Guest Column: There’s no ‘dark side’ of Obama-Wan Kenobi

Mar. 02, 2013 @ 08:15 PM


I am always reluctant to write about religion but found what Preacher Tony Watts wrote about Obama on Feb. 16 impossible to ignore (Guest column “Obama consigns traditional values to the ‘dark side’ ”).
Watts’ righteous diatribe on Obama is total fiction. Two fictions in fact:  The first: condemning Obama for attributing all traditional moral “values” to the “dark side” (referring there to the fictional Star Wars movies, written by George Lucas). His second fiction is his assertion that the first fiction is evident in Obama’s inaugural address. In his condemnation of the president, Watts demonstrates he misunderstands both Star Wars and Obama.
Watts faults Obama for saying in his unity-inspiring inaugural address:  “We cannot mistake absolutism for principle … .” The matchless irony of this condemnation is that it is so true. If Obama had been in Star Wars he’d have been Obi-wan, and Watts, bless his fundamentalist Christian soul, would have been ... well, maybe not Darth Vader, but clearly among those on the dark side. Why so? Because Watts’ condemnation of Obama on those grounds — shows that he (Watts) is an absolutist.  And that is where his (and the world’s) principal problems lie — in the ideas and actions of those who think that they and their values are “absolutely right.”
For example?  Obama believes in gay rights, because he believes in our Constitution’s guarantee of equal rights for all humans. Watts is absolutely certain his God disfavors gay love and marriage and thus condemns Obama for being like Obi-Wan Kenobi.  Obi-Wan and the Jedi’s were convinced that all humans have capacities for good and evil (their “light” and “dark” sides), and that through the grace of God (Lucas’s “Force”) the forces of good with their lightsabers and courage will prevail over the forces of the dark side.
The crux of this  theological/political conundrum is this: It is those who think they are absolutely “right” and “good” who wind up causing the woes (and wars) of the world.
George Bush was “absolutely certain” Saddam was in league with bin Laden and had WMD’s (wrong), and his war from Shock and Awe to retreat cost the world over a half million innocent souls. The Christian Church’s “absolute certainty” that women who defied Christian dogma were witches led to their serial executions.  The same absolutism in Europe led to the slaughter of thousands of parents (Anabaptists) for merely postponing their children’s baptisms. Tens of thousands were killed by “absolutely right” Christians in the eras of the Crusades for believing that both Jesus and Mohammed were sons of God. How many more homosexuals will be shunned or slain before absolutists accord them the freedom to love and marry whom they choose in peace?
I agree with Watts that Obama would side with Obi-wan Kenobi and further contend that if Jesus had appeared in Star Wars, he too would have been a Jedi, because Scriptures show him to have been nothing close to an absolutist. He loved his enemies.  In all the Gospels there are accounts of his having been tempted and managed to overcome the urgings of his “dark side.” With temptation the tempter (snake or “Satan”) may be outside, but the temptation is within. One can only be “virtuous” by saying “no” to the temptation within, as Jesus unquestionably did. Any question of Jesus’ having suffered uncertainty and doubts as to both his beliefs and his earthly mission were resolved during the “three hours of darkness” when Jesus exclaimed, “My God, My God, why has Thou forsaken me?” (Matt: 27: 45-46 ).
All we can conclude from Preacher Watt’s condemnation of Obama is that Watts considers his own values and beliefs to be absolutely right and superior to both Obama’s and Christ’s. God deliver us from such absolute certainty and intolerance.

Dusty Schoch is an attorney and writer living in High Point. His website is