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 Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, 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. So 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
For some time now there's been plenty of talk among pundits and pollsters that the political divide within this country has fallen sharply along religious lines. In fact, the single biggest gap in party affiiationl among white Americans today is not between men and women, or those who reside in so-called red states and those who reside in blue, but between those who attend church regularly and those who don't.
Conservative leaders have been all too happy to exploit this gap, consistently reminding evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about the issues of abortion and gay marriage, school prayer and intelligent design.
And Democrats, for the most part, have taken the bait. At times, at best, we may try to avoid the conversation about religion altogether, fearful of offending anyone, or say that regardless of our personal beliefs constitutional principles tie our hands. At worst there are some who dismiss religion in the public square as inherently irrational or intolerant, insisting on a caricature of religious Americans that paints them as fanatical, or thinking that the very word 'Christian' describes one's political opponents, not a people of faith.
Such strategies for avoidance of the issue may work for progressives when our opponent is Alan Keyes. But over the long haul, I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in people's lives, in the lives of the American people. I think it's time we joined a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern pluralistic society.....
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.
...because I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality, I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and ethics and values without pretending that they're something they're not. They don't need to do that. None of us need to do that.
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 Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, 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. So 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.
Mr. Obama does surprisingly well among evangelical Christians, an important constituency in swing states. For example, Relevant magazine, which caters to young evangelicals, asked its readers: “Who would Jesus vote for?” Mr. Obama was the winner and came out 27 percentage points ahead of Mrs. Clinton.
Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what's possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It's the art of the impossible. 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, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing. And if you doubt that, let me give you an example.
We all know the story of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham is ordered by God to offer up his only son, and without argument, he takes Isaac to the mountaintop, binds him to an altar, and raises his knife, prepared to act as God has commanded.
Of course, in the end God sends down an angel to intercede at the very last minute, and Abraham passes God's test of devotion.
But it's fair to say that if any of us leaving this church saw Abraham on a roof of a building raising his knife, we would, at the very least, call the police and expect the Department of Children and Family Services to take Isaac away from Abraham. We would do so because we do not hear what Abraham hears, do not see what Abraham sees, true as those experiences may be. So the best we can do is act in accordance with those things that we all see, and that we all hear, be it common laws or basic reason.
religion can provide a moral backbone
Let me rephrase that part of the speech. You, as an atheist, cannot provide "moral backbone".
If atheists don't feel offended by that insinuation, then maybe we do have no backbone.
She has not been running a "sleazy damn campaign", no matter how much of an Obama fan you are.
I should clarify a little just so it doesnt look like Im trolling here. In my experience everytime the left goes ga-ga over a candidate for any office claiming that our shared moral and cultural heritage will transcend everyday dirty politics as we know it and will lead into a clear victory and usher in a new age of compassion, acceptance, wealth, and smarts,... well the candidate usually loses and loses badly. --damn dirty ape
Obama's points, which he has made many times, should reassure anyone who is concerned about what his presidency would mean for the security of Israel. And yet many are not reassured. They are alarmed by e-mails, saying that Obama's middle name is Hussein (true, and so what?), that he is a Muslim and not a Christian (untrue, and so what if it was?), that he took the oath of office as a Senator on the Koran rather than the Bible (utterly untrue and, once again, so what?). All these charges have been aired and negated often enough that anyone interested in hearing the truth about them has heard it. But another charge, circulating on the Internet, has not yet been sufficiently refuted. This is that he has advisers on the Middle East who despise Israel.
Let's take one example. There are all kinds of spooky rumors that a man named Robert Malley is one of Obama's advisers, specifically his Middle East adviser. His name comes up mysteriously and intrusively on the web, like the ads for Viagra. Malley, who has written several deceitful articles in The New York Review of Books, is a rabid hater of Israel. No question about it. But Malley is not and has never been a Middle East adviser to Barack Obama. Obama's Middle East adviser is Dan Shapiro. Malley did, though, work for Bill Clinton. He was deeply involved in the disastrous diplomacy of 2000. Obama at the time was in the Illinois State Senate. So, yes, this is a piece of experience that Obama lacks.
While Obama was taking advantage of Martin Luther King Day to speak out against anti-Semitism among blacks, Jewish spokesmen were using racist language against him, solely because his father was Muslim. Since it is hard to find so much as a single anti-Jewish statement in Obama's political record, or even support for anti-Israel policies, his defamers base their arguments on the fact that his positions on the Middle East conflict are "leftist" - solely because he rejects the right's positions, which are more acceptable to some Jewish-American leaders.
Obama, Hillary Clinton and Republican candidate John McCain have very similar views on the Middle East, and their Senate votes confirm this...
Racist attacks against a black American candidate could cause Israel and American Jews a great deal of damage - not to mention shame and disgrace. Obama has been forced to defend himself over things such as nonexistent ties with elements hostile to Israel, an appearance at an event at which Edward Said spoke, and praying at one church rather than another.
Great damage has already been caused because Obama announced that an ugly campaign was being waged against him in the Jewish community. That alone ought to be enough at least to make Israel's leaders say something about Jews who preach against anti-Semitism while employing similar tactics against other minorities.
For one thing, there are the Super Tuesday exit polls:
"Nearly two-thirds -- 72 percent -- of Democratic voters said they'd be satisfied with Clinton as the nominee, and 71 percent said they'd be happy with Obama."
Or, to put the same point slightly differently:
"Just 49 percent of Democrats who voted for Clinton said they would be satisfied if Obama won, while just 52 percent of Obama voters said they would be satisfied if Clinton won." ...
In any case, when we vote for President, we are not voting for someone's supporters. Even if people who support Obama are doing so in a cultish way -- and I have seen no evidence that they are, though I'm sure that every candidate has some supporters who are cultish or otherwise silly -- that's irrelevant to the choice we face as citizens.
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