Monday, January 21, 2008

Obama at Ebenezer Baptist

I'm breaking my own rule and posting twice on one day to suggest that you all read or watch Barack Obama's speech at Ebenezer Baptist in Atlanta yesterday. It's a great bit of oratory, and a good example of why I am so excited about Obama for president. Here's an excerpt:

For most of this country's history, we in the African-American community have been at the receiving end of man's inhumanity to man. And all of us understand intimately the insidious role that race still sometimes plays - on the job, in the schools, in our health care system, and in our criminal justice system.

And yet, if we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that none of our hands are entirely clean. If we're honest with ourselves, we'll acknowledge that our own community has not always been true to King's vision of a beloved community.

We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. For too long, some of us have seen immigrants as competitors for jobs instead of companions in the fight for opportunity.

In the whole speech, Obama underscores themes of communal action for justice using the examples of the Civil Rights movement and Jericho (he has drawn on Joshua before, in Selma). He talks about compassion, conviction and the need for all of us to work together - as a community - to make a better life for everyone. He calls all of us to expand moments of personal compassion and connection into social action. Inspiring.


Rachel said...

I second that.

Question: there's a rumor circulating in the blogosphere that Obama goes to an intentionally black-only you know anything about that? If that were the case I would be disappointed.

bethany said...

I hadn't heard about that before, but I did some research and found this article about his church. It looks like it is intentionally serving the black community, but not in a manner that intends to exclude white americans from salvation or God's love. The existence of insular black churches has been primarily the fault of explicit historical white racism, so I can't really blame them.

nbta said...


Here's the link to the church that Obama placed his membership.

Rachel said...

Bethany, thanks for the article. I can sort of understand, but then again I can't. Maybe it's because at COS we try really hard to not be primarily Dutch by incorporating songs from other countries into the liturgy and having people do scripture readings in different languages. So to me it seems like Obama's church is doing what the CRC is trying its darndest to get away from, only with the African culture and not the Dutch one.

That being said, it doesn't make me think any less of him because most churches do the same thing in one form or another. And it sounds like Trinity is doing a lot of good in their community.