Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sunday, January 28, 2007

This is the first blog post of UCC on the Net. Below you will find hyper-links to articles regarding the United Church of Christ followed by a brief quotation from the article. To access the article itself, click the title.

The Creation of a Big (New) Peace Movement?

(Sunday, January 28, 2007)

“The day’s events were organized chiefly by United for Peace and Justice, which describes itself as a coalition of 1,400 local and national organizations. Among them are the National Organization for Women, United Church of Christ, the American Friends Service Committee, True Majority, Military Families Speak Out, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Farms Not Arms, CODEPINK, and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.”

Obama's liberal pastor has a huge following

(Sunday, January 28, 2007)

“When he took over Trinity United Church of Christ in 1972, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. was a maverick pastor with a wardrobe of dashikis and a militant message. Six years later, he planted a "Free South Africa" sign on the lawn of his church and asked other local religious leaders to follow his lead.”

Tens of thousands protest in Washington against Iraq war

(International Herald-Tribune: January 28, 2007)

’When we voted it was a directive to bring our troops home now,’ said the Reverend Graylan Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, referring to the November elections when Democrats won control of Congress.”

Laura Burger gives teens something to sing about

(The California Democrat: January 28, 2007)

“When Laura Burger, California, was asked to lead the children's choir at the United Church of Christ last fall, she agreed on one condition: she is allowed to start a youth choir.”

"When we voted it was a directive to bring our troops home NOW"

(Washblog: Saturday, January 27, 2007)

“...said the Rev. Graylan S. Hagler of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Washington, referring to the November elections when Democrats won control of Congress.”

Unfair and Unbalanced

(Dems4Pres blog: January 27, 2007)

“But neither this solid reporting—later backed up by ABC News—nor a categorical statement from the Obama campaign that he “has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim and is a committed Christian who attends the United Church of Christ in Chicago,” killed the story. Fox was “unwilling to stop when they knew they were wrong or correct what they knew was a lie,” says Robert Gibbs, Obama’s communications director.”

Chicago pastor inspires ‘audacity to hope’ idea

(The Pueblo Chieftan: Janaury 27, 2007)

“When he took over Trinity United Church of Christ in 1972, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. was a maverick pastor with a wardrobe of dashikis and a militant message.”

Religious groups object to selling of bottled water

(The Times January 27, 2007)

According to a report in The Christian Century magazine, the idea that it’s God’s water and not ours has found favor with groups such as the National Coalition of American Nuns, Presbyterians for Restoring Creation and the United Church of Christ.”

Atheists talk about their truth

(The Tribune: Janaury 27, 2007)

“Steve Vallee has never been afraid to jump into something to understand it. During his senior year of high school, he took all but six weeks of classes to be ordained as a Catholic priest. When he moved to Colorado, he joined the Emissaries of Divine Light in Loveland. And when he had a young daughter, he became a deacon in the United Church of Christ in New Hampshire.”

Is Barack Obama a Black Separatist?

(Urban Elephants: January 26, 2007)

"Trinity United Church of Christ adopted the Black Value System written by the Manford Byrd Recognition Committee chaired by Vallmer Jordan in 1981.”

More Adventures in Apostasy - How Do You Know Your Pastor Is REALLY a He? Or She

(Christ Dot: January 26, 2007)

“This past weekend, Swenson and her peers gathered in the hills of Berkeley, Calif., for the first National Transgender Religious Summit at the Pacific School of Religion, an ecumenical seminary that prepares students for ordination in the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church and the Disciples of Christ.”

Insight magazine's entry for The Colbert Report Journalism award

(A Clever Sheep: January 26, 2007)

“What is the exact nature of Obama’s current religious affiliation and what are the beliefs and teachings of his current church in Chicago, the Trinity United Church of Christ?”

Queen Elizabeth to visit Pilgrims' church in Amsterdam

(United Church News: January 26, 2007)

The Pilgrims, later known as Congregationalists, are the UCC's historic predecessors. “


National Council of Churches Blog said...


January 24, 2007

Obama and the UCC

This is a story I really wanted to avoid but the reality is that questions about Presidential candidate Barack Obama's religious background keep coming up in the media. For the United Church of Christ, it's the elephant in the room.

To it's credit, the UCC isn't grandstanding on Obama's membership with Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago while media outlets absurdly speculate about his attendance at a Muslim school in Indonesia - when he was a little kid.

To me, this is a non-story on a number of levels.

First, Obama doesn't exactly come off as a religious zealot and he certainly does not come off as someone driven by a religious agenda - so why are questions coming up about his faith?

Secondly, he seems like a decent guy... a "nice guy". While he's still a rookie Senator, he has plenty of positions on the record that someone could legitimately challenge or question... so why should his faith mean anything?

Lastly, lets not forget the last time a UCC Presidential candidate's faith was questioned. Howard Dean, another Presidential candidate who was hardly a religious icon, was creamed in the media when he mixed up Old Testament books with the New Testament books. Although the incident demonstrated Dean's lack of knowledge about the Bible, it hardly illuminated anyone to his qualifications as President.

There is another reality here that should concern UCC members. There is an attempt by some in the media to wrongly connect the views of UCC leaders and specific churches to Obama. Yesterday's editorial in Business Investors Daily is probably most inflammatory:

Obama said he was drawn to Christ after college while working with black churches on inner-city projects. Soon he knelt "beneath the cross" at one of them, he said in a recent speech, and "embraced Christ." If he were Muslim, this act alone would be punishable by death.

Trouble is, Obama embraced more than Christ when he answered the altar call 20 years ago at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Southside Chicago. The 8,000-member church describes itself as "unashamedly black" and holds classes in "African-centered Bible study." He also pledged to honor something called the "Black Value System," which is a code of nonbiblical ethics written by blacks for blacks.

This is what should give American voters pause.

According to its Web site, Trinity puts the "black community" first. Black members are encouraged to pursue education and skills exclusively to advance their community, and allocate their money exclusively to support "black institutions" and black leaders.

In short, it preaches from the gospel of blackness and black power. There's little room for white Christians at Obama's church. It disavows the pursuit of "middleclassness" — code for whiteness — arguing that middleclassness is a conspiracy by white leaders to keep talented African-Americans "captives."

The problem is that the editorial doesn't connect the belief system at Trinity UCC to Obama. As a Presidential candidate, Obama certainly exposes himself to questions about his beliefs, but shouldn't he be judged by what he says and how he acts?

We might as well accept it now that we will see more mistakes like this in the media as pundits try to piece together what Obama's belief system. To draw any conclusions about Obama based on his membership at Trinity UCC would be a huge mistake. As much as it disturbs the national offices of the UCC, the membership of the church isn't as monolithically liberal as our leaders portray us to be in the media. From Wikipedia:

In 2001, Hartford Institute for Religion Research did a "Faith Communities Today (FACT)" study that included a survey of United Church of Christ beliefs. Among the results of this were findings that in the UCC, 5.6 percent of the churches responding to the survey described their members as "very liberal or progressive," 22.4 percent as "somewhat liberal or progressive," 23.6 percent as "somewhat conservative" and 3.4 percent as "very conservative." Those results suggested a nearly equal balance between liberal and conservative congregations. The self-described "moderate" group, however, was the largest at 45 percent.

In essence, it would be premature to attach the values of a single church or our national leaders on Obama.

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