Religion in the Public Arena
There's been a number of discussions online about Obama's speech on reaching out and including people of faith in the political process and in the Democratic Party. I'm still working out my thoughts on it.
I agree that it's key that everyone can come to the table including those with religious faith. And that they shouldn't have to shelve their religious language to do so. Because such language highlight resources which can make a difference in the solving of human problems.
My worry is that the effort to reach out to religious folks is going to be one sided. It's aimed at evangelical protestants, not the full array of religions represented in our country. Does this have more to do with Democratic Party fortunes than actually including folks?
We shouldn't be troubled by Christian language in politics, but we should also have Buddhist language, Pagan language, and Islamic language too. If we want to enrich the public discussion with the resources and ideas of religion let's include more than one religion.
And in doing so, let's include other folks, many who don't identify with any religion. In otherwords, let's not shut out folks in the name of reaching out. Given Obama's dismissiveness of the pledge issue and school prayer, I'm not sure he's doing this.
With different languages comes responsibility. The responsibility to communicate with folks with different languages so we can together work on the problems of life. Also key is the ability to be fallibilistic, so that "thus sayeth the Lord" begins and does not end the public conversation.