Obama at Call to Renewal

As has already been mentioned on this blog a couple of times, Senator Barack Obama gave a speech at the Call to Renewal conference a couple of weeks back. I have very much enjoyed reading his speech a number of times since then. Simply brilliant. I could relate on a personal level to his experience in having his faith challenged by conservative elements (in his case, senatorial challenger Alan Keyes). I relished the phrase he used (one which I gather from some quick research originated from Pope John Paul) to describe what I had called “the glorification or worship of capitalism”: the idolatry of the free market. The speech was a very profound exploration of the way religion should shape our discourse on the public sphere, as well as how we stand by our religious values in a religiously pluralist society like the U.S. He provides keen insights on standing up for our faith with our words and beliefs while still warning against the superficial professions I criticized in a previous entry.

He addressed issues I have myself found rather frustrating. I am drawn to the liberal ideology because of my religious faith. And yet, all too often, religious faith and language has been avoided, downplayed, or even derided by many advocates of the Left. Granted, the Religious Right has given Liberals ample reason to be suspicious of religious action. And the derision is greatly exaggerated in the hysterics of conservative pundits. That exaggeration notwithstanding, the derision does occur, and can make religious people like myself uncomfortable allying ourselves with the Left. That has very much played into the hands of the Right. It has allowed them to be very successful in deceitfully and wrongly portraying liberalism as anathema to religion.

This is a primary reason I started this blog; to show very clearly and pointedly that the Right’s characterization of the Left is wrong, and that liberalism is very much in line with religion, the LDS religion in particular. And I am very much enthused to hear such spiritual people as Michael Lerner, Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, Bishop Carolyn Tanner, Senator Dennis Kucinich, and Senator Barack Obama stand up and demand both that the liberal respect our religiosity and that the religious respect our liberalism.

Obama made another crucial point about being fair-minded about those who differ. This is an important thing to consider for people of all political stripes. I’m sure I’ve been an offender in this regard a fair number of times. I am a very passionate person, an admirer of the strength and passion of such firebrands as John Adams, Teddy Roosevelt, and Ralph Nader. It is something of which I must be careful.

But the need to be fair-minded does not obviate the need for honesty. When public officials have proven themselves to be dishonest or to have broken the public trust by their words or actions, we are certainly justified in calling attention to that fact. The Savior was as fair-minded as can be, and yet he had no qualms in calling the supposed religious leaders of his day “hypocrites and “vipers (Matt 23).” We should be fair, but also recognize truth.

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8 Responses to “Obama at Call to Renewal”

  1. Patrick Says:

    I don’t think either side characterizes the other accurately.

    However, how can a radical liberal, he is among the most far left, even be considered by a Mormon?

    I have seen some people get caught up in the “love everyone” and “lets all feel good” mentality of Obama and the left.
    How can a person who says they belong to a church accept a political leader that advocates the total opposite of their church?

    If I am mistaken then please list where I am wrong.

    Obama disagrees with the Mormon church on Abortion, Gay Marriage, and would on several other things if the Mormon church had an offical position.

  2. gladtobeamom Says:

    Liberalism, paying taxes and having the government “take care of the poor” does not equal charity. I think charity is a person thing we should be doing and not feeling good because we voted for someone who will claim to do it for us. I would love to use my money as I see fit and to help others personally and in ways that actually work. The government falls short. More programs do nothing but make liberals feel like they are doing something because they paid their taxes. Obama is a Marxist and that doesnt fit me poitically or religiously. Here is a quote that sums it all up for me. It is sad that other Mormons fall into the liberal trap that they take care of the poor and the rest of us don’t. Which by they way can be proven to be false in so many ways.

    “The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened.”

  3. nancy Says:

    The United Order practiced in the early LDS church would be considered by most faithful LDS today to be too socialist. It is nice when churches can take care of their own, but not all people are religious and God loves them too.There has to be something in place to take care of all the needy people,not just people who attend a church. Welfare “reform” has left no safety net for many people.

  4. Gwendolyn Lee Says:

    Now – all of my thoughts below being said, I am totally dismayed that Obama seems to support the Freedom of Choice Act and is opposed to the Defense of Marriage Act. So, do we vote for him or not?
    And did you see the latest article in the October Ensign by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Apostle Russell M. Nelson entitled “Abortion, an Assault on the Defenseless”? In 2006, there were over 5.5 million LDS members. With a torrent of lies coming in from the Republicans about Democrats, and now with this article essentially making this a One Issue Only election again, I feel we are doomed in most of our elections, no matter what other wonderful blessings our candidates have to offer the people. It is wrong to base our choice of candidates on this one issue only, but it will be the case with most LDS.
    I truly, really feel that until we let go “of the bloody hand of abortion”, we will not ever get elected by the majority in this state. We can, we must, change our position on it!!
    “The wrongness of centering the election of public officials around this one issue only.”
    OK, here is what my research has brought: Please refer to the following statistics on abortion rates from Johnston Archive (stats compiled from CDC, Dept of Health, Office for National Statistics, Census Bureau, etc.):
    PARTY: PRESIDENT: TERM: RATE:
    Republican, Nixon, 6 years, 11%
    Republican, Ford, 2 years, 23%
    Democrat, Carter, 4 years, 28%
    Republican, Reagan, 8 years 28%
    Republican, HW Bush, 4 years 27%
    Democrat, Clinton, 8 years 23%
    Republican, W Bush, 5 years 20%

