March 18, 2008

Barack Obama's religion

Reading about Barack Obama's speech on race (of which more here) what astonishes me is the religious rhetoric that Obama uses. His speech seems to me deeply Christian in its motivations- and in its tropes. Particularly Obama's concern with forgiveness shines through the speech and particularly his forgiveness for someone close to him who has disappointed him. Furthermore it is the absense of anger in the speech whether at black or white racists, but the willingness to find reasons for their evil feelings that suggests to me a deep Christian conviction. Central to the Christian faith is the idea that one should hate sins not the sinner, that one should forgive and turn the other cheek and that one should not cast the first stone. Senator Obama managed to bring out in his speech many of those sentiments and suggested that the best way to end racism was to end the conditions which brought it about. In this sense Obama is a more religious candidate than many I've heard of or read about before running for office, it will be interesting to see if this kind of rhetoric works. But its testament to the fact that religion in the US works on the right as well as on the left.