In South Carolina Obama Seeks a Spiritual Reawakening

As a man not only of God but of politics, the Rev. Joe Darby is an outspoken observer of the campaign scene. Reclining in his cluttered office at Morris Brown AME Church here, he witnesses the union between the pulpit and the polls.

“Politics does come down to some degree of emotion . . . ,” says Darby, one of this state’s most prominent African American preachers, whose church is a magnet for Democratic presidential hopefuls. “The Democratic Party is just catching up to that. It’s been nauseatingly safe in recent years.”

As if from Darby’s mouth to Sen. Barack Obama’s ears, the Democratic presidential candidate from Illinois — hoping his campaign can recapture some of that old-time religious fervor — launched a three-city gospel concert series over the weekend across the state, in North Charleston, Greenwood and Columbia. Although Obama did not attend the “Embrace the Change” series in person (instead campaigning in Iowa), he was here in spirit, appearing by video screen and sending out his surrogates, such as pastor Hezekiah Walker and singer Beverly Crawford.

Obama’s campaign could certainly use reenergizing. Since he announced his intention to run for the presidency, Obama — and the powerful ebb that surrounded him wherever he woke, spoke, ate and sat — seems to have withered beneath the supernova that is the Clinton campaign. Today, the senator from New York carries with her a fortified sense of inevitability, laughing off controversies while appearing on Sunday morning shows, showing no wounds from questions about fundraising, absorbing Obama’s criticism over the weekend regarding Social Security. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll shows Clinton leading Obama by more than 20 percent, with a lead of 13 percent among African American voters.

Those numbers mirror polling results in South Carolina, where any candidate hoping to capture this early primary state needs much of the African American vote. But Obama cannot presume such support as he tries to catch Clinton, who has been embraced by many black voters.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Religion & Culture, US Presidential Election 2008

12 comments on “In South Carolina Obama Seeks a Spiritual Reawakening

  1. Ian+ says:

    Try as Obama will, the American people will not elect a black president. That’s not a racist observation on my part, but simply the way it is in the USA. And I doubt seriously whether they’re ready yet to elect a woman. That’s my viewpoint as a Canadian who grew up in the USA. So forsaking Barak and Hillary, who are the real contenders?

  2. evan miller says:

    Sorry Ian+, but I disagree. I think many Americans would be quite comfortable with a woman president if she showed herself up to the job and shared their values. I’m not, however, sure I can make the same claim for a black candidate, despite the fact that I would gladly vote for Alan Keyes if he were to mount a credible campaign. The problem with Obama is he’s spectacularly unqualified for the job. Until a qualified black candidate appears, we’ll never know how electable they will be. With demagogues and hustlers like Jackson and Sharpton, and the lightweight Obama, voters haven’t been presented with a credible black candidate yet.

  3. NancyNH says:

    Obama has villified evangelical “right-wing” Christians and is a member of United Church of Christ. I rest my case.

  4. Scott K says:

    I’m an evangelical Christian who has voted for a Republican President in every election since 1988, and this time will be voting for Obama (most likely). So you never know.

  5. evan miller says:

    I can only scratch my head in amazement.

  6. Jeffersonian says:

    If Obama was a Republican, we’d be hearing plangent wails in the streets that this is the harbinger of a creeping theocracy. But since BHO is a leftist, all are comforted in knowing that the political dog wags the theological tail.

    For me, I’d vote for the melanin-rich Walter Williams or Tom Sowell or the phallic-deficient Maggie Thatcher long before the ofay, XY-enabled of the Democratic Party.

  7. Reason and Revelation says:

    Obama has outraged a Democratic constituency:

  8. Christopher Hathaway says:

    Scott, why in the world have you voted Republican all these years? What did you value in them over Democrats? And do you now see those same values better defended by Obama?

    I have a hard time believing your statement, unless you simply have not bothered to look at Obama’s political positions to see that he is more liberal than Hillary. There is every reason to be angry at Bush and the Republicans for not giving you what you thought you were voting for, but how can you justify voting for the very antithesis of what you were voting for all these years?

    Does a man respond to apostacy in his church by joing the muslims?

  9. NancyNH says:

    By the way, as an addendum to my comment in #3, it’s obvious I am not going to vote for Obama. But I am much less likely to vote for a Republican either. I am still considering whether to – even though I know I’d be “blowing off” my vote – write in some Godly person who isn’t even running. Maybe Kendall? Matt Kennedy? If I don’t do that, I’ll be voting for the candidate that best expresses common sense and conservatism.

  10. libraryjim says:

    Unless Mike Huckabee somehow pulls ahead and gets the Republican Nomination, it looks like it will be ‘the lesser of two evils’ again this year.

    Jim <><

  11. bob carlton says:

    I wonder if you can point to when Obama vilified the evangelical “right-wing” Christians ? And I might remind you that Fred Thompson is also nominally a member of the UCC.

    Obama’s commitment to a faith community, to following Jesus is striking in contrast to Guiliani, McCain & Thompson.

  12. Scott K says:

    Probably no one is reading this anymore (I forgot to check back), but I’ll respond to #8 because it is a good question.
    Keep in mind that in 1988 I was 19 years old. My voting decisions the first few times around were primarily based on the candidate’s position on abortion. Never mind that POTUS actually has relatively little control of abortion policy except in the ability to select Supreme Court nominees.
    Nowadays, I still agree with the Republicans on some important issues like abortion, embryonic stem cells and same-sex marriage. But there are also a whole list of issues on which I am more likely to agree with a Democratic candidate: environmental concerns, the death penalty, welfare, tax policy, gun control — all issues where I tend to be politically liberal and areas where the president has more influence. So the fact that Obama is more liberal than Hillary may or may not bother me, depending on which issues he is more liberal and how much influence the president has in that arena.
    Add to this that I’ve read parts of Obama’s book (Audacity of Hope) and found it quite remarkable, and found him to be quite open-minded toward those he disagrees with (unlike Ms. Clinton, who will never ever get my vote).