I Think I’ll Go For a Walk

Feeling much better today, but I’m pretty sure I’ll feel sick to my stomache after we play the Titans.

Also, I’ve learned that I’m an anti-Semite because I asked Ben Smith why he wasn’t in church after he tweeted this bullshit:

I was promptly informed by someone that I was “jew-baiting” Ben Smith because I had no idea he was Jewish.

The best part of this is the whole emphasis on Obama’s church habits is that it is little more than an extension of the right-wing meme about Obama being Muslim. He only rarely goes to church, and that’s just to fake it. And when he does, it’s with that America hating Preacher! Also, blackity black black black!

Personally, I wish Obama had spent the morning clearing brush.

138 replies
  1. 1
    morzer says:

    At least you can enjoy watching Grandpa Greynuts and the Horny Boys put to the blade by the Miami Dolphins…. Also too, the crashing and burning of the Jets.

  2. 2
    Ash Can says:

    How often did Ronald Reagan go to church when he was in the WH?

  3. 3
    Kobie says:

    I can just imagine the inner monologue running through George W. Bush’s head while he was clearing brush in his attempt to look like a real ‘merican.

    “IhatethisshitIhatethisshitIhatethisshit …”

  4. 4
    Woodrowfan says:

    so when the RW doesn’t know what religion President Obama follows it’s Obama’s fault because he’s not been open enough, but when a liberal blogger doesn’t know the religion of a RW blogger it’s the fault of the LW blogger??

  5. 5
    Tim I says:

    What Presidents did go to church every Sunday?

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ash Can: That’s different; he was defeating Communism abroad and liberalism at home. The man was busy. I mean, what does Obama have on his plate? It’s not like there is a war, a recession, and an unhinged political opposition to deal with. I mean, come on, look at this realistically.

  7. 7
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ash Can: When Bible thumping, publicly pious, god-bothering Republican presidents don’t go to church, it’s for security reasons, and to not disturb the good parishioners with the Secret Service and media horde.

    Am I misunremembering that Dumbya did not regularly attend Sunday services? Seems to me he got the Reagan pass, too.

  8. 8
    scav says:

    I can’t decide. Look, I think we’ve all long learned by now that we can’t simply take people’s simple assertions that they are christians or jews or americans anymore, we have to have proof. So, here’s my quandary: do we ask for the long or short form proof of Ben Smith’s jewishness?

  9. 9
    JPL(formerly demo woman) says:

    @Tim I: John Adams used to trek through snow but he was a Unitarian so he probably doesn’t count.

  10. 10
    JenJen says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Also, Reagan didn’t need to go to church… he was already The American Jesus!

    Thanks for my first good laugh of the day. :-)

  11. 11
    gnomedad says:

    How do you “prove” you are Christian, anyway? Is there a blood test? Demand the baptismal certificate (do Protestants have them?)!

  12. 12
    wasabi gasp says:

    Obama’s just covering his ass for taking Christine on that date.

  13. 13
    Kryptik says:

    @gnomedad:

    It’s easy. All you have to do is prove that you hate gays and Muslims and the poor, like all real Christians do.

  14. 14
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Ash Can:

    How often did Ronald Reagan go to church when he was in the WH?

    White people don’t have to worry about that shit. Black Kenyan anti-colonialists have to kneel before the altar of Prosperity Jesus on a daily basis or else Real ‘Murica will think they are secret worshipers of the Muslim Monkey God.

  15. 15
    400metres says:

    As Ash Can noted above, I would love it if someone in the media would point out how stupid and double-standardish this critique of Obama is (or any Dem for that matter), considering how little Reagan and GW Bush spent in church throughout their combined 16 years helming the executive branch.

    It’s on par with “only Dems spend money!” and “Dems are anti-war!”

  16. 16
    RinaX says:

    Hey, he’s doing better than me. The last time I set foot inside a church was for a funeral, and that was years ago. I mean, that shit is boring. Just don’t go after married peoples, leave other people’s shit alone, don’t be murdering and stuff, and try not to be too much of an asshole in daily life. I’ve never had any trouble following any of these commandments, and don’t see the need to have this repeated to me once a week at a minimum. I’m arrogant enough to believe that I’ll end up in a pretty good place because, you know, I’m not a murdering asshole and do try to help other people even if they suck a lot. If I’m wrong about that well then, whoops, my bad.

    Barry, otoh, is just the tool of Satan and must be stopped. Also.

  17. 17
    JPL(formerly demo woman) says:

    John, It’s nice to have you back. You are probably not an anti-Semite. Smith doesn’t sound like a typical Semite name and I’m pretty sure that you can only be jew baiter if in fact you knew he was Jewish and said something derogatory about the Jewish faith. You’re safe.

  18. 18
    KC says:

    Didn’t the question of Reagan not going to church come up during one of his debates with Mondale? Reagan’s response was about the burden it put on the church for security and disruption of routine when a President showed up. Nobody batted an eye at that answer. I doubt Obama would get a pass using the exact same answer, which is true for both of them and for every other President.

    Whatever the Republicans can use to smear the President, they will. His security is not important to them, and neither is the worship experience of anyone else. Such ridiculousness.

  19. 19
    morzer says:

    Personally, I am angry that Politico is so near to the hallowed ground of 9/11. Ben Smith might be inhaling the sacred dust of the dead.

  20. 20
    trollhattan says:

    @Ash Can:

    I believe Ron and Nancy often worshiped a giant sack of dollars crushing a hammer and sickle, as recommended by Nancy’s astrologer.

  21. 21
    tomvox1 says:

    Well, of course you shoulda known, John. “Smith” is such a Jewish name. And to think you Jew-baited him so soon after Yom Kipur. I’m sure he was still tired from fasting and that’s why he wrote such a lame ass tweet. Tsk, tsk.

