Time Editor to Obama: Don't Go to Church! It's a 'Piety Trap'!

Time executive editor Nancy Gibbs, the writer of many ridiculously gooey leg-thrill sentences about Democratic politicians, is now begging President Obama to avoid going to church -- it's "The Piety Trap." Her headline continues: "Sure, we want to know what a president believes in...but that doesn't always mean he should tell us." Obama is much more likely to end up in a sand trap than a piety trap on Sundays, but Gibbs doesn't want him to go to church anyway:
Many a pundit has predicted that we are sure to see the Obamas attending some nice, safe church one day soon, the girls in their Sunday best, Obama with a big Bill Clinton Bible under his arm or explaining what Glenn Beck calls Obama's "version of Christianity." I devoutly hope the President resists this advice or, if  he feels the call to worship, that he finds a way to do it that meets his private needs rather than his political ones.
This is a funny passage coming from Gibbs, who found some poetic equivalence two years ago between the birth of Jesus Christ and the birth of hopes for Obama after the election: "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." It won our "Obamagasm Award" as the gushiest pro-Obama quote of the election year.

Sentences like this should be kept in mind when Time's top editor Rick Stengel declares "No one personifies TIME more than Nancy Gibbs...As a journalist, Nancy is timely and timeless."
Gibbs also won our "Carve Clinton Into Mount Rushmore Award" in 1998 for her infamous "naked in a sharp dark suit" tribute to Bill Clinton: 
He invited his exhausted audience to take a holiday from Lewinsky and spend a refreshing hour and 12 minutes feeling like a country again. For once the talk on the screen was not of oral sex, but of our lives and fortunes and sacred happiness. He had become all human nature, the best and the worst, standing there naked in a sharp, dark suit, behind the TelePrompTer. That which does not kill him only makes him stronger, and his poll numbers went through the roof....That may have been a miracle, but it was no accident: Americans are less puritanical and more forgiving than the cartoon version suggests, and this President is never better than in his worst moments." — Time magazine Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, February 9, 1998 issue.

Gibbs clearly doesn't like her presidents to be overtly religious. She declared "We've seen what happens when it serves a president's interest to flaunt his faith -- which is almost inevitably does, since every poll affirms that Americans want their leader to submit to some higher power." So what happens? She never elaborated. She lamented "Religious tests, a constitutional taboo, are a political tradition." 

Her liberal hero, naturally, is John F. Kennedy, who declared in 1960 that he came to Protestant pastors to talk about "now what kind of church I believe in , for that should be important only to me -- but what kind of America I believe in." She insisted "That was an America where church and state were absolutely separate and priests and preachers did not tell parishioners how to vote."

Clearly, Gibbs doesn't really mean that progressive Reverends like Jesse Jackson (or even Reverend Wright) can't tell their parishioners how to vote. She simply doesn't like it when priests and preachers tell parishioners not to vote straight-ticket Democrat, like most well-coached Time magazine staffers.  

Tim Graham's picture