Sunday, May 17, 2009

The President speaks

President Obama spoke today at Notre Dame:
Unfortunately, finding that common ground — recognizing that our fates are tied up, as Dr. King said, in a "single garment of destiny" — is not easy. Part of the problem, of course, lies in the imperfections of man — our selfishness, our pride, our stubbornness, our acquisitiveness, our insecurities, our egos; all the cruelties large and small that those of us in the Christian tradition understand to be rooted in original sin. We too often seek advantage over others. We cling to outworn prejudice and fear those who are unfamiliar. Too many of us view life only through the lens of immediate self-interest and crass materialism; in which the world is necessarily a zero-sum game. The strong too often dominate the weak, and too many of those with wealth and with power find all manner of justification for their own privilege in the face of poverty and injustice.......

The question, then, is how do we work through these conflicts? Is it possible for us to join hands in common effort? As citizens of a vibrant and varied democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate? How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?

.....the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It is the belief in things not seen. It is beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us, and those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.

This doubt should not push us away from our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions, and cause us to be wary of self-righteousness. It should compel us to remain open, and curious, and eager to continue the moral and spiritual debate that began for so many of you within the walls of Notre Dame. And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works, charity, kindness, and service that moves hearts and minds.

For if there is one law that we can be most certain of, it is the law that binds people of all faiths and no faith together. It is no coincidence that it exists in Christianity and Judaism; in Islam and Hinduism; in Buddhism and humanism. It is, of course, the golden rule — the call to treat one another as we wish to be treated. The call to love. To serve. To do what we can to make a difference in the lives of those with whom we share the same brief moment on this earth.


Photo from the LA Times

10 comments:

Fred Schwartz said...

I really like this president. I may not agree with him on all things but I really, really, like this man.

JCF said...

[With apologies to Kern&Hammerstein]

Can't help lovin' Dat Prez o' Mine...

[Now, get rid of DADT already! }:-/]

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Sorry--but control over my body is NOT up for "vigorous debate." You can be as vigorous--or even as polite--as you want to be, but I will never concede that politicians (or other people who don't know me or live my life) have a right to control the most intimate parts of me.

I believe in making abortion rare--through comprehensive sex education, empowering women to refuse sex, freely available contraceptives, and better ways of handling adoption. We can talk about those. But the minute you start talking about giving the government control over my uterus is when I stop talking. The answer is "Not now. Not ever."

Doxy

P.S. The word verification is "molli." I am NOT mollified by this speech...

Elizabeth said...

I agree with Doxy when it comes to the ultimate control of my body. However, I would like to see the freely available contraception, education etc. that she mentions. That would be a great start from where the Conservatives seem to want to have us now. Unfortunately, abortion has to always be with us. I have worked with children and families long enough to know there are times when an abortion is the lesser evil. Adoption is nice, but not in a family with other children. The message to the other children is--"are Daddy and Mommy going to give me away too if I'm bad". Another example: you have a 12 year old pregnant. The body is not ready for a full term pregnancy. The real question is who decides and how that decision is made.

IT said...

Exactly. What blows my mind is how many staunch anti-choice advocates also oppose sex-ed and contraception. And am I the only one who finds it bizarre that Bristol Palin is a spokesperson for abstinence?

Fred Preuss said...

Both sex ed and abortion.
And if I don't wan to listen to the church when it preaches about either-or about 'asylum' for illegal aliens, higher taxes or 'what would jesus do?", that's my right.
Keep your sky fairy out of my checkbook and my bedroom!

JCF said...

You don't want to listen to the church, Fred?! Then why is it you seem to do little else? You exercise your right to ignore religious-based blogs, and we'll all cheer, I guarantee you...

*****

Doxy, what Obama said at ND was (para.) "make the number of women seeking abortion rare": something that can't be done by government fiat (despite what the anti-choicers may want).

I want abortion to be rare . . . but ONLY for the sake of the woman whose uterus would be traumatized (by ANY kind of content therein). She's the only "person" directly involved.

The idea that a fetus is a "person" is a religious claim that I object to, just as much as FredP objects to every religious claim (it's just that fetus-fetishism affects me in a way that, say, an Episcopal eucharist will NEVER affect him).

Fred Preuss said...

Just out of curiosity, how do you tell the difference between the wafers right out of the package and the ones you 'consecrated'? I mean, if someone switched them, how could you tell the difference? Would you be any less 'holy' that day?

Fred Preuss said...

Votes for Zygotes!
Blastocysts for Equal Rights!

IT said...

Next he's going to demand we free the mitochondria.