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Obama has managed to become ( as far as I know) the first President to mention non-believers in at least two major occasions.  In his interview with Al-Arabiya he stated:

"And so what I want to communicate is the fact that in all my travels throughout the Muslim world, what I've come to understand is that regardless of your faith -- and America is a country of Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers -- regardless of your faith, people all have certain common hopes and common dreams."

Al-ARABIYA interview transcript

Regardless of your faith or lack thereof, it is truly an exciting day when our President actually lives up to his commitment to be a leader to all. No longer, can non believers be conveniently ostracized in order to emphasize the shared good of religious faith and belief. We are all Americans and human beings regardless of our faith or lack thereof. We should set aside  our own religious bias to celebrate the multi-cultural and faith attitude displayed by this president.

Originally posted to symphonyofdissent on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 03:44 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I want to tip for secular tolerance (19+ / 0-)

    Care to post a jar?

    Enlightenment and Responsibility

    by anaxiamander on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 03:47:44 AM PST

  •  I think Obama is a non-believer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tomjones, yg17

    I'm not sure about his belief system.
    Obama has been exposed to christinity, Islam and buddism while his parents were (most likely) atheists. His mother was an anthropologists. She was definitely well versed with cultural evolution and the origin of religion. Her views of life and religion definitely has influenced an young Obama's brain. So it's not surprising to see an Obama searching for identity during his adolescence period and become sort of agnostic/atheist while in college/universities.
    He was drawn to church mainly through his work for underprivileged people long after his formative years. As such he is likely to have no or very little feeling towards any religion.

    However, he is obviously drawn to his former pastor mainly for his speaking abilities and charitable works. His initial adoption of christianity could be out of pragmatism. Later it became an essential requisite as a politician.

    My thinking that he is a non-believer is further enhanced by an odd practice of the Obama family:
    From CNN's Sarah Parker:

    " ... they don't give their daughters Christmas or birthday presents, in order to "teach some limits.

    Our loyalties are to the species and the planet, we speak for Earth....Carl Sagan

    by askeptic on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 04:26:44 AM PST

    •  He is a believer... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tomjones, Sapphire1

      have to be to take this job on.

      Whatever the Repuglicans say, the truth is the opposite.

      by MariaWr on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 04:30:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was going to say the same thing (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tomjones

      What a shame he can't come out of the closet.

      "I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father Jor-El to save the Planet Earth."

      by lesliet on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 04:38:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  You clearly haven't read the Audacity of Hope (13+ / 0-)

      He makes it clear exactly how, when, and why he came to believe.

      People seem to have this idea that the only kind of believer that exists are unserious southern evangelicals, waiting in their trailer park for the Rapture.... the kind of people who never has doubts about anything, knows nothing about anthropology or science.

      When I read about Obama's belief, I recognized as so close to my own - one that was approached cautious, nervously, knowing the world is bigger and more complex than it seems.... but also sensing that it has a spiritual heart to it, a flame that is like love itself, one that defies reason and even the senses. But one that is there at the center of my being, and all being.

      In his book, he confides that when putting his kids to bed at night, he's not always sure whether there is an afterlife; and even that kind of doubt is intrinsic to genuine faith. Even Mother Theresa had these same kinds of doubts.

      But ironically, it IS doubt, and not certainty, that helps to nurture a genuine and authentic spiritual sensibility.

      Chimp free for six whole days!

      by Bobs Telecaster on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 04:51:11 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've the similar feelings (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dlcampbe, tomjones, lgmcp, Anne933

        When I read about Obama's belief, I recognized as so close to my own - one that was approached cautious, nervously, knowing the world is bigger and more complex than it seems.... but also sensing that it has a spiritual heart to it, a flame that is like love itself, one that defies reason and even the senses. But one that is there at the center of my being, and all being.

        But in that feeling I don't see any need for or presence of God. It just makes one very humble and feels the importance of living a harmonius life with rest of the world.

        Our loyalties are to the species and the planet, we speak for Earth....Carl Sagan

        by askeptic on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 05:07:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  The Christmas gift thing is about (4+ / 0-)

      the plentiful amount of gifts they already get from extended family and friends. They do celebrate Christmas, gifts under the tree and all. They don't give birthday gifts either for the same reason. Their birthday party and activities are their gift

    •  All the presents come from Santa. (4+ / 0-)

      That is why his girls still believe in Santa.  As far as birthday gifts, they pay for a big party which cost several hundred dollars and they get presents from the rest of the family and friends.  By the way, whether children receive gifts at Christmas has nothing to do with whether their parents believe in God.  

    •  I wouldn't read much into that. (0+ / 0-)

      After all, Jehovah's Witnesses don't celebrate birthdays or holidays, much less exchange gifts. But according to their teachings, they're the ONLY true Christians.

      People exercise their faith in different ways. Personally, I'd just take his reasons at face value.

    •  I think he just has a mature view of God. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kimball Cross, Anne933, Sapphire1

      He doesn't think that God is a character played by James Earl Jones or his invisible ghost friend like that Disney movie Black Beard the Pirate.

      God is the sum of all forces unknowable to mankind, the mysterious magic of existence itself, the fourth wall behind the eternal now, the reflection of the shadows dreamed of in all of human spirituality.  

