Stella Lohmann
The undoing of 'as American as apple pie' Obama style: The White House closes doors on traditions
By Stella Lohmann
August 30, 2009

It wasn't so long when the mention of God much less Gospel music was welcome in the White House, spoken freely and personally by the nation's President. No matter one's bias toward former President George W. Bush, faith was not a bad word just eight short months ago. In 2006, President Bush invited the world's largest Christian network, Trinity Broadcasting Company, to host a Gospel Music tribute for him, his wife, Laura and invited guests. Christian artists, Michael W. Smith, Twila Paris and others sang around a baby grand situated in a room normally reserved for press conferences and entertaining heads of state.

This isn't to say that President Bush is God and the present administration is Satan. Still the lack of high regard of spirituality is stark under Barack Obama in addition to patriotic symbols. Americans have grown up watching video clips of the current President and his family going and leaving church on Sunday mornings in Washington no matter how infrequent. Under this President, Sundays are days for golfing and family outings — not one Sunday reserved since January for service observance. This wouldn't be so obvious if he hadn't made a point of saying they were avidly searching for a place to worship as well as a dog for his daughters. They girls got their Portuguese waterdog, Amigo's New Hope a.k.a. Bo on April 14th, the day before the hundreds of national Tea Parties (that Obama said he wasn't aware of happening).

What does it matter that Obama signed a proclamation (as every President since Reagan) for the annual national observance of The National Day of Prayer yet did not attend the annual breakfast with clergy and other ministers in Washington, D.C.? Noticeably absent he said he would observe it privately at the White House whereas historically his predecessors attended faithfully. And was it not a bit unusual to see Obama and Michelle on bike rides and eating ice cream recently while Americans honored the "Lion" of his own party? Obama did fly in Friday with Michelle to eulogize Senator Ted Kennedy life at the funeral on Friday and then fly right back to Martha's Vineyard to continue their holiday. (Social networkers commented that it was also the beginning of Ramadan, Muslim most holy time of the year through September 21st.)

Other departures from traditions come to mind — enough to take pause. Was removing the American Flag off his campaign airplane and replacing it with his own emblem just an innovative public relations move or a sign of his new world view intentions? And don't forget the campaign trail headlines when Obama was the only one next to Hillary Clinton and Arizona Governor Glenn Richardson (not wearing a flag pin on his lapel) to not place his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance. According to the U.S. Flag code published by Cornell University:–000-.html

Conduct During Playing. — During a rendition of the national anthem —

(1) when the flag is displayed — (A) all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart;..."¤t=abc_obama_anthem_071022a.flv

How about not wearing a suit jacket in the Oval Office when even a CEO wouldn't think of doing business without professional business attire? Granted Obama has never headed a business but the lapel flag pin did show up at his last health care nationally televised press conference as the President's approval polls numbers had begun a consistent decline. That night, his words sounded more like conservative talking points that normally favor traditional values.

And how has Obama presented America to the world? Christopher Dickey of Newsweek magazine could have written Obama's pre-Egypt speech when the President apologized to Muslims for America's past deeds televised worldwide. In a nutshell, the President's remarks matched the tone dictated by Newsweek.

"When the President of the United States of America stands before a huge crowd at Cairo University and makes his long-anticipated speech to the Muslim world Thursday, will he say that he's sorry? Will he, for instance, offer to make amends for the blind support some of his predecessors?...Will he ask forgiveness for the CIA coup in Iran that overthrew a democratically elected government there have shown for Israel's occupation of Arab lands 1953?" —

Here is a portion of what Obama did say: "I know there has been controversy about the promotion of democracy in recent years, and much of this controversy is connected to the war in Iraq. So let me be clear: no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other."

He's the leader of the free world — the President of the United States of America isn't he? What's crystallizing is Obama's view of life in the U.S. shouldn't be "as American as apple pie" meaning "typically American." The Change he promised evidently has a conversion agenda. Isolated individually each example mentioned appears weak even harmless, no big deal. But taking a step back and seeing them all together is another matter. Do they add up to something resembling a move to ignore spirituality and historical traditions in order to replace them with a new America? Rewind to Obama's first 100 days speech where he boldly proclaimed, "We've begun the work of remaking America." —

Having Gospel music in the White House won't save America nor will a President displaying all kinds of flags and hosting countless patriotic tributes. However, the absence of these traditions provides glimpses about the man who is leading our nation and where his trust and faith lie. Believing in those virtues and symbols is one thing, honoring them is quite another. Obviously.

© Stella Lohmann


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


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