Admit it, Secular America. If Mike Huckabee had said something like this on the campaign trail you’d be locking and … Continued

Admit it, Secular America. If Mike Huckabee had said something like this on the campaign trail you’d be locking and loading faster than you could hum John Lennon’s lyric “Imagine all the people, Living life in peace”:

And during the course of that sermon, I was introduced to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed and that if I placed my trust in Christ, He could set me on the path to eternal life.

And during the course of that sermon, I was introduced to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed and that if I placed my trust in Christ, He could set me on the path to eternal life.

And you’d probably be thinking again of applying for Canadian citizenship — just ‘fess up: you were scouting properties in northern Manitoba back around Thanksgiving 2004 — if the former governor of Arkansas declaimed:

And whenever I hear stories about Americans who feel like no one’s looking out for them, like they’ve been left behind, I’m reminded that God has a plan for his people. . . . But it’s a plan He’s left to us to fulfill.

And whenever I hear stories about Americans who feel like no one’s looking out for them, like they’ve been left behind, I’m reminded that God has a plan for his people. . . . But it’s a plan He’s left to us to fulfill.

But these are not Huck’s words. They were, in fact, pronounced by Sen. Barack Obama. He delivered these remarks this past Friday to about 150 Latino Evangelical and Catholic clerics at the University of Texas at Brownsville.

These pious musings have not aroused as much as a peep of protest from nonbelievers and Church-State separatists. (Compare this to the former governor of Arkansas who enraged Secular America when he suggested that we amend the Constitution to God’s standards).

This absence of outrage goes a long way in demonstrating how thoroughly secularism in this country is entwined with, and supportive of, political liberalism. For years, the received (albeit flawed) wisdom held that a secularist was a liberal and vice versa. But as the 2008 campaign has shown, Democrats with presidential aspirations are strenuously trying to decouple that association.

Take, for example, Obama’s speech on Friday. Do these sound like the words of a politician who is trying to mollycoddle secularists?:

I’d like to begin with a prayer. It comes to us from Jeremiah 29, when the prophet sent out a letter to those exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon. It was a time of uncertainty, and a time of despair. But the prophet Jeremiah told them to banish their fear – that though they were scattered, and though they felt lost, God had not left them. “For I know the plans I have for you,” the Lord revealed to Jeremiah, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God had a plan for His people. That was the truth that Jeremiah grasped – the creed that brought comfort to the exiles – that faith is not just a pathway to personal redemption, but a force that can bind us together and lift us up as a community.

I’d like to begin with a prayer. It comes to us from Jeremiah 29, when the prophet sent out a letter to those exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon. It was a time of uncertainty, and a time of despair. But the prophet Jeremiah told them to banish their fear – that though they were scattered, and though they felt lost, God had not left them. “For I know the plans I have for you,” the Lord revealed to Jeremiah, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God had a plan for His people. That was the truth that Jeremiah grasped – the creed that brought comfort to the exiles – that faith is not just a pathway to personal redemption, but a force that can bind us together and lift us up as a community.

True, Obama did give a fleeting nod to the godless in his address. He urged Americans to “come together as Protestants, Catholics and Jews, believers and non-believers alike.” But anyone familiar with his rhetoric knows that Obama is perennially resolving seemingly insoluble American dialectical tensions (Red States/Blue States, Pro-Choice/Pro-Life, Yankees/Red Sox, whatever).

Obama’s speech—it wasn’t his best and much of it was rehashed—was filled with a variety of theological ideas (and ambiguities) that we will be discussing for months if he wins big tonight. One is that God has a plan—a plan that is apparently centered on America (but what about Canada?). Another is that the divine plan only comes to fruition if all citizens pitch in and do their part (but what about nonbelievers who won’t get with the program?).

Should he seal the deal in Texas and Ohio, the one claim from this speech that we will be scrutinizing most concerns his insistence that “our values should be expressed not just through our families, our communities, and our churches, but through our government.” That’s the new Faith-and-Values friendly liberalism of the 2008 Democratic Party in 2008. And that’s something that may make it hard for secularists to live their lives in peace.

Dear readers: On today’s The God Vote This Week with Sally Quinn I cite the statistic that Jewish voters usually give 80-90% of their vote to Democratic presidential candidates. In fact, in the last 4 elections Jews have given between 76-80% of their vote to Democratic presidential candidates. I was thinking of another statistic (i.e., Jews who vote either Democratic or Independent–that is non-Republican) and realized the error on the way out of the studio. My apologies. Now enjoy the show.

(For more information about religion and the candidates check out Faith 2008 by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs).

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
March 3, 2008; 10:25 PM ET

 | Category: 

The God Vote

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  • Mike G

    I don’t know that I would say I don’t care about those remarks. I think that liberal secularists, like myself, simply are resigned to accept the lesser of two evils. I am fairly certain that in the near future there is no chance of electing an atheist or even someone who is outright opposed to mixing politics and religion at least a little bit. Having said that, I don’t think it’s fair to assume that Obama would make any sweeping policy changes in favor of religious organizations. Maybe he would to some extent, and I would protest it, but certainly not to the degree I would fear from Huckabee. I voted for Gravel, but we all see where that got me!

  • Fred Evil

    While the two speak the same language, and use a lot of the same words, their intentions are very different. Whereas Obama believes there is a plan, he also says it is up to us to implement (meaning that God’s not going to just hand it to us, we have to work for it, and make it happen ourselves), which I can respect, he’s not trying to single out one faith, or a followers of a specific set of beliefs, but everybody.Huckabee has literally said he wants to “take back the Constitution for Christ”When you talk about altering my government to favor your religion even more than it already does, that gets my dander up.Obama isn’t pushing for his religion to be superior (as Huckabee is) he’s pushing for all of us to come together to overcome such divisions.They speak the same language, and use the same words, but their ideas are vastly different, and Huckabee’s ARE scary.

  • Rich

    Obama keeps his religion in the background and stays focused on what’s appropriate for public politics, which is the old church-state compromise that everyone accepted before the Evangelical extremists butted in, so secularists have no problem with that. Huckabee’s refusal to acknowledge the separation of church and state, and the appropriateness of the concept itself, is the important distinction between the two men. And your persistent distortions and exaggerations, while they may be appropriate for teasing out discussion from a classroom of 18-year-old undergrads, are disingenuous and inappropriate for a wide public audience in WP. You need to find yourself a new rhetorical style for these newspaper essays, or we’ll be forced to conclude you don’t get out enough and aren’t the intellect your editors think you are…

  • Fred Evil

    Thank goodness nutters like Spiderman have the inside scoop, the FACTS to show us all the error of our ways. Say Spiderman, where’s your proof? A thousand year old book that has been copied, and re-interpreted and re-WRITTEN hundreds of times? On many occasions for the specific purpose of controlling he masses?I’d sooner believe Dick Cheney is a good man than fall for that flagrantly questionable material, but if you want to base your life on a fantasy, it’s yours to throw away!

  • Rebecca

    The big difference between Obama and Huckabee being, of course, that Huckabee uses his religion in the service of hate and division. Obama, on the other hand, is about bringing people together and treating all people equally. I believe Obama’s a lot closer to what Jesus had in mind.

  • Mr. G

    Why all the hand-wringing about whether or not a politician and candidate expresses his or her faith? Believe it or not, there are people who consider themselves Christ-followers who are Democrats and/or would vote Democratic at the next election. Religion knows no political alliance. I’m glad that there are Democrats who are not afraid to reach out to fellow Christ-followers.In the meantime, all secularists and non-believers need to relax. If having someone of faith in office bothers you, then put a candidate in there that reflects your values. Of course, most Americans won’t vote for such a person, but don’t let that discourage you. Eventually, people might see your side and agree with you.Don’t forget, though, that you are protected by the U.S. Constitution. We will not install Christianity as a state religion. Just remember our rights, too. Your right not to practice religion should not overide our right to practice ours.

  • Dr.R.P.

    I did not vote for Ohama in the primary mainly because of statements like those in the post above that he has made. But I had the advantage of having another candidate (I voted in a Democratic primary) who does a bit less pandering to believers, and has stances on the issues that count most for me that are almost identical to those of Mr. Obama, so I could use “which one is less deluded” as a basis for my vote. In the election, if it comes down to Obama and McCain, I will vote on the issues, not on which candidate I think is the least superstitious. So my vote will then go to Obama.I have to admit though, that I am part of a small minority when it comes to worrying about how deluded each candidate is.

  • Jessica

    What is interesting to me is that some of you consider Mike Huckabee’s stands to be “scary.” Many of his quotes need to be considered in their context and to whom he was speaking.

  • Bob Holmgren

    This country has a long history of religious sentiments expressed by our leaders. In that regard Huckabee and Obama are fully within those traditions. What makes Obama’s statements unique is that the same people who declared President Bush to be out of bounds–a theocrat–are silent when the political party suits their beliefs. The focus should be directed towards these hypocrites.

  • frieda406

    for one thing, obama believes in science, including evolution, and huckabee does not. so obama’s use of faith is not as jarring or offensive as the other’s. he is attempting to conciliate. the other is not. he is going to be a nominee. the other is not.

