In the Aug. 16 candidate forum at Saddleback Church, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told pastor Rick Warren that our countrys greatest moral failure is that we dont abide by the Biblical principle of ... whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me (Matthew 25:40).
However, one should examine whether Obama follows this principle in his own family.
By any measure, George Obama is very literally the least of Barack Obamas brothers. George is the youngest of the candidates half brothers only 26 years old. He is also undoubtedly the most impoverished.He lives in Nairobi, Kenya, just down the street from where, earlier this year, six men were hacked to death with machetes in election riots.
He told ItalianVanity Fairthat he lives on just $1 a month and depends on his aunt to provide him housing in a 6-by-10 foot corrugated metal shack. Prior to this, he spent several years homeless.
To be fair, the father that these two men share left them in a difficult situation. Barack Obama Sr. left the family when young Barack was only 2.
George Obama was the eighth child and only knew his father for six months before the elder Obama was killed in a car accident. Barack and George did not meet until adulthood.
But these facts should only make Barack understand the importance of family even more. Yet his only contact with his brother was two meetings that George described as awkward and Barack as painful. The elder brother has refused to comment on George during his presidential run.
To his credit, George seems like a great guy. I dont want to look to (Barack) for help, he told Londons Daily Telegraph. I want to achieve things for myself. Considering some of Baracks proposed policies, perhaps George should be the one running for president.
This mentality does not mean, however, that he would refuse aid if offered to him. It just means that he has enough self-respect not to ask directly for it. He probably does not even think about me, George said.
Living in the slums of Kenya is about more than poverty. As Barack Obamas popularity grows throughout the world, people in Georges country are bound to take notice.
Obama is a dangerous name to have in a country with a history of corruption and upheaval in its government. George himself said, The police dont even arrest you, they just shoot you. I have seen two of my friends killed.
Why does Barack, who according to New York Magazine has a personal wealth of $3.1 million, ignore his brothers plight?
You might say that the issue of George Obama shouldnt matter in this election, and that we should focus on proposed policies and leave family matters alone. In an ideal world, you would be correct, but we live in a country that largely decides its president based on character, and what better judge of character than how a person treats his own flesh and blood?
Besides, family already has been an issue in this campaign. In the days after her nomination, Sarah Palins family was subject to much media coverage. The George Obama story has only received token coverage here in the US, mostly reprinting the investigations of the European sources. Why is a teenage pregnancy relevant to the presidential debate but a half-brother living in impoverished and dangerous conditions not?
In 2006, Barack Obama told the same Saddleback Church, I am my brothers keeper.
Apparently, half brothers dont count.