Some Democrat leaning secular/liberal voters have been put off by what they see as Barack Obama's pious language. Early impressions from this side of the Atlantic included what appeared an uncomfortable rush to position Obama as the man to move the Democrats towards evangelical voters. But Hemant Mehta has looked deeper into Obama's positions and speeches and argues that despite the pious language Obama is getting the policy right on issues that concern secular Humanist voters.
Mehta argues that Obama is simply saying he understands where religious people are coming from and doesn't want to shut them out of national debate, and uses this quote from an Obama speech, which I found at least, to be quite reassuring:
"(Conservative leaders of the Religious Right) need to understand the critical role that the separation of church and state has played in preserving not only our democracy, but the robustness of our religious practice… Given the increasing diversity of America's population, the dangers of sectarianism have never been greater. Whatever we once were, we are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers… And even if we did have only Christians within our borders, who's Christianity would we teach in the schools? 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 O.K. 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 so radical that it's doubtful that our Defense Department would survive its application?... If God has spoken, then followers are expected to live up to God's edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one's life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing."
Obama may at times sound like an evangelical but Mehta believes he is on the right side when it comes to issues such as church-state seperation and stem cell research. The evolution of the Obama campaign to seek the Democrat nomination for the next presidential race is going to be very interesting indeed.