  • Brix

    Secularism is not anti-religion; secularism is the belief that religion and politics should be kept separate.Obama can get very personally religious without alarming secularists. What’s different, and frightening, about Huckabee is that he is proclaiming religious justification for changes to law and government. That’s a very important distinction.

  • H Sardenberg

    The fundamental difference between Obama and Huckabee is that while Obama has his faith and is pious, he doesn’t seek to impose his faith and his morals on others. Obama considers both believers and non-believers as equal citizens with equal rights. The same cannot be said of Huckster Huckabee, he is a preacher and he seeks to impose the morals and the ‘teachings’ of his church on the rest of the population and he’s made it pretty clear to everyone that his way is the right (as in correct) way. That is why secular voters who want to keep Jefferson’s wall between church and state firmly in place, can never support someone like Mike Huckster, I mean Huckabee.

  • PAT

    The reason is that the secularists don’t BELIEVE Obama and Obama is THEIR man. Typical liberal cynicism and duplicity.

  • jad

    Nothing quite like religious zealots explaining to rational people that deep down, we really are or desire to be right-wing Bible-thumping wackos just like themselves.

  • BD

    But Obama has never said “I didn’t major in math, I majored in miracles” and he has never raised his hand when asked the question “who doesn’t believe in evolution.” It’s not faith that we secularists oppose. It’s hypocrisy and blind faith that excludes reason. It’s far-right conservatives who want to shove their religious beliefs down our throats. Let’s put a robe on the lady justice, we can’t let our kids see a boob on a statue; but endless coverage of Bush’s “Shock and Awe” campaign or bloody streets and bodies after another car bomb???? No problem! Abortion is wrong, but it’s fine to level a city block to get a “suspected” terrorist hideout (just chalk those five kids up to “collateral damage!) Let’s determine who gets Federal money based on their faith (Bush’s faith-based initiatives), let’s deny the entire scientific community and all the scientific evidence supporting evolution and teach our kids that the world is only 3000 years old. Let’s outlaw stem-cell research because a group of sixteen cells in some embryo bank are more important than curing a living child with a terminal disease. Let’s teach abstinence but refuse to teach birth control. If he could get away with it Hucakbee would add the Ten Commandments to the Constitution in a hearbeat… that is why we secularists don’t mind hearing about Obama’s faith. I can respect Sen. Obama’s faith even if I don’t agree with it because he isn’t trying to force it on me!

  • Dr.R.P.

    Spiderman2 seems to be an expert in what is commonly called “the argument from incredulity”. That is: since there are these things I don’t understand, they must have been caused by some higher power that I am incapable of understanding. It’s a good thing that scientists don’t follow this “logic”, since then we would still be living in mud huts.I noticed that he/she really doesn’t get involved in this discussion about religious pandering from both parties. I suspect that is because she/he in not old enough to vote.

  • Zeteo Eurisko

    Jacques Berlinerblau is missing the point here. The point is Huck implied that he wants to eliminate the separation of church and state. He wants to amend the constitution to match the standards of the Bible. This rings of the Islamic position that no law can be higher than the Koran, and we’ve all seen how that works out when countries under Islamic law attempt democracy. Huck’s comment on the constitution is very different from Obama’s statement that our “values should be expressed … through our government.” Obama is talking about making our ethics consistent throughout all levels of our society, while Huck is talking about making a change to a fundamental principal of American governance. Secularists like myself do not care that Obama is a Christian as long as he does not step over the line of the separation of church and state.

  • wesley

    Obama is a phony who will say anything to anyone to get elected. His free pass from the liberal media makes me want to throw up.

  • Angela

    Jessica; we are in agreement; Mike Hucakbee is not a false convert nor does he profess to be Christian and not walk the walk. Sheeps and the goats, the wheat and the tares…

  • BD

    To Spiderman:Fine, if you want to believe that there is some divine hand behind the creation of the Universe, I’ll go along. I’ll stipulate that you are correct for the sake of argument. Now what can you say to prove that your version of this divine help is better or more correct than the Muslims, or Hindus, or Jews or Buddists or any of the other thousands of religions practiced on this planet. You can’t use the BS circular logic that you all like to use either… the statement “the Bible is true because it says it’s true” doesn’t hold water.

  • Metavosk

    As a secularist, the Obama quotes above do not inspire me to flee a looming Theocracy because he makes no appeal to one. The closest he comes is acknowledging faith’s ability to build a community, which one would have to be truly ignorant to deny regardless of personal creed.Obama is vocal about his religion, but he keeps his religion his. Huckabee wants to make his religion mine. That’s the simple and crucial difference. Most Christians have the savvy and compassion to recognize this distinction. Huckabee was (and yes, I invoke the past tense) flagrantly offensive to secularists because he pandered to those who didn’t.

  • John

    I don’t believe that you don’t see a difference between Obama’s use of spiritual/religious language and Huckabee’s. You would do more credit to yourself and your column by pointing out why they are different, instead of taking this easy way out and pretending they are the same.

  • Arminius

    Metavosk, you said:You have summed it up perfectly, thank you.It was said above that Hucksterbee ‘walks the walk’. Maybe, but it is his walk, not that of America. And if he walks all over our Constitution, then he is against all that I hold true.Arminius

  • Fred Evil

    The sad thing is, Spiderman probably thinks he’s winning.Gosh, if only he could have a moment or two of clarity.All Hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster! May you be touched by his noodly appendage!

  • Roger

    As a secularist and Obama supporter, it’s not about opposing politicians who are Christians — it’s about having politicians who respect the separation between church and state. From medieval Europe to modern day Iran, the mixing of religion and politics has never turned out particularly well.

  • BD

    Wesley:”His free pass from the liberal media” is a direct quote from the very same media… you dind’t make that phrase up you picked “free-pass from the liberal media” straight out of a WaPo editorial. If the media was so liberal, and they were giving him a free pass then they would never have printed that phrase. There have been plenty of media attacks against Obama, but people can see through the BS smear tactics behind them and make up their own minds. People stop reading the articles, or post in these blogs and the media see that the story isn’t gaining traction so it becomes a non-issue. The only people who think he’s had a free pass are conservatives and Clintonites who have an agenda and a closed-mind.

  • Anonymous

    The difference is Obama has to counter the muslum smears he’s getting. That and Huckelburryfin is a PREACHER!

  • Dr.R.P.

    Fred Evil: You make me want to run home and don my pirate regalia!

  • Arminius

    JJ:I must say again, your village has called. Their idiot is missing. Time for you to go home.Arminius

  • Anonymous

    Don’t discuss farming in Michigan where they want to talk about jobs.Don’t talk about factory closings in south Texas where they want to talk about immigration.Don’t talk Washington insiders and outsiders in Iowa where they want to discuss agriculture.And don’t talk about the economy to gathering of religious leaders.Sen. Obama gets it, and for the most part so does Gov. Huckabee.We are not anti-religion in this country. Every conversation has its place.

  • dimik72

    I am not the one to judge Obama’s religiosity, but I don’t feel threatened by it. As a European I find it peculiar, if not absurd, yet as a Medievalist I understand it. But as a reader of the Classics I am also a bit suspicious of it. Obama is certainly well-versed in his religious texts and has certainly spent time with pastors and religious figures, yet using a text does not imply believing in the text. And it certainly does not imply that like Huckabe he believes in it in a literal sense. When Cicero delivered his Catilinarians, one was written for the Senate, without any reference to God whatsoever, and one for the people, riddled with references to the divine. Obama is good in being able to touch both the average guy and the modern equivalents of Cicero’s senate, the cynical intellectual, the “godless”. As in Cicero’s case we cannot talk about Obama’s religion with any certainty. I respect anyone’s right to call themselves whatever they want, I reserve the right to doubt their sincerity. I am happy with his use of God, because I have a sense that whatever he says he knows better. For ultimately religion is as deep as your actions. And it is for those that he will be judged.

  • DFC

    What is interesting to me is that some of you consider Mike Huckabee’s stands to be “scary.” Many of his quotes need to be considered in their context and to whom he was speaking. Jessica, this country’s basic value system is that Americans can decide for themselves what their own basic value system is. I’m not talking about a legal system. I’m talking about religion, faith, etc. I don’t want yours and I don’t want to make you have mine. I sure don’t want Huckabee’s, and I don’t want any leader or party telling me what I think. Huckabee has stated that he thinks we should revise the Constitution to reflect values he supports. That’s enough to dissuade me from ever voting for him. And if what he means depends on who he’s talking to, then maybe he’s saying whatever the group he is speaking with wants to hear.

  • Rich

    Apparently someone using the nome-de-plume “spiderman” made comments that many are arguing with, but the original comments aren’t hooked into the WP feed. Would anyone care to cut and paste them in so we can read them?

