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    Obamarama 2008: Call to Renewal Keynote Address

    February 21, 2008 by Brandy Vencel


    In the beginning was the Word,
    and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    He was with God in the beginning.
    Through him all things were made;
    without him nothing was made that has been made.
    In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
    The light shines in the darkness,
    but the darkness has not understood it.
    John 1:1-5

    Two nights ago, I told Si I am never doing a series like this again. I’m getting a headache obsessing over all of this. Really, I feel like I’m beating a dead horse. A horse named socialism, communism, fascism, whatever. All three social constructs are pretty intertwined, and all of them intersect in Obama.

    Who, by the way, had the most liberal voting record in 2007. That’s right. He got a higher score than Hillary Clinton. Harry Reid. Even good old Ted Kennedy.

    And the more liberal one is, the more socialist one is. By definition. As F.A. Hayek wrote in his preface to the 1956 edition of The Road to Serfdom, it is unfortunate that, in America, the term liberal

    often means very nearly the opposite of [its meaning in Britain]. It has been part of the camouflage of leftish movements in this country, helped by the muddleheadedness of many who really believe in liberty, that “liberal” has come to mean the advocacy of almost every kind of government control. I am still puzzled why those in the United States who truly believe in liberty should not only have allowed the left to appropriate this almost indispensable term but should even have assisted by beginning to use it themselves as a term of opprobrium.

    Ahem.

    This means I am the true liberal, I suppose. Standing {along with many others} for freedom and liberty and independence and maturity and responsiblity…etcetera.

    Moving ever onward…

    So I’m tired of beating the socialist horse here. Every issue has the same response: Obama’s positions are unConstitutional, inappropriate {especially for the Executive Branch}, and socialistic. They will tear apart families and so inevitably tear apart the country built from families.

    And so on.

    Today, I’m going to try and look at Obama’s most famous speech thus far, the Call to Renewal Speech, given on June 28, 2006. One op-ed said this is the most important speech on religion and politics since President Kennedy declared his independence from the Vatican. Maybe this will give a bit of insight into Obama’s “faith” and how integrated it is into his soul.

    Politicians are usually a bit fractured, and I don’t just mean Democrats.

    The Intersection of Religion and Abortion

    In response to something Alan Keyes had said, Obama says near the beginning of his speech:

    Mr. Obama says he’s a Christian, he was saying, and yet he supports a lifestyle that the Bible calls an abomination.

    Mr. Obama says he’s a Christian, but supports the destruction of innocent and sacred life.

    And so what would my supporters have me say? How should I respond? Should I say that a literalist reading of the Bible was folly? Should I say that Mr. Keyes, who is a Roman Catholic, should ignore the teachings of the Pope?

    Unwilling to go there, I answered with what has come to be the typically liberal response in such debates – namely, I said that we live in a pluralistic society, that I can’t impose my own religious views on another, that I was running to be the U.S. Senator of Illinois and not the Minister of Illinois.

    Later on, he says:

    Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.

    Now this is going to be difficult for some who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible, as many evangelicals do. But in a pluralistic democracy, we have no choice. Politics depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. It involves the compromise, the art of what’s possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It’s the art of the impossible. If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime, but to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.

    Now, that was a lot of words, so let’s try to boil it down to the major points:

    1. Alan Keyes points out the conflict of faith in Obama saying he is a Christian while supporting the murder of the unborn.
    2. Obama responds by explaining he has no right to impose his religious views on other people.
    3. Obama explains democracy to us, that it requires us to “translate” our concerns into universal values.
    4. Democracy requires that all proposals be subject to reason.
    5. My point: Implied here is that there are no reasons to oppose abortion other than religious reasons, that standing in opposition to abortion is, to some extent irrational or intellectually untenable. Also, Obama, who if elected would vow to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, doesn’t even attempt to use the Constitution’s basic language which, in the 10th Amendment, reveals that the Federal Government has no power over social issues like abortion and that each state is responsible for its own moral governance. This would have gotten him out of a lot of trouble!
    6. Politics, Obama tells us, is based on compromise.
    7. My point:Obama’s God is powerless to stand in a “pluralistic” democracy.

