We will say up front that we have very little use for the United Church of Christ (UCC) and especially the Trinity United Church of Christ, of which Barack Hussein Obama is a member. The UCC is associated with the unsavory Sabeel Ecuminical Liberation Theology Center and Naim Ateek, who refer to the establishment of Israel as the Nakba (“Catastrophe”). To this may be added the racism of TUCC, whose pastor, Jeremiah Wright, says that “white America” got a “wake up call” on 9/11.
- ADL Troubled by United Church of Christ’s Embrace of Radicalized Palestinian Christian Group
New York, NY, January 10, 2006 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is troubled by the United Church of Christ’s continuing partnership with the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, a radicalized Palestinian Christian group whose leaders have openly questioned Israel’s right to exist.
Now that the United Church of Christ is under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service for allegedly allowing Barack Obama to misuse its tax exempt resources to promote his campaign, we could easily indulge in some Schadenfreude, or vicarious enjoyment of an enemy’s troubles. On the other hand, common justice and decency requires us to determine whether our enemy really deserves to be in trouble for something it might not have done. While prosecution for something he didn’t do might be Karmic justice for someone like Mike Nifong, the disgraced and disbarred prosecutor who allegedly withheld exculpatory evidence in the Duke Lacrosse rape case, UCC’s current troubles with the Internal Revenue Service are totally unrelated to its relationship with Sabeel. If people walked away from UCC in disgust over this relationship, the punishment would indeed fit the offense, but jeopardization of UCC’s tax exempt status by Barack Obama’s apparent abuse of the church’s trust would not.
Our question is whether the UCC knowingly and willfully, or even merely recklessly, used its tax exempt resources (in this case its annual meeting, which was held at the Hartford Civic Center) to promote a political figure’s candidacy. Doing so is cause for revocation of the organization’s tax exemption. ”IRS Investigation: A Test Of Church’s Faith?” by UCC minister Davida Foy Crabtree asserts, however, that the church made reasonable efforts to obey the rules, but Barack Obama and his campaign staff misled the church as to their intentions. As shown by the content of Obama’s speech, which helped trigger the IRS investigation, Obama’s actions were not merely mistaken or even reckless, they were a premeditated abuse of the church’s trust and resources.
Reverend Crabtree asserts,
- Our purpose in inviting Sen. Obama in the spring of 2006 — long before he was a candidate for the presidency — was to ask him to address the connection between his Christian faith and his public service, to speak to us of the challenges for people of faith in the public square today. And he did so with eloquence. As a prominent member of our church, his was a natural invitation, just as the others were. To avoid any hint of endorsement or promotion, our national officers and our denominational attorney established clear understandings with Sen. Obama’s office in Washington. He readily agreed to all of them. We made it clear not only to his campaign staff but also to our own synod delegates and visitors that no advocacy or promotion of his candidacy would be permitted.
This shows that:
The United Church of Christ was aware of its obligations as a tax exempt organization.
The United Church of Christ communicated these rules to Senator Obama’s office.
Barack Obama and his staff said that they understood that “no advocacy or promotion of his candidacy would be permitted,” and that they agreed to follow these rules.
The Internal Revenue Service alleges, however, that “Our concerns are based on articles posted on several websites, including the church’s, which state that United States Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama addressed nearly 10,000 church members gathered at the United Church of Christ’s General Synod at the Hartford Civic Center on June 23, 2007. In addition, 40 Obama volunteers staffed campaign tables outside the center to promote his campaign.” Even worse, however, is Obama’s speech, “A Politics of Conscience.”
Note the key word “written” in the title. In other words, Obama did not forget the rules to which he agreed while he spoke spontaneously or off the cuff. He wrote his speech in advance, and therefore had plenty of time to reflect on how a phrase like “I have made a solemn pledge that I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president” would contravene the promise that “no advocacy or promotion of his candidacy would be permitted.”
A Politics of Conscience
Written by Senator Barack Obama
June 23, 2007
It’s great to be here. I’ve been speaking to a lot of churches recently, so it’s nice to be speaking to one that’s so familiar. I understand you switched venues at considerable expense and inconvenience because of unfair labor practices at the place you were going to be having this synod. Clearly, the past 50 years have not weakened your resolve as faithful witnesses of the gospel. And I’m glad to see that.
It’s been several months now since I announced I was running for president. In that time, I’ve had the chance to talk with Americans all across this country. And I’ve found that no matter where I am, or who I’m talking to, there’s a common theme that emerges. It’s that folks are hungry for change – they’re hungry for something new. They’re ready to turn the page on the old politics and the old policies – whether it’s the war in Iraq or the health care crisis we’re in, or a school system that’s leaving too many kids behind despite the slogans.
Our conscience can’t rest so long as 37 million Americans are poor and forgotten by their leaders in Washington and by the media elites. We need to heed the biblical call to care for “the least of these” and lift the poor out of despair. That’s why I’ve been fighting to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit and the minimum wage. If you’re working forty hours a week, you shouldn’t be living in poverty. But we also know that government initiatives are not enough. Each of us in our own lives needs to do what we can to help the poor. And until we do, our conscience cannot rest.
Our conscience cannot rest so long as nearly 45 million Americans don’t have health insurance and the millions more who do are going bankrupt trying to pay for it. I have made a solemn pledge that I will sign a universal health care bill into law by the end of my first term as president that will cover every American and cut the cost of a typical family’s premiums by up to $2500 a year. That’s not simply a matter of policy or ideology – it’s a moral commitment.
…But we also know our conscience cannot rest so long as the war goes on in Iraq. It’s a war I’m proud I opposed from the start – a war that should never have been authorized and never been waged. I have a plan that would have already begun redeploying our troops with the goal of bringing all our combat brigades home by March 31st of next year. The President vetoed a similar plan, but he doesn’t have the last word, and we’re going to keep at it, until we bring this war to an end. Because the Iraq war is not just a security problem, it’s a moral problem.
And there’s another issue we must confront as well. Today there are 12 million undocumented immigrants in America, most of them working in our communities, attending our churches, and contributing to our country. Now, as children of God, we believe in the worth and dignity of every human being; it doesn’t matter where that person came from or what documents they have. We believe that everyone, everywhere should be loved, and given the chance to work, and raise a family. But as Americans, we also know that this is a nation of laws, and we cannot have those laws broken when more than 2,000 people cross our borders illegally every day. We cannot ignore that we have a right and a duty to protect our borders. And we cannot ignore the very real concerns of Americans who are not worried about illegal immigration because they are racist or xenophobic, but because they fear it will result in lower wages when they’re already struggling to raise their families. And so this will be a difficult debate next week. Consensus and compromise will not come easy. Last time we took up immigration reform, it failed. But we cannot walk away this time. Our conscience cannot rest until we not only secure our borders, but give the 12 million undocumented immigrants in this country a chance to earn their citizenship by paying a fine and waiting in line behind all those who came here legally.
We will all have to make concessions to achieve this. That’s what compromise is about. But at the end of the day, we cannot walk away – not for the sake of passing a bill, but so that we can finally address the real concerns of Americans and the persistent hopes of all those brothers and sisters who want nothing more than their own chance at our common dream.
When we place this excerpt from Obama’s pre-written speech side by side with Reverend Crabtree’s statement, the conclusion is obvious: Barack Obama planned in advance to abuse his own church’s tax exempt resources to promote his candidacy.