I just spent a lot of time writing about how incredible I think Barack Obama is. And then I deleted it. You’ve already heard the hype; why bother restating it.
The point of it all was this: I am thrilled that he’s in the race.
PZ Myers thinks otherwise, though. He says Obama is “too pious and too unaccomplished.”
Too unaccomplished? There are plenty of “accomplished” people that have led the country down the wrong path. Democrats included. Even if Obama hasn’t had enough Washington experience, he’s smart enough to surround himself by people who can balance out his weaknesses.
Forget that. It’s the “too pious” remark that bothers me.
Here’s what PZ wrote back in June:
If a liberal Democratic politician wants to buy into the foolish idea that Christians can’t accept evolution, that it’s a good thing that more Americans believe in this insane nonsense about angels than in science, then he has lost my vote. I won’t even get into the rest of his paean to the silly goblins of faith.
He based that off of a speech Obama gave.
Yes, Obama did say that. He also said the following:
“…secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square.”
However, the meaning was that religion was a way in which people view their lives and we can’t ignore that. He wasn’t endorsing the religion or claiming that it was the Truth.
I wrote about this after he made these statements. I noted that it was important to remember what else he had said in the same speech. Those quotations are worth repeating here:
“[Conservative leaders of the Religious Right] need to understand the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy, but the robustness of our religious practice.”
“Given the increasing diversity of America’s population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.” (Boldface is mine)
“And even if we did have only Christians within our borders, who’s Christianity would we teach in the schools? James Dobson’s, or Al Sharpton’s? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage so radical that it’s doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application?”
“If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.”
Too pious? Doubtful. Pious? Yes, Obama is religious. But he’s also someone who is an expert in constitutional law. He’s not encouraging anyone to use faith to guide politics. And he’ll be first in line to support church-state separation.
Don’t hate the guy for having a semblance of faith, especially when that faith won’t be relevant in his potential administration. We’re still ways away from a world when people no longer believe in religious faith. This is as good as it’s going to get for a long, long time.
[tags]Barack Obama, Pharyngula, PZ Myers, Washington, atheist, atheism, religion, liberal, Democrat, politician, Christians, Religious Right, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, James Dobson, Al Sharpton, Leviticus, Bible, Deuteronomy, Sermon on the Mount, God, Chicago[/tags]