Why Obama, Part IV: FaithFebruary 1, 2008
For the fourth installment of the Chamber’s Why Obama series, I’ve picked the faith in politics issue. The same format applies; this is right from the Obama website. The selection of this topic was inspired by comments that arose in Part II, as well as posts I’ve stumbled upon elsewhere in the blogosphere. For this thread, I will begin with a section from Obama’s “Call to Renewal” speech (6/28/06):
Because when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome – others will fill the vacuum, those with the most insular views of faith, or those who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.
In other words, if we don’t reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what we stand for, then the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons and Alan Keyeses will continue to hold sway.
More fundamentally, the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms. Some of the problem here is rhetorical – if we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice.
I know I don’t talk about religion a whole lot around the Chamber. I run a pretty secular ship, probably because I don’t consider myself to be particularly religious. That, and I don’t have anything against those who are (even though I have been told more than once that my soul awaits eternal damnation). I’ve always considered myself to be open-minded and non-judgmental when it comes to other’s faiths. Moreover, I’ve made an effort to reach across the blogosphere’s religious divides and communicate to my fellow netizens on a human level; an inclusion of those from different religious backgrounds (with the WPPBA). I can’t help but think that Obama and I are on the same wavelength here.
I’d also like to use this thread to debate the relevancy of Obama’s personal religious background, whether it be accusations that he was indoctrinated in a madrassa, or his church affiliation. Also, if anyone has a guess at how many times righty blogs have attempted to appeal to Islamophobes by selectively using Obama’s middle name (Hussein) when addressing him, post it here.