Sunday, October 5

You too can hope for security!

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." --Hebrews 11:1NIV

A secret service agent watches the crowds as Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks during a rally at Asheville High School October 5, 2008 in Asheville, North Carolina. Obama spoke about health care for the citizens of Western North Carolina.
Sullivan comments:
Please pray, if you have faith, for the safety and security of all the candidates in this election.
I don't have this type of faith, so I can't pray. But I can hope.

In thinking about Obama's message of hope lately, it struck me: perhaps this is a large part of why fundamentalists don't like him.

Obama has shown in a high-profile way that anyone -- those of all faiths or of no faith -- can be united by hope. I.e., that hope is a more universal message than any particular faith's claim to certainty. This must rub some people the wrong way, for they feel certain that their own faith is somehow more universal, more real, fundamentally truer. And they'd like America to have this identity.

But America is not limited to a particular faith, and I thank Obama for reminding us of this:

Given the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.

And even if we did have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools? Would we go with James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is ok and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage that is so radical that it's doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?

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