    All of this is quite interesting to me when I consider that, to Obama, abortion is actually not a religious issue at all. It is, in fact, a tool for freeing women from the responsibilities of family life. Abortion, coupled with Preschool for All, has the power to make Woman a Man.

    But let me not get sidetracked. My point here is this: Obama claims to be a Christian, of this there is no doubt. In the speech, he talks about his conversion experience. However, he cannot be expected to rule as a Christian. I have heard the argument made that a Christian should vote for Obama because he himself is a Christian.

    Now, there are many nice Christians out there that would make terrible Presidents, but that is beside the point.

    Obama has made it clear that pluralism, rather than religion is where is alliances lie. He will not be tied down to Christianity in how he makes decisions, and anytime he signs a law that stands in opposition to the faith he professes, he will pull out the Diversity Card. He will say he is representing all the people, not just Christians, and so he is obligated to sign immoral legislation.

    But what if Lincoln had said that the only arguments made against slavery were religious ones? That abolishing slavery didn’t stand up to logic, and beside, plurality demanded its acceptance?

    This is ridiculous to us because we understand intuitively that the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, these are not mere arbitrary religious edicts. Instead, they are revelations of a created order. The world works best when governments submit themselves to these revealed laws. When murder and stealing are legal {in the form of abortion and redistribution of wealth through the medium of the IRS}, families break apart, greed and class envy and selfishness are encouraged, and the fabric of society begins to unravel.

    Moreover, the “separation of church and state” that Obama insists on hiding behind when discussing the abortion issue, as well as many other moral issues, was never intended to be about morality. It was basically a declaration that the government would {1} not institute a State denomination and {2} wouldn’t get involved in petty {or important, for that matter} denominational differences.

    This was never saying that the government couldn’t uphold basic levels of morality that were in keeping with the observed created order. Obama is right. He can’t impose his religious views on others. But, in the world of the Founders, this didn’t mean he couldn’t stand up against abortion, infanticide, genocide, and the other horrors of the day. It meant he couldn’t force every citizen to attend church or engage in religious rituals like communion or baptism.

    Aha.

    I just had an aha moment as I am sitting here typing.

    I get it.

    Obama’s religion is not transcendent. This is why it doesn’t apply to a “pluralistic” society. His religion is true for him. Not true for all. And I’m not even sure he thinks his faith rests on any reason or logic whatsoever, after reading his words.

    There is a sense in which I do appreciate his speech. After all, he is the first socialist politician in a long time to not fully sideline serious Christians. But there is another sense in which he is actually more dangerous by doing this.

    You see, instead of separating Christians from the culture as many politicians before him, he is actually attempting to separate religion from the Christian.

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    1 Comment

  • Reply Lydia February 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Wow! This has been a very helpful and thought-provoking series to read. I had never heard Obama speak outside of brief sound bites in the media.

    It just blows ones mind to get to the bottom of what this guy believes. Even more mind-boggling is that people will nod their heads and agree with all this nonsense. We truly live in post-modern times in regards to belief and morality.

    The thing that struck me after reading his thoughts was that it is obvious he doesn’t believe in any absolutes or at best, he believes absolutes apply to an individual insofar as he or she is willing to adhere to them. He is a relativist, post-modernist and secular humanist. Humanism is his religion and relativism dictates his beliefs about life. He clearly shows that he does not believe God is sovereign and supreme over the universe. Rather MAN is as HE determines what is best for HIS life.

    This is not Christian belief. This is pure humanism straight from the Garden of Eden introduced by the Serpent.

    That is my take.

    Thanks for your effort in putting this series together. If nothing else maybe you can use it to point out in simple terms the fallacy of particular beliefs to your son. Also you can make it clear that even if someone calls himself a “Christian” it doesn’t mean he truly belongs to Christ. “They shall know them by their fruits.”

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