There has been a lot of discussion on Obama’s Christian identity and himself talked much about it. However, his speeches on other issues can reveal more about his faith than his direct references to his faith. This is what I thought when reading a speech of his about books, education and literacy.
We can not expect from a politician of a secular state to connect frequently or thoroughly religion and politics. However, in a speech about education and personal growth religion has a place, whether the speaker decides to refer to religion explicitly or implicitly. What makes me feel uncomfortable with Obama is not that he didn’t make any reference at all to faith; it is something more important, it is the fact that his ideas on education are against faith – against any faith, Christian or not. Let me quote the conclusion of his speech (full text here).
There’s nothing we want more than to nurture that hope; to make all those possibilities and all those opportunities real for our children; to have the ability to answer the question, “What can I be when I grow up?” with “Anything you want – anything you can dream of.”
While we could never ensure that our children would be rich or successful; while we could never be positive that they would do better than their parents, America is about making it possible to give them the chance. To give every child the opportunity to try.
Education is still the foundation of this opportunity. And the most basic building block that holds that foundation together is still reading. At the dawn of the 21st century, in a world where knowledge truly is power and literacy is the skill that unlocks the gates of opportunity and success, we all have a responsibility as parents and librarians, educators and citizens, to instill in our children a love of reading so that we can give them the chance to fulfill their dreams.
I emphasized the words above in order for us to have an immediate view of the reality that is ‘hidden’ behind Obama’s (and not only his) foggy/beautifying expressions about “dreams”, or about the “love” of reading, etc. There is only one dream involved, the dream of being rich and powerful. Without any reference to any religion, Obama’s understanding of the meaning of books and education, speaks clearly enough about his religious identity.