Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama's faith

A sleeping sea lion in the Galapagos Islands. What is that little starburst on his forehead?!
Copyright (c) 2007 Wendee Holtcamp

This is a fascinating interview with Barack Obama by Chicago Sun Times journalist (and author of Sin Boldly: A Field Guide to Grace) Cathleen Falsani, Interview with State Sen. Barack Obama about His Faith (I've just discovered her blog, The Dude Abides, which I"m going to link in my blogroll now and follow - she's great! And from the blog you can download the audio version of her book for an MP3 player from the blog via Zondervan publishing...coolio). Anyway the interview with Obama was in 2004 when he was running for the U.S. Senate. This is very similar to how I believe about my own Christian faith as well. If you haven't read his book Dreams from My Father I highly recommend it. The chapter on his altar call and fully embracing the Christian faith (partly due to realizing that you could accept reason and science and logic and still have a Christian faith) - it brought tears to my eyes.

Anyway some snippets from the Falsani interview:

I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith.

Yeah, although I don't, I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I'm not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I've got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.

I'm a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it's best comes with a big dose of doubt. I'm suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding.

Alongside my own deep personal faith, I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion. I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I am a big believer in our constitutional structure. I mean, I'm a law professor at the University of Chicago teaching constitutional law. I am a great admirer of our founding charter, and its resolve to prevent theocracies from forming, and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root ion this country.

As I said before, in my own public policy, I'm very suspicious of religious certainty expressing itself in politics.

Now, that's different form a belief that values have to inform our public policy. I think it's perfectly consistent to say that I want my government to be operating for all faiths and all peoples, including atheists and agnostics, while also insisting that there are values that inform my politics that are appropriate to talk about.

Amen to that!! And also check out this interesting Huffington Post column by Bob Cesca, What Doesn't Kill the Far Right Only Makes them Crazier on the ridiculousness of some of the Right... Seriously people an "Impeach Obama" group on Facebook? He's not even President yet!! Holy cow, can some people get a life?!!!! According to some of the comments on the Facebook page, Dems stole the White House & and God didn't want him there and that's why it's called the White House (Besides the sickening racism in this statement the ludicrousness of the comment in an election that wasn't even close... defies logic). As Cesca wrote:

Shortly after discovering this, I was talking with a colleague and found myself instinctively trying to form a rational argument about why the Facebook members were wrong. It began with the obvious: "He's not even the president yet!" And then, after I segued into Article II and the constitutional grounds for impeachment, I stopped myself. What in name of Randall P. MacMurphy am I doing? Arguing against this crap is like explaining to a meth tweaker that the shadow people aren't real. That's when I decided that it'd be more fun to just infiltrate one of the groups and post comments like, "The moon landing was staged!" and, "Obama is a bionic -- just like his half-aunt! I have proof!"

It made me laugh!

Also check out this moving Open Letter to Barack Obama from Alice Walker, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Color Purple.

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