A while ago, when Ryan made me aware of Dr. James Dobson’s remarks about a speech Barack Obama gave back in 2006 entitled A Call To Renewal, I listened Dr. Dobson’s radio broadcast here and then I watched Obama’s entire speech (at the links here).
While I may disagree with Dr. Dobson’s take on Obama’s statements, I must “be willing to speak in fair-minded terms.”* And so I’ve carefully removed from this post any statements I’d like to make about how Dr. Dobson could possibly be “using faith as a tool of attack.”*
People in public service have a duty to find balance between their personal beliefs as an individual and their constituency’s beliefs as a community. Otherwise, it’s not a democracy; it’s a monarchy. Regardless of our religious affiliations, it is impossible for mankind to always agree implicitly and wholly with others within his or or community. Even within this nations’ church communities, individuals need to find balance between the “beliefs of each and the good of the whole.”*
Those in public office have a duty to engage with what Obama calls a pluristic society. Just like those of us writing screenplays will write better, more authentic and accessible stories when we include more than our own point of view, those in public office must find balance.
But this prescription is not for everyone. Those who do not find themselves in a public forum, while they must balance their individual beliefs with the community consensus in order to find peace (think local church or community center), they should feel quite free to engage in peaceful activities that promote those views to which they hold most strongly. There is a season for everything. A season to fight and a season to reason together.
My strong hope is that Christians would not fear Obama (or McCain for that matter), tolerance, balanced discussion or even their Muslim neighbour; but that Christians would rationally think and humbly pray about what it means to make a loving choice in response to the dissonance and pluralism in this world. The Bible says “seek first the kingdom,” not “defend first the kingdom.” The kingdom is capable of defending itself. Ours is to love and obey God, and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves.