Benedict Obama, Catholic

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by David T, Dec 4, 2019 at 2:57 AM.

  1. David T Well-Known Member

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    Young Barack Obama, trying to build a political base on Chicago's South Side, chooses Father Michael Pfleger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Pfleger rather than Jeremiah Wright as his spiritual advisor.

    Would a Catholic Obama make a difference? I suppose there will be a movement among some conservative Catholics to deny him communion over being pro-choice on abortion but I doubt it will have much effect on voters. One difference I can think of: will he still want a Catholic running mate (Biden) in 2008?
     
  2. Madeleine Birchfield waiting for a 32-county Ireland

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    Would a Catholic Obama still be pro-choice?
     
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  3. David T Well-Known Member

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    If he were to hope for any national or even statewide office as a Democrat in IL, he would have to be. Moreover, his State Senate district included Hyde Park, the area near the University of Chicago, which was and is very pro-choice.
     
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  4. Magniac Is back, roleplaying as an Old Member

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    BHO's stint as a community organiser IOTL certainly was with an ecumenical religious group that was aligned with, and financially supported by, the Catholic archdiocese of Chicago, and lordy, just google the way US movement conservative & religious Right media has covered that fact.

    Extrapolate.
     
  5. Jürgen Well-Known Member

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    I suspect that this POD would demand that Obama had married Sheila Miyoshi Jager. Michelle Obama offered Barack a clear way to become part of the African American community, without her he would have to rethink his entire strategy to become president.
     
  6. SonOfSharknado Well-Known Member

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    ...I'm sorry, offered him what?
     
  7. Thomas Jefferson Well-Known Member

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    Based on his Wikipedia article, father Pfleger seems pretty socially conservative. Is it possible this TL creates a Republican Obama?
     
  8. Landmass Wave Well-Known Member

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    Converts to any faith tend to be more orthodox.

    He could run as a pro life Republican or as a pro life Democrat like Lipinski, or be pro choice and argue that he was playing chess (if we pass a ban it'll get struck down and reinforce the precedent). He probably wouldn't support late term abortion.
     
  9. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Monthly Donor

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    Obama being Catholic probably won’t be the “issue” (there will always be an issue as Obama is black in America) but rather Pfleger himself.

    The man seems to be a gift to the right-wing Republican media that would be attacking Obama anyway. His support of Al Sharpton, his gun control stance and what he said OTL during the 2008 campaign would all be magnified if closer to Obama in an ATL campaign.
     
  10. David T Well-Known Member

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    The reason I doubted it would make a difference is precisely that Pfleger is about as controversial as Wright.
     
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  11. overoceans Well-Known Member

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    It might be riskier to attack a Catholic priest, though, since they are very closely identified with their particular denomination, and unless Pfleger had been defrocked or severely censured by the Vatican, it could be construed as an attack on a representative of the Church itself.

    Whereas Congregationalism is a much more decentralized faith than Catholicism, so an attack on one of their ministers is more likely to be viewed as just against one individual. Plus, I'd be willing to bet that even among people who had some idea of who Jeremiah Wright was, a majority wouldn't have known that he was Congregationalist, or given much thought to his denomination at all.
     
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  12. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Monthly Donor

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    Fair enough
     
  13. CalBear Your Ursus arctos californicus Moderator Moderator Donor

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    What the...

    This can not mean what it appears to mean.

    Please expand immediately.
     
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  14. Jürgen Well-Known Member

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    I’m om a phone right now with a non-English spell control, I Will come back later, but I would prefer that you tell me what you Think I’m saying.
     
  15. SonOfSharknado Well-Known Member

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    That Barack Obama isn't part of the African-American community.
     
  16. Mr_Fanboy Well-Known Member

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    Assuming things are convergent enough that he still becomes the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008 under roughly the same circumstance, presumably the calculation will still be that he needs a running mate that will shore up his numbers among working-class white voters in the South, Midwest, and elsewhere, but he might be more drawn to pick a white Protestant than a white Catholic. Possibilities include Sam Nunn, Jim Webb, and even a scandal-free John Edwards (assuming butterflies prevent him from meeting Rielle Hunter). Tim Kaine was apparently strongly considered by the Obama team in our timeline, but Kaine is also Catholic, so he still might not make the cut.
     
  17. David T Well-Known Member

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    Why? There have been plenty of African American Catholics in politics, who are not considered any less "black" because of their Catholicism. Just from Illinois I can think of Congressman Ralph Metcalfe https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ralph_Metcalfe and former Illinois State Senate president Emll Jones. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emil_Jones

    Saint Sabrina is definitely an African American parish, and Father Pfleger, though white "has often collaborated and associated with African American religious, political and social activists such as Jeremiah Wright, Joseph Lowery, Jesse Jackson, Harry Belafonte, Cornel West and Louis Farrakhan.[6]" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Pfleger These associations might hurt Obama (though probably not more than Wright in OTL) but they certainly won't make him be seen as less African American!
     
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  18. SonOfSharknado Well-Known Member

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    No, it's the part where he said that Barack needed to marry Michelle to be in the African American community.
     
  19. David T Well-Known Member

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    No. Republicans get nowhere in Chicago and especially in the African American South Side. Really, things like objecting to stores selling drug paraphernalia or to rap lyrics demeaning to women are absolutely commonplace among African Americans who vote Democratic. (Remember that one of the biggest anti-drug crusaders in the US House was Charles Rangel, longtime congressman from Harlem.) And Father Pfleger's stance on guns is of course anything but congenial to GOP conservatives. The one possible point of tension would be abortion, but however unsatisfactory the "personally opposed, but..." line seems to the Church, it is the line Obama has to take if he expects to get anywhere in the Democratic Party in terms of statewide or national office.
     
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  20. Colonel Zoidberg Well-Known Member

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    While this is a fascinating POD, it wouldn’t stop Obama from being part of the African American community. Obama himself identifies solely as African American because he said it’s how others saw him despite being half Caucasian and raised by his Caucasian mother and grandparents. Him marrying a Korean woman doesn’t make him any less black; whether it makes him less appealing to the African American community (or more appealing to Asians or immigrants or whomever) is up for debate.

    It also probably doesn’t have anything to do with a Catholic Obama; those are probably two separate issues. Making Obama a Catholic doesn’t make him more or less likely to marry Sheila Jager; the issue was that Obama didn’t get along with Jager’s parents (he seemed to do just fine with Michelle’s parents if her book is any indication.)

    I do know that it’s possible to be both Catholic and pro-choice no matter what the hardline Catholics say; statistics show that the average Catholic is about as mainstream in his or her opinions on social issues as the average American. Furthermore, a black Catholic from an urban area has “sapphire blue Democrat” written all over him.

    That said, maybe he doesn’t pick a Catholic running mate. Maybe he goes with Hillary or finds someone else I can’t think of right now.
     
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