  • Griffin

    Let’s be clear: I’d rather Sen. Obama stay away from Biblical musings in his professional capacity. That said, the Senator and the Governor use scripture very differently.First, Gov. Huckabee is running on his Christianity. He’s telling us that what this coutry needs is a “good, Christian leader” and that his relationship with ‘God’ is his primary qualification. Sen. Obama has made no attempt to make his religion anything more than part of who he is. It’s not the foundation of his campaign.Second, Sen. Obama is not advocating legislation based on his religion. The Jeremiah 29 is a nice story of reassurance and hope but it’s highly unlikely to be the basis for any kind of law. Remember, Gov. Huckabee would amend the Constitution to fit ‘God’s Law’ – whatever that means. Secularists find that far more alarming than a candidate using a Bible story to illustrate the rather universal themes of hope and encouragement.

  • datdamwuf

    Huckabee actually said he wanted to change the constitution to conform to “god’s will”. Very different from invoking your religion as a personal life changing experience. Secularist are comfortable when a politician clearly wants to ensure seperation of church and state. That said, Obama has not made me comfortable on that point. Clinton has.

  • Oort

    I tend to think both Obama and Huckabee are decent enough people, for the most part. I doubt either one would toilet paper my tree out of any malice in particular. I don’t see either of them as dangerous, as far as a fellow American is concerned.Huckabee is dangerous because he he is a Christian revisionist, someone who “believes” history rather than knows it. I still think he is a much finer human being than George Bush could ever hope to be. But I’ll be doing what I can within my province as an American vote to make sure he never sees the presidency. But if he does win, he will be the president of Christian America rather than the American president, just like George Bush.I don’t make any excuses for Obama, he doesn’t scare me. I won’t be voting for him anyway so it doesn’t matter to me how religious he is or says he is. But if he does win he will be my president.As an atheist I would rather not have to know what somebody’s religion is, keep it to your self and we can both be happy. It is my opinion that the religious are somehow deranged, but how much choice do I get to vote for someone who isn’t?

  • Kyle

    Rich: spiderman2 is spamming and abusing the comments feature for this column, so the Post removed his posts. We should ignore him in this forum.

  • Chagasman

    Secularists don’t complain about Obama’s speeches because Obama doesn’t talk about “taking America back for the Christians” or other tripe about “Christian America” and Taliban-like ideas about converting America into a country for Christians only. Huckabee likes to mix his Christian religion with politics a little too much. Huckabee even had the gall to woo the rednecks in South Carolina by telling them he supported their attempts to fly the Confederate flag from the state house, the flag of slave owners and traitors to the Union. That’s why secularists are right, and “Christians” like Jacques are wrong.

  • Jeff

    First, you don’t know me and shouldn’t assume that I don’t bristle whenever ANY politician feels the need to invoke superstitious delusions in order to get votes or inoculate himself against the charge of atheism from the religious mainstream in its continuous efforts to keep religion in politics. Second, there is a difference between bristling and complaining. The difference between generally silent bristling and the complaining that you complain about in response to Huckabee’s sentiments comes when the religious sentiment goes hand-in-hand with religious based (faith based) policy making, such as denying scientific reality, supporting creationism curricula, imposing limits on medical research, banning abortion, putting prayer in public schools, posting religious commandments in public squares, spending tax dollars on religious education, giving tax breaks to religious charlatans, etc., etc., etc., as it does with Huckabee but doesn’t at least so far as I am aware, with Obama. Given political reality, Obama’s resort to the need to espouse of fealty to religion, whether genuine or not, is as much the the fault of the delusionists as it is of his, and not holding it against him is a rational allowance that recognizes his keeping his so-called faith out of policy making. Let Huckabee do the same, and we’ll just bristle, but not complain.

  • Anonymous

    The inability (or unwillingness?) of this article to distinguish between secularism and atheism or between personal expressions of religious faith and the stated objective of altering the constitution to reflect that belief is disheartening. To conflate these two candidates, their expressions of their religious faith and that faith’s role in their political outlook is innacurate and doesn’t take into account the nuances in how the two utilize their religion in their public outlook. By failing to take account of these subtleties, this type of reporting continues to portray any religious expression as a threat to the division of church and state and unnecessarily portrays liberals thought, religious faith and a commitment to secularism as opposing values. Thankfully the electorate seems to be able to reconcile the complex interaction of these values with greater success than the public discourse reflects.

  • BGone

    Barak doesn’t mean it. Haven’t you heard? He says things he doesn’t mean purely for political reasons -NAFTA.Told you a long time ago the GOP dumped the evangelicals. There is no religious issues,, yet. There is no reason to fight on that front,, yet. Let’s see how things shape up from here, today.Clinton is the one most likely at this time to make religion an issue. Hagee hugged McCain, (probably felt like a boa -don’t breathe in) and McCain disavows any acceptance of Hagee’s positions.Obama is fairly safe. No one is listening to what he’s saying, just his great skills at saying it. As usual, voters are hearing what they want to hear.You did know that God is voting for Hillary because she can beat McCain. That sets the stage for Lucifer to make a big comeback, 2012. Let’s see if God vote’s for a very dark complected fellow with the middle name, Hussein -dressed like a Muslim big shot.Politics sho is fun and it gets a lot funner when religion is thrown into the pot. Tying the two tom cat tails together and hanging them over the clothes line won’t happen this election. But it’s not over ’till it’s over. Keep the faith. God’s voting but for whom and why is still a question be it not the big one. There’s actually a few who have preempted the politicians and already saying, “it’s the economy stupid.”With the job God has done with respect to the economy it’s probably a good idea if God doesn’t vote at all. That’s where God is at the present moment, kinda living in fear that the economy will cause people to “stay away from their churches, temples, synagogues, mosques and curse.” Many are already doing just that.

  • Tony Gillotte

    Jacques:Am glad you are not working in medicine. What kind of bulldoody are you peddling under the guise of journalism.Your story on the socalled religious preaching of Obama cites his remarks, to of all audiences, a gathering of religious leadership figures. What should he have talked to them about, the price of tea in china, the number of rallies he’s held in the last 12 months or the number mistakes made by the Bush administration? No! He talked to them in a language they could understand, a language of faith and his personal arrival into Chrisitanity. Not a bad choice since he has been pilloried by the vacuous US media with charges, or second charges, that he is a muslim. Not that there would be anything wrong with that choice of religions, except that the US electorate is not ready to hear that choice in the mouth of our leading presidential candidate right now.Personally, I dont practice any sort of popular religion but I do agree with much of secularism, agnosticism and atheism.But, no, that is not enough for you, who must have your own demons to expunge. You want to lend credence to the lie that Obama must be some sort of born again, bible thumping religious demogague. And you thought that it was clever to posit that threadbare type of politics next to Huckabee who actually does have a history as a Christian pastor. Or perhaps you are still sore over the fact that Obama has not knelt down and begged forgiveness for having attracted support from Farakkan? Ah, that must be it. You are trying to slight Obama with his Christian utterances because he is probably not willing to throw Farakkan under the bus and give praise everlasting praise and allegiance with Israel. Hallelujia!Get over it, Jacques. Obama is all grown up and playing a different and non obsequious style of politics which deadened pseudo intellects like you cant understand. But, you will.Tony Gillotte

  • Chris

    I think Obama’s campaign is worse than Huckabee’s as far as this article goes. Obama’s people at his rallies are fainting, crying…it’s some really weird stuff…kind of like a religious cult.

  • Mobedda

    It’s not the preaching itself, it’s the agenda behind it that creates the difference.

  • Cheryl

    I think all of them should leave religion out of politics, not just Governor Huckabee. It’s the overly religious who demand to know something of each candidates spiritual life/beliefs.

  • Vera Beaudin

    Those who apply a different yardstick to measure Obama, i.e., the Obamans, must be the progeny those who swooned over Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, perhaps even those who turned thumbs down in the Coliseum. They are afflicted with that primordial malaise sociologists call the “herd instinct.” The problem of couse is that we are not electing a ram to the highest office in this land.

  • Shamone

    but let’s be real here- you’ve excerpted barack speaking to a religious audience – not him pontificating at an economic summit or big rally. he’s chosen words that will resonate with his particular audience.huckabee, on the other hand, will imbue his speech with religious overtones regardless of audience, which suggests something quite different about the role of religion in his public life.point taken on the hypocritical tones of secular liberalism, but try not stacking the deck so blatantly next time.

  • Mayson

    I am part of the liberal secular America and I find both of them to be very offensive. I agree with you that Obama gets a pass where Huckabee would not. I for one am not jumping on the Obama bandwagon yet for the very same reason: the failure to separate state and church. It appears to me that these people are running for pastor in chief instead of commander in chief. Have we not learned the lessons from the Bush years?

  • Joel

    It is not the religious words, feelings or beliefs that outrage the secularists, it is the actions behind them. Obama may preach all he likes about his and other’s personal feelings, but he does not ask for the constitution to endorse a religion or expect all others to conform to one specific theology.

  • jm

    Obama uses biblical references out of context because he wants to obscure his ultra-liberal positions and mask the unpopularity of those positions to mainstream and conservative Christians; he wants to broaden his appeal outside the secular liberal crowd. Bill Clinton took the same approach with some success when he was running for president.It is questionable how many are going to be fooled by these references. However, the fact that Obama has not been criticized by liberals and the media for his use of biblical references – in sharp contrast to his Republican counterparts – does demonstrate blatant hypocracy.