    From 1969 to 2005 (last year of National Records), Republicans have been in office for 25 years, Democrats for 12. The Republicans have been “in power” twice as long as Democrats, yet we still had about 760,000 abortions in the US (2005). If the Republicans are so against abortion, then why does the abortion rate during the years of Presidency for Republicans and Democrats seem to rise and fall regardless of which party is in office?
    For one thing, the President does not have executive power to change it. Only the Supreme Court can over turn Roe V Wade (1973, during Republican Nixon’s Term) and none will do so based on the Constitution, and the Republicans who have been in office have given no legal cause for it to be over turned, whether they say they disagree with it or not. So even if the next president gets to add judges, the law will not be changed.
    But the biggest reason is this: each and every election year the Republicans use Abortion as a wedge issue to try to win votes from those of us who are anti-abortion. It doesn’t matter that their other policies have disastrously hurt the American people nor do they seem to care about anything except helping the rich. And when they win, they don’t really do anything about abortion. (There were almost 4000 abortions in Utah in 2006!) Why should they, when it’s one of the most powerful issues they lean on to help them get elected. If they actually did something about it, then all the other important issues would actually be emphasized, and they would be judged on their other selfish issues, as they do not really represent the best interests of the “you’s and me’s” in this nation.
    McCain has said “… in the short term, or even-the long-term, I would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade, which would then force X number of women in America to [undergo] illegal and dangerous operations.” (And he also said “Ban on same-sex marriage is unRepublican; leave it to states.) McCain is also much less pro-life because he feels that the bottom line of a corporation is more important than the health and well-being of people when it come to environmental choices. Education is not one of his priorities – but war is. McCain’s life seems so centered in himself, graduating from Naval Academy because of his father, being able to be a pilot because of his father even though he graduated about last in his class of over 600, marrying a swim-suit model, coming home from that horrendous five years in prison, then marrying beauty-queen Cindy (after we know he had an affair with her), and then just a few years ago almost getting “involved” with young lobbyist Vicki Iseman until told to ‘back-off’ by his advisors. That, to me, does not represent family values. Nor does beauty queen Palin’s decision to leave her family to politically aggrandize herself.
    Obama has said “We can find common ground between pro-choice and pro-life. (Apr 2008)” (And he also said “Gays should not face discrimination but should not marry.”) Obama also is much more pro-life in that he wants to curtail environmental toxins and pollutions that assault our defenseless little children and cause birth defects, cancer, and other major health problems and the pre-mature death of thousands of people every year. And 3/4th of women who get an abortion do so because they feel they can’t afford a child. Obama wants to make it less likely that women will need an abortion because he will ensure they get the support they need to raise that child. Obama also values and will ensure education as one of his top priorities. Obama’s life has been one of truly caring about people and trying to make a difference for good, of helping people, of taking the “high road” of integrity, bettering himself through education so he could be more useful for others, and having a sincere desire to truly bless the lives of the American people.

  5. idahomojo Says:

    Mormon…liberal, in same sentence? You can’t be both, it’s impossibe. If your LDS, you can’t believe in the liberal, leftest, socialistic ideals. Your either one or the other. The church doesn’t teach socialism, and neither did the Savior. In the united order, he that doesn’t work won’t get anything, and socialism and the ideas that Brack “Barry” Obama
    believe in will give to those who don’t put in anything, a reward in tax rebates and benefits. In the united order, it will be a volunteer program where people will want to belong and live. You won’t be force to do so, unlike socialism. Mr. Obama, and that’s not his real name, was taught by
    those who want to destroy the fabric of America. Those who bombed American’s and still believe and say they wish they would have done more.
    I grew up in that time, I’ve seen the ugliness they reaped by their actions.
    They hate the very Constitution that grant’s them the right to protest and be leftist. Remember, if your LDS, the line in the D and C, that the Constitution will hang by a thread in the last days. This could come true with this President and those he associates with. Pick you sides, there are no fences.

  6. Derek Staffanson Says:

    Idaho, as I’ve shown throughout this blog, the true principles of liberalism, as opposed to the distortions you’ve repeated, are the true principles of the Gospel.

    Interesting you mention the White Horse prophecy, in which “The Constitution will hang by a thread.” Never mind the fact that the current administration has done so much to shred the Constitution; that prophecy is not a part of the D&C, nor any of the standard works. It is apocryphal. Perhaps if you would better study the Gospel, you would realize that many of the preconceptions of conservative Mormons are likewise suspect.

  7. Mccaffery Says:

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    Obama at Call to Renewal « A Liberal Mormon…

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