Obama on Religion/Secularism

Now this is a level-headed view… 

8 Responses

  1. Wow.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I agree completely that it is a VERY level headed view. I am familiar with this great speech and I believe that they needed to start the tape a little bit earlier. His mention of “personal morality” into public policy in the quote below was particularly interesting for me. Here is bit of what he said before the YouTube clip:

    “…Our failure as progressives to tap into the moral underpinnings of the nation is not just rhetorical. Our fear of getting preachy may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in some of our most urgent social problems.
    After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten point plan. They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness – in the imperfections of man.

    Solving these problems will require changes in government policy; it will also require changes in hearts and minds. I believe in keeping guns out of our inner cities, and that our leaders must say so in the face of the gun manufacturer’s lobby – but I also believe that when a gang-banger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd because he feels somebody disrespected him, we have a problem of morality; there’s a hole in that young man’s heart – a hole that government programs alone cannot fix.

    I believe in vigorous enforcement of our non-discrimination laws; but I also believe that a transformation of conscience and a genuine commitment to diversity on the part of the nation’s CEOs can bring quicker results than a battalion of lawyers.

    I think we should put more of our tax dollars into educating poor girls and boys, and give them the information about contraception that can prevent unwanted pregnancies, lower abortion rates, and help assure that that every child is loved and cherished. But my Bible tells me that if we train a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not turn from it. I think faith and guidance can help fortify a young woman’s sense of self, a young man’s sense of responsibility, and a sense of reverence all young people for the act of sexual intimacy.

    I am not suggesting that every progressive suddenly latch on to religious terminology. Nothing is more transparent than inauthentic expressions of faith – the politician who shows up at a black church around election time and claps – off rhythm – to the gospel choir.

    But what I am suggesting is this – secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryan, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King – indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history – were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. To say that men and women should not inject their “personal morality” into public policy debates is a practical absurdity; our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

    Moreover, if we progressives shed some of these biases, we might recognize the overlapping values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country. We might recognize that the call to sacrifice on behalf of the next generation, the need to think in terms of “thou” and not just “I,” resonates in religious congregations across the country. And we might realize that we have the ability to reach out to the evangelical community and engage millions of religious Americans in the larger project of America’s renewal.”

    … the tape picks up a little bit after this quote. This is the link to the full text version of this amazing speech: http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=news.display_article&mode=C&NewsID=5454

  3. This guy should be president.

  4. Veronica et al.,

    Thought you might enjoy this discussion [program note: it’s 53 minutes of audio].

    Speaking of Faith: Liberating the Founders

    Discussion of the American founders and why 21st-century struggles over religion in the public square spur passionate disagreement and entanglement with politics at its most impure … w/ journalist Steven Waldman, founder of Belief.net and author of “Founding Faith.”

    http://speakingoffaith.publicradio.org/programs/2008/liberating_the_founders/index.shtml

  5. […] Posted on November 8, 2008 by Tyson Koska A couple of days ago, I posted a portion of a speech about Religion/Secularization made earlier this year by Barack Obama. Here are portions of that same speech as interpreted by a […]

  6. Thanks Miriam!! I will watch it. : )

  7. This was really interesting to see and thanks for posting this. Listening to this makes me feel as though the USA might not just flush itself down the shitter.

    I love that he wants to believe that everyone can be right, everyone has a place and that in order for laws to be equal and fair to everyone, religion must not enter into the equation, because as he says, whose would we could go by?

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