussed what he said, and the what else he said, and how the sense is different.

    You, of course, don’t need to consider such things. Hell, you knew I “lost” before you even read anything I wrote. Certainly, as soon as you saw that someone disagreed, you know I “lost,” without needing to judge the argument and my reply. Which you don’t seem to have any thoughts about. As always.

    So I’m not going to lose any sleep over your feelings here.

  115. I think the real issue is, during a close election, WTF is Obama thinking of going to places where hardly any American voters live?

    Probably the same thing John McCain was doing in Colombia and Canada.

    What’s really amazing here is that not only did John McCain let these trips he took slip his mind when he made that argument, but that prolefeed also happened to forget exactly the same facts while, completely independently, making exactly the same argument.

    That’s quite the coincidence.

  116. So I’m not going to lose any sleep over your feelings here.

    I am just glad that Bush and Obama doubt their own wisdom more then you do.

  117. Episarch/joe , forget it. Talking to joe/Episarch is like praying to a brick wall.

  118. The best way to combat invasions of privacy is to shun the fruits of the poisonous tree, the story that Obama’s prayer was stolen should’ve been on this website, his words should not have.

    Praying at a brick wall is significantly different than praying to a brick wall. There’s nothing wrong with feeling a heightened level of spirituality at a location. For some, historic relics may do this, for others it may be nature’s beauty, before a beautiful piece of art, etc.

    Joe, there’s a slim chance your arguments might actually be interesting if you actually addressed the substance of criticism leveled at Obama, rather than trying to explain how Bush or McCain is equivalent or worse. Especially since most of the people on this site probably have just as much disdain for them as Obama.

  119. Probably the same thing John McCain was doing in Colombia and Canada.

    What’s really amazing here is that not only did John McCain let these trips he took slip his mind when he made that argument, but that prolefeed also happened to forget exactly the same facts while, completely independently, making exactly the same argument.

    That’s quite the coincidence.

    I don’t think McCain was opposed to Obama going…his whole thing was that Obama was going on a fact finding mission with an opinion about those facts before he even got on the plane…

    I am fairly certain you could find McCain doing the same thing though.

    That said the conservative meme that candidates traveling the world during an election is bad is a fairly lame one.

    Still conflating Rush with McCain is probably not a good idea….especially when the right is so obviously fragmented. Your motives for doing so are way to transparent.

  120. Joe, there’s a slim chance your arguments might actually be interesting if you actually addressed the substance of criticism leveled at Obama, rather than trying to explain how Bush or McCain is equivalent or worse. Especially since most of the people on this site probably have just as much disdain for them as Obama.

    Or equal lack of disdain.

  121. Publishing the note was low. Republishing it here doesn’t help much either. Can’t Obama get some privacy?

  122. You gotta know, whether you’re Obama or Elvis, that *some* asshole is going to snag any scrap of paper you may leave lying about with your personal penmanship thereupon.

    He may have penned it knowing that, and knowing it would make him look good to black voters, and maybe take some of the edge off his elitist gaffes.

    Of course, Obama weren’t all that big before this election cycle, so he might actually be clueless as to the extreme nature of our tabloid/fan culture into which he has only recently come to be included. But his handlers were most likely not…

  123. It’s interesting to note that just recently Obama voted to deny many untold people their privacy — now and in the future.

    Maybe now he knows how it feels.

    But I doubt it.

  124. The important question is:
    Did Barack Obama’s speechwriters write the prayer for him, or did he hire a prayer writer for this occasion.

    Clearly he had no idea that anyone might take the paper out of the wall. He merely made the prayer because he’s a spiritual man, seeking the lord’s guidance. He goes to the wall every time he goes to Israel. This has NOTHING to do with his presidential campaign.

  125. Just another religious wacko. Not news. Going to lead what was intended to be, but never quite made it to, a constitutional republic, and is now an absolute dictatorship of 545 (435+100+9+1.) That’s not news either. The US never made it over the hump; most likely, it never will.

