Sunday, November 09, 2008

Obama - a Secularist?

29': “Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.” —Sen. Barack Obama, 28th June 2006


In June of 2006, Senator Obama delivered what was called the most important speech on religion and politics in 40 years. Speaking before an evangelical audience, Senator Obama candidly discussed his own religious conversion and doubts, and the need for a deeper, more substantive discussion about the role of faith in American life.

Senator Obama also laid down principles for how to discuss faith in a pluralistic society, including the need for religious people to translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values during public debate.

Barack Obama,
President-Elect Barack Obama speaks on faith and religion in 2006.

Here is the full video of this speech (39:45):
At 10'.40": "I was not raised in a particularly religious household ... my father was born a muslim but as an adult was an atheist" ... my mother grew up ... was one of the most spiritual people I knew .. she grew up with a healthy sceptism of organised religion ... so did I... faith does not mean you don't have doubts .. in Chicago i felt Gods spirit beconing me, I submitted myself to Gods will and dedicated myself to discovering his truth...
...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 a sense of proportion should also guide those who police the boundaries between church and state. Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation - context matters. It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase "under God." I didn't. Having voluntary student prayer groups use school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats. And one can envision certain faith-based programs - targeting ex-offenders or substance abusers - that offer a uniquely powerful way of solving problems. "

I love his face when he tells the listeners about people beleiving more in angels than in Evolution. He raises his eyebrows and nods slightly, as if saying "Oh yes, believe it or not, that's true."
... but secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before they enter the public square - this is a practical absurdity. 26': we are not just a christian nation but also a nation of buddhists and a nation of muslims and a nation of non believers ... people are tired of faith being used as a device of attack.. I say a pray every night - that we can reconcile the beliefs of everyone for the good of all.

Another 2 minute speech:
- big divide between those who go to church and those that don't.

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