Monday, September 07, 2009

I'm Sorry, Cult of What?

Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, says that tomorrow's speech to school children to inaugurate the beginning of the school year appears to be in service to the "cult of Obama." I only point it out because, although Mohler cloaks his observation in gentleness and apparent reasonableness, it is one that many conservatives like to make (sarcastically referring to Obama as the Obamessiah, the savior, etc. In spite of the explicit call to reason in his op-ed, Mohler still manages this: "This is not the Soviet Union or North Korea. We do not need a cult of personality around this White House." (Emphasis added.)

The reference to a cult of personality is both suspect and dangerous and is aimed at demeaning and demonizing this particular president. Maybe Mohler does not know, but do you know what "cult of personality" is code for among fringe, and not so fringe, conservatives? Hitler, Mussolini: that's what.

And what is the evidence that there is an Obama cult of personality? Well, first, the Department of Education suggested this: "Teachers can extend learning by having students write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals." In other words: the President and his administration are working hard to make sure that children have everything they need in their school to improve their learning experience (better teachers, better books, better infrastructure, better computers, you name it), so what can children to in turn to help the president accomplish his goals? That suggestion, however clumsily worded, according to conservatives, is proof of the cult of Obama? Really?

The other "evidence" given by Mohler that the cult of Obama really exists is this video, which was produced by supporters of Obama and released on the day of his inauguration:

Let's say for a moment that the video goes overboard in idolatry of the newly-inaugurated president (I happen to think that it is as ridiculous as I believe it to be innocently well-meaning), and let's assume that this is the definitive proof that "the cult of Obama" is widespread, instead of looking at it as an enthusiastic if ill-realized paean to a promising, intelligent, rational president after the previous eight dismal years. Are conservatives really in any position to give lessons about the cult of personality? Really?


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