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Barack Obama


Neon Genesis
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It seems like we don't really discuss current events here as much as we do politics in the abstract so I thought it would be interesting to see what everyone here thought about President Obama, particularly in regard to his religious beliefs and how he stands in the progressive Christian community. You have some people who think Obama is a far left ultra liberal communist who is trying to take away our religious freedoms. Then you have other people who like Obama but think he could be a little more progressive and more principled in his beliefs and then you have the cynics who think Obama's policies are no different than George H.W. Bush's were. Where do you stand on this? Do you like Obama or hate him? Do you think he's the most progressive Christian president we've ever had or do you think there's someone who could do the job better? Will you be voting for him or for somebody else in the elections this year?

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Any possibility we can discuss his religious expressions without labels? Can we describe his religious beliefs without "progressive" or "liberal"? Unless he claimed the label himself?

 

The exercise would do us well.

 

 

Dutch

Edited by glintofpewter
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I don't stand anywhere among the positions you list for the questions you ask...in fact, they aren't even questions I'd ask or wonder about for myself or others. So all that you touch upon is irrelevant.

 

I respect that he has done as well as he has trying to keep his own religious views and positions out of his politics. He hasn't used religion as just another card to be played politically, many others disgust me with their doing so.

 

I voted for Hillary in the 2008 primary, Obama in the election, and plan to vote for Obama in 2012. Doesn't mean he is any 'ideal' for me in any way, but the potential alternatives give me nightmares, as did that in 2008.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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I thought it would be interesting to see what everyone here thought about President Obama, particularly in regard to his religious beliefs and how he stands in the progressive Christian community.

 

This is not even relevant as he is a Muslim born in Kenya. :wacko:

 

George

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http://www.asksam.co...chEbooks=Search

 

For those who want to search Obama's words here is a link to site that has his speeches. This specific link is for search results for "Bible" in his speeches.

 

an excerpt

 

But the reason the doctor was considering not voting for me was not simply my position on abortion. Rather, he had read an entry that my campaign had posted on my website, which suggested that I would fight "right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman's right to choose." The doctor went on to write:

 

"I sense that you have a strong sense of justice...and I also sense that you are a fair minded person with a high regard for reason...Whatever your convictions, if you truly believe that those who oppose abortion are all ideologues driven by perverse desires to inflict suffering on women, then you, in my judgment, are not fair-minded....You know that we enter times that are fraught with possibilities for good and for harm, times when we are struggling to make sense of a common polity in the context of plurality, when we are unsure of what grounds we have for making any claims that involve others...I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words."

 

Fair-minded words.

 

So I looked at my website and found the offending words. In fairness to them, my staff had written them using standard Democratic boilerplate language to summarize my pro-choice position during the Democratic primary, at a time when some of my opponents were questioning my commitment to protect Roe v. Wade.

 

Re-reading the doctor's letter, though, I felt a pang of shame. It is people like him who are looking for a deeper, fuller conversation about religion in this country. They may not change their positions, but they are willing to listen and learn from those who are willing to speak in fair-minded words. Those who know of the central and awesome place that God holds in the lives of so many, and who refuse to treat faith as simply another political issue with which to score points.

 

I am nervous about this topic but I thought I would find research material.

 

Dutch

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I find it ironic that the same right wing politicians who try to use the bible to force their religious extremism on everyone else accuse Obama of being a secret Marxist radical leftist for his support of health care reform and the health care mandate yet Obama has stated himself that his support for health care reform comes from his belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ. Obama's comments about the teachings of Jesus remind me a lot of what Marcus Borg has said in his books about how the teachings of Jesus call Christians to participate in radical social justice: http://www.buzzfeed.com/zekejmiller/obama-i-pushed-dodd-frank-and-health-care-reform

"And so when I talk about our financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street, when I talk about making sure insurance companies aren’t discriminating against those who are already sick, or making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren’t taking advantage of the most vulnerable among us, I do so because I genuinely believe it will make the economy stronger for everybody. But I also do it because I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years, and I believe in God’s command to 'love thy neighbor as thyself.'"

"I know the version of that Golden Rule is found in every major religion and every set of beliefs — from Hinduism to Islam to Judaism to the writings of Plato," Obama added.

The president said he often falls to his knees in prayer, and emphasized the role of his religious values in determining where to lead the country.

"I’d be remiss if I stopped there; if my values were limited to personal moments of prayer or private conversations with pastors or friends. So instead, I must try — imperfectly, but I must try — to make sure those values motivate me as one leader of this great nation."

Obama maintained that his call for the wealthiest to give up their tax breaks, he's doing so out of economic necessity, but also in line with biblical teachings.

