onsdag, mars 05, 2008

Barak Obama om religionens plats i samhället

Skillnaden mellan USA och Europa, åtminstone sådan jag uppfattar den, blir sällan tydligare än när man diskuterar religionens - eller snarare Guds och värdenas - ställning i samhället. I Amerika är sekuluraism fortfarande ett kontroversiellt och meningsfullt ställningstagande, helt enkelt eftersom religionen för de allra flesta fortfarande är en vital del av samhället. Detta blir sällan så tydligt som när Senator Obama, känd för sin förmåga att vara visionär och framtidsorienterad, talar om religionen. Inte minst därför är det här talet läsvärt för oss européer.

...when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations towards one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome - others will fill the vacuum, those with the most insular views of faith, or those who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.
More fundamentally, the discomfort of some progressives with any hint of religion has often prevented us from effectively addressing issues in moral terms. Some of the problem here is rhetorical - if we scrub language of all religious content, we forfeit the imagery and terminology through which millions of Americans understand both their personal morality and social justice.

Imagine Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address without reference to "the judgments of the Lord." Or King's I Have a Dream speech without references to "all of God's children." Their summoning of a higher truth helped inspire what had seemed impossible, and move the nation to embrace a common destiny.
After all, the problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the unemployed, are not simply technical problems in search of the perfect ten point plan. They are rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness - in the imperfections of man.

Åtminstone för mig ger det också en tydlig fingervisning om varför han har visat sig vara en så effektiv utmanare till det demokratiska etablissemang som representeras av Senator Clinton, och samtidigt om varför de senare har så svårt att finna förankring i så stora delar av USA, men så mycket lättare i Europa.

For some time now, there has been plenty of talk among pundits and pollsters that the political divide in this country has fallen sharply along religious lines. Indeed, the single biggest "gap" in party affiliation among white Americans today is not between men and women, or those who reside in so-called Red States and those who reside in Blue, but between those who attend church regularly and those who don't.

Conservative leaders have been all too happy to exploit this gap, consistently reminding evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their Church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage; school prayer and intelligent design.

Democrats, for the most part, have taken the bait. At best, we may try to avoid the conversation about religious values altogether, fearful of offending anyone and claiming that - regardless of our personal beliefs - constitutional principles tie our hands. At worst, there are some liberals who dismiss religion in the public square as inherently irrational or intolerant, insisting on a caricature of religious Americans that paints them as fanatical, or thinking that the very word "Christian" describes one's political opponents, not people of faith.

Talet finns att läsa här. Tack till bloggen Kulturrevolution för tipset.

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