Thursday, February 02, 2012

President Obama @ The National Prayer Breakfast Today

"Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Jane Addams, Martin Luther King, Jr., Dorothy Day, Abraham Heschel -- the majority of great reformers in American history did their work not just because it was sound policy, or they had done good analysis, or understood how to exercise good politics, but because their faith and their values dictated it, and called for bold action -- sometimes in the face of indifference, sometimes in the face of resistance. This is no different today for millions of Americans, and it’s certainly not for me."

"For me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required.” It mirrors the Islamic belief that those who’ve been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others, or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others."

Read the rest here.


RonF said...

Didn't we hear 8 years of ridicule and condemnation and citations of "separation of Church and State" because President Obama's predecessor cited his faith as one of the reasons for the policies he favored and the actions he took? So how come it's held up as an example now?


Let's see ... where to start ... Hmmmm ...

1. It's held up as an example now because this President is expressing how his own faith and values inform his own decision making process ... not how his own theology should be written into our Constitution.

2. It's held up as an antidote to those who continue to blast him as "THE most secular president EVER" ... not to even mention the morons who keep insisting he's a Muslim. (NOT that there's anything wrong with being a Muslim. He's. Just. NOT. One.)

3. It's held up as an opportunity to witness to one's own faith while respecting others ... modeling that my Christianity isn't diminished by my neighbor's Judaism any more than my neighbor's marriage is threatened by mine.

4. Finally, it's held up as a example of how good people of deep faith stay on the right side of the "church and state" line by living out their own deeply help values as they make decisions in the political process while not presuming to claim that "their" faith is subject to entitlements other faiths are not.

THAT would be the point of the First Amendment. Not separate us from our own faith as we engage in matters of the state but to prevent us from imposing our own religion on others.

Thanks for asking.

RonF said...

I'll agree with you that no one faith or denomination should be favored over another. I also don't see any particular evidence that Pres. Obama is "secretly a Muslim".

Note, though, that we're talking Presidents here, not other political activists. I am not aware that Pres. Bush ever held forth that his theology should be written into the Constitution, nor do I recall that he thought that someone else's different faith diminished his or that his faith was due special entitlements. Yet he was personally condemned all the same for speaking about how his faith informed his vision of America, whereas Pres. Obama is not. Disageeing with Obama's vision is valid, as is disagreeing with Bush's - but condemning and ridiculing one for having his vision informed by his faith while praising another for the same thing seems hypocritical to me.


In point of fact, I am frequently and arguably annoyingly repetitively consistent in noting that I'll defend to my last breath the right of anybody (including George Bush) to believe whatever cockeyed thing they want to about what God's plan is for whatever they think God has a plan for.

So I think you'd be hard pressed to find my having made such comments about Bush's faith per se. If I'm in error I'm happy to be corrected and to account for it.

Meanwhile, Google "Federal Marriage Amendment" and get back to me about attempts to write theology in the Constitution.

LGMarshall said...

When Obama uses bible scripture to make a point... I notice he gives himself a generous berth, in terms of pertinence.

Countless times, Obama, presents 'being my brother's keeper', as some biblical, moral imperative. But, actually, the scripture, "Am I my brother's keeper?", Gen4.9, is a rhetorical / sarcastic answer, that Cain gave to God, right after he murdered his brother, Abel.

Note: God didn't say, "You are your brother's keeper".

Now we have Obama saying, from Luke 12.48b,

"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.."

...but I think he's slipshod in leaving out the first half of Jesus' teaching, which is...

[Luke12:47-48]..."That servant who knows his master's will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows."

The Scripture is about being 'Watchful'! [Luke12.35.- 'Be dressed, ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door fore him.]

It has nothing to do with the 'wealthy' paying additional taxes paid to Caesar.[on top of what they already pay.]

PS-- The top 30% of USA wage earners, pay %100 of taxes that are collected by Fed Govt. That hardly, seems 'fair'.


LG ,,, we get it. You're a literalist. We really do get it. I guess what I don't get is what someone who reads the Bible literally does with the "Not everyone who says Lord, Lord but the ones who do the will of my Father" part. Where do you even have the chance to see where the Holy Spirit is showing up in the work and witness of others when you're so busy critiquing how others don't live up to your standards of scriptural literalism? Seriously!!