  22. 22
    Ed Marshall says:

    Hmmm, I’ve wondered if I was an anti-semite because during the campaign when Ben would flog some “Does Obama have a Jewish problem” story every week I thought it was ridiculous and idly speculated that he was Jewish.

    Then I thought it was a stupid thought, the guys last name is Smith and he just hangs out with the crew from the Weekly Standard too much. It turns out I was an anti-semite for *not* thinking he was Jewish!

  23. 23
    geg6 says:

    It will never happen but I’d love for him to come out into the Rose Garden one day when he takes questions from the WH press pool and say he isn’t a Muslim or a Christian or anything else. That he’s an atheist or an agnostic. That would be awesome.

    Sadly, he probably isn’t, but I’d still like to see him say it just for the entertainment value.

  24. 24
    Jager says:

    @JPL(formerly demo woman):

    As a lapsed Unitarian, i can tell you the coffee hour is worth the walk through the snow

  25. 25
    jeffreyw says:

    No walk for me, I’m staying in the kitchen to field test the latest Col. Sander’s chicken recipe. Tomato soup mix and Italian dressing mix are in it. Go figure. More later.

  26. 26
    ppcli says:

    @Tim I:
    Well, History’s Greatest Monster was sincerely devout.

  27. 27
    MikeTheZ says:

    Another thing to file under failed media experiment: lead story on MSNBC is about repeal & replace the healthcare law. No one has realized that the ReThugs can’t get enough votes to override Obama vetoing a repeal effort, and so it gets seriously reported as an option. Buh.

  28. 28
    ppcli says:

    @tomvox1: I’m surprised too. Given the name, I figured he must be related to former Rhodesian prime minister and white supremicist Ian Smith, who was, I’m pretty sure, an Anglican.

  29. 29
    Winson Smith says:

    I just got back from Church. My wife did a pre-church lecture on Yom Kippur.

    I apologize to Ben Smith for the Jew baiting. Back to confession… sigh.

  30. 30
    BGinCHI says:

    Hey Ben, in case you check in here: Yes, we all think you’re a douchebag.

    How’s it feel to shill for a political party that you know is full of idiots?

    I guess it’s a paycheck.

  31. 31
    NobodySpecial says:

    @MikeTheZ: Whattya mean? 50+ Republicans + Nelson + Lieberman + I’m sure there’s a million other Blue Dogs just dying to kick Obama while he’s down. I’d be surprised if the vote wasn’t in the 70-30 range if it did happen.

  32. 32
    tomvox1 says:

    @MikeTheZ:

    Yeah, saw that. And the last half of the article is a big handjob to “idea man/tough choices wonk” Paul Ryan and his “let’s fuck seniors and poor people while exploding the deficit” policy goals. Does no one in the MSM read Krugman? Blerg.

  33. 33
    Comrade Darkness says:

    @gnomedad: The Spanish almost certainly can dig up an old test or two. Maybe Hillary can write them and ask.

  34. 34
    MattF says:

    Well, you should have known– Jews always have Biblical names. Like my cousin, Snake.

  35. 35
    angler says:

    When was Christine O’Donnell last in attendance at a satanic altar? Equal time dammit.

  36. 36
    Nick says:

    This reminds me of the bunch of goons on GOS, MYDD and OpenLeft who said Obama was at fault for a growing number of people thinking he’s Muslim because he didn’t go to church every weekend.

  37. 37
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Nick: IIRC, many people denigrated John Kerry because he attends the Roman Catholic mass daily, so how observant a politician is is no guarantee of being seen sincere of belief. Obama’s got a foreign name, of course, he’s hiding the truth.

  38. 38
    eemom says:

    look on the bright side — since Jewish people are supposed to forgive everybody who wronged them on Yom Kippur, you get to be #1 on Smith’s shit list for the next year!

  39. 39
    Josie says:

    @jeffreyw: That sounds amazing. I hope you’ll share at some point.

  40. 40
    Cermet says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: No you are not and the puppet king bushwack-off church attending was so close to zero that no one really even knew what denomination he was! Talk about double standards – what A-holes!

  41. 41
    Texas Dem says:

    I agree it’s ridiculous (as well as extremely unfair) to criticize Obama for not going to church, especially when GOP icon Reagan almost never attended religious services, except on special occasions. But someone in Obama’s position (i.e., a Democrat who has the middle name “Hussein” and a vaguely foreign-sounding background) must observe certain rituals for political purposes; it’s just part of the job. Regular attendance at church (as well as a few more innocuous references to the Lord in public speeches) would do wonders to dispel much of the “Obama is a Muslim” myth. If Obama wasn’t prepared to do that, he shouldn’t have run for president. He won’t do us any good if he fights the good fight for four years and then just hands the country over to the Tea Party fruitcakes. You have to play their game, and play it better than they do.

  42. 42
    Josh says:

    Again, which presnits from the past forty-five years went to church frequently? Clinton and Carter, right?

  43. 43
    jeffreyw says:

    @Josie: Share? Oh, you mean like putting a link up to a picture? If I can figger out how…

  44. 44
    licensed to kill time says:

    @PurpleGirl:

    I remember Bill Clinton being criticized because the Bible he carried to church was too big. Ya can’t win with these people.

  45. 45
    SIA says:

    Steve Benen on the accomplishments of the Obama Administrator. Take that, naysayers.

    The president was told to clean all of this up, quickly, without the benefit of a minority party willing to play a constructive role. And just to make things really interesting, Obama was also told that for the first in the history of the United States, every initiative he came up with would need mandatory supermajorities just to pass the Senate.
    __
    And despite all of this, what have seen? The Affordable Care Act, the Recovery Act, Wall Street reform, student loan reform, Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, new regulation of the credit card industry, new regulation of the tobacco industry, a national service bill, expanded stem-cell research, nuclear arms deal with Russia, a new global nonproliferation initiative, the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and the most sweeping land-protection act in 15 years.