  • Ania

    I guess I am not a threatened by Obama’s religious musings as I am by Huckabee’s because Obama is an intelligent and progressive believer, not some obtuse preacher stuck in the 18th century who woudl love to declare the earth flat and put Adam and Eve as the originators of the lineage in all our geneological charts.

  • fc

    give me a break. huckabee is a religious facist, who would do everything and anything imaginable or not to curb the rights of TAXPAYING americans that his ilk don’t like. obama WOULD NOT. stop with the preposterous pious, self-righteous, indignant artciles about poor, poor born again wackos. the day they confirm that the will keep their creepy, often slimy hands off of my person and OUT of my bedroom, is the day that they can speak openly about anything.

  • confused

    who the hell CAN I vote for?

  • fc

    give me a break. huckabee is a religious facist, who would do everything and anything imaginable or not to curb the rights of TAXPAYING americans that his ilk don’t like. obama WOULD NOT. stop with the preposterous pious, self-righteous, indignant artciles about poor, poor born again wackos. the day they confirm that the will keep their creepy, often slimy hands off of my person and OUT of my bedroom, is the day that they can speak openly about anything.

  • Del

    I’m sick of it from both sides. The fact that Obama had to tell/reassure a crowd that he was a Christian sickened me. I’m so sick of all this “god” talk in our politics. It adds nothing to advancing our civilization. I will say, however, as someone who understands the ‘need’ of Americans to believe their politicians to be believers, that I am less offended by Obama’s comments, as they appear less hostile and exclusive, than Huckabee’s and Bush’s. If we have to have god talk to make people feel good, I’ll pick obama.

  • Raja

    It’s really simple, Obama preaches love and equality while Huckabee preaches hate and fear. It’s the messenger stupid.

  • Kurt

    The major difference between Obama and Huckabee (Whom I no heart) is that Huckabee does not believe in evolution (and has said to publically) and he would also continue to dissolve the boundries between religion and state — although once dissolved, I suppose it would be a question as to which sect of Christianity got to rule (baptists v southern baptists v catholics v presbyterians v c of e v other sects v mormans) The fight would be delicious to watch, provided one lived in another country. Living here, it would be horrible with each sect claiming the divine right to run the country. Nothing would get done — except more dismantling of the federal and state governments and ecutational systems. Science would be sin qua non in the eduction of kids except for probably the Catholic church which had a history dating back to the 1400’s of supporting science.To sum up, just writing this makes me yearn for the days of the TR and the progressive movement but updated so one could fight the religious folks (esp the “Rev Dobson” whose protest at mat Shepard’s funderal will forever mar the annals of religion because not one major religous leader condemned it.) who would run our lives in conjunction with the corporate oligarchies (remember the Dixie Chicks who were banned from radio by the media conglomerations because they criticed Prez Bush.)Where are the TRs of today, oh yes and the Tafts too (who actually busted more trusts than TR but got the short shrift because in 1912 the Republicans came in third in the Presidential race and Taft was teh establishment candidate) and both of whom would probably be horrified at the state of corporate and banking power today.’Nuff said for one day.XXXXXXXKurt

  • Wesley

    Let’s say it all together for Obama. P H O N Y!

  • Brad

    When Sen. Obama starts saying that the earth is only 6000 years old, angrily rejects evolution, says we wouldn’t need Mexican labor if fetuses were not aborted, equates homosexulaity with bestiality, thinks Armegeddon is right around the corner, then I’ll start “hissing”.

  • mlewis

    I disagree with Berlinerblau’s contention that those of us on the “secular left” would immediately reject Huckabee over religious pronouncements similar to Obama’s. After listening to Huckabee in speeches and debates I find him the most acceptable of the Republican candidates over the past several election cycles. The objections many of us have had to “religiously inspired” Republicanism is not how religious it is but rather how unChristian it has become. Real Christians like Jimmy Carter and Huckabee will always have a place on leftest ballots.

  • stephen

    There is no inconsistency. Obama does not use his religious beliefs as a means of pushing a political agenda (amending the constitution, etc). The beliefs are his. They’re personal. They’re not part of his platform. What secularist would claim people can not have personal beliefs?

  • alex

    Obama is diff then Huck, Ob doesnt mean what he says i.e Canada /Nafta. So Ob will blow smoke in Ohio to Union workers and also blow smoke into those Jesus people. Ob will be all things to all people. Have no fear Ob is not religious, he’s just pretending like

  • Steve H

    Aside from it now being fashionable, almost expected, for political and other public figures to express their religiosity, there is no identity between what Obama and what Huckabee mean when they express their senses of pesonal religion. I am confident I can find passages that sound similar uttered by St Francis and Savanarola, but that does not mean their views of how society and religion are supposed to coexist are interchangeable.

  • JoeT

    The difference is that Obama, for all his personal faith, has, more clearly than anyone I can recall, stated that one’s religion must be insulated from one’s political conduct. Not ignored or discarded. He believes in the fundamental secular position that regardless of any religious source for a particular belief, a political leader may not advance that position unless he or she can do so by appealing to non-religious principles. Someone in this forum has posted his quite elegant writing on the subject, which should be recalled here.

  • Angry Liberal

    I’m writing in Kucinich. Or maybe I’ll go for Nader. But I don’t vote for “churchies.”

  • Al

    I had to pause for a moment when I read a poster above who said the Bible is clear on the issue of abortion. The Bible isn’t clear on any issue.There is a verse that will support anyone’s point of view on any topic (and additionally every verse can be interpreted literally, metaphorically and so forth).This book reflects every state of consciousness that can be found in humanity itself; from the sublime to the depraved.So for those who are Christian, find the verses that speak to you and let others do likewise.And those who aren’t Christian can draw inspiration from their own scriptures or if not religious, from reason, beauty and goodness wherever they find them.In the end vote for the candidate who most closely embodies your values & cherished beliefs (and whether religious or secular, perhaps remember that while you assume your beliefs to be true, you don’t know in an absolute sense whether you are right or wrong; you only believe you do…..perhaps the truth is greater than what any of us currently knows, and for that reason alone it is probably good to remain open minded about most everything).

  • pj4521

    The difference between Obama and the huckleberry ilk of the gop is that Barak Obama doesn’t use religion or god to instill intolerance and discrimination of those ynlike them. The bush, falwell, fred phelps pack of pigs have perfected the art of using God to scare stupid white baptists and others into believing that hate is good.

  • Nickles

    The difference is that Barak is just articulating his beliefs. Huckabee would legislate them.

  • Michele

    Unlike Governor Huckabee, Senator Obama hasn’t talked about amending the Constitution to align with the Bible.

  • Dr.R.P.

    I agree that there is a difference in the tone between Obama and Huckabee regarding how they discuss religion. But it seems to me that Obama is at best a “speed bump” in the race to make the US a theocracy. His pandering to the religious does not strengthen the seperation of church and state. It may not weaken it as much as if someone like Huckabee were elected, but his taking electoral advantage of this religious trend in politics does not bode well for the secular future of our country.Again, I would vote for him over virtually any republican, but won’t get excited about it.

  • TVAlley

    The difference between the Christianity of the left and the Christianity of the right is this: the Christianity of the left is empowering, community-oriented, and ultimately humanist. The most important part of Obama’s speech is that “it is a plan he left us to fulfill.” It is a faith of personal responsibility and respect for our fellow man.The Christianity of the right is a top-down theocracy, seeking to impose religiously oriented laws on a diverse and unwilling population. It is not a faith of empowerment, it is a faith of enforcement.For a secularist – one who believes that Church and State must be separate – Christianity is not a problem per se. It is the manner in which religion manifests itself in the public sphere.

  • Machine

    “But it’s a plan He’s left to us to fulfill.”In other words, God doesn’t actually have a plan.

  • lindafranke1952

    Excerpt: The Audacity of Hope

  • cb

    Those without faith in anything will never really understand. Those with faith understand that it is a part of one’s life and cannot be hidden for convenience. If one’s expression of their faith is offensive then I am offended daily by the expressions in the mass media that attack the core values of my faith. The real question is, can a person who believes in something be a good President?

  • Tom

    The difference between the two is that Republican are held to a different standard than Democrats. Democrats can do as they please and the media will fall over themselves to accommodate them.And then there are people like Rebecca below, who are so full of liberal hate that they probably believe the drivel they spew. There is no hate like liberal hate.

  • Tonio

    Pj4521, while I share your extreme distaste for Bush and Falwell and Fred Phelps, I condemn the hatefulness of your post.

  • lobear00

    Well’ there are Hypocrits, and Hypocrits of a higher order. Many’Many religious leaders are not what they should be. When so-called religious leaders spout fear mongering,Judging others based on there ethnic differencs, based on the color of there skin, are these really leaders! I think not.