RonF said...

Certainly there are a number of people who oppose redefining marriage to include homosexual couples on theological grounds. That doesn't mean that opposition to such has to be based on theological grounds, however. It can be simply based on a recognition that the bond between a man and a woman is different than the bond between two men or the bond between two women and that the State has different interests in promoting and providing privileges to the various kinds of bonds.

I'd have to search the archives to see if you had made such a comment, I'll confess. I was speaking more to the general case that the left always was up in arms and full of ridicule when Bush spoke about how his faith informed his decisions, but gives Obama a pass.

I don't think LG's being a literalist at all. I think he's doing a careful reading of the Scripture that Obama was citing and showing - as my own pastor does when he gives a sermon and as I would expect as you do when you give a sermon - what the context of a passage is and what it's meaning is. LG makes a good case that Obama was misinterpreting Scripture, he's not being literalist at all.

I see people cite the Holy Spirit often when they are pushing TEC farther and farther to the left. I was on the selection committee when we hired our current pastor. One question I asked the candidates was "People talk a lot about the work of the Holy Spirit. How do you know when work is of the Holy Spirit and not some other spirit?" The answer I got was "When the work is in accordance with Scripture" - and that was from a candidate that you would certainly consider on the left. It seems to me that the left is possessed by spirits of hubris. They presume that the work they do is inspired by the Holy Spirit without applying the Scriptural test. Personally I think that they are inspiried by a spirit or a whole group of them, but I would not describe that spirit as a Holy one.

JCF said...

The top 30% of USA wage earners, pay %100 of taxes that are collected by Fed Govt

This is patently, ridiculously FALSE. LGM, turn off FOX!!! Click off NewsMax! Come back to Reality, PLEASE???

uffda51 said...

The Fox News policy of rich people paying rich people to tell middle class people to blame poor people is working.

LG has just expressed it perfectly. The problem is not Bain Capital, the Cayman Islands and carried interest, i.e., a tax policy which favors the top 1% and legalizes tax evasion. The problem is poor working people not paying enough taxes. And it’s all clearly spelled out in the Bible.

Except that under funded public infrastructure and a lack of proper regulation create failed levies and power grids, collapsed bridges, coal mining and oil platform disasters, etc. Never mind that all of these failures have resulted in lost lives.

President Bush famously claimed “I feel like God wants me to run for President. I can't explain it, but I sense my country is going to need me.” Then he authorized the use of torture. His faith certainly informed his vision of America. He has rightly been condemned for that un-Christian policy, even by John McCain.

President Obama has hardly been given a free pass. He has been vigorously called out by many progressive religious leaders for his support of detention without charge, unmanned drone attacks, and the illegal assassination of American citizens. But he has not attempted to insert his own theology into the Constitution.

JCF said...

Personally I think that they are inspiried by a spirit or a whole group of them, but I would not describe that spirit as a Holy one.

I remember hearing the preacher Carlton Pearson talk about (back when he was a fundy Pentecostalist) getting into arguments w/ his wife. Each immediately attributed their disagreement as RonF does: "I rebuke thee Satan!" "No, I rebuke *thee* Satan!"

It's very convenient, isn't it, RonF? If we disagree, one of MUST be wrong. "It's obviously not me, so it MUST be you. And if I state my disagreement clearly, and you STILL don't submit to my Godly admonition, then you MUST be under the sway of the Evil One!"

Believe me, I wish it were this easy, too. YOU are clearly wrong, YOU are clearly going against Christ (known in Scripture, Tradition and Reason), YOU are clearly grieving the Holy Spirit, YOU are not loving Christ's "least of these."

...but it just isn't this easy. Like it or not, you're my brother in Christ. Like it or not, you are a unique, beloved Imago Dei I NEED to hear from.

Are either of us under a spirit of deception, of hubris? Are BOTH of us?

God alone knows. God alone judges. I am but commanded to love you, as Christ has loved me. So, however bad I am at it, with God's help I'm going to try...