There won't be a lot new in this column for those that read this Blog, just confirmation and a slightly different angle. I read BO's first book and I think it would be impossible for anyone that is a Christian to read that book and consider BO to be anything but a pagan tribalist from a religious perspective. He wrote this book AFTER his "conversion" to Reverend Wrights brand of "Black Liberation Theology (BLT)" which subverts the message of Christ to be a message of anti-semitism (pretty ridiculous to call that "Christian", since Christ is a Jew) and Black Supremacy. Christ's message is that ALL have sinned -- even BO, there is no "pass" for being Black. BLT may or may not clean up your community, it is completely powerless to save your soul.
This article calls out some of the strong pagan-tribal messages, but puts them in the context of anti-colonialism. I find that to be an interesting perspective on the difficult to understand question of "Why is BO so anti-American"? There are certainly pagan-tribalists that do not exhibit his level of anti American fervor. The anti-colonial connection with his alcoholic father may well be a good source for understanding the that part of BO.
It is rare that an American president has written a book prior to taking office that gives such a direct glimpse into his thought process -- even more rare that when such a book is as devastating critique of that president's paganism as this one, that it would be so little known!
In his own writings Obama stresses the centrality of his father not only to his beliefs and values but to his very identity. He calls his memoir "the record of a personal, interior journey--a boy's search for his father and through that search a workable meaning for his life as a black American." And again, "It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself." Even though his father was absent for virtually all his life, Obama writes, "My father's voice had nevertheless remained untainted, inspiring, rebuking, granting or withholding approval. You do not work hard enough, Barry. You must help in your people's struggle. Wake up, black man!"
The climax of Obama's narrative is when he goes to Kenya and weeps at his father's grave. It is riveting: "When my tears were finally spent," he writes, "I felt a calmness wash over me. I felt the circle finally close. I realized that who I was, what I cared about, was no longer just a matter of intellect or obligation, no longer a construct of words. I saw that my life in America--the black life, the white life, the sense of abandonment I'd felt as a boy, the frustration and hope I'd witnessed in Chicago--all of it was connected with this small piece of earth an ocean away, connected by more than the accident of a name or the color of my skin. The pain that I felt was my father's pain."
In an eerie conclusion, Obama writes that "I sat at my father's grave and spoke to him through Africa's red soil." In a sense, through the earth itself, he communes with his father and receives his father's spirit. Obama takes on his father's struggle, not by recovering his body but by embracing his cause. He decides that where Obama Sr. failed, he will succeed. Obama Sr.'s hatred of the colonial system becomes Obama Jr.'s hatred; his botched attempt to set the world right defines his son's objective. Through a kind of sacramental rite at the family tomb, the father's struggle becomes the son's birthright.