This is a guest column by Michael Wear, Director of Faith Outreach for Obama for America.
Our nation has always been well-served when people of faith carry their convictions with them into the public square for the common good. For President Obama, civic engagement – one motivated not by a pursuit of power, but by the values we hold as beneficial for individuals, family and society – is more than a call for citizenship. It’s a requirement of a fully-lived faith. That belief is at the core of his Presidency and his campaign’s outreach to the faith community.
President Obama has always believed that faith outreach is important. He started his career as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago, working with churches in the shadow of a closed-down steel mill to serve those in need. He spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention about an “Awesome God” and his campaign’s faith outreach four years ago set a new precedent for its breadth and depth. As President, he has made sure that his administration has lifted up faith voices and partnered with faith organizations doing good work.
President Obama recently spoke about the role of faith in both his own life and the story of America in this video. He explained how his values have influenced his presidency, and he asked people of faith for their vote. The campaign also released the Faith Platform, which, in addition to laying out the President’s vision for our country and how it relates to people of faith, describes how President Obama has led with values.
For example, the President’s belief in restoring economic security drove his decision to rescue the auto industry, which saved more than a million jobs and countless families and communities from the strain and heartache they would’ve endured had we let Detroit go bankrupt. His defense of the social safety net in the face of attempts to weaken it reflects his belief that we’re all in this together, that we are our brothers’ and our sisters’ keepers. That’s also why the Obama administration is lifting the shadow of deportation from DREAMers, young immigrants who were brought here on their own and who know no other home but want to earn a path to citizenship by going to college or serving in the military. And because the President believes that faith and family are powerful forces for good in our country, he has partnered with faith-based organizations to serve those in need, secured funding to support pregnant women, strengthened fatherhood and healthy marriages, and extended and expanded the Adoption Tax Credit.
President Obama described his approach to faith outreach in his speech to the National Prayer Breakfast this past February. He quoted C.S. Lewis’ wise words that “Christianity has not, and does not profess to have a detailed political program…It is meant for all men at all times, and the particular program which suited one place or time would not suit another.”
While we each have a responsibility to engage in the political process, a vote for a candidate doesn’t have to be a declaration that their views fully represent our own. For people of faith, we hold to a set of beliefs that transcend and supersede any political platform.
This November, we will once again reflect on our values and hopes and choose between two very different visions for our country. I ask all Americans to consider the President’s record and his vision, and vote their values to help reelect President Obama.
Follow Michael on twitter at @MichaelRWear