Saturday, June 30, 2012

Michelle gets into God and democracy


You want more God with your politics -- how about this?

First lady Michelle Obama Thursday offered a rare public reflection on her religious faith, telling a conference of the African Methodist Episcopal church that the life of Jesus Christ is a model for democratic organizing.

"It's kind of like church," Obama said. "Our faith journey isn't just about showing up on Sunday for a good sermon and good music and a good meal. It's about what we do Monday through Saturday as well, especially in those quiet moments, when the spotlight's not on us, and we're making those daily choices about how to live our lives.

"We see that in the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn't limit his ministry to the four walls of the church," she said. "He was out there fighting injustice and speaking truth to power every single day. He was out there spreading a message of grace and redemption to the least, the last, and the lost. And our charge is to find Him everywhere, every day by how we live our lives."

Obama, who is not a regular churchgoer, said citizenship like the practice of faith is "not a once-a-week kind of deal."

"Democracy is also an everyday activity," she said. "And being an engaged citizen should once again be a daily part of our lives."

ABC News, June 29

There are a lot of good reasons to not want politicians waving God around. I have heard young evangelical Christians sing happily that "my God is greater than your God," confident they are praising their Lord. In fact they are setting up the prerequisite for the oppression of the wrong-believers and the unbelievers.

But a politics that does not spring from some kind of moral vision -- some kind of generous moral vision -- is just narrow self-interest projected on society. The magic of the market, the extraordinary abundance we enjoy thanks to invention and competition, can blind us to the necessity to extend community to all and to bind ourselves together. That's what a democratic polity does when it is working. It's hard, but the alternatives are horrifying.

I am already curious what the First Lady might do when she finds her feet in a post-presidency. Not until after four more years, of course. But freed from the need to measure every word, what will Michelle do?

1 comment:

Kay Dennison said...

Thank you for this!!!!

I'm so tired of the RR's hate-filled rhetoric that the First Lady's heartfelt words were really quite welcome. She's doing great work!!

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