  46. 46
    Texas Dem says:

    I remember Bill Clinton being criticized because the Bible he carried to church was too big. Ya can’t win with these people.

    It was BIG because he wanted everyone to see it. It didn’t matter if the GOP elites criticized him; what was important was that regular folk saw him at church carrying a Bible. Again, there are certain things one must do in this country to be a successful political leader. If you’re not prepared to do that, then don’t run for President. This is a religious country and people want to know their President shares their values.

  47. 47
    jaleh says:

    Ben Smith should not be doing anything today, according to this guy in NYT:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09.....f=homepage

  48. 48
    Cain says:

    John, you should then ask Ben Nelson why he is tweeting instead of observing Yom Kippur and not atoning for what transgressions he’s done in the past year. I’m sure he’s done some dastardly shit that will require at least two days to atone for it. Hell his writings alone probably require it. Fucker.

    Hell my Jewish co-worker asked for forgiveness. I told him next year I’ll have a list. :-) We both had a hearty laugh on that.

    cain

  49. 49
    Cermet says:

    @Texas Dem: No, this is most certainly not a religious country but rather, a country with lying so-called christian people that Christ would fully disown and a people (the so-called religious) that only care about their own wellfair and fuck everyone else.

  50. 50
    Nick says:

    @Texas Dem:

    I agree it’s ridiculous (as well as extremely unfair) to criticize Obama for not going to church, especially when GOP icon Reagan almost never attended religious services, except on special occasions. But someone in Obama’s position (i.e., a Democrat who has the middle name “Hussein” and a vaguely foreign-sounding background) must observe certain rituals for political purposes

    Yes, well, thank you for proving America isn’t a fair place and certain people must play by certain rules.

  51. 51
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Texas Dem: Seriously? You’re going to go with the give them exactly what they demand? So, Obama should show his long-form, too? Yes, it’s not fair, but he should have expected it when he ran. And, maybe he should find the doctor who helped birth him (if still alive). Again, not fair, but what did Obama expect? Fuck that shit. If The Teabaggers win the next round of elections, it’s not Obama’s fault–it’s ours (as a society). And, it won’t matter anyway. He could go to church every day, and they will still find fault with him.

    @morzer: And, I am all over the map with this game. Go, Vikes! Sack Favre! Mike Carey (head ref) is cute! Sigh.

  52. 52
    PurpleGirl says:

    @licensed to kill time: Exactly. There is no way to win.

    Texas Dem: Please, kindly, point out to me where in the Constitution it says a president should attend religious services.

  53. 53
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Texas Dem:

    This is a religious country and people want to know their President shares their values.

    Their Christian values? Not all Americans are Christian. I think we elect our politicians (hopefully) to govern, not be religious leaders. Leave the public displays to the professional Bible thumpers.

  54. 54
    roshan says:

    __

    There is really no debate about climate change in China,” said Peggy Liu, chairwoman of the Joint U.S.-China Collaboration on Clean Energy, a nonprofit group working to accelerate the greening of China. “China’s leaders are mostly engineers and scientists, so they don’t waste time questioning scientific data.” The push for green in China, she added, “is a practical discussion on health and wealth. There is no need to emphasize future consequences when people already see, eat and breathe pollution every day.

  55. 55
    chopper says:

    @tomvox1:

    ‘smith’ is like the jewish ‘johnson’.

  56. 56
    Maude says:

    You could tell when the Clintons were in a spot of trouble or the poll ratings were slipping because they would have a going to church photo op.

  57. 57
    Nick says:

    @Texas Dem:

    This is a religious country and people want to know their President shares their values.

    what, pray, are these “values?”

    Torturing Muslims, oppressing gays, being blatant hypocrites when preaching sanctity of marriage while watching husbands being won on game shows, pontificating about moral values while spending $12 to watch someone get his head blown off in a movie, and giving to charities only when a natural disaster effects people who have already needed help for years?

    I don’t want a President who shares these “values”

  58. 58
    Texas Dem says:

    A few quick points before I get back to Cowboys v. Bears:

    1. Most Americans are Christians and profess at least nominal religious beliefs. They may not go to church but they believe in God, and they expect their politicians to share those beliefs. There should be a way to nod towards folks who have religious beliefs without sounding like you want to burn the Koran. It’s not either or. You just have to be smart enough to know when to fight (i.e., the birth certificate nonsense, which has been clearly refuted by even conservative writers) and when to give ground (attend church more regularly and invoke the Lord once in a while).

    2. This is not a question about what’s in the Constitution or formally required to hold public office. Just real world political skills. See Clinton, William Jefferson.

    3. If you want to keep fighting the good fight, then more power to you. I’m not the enemy here. But don’t be surprised when you see President Palin or President Romney in 2013. And since that would be a disaster for the country (and the world), we should be prepared to everything we can to make sure it doesn’t happen. Again, you have to play their game, and play it better than they do.

  59. 59
    Martin says:

    @Ash Can:

    How often did Ronald Reagan go to church when he was in the WH?

    Jesus doesn’t go to the church, the church goes to Jesus.

  60. 60
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Texas Dem:

    Ok, so public displays of religious belief and invocation of God will totally win the political game, huh?

    If Obama went to church every day he would be viewed as a hypocritical politician, a la Bill Clinton, trying to cover up some nefarious scheme or trying to disguise an evil plan to sneak Sharia law into the U.S. by stealth.

    If he carried a big ol’ Bible around they’d say it was a fake cover and really there’s a Qu’ran inside.

    If he went to church for twenty years in Chicago they’d say his pastor is an evil ‘Murka hatin’ radical and the church is racist.

