Cathleen Falsani has released her complete, unedited interview with Barak Obama on his personal faith from back in 2004 (all quotes are from that article). Nothing he says should preclude him from being President, in any way, shape or form. But much of what he says should preclude him from being a member of any evangelical church I know. I’ll summarize it, but my goal is not to skewer him or correct him (ok, once or twice).
He denies the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ.
So, I’m rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people. That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there’s an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived. …
I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell.
I can’t imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity.
That’s just not part of my religious makeup.
Faith for him is more about living values than trusting a person (Jesus) and believing certain truths about him. These are values that many religions have in common, rather than reflecting the character of God.
I’m a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it’s best comes with a big dose of doubt. I’m suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding.
I think that, particularly as somebody who’s now in the public realm and is a student of what brings people together and what drives them apart, there’s an enormous amount of damage done around the world in the name of religion and certainty.
He’s pretty vague on Jesus beyond the fact that Jesus really existed.
Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he’s also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher.
And he’s also a wonderful teacher. I think it’s important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history.
The guys who keep him straight probably need to be straightened out.
Well, my pastor [Jeremiah Wright] is certainly someone who I have an enormous amount of respect for.
I have a number of friends who are ministers. Reverend Meeks is a close friend and colleague of mine in the state Senate. Father Michael Pfleger is a dear friend, and somebody I interact with closely.
For a constitutional law professor he doesn’t understand the Constitution. 1st, the Non-establishment Clause means no Church of America, or state church. 2nd, the Free Exercise of Religion which guarantees both Obama and I can freely exercise our faith here in America.
Alongside my own deep personal faith, I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion. I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I am a big believer in our constitutional structure. I mean, I’m a law professor at the University of Chicago teaching constitutional law. I am a great admirer of our founding charter, and its resolve to prevent theocracies from forming, and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root ion this country.
Fox News and talk radio confuse well-meaning Americans. They apparently invented the pro-life movement.
Like the right to choose.
I haven’t been challenged in those direct ways. And to that extent, I give the public a lot of credit. I’m always stuck by how much common sense the American people have. They get confused sometimes, watch FoxNews or listen to talk radio. That’s dangerous sometimes.
He doesn’t seem to get grace.
What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don’t presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, the aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing.
Sin is …
Being out of alignment with my values.
Read Full Post »