Democracy Soup

Making sense out of the world of politics

Obama’s lack of a specific church makes him open to understanding religion within world issues

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Originally published on on Fri, 04/10/2009 – 12:09pm

One of my favorite expressions is “I don’t have a dog in that fight.” It’s not good enough for my Facebook page, but I do enjoy it.

Not having this dog is a good way to stay objective in a situation, reacting in a cool fashion when there is so much heat, sticks with marshmallows can be seen for miles around.

Barack Obama likes to be someone who doesn’t have a dog in any fight. He listens from afar, tells us what he sees, and responds. His olive branch to the presidents of France and China is an excellent example of this modus operandi.

Obama has carried this concept in one of the hottest fires — religion. He has an awareness of the religions of the world that very few American leaders have ever had. After all, Obama did live in a primarily Muslim country (Indonesia), and he is a Christian. And Obama became the first U.S. president to host a Passover seder.

Fox “News” has been giving Obama grief over not going to church on Sunday since he became president. After he left the Trinity United Church of Christ, Obama hasn’t publicly jumped back into the pool of churches. And that is a great decision — for now.

By not being identified with a particular church, Obama can more easily blend in and out like a chameleon, dealing with people of all different faiths around the world. When Obama spoke that “The United States is not, and never will be, at war at war with Islam,” his words rang true.

Unlike any other presidential candidate in recent memory (not even Mitt Romney), Barack Obama was questioned about what he would do based on his religion, secret or otherwise. There were Jews, particularly in Florida, who were skeptical about his “secret Muslimness.” There were Christians who didn’t believe he was Christian. While Muslims knew he wasn’t Muslim, they didn’t know how he would treat their concerns.

Obama didn’t draw up the path he has taken over religion over the last 16 months, but in fact, it may prove to be fortuitous for his presidency.

Jews in the Middle East can assume he’s not fervently Christian. Muslims see that he gets where they are coming from. Christians, thanks to Rev. Jeremiah Wright, know he is one of them.

The Daily Show (see above) mocked his detractors. Obama isn’t searching for a religion, though he is looking for a church. But it is that inherent process of looking, that openness is what the world has fed off of so far that gives Obama enhanced credibility.

Everyone knows he is Christian (or should anyway), but his willingness to look cautiously for a specific church gives him more credibility. People of other religions don’t see Obama as stuck in a situation. And he hasn’t — with the exception of Fox “News” — received major outcries for not attending services at a specific organized church.

This is a bipartisan issue as well. After all, John McCain has a religion, but certainly didn’t wear it on his sleeve. And without looking it up, I couldn’t tell you what that religion was.

We saw what happened when the last guy wore his religion on his sleeve. Things got much worse, not better. Perhaps a guy with no sleeves is the best answer in dealing with the world.


Written by democracysoup

April 10, 2009 at 12:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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