    See, the rules of the game change according to who’s playing, and this is one game Obama will never win.

  61. 61
    Lolis says:

    @wasabi gasp:

    Ha. Good one.

  62. 62
    Indigo says:

    “One must not forget that this country was founded by religious fanatics. Since Jimmy Carter, religious fundamentalists play a major role in elections. He was the first president who made a point of exhibiting himself as a born again Christian. That sparked a little light in the minds of political campaign managers: Pretend to be a religious fanatic and you can pick up a third of the vote right away. Nobody asked whether Lyndon Johnson went to church every day. Bill Clinton is probably about as religious as I am, meaning zero, but his managers made a point of making sure that every Sunday morning he was in the Baptist church singing hymns.” G. Vidal – So to counter this truth the right tries to turn any Obama faith into a false narrative…

  63. 63
    roshan says:

    This is for you, Texas Douche.

    Obama invokes Jesus more than Bush

    As for this:

    This is not a question about what’s in the Constitution or formally required to hold public office. Just real world political skills.

    The possibilities are endless!

  64. 64
    quaint irene says:

    It’s on par with “only Dems spend money!” and “Dems are anti-war!”

    And don’t forget, the ‘Dem’s aren’t supposed to have money.”

  65. 65
    magisterludi says:

    @Josie: amazing is not the word I would use, but, yeah, let’s hear more about this epicurean experiment.

  66. 66
    wasabi gasp says:

    Leave the public displays to the professional Bible thumpers.

    Presidents paw the bible during inauguration. That’s a pretty big public display.

    God is good
    God is great
    There’s a shitload of Jesus freaks on my plate
    Amen

    Congratulations, Mr. President.

  67. 67
    Joel says:

    @Texas Dem: How about them Cowboys?

  68. 68
    eemom says:

    Hmmm……it appears to be classifed under genus Trollus Concernus, species Nation Christianus WeAreus .

  69. 69
    Cain says:

    @roshan:

    This is for you, Texas Douche.

    Really.. was that necessary?

    cain

  70. 70
    licensed to kill time says:

    @wasabi gasp:

    Presidents paw the bible during inauguration. That’s a pretty big public display.

    Yeah, I don’t know what to say about that old custom….maybe Presidents should paw the Constitution instead. Nowadays it seems to be held in some kind of religious awe by certain folks, and interpreted in just as selective a fashion as the bible.

    Love your prayer! Your zen koan comments always make me smile, thanks :)

  71. 71
    Tony J says:

    Again, you have to play their game, and play it better than they do.

    I think the general consensus is that it’s not a game, and treating it as a game, one that you have to play by your opponent’s rules, just means that, however well you play, you will always lose.

    For example, if Obama did as you suggest and made regular churchgoing a part of his schedule, “they” would claim that all this proves is that he’s got a “religion problem” that he’s worried about.

    What would you suggest that he does then? How would you “play it better than they do”?

  72. 72
    roshan says:

    @Cain, @Texas Douche Dem

    If we shadows have offended,
    Think but this — and all is mended–
    That you have but slumber’d here
    While these visions did appear.
    And this weak and idle theme,
    No more yielding but a dream,
    Gentles, do not reprehend;
    If you pardon, we will mend.
    And, as I am an honest Puck,
    If we have unearned luck
    Now to escape the serpent’s tongue,
    We will make amends ere long;
    Else the Puck a liar call:
    So, good night unto you all,
    Give me your hand, if we be friends,
    And Robin shall restore amends.

  73. 73
    Mike in NC says:

    I think we elect our politicians (hopefully) to govern, not be religious leaders. Leave the public displays to the professional Bible thumpers.

    What would Big Mike Huckabee have to say about that? Here’s an ex-preacher/ex-governor who bragged that he didn’t believe in evolution but he sure believed in miracles. Gack!

  74. 74
    Starfish says:

    This morning, while out to breakfast, we saw this Tom Tomorrow cartoon that reminded me of the religious and racial “controversies” that have been going on lately.

  75. 75

    @ppcli:
    Late to the thread, but … Win!

  76. 76
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Texas Dem:

    There should be a way to nod towards folks who have religious beliefs

    How about writing two autobiographical books that discuss the development of your religious beliefs? How about being as religiously observant as your immediate predecessors while incorporating religious phraseology into your public statements? By any reasonable standard, he’s doing at least as much Christian/religious stuff as recent presidents have done. Doing more starts to run the risk of projecting overcompensation.

  77. 77
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Starfish: “We are absolutely not color schemists!”

    Hahahahahahahahaha!

  78. 78
    Calming Influence says:

    1. Balloon Juice needs a “Presidential Brush Clearing” tag;

    2. Obama’s response to Ben Smith should be to put on cowboy boots and a cowboy hat, drive into the Rose Garden in a pickup truck, and start hacking away with a machete.

  79. 79
    dms says:

    @RinaX:

    Funny you should write that. I just had a visit with my older sister, who, about a decade ago, became a regular Christian church-goer (having not been so for most of her adult life–although my mother made us both go to church through high school).

    Anyway, for the second time within my hearing, she made the statement that she thought if people in general lived according to Christian (I assume) tenets, the world would be a better place, and she was thankful for the weekly reminder of how she should live her life.

    I wondered why she was offering this info for the second time, but that probably is because, being 62, she didn’t remember having said it before. Did she think this was a major epiphany, something no one else had ever thought of?

    But, I also wondered why she needed a weekly reminder. I knew how to act in a decent manner to all manner of people; it had been drummed into me through age 18. How had she not picked it up during the same time allotment?

    Moreover, her weekly reminders didn’t seem to be taking. She certainly didn’t treat me any more decently–with any respect–than she had prior to her rejoining the church-going ranks. Nor did she treat her husband or anyone who threatened her supremacy. Therefore, her reminders didn’t seem to be working.

