Monday, October 08, 2007

"We can build a beautiful city, yes we can..."

So Sen. Obama was speaking at a church in Greenville (home of the oft-maligned Bob Jones University, in case you forgot), and makes an interesting statement:

While discussing how Republicans don't "own" faith and values issues, Obama concluded his remarks by saying, "We're going to keep on praising together. I am confident that we can create a Kingdom right here on Earth."

Stop for a second and think about that. In fact, we'll do it Matthew-McConaughey-"A Time to Kill"-style:

Imagine a presidential candidate giving a stump speech at a church, and talking about his party's commitment to faith and values. Concluding by saying that they will create a Kingdom here on Earth. Now imagine it's a Republican.

[Amen, brother, I saw that involuntary shudder there in the back, hallelooyer.]

Okay, I'm being flippant. But I find it interesting that of the same people I've known who have complained about the marriage of church and state in several candidates on the right, more than a few of them support a candidate who makes an ambiguous but similar statement from the left.

In fact, Beliefnet lists Obama as one of the Democratic candidates most vocal about faith so far.

"But Dave," one might ask, "as a Christian, why does this bother you? Wouldn't you be happy to hear candidates talking about faith?"

Generally, sure, I don't mind it. And the whole church-state balance is a tricky one, worthy of its own blog post sometime. But I have to ask: what does "faith" mean to these candidates? How does it affect who they are and what they do? Because the current president also talks a lot about faith, and clearly the public aren't sure they like that. So here's the question: is God-talk always okay or not okay? Or does the speaker matter?

What caught my eye is the way Obama said what he said. We can build the Kingdom. Wait a minute, Senator--what kingdom? Whose kingdom?

My bet? Continue the lyric: "...Not a city of angels, but finally a city of men."

Maybe I'm being too suspicious. But if a Repub candidate made this statement, they'd be dead in the water. The usual suspects from the left side of the webiverse would cry, "Theocracy!" and wig out like forty cockatiels in a too-small cage.

Don't look at me like that, you know I'm not far from the truth here.

So what do you think about this? Especially you Obama supporters. Do you mind his use of religious rhetoric, or do you think the great church/state divide (btw, the phrase is still not in the Constitution) should be sacrosanct?

Comment below, in my little blog kingdom.

No comments: