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Saturday, May 16, 2015

No- The President Did not Condemn the Words of Jesus


It’s just a little word, just three letters, but it really means something when you see it sitting there in the middle of a sentence.  Ignore it, and you’ll misunderstand what’s being said. 

And.

A handy conjunction – it combines two separate things into one whole thing.  That’s a big responsibility for such a little word.

For example:  Earlier this week (May 12, 2015) President Barak Obama spoke about poverty at Georgetown University.  During his remarks he said,

“And so one of the things I’m always concerned about is cynicism.  My Chief of Staff, Denis McDonough -- we take walks around the South Lawn, usually when the weather is good, and a lot of it is policy talk, sometimes it’s just talk about values. And one of our favorite sayings is, our job is to guard against cynicism, particularly in this town.  And I think it’s important when it comes to dealing with issues of poverty for us to guard against cynicism, and not buy the idea that the poor will always be with us and there’s nothing we can do -- because there’s a lot we can do.  The question is do we have the political will, the communal will to do something about it.”

Good stuff there, I think.  But the good folks at the Conservative Tribune are disgusted; they’re just sickened by what the president said.  In their self-righteous fury they claim,

“This latest statement both insults Christians everywhere — the largest group of charitable givers in the world — and exposes Obama’s abject ignorance of biblical teaching.”

When the writers at the Conservative Tribune quoted the president’s words, they emboldened the first part of the president’s phrase, ‘And I think it’s important when it comes to dealing with issues of poverty for us to guard against cynicism, and not buy the idea that the poor will always be with us’ but not what followed, ‘and not buy the idea that the poor will always be with us and there’s nothing we can do -- because there’s a lot we can do.’

They missed that little word “and” that joins those two bits together. 

President Obama did not “Openly and Proudly Condemn the Words of Jesus Christ Himself.”  He did not try to “correct Jesus on the issue of poverty.”  What the president did is condemn the cynical attitude would refuse to act against poverty because the poor will always be with us.  Which is exactly what the folks at the Conservative Tribune say this verse from Matthew 26:11 means.  

That little word “and” is small-just three little letters.  Maybe it’s easily overlooked.

Or maybe the good folks at the Conservative Tribune are just so committed to their rage, and to their perpetual disgust, and their contempt for the president that they can’t see when he gets it right.





2 comments:

  1. Ironic that the only presidents who can talk about the Bible in an intelligent fashion (Carter and Obama) are the ones despised by fundamentalist Christians. Is that because they have the Holy Spirit inside them, so they are so well attuned to the views of God? Or something else?

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    Replies
    1. Indeed. - At least on this particular issue. I would suggest that the president isn't following that same holy spirit when he's ordering the launch of missiles and attack drones... but that's a post for another day.

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