My response to my friend is posted below...
Thanks for Passing this on. I sent it to the Obama camp's anti-smear people. A few thoughts...
"When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another..." Most of you will recognize those lines as the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. Later, that 232 year old document continued, "We hold these truths to be sacred and undeniable, that all men are created equal..."
Did you flinch? Those WERE Jefferson's words. It DID actually read that way at one time. Benjamin Franklin convinced Jefferson that "sacred and undeniable" wasn't really the language we wanted to use, and instead the philosophical language of Pythagoras was adopted - and the truths became "self-evident" instead. The Founding fathers TRIED to keep the Bible out of our early legal documents.
I'm a Baptist. I believe in the separation of Church and State. Most Baptists used to believe in that; now I'm not so sure. In addition to being a Baptist, I spent ten years on the mission field - in the Pacific, in Asia, and at the Asia HQ for my inter-denominational agency in Canberra Australia. Among other things, I've served as a Baptist deacon, had the privilege of baptising a citizen of Communist China, and broke the law in Nepal by teaching Bible to converts from Hinduism.
What did Senator Obama say in this video? He suggested, quite rightly, that Christians themselves have difficulty determining how the Bible should apply to government. My daughter in South Carolina lives in a county where she can by bread and milk at the grocery store on Sunday morning, but not dog food or toilet paper. She has to wait until church is out (until 2pm I think, by law) before the county's blue laws will allow her to buy items other than essential groceries. Why? The fourth commandment: Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. It doesn't seem to matter that the Biblical Sabbath was Saturday. They haven't read Colosians 2:16 which says that Gentile Christians ought not worry about being judged over that particular commandment. The blue laws in South Carolina are a particular group's (arguably wrong) interpretation of the Bible, made into law.
Senator Obama talks in his speech about how the Bible affirms some of his important beliefs for him. He talks about how Progressives in the Democratic Party have avoided religion and how he thinks that's a bad idea. He talks about the need for religion in America. At no point does he offer any disrespect for the Bible. Even this short video clip taken out of context only seems disrespectful because a narrator lets you in on that secret.
A larger section of the Obama speech seems helpful:
...they (the Religious Right) need to understand the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy, but the robustness of our religious practice. That during our founding, it was not the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective champions of this separation; it was the persecuted religious minorities, Baptists like John Leland, who were most concerned that any state-sponsored religion might hinder their ability to practice their faith.
Moreover, given the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.
And even if we did have only Christians within our borders, who's Christianity would we teach in the schools? James Dobson's, or Al Sharpton's? Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount - a passage so radical that it's doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application?
This brings me to my second point. Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values...
You can read the whole speech here.
I submitted a comment on YouTube to pfforamerica (the account that hosts this video YouTube). It said simply that the entire speech was online and my coomment gave the address. He has approved other comments since I submitted mine; he approved one yesterday that said, simply and elloquently, "obamas a coke snorting bisexual." But he doesn't want his viewers to read the whole speech. He has 30 seconds snipped together from a 30 minutes speech. And it is out of conext.
Pfforamerica - he is the one who is arrogant.
My name is Greg Cruey. And I approve this message.
I'm attending a party meeting tomorrow night and I hope to be able to get Obama yard signs. If anyone wants one, let me know and I'll see what I can do...
A PS. I found this piece of the speech regarding the pledge of allegiance interesting since it was made well before the lie was circulated at Obama woldn't say the pledge:
It is doubtful that children reciting the Pledge of Allegiance feel oppressed or brainwashed as a consequence of muttering the phrase "under God;" I certainly didn't.