    So, I just don’t get it. Does she think she’s going to get extra credit when she gets to the Pearly Gates?

  80. 80
    HRA says:

    There will always be something Obama did not do right. In fact, no matter the subject or topic on some of these other blogs, there is always something in the negative about him. Bottom line is they cannot stand to see the color of his skin.

  81. 81
    eemom says:

    Back on the happy, innocent day of Inauguration 2009, we were watching the speech on teevee and a friend of my daughter’s — they were then 14 — who is an atheist from an atheist family was here watching it with us.

    When Obama mentioned “non-believers” right out the gate in his words of inclusion, the child quietly exclaimed, “Yay!”

  82. 82
    Ruckus says:

    @Cain:
    Yea, it sorta was.

  83. 83
    aimai says:

    @Texas Dem:

    Uh, no, regular attendance at church wouldn’t do it. The whole point of the attacks on Obama is that underlying them is the assumption that he simply can’t be a christian because he’s black, because his father was kenyan, because he’s a muslim. Look–the guy sat in the fucking pew at a church, was married in a church, had his daughters baptized in a church and the right wing basically said “the minister wasn’t the right kind of christian because he was angry, and black, and spoke in a biblically prophetic tradition which we pretend doesn’t exist within our very own churches.” There’s no way to win the discussion. Obama fucking prayed with Billy Graham and the son publicly casts doubt on the meaning of that act. Obama can go to church every single day, and pray publicly with the pope, and a fairly large segment of the moronic public will follow the media in treating it as though its just more deep mooslim cover.

    aimai

  84. 84
    licensed to kill time says:

    That preacher man who wanted to burn Qur’ans may face a $200,000 bill for policing costs.

    Naturally, he wants to skip town and move his church.

  85. 85

    @dms:

    So, I just don’t get it. Does she think she’s going to get extra credit when she gets to the Pearly Gates?

    When you go to church each week, you get a card (card-carrying evangelical). Get your card punched, and St. Peter checks when you get to the gates. Enough holes punched, you get a free oil change/lube.

  86. 86
    kay says:

    @aimai:

    Agreed.

    He also leaked this in 2009:

    For the past five months, White House aides and friends of the Obamas have been quietly visiting local churches and vetting the sermons of prospective first ministers in a search for a new — and uncontroversial — church home. Obama has even sampled a few himself, attending services at 19th Street Baptist on the weekend before his inauguration and celebrating Easter at St. John’s Episcopal Church.
    Now, in an unexpected move, Obama has told White House aides that instead of joining a congregation in Washington, D.C., he will follow in George W. Bush’s footsteps and make his primary place of worship Evergreen Chapel, the nondenominational church at Camp David.

    Ben Smith forgot, apparently. Asked and answered!

    I don’t think it has a thing to do with church attendance.

  87. 87
    Sandmann says:

    @dms:

    There’s the rub. Many Christians in America seem to believe they can “hedge their bets”. The notion that they’ll be able to pull one over on God if they can just convince people around them of their piety before they die is as laughable as it is disingenuous.

    Say what you will of Atheists and Agnostics, but I would love to know what these members of organized religion would do if they had to actually reconcile their transgressions within themselves as opposed to outsourcing their “sins” to an imaginary friend.

  88. 88
    4jkb4ia says:

    Ben Smith is Jewish!?

  89. 89
    scav says:

    OT but as at least a token nod to Interrrrrrnational Talk like a Pirrrate Day mateys, herrrre’s a Norrrwegian P’rrrate Kaptein Sabeltann video, t’ nerrrrd alerrrt that t’ pi rate = 3.14% and a warrrrning that if ye don’t swab t’ keelhaul arrround here, the Capn and his Polyphase Avitron ‘ll make ye walk the Plank’s Constant.

    ok, whew.

  90. 90
    4jkb4ia says:

    It was very amusing that the Values Voter Summit was this weekend, BTW. It shows you who the values voters are not. I learned that there was a speech on Friday from Maureen Dowd who missed a golden opportunity to run with the code represented by the C.S. Lewis reference.

    (Commenters may not be aware that Yom Kippur was yesterday)

  91. 91
    RinaX says:

    @dms:

    You know, it does seem that certain Christians (and it really is a subset, there are a lot of good eggs in the church) do spend their whole lives like they’re deliberately accruing points to be spent once they pass on. I guess they feel that church and such earns multiple points that override you know, being a jackass in real life during the week. It always amuses me to see someone being arrested on TV for dismembering people in their houses, and there always being someone going “He was in church every week, I just don’t understand!”.

    When you go to church each week, you get a card (card-carrying evangelical).

    Heh.

  92. 92
    kay says:

    @RinaX:

    “He was in church every week, I just don’t understand!”.

    I always assumed church-going monsters would be far worse if they didn’t go to church every week. I look at it that way.

    It’s a plus! Imagine them without a strict code. Rampaging.

  93. 93
    Jay says:

    Maybe this has been mentioned above, but I think President Carter taught Sunday School at St. John’s. It’s a pretty cool church. Small, but the staff makes a huge deal of the fact that every President since Madison has been there. Also, regular Spanish-language services are offered. I lived in DC for 3 months right after I graduated from college, and I had lost much of the Spanish I studied in high school and early in college. Taking in the occasional St. John’s service, however, was an interesting way to regain the basics of the language.

  94. 94
    RinaX says:

    @kay:

    Good point.

  95. 95
    Winston Smith says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    See, the rules of the game change according to who’s playing, and this is one game Obama will never win.

    Kristol recommended he move to the right. Maybe that would work.

  96. 96
    4jkb4ia says:

    What aimai said, and I vouch for John being against all organized religions equally.

