It was one of Obama's more religiously-based
speeches that talked about the tensions that exist in a country of secular laws
but religious passions. He argued that "secularists are wrong when they ask
believers to leave their religion at the door before entering into the public
square." He called for a "reconciliation between faith and democratic pluralism"
and called on those with narrow religious views to translate those into broader
common values that can guide public policy.
As an example, he said, "And even if we did
have only Christians in our midst, if we expelled every non-Christian from the
United States of America, whose Christianity would we teach in the schools?
Would we go with 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 that is so radical that it's
doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application? So
before we get carried away, let's read our bibles. Folks haven't been reading
This statement caused controversy among
Evangelical Christians because it seemed as though Obama was being cynical about
what could appear to be confecting statements in scripture.
Obama's supporters say, however, that he was
not making fun of those scriptures but merely using them to illustrate the point
of his speech, which was to point out the complexity of holding religious values
in high regard but trying to reconcile them with public policy.
We found entire
transcripts and videos are available on the internet.
We have included
links to the transcript and full video below.
Click Here is the link to the transcript
here for video of complete speech
Click here to go directly to the second chapter of the video
where Obama address the Law
HERE for a list of other related stories about Barack