Politics Obama: Why can’t God be a democrat?
Today at a faith-based conference in DC, Senator Barack Obama addressed his view of the relationship between religion and politics, and urged his fellow democrats to court people of faith—including evangelicals:
“It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase `under God,’” he said. “Having voluntary student prayer groups using school property to meet should not be a threat, any more than its use by the High School Republicans should threaten Democrats.”
“We cannot abandon the field of religious discourse. … 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.”
I think this is a rather ballsy stance for Obama to take. Right now, he’s a democratic rock star—young, intelligent, and charismatic. Clinton and Bush Sr. called on him to help raise money for Katrina victims, he’s campaigned against making estate tax breaks (aka the “Paris Hilton tax breakâ€ť) permanent, he’s fought to increase Pell Grant limits for college students, etc. He’s well-known and well-respected among democrats. And yeah, I agree that many democrats are hostile to people of faith (even though there are religious democrats to be found; they’re just not the frothy kind, so no one notices). But asking dems to start courting evangelicals seems a bit…oh, I don’t know, freakishly absurd. There’s a reason it isn’t done: Evangelicals don’t walk the democratic party line—they tend to poo on it. And Obama’s appeal for religious sensitivity might lead to more bullshit like this.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how his message will resonate with or repel his fellow democrats.