I have two other responses to Barak Obama from a listserve I am on. (Author's names omitted since I do not have permission to quote yet):
From one honestly evangelical ELCA pastor:
I have worked with Barack Obama personally. During my "do gooder" years as a community organizer in the mid-late 80's I represented the Grand Bouldvard Community Organization (led by Betty Booker) and the Center for New Horizons (led by Sikoune Karancha, never could spell that name...) at many meetings of like-minded community development organizations.
We would sometimes end up at the same (usually small) meetings. He is almost exactly my age and we were both young and idealistic. We were a little young forthe circles we were running in.
I believe he was representing a church based development slumlord-hunting group at those meetings. I doubt he would remember me, but who knows?
He has a Muslim father from Africa, whom I believe left the family at some point; I don't remember. The discussion resulted from my asking him the origin of his name; something that has always been interesting to me (etymologies).
Barack has lived all over the world; I believe he was raised in Hawaii and I do believe he was sent to a Muslim school somewhere in Asia for a few years?
He accepted Christ at Trinity UCC on 95th in Chicago. I know the church well. Middle Class African American congregation. Jeremiah Wright, the senior pastor, may be the finest evangelical preacher in America. We are not worthy to untie Wright's sandals. I am not kidding.
Typical Af-Am evangelical-left-wing church with Pentecostal tendencies. Strong gospel-preaching orientation. If you get saved at Trinity it takes a while for your eyebrows to grow back after getting singed... Their summer week-long evening revivals are worth the plane ticket. They were instrumental in getting Harold Washington elected mayor of Chicago.
If you doubt his conversion, you have to doubt every conversion in your church. If I remember him right, he is energetic, idealistic, more of a centrist than a leftist, a compromiser rather than a hard liner and very warm in person. He's a real gunner, goes after stuff.This drew a response from another pastor on the same list serve:
I had forgotten all about him and kept thinking, I know him from somewhere! Once I remembered the meeting at the Urban League, then it came back.
Depending on whom he runs against, I may vote for him.
[The] statement that Obama is "...more of a centrist than a leftist..." is laughable. I went on Google and found a page titled "How Interest Groups rate the Senators". The methodology was to take the ratings of each of the 100 Senators who served in the Senate in 2005 as given by eight special interest groups. They are: ACLU, ADA CDF, LCV, NAACP, NARAL (National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League), PTA and SEIU. They gave each Senator a Mean based on his rating by each of the eight interest groups. The Senators are ranked independent of whether they are Democrats or Republicans. Naturally, the Democrats have the highest mean average with the Republicans on the lower end of the list of 100 since all of the eight groups are considered to be liberal organizations. I think you'll agree with that. On a scale of 100 down to 0, the top mean was 98; three senators had that mean average. They were Barack Obama, Dick Durbin (both from Illinois) and Tom Harkin of Iowa. (Ted Kennedy was a mere 95.) The highest Republicans were Lincoln Chafee at 67, Susan Collins at 53 and Olympia Snow at 52. No surprises there. John McCain, usually considered a moderate or "centrist" Republican was a 17. Incidentally, Barack Obama scored a 100 with the NARAL.
I noted that the church in Chicago to which Obama belonged "...was instrumental in getting Harold Washington elected mayor of Chicago." He was the first black mayor of Chicago and won election notwithstanding an earlier conviction and jail term for failing to file Income Tax statements for several years. Now they're pushing one of their number to be the first black president, one who admits (in his book) to using cocaine when he was younger, also a criminal act I believe.
However, the cocaine use doesn't bother me as much as his 100% rating by NARAL.
If it comes down to a race for the Democratic nomination in 2008 between Hillary and Obama, I think Hilary will squash him like a bug. His inexperience will eventually be his undoing. What's funny now is that he's attempting to raise money from the same leftist Hollywood crowd that's been so good to the Clintons over the past ten or more years. He's doing surprisingly well with that crowd. (And when was the last time Barbra Streisand and her crowd supported a centrist candidate for any office?) What he has over Hillary is that while he was not a Senator until after the 2004 election, he was on record as being opposed to our invasion of Iraq while Hillary supported it. But the bottom line is that he has only been in the Senate for two years, has no foreign policy experience and is peaking two years too soon.
The shot taken here at Harold Washington is, in my opinion, out of place. I am no defender of criminality, but Washington was a sea change in a politically segregated city. After his death, one of the white politicians was quoted - not by name of course - by a reported as saying that Washington never treated the White community with the same disdain that the Richard J Daley administration (and his immediate successors) had treated the Black community. I think that Washington made it possible for Richie Daley to be a better mayor today.
Still, the concerns about Obama and his politics are legitimate, even if the original poster did respond: "I have met these men. You have not."