Through the Prism

After passing through the prism, each refraction contains some pure essence of the light, but only an incomplete part. We will always experience some aspect of reality, of the Truth, but only from our perspectives as they are colored by who and where we are. Others will know a different color and none will see the whole, complete light. These are my musings from my particular refraction.


A Bit More Kool-Aid

. . . Frankly, I worry that enemies of Senator Obama will seize upon details like his grandfather’s Islamic faith or his father’s polygamy to portray him as an alien or a threat to American values. But snobbishness and paranoia ill-become a nation of immigrants, where one of our truest values is to judge people by their own merits, not their pedigrees. If we call ourselves a land of opportunity, then Mr. Obama’s heritage doesn’t threaten American values but showcases them.

The stepgrandson of an illiterate, barefoot woman in this village of mud huts in Africa may be the next president of the United States. Such mobility — powered by education, immigration and hard work — is cause not for disparagement but for celebration.

Obama’s Kenyan Roots

I've been paying attention to Obama since the lead-up to his speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. One of the things that's impressed me about him is his willingness to speak about his Christian faith as important to his policy decisions. He is not willing to let religion be the domain of the conservatives, but speaks about progressive values and causes as moral issues, how Christianity informs his decisions as a liberal.

. . . if we truly hope to speak to people where they're at - to communicate our hopes and values in a way that's relevant to their own - we cannot abandon the field of religious discourse.

Because when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome - others will fill the vacuum, those with the most insular views of faith, or those who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.

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.

More fundamentally, the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms. Some of the problem here is rhetorical - if we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice. Imagine Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address without reference to "the judgments of the Lord," or King's I Have a Dream speech without reference to "all of God's children." Their summoning of a higher truth helped inspire what had seemed impossible and move the nation to embrace a common destiny.

Our failure as progressives to tap into the moral underpinnings of the nation is not just rhetorical. Our fear of getting preachy may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in some of our most urgent social problems. . . .

Barack Obama speaks out on faith and politics: 'Call to Renewal' Keynote Address


At 2/27/2008 2:19 PM, Blogger Degolar said...

And in case there is any question:


This article, citing anonymous sources, claimed that "Mr. Obama, 45, spent at least four years in a so-called madrassa, or Muslim seminary, in Indonesia." But this allegation was quickly shown to be false. Days after the article appeared, CNN sent reporter John Vause to Jakarta, Indonesia, to visit the school. . . .

CNN interviewed the school's deputy headmaster, Hardi Priyono, who said: "This is a public school. We don't focus on religion."

That same day, Obama’s Senate office issued a press release saying the claims in the magazine story were false and citing CNN and other reports. Subsequent news stories in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune found no merit in the madrassa claim. Obama’s childhood in Indonesia, a country with the world’s largest Muslim population, is not something he has attempted to hide. He dedicates pages in his best-selling book "Dreams from My Father" to his life overseas.

And from

Insight magazine claimed in a January 2007 article that Barack Obama spent at least four years attending what is variously described as a "madrassa," a "radical Muslim religious school," or a "Muslim seminary" in Indonesia, but CNN has more recently reported that its own investigation found those claims to be false . . . [and] the Associated Press reported similarly.


Barack Obama describes himself as "a Christian," says that he is "rooted in the Christian tradition," and his association with the United Church of Christ began over twenty years ago, long before he contemplated a political career. (Obama was first elected to the Illinois state senate in 1996, but he has been involved with the United Church of Christ since the mid-1980s.)


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