  • jimjim

    Great and objective analysis because there is no doubt Dems can quote scripture with no reprisals from either liberal establishment types, media folks, or surprisingly, conservatives. Only cons get the “stop trying to impose your beliefs on me” treatment. Remember the outrage over Bush’s “Jesus Christ is my favorite philosopher”…?

  • Tonio

    “If one’s expression of their faith is offensive then I am offended daily by the expressions in the mass media that attack the core values of my faith.”The only thing that’s offensive about faith is when some (not all) people of faith label others as evil and deserving of eternal suffering. Compared with that hateful and anti-human concept, any attack on someone’s faith pales in comparison. That’s because the people who do the labeling claim to speak on behalf of a god.

  • rahrens

    Jessica:”However, the Bible is clear on abortion and maybe, as a Christian, he needs to rethink his position.”Perhaps you should rethink yours.The Bible says NOTHING about abortion directly. But how it treats women and fetuses is instructive. A woman is treated as a human – if you kill one, the penalty is death, like many penalties in the bible. But if you cause a woman to have a miscarriage, the penalty is not death, but a monetary payment to the father.Not exactly a ringing endorsement of pro-life, is it?

  • Ed Nopp

    What Huckabee does not grok yet, and Obama does, is that evolution IS the intelligent design. Yes, God has a plan for Americans, Canadians and everyone else. And the plan is continuous evolution to manifested perfection, in all planes of existence.And the plan is good for all, a win-win, and will be so carried out (otherwise, there would be another God). Secularism and religion are not a problem, or a solution. God’s plan may just seem to be delayed by our action or inaction, but it’s just our imperfections that make us fixate on the apparent contradictions and prevent us from seeing that everything is beautiful and has an educational purpose in life. Even secularism. Even religion.

  • sophie brown

    You want to know why secular america (which includes, by the way, people like me who are religious but desire to keep religious faith out of politics as the framers did) doesn’t mind statements of belief by Obama but not by Huckabee?Boy, that’s easy. It’s because Huckabee and other fundies want to impose their faith on others who do not share their beliefs by codifying the prohibitions of their religion into civil laws. Since Obama doesn’t desire to this, he can entertain whatever beliefs he likes. And he can even discuss how his religious foundation has shaped his ambitions and his view of the wold.

  • Enemy Of The State

    The difference between Huckabee’s approach to religion and Obama’s? When Obama talks about it I don’t get the impression that as an atheist I’m a second class citizen. With someone like Huckabee, I’d be listening for that ominous knock on the door a 3 AM.

  • jon

    Is there a double standard? You bet. Because as a Jew, I have no fear of Democrats pushing a religious agenda down my throat. I don’t worry that they are going to use religion as a basis for pushing creationism, revising science books, revoking Roe v. Wade, or trying to get religious prayer as a part of public schooling. So far the GOP has DONE those things.Do I want to hear a religious speech from any candidate? No. I am not voting for a theologist in a political election, so their personal views don’t really bother me. But the thumping and proselytizing from the Christian Right…that DOES. If/when the Christian/religious Left advances the same agendas, I’ll complain just the same.But for now, if it walks like a duck….

  • Jessica

    I suspect that the reason you have heard little protest against Barack Obama’s mention of God in his speeches is simply that most people recognize the vast difference between professing a personal belief in the enlightenment and inspiration that one can receive from faith and the suggestion that we alter the document on which our entire governmental process is founded based on the supposed standards of a God that not every citizen in this country believes exists. (The very document, I might add, that states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”)

  • ABB

    The difference is that Obama has to explain that he is Christian because attackers have accused him of being Muslim and some relate that terrorism. Huckabee wants his religious beliefs to impact government decisions. Big difference. Common sense.

  • Wesley

    I won’t vote for Huckabee but I respect him. He talks about his faith and it is a part of him. It is not rolled out for political gain like the PHONY Obama. The left is not threatened by Obama because of the wink wink factor, they know he is just cynically using it to get votes and they understand that game all too well.

  • Angela

    I’m reading these posts and the Bible does state; thou shall not kill and no one has the right to play God with an inocent child; conception is the birth of life whether you chose to believe it or not. Also, Mike Huckabee has stood his ground on very important views which are supported by the Bible but of course, those who don’t believe mock and persecute him, i.e., wives submit to your husbands and husbands love your wives; submission in the bible is respecting him as the one God has made the Head of the household; not in the stand two feet behind me. Also, not sure how many bible believing true Christians believe abortion is ok; maybe those should check their doctrine and their hearts. Also, when I begun checking out a church to call my home, I looked for their belief system (in Christ), not in what I saw on his website. Also, I contacted that church to ask their beliefs as maybe I could’ve been moving to Chicago. What I received was an autoresponse thanking me for my interest in their church and the next 40 or so lines was about Obama. Not a church I would attend. That says alot. It’s Christs’ church not Obama’s nor the Pastors.

  • Alan

    I think the fundamental difference is that Huckabee would use the power of the state to enforce his religious views on everyone, and Obama wouldn’t. “Expressing values” is very different from imposing them.Discussion in the Post and other right-wing media of the supposed liberal antipathy to “religion” continually misses the distinction between Christianity and Christianism.

  • BD

    to Vera Beaudin: Organized religion epitomizes the “herd instinct”. People believe in Obama because he speaks to us…. he says the things we think and makes the same arguments that we have been making for the last 7 years thanks to the real Sheeple who voted for Bush. If you don’t believe just look at the demographics…. in Ohio Obama wins college-educated voters 58% – 33% over Clinton. Who are the real Sheeple? Someone like me who works for the World Bank, has a college education, and has travelled to every continent except Antarctica or the Evangelical Rovian robots who voted for a war monger like Bush because he said he was “born-again”, and promised to protect us from the bogeymen (gays getting married, stem-cell baby killing scientists and terrorists around every corner). As the bumper sticker says “Who would Jesus bomb?” I made up my own mind by watching the debates and listening to what the candidates say, not what the media says about them. Your ridiculous generalizations about all Obama supports are insulting and people like you are the reason no one else in the world respects Americans anymore.“[S]hake off all the fears of servile prejudices

  • Angela

    Ok: quick question, what does Obama stand for? What change? It’s all misty…Not sure what he’s stating he’ll change…

  • Angela

    I’m a good speaker and I’m a Christian; should I have run for President…I see really no difference with Obama…except what he claims he believes is just talk; by their fruit you shall know them…

  • Anonymous

    The Founding Fathers wrote the separation of church and state into the Constitution for a reason, which is to prevent the American Taliban (a.k.a. Dobson, Huckabee, et al.) from turning the USA into a theocracy. I cringe whenever I hear any politician talk like this, so to state the secular liberalism tolerates this speech from “our guy” is ridiculous. Obama was talking to Latino Evangelicals. Latinos tend to be more conservative and family oriented. As readers have pointed out, Republicans and Evangelical supporters use religion as a weapon for division and hatred. That was neither Obama’s intent nor his beliefs. I wish all my politicians were secular, but this is America after all. So, get bent with your self-righteous indignation Berlinerblau.

  • Anonymous

    confused:who the hell CAN I vote for?

  • Jeff

    Mr. Berlinerblau misrepresents what I’ve done or not done- shame on you, Mr. Berlinerblau! I HAVE been critical of Mr. Obama for preaching on the campaign trail, and talking as if secularists, Jews, Buddhists, etc., all go to “church.” This is not an inclusive message, and doesn’t give me confidence that Mr. Obama will staunchly defend the separation of religion and government. So, I do regard Mr. Obama and Mr. Huckabee as equally frightening on that issue, which is a big one.

  • Angela

    Thank you Wesley; that’s exactly what I thought he meant by change: Nothing: oh except allow the Al Queda to continually bomb the U.S; 2) Gay marriages will take place all over the country; 3) Stem cell research will be approved; 4)Give the combination to White House to everyone who hates the US. Oh; maybe human cloning next and then numbers on our foreheads so then everyone will have free healthcare…pretty scary…

  • Anonymous

    FC wrote:Ah, so people can only speak openly after demonstrating conformity with what you think/want. And you call THEM fascist? What hypocrisy. I’m not defending them; I’m pointing out just how alike you are to those you decry. That mirror sure can hurt.

  • Anonymous

    FC wrote:Ah, so people can only speak openly after demonstrating conformity with what you think/want. And you call THEM fascist? What hypocrisy. I’m not defending them; I’m pointing out just how alike you are to those you decry. That mirror sure can hurt.

  • husimon

    The difference between Obama and Huckabee (and Bush too) is that Obama has spoken about faith and religious belief when it is appropriate,such as when speaking at a church in front of a religious group. He does not desire to superimpose a religious ideology on his public policy. The constitution is the rule set out by our founding fathers to guide our country, not the bible or any religion.

