Brad writes in with some interesting points:
Thanks for posting that quote! I think Obama made some really good points, I just don’t think he meant them in the way I’d like to interpret them—and that is a bit concerning. His attempt to parse bible verses is a little manipulative–citing radical ideas in Leviticus, etc–but I like his discussion about reason.
If religious people are going to argue for moral truths, we have to learn to talk like liberals. Obama calls for reason and effective argument, even in the face of universal truth. Just because we know something is true doesn’t mean that we are good at selling that idea to people who don’t share same foundation principles.
This is one place where Mitt Romney excelled in Massachusetts. When everybody was discussing the moral implications of Gay Marriage, he started defending marriage using liberal language–namely citing the rights of children (thankfully not the Treaty on the Rights of the Child… which is a big waste of ink). He defended marriage as an institution reserved for one man and one woman because that is the ideal atmosphere for raising a child. And, there are thousands of pages of scholarly research suggesting that marriage truly does benefit children (while single parenthood or same-sex couples are equally less-effective in child rearing).
Mitt expressed his moral foundation in logical terms… and it drove liberals nuts. I wish California had such an intelligent Governor right about now.
Pluralism is one of the things that makes this country great. I love learning truths from Muslims, Buddhists and even sometimes from atheists or agnostics. That doesn’t threaten my own faith. If anything, it should make us rethink how we argue universal truth in the face of those who do not believe and who will recoil at religious-sounding rhetoric.
Personally, I am not threatened by Obama’s remarks. I am more threatened by his unstated goal. He seems to think that pluralism argues for a banishment of Christian thought from public discourse—that he is using Sharpton to marginalize Dobson and Leviticus to marginalize Christ. I would rather see a president embrace true diversity and take the time to listen to all of the above.
So, I don’t see any problem basing my policy decision on what I know to be universal truth. I also have no problem arguing universal truth using whatever logic I have at my disposal–as long as the end result. After all, that may be one of the purposes of Christ’s parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:2-6).
Thanks again for the quote!