Sunday, June 17, 2007
Senator Barack Obama, currently a Democratic candidate for President, gave the keynote speech before the Iowa United Church of Christ Statewide Conference and explained that, although the household he grew up in was not particularly religious, he joined the United Church of Christ as a young man working as a community organizer in Chicago's South Side, because he felt that without a church he would "remain apart and alone." He claims that "he heard God beckoning him on the day he affirmed his faith in the United Church of Christ decades ago."
That calling, he told a Fort Dodge audience, propelled him to go beyond Sunday worship and to do what he believes is God's work for the poor, the sick and those being released from prison.The senator went on to accuse some evangelical Christians of using religion as a wedge to divide people:
"Somehow, somewhere along the way faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart," he said. "It got hijacked. Part of it's because of the so-called leaders of the Christian right, who've been all too eager to exploit what divides us. At every opportunity, they've told evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage, school prayer and intelligent design."I have nothing particular to say about Obama's beliefs except to comment that they are a distinct improvement over those of the likes of James Dobson or George Bush. It seems we are bound to get a politician willing to loudly proclaim his or her religious beliefs as president. Unlike those who think that those politicians' stated beliefs on, say, religion versus science are somehow irrelevant to their fitness for office, I think the last six years has shown us quite the contrary. Bush thought God was telling him to turn Iraq into a horrible quagmire that will sap the strength of America for a generation or more.
Obama said the Christian Coalition once identified "tax cuts for the rich" as its No. 1 legislative priority.
"I don't know what Bible they're reading," he said. "It doesn't jive [sic] with my version."
We need to listen to these people and make sure we know what God they think is whispering in their ear and how good their hearing is.