  • Jeryl Lujan

    I disagree with this author when he tries to compare the reactions of secularists to Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee for one reason. Secularists, I believe, oppose the integration of faith or religious judgement into civil matters. Although Barack Obama is an admitted spiritual man, he does not talk about taking that faith and imposing on our society through laws, policy, or constitutional amendments. Mike Huckabee does. Rather, Obama uses his spirituality as a means of connecting with his audience. Even non-believers and athiests are still able to relate to him because they can appreciate the underlying theme of his speeches. When he talks about God’s Plan and Faith, I believe the underlying message is that we are a part of a larger whole (America) and that through civic responsibility and faith in what we can accomplish we as Americans can improve our community and nation. After 8 years of divisive politics where groups of people are targeted as wedge issues (gay marriage topic during the 2004 elections) and partisan nitpicking has virtually paralyzed most of our federal government it is inspiring to hear a message like this.Mike Huckabee talks only to a specific audience and that’s why he doesn’t get anywhere with non-eveangelicals. He hasn’t really made clear how he would deal with the concerns of everyone that does not belong to his group. A suggestion to amend our nation’s constitution to meet God’s standards? Need I say more?

  • Jeff

    Jessica: “by saying that a baby who lived through an abortion should be given life saving measures he would then have to admit that this baby was a person before exiting the womb. This would go against every pro-choice argument.”

  • Tom Simon, Alexandria, VA

    Excellent points! I think libs never listen to what is actually said but as long as “sounds” nice and there is a “D” behind the name, it’s allll good…

  • Me

    The difference between Obama and the liberals and Hucakabee and his followers are that the liberals don’t really believe Obama means any of it. His actions, such as enabling partial birth abortions etc are far out of step with his religious rhetoric. Liberals assuage their fears by thinking to themselves that he’s just saying those things to get elected, then he’ll be the liberal secularist they really believe him to be (and that he is).

  • TruthShallSetUsFree

    To Angela:You’re an idiot. THE most important thing to you is your religion and that is what clouds your thinking and won’t let you be logical. YOU are the sheep. “Obama will allow the al-Qaeda to continually bomb America”????!!! Hey dumbie, they’ve only bombed us once. “He will give the combination to the white house to anyone who hates the US”???!!!! Hey fearmonger, does a discussion equal keys to the nukes??? George Bush didn’t talk to N. Korea and criticized Clinton’s policies. In response, they restarted their nuclear program. Once he went back to the Clinton policy, the program was halted. And btw, the next time that you discuss numbers on someone’s foreheads……………..think about warrantless wiretapping. And btw, St.Angela the righteous…….I’m guessing your life doesn’t hang in the balance while you’re waiting on the donor list for a new organ, because if it did, you may not feel like Jesus hates stem cell research. Sometimes I feel like I live in the United States of Saudi Arabia.

  • Dr Lou

    I have no interest in the religious pandering of any of the candidates. And I consider the statements attributed to Obama to be squarely in that category. The fact that Obama, and others running for elected office, now feel it necessary to make an attribution of their ‘faith’ represents a signficantly compromised democratic and electoral process. Our current resident of the White House, after all, verbalizes his perceived ‘faith’ all of the time while acting in ways which should not be recognizable to persons of true faith and belief. When one acts in a way which represents faith, it will be recognizedBut “why do secularists hiss when Huckabee preaches but purr when Obama preaches” seems a rather naive question. It might be that Obama has not gone on record with a wish to alter the American Constitution to better reflect the word of god…at the least, how that ‘word’ has been translated by Huckabee’s school of theology, anyway. And that was just one way Huck has promised to alter the American system if he were to be elected.

  • jesuguru

    Rahrens:It actually is, if you read it in its correct historical and linguistic context (Ex 21:22-25). It actually doesn’t say “miscarriage”, it refers to *premature birth* without injury to mother *or child* that brings a fine. If either mother or child is injured (or dies), the penalty is “injury for injury, life for life”.Granted that was Old Testament theocratic Israel, and we are democratic (rightly non-theocratic) US, so the penalty doesn’t convey. But the principle remains – unborn life is life as valuable as that of the mother.Pro-life socially-conservative politically-moderate/liberal individuals like myself would have a MUCH easier time voting for Obama if he wasn’t pro-choice to the extent of speaking against a bill even most other liberal pro-choice pols voted for: protecting live babies from failed abortions. Unconscionable.

  • Angela

    TruthShallSetUsFree: I see it the way I see it. Call me what you like; sheep, you’re absolutely right. That I am.

  • Wesley

    The difference between Obama and Huckabee (and Bush too) is that Obama has spoken about faith and religious belief when it is appropriate,such as when speaking at a church in front of a religious group.WRONG!!!!!

  • b. wu

    so far as i know, obama is safe. he’s sending his kids to private school so there’s no issue for him about if we can have praying session in public schools.———————-

  • b. wu

    aiii…., g. w. bush has made no attempt to amend the country’s constitution on religious ground either.this country is really leaning toward the right.go obama!

  • Hillman

    As so many others have pointed out, for some reason we trust Obama not to force his religion on us by government fiat.Huckabee’s stated policies, and the recent history of his party, are all for forcing religious views on everyone.For instance, gay rights. Huckabee has decided that his hatred of gays can be justified by the Bible so it’s ok for him to use government to make life hard for millions of gay taxpaying Americans.Obama, on the other hand, has made no such proposal.That’s the difference.

  • websterr1

    So the thesis of your article is that liberals are complete and total hypocrites?

  • Mike

    The difference is that Huckabee obviously doesn’t believe in the separation between Church and State. This country was founded by those who were escaping organized religion that had too much influence on their governments, their beliefs and their daily lives.

  • OldLefty

    I don’t care what Obama’s religion is, the most overtly religious people in politics now are big phonies anyway. The difference is that he won’t cram his religion down the rest of our throats.

  • BD

    to Angela:”I’m a good speaker and I’m a Christian.” Uh, Angela…. I can see from your posts that you are Christian. If your writing is indicative of your speaking however then I’m not sold on your first claim. You’re grammar and punctuation leave a little to be desired. Between you and Obama, one was president of the Harvard Law Review and one wasn’t… I’ll let the readers here figure out which one!

  • David Blackburn

    This difference is that Obama is from the United Church of Christ and not a baptist. Why don’t you ask him whether he thinks his religion should be for everyone and I think he’d tell you that he respects all religions. Ask the same thing to a baptist and they’d try to convert you. I’m sure that Obama would never try to judge whether someone were going to hell.

  • TruthShallSetUsFree

    Nothing like fearmongering huh Angela??? “Obama will allow the al-Qaeda to continually bomb the US”???!!! Um, they’ve only bombed us once Einstein. And, if you could, shoot us all some analysis to support such a claim.And I’m guessing that you’re life doesn’t hang in the balance while you’re waiting on the list for a new organ, otherwise you might not think that Jesus hates stem cell research. BTW, do you even know what happens to the stem cells from clinics???? They get incinerated, sweety. Do you have the ability to see the irony???It’s your right to vote for who you want. Just don’t pollute this discussion with your ridiculous religious rantings that have no factual basis.

  • Tom Boyer

    Jacques, you’ve drawn all the wrong conclusions here.1) The term “secularists” is an unfortunate label because it sounds cold, like atheist. Instead I’d rather you acknowledge you can be a believer and still be troubled by the intertwining of politics and religion. 2) Many people who are not liberals are troubled by the Christian Theocracy movement. In fact, many Republican conservatives are horrified by the Evangelical Christian takeover of the GOP.3) Having Obama use God Talk on the campaign trail doesn’t make it right that Huckabee uses God Talk. But it also doesn’t undermine the Democratic Party’s standing as the party most likely to respect religious freedom and not try to run the country on so-called Biblical Principles. You don’t need to be a liberal or Democrat to want Genesis out of your kids’ high school science classes. Or not have Christian Theocrats in charge of hiring U.S. Attorneys and appointing judges. Or have decisions about civil rights or health policy or science made out of reason and compassion — and simply aligned to the dogma of some Christian fundamentalist. You may not be a liberal to want the arms-length relationship between religion and government that the Founding Fathers clearly envisioned. But if you want that, the GOP no longer has any credibility on that issue — the Democrats are your only hope.

  • Huck-a-fan

    I find it fascinating that we want to separate what made this nation great from the religion that made it so. Where is the great atheistic country we are trying to model ourselves after? What atheist started the premier colleges in the country (Harvard, Yale and Princeton)? What atheist group lead the abolition movement, even from the inception of the Constitution? What atheist group was leading the civil rights movement? What work ethic has driven this country’s greatness for the past 200 years?I’ll even spot you Jefferson and Franklin.

  • Andre Pachter

    America would be better off if candidates kept their personal faith and relationship with God to themselves as the private matter it properly should be. However, the Biblical basis for social justice and freedom is something that can and should inspire us all.

  • HaveItYourWay

    Using the term “frightening” with respect to Huckabee is rather silly. It seems that everyone wants to be afraid of something or someone today. There are too many slogans and too many accusations, while there little indepth analysis of relevant issues.

  • HaveItYourWay

    Using the term “frightening” with respect to Huckabee is just not serious. It seems that everyone wants to be afraid of something or someone today. There are too many slogans and too many accusations, while there is very little indepth analysis of relevant issues.