  97. 97
    Winston Smith says:

    @Sandmann:

    There’s the rub. Many Christians in America seem to believe they can “hedge their bets”. The notion that they’ll be able to pull one over on God if they can just convince people around them of their piety before they die is as laughable as it is disingenuous.

    If you read Matthew 25, you’ll discover that Jesus was hip to that.

    Of course, if you read Matthew 25, you’re more acquainted with the teachings of Jesus than the average mega-church conservative.

    There are many other verses, in both the Jewish and Christian writings that call people out for their false piety. More good stuff in Matthew 6.

  98. 98
    scav says:

    @kay: You’re assuming they pay attention to, ponder, muse upon any of the mere words flying about the room and, moreover, think it has any relevance to their own behavior. They skimmed the headlines, they’ve found the correct brand, they’ve got the right logo on their polo shirts: they’re forgiven

  99. 99
    Winston Smith says:

    @Nick:

    what, pray, are these “values?”

    Torturing Muslims, oppressing gays, being blatant hypocrites when preaching sanctity of marriage while watching husbands being won on game shows, pontificating about moral values while spending $12 to watch someone get his head blown off in a movie, and giving to charities only when a natural disaster effects people who have already needed help for years?

    I don’t want a President who shares these “values”

    Communist!

  100. 100
    2th&nayle says:

    @dms:

    So, I just don’t get it. Does she think she’s going to get extra credit when she gets to the Pearly Gates?

    Of course she does! It’s the ultimate “Get out of Hell Free” card! Now, I’m not saying that there are not people out there that endeavor to truly follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. There are! But it’s been my experience that there are a hell of a lot more of them that consider religion as some kind of cheap insurance policy. They pay that premium every month (or every Sunday, or whatever) “just in case” something unforseen happens. Otherwise it’s mostly business as usual. Reminds me of something my old friend Bobby B told me once when we were locked up together in the county slam. He said, “Mike, there is such a thing as crimimal genius, but you’re not likely to find much of it in here!” Church. Same thing.

  101. 101
    licensed to kill time says:

    @Winston Smith:

    Well, he is Wrongway Kristol. So there’s that.

  102. 102
    Sandmann says:

    @Winston Smith:

    It’s a case of selective amnesia and willful ignorance rather than unawareness of obscure religious passages.

    People know better, it’s just common sense.

  103. 103
    RSA says:

    __

    I was promptly informed by someone that I was “jew-baiting” Ben Smith because I had no idea he was Jewish.

    I wish Americans would take the time to learn about other faiths–I mean, we all worship the same Jesus, don’t we? Even if Jewish people do go to church on Saturdays instead of the Sabbath.

  104. 104
    Ed Marshall says:

    @RSA:

    If that’s snark it’s sort of in shitty taste.

  105. 105
    Sly says:

    Fun fact: Nearly half of all Americans change their religious affiliation at least once during their lives. Of those who change religious affiliations, 25% to 30% (depending on the shift; its highest for Protestants and lowest for the unaffiliated) say that marrying someone of another sect was a principle reason for the conversion. Four in ten of those who converted early say that their conversion came as a result of moving to a new community where the target sect was dominant.

    Which I think lends credence to the notion that religion, even if its modern context, has more to do with social cohesion than anything metaphysical.

  106. 106
    Alwhite says:

    AAARRRRRR – I were thinkin’ Texas Dem were bein ironical. Imagine me bilge wash ‘t discover he be serious!

    It be no surprise the wingnuts tryin ‘t fly heathen colors or Barry’s ship. He be smart to be seen with a giant bible like billy Jeff. It not sooth wingnuts but it becalm their blowin with the middle.

  107. 107
    RSA says:

    @Ed Marshall:
    __

    If that’s snark it’s sort of in shitty taste.

    I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to give offense.

  108. 108
    SciVo says:

    @Texas Dem:
    __

    You have to play their game, and play it better than they do.

    That’s one of the most stupid things that I’ve ever heard. Once you start playing the other guy’s game, you’ve already lost, since he makes the rules. Since I learned that in elementary school, I’m inclined to believe that you know better and that you’re just a concern troll.

    @scav:
    __

    So, here’s my quandary: do we ask for the long or short form proof of Ben Smith’s jewishness?

    Genetic test, of course.

  109. 109
    Citizen Alan says:

    @licensed to kill time:

    Not all Americans are Christian.

    Most Christians aren’t Christian. I remember the day I stopped calling myself a Christian. It was in November of 2004, about two weeks after the election, when I learned that someone told my father to his face that he wasn’t a good Christian because he voted for Kerry. My father, btw, has been a member of the same Southern Baptist Church for nearly 70 years. He has outlived two of the three buildings in which that church has been housed.

    But after I got over my initial anger and gave it some thought, I realized that the man who slurred my father was actually right. My father is not a bigot, despite his lack of education. My father is not judgmental. My father has compassion for the poor, the downtrodden, the unfortunate. My father is humble. My father has worked hard and lived frugally all his life but I have never heard him show jealously or envy of people who have more than him. My father reads his Bible every night but I have never heard him to disparage others for their differing religious views or for failing to live up to his views on morality. In short, my father is not a good Christian. He’s better than that.

    In Matthew 6:24, Jesus told us that you cannot serve God and Mammon. Unfortunately, Mammon pays a lot better than God, despite his bad reputation. The solution to this dilemma — the dirty, blasphemous secret at the heart of mainstream, American Christianity — is simple: Serve Mammon and pretend that he’s God. Every question you have about how to reconcile the teachings of Jesus Christ with the actual conduct of the Religious Right is answered once you realize that most of them have deluded themselves into believing that the Devil is Christ and vice versa.

  110. 110
    Anne Laurie says:

    @scav:
    __

    So, here’s my quandary: do we ask for the long or short form proof of Ben Smith’s jewishness?

