In the mail this week arrived Rules for Radicals, a "pragmatic primer for realistic radicals," written by Saul Alinsky and published in 1971.
What's striking, immediately, about this book is that Alinsky at the outset acknowledges his debt to the "very first radical," who turns out to be none other than: "Lucifer." This appears on the page preceding the table of contents.
The problem for Obama, who famously asserts that he is a "Christian," is that he appears to be in significant debt to the thinking and tactics of this man Saul Alinsky (as is noted here by an Obama opponent and here by a supporter).
The challenge for Obama -- if he wants to be understood as an authentic Christian -- is that the Lordship of Christ applies to the whole of life, including the tactics of political and social change one employs.
Methods matter far more than some people appear to realize (this challenge applies with equal force to the so-called religious right, let us say in fairness). "Thy will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven" is not a relativistic option up for vote on Capitol Hill. To be tossed aside if electoral results or fundraising pressures require.
How can an Obama, or any public figure claiming to be an authentic follower of Jesus of Nazareth, also embrace the spirit of one who is the intellectual, moral, and worldview antithesis of this same Jesus, this true Messiah verified in history?
So what's going on? Is Obama a hypocrite, a manipulator? Deeply confused? Or was Alinsky simply hyping his book for street cred and publishing attention?