Cathleen Falsani offered her pre-election interview with Barack Obama to beliefnet today. Steven Waldman has it all here
Two Money quotes:
Obama: I'm not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I've got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.
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.
Do you pray often?
Uh, yeah, I guess I do.
Its' not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I'm constantly asking myself questions about what I'm doing, why am I doing it.
One of the interesting things about being in public life is there are constantly these pressures being placed on you from different sides. To be effective, you have to be able to listen to a variety of points of view, synthesize viewpoints. You also have to know when to be just a strong advocate, and push back against certain people or views that you think aren't right or don't serve your constituents.
And so, the biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass. Those are the conversations I'm having internally. I'm measuring my actions against that inner voice that for me at least is audible, is active, it tells me where I think I'm on track and where I think I'm off track.
It's interesting particularly now after this election, comes with it a lot of celebrity. And I always think of politics as having two sides. There's a vanity aspect to politics, and then there's a substantive part of politics. Now you need some sizzle with the steak to be effective, but I think it's easy to get swept up in the vanity side of it, the desire to be liked and recognized and important. It's important for me throughout the day to measure and to take stock and to say, now, am I doing this because I think it's advantageous to me politically, or because I think it's the right thing to do? Am I doing this to get my name in the papers or am I doing this because it's necessary to accomplish my motives.
Amen. Looks like we picked the right guy to move us away from the usual fundementalism that we see associated with so-called religious people and go into a more nuanced view of what religion truly needs to become--an influence that moves people to do good things in the world because their faith experience COMPELS them to do so.
I hope that we all can take our own faith experience and go out and help someone who is in need today. Someone who hungers for a connection with God needs you today. Someone who is struggling to feed their kids needs you today. Someone who is thinking about what their next step in life is--they need you today. A child who is confused needs you to set them straight today. A mother considering abortion needs you to help her not kill her baby today and the world needs you to do that without being haughty or condescending.
And someone who is hard to love needs you as well.
Will you go and follow Christ somewhere that might make you uncomfortable? Will you allow the power of God's unfailing love to push you to serve all of God's people?
What are you waiting for? Go!