Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Obama vs. Havel: Why’s President Obama’s religious faith an issue?

Brethren: Peace and Good to all of you. Please, read the following quote:

Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he's also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher. And he's also a wonderful teacher. I think it's important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history. ~ President Obama

It is an issue because the President has made it an issue. The boilerplate statement above proves it. The statement invites parsing and interpretation. It’s not a statement of faith as much as a platitude. Change the nouns “Jesus” and “Christian” and substitute “Buda” or “Mohammed” or even “Dalai Lama” and the same shallow sentiment would apply to all of them. The President’s statement is meaningless to me.

Don’t take me wrong. When I look at a President or candidate for President of the United States, I don’t first look to his (or hers!) religious faith, I look for policy agreements. The way they live and apply their faith is important, yes, but also the respect they show to people of other faiths or of none. My ideal politician in this regard was the Czech Vaclav Havel, an atheists, but one who understood what religion brought to the table. A post-Christian politician, even if personally agnostic, who honors Christian civilization is more convincing to me than one who professes a watered down, minimum-common-denominator Christianity that, in the end, provides no authentic moral guide for policy decisions.

I didn’t vote for President Obama in 2008 nor will I vote for him in 2012. This core hypocrisy is one of the many reasons why I won’t.

- Hat-tip to Catholic Ponderings.