This made my weekend. Yesterday's Chicago Sun-Times reported "Obama beats out Jesus as America's hero." The article starts:
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Americans named President Obama as their No. 1 hero, followed by Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King, in a new Harris poll.
Others in the top 10, in descending order, were Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Abraham Lincoln, John McCain, John F. Kennedy, Chesley Sullenberger and Mother Teresa.
People were asked whom they admired enough to call their heroes. Those surveyed were not shown a list of people to choose from. The Harris Poll was conducted online among a sample of 2,634 U.S. adults by Harris Interactive.
This question was first asked in a Harris Poll in 2001. In that survey Jesus Christ was the hero mentioned most often, followed by Martin Luther King, Colin Powell, John F. Kennedy and Mother Teresa.
Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised with the results. Obama has been sold as a secular God. In November, NewsBuster Brent Baker documented the opening of a Time Magazine article that began:
“Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope...”
Movie star Susan Sarandon compared President Obama to Jesus. Broadway and film actor Alan Cumming thought of him more like Mahatma Gandhi.
“He is a community organizer like Jesus was,” Sarandon said Tuesday night on the bright blue carpet leading into the Creative Coalition’s 2009 Ball at the Harman Center for the Arts in Chinatown. “And now, we’re a community and he can organize us.”
Last September on CNN Late Edition With Wolf Blitzer, political contributor Donna Brazile spoke of a link between Jesus and her candidate for president:
BLITZER: Let me bring Donna in on the whole issue of being a community organizer. Now we know a lot of those community organizers are in the big urban areas and there are some suggesting that when they -- when the Republicans, whether Giuliani or Sarah Palin went after Obama for being a community organizer there was a racial overtone there. Do you believe that?
BRAZILE: First of all, I don't think they understand the role of a community organizer, often to help people who are in distress, they've lost their jobs, they've lost their homes, they've lost their health care. And for many of us, it's a time honored tradition to give back, especially those who have been rewarded with so much.
The Bible says to whom much is given much is required and it comes out of that tradition. So it was insulting to see both, you know, the governor as well as Mayor Giuliani criticize people. There's some on the Internet now that Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor. And perhaps they should understand the role of a community organizer, do help people in distress.
Days later, CNN reported Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee said on the House floor: "Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus."
Apparently, Americans got the message. I know that polls like this one have little meaning. I know that the people who participate in them volunteered to participate, possibly with an agenda in mind. I know that the results in surveys like this tend to be a reflection of who's been in the news recently.
It still makes me tremble for my country.