  • Shannon

    Dr. Berlinerblau is creating a straw man in order to fill up column space. The important issue is not simply the language that these two politicians use; it is how they apply that language to their politics that should concern us. Secular Americans are rightly concerned when Gov. Huckabee speaks in such a way, because he governs as a near-theocrat. Sen. Obama does not. It is that simple.

  • HaveItYourWay

    It is interesting that the Constitution receives so much attention here … As I remember, the Consitution guarantees the right to life.

  • HaveItYourWay

    It is interesting that the Constitution receives so much attention here … As I remember, the Consitution guarantees the right to life.

  • BD

    “WRONG!!!!!Which is exactly why Hucakbee is criticized for his faith while Obama is not. Your bible is not my bible but this IS my country (I fought for it, Semper Fi!) AND yours as well because of people like me. We have the right to decide that it is NOT ALWAYS appropriate to discuss your faith. Try proselytizing at work after a coworker asks you not to and see if you don’t get fired for harassment. I’m not trying to force you not to believe so why do you think it’s OK to force me to believe? Hucakbee can shout his faith from every rooftop and no one will try to stop him but the public will let him know if they think it is inappropriate vis a vis media critcism and by not voting for him. He does not, however, have the right to alter the Constitution to conform to the beliefs of a vocal minority or to pass legislation proscribing non-christian behavior.

  • linda bartram

    Obama doesn’t even comprehend what a non believer is. He just threw it in there cause it sounded good. Remember, the US is founded on acceptance. It just lost it’s way somewhere along the line.

  • metropolitan

    they hiss when huckabee preaches because he openly claims to want national law to mirror biblical law (his version of it, of course).

  • AZ

    Faith means more than an assertion regarding the existence or intention of God. It can also be simply a “benefit of the doubt” regarding the intentions of our fellow countrymen. If a leader can inspire this type of good faith, it will surely lead to social harmony without necessitating religious unity. It is a faith that will urge people to behave charitably, without expecting a specific favor in return. It may seem too idealistic, but it is this notion that is at the basis of any community and civilization.

  • Matthew

    As a liberal person of faith, it has been difficult to see the right-wing lay sole claim to the ‘values’ of people of faith. I could go on and on about how liberalism espouses some of my most heartfelt beliefs and aspirations, but the point I’d like to make is that, in my opinion, it’s about time leaders of the Democrat Party stop fearing expressing these aspects of themselves. Liberal, Conservative, God-loving, atheist, I want a leader who is proud of who they are and where they come from, and what they believe in.

  • lfmn16

    Jacques The difference between Huckleberry and Obama is that Obama isn’t forcing his religion down anyone’s throat. You can take his comments or leave them. Huckleberry wants to mandate his religion through the constitution. How do you not get the difference???Your post is such a blatantly one-sided intellectually dishonest hatchet job I’m suprised it got printed.

  • Ted Harris

    I thought this was shallow and not very well thought out. The writer is a college professor? That is disturbing. It is clear that Huckabee and his kind want to make this a theocracy. It is clear that Obama keeps his faith in the background and talks about his outlook on issues first and foremost. The separation of chuch and state that was intended for this country. Also, I thought a very real hatred of agnostics shines through this writing. I am very comfortable with Obama, even though I don’t agree with all his statements on religion.

  • sylas

    Angela…Your comments are so ridiculuous that I’ll look beyond your bizarre usage of grammar and point out something that should be examined a little further. You state, “Also, not sure how many bible believing true Christians believe abortion is ok.” Obviously abortion is antithetical to most (maybe all) Christian traditions. What is wrong with Huckabee’s stance is that he wants to force this Christian belief into the framework of our country. You can believe whatever you want. That life starts at conception is NOT a belief that is shared by all of America. That Christian teachings and ethics are the only way to live a moral life and to achieve a spiritual existence in this world or the next–this too is not something everyone believes. We should therefore not be putting laws into our constitution based on a specific faith, however true they claim to be. A constitutional law on the basis of Christianity seems to me to be a throwback to the days of Kings and Queens and enforced theology.By the way:

  • Wesley

    Typical of leftists that they support dictatorships over democracies. Israel has been remarkably restrained to the terrorist attacks. I can only imagine the outcry that would come if mexico was launching missiles into el paso and people were blowing up women and children along the border. These same effete liberals would probably say it was america ‘s fault. The democratic party is home to america haters. Scratch a lefty and you will find a traitor to liberty.

  • BD

    To Huckafan: Secular does not equal atheist. It is very unlikely that the Founding Fathers were atheists (few were, openly at least, at that time) however they did believe in secular government. The First Amendment is pretty clear evidence of that. Huckabee wants to alter the Constitution in such a way as to violate not just any Amendment but the FIRST Amendment… the one so important to the Founding Fathers that they listed it first. Freedom OF religion also means freedom FROM religion. Religion did not make this country great. Hard work, innovation and freedom do not belong to the religious right. What religious group landed a man on the moon? What religious group built ENIAC (the first computer… and my grandfather was an engineer on that project). What religious group developed the Polio vaccine? What atheist group started the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition or the Salem Witch Trials. What atheist group invaded Iraq, and tortured prisoners in Gitmo or secret CIA prisons (the religious right elected Bush so don’t try to disown him now)? “[S]hake off all the fears of servile prejudices

  • Agustin Astacio

    The reason secularists dont bat an eyelash when ANY democrat bursts forth in religious speech is because they KNOW like most evangelicals that such theological BANTAR is given with forked tongue syndrome. They know that the DNC candidates, whoever they are will aid the secular agenda rather than hinder it. The Obama’s and the Hillary’s like Satan appear as “angel’s of light” but when their theology hits the political arena it smells of anti-biblical barb-Q. As long as the DNC links itself closely to the LGBT community and promotes the pro-choice Sanger eugenic philosophical bigotry that launched the movement and is still the thinking vehicle that lurks behind the excuses for the extermination of infants ahem embryos. So as long as the Obamas ignorantly support these two excuses for moral autonomy and accountability secularists know Obama’s bantar is just that bantar but the Huckabees mean what they say and will clash with their actions not just verbal rhetoric that sounds “God-Lovin.” Sincerely,

  • t

    Obama’s religious toned rhetoric is not a call to change the country’s constitution. Trying to compare Huck’s comment to Obama’s musings is foolish at best. No one in the secular community had anything of substance to say regarding the religious musings from Huck until he suggested rewriting the Constitution. That was the issue not the religious messages.

  • homesower

    Are you really concerned that Huckabee will amend the constitution? He could only do that through means already established so it would require a groundswell of support for those amendments to pass. He is not going to get anything passed that’s not popular and also appealing to a significant chunk of democratic state legislators. If you otherwise support Huckabee, don’t let the constitution comment stop you. If you don’t care for him, find some real reason to oppose him

  • Mike McHugh

    Many here have said this with much more elegance, but: Huckabee intends to rewrite the Constitution to align with his concept of a “living god”. This article was inane.

  • homesower

    Are you really concerned that Huckabee will amend the constitution? He could only do that through means already established so it would require a groundswell of support for those amendments to pass. He is not going to get anything passed that’s not popular and also appealing to a significant chunk of democratic state legislators. If you otherwise support Huckabee, don’t let the constitution comment stop you. If you don’t care for him, find some real reason to oppose him

  • Jeffrey Caplin

    I think, Mr. Berlinerblau, that you are confusing “secularist” with “non-believer”; the two are not always one in the same. I am Christian, but am one of the many (as a recent poll has shown) not beholden to any organized faith. As well, I understand that, when it comes to governing in the United States, the Constitution takes precendent over any particular religion’s belief or outlook. It is fine and good when a person of faith in government allows their faith, when appropriate, to drive policy. There are tenets of Christianity, at its high level, that dovetail with American values. We all used to learn these in civics class as children: tolerance, decency, equality etc. Non-secularists, I think, want a model of government where one specific Christian outlook, such as Evangelical Christianity, or Catholicism, drives policy — even if it means altering the Constitution. The difference between Senator Obama and someone like Governor Huckabee isn’t “what” (Christianity) it’s “how” (allowing faith to supercede the Constitution).

  • Anonymous

    Homesower:It is a very legitimate concern. Huckabee would likely be unable to rewrite the Constitution, BUT would have new, unchecked “unitary” powers to act in accordance with his stated intentions to create a theocracy.That he is enough of a rube to think he can rewrite the Constitution is amusing: That he would use his powers of office to ruthlessly promote his particular brand of religion is both likely and frightening.

  • Anonymous

    homesower:It’s not what Huckabee could do but what he would do if he could and the notion of moving him closer to doing it. Try saying I’m going to establish a communist dictatorship or Nazi regime if elected. We know that wouldn’t happen but why give anyone that’s in favor of it the time of day. Maybe a good swift boot in the seat of the pants?Goodbye Huck and hello president McCain for Obama has made that silly mistake, even though we know he doesn’t mean it, [wink]. We know he doesn’t mean it because he’s said so to the Canadians and Mexicans and Viet Namese and the Japanese and, well, anyone who “has ears to hear.”What’s sad is that Obama will win the nomination and be easier to beat than McGovern. I hate dull elections. Don’t you?

