Sunday, November 26, 2006

Another Fantastic Speech by Barack Obama

Check out this speech by Sen. Barack Obama on the topic of faith and politics. Its fantastic. I wish many more on all sides of the political spectrum took his approach. The following two quotations give a general flavor of how he is arguing.

Here he acknowledges not simply the inevitability of religious discourse in the political sphere, but also its positive role in this context:
what I am suggesting is this - secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King - indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history - were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their "personal morality" into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition

Second, and more importantly in my view, he offers a model for how religious religiously motivated viewpoints ought to argue their respective cases in a pluralistic society:
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.

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