If you think of the American Family Association (AFA) you probably think of Bryan Fischer, their star bigot (officially Director of Issues Analysis) but this hate group will embrace any idiot, as shown by their choice of guest Tuesday on “Today’s Issues”, Jeffrey Daly. Daley, a pastor at Jesus Christ Fellowship in Lake County, California as well as an attorney, dropped by to talk about his new book "The Spiritual Battle For the White House."
At this point, every person who has read the U.S. Constitution is saying, “What spiritual battle?" After all, the Constitution, Article VI, paragraph 3, states in unequivocal terms that an office-holder’s religion is irrelevant.
And they’d be right. That doesn’t stop Daly from claiming, as he tells Tim Wildmon, that the country has been sliding towards secularism “for the last hundred years” and that “we have forgotten the God of our fathers and we gotta get back underneath that covering.”
Listen to the interview from Right Wing Watch:
He says that President Obama bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia back in 2009 "during Obama’s first trip overseas" and that Obama “from a diplomatic standpoint he should have just shaken the hand of the king of Saudi Arabia who represents Muslims and Islam; instead of shaking his hand as head of state which is the appropriate state of protocol to do he did a very deep unseemly bow and I believe that was improper; I think it was disrespectful, I think it triggered frankly, Exodus chapter 20, where we’re not supposed to bow down to pagan gods and I think that ripped the final shred of divine covering over the White House and we need to get it back.”
Okay, again, you’re probably thinking, “divine covering? I know that’s not in the Constitution!”
But first of all you have to ask, did Obama even bow to the king of Saudi Arabia back in 2009? Conservatives certainly believe he did – you can ask World Net Daily, Michelle Malkin, or FOX News and they’ll all tell you he bowed. The White House says he didn’t, that Obama is just taller than King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz and by shaking with both hands was simply forced to bend down a little to retain eye contact. You can watch the video and make your own determination.
Secondly, President Obama did shake hands, whatever else he may have done, a point which Daly seems to want to deny because he is so hot and lathered over the “bow”.
Thirdly, if Obama did bow it was a mistake but it hardly constitutes bowing to a Pagan god, as Abdullah is not a god himself but a man, like Obama; another head of state. In other words, if Obama bowed for whatever reason, it was a diplomatic, not a religious faux pax.
You might also ask: "Since when is Allah a Pagan god?" Islam considers itself a religious of the book, honoring the same god and the same prophets of Judaism and Christianity and even Jesus himself – they are also of the seed of Abraham. It is true that there was once Pagan religion in Arabia, just as there was once Pagan religion in Israel, but Allah wiped it out, and with an abrupt brutality a Christian or a Jew could appreciate.
Finally, if Obama did bow to a Pagan god, that would be perfectly acceptable to the framers of the Constitution, who inserted Article VI, paragraph 3 into that document. Jefferson said it made no difference to him if a man worshiped 20 gods or no god and apparently the authors of the Constitution felt likewise. According to our Founding document, it makes no difference.
The Bible says otherwise, as we all know: “thou shalt have no other gods before me” and all that. Fine, we get it. But the Bible, whatever the catastrophically ignorant David Barton claims, is not the Constitution and did not inspire the Constitution, making it irrelevant what the Bible says about gods.
Fundamentalist Christians, after more than 200 years, have yet to figure this out. In fact, America has a secular founding and it is only recently that the secular nature of our government has been seriously challenged. We have not been sliding toward secularism but away from it. Daly seems completely unaware of the 1950s when the Pledge of Allegiance had “one nation under God” added to it (1954), and when the motto of the United States was changed from E Pluribus Unum (“Out of many, one”) to “In God We Trust” (1956). But why let facts get in the way of a good story?
This is all in keeping with the attitude of Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, who claims “A Christian non-vote is a vote for Barack Obama in that it fails to affirmatively cancel out an Obama vote. I can’t imagine any Christian in good conscience based on Obama’s radical, counter-biblical, anti-Christian, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual activism policies voting for Barack Obama.”
Though “That leaves a final choice, and that is to get out, vote for Mitt Romney, and get out the vote for Mitt Romney” is a less than ringing endorsement this election is and has always been less about who runs against Obama than about Obama himself. From the day he took office the religious right has been dealing with cognitive dissonance resulting from the knowledge that “God” had chosen Sarah Palin to lead America out of the wilderness and the conflicting reality of a progressive black Christian in the White House.
Speaking as a Pagan, it is rather amusing to watch a group that likes to talk about Pagan gods in disparaging terms bow down to a man whom they say is not even a Christian simply because he is not Barack Obama. It is pretty clear at this point that given a choice between a golden calf and Obama, they would choose the golden calf and rip the Constitution to shreds while they did it. After all, they plan to do that anyway.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.