Sullivan on Obama: Faith in Politics

Andrew Sullivan talked to Presidential Candidate Barrack Obama for an upcoming peice in the Atlantic:

AS: This is I think one of the more (to me at least), the most interesting part of your candidacy.  Because we live in a world in which atheism – militant, contemptuous atheism – is on the rise. Religious fundamentalism is clearly the strongest force. Your faith – this thought-through intellectual faith, in many ways, but also a communal faith – is beleaguered, isn’t it?

BO: You know, it doesn’t get a lot of play these days. But, you know, reading Niebuhr, or Tillich or folks like that—those are the people that sustain me. What I believe in is overcoming – but not eliminating – doubt and questioning. I don’t believe in an easy path to salvation. For myself or for the world. I think that it’s hard work, being moral. It’s hard work being ethical. And I think that it requires a series of judgments and choices that we make every single day. And part of what I want to do as president is open up a conversation in which we are honestly considering our obligations – towards each other. And obligations towards the world.

AS: But you don’t think we’re ever going to be saved on this earth do you?

BO: No. I think it’s a … we’re a constant work in progress. I think God put us here with the intention that we break a sweat trying to be a little better than we were yesterday.


3 responses to “Sullivan on Obama: Faith in Politics

  1. That’s more than a little scary; both Niebuhr and Tillich were avid socialists. Niebuhr went so far as to lead military drill exercises among the young members of the Communist Party USA.

    I’m not very comfortable with a man who is “sustained” by the works of socialists who both advocate and engineer using religion to advance a socialist political agenda.

  2. I didn’t realize that about Niebuhr. Very interesting indeed.

  3. To be fair you should do your own research into the pair – especially Niebuhr. The extent of his activities in the Communist Party USA are open to some debate. There is no doubt that we was a staunch supporter of the organization, but the details of his involvement are reported differently by different sources; he had more than a few detractors.

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