A couple of thoughts:
- People at Sojourners/Call to Renewal loved this speech when Obama delivered it in 2006. Not only was it exciting to have him at the conference; what he said resonated pretty well with the kinds of things Jim Wallis had been saying in recent years.
- There are many other people Dobson could've accused of having a "fruitcake interpretation of the Constitution."
- Jim Wallis is going to fly off the handle tomorrow.
- When you cut through the typical Dobson crap, there is an important bit of truth to his critique - truth that applies to Sojourners as well as to Obama. The idea that religious people must translate their beliefs into the language of universal morality in the public square is nothing more than a dangerous temptation.
The danger of this approach is described well by my favorite quote from William T. Cavanaugh's Theopolitical Imagination: In the public square, "Christian symbols must be run through the sausage-grinder of social ethics before coming out on the other side as publicly digestible policy." In other words, when we change in order to play by the rules of liberal, pluralistic, secular society, we never end up saying what we mean to say. Instead, we end up saying things like, "Barack Obama is our hope for the future."
I understand the political pragmatism. Believe me. But for my money, I'm a lot more comfortable these days with something like what Tim Kumfer wrote about on the God's Politics blog this afternoon. Our real work is to explore the political dimensions of personal relationships. The transformation of public policies will follow.