    I cannot believe I’m the first commentor so lowminded as to Go There, but: I, for one, am not interested in Ben Smith dropping trou so we can check his “short form” Jewishness…

    @Kobie:
    __

    I can just imagine the inner monologue running through George W. Bush’s head while he was clearing brush in his attempt to look like a real ‘merican. “IhatethisshitIhatethisshitIhatethisshit …”

    Nah, that’s the point: Dubya really enjoyed the brush-clearing. He got to play with a chainsaw, make a lot of noise and mess, and also it gave him an excuse for not doing all the boring indoor paper-shuffling stuff that he really hated. That was one of the weirder things abou the Cheney Regency: the individual nominally in charge of ‘the most powerful country in the world’ wanted nothing more out of life than long days spent riding his bike, catching farmed fish in an artificial pond, messing about with red trucks & power tools, a nap after lunch, maybe spending a little ‘quiet time’ supervised by his favorite Miss Condi, an early dinner (nothing fussy or fancy), and off to bed promptly at 9pm with his favorite pillow. GWB’s tastes aligned perfectly with those of your average middle-American kindergartener!

  111. 111
    SciVo says:

    @RSA: Don’t worry, I got it. Like saying that the English language is the lingua franca. Time moves on and the center of cultural gravity shifts. Now most people who use the term “Sabbath” are referring to Sunday, which is funny, because it’s ahistorical. At least I was amused.

  112. 112
    Calming Influence says:

    @Winston Smith:

    As your last name is Smith, can we assume that you’re Jewish?

  113. 113
    Left Coast Tom says:

    @SciVo:

    Once you start playing the other guy’s game, you’ve already lost, since he makes the rules.

    Otherwise known as “Calvinball”.

    We’ve been down this road before. A bunch of nutters scream that Obama’s A Kenyan And We Must See His Birth Certificate, his birth certificate is posted to the intertubez, and the result is a bunch of nutters screaming that Obama’s A Kenyan And We Must See His Birth Certificate.

    With respect to his religion he should do what he wants. He might as well anyway, if he attended church daily we’d have Ben Smith wanting to know why he’s not attending hourly, and “Texas Dem” saying he should do exactly that in order to prove how well he can Play Their Game. Followed, presumably, by a request that Obama eat a bug or something.

  114. 114
    Winston Smith says:

    @Calming Influence:

    As your last name is Smith, can we assume that you’re Jewish?

    Yes.

    I am not Jewish, but you may assume that I am anyway.

    And if I’m waving a lulav this coming Thursday morning, it is because I like the word “lulav.” Sounds like something from Dr. Seuss.

  115. 115
    scav says:

    @Anne Laurie: Finally! I knew I could count on someone!

    ETA: I love this crowd.

  116. 116
    Ed Marshall says:

    @RSA:

    It was some quality snark, I just wasn’t positive how to read it. I’ve seen people say stupider things perfectly earnestly. I’m not offended, it just could be interpreted in some rather nasty ways if you don’t have your snark antennae tuned in exactly right.

  117. 117
    Amir_Khalid says:

    @Anne Laurie: Do you remember An American Werewolf in London? There’s a scene where another nurse tells Jenny Agutter that David Naughton must be Jewish: “He’s circumcised.” Then the doctor walks in and points out that this is common in America even for Gentiles.

    I understand it’s not quite as common now, but Muslim boys are still all circumcised. So the, um, short-form evidence is suggestive, but by itself it wouldn’t be proof that Ben Smith was Jewish.

  118. 118
    RSA says:

    @Ed Marshall: I’m glad we’re good. I don’t visit BJ as often these days, and I may have lost the feel for the site. And Poe’s Law is a tricky bugger.

  119. 119
    cokane says:

    i dont have much basis for this

    but i actually do think obama is not really a christian

    not saying he’s a muslim, he’s something much more antithetical to mainstream us politics: a nonbeliever!

  120. 120
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Amir_Khalid:
    __

    So the, um, short-form evidence is suggestive, but by itself it wouldn’t be proof that Ben Smith was Jewish.

    You are, of course, correct. But I’m old, and grew up in the post-WWII generation where it was still “edgy” to joke about how the Nazis thought they could pick out Jewish men. Since most of the quality comedians during my late-Boomer childhood were Jewish, the ‘kosher hot dog’ jokes were inescapable, and I just knew some of my fellow BJers must’ve had the same immediate reaction as Scav.

  121. 121
    Ash Can says:

    @cokane: Maybe he just never makes it apparent what he does or doesn’t believe, because, ya know, it’s nobody’s goddamned business.

  122. 122
    noncarborundum says:

    @Citizen Alan:

    I almost wish I were a believer when I contemplate this scene (described by Jesus in Matthew 7:21-23) actually coming true:

    Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

  123. 123
    Left Coast Tom says:

    @Ash Can:

    Maybe he just never makes it apparent what he does or doesn’t believe, because, ya know, it’s nobody’s goddamned business.

    My guess was that “cokane”‘s offering was snark…presumably interpreting Obama’s stated beliefs as atheism would require more than a few lines of the substance that bears his/her name.

  124. 124
    scav says:

    @Anne Laurie: And I’m merely middle old and was simply juggling with dumb stereotypes and overlapping definitions — I suppose, as an abstract concept, it might work better if we were erudite opera-loving elite discussing castrati over glasses of prosecco but they tend not to be amateurs of such low-brow plate-spinning and pratfalls. And furthermore, it would be arguably less funny in that latter context (in as much as it is an admittedly cheap snort) because it is, in fact, closer to being true.

  125. 125
    eemom says:

    @cokane:

    you’re in good company there — Ann Coulter recently said in Clownhall that Obama can’t be a Muslim cuz he’s, WORSE, an atheist.

