THAT (that) wrote,
THAT
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Obama On Faith and Demcracy

My father sent me a link to a speech on faith and politics by Obama.  As my dad is a moderate and tolerant Presbyterian minister, it's a subject dear to his heart.  He hates the way faith is exploited, avoided and distorted in the political realm, the way it's been hijacked by the right wing, the way it's been used to polarise, parse, alienate and demonize huge numbers of Americans.

Obama's speech is absolutely brilliant.  He calls for plurality, for respect for believers of all stripes, including nonbelievers, and yet he refuse to cede the ground of faith to those who claim certainty.  I encourage you to read it:

'Call to Renewal' Keynote Address


Here is what I wrote to my dad:

Dad,

I actually cried when I read that.  To think that this man is our President - that this thoughtful, compassionate, humane, scholarly, principled, pragmatic man has somehow become President - well, I never thought I would see anything like it. 

I have to admit that over the last 8 years, I gave up on America.  That's an awful thing to say, but after American torture, after a war of aggression justified by endless lies, after the war on science, after the attempt to dismantle the New Deal, and worst of all, after the apathy of most Americans in the face of these mockeries of our ideals... well, I don't have to tell you how demoralizing it's been.  Ever since Reagan won, it's seemed to me like America has been running away from responsibility, from community, from reality, but since Bush took office, it's seemed to me to be snowballing.

I hope and pray that the American people are ready to do some soul-searching and to put their shoulders to the wheel, to look for more from life than piddling with our consumer goods in our suburban bunkers, oblivious to our neighbors near and far.  I hope that we can hear and heed Obama's righteous call to serve one another in the service of a dream, the same dream Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi and Jesus himself have been calling us to dream together: the dream of the Kingdom of God, where the lion lays down with the lamb and there is an end to selfish striving.  Of course we will never fully achieve it, but we've got to go in that direction.  As Bob Dylan said, "You gotta serve somebody."

Thank you for passing that along.  It really touched me.

Love,

THAT
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