Barack Obama may prove to be a more religious president than George W. Bush. Why?
Because it seems Obama views religion as an aspect of life that can neither be arbitrarily separated from the work of government nor ignored in the lives of people.
Gilgoff on his blog offers eight points to consider:
1. Obama has vowed to expand the Bush White House's Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, under a new name.
2. Obama has told me that he regularly prays to be an "instrument of God's will." That's not likely to stop when he's president.
3. The Obama transition team has had more than a dozen meetings with scores of religious groups as it works to craft its policy agenda.
4. Obama rejects the secular argument against mixing religion and government policy:"[S]ecularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square . . . To say that men and women should not inject their personal morality into public policy debates is a practical absurdity; our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition."
5. Despite protests from gay rights advocates and the political left, Obama has stood firmly behind his decision to invite Rick Warren to give his inauguration's invocation.
6. On the campaign trail, Obama sat down with Christian right leaders even before John McCain got to them.
7. In The Audacity of Hope—a book whose title comes from a sermon—Obama writes that Democrats need to challenge the religious right for the votes of values voters:There are a whole lot of religious people in America, including the Cover via Amazonmajority of Democrats. When we abandon the field of religious discourse—when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations toward one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome—others will fill the vacuum. And those who do are likely to be those with the most insular views of faith, or who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.
8. On the campaign trail, Obama distributed lots of literature advertising himself as a 'Committed Christian.'
Image by Getty Images via DayliAfter reading these, I thought back to how at the beginning of his presidency George W. Bush was considered to be so very religious, having stopped heavy drinking, faithfully attending Bible Study, and saying that he admired "Jesus" as his hero on the campaign trail.
Now combining Obama's past statements with his current slate of initiatives, perhaps we may all be surprised that the new president may actually promote religion in much broader, more substantive, and more expansive ways than our previous president.
What do you think?