Yesterday Barak Obama gave a speech at a Sojourners event in DC. The text and an mp3 of his address can be found on his website. I’ve been looking into Obama’s speeches lately based on the recommendations of a few people, and I’m becoming more and more of a fan of him. This speech in particular pleases me (as VandenBosch would say) in deep places. Obama has a clear grasp of the position of the sojourners crowd, and what I understand as the big problem with American political discourse right now. Obama points out how both conservatives and progressives poorly caricature each other. Progressives paint religious people as brainless idiots who follow controlling ideologues. Conservatives paint progressives as Godless heathens who want to take religion out of our culture as their highest priority. Obama instead encourages real dialogue and generous understanding. Something that is perhaps too much to ask of American politics in a sound-byte intense media age, but a hopeful image nonetheless.
Of course, one would expect to hear this sort of talk at a Sojourners event. That’s what they do. But it’s encouraging to hear a prominent democrat making these kinds of statements. It’s hopeful to imagine an America where the religious vote involves more careful scrutiny than a few hot-button issues. I am becoming a big Obama fan.