On June 26-27 in Washington DC, Senator Barak Obama delievered a speech before the Sojourners Call to Renewal conference. I don’t usually feature politicians on this blog, but he’s doing some theology here, working with the idea of religion and politics and this one is in honor of our Independence day…one day late. Take some time and listen to this, I’d love to hear what you think.
I really enjoyed his speech a lot. I listened to it again with my wife, who doesn’t usually like to listen to this sort of thing, and we both enjoyed it and the conversation it spawned for us. Senator Obama addresses the mutual suspicion which exists between religious America and secular America. He deals with the role of the Christian within the sphere of Politics as it relates to the larger context of a pluralistic society.
He tells an interesting story about Alan Keyes announcing “Jesus Christ would not vote for Barak Obama,” and what that sort of statement means when Both Keyes and Obama are confessing Christians. He makes a case that religious people should enter in to Political dialogue, not shying away from sincere religious expressions in public forums. At least part of the reason he advocates it is because if more people don’t become involved, those who are already experts at it like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson will continue to hold sway.
At one point he says something along the lines of “whatever we once were, America is no longer a Christian nation,” and this idea that we are a religiously pluralistic society now is central to his thought. Thus is political discourse we can’t just say “I’m for this or against that” and simply say because the Bible tells me so. That is fine for our personal piety, but for Obama it isn’t as simple when we get to the public square. However he insists it must be worked on, Christians and other religious people must engage without checking their faith at the door.
I really loved this speech and I think it’s worth the 40 minutes it takes to listen to him.