(UPDATE: Read Obama's full speech here.)
According to CNN.com, Thursday, June 29, 2006
If this came from other voices in the Democratic party I'd say it's a "since we can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach. But with Obama, I'm not so sure...
Obama to Democrats: Woo evangelicals
Senator chatises party for failing to understand power of faith
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Barack Obama chastised fellow Democrats Wednesday for failing to "acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people" and said the party must compete for the support of evangelicals and other churchgoing Americans.
"Not every mention of God in public is a breach to the wall of separation. Context matters," the Illinois Democrat said in remarks to a conference of Call to Renewal, a faith-based movement to overcome poverty.
"It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase 'under God,' " he said. "Having voluntary student prayer groups using school property to meet should not be a threat any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats."Now that's a great point. See, liberals do have a point.
Obama, the only black senator, drew national notice even before arriving in Congress last year, and has occasionally used his visibility to scold members of his own party. Widely sought as a fundraiser for other Democrats, Obama responded with a noncommittal laugh this spring when asked whether he wants a spot on the national ticket in 2008.Hey, if we take Bush at face value, let's let Obama speak for himself as well. Then let his actions judge his own words. Like Clinton and Carter who claimed to be good Southern Baptists, or something like that.
His speech included unusually personal references to religion, the type of remarks that usually come more readily from Republicans than Democrats.
"Kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me," he said of his walk down the aisle of the Trinity United Church of Christ. "I submitted myself to his will and dedicated myself to discovering his truth."
Obama said millions of Christians, Muslims and Jews have traveled similar religious paths, and that is why "we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse. ... In other words, if we don't reach out to evangelical Christians and other religious Americans and tell them what we stand for, Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons will continue to hold sway."We wouldn't want that to happen.
Obama coupled his advice with a warning. "Nothing is more transparent than inauthentic expressions of faith: the politician who shows up at a black church around election time and claps -- off rhythm -- to the gospel choir."Another great point. See?
At the same time, he said, "Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square."Thank you.
As a result, "I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people and join a serious debate about how to reconcile faith with our modern, pluralistic democracy."
Obama mentioned leaders of the religious right briefly, saying they must "accept some ground rules for collaboration" and recognize the importance of the separation of church and state.That's true. The state should never tell the church what to believe. The church, as a member of society (part of a government by the people for the people) has every right to tell the state what to do in order to protect the liberty and welfare of it's people. It's called a democracy.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.Well, that never happens. Blogs republish this sorta stuff all the time. So there.
Columns: Howard Kurtz, (and blogger roundup) E.J. Dionne Jr., Dana Milbank, MyDD
Blogs: An Average American, Captain's Quarters, Cracks in the Facade, Crazy Politico's Rantings, Daily Kos (blasting Obama), Faith in Public Life, Freedom Essays, Pearlbear's Blog, Spanky's Speculation