Newsweek's Richard Wolffe has a fine piece in the recent edition of Newsweek which probes Senator Obama's religious history and convictions. It's a helpful article and Obama comes across in it as a man for whom the Christian Gospel plays a central role in forming his life and his politics.
I'm curious, though, as to why there has been so little vexation on the left over the strong influence exerted by Christian belief on Obama's worldview. When George Bush was running for president there was much hand-wringing about how Bush "talks to God" (Obama says he prays every day), and the impression was given that because Bush was a devout Christian he was either delusional or his election would be at best religiously divisive and at worst push us to the verge of a theocracy.
Now comes a Christian who expresses the obligations his faith imposes in ways just as all-encompassing as Bush did but in ways more overtly compatible with leftist sensibilities, and it seems as if even the secular left is willing to overlook this unfortunate eccentricity in Obama's character.
The reaction of the left to Obama's Christian committment is perhaps similar to their reaction to the involvement of Christians in the public square. They're often outraged by the involvement of Christian churches in conservative politics or in public education, and demand that the wall of separation have a few more rows of legal bricks and mortar added to shore it up, but they're enthusiastic about the far more blatant political involvement of liberal white and black churches and preachers who often line up with them on the issues.
All of which is to say that when the left is complaining about religion in the public arena there's a good chance that what they're upset about is not so much the religion, nor the transgression by the church into the domain of the state, but the ideological flavor of the particular transgression in question. It is conservative points of view, the political beliefs of people like James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Jerry Falwell, that they want silenced. Contrarily, the wall of separation is as porous as the Mexican border to the views espoused by religious figures on the left such as Jeremiah Wright, Fr. Pfleger, Jesse Jackson, et al.
So, we're not holding our breath waiting for the stories to come out about the threat Obama's "fundamentalism" poses to our nation's freedoms. They're as likely as a story in the liberal press about the threat to the nation posed by the sentiments expressed by Martin Luther King in his Letter from a Birmingham City Jail.RLC