"And I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually think that’s going to make economic sense. But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’s teaching that 'for unto whom much is given, much shall be required,'" Obama said, noting Jewish and Islamic teachings say much the same thing.

Obama also defended foreign aid from assault, noting that it not just enhances the nation's security — but fulfills the biblical requirement to look out for those who cannot speak for themselves.

"And when I decide to stand up for foreign aid, or prevent atrocities in places like Uganda, or take on issues like human trafficking, it’s not just about strengthening alliances, or promoting democratic values, or projecting American leadership around the world, although it does all those things and it will make us safer and more secure. It’s also about the biblical call to care for the least of these — for the poor; for those at the margins of our society.

To answer the responsibility we’re given in Proverbs to 'Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.'"

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Where do you stand on this?

 

Well, like Jenell, I voted reluctantly for Obama, as I was a Hillary supporter in the primaries.

 

However, over time, Obama has won me over. I thought he would be an unmitigated disaster because of his inexperience.

 

Instead, he has been open to change his views, and adapt to the realities that unfold before him. Many of my clients are Fortune 500 manufacturing corporations, and things are beginning to move in a forward direction - particularly the auto makers. I have a large General Motors plant in my territory, and they recently added 1,000 employees and added a third shift.

 

I have personally witnessed several institutions and small companies directly benefit from the President's stimulus package. In fact, our company won bids associated with two stimulus projects. I have more money to spend than I did a couple years ago.

 

I've always been skeptical about Keynesian economic policy, but it appears to work - at least at the local level. It probably isn't a good thing for the mega-corporations because most of the recipients of the stimulus package are smaller contractors and educational / healthcare institutions.

 

At first, I thought his embracing Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals philosophy was a gimmick, but apparently, he has successfully implemented Lincoln's strategy of taking in his rivals to help sharpen his worldview. Selecting Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State was perhaps his best move, as we have regained the respect we lost overseas during the Bush years. His team of economic advisers could not be more diverse, and certainly not representative of the so-called "community activist" model.

 

As far as religion goes, he seems to go out of his way to be inclusive of religious (and non-religious) persuasions historically ignored, such as Paganism, Atheism, Islam, etc.

 

I am still suspicious of our two-party system, and am somewhat disappointed that our younger generation has not become more involved.

 

I would still rather see the rise of a vibrant third party challenge to the status quo, but in the meantime, Barak Obama is a welcome change from the previous experience.

 

NORM

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I do not like the 'third party' idea at all...with 3 candidates, the two perceived by voters as most similar to one another are going to end up splitting the vote that would have gone to one or the other had they been the only choice for those voters. If that total vote count split between the two of them exceeds that of the 3rd candidate, that 3 candiate wins even if not garnering a majority of votes.

 

Example, 2008...if voters' choices had been Hillary Clinton, Barrack Obama, and John McCain, the votes for both Clinton and Obama added together, would have beat out John McCain, his total of votes being much smaller that for both the other candidates put together, but greater than that for either Clinton or Obama .

 

Jenell

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I think we should focus on getting more liberals and moderate Republicans elected into office instead of trying to create a third party who could be just as easily lead into corruption once they become elected like any other party can be. I think the problem lies with the candidates we elect and not the party system. A third party just seems redudant to me. My thoughts on Obama is that I voted for him both in the primaries and in the national elections because I wanted somebody different in office besides the Clintons and the Bushes and I liked a lot of the poliicies he was promoting while running.

 

I'm a lot more critical of Obama's policies now and I wish he would be more principaled in his beliefs, but I don't regret voting for him and I'll probably vote for him again this time unless somebody more liberal comes along. But I'm pleased with Obama's health care reform even though I think he could have went further and he's probably the most gay-friendly president we've ever had and he's done lots of progressive things for gay rights, like passing the Matthew Shepard Act which would make killing somebody for their sexuality a hate crime and repealing DADT and also no longer defending DOMA. I wish Obama would hurry up and "evolve" his beliefs on gay marriage already, but I understand he's in a critical position now of trying to win the next election and not wanting to jepordarsize his chances by making controversial stances before the election though I think coming out in support of gay marriage would be a big energy boost to the Democrats to get out and vote if he did come out in support of it.

Edited by Neon Genesis
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  • 1 month later...

I was touched by an article in a current magazine, on Obama’s student days at Columbia, living a very ascetic existence….reflecting on that period of his life, he said--

 

“The only way I could have a sturdy sense of identity of who I was depended on digging beneath the surface differences of people. The only way my life makes sense is if, regardless of culture, race, religion, tribe, there is this commonality, these essential human truths and passions and hopes and moral precepts that are universal. And that we can reach out beyond our differences. If that is not the case, then it is pretty hard for me to make sense of my life…that is at the core of who I am.”

Edited by rivanna
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