"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them... And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."You know too that Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ. But do you know, and ironically, does Obama realize how many of these rural and religious Pennsylvanians he insulted are members of his own denomination?
According to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania and their report, "Religious Establishments in Rural Pennsylvania":
The religious establishments with the most congregations in Pennsylvania’s rural counties were: the United Methodist Church, the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and the United Church of Christ. These same congregations were also the top five congregations in urban counties.Looking at the delegate distribution from the 26th General Synod, nearly 15% of the United Church of Christ's 1.2 million members reside in Pennsylvania. That's 182,779 people. In fact, the UCC is so big in Pennsylvania it has not two, four Conferences in the state-- Penn Central, Pennsylvania Northeast, Pennsylvania Southeast, and Pennsylvania West. With the exception of Penn West, each of these conferences are among the top 10 in delegate ranks at Synod.
Obama's unguarded words, spoken at a closed fund raiser in San Francisco on April 6, likely hit the intended target of dipping into the pockets of some rich elitist Democrats. But the spray of the buckshot has at least one Pennsylvania UCC member fretting.
The UCC Pennsylvanians who are fans of the "God Is Still Speaking" commercials likely won't take offense. They understand Obama is talking about those other churches-- the ones with bouncers and ejector seats. However, it was the UCC that once had on its rolls a historic church in rural Kansas called Beecher Rifle & Bible Church.
Obama knows his words have hurt him politically-- he's still spinning what he meant to say.
He's certainly learned one thing:
The tongue is like a rifle-- you can always reload, but once you pull the trigger, you can never put that shot back into the barrel.