    Or maybe you ARE Ann Coulter. God knows she’ll take what she can get these days, even if it is trolling liberal blogs.

  126. 126
    Ash Can says:

    @cokane: @Left Coast Tom:

    Apologies for my busted snark detector. Gotta check the warranty on that thing.

  127. 127
    Scott_SGG says:

    OMG, fuck him. He was twittering ALL THROUGH Yom Kippur. What a teabagging scumbag.

  128. 128
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    I think Obama is not a sincere Christian. I also think that all of the Presidents in my lifetime, with the exception of Carter, were not sincere Christians. I think that all the beltway pundits know damned well that none of these men, with the exception of Carter, are or were sincere Christians. It would be nice if these pundits, instead of reporting on the church-going habits of these fake Christians would just honestly tell us, “look, these guys have the nuclear codes, it’s probably for the best that they don’t really believe in ancient tribal religions, so let’s just drop the pretense, okay?”

  129. 129
    Cain says:

    @roshan:

    You get bonus points for having a poem with “Puck” in it. :-)

    cain

  130. 130
    Cain says:

    @Ruckus:

    Yea, it sorta was.

    It takes me a while longer to accuse someone of being a douche. Your threshold is too low. He was wrong in the merits, but it wasn’t like he was being an asshole when he heard a different perspective. It’s just a regular conversation.
    cain

  131. 131
    Kris says:

    Worst.neighbor.ever.

    Signed,

    Ben’s neighbor

  132. 132
    Winston Smith says:

    @cokane:

    not saying he’s a muslim, he’s something much more antithetical to mainstream us politics: a nonbeliever!

    I think you’re half right. I think Obama is a Christian, but he’s a non-theist Christian. It’s all the salvation with none of the superstition.

    Bishop Shelby Spong is the leading theologian defining this. I don’t know that Obama has even heard of Spong, but it’s not a particularly original idea (see Jefferson Bible).

    I don’t have any hard evidence that Obama thinks along these lines — just parsing things he’s said and trying to read between the lines.

    Either that, or he’s a sekrit Muslim Marxist. I know, tough call.

  133. 133
    Xenos says:

    @Winston Smith:

    Kristol recommended he move to the right. Maybe that would work.

    This is code on Kristol’s part for “hire a shitload of wingnuts in the Federal Government”

    . The whole truckload of nonsense is whipped up because when Obama was elected he screwed up the rent-seeking of an entire generation of conservative activists. He can never be forgiven for that, and must be opposed by every means necessary until there is a plush gig for every Liberty University graduate.

    At least the spoils system was intellectually honest…

  134. 134
    Ruckus says:

    @Cain:
    Or it might be that my douche meter is just more sensitive.
    Notice that I didn’t call TD a douche, I just felt that it was not way out of line to do so.

  135. 135
    newhavenguy says:

    Ben Smith is an asshole, which you’ve probably noticed before— Me, I’m not even a “real” Jew (Moms is a shikse), and I am embarrassed by people like him. Just be the douchebag you were meant to be, Mr. Smith: don’t drag us down with you. Fine publication, that Politico: almost as good as the new Atlantic. Emotional problems, etc, better world with people setting themselves on fire and all that.

    Is it really that simple? If I were a soulless hack, I could have financial security too, just like that? No Twain, I. But come on, D’Souza and McArdle for example? It’s not like they’re skimming the cream off the top, uh, quite the other thing. (Think “barrel” and “scum”.) There are winos and crackheads in New Haven who can… “think”… at a higher level than that sort of crap. Sadly, they work a lot harder and for less money.

    As a lifelong, partisan mainstream Democrat, may I submit this: there is no way in hell this is good for our country, or for anything. Short term, I am all about making sure that Pelosi and Reid keep their jobs (Damn, they’re good- Pelosi a remarkable Speaker, but yes, Harry too), Republicans going apeshit Goldwater crazy helps a bit tactically, but in no way good for anything.

    $64,000 Question: What do we need to do to save our country? If we don’t answer that PDQ, the Palins and Bachmanns and Newts will do it for us. You betcha.

  136. 136
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    If Smith was the least bit interested in honest reporting, he would have mentioned that Obama has a “church home” at Camp David’s Evergreen Chapel. I guess his attendance there doesn’t count since it’s not a public display of piety.

    Neither is the fact that he regularly prays with a group of pastors by phone:

    “He is a Christian by choice, a devout Christian,” said Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston. Caldwell is among a group of Christian leaders whom Obama regularly calls for inspiration. Caldwell also officiated at the wedding of President George W. Bush’s daughter Jenna.
    __
    Pastor Joel Hunter of Northland Church near Orlando, Fla., said of Obama, “Those of us who’ve spent time with him and have had a part of forming his spiritual life can testify with certainty of his commitment to Christ.”

    But hey, he saw a cheap shot and took it. What a jerk.

  137. 137
    Sm*t Cl*de says:

    I was “jew-baiting” Ben Smith because I had no idea he was Jewish.

    Ah. So from Smith’s perspective, Obama’s religion is a nonsensical waste of time, but he’s complaining about Obama’s insufficient adherence to it anyway.
    Also, the portions are too small.

  138. 138
    John Bird says:

    If I had to ask who is ‘baiting’ here, I’d say it’s probably the guy fretting over whether Obama goes to church enough to be a Christian, not the guy pointing out that it’s none of his business.

    I think your comment is fine as stands, John. Because is Smith going to church every week? No, say his defenders, he’s Jewish! Jeez Louise!

    Sez I: yes, and that is the point. Should Ben Smith ever run for President, it wouldn’t be very American to track his attendance at religious services, now would it?

    You might even say that if Ben Smith doesn’t go to church for some reason, it’s nobody’s business but his own! Which is exactly what you were saying.

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