    Our bitching has zero effect.

  126. joshua corning: “Or equal lack of disdain.”

    I’m going to go with disdain. I kind of think you have to have some sort of messianic thing going on to even decide to run for President. We’ve certainly had a string of outrageous egomaniacs.

    I mean, I couldn’t run for President for lots of reasons (man, I have skeletons sleeping in my _bedroom_, wearing sexy underwear, right now.. god I’m glad I’m not running for President).

    But even if I were some sort of careful square who had never snorted cocaine off the ass of a 14 year old prostitute… I’d have to be an idiot to want to run for president. I’m crazy, but I’m not _that_ crazy.

    I am enjoying watching all the people who had fits about Bush’s restrained and private religion squirm over Obama’s outrageously overt appeals. Yeah, I know, it’s a Nixon/China thing, but it’s still funny.

  127. I just want to point out that Martin Luther’s basic idea was “salvation through faith alone”. This is different than “salvation through grace alone”, which is a different view more generally linked with the idea that you have absolutely no effect on your soul’s entry into heaven. “Salvation through grace alone” holds that God has already determined who his grace will be granted to, and no amount of faith or good works will change that. “Salvation through faith alone” requires only that an individual place there faith in the Holy Trinity, and good works will have no effect on your salvation. As I understand it, the Protestant reformers felt that using good works to gain entrance to heaven would be bribing God. Catholic doctrine requires both faith and good works.

  128. Two obvious questions:

    Does Allah collect these notes at the end of the week?

    If Obama didn’t want His note read, couldn’t he have written it with invisible ink?

    (God CAN read invisible ink, in case anyone is wondering)

  129. Jean Valjean (If that IS your real name),

    Joe, there’s a slim chance your arguments might actually be interesting if you actually addressed the substance of criticism leveled at Obama, rather than trying to explain how Bush or McCain is equivalent or worse

    What criticism leveled at Obama?

    Where did I claim Bush or McCain was “equivalent or worse?”

    The question was “Guess the Divinely Inspired Politician.” I did, and explained how I did so. Authors tend to have a recognizable voice, and their “voice” when composing a prayer is the consequence of their religious beliefs and personal style.

    Perhaps my arguments would be more interesting or persuasive if people didn’t insist on ferreting out a partisan message is everything I write. There are subjects other than “Who’s better, the Democrat or the Republican,” you know.

  130. VGO,

    Evangelical Protestants, who are most of the religious right in this country, trace their theological lineage back more to Calvin than Luther.

  131. Coming soon to Hit & Run: Obama farts, and Joe explains at length how the sound and fragrance are clearly superior to the gaseous emissions of Bush, McCain, etc.

  132. A little more conversation, a little less dogpile please.

  133. The Ma’ariv received harsh criticism within Israel for violating Obama’s privacy by publishing the note. The Ma’ariv said the note was approved for publication before Obama put it in the Wall. So, the case hinges on whether or not Obama’s campaign released it to the press.

  134. How many other prayers, were warrantlessly wiretapped from others…..hmmm

  135. The student who took the note apologized on Israeli TV the other day. I’m still waiting to see if newspapers who reprinted the note will also apologize. Reading someone’s mail and passing it along to a third person violates the right to privacy. This hold equally true for students handing private notes to reporters and reporters printing private notes for their readers.

  136. We are all always instruments of God’s will but sometimes his will is served by having us screw up in ridiculous and self-destructive ways.

  137. A Ma’ariv spokesman was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying that “Barack Obama’s note was approved for publication in the international media even before he put in the Kotel, a short time after he wrote it at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.”

  138. Oh, this is from Jonah Goldberg, btw… Who also gives us a link to an image of the note itself: here.

    “A Ma’ariv spokesman was quoted in the Jerusalem Post as saying that “Barack Obama’s note was approved for publication in the international media even before he put in the Kotel, a short time after he wrote it at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.”

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