Election ’08: Community Organizing 101

At the Republican National Convention this week, Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin mocked to great applause Barack Obama’s role as a “community organizer” in Chicago more than two decades ago. According to a story in the Chicago Tribune, Obama worked “alongside low-income residents in the Roseland community and the Altgeld Gardens public housing development.” The work itself involved “pushing for asbestos removal at Altgeld, pressing for a local job-training office, even agitating to fill potholes and erect stop signs.”

Obama was incensed by the mockery, asking, “Why would that kind of work be ridiculous? Who are they (Republicans) fighting for… They think that the lives of those folks who are struggling each and every day, that working with them to try to improve their lives is somehow not relevant to the presidency?”

These are valid questions for a party still trying to shake off the stereotype that Republicans are out of touch concerning the plight of the poor and care only for thhe rich. Certainly pro-lifers and others who help the poor do their own brands of community organizing in dysfunctuional pockets of society. Whether community organizing is the best way to help the poor is one thing, but to dismiss the work of someone willing at least to try to help is another entirely.

Update: Here’s a dissenting view.

About Stan Guthrie

Stan Guthrie is an editor at large for Christianity Today magazine and for the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. His latest book is God's Story in 66 Verses. He also is author of All that Jesus Asks: How His Questions Can Teach and Transform Us, Missions in the Third Millennium: 21 Key Trends for the 21st Century, and A Concise Guide to Bible Prophecy. He is co-author of The Sacrament of Evangelism. Besides authoring, writing, and editing books, Stan is a literary agent, bringing together good authors, good books, and good publishers. Stan writes the monthly Priorities colum for BreakPoint.org. He has appeared on National Public Radio's €œTell Me More,€ WGN's Milt Rosenberg program, and many Christian shows, including The Eric Metaxas Show and Moody Radio'€™s €œNew Day Florida.€ A licensed minister and an inspirational speaker, he served as moderator for the Christian Book Expo panel discussion, Does the God of Christianity Exist, and What Difference Does It Make?
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