Alibris Secondhand Books Standard

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Barack Obama talks about his faith

John Meunier points to a transcript of an interview Barack Obama gave with Cathleen Falsani of the Chicaco Sun-Times in March of 2004, when he was an Illinois State Senator. The full transcript has been published for the first time at Beliefnet.

Several things he said resonated with me:

I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I'm not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I've got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.

As I said before, in my own public policy, I'm very suspicious of religious certainty expressing itself in politics.

Now, that's different form a belief that values have to inform our public policy. I think it's perfectly consistent to say that I want my government to be operating for all faiths and all peoples, including atheists and agnostics, while also insisting that there are values that inform my politics that are appropriate to talk about.

I find it interesting how Obama elaborates on that last point:

A standard line in my stump speech during this campaign is that my politics are informed by a belief that we're all connected. That if there's a child on the South Side of Chicago that can't read, that makes a difference in my life even if it's not my own child. If there's a senior citizen in downstate Illinois that's struggling to pay for their medicine and having to chose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer even if it's not my grandparent. And if there's an Arab American family that's being rounded up by John Ashcroft without the benefit of due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

I can give religious expression to that. I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper, we are all children of God. Or I can express it in secular terms. But the basic premise remains the same.

In a few short sentences he explains something I agree with but have long struggled to express.

On the other hand, I think his view of sin is a little too subjective. When asked, "What is sin?" he replied:

Being out of alignment with my values.

But part of the Christian journey, as I understand it, is to realign our values.

All in all, it's a great interview. Read the whole thing.



At 11/20/2008 4:52 PM, Blogger truevyne said...

Is it okay for me to say that "out of alignment with my values" doesn't resonate with me. My values? They can change, but God's cannot.

I like much of the rest of the interview you posted- especially about being our brother and sister's keeper.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home