Friday, April 24, 2009


"I do not believe that religious people have a monopoly on morality, I would rather have someone who is grounded in morality and ethics, and who is also secular, affirm their morality and ethics and values without pretending that they're something they're not. They don't need to do that. None of us need to do that."
"But what I am suggesting is this -- secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public square. Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Williams Jennings Bryant, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King -- indeed, the majority of great reformers in American history -- were not only motivated by faith, but repeatedly used religious language to argue for their cause. So to say that men and women should not inject their 'personal morality' into public policy debates is a practical absurdity. Our law is by definition a codification of morality, much of it grounded in the Judeo-Christian tradition."
"Moreover, if we progressives shed some of these biases, we might recognise some overlapping values that both religious and secular people share when it comes to the moral and material direction of our country. We might recognise that the call to sacrifice on behalf of the next generation, the need to think in terms of 'thou' and not just 'I,' resonates in religious congregations all across the country. And we might realise that we have the ability to reach out to the evangelical community and engage millions of religious Americans in the larger project of American renewal..."
"Across the country, individual churches like my own and your own are sponsoring day care programs, building senior centres, helping ex-offenders reclaim their lives..."
"So the question is, how do we build on these still-tentative partnerships between religious and secular people of good will? It's going to take more work, a lot more work than we've done so far. The tensions and the suspicions on each side of the religious divide will have to be squarely addressed. And each side will need to accept some ground rules for collaboration."
(Ed: Harrison and Gilbert in 'The Great Speeches of Barack Obama,' p. 93 Jaico)

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