Thursday, February 11, 2010

Obama Overtones on Faith and Religion

Caught this item on CNN last week. Did you catch it too?

How Obama's favorite theologian shaped his first year in office
In the summer of 1943, when Adolf Hitler's armies marched unchecked across Europe, a pastor in a remote New England village decided to write a prayer.

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change," he began, "the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

It is now known as the Serenity Prayer.
In grade school this prayer was on back of a holy card of St. Francis of Assisi. I think the nuns even told me that St. Francis wrote it. Well perhaps not, if documentable current history can be depended upon.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Obama’s minimalism in politics, if it is such, matches something to his approach to faith and religion. Faith and religion can be two separate things. Perhaps too his seeming minimalism in the hard art of politics might also extend into the realm of agnostic in that of his religious beliefs.

He apparently is impressed by the history and words of:
His name is Reinhold Niebuhr, and he was a Protestant pastor in the mid-20th century whose words tended to unsettle people, not offer comfort.

Niebuhr is getting attention again because he has a fan in the Oval Office.
I never heard of him before I read this article of a man that many including Martin Luther King Jr. were fond of quoting.

Obama is said to attend church services at Camp David in a military chapel and out of the eye of the media. His motorcade of thirty something vehicles is somewhat embarrassing if he shows up at a formal church setting in Washington D.C.. He has done the church thing very little. He has been to St. John’s Episcopal Church, the “Presidents’ Church”, across the street on Lafayette Square before the Inaugural and on I believe at Easter. The man’s faith and the public display of it he has been kept largely private.

In the fishbowl world of the presidency and with the Pharisee Media Hypocrites ready to equate any religious overtones as within the legitimate forum of politics, I believe he has backed off in that sense since the Reverend Wright thing and Rev. Wright’s old fashioned and perhaps divisive rhetoric that does on occasion mix politics with religion.

So there we have it, our CEO in chief is fond of a New England preacher and some of his writings including the “serenity prayer”.
Niebuhr was a blunt critic of morally complacent Christians. He thought the church was full of idealists who believed that progress was inevitable and that love alone would ultimately conquer injustice, some Niebuhr scholars say.

"He said there was a difference between being a 'fool for Christ' and a plain damn fool," says Richard Crouter, author of the upcoming book "Reinhold Niebuhr: On Politics, Religion and Christian Faith."
It sounds like a book worth reading. I invite you to read the full article above.