      Just because Obama doesn't act as if he can command God to serve him, or wield God against his enemies like an awesome rubber phallus of shame, doesn't mean that he's not religious.  It just means that his religion is more mature than fundie religion.

      Snarka Snarka Snarka!

      by Hunter Huxley on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 06:59:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mom and Dad don't load up on presents (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sapphire1

      because Santa does. The same was true in our household when our son was younger.

      Obama may be our first truly post-modern President, as well as a post-modern Christian. (Follow Jesus, yes. Follow the dictates of the European Enlightenment, no.)

      "The opposite of one profound truth...is another profound truth." William Sloane Coffin

      by god doc on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:03:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  not sure i fully understand (0+ / 0-)

    is Obama talking about the "common middle" here... as in let's focus on the 80% of stuff that we all can agree on?

    Personally, I have hopes and dreams that sprout directly from my faith in Jesus and love of God.  

    I think Obama's statement is OK when talking about America the country, but not sure it applies as well to America the group of individuals.  Help anyone?

    The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me' MT 25:40

    by Ed G on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 04:37:44 AM PST

  •  But this makes him evil, evil, evil! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Samer, Kimball Cross

    Don't you know that this is a Christian country? And that even allowing atheists to vote is doing the work of the devil? See, this just proves all the emails I got throughout all the election, that Obama is the anti-Christ, jihadist-loving, godless comminist who will destroy this country.

    We have gone from a President whose every action was dictated by a divine Voice, to one who relies on reason and good sense.  We are doomed...and damned.

  •  It doesn't matter whether Obama believes (6+ / 0-)

    in supernatural forces or he doesn't, as long as he doesn't let a belief in the supernatural govern his policy decisions. I think he is far too smart a man to allow that to happen. I do wish he would rethink his support of faith based initiatives, but perhaps that is just the pragmatist in him talking. People need help any way they can get it these days.

    Growing old beats the alternative.

    by Jfriday on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 05:27:33 AM PST

  •  President Obama (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anne933, Sapphire1

    actually has what it takes to be a true world leader. This country has lacked real leadership for eight long, miserable years.

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a religious conviction." --Blaise Pascal

    by lyvwyr101 on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 05:41:45 AM PST

  •  The purpose and dedication he displays (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimball Cross, txdemfem, anaxiamander

    and his extraordinary gifts, are making it hard for me to remember that he is a mere and fallible mortal like the rest of us.  He is clearly a man on a mission, and he projects an air of intention which is fascinating and more than a little awe-inspiring.

    I'm one of the non-believers, and I appreciate his remark.  Which makes it all the more weird that I keep thinking he seems ... anointed.  To do, this.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 05:42:01 AM PST

    •  He's scaring me (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, Kimball Cross, Sapphire1

      He's doing exactly what he said he'd do and he's plowing through the opposition. I don't know if what he's doing is smart politics, but it's smart leadership. Faux leaders may come to fear him, but the people of the world are going to love him.

      What I'm asking myself now is why we don't demand higher standards from our leaders and why an Obama is such an exception.

      "The white race is the domineering race, which is why I'm voting for McClain." Anonymous voter on NPR

      by txdemfem on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:02:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  He really IS a mortal man like the rest of us. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, Anne933

      The purpose and dedication he displays, and his extraordinary gifts, are making it hard for me to remember that he is a mere and fallible mortal like the rest of us

      He'll screw up from time to time, like any other fallible human being. We need to correct him when he's wrong and back him up when he's right. He happens to be right nearly all the time so far, though.

      I have been a strong supporter of Barack Obama since right after the Iowa caucuses, and he has given me no cause to regret that.

      i can't watch [Obama] speak on tv for more than 5 minutes or else what he's saying starts to make sense to me. It's very scary.

      by Kimball Cross on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:09:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was sort of a tepid one, at first (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kimball Cross

        fearing an excess of good sounds and an absence of delivery.  But the way he closed the campaign, chewed through the early transition, and conducted himself as a true leader, has been most impressive.  I don't like every pick and I won't like every priority, but that aura of control, is amazing.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:47:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  He is still leaving out a big group (0+ / 0-)

    of people who believe in God, but don't identify with an organized religion.  

    "They're trying to fool you. They're trying to scare you. And they're not telling you the truth." Obama '08

    by bawbie on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 05:57:41 AM PST

    •  Can't please everybody...... (0+ / 0-)

      He can keep the shout out....I want to keep my house.
      I am a part of that "big group"...and I could care less, more pressing issues to deal with.

      Just because you wrote it...does not make it true.

      by Sapphire1 on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:36:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  bush did it too - not that want to defend him (0+ / 0-)

    but Bush would mention non-believers also.  So Obama isn't the first

    http://content.usatoday.com/...

    I am encouraged by the inclusiveness of Obama when he talks about religion.

  •  RW'ers are already hyperventilating about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dvogel001

    i can't watch [Obama] speak on tv for more than 5 minutes or else what he's saying starts to make sense to me. It's very scary.

    by Kimball Cross on Tue Jan 27, 2009 at 07:00:04 AM PST

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