Today, Barack Obama resigned from the church he has belonged to for twenty years, Trinity United Church of Christ.
He said that the reason he was resigning was because every time that a member of the clergy said anything there, it would be attributed to him, even when the comments did not reflect his own deeply held beliefs.
And he is right about that. The black churches in general (and Trinity United is no exception) provide a refuge in a community that is often overrun with crime, drugs and poverty. It provides young people with hope and a way forward, and helps people in the community meet their temporal as well as spiritual needs. But because of a handful of inflammatory statements, culled from hundreds of hours of sermons that have been videotaped, the church has been misrepresented and used as a campaign issue against Obama.
Even after resigning from the church, some out of touch reporter looking for a story asked why he didn't go further and 'denounce the church.' His reply was characteristically blunt: he won't denounce it because it doesn't warrant denouncing. The church does a great deal of good for many, many people and there is no reason to denounce a church, with a membership of thousands, because of a handful of stupid remarks made from the pulpit.
It is a sad day in America when someone is forced to resign from a church just because of what somebody else said.
I will say though that now that Barack Obama is no longer a member of this church, I have some humorous thoughts about some churches he could join instead:
Catholic: In case another spiritual advisor says something loopy, Obama can enquire of the Monsignor about excorcism.
Jewish: Hey, what the heck? It might help him in Florida. Then again there is that circumcision requirement (ouch.)
Hare Krishna: Imagine how much money they could raise for the Obama campaign by bugging travelers in airports.
Muslim: Polling shows that as many as seven percent of the American people are so behind the times that they've never even heard of Rev. Wright and believe that Obama is a muslim. Might as well make them right about something.
Anglican: Technically the British monarch is at the head of the church, so if he got elected President would that return the United States to formal recognition of British rule?
Southern Baptist: He'd be in the front row for some more race-baiting sermons. Only the race would change.
LDS: Just in case he doesn't get elected President this gives him a backup plan. He could go visit his relatives in Kenya for two years. On a mission.
Born again: We've had two Presidents who were born again Christians. Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush. On second thought-- pick a different church.
Jehovah's witness: How is this for getting votes? Stand there and pitch to the same voter ignoring requests to leave, until he or she says yes?
FLDS: Just in case he gets tired with Michelle, he could get another.... and then another.... and then another.... Why would he want that? Simple. He could really play with Bill Clinton's mind and get him back for some of those campaign attacks.
Hindu: Just in case he gets tired with God, he could get another.... and then another.... and then another....
Falun Gong: Imagine how well this would go over with the Chinese.
Tibetan Buddhist: Same as the above.
Wiccan: Can put a hex on the McCain campaign.
Taoist: Life is not all black and white (or red and blue) but can come together. Plus, this would help with the Korean community.
Atheist: If there is no God, that makes the President of the United States the most powerful being in the Universe. This might appeal more to the Clintons.
Pentecostal: These folks are the most in shape folks there are. For a guy with a packed schedule, you can go to church on Sunday AND get your calisthenics done all at the same time.
Penitente: New Mexico is always a close state, and besides that, the cactus whip would be better for persuading wavering superdelegates than anything Hillary's got.
Mennonite: Join a nineteenth century church, to contast to Republicans who still have nineteenth century ideas.
Satanic: He could invert his flag pin and get fifty pentagrams at once!
Quaker: In line with his pledge to leave Iraq.
Voodoo: If he's behind in the campaign maybe he can get a McCain action figure and some pins...
Animism: It would give him a stronger case to make for ending global warming.
Eastern Orthodox: According to the Julian calendar, today is May 15. So he could theoretically produce a document proving that he joined the Eastern Orthodox church before Father Pfleger spoke at Trinity United on May 25, and save himself the headache if nobody discovers the ruse.
Ancient Inca: Helps get rid of problems. For example, for his induction ceremony he could have Reverend Wright and Father Pfleger wrapped head to toe in ropes and dropped down a volcano high in the Andes.
Ancient Egyptian: Who better than a sun worshipper to discuss alternative energy?
Ancient Greek: Offers a path to victory in Iraq: pray to Mars. Hey, it makes as much sense as anything the Bush/McCain administration has proposed.