November 13, 2008

Obama on things spiritual

CT has published the full transcript from an interview with Barak Obama from 2004 by Cathleen Falsani, then religion correspondent from the Chicago Sun-Times. In the interview Obama talks about his background, his journey to faith, the role faith plays in his politics and vice versa, and the role faith plays in his life.

Here are a few nuggets, though I encourage you to read the whole piece:

"I think there is this tendency that I don't think is healthy for public figures to wear religion on their sleeve as a means to insulate themselves from criticism, or dialogue with people who disagree with them."

[I would have to say right-on to this. I think it ins important that religion not be excluded from the public sphere, and we should be allowed to talk about how our religion motivates our choices and values. But at the same time, religious motivation is not enough. In the area of public discourse and public policy, I think it is essential that arguments be framed in ways that appeal to the public good and be arguable on those grounds. Otherwise, real substantive dialogue about the policies is too easily undercut by ideological posturing.]

What is sin?

Being out of alignment with my values.

[hmm . . .]

I recommend giving the piece a read. It shows, as does so much of Obama's speech and writing, a keen mind and a thoughtful engagement with complex issues. I would definitely take some issue theologically with some of the points he makes, but his candid discussion about faith is certainly laudable.

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