Taylor Marsh Quotes Obama Out of Context
Frederick Clarkson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 03:06:36 PM EST
I wouldn't ordinarily say something about the jockeying between supporters of Hillary and Obama in the Democratic contest for president. This site is not necessarily the place for that.  However, fervid Hillary supporter Taylor March, has taken a quote from Obama -- gleaned from a post of mine that is unfairly rendered, and I want to correct the record.

The quote involves Obama's one time, albeit well publicized episode of secular baiting at the side of Jim Wallis in 2006.  What Marsh left out from her post titled  Obama: Campaign, Cult, or Mirage? -- was what happened afterwards.

Marsh quotes Obama accurately, and links back to my post from 2006 as documentation:

"Secularists are wrong when they ask believers to leave their religion at the door before entering the public square." - Barack Obama

But as I noted in my post the other day, (crossposted at Daily Kos and Street Prophets) which is where I presume she learned about the quote, I also noted that this was a position Obama held only "briefly."

But I added in comments at Daily Kos and Street Prophets (but neglected to do here at Talk to Action), that Obama, (whom I among others fiercely criticized at the time) has long-abandonded secular baiting, and since then has adopted an admirably inclusive approach to matters of individual conscience and separation of church and state.   As Carlos reported here at Talk to Action, for example:  

For my friends on the right, I think it would be helpful to remember the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy but also our religious practice. Folks tend to forget that during our founding, it wasn't the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective champions of the First Amendment. It was the persecuted minorities, it was Baptists like John Leland who didn't want the established churches to impose their views on folks who were getting happy out in the fields and teaching the scripture to slaves.

It was the forbearers of Evangelicals who were the most adamant about not mingling government with religious, because they didn't want state-sponsored religion hindering their ability to practice their faith as they understood it. Given this fact, I think that the right might worry a bit more about the dangers of sectarianism.

Whatever we once were, we're no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of non-believers. We should acknowledge this and realize that when we're formulating policies from the state house to the Senate floor to the White House, we've got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community.

In the wake of the huge public outcry about Obama's misstep, while I might have missed something, I don't recall Sen. Clinton calling on Jim Wallis and Barack Obama to stop the secular baiting. I don't recall her saying anything about it at all.  I, for one, would welcome her comments on this. It is never too late to do the right thing.

Meanwhile, we are still waiting for Sen. Clinton to explain her involvement in the secretive conservative Christian power network, "The Family", which has been documented by Jeff Sharlet and Kathryn Joyce in Mother Jones magazine.




Display:
"We should acknowledge this and realize that when we're formulating policies from the state house to the Senate floor to the White House, we've got to work to translate our reasoning into values that are accessible to every one of our citizens, not just members of our own faith community."

That's a wonderful statement that could offend only  the most dogmatic....

by Vesica on Thu Feb 07, 2008 at 09:55:12 PM EST



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