  • Alan

    The many commenters who have complained that Obama talks about “change” but never says what he’s actually for, might be interested to know of the existence of something called “The Internet.” There, you can go to Obama’s “Web Site” and see exactly what he proposes. And then maybe you can object to an actual policy of his, instead of the standard conservative logic of just calling something “liberal” or “leftist” rather than addressing its actual merits.

  • Anonymous

    Jeffrey Caplin:You’re confusing non-believer with aler-believer. Have you reviewed 0. No kingdom of any kind shall be established.

  • ed

    Oh, come on! Politics isn’t about what you believe, -it is about convincing as many people as you can, just before election day, that you believe something of what THEY believe. Obama uses Bible verses, but then has no problem putting a baby with arms, legs and a beating heart right down a garbage disposal…..But it is alright, God is in control, and will one day blow away the chaff of politics and human government like so much dust… then we will see what each person really believed.

  • prognosticator

    What we need in the USA is 16-24 years of liberal secular humanism….you can call humanism religion if you want, as long as the liberal secular part is included. If Obama plays his cards right that’s exactly what we’ll have. Fundamentalists will be dead and gone at the end of his two terms, and his equally liberal running mate will forge ahead for another 8 year term – now who is that mystery person?? McCain will select Huckabee as his running mate and they’ll go down in the richly deserved flames of their own hubris and hyprocrisy. Constitutionality will be re-instated and human decency and intelligence will finally prevail across our fair land, after far too many years of republican right-wing evangelically tainted and character-challenged pseudo-government for the rich and privilaged. I think the best part in the near term is the prospect of actually seeing some real brainpower residing in the Oval Office for a change – the neocon nightmare is almost over.All power to the people!!

  • Dennis Myers

    I’d like to see some sourcing for Mr. Berlinerblau’s quote from Sen. Obama that “our values should be expressed not just through our families, our communities, and our churches, but through our government.” When I ran a search for it, this essay was the only hit I got.

  • Greg Hutchinson

    This article makes an interesting point but misses the main one. Huckabee wants to increase the pressure on the State to adhere to his church’s teachings. In his own state (Arkansas) he has even stopped the teaching of evolution, as if Genesis has something scientific to say about the origins of the physical universe. Can you imagine Obama approving of that? No, because he believes in the separation of Church and State. This article, though much more rational, reminds me of that old closet right-winger Max Lerner’s article asserting (while Reagan was running against Carter) that Carter was always dragging in religion. In terms of law, as opposed to innocent reference, it was Reagan, not Carter, who tried to unite Church and State. Reagan’s side pandered to the Christian Right, and that side still does.

  • Greg Hutchinson

    I was just told too many comments had been submitted from me in a short period of time, and therefore, my comment on the above article wasn’t accepted. Something wrong with your computer. I’ve submitted as many as two comments in the distant past — and maybe I’ve submitted none at all. Who’s in charge over there?

  • confetti

    That’s easy.

  • Joe M

    This article is patently dishonest. It ascribes a hostility to the the religious by the non-religious that is false. I’m an staunch Atheist and I have no problem with people being religious on their own time. I don’t have a problem with the President being religious. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” The only time I have a problem with a Public Official’s religious beliefs is when those beliefs cause policy that is religiously motivated. Case in point: Evolution. You can believe that God put us here all you want, but to attempt to insert God into a science class is unacceptable. To claim that God aided your decision to invade another country is unacceptable. To claim that God hates gays is unacceptable. All these things are unacceptable, but that doesn’t mean that the non-religious reject all candidates whom Believe. As an Atheist, most of my venom is reserved for so-called “Religious Right,” the most unholy of alliances that is neither religious or right, merely hateful and weakminded, so weak in their faith that they seek to have Government impose religious dogma; masking their fear and Xenophobia as religion and family values.

  • trippin

    “Why do secularists hiss when Huckabee preaches but purr when Obama preaches?” you ask?Because Huckabee wants to codify his medieval superstitions into our Constitution, that he may force the entirety of a pluralistic society, one that was once arguably the most advanced on earth, to live by them involuntarily.That, sir, tends to irritate the dickens out of anyone with two wits to rub together. How would you react if a Muslim candidate proposed changing the Constitution to match Sharia law? You’d bust a blood vessel.

  • sam

    obama is a constitutional law scholar who clearly understands and believes in the separation of church and state. He doesn’t make the dangerous claim that America is “Christian nation”–he knows that is not true and never was. He believes that people of faith must stand on reason and common, secular principles when they bring their passion to public life, and not just announce to atheists and non-Christians what God told them needs to be done. Obama believes in evolution. Not all Christians are alike. Obama is no kind of threat to secularists, and Huckabee clearly is–so I don’t buy the argument that secularism is just liberalism–there are plenty of conservatives here in New England, for example, who like their conservatism economic not social–and don’t like Huckabee either.

  • Dennis B

    That Barack Obama referred to prayer and to “God’s plan” when speaking to an audience of Latino Evangelical and Catholic clerics is hardly surprising. And I don’t mean that Obama is simply telling people what they want to hear–it’s not all gamesmanship. That he normally doesn’t use such rhetoric means that he is quite comfortable observing a separation of church and state and in fact does observe it. Mr. Berlinerblau’s article is pointedly disingenuous. Tell me this: how hard did you have to scour Barack Obama’s speeches to find this kind of reference to religion? Compare this to the ubiquity of Mike Huckabee’s religious rhetoric. That’s why there’s no peep of protest against Obama: he has respect for those to whom he’s speaking.

  • Linguist

    Speaking only for myself, the difference between Governor Huckabee’s God and Senator Obama’s God is pretty clear.Governor Huckabee looks at me and my 30+ years of a loving, committed, monogamous relationship that in all meaningful ways is indistinguishable from his own marriage and sees instead an “aberrant, unnatural, and sinful lifestyle”. His “god” is a plumber, and his moral code is a plumber’s manual. It’s a childlike and insulting view of God and of His creation.Senator Obama looks at the way society hurls terms of abuse like that at me and remembers the Sermon on the Mount. He remembers that God is love, and he recognizes that society has a solemn duty to treat my partner and me fairly, regardless of the incredible animus hurled at us by those proclaiming us the enemy of their god.It’s a stark difference. One of the two is a decent and caring man.The other doesn’t care that his “theology” injures innocent people. One view is of God. The other is not.It’s not even close.

  • epthorn

    I think it’s because while he does say those things, he doesn’t say them every 30 seconds.

  • Charles M. Smith

    Jacques Berlinerblau equates Barack Obama’s profession of his faith with Mike Huckabee calling for ammending the Constitution to “God’s standards.” I am astounded that this is the low level of intellectual honesty tolerated at Georgetown University. For an intelligent discussion of the place of religion in Government I recommend the Adams-Jeffereson correspondence.

  • JB

    Why did Democrats cheer for Stalin? Because they are stupid and evil. I’ve talked to Obama supporters and they all have low IQs, drink Starbucks, and shop at the Gap. He wins the dumb broad vote hands down.

  • jonny

    What insupportable tripe by Berlinerblau.Obama’s wholly American professions of faith vs. an out-and-out theocrat like the Ayatollah Huckabee?Absurd.

  • Chris Stahnke

    One religion is exclusive the other inclusive–Obama’s religious views are the opposite of Huckabees intolerant and, in my view, destructive religion.

  • bruce

    Obama, not being a cleric, is arguably permitted what some might deny to Huckabee.Either way, neither seems to advocate the Historical Jesus as gradually revealed to the world in the last 50 years. That Jesus seems to have had MANY SPECIFIC miracles assigned to Him by the early Christian church, that have no historical connection to the Jesus of His time period.By way of example, the historicity of the stories of the Magi and of the flight into and return from Egypt are highly questionable. [See: A MARGINAL JEW — Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Vol. 1, (1991), John P. Meier, Anchor Bible Reference Library. Likewise seriously questionable are most if not all of the ‘nature miracles,’ performed by Jesus in the Bible.One would not therefore expect Obama, whose faith references ARGUABLY target primarily the African-American traditional ‘Christian’ churches to address these issues, where the Jesus of Faith survives intact to this very day, as opposed to the Historical Jesus. Huckabee probably would not do well to address the Historical Jesus any more than would Obama.

  • Buck Emberg

    Born-again ANYTHING scares me. What do you say to a person who knows he/she is right and you are right only if you agree with them?!!!

  • Aarpa

    Huckabee is a theocrat, Obama isn’t.Now that McCain is hugging Hagee in public, we can see his visit the Falwell a couple of years ago wasn’t just republican politicking … it was real.Now people like me don’t have a choice anymore. I can’t vote for the democrat, I won’t vote for the republican. Looks like another fine election cycle for us where all we get is the lesser of evils.Fabulous.

  • tom

    It is really pretty simple. Huckabee wants to make the Constitution conform to scripture. Obama doesn’t. It doesn’t bother me that Obama is a Christian; it does bother me that Huckabee is the Christian equivalent of Osama.

  • Andrea Psoras

    The New Testament quotes the Lord as saying “my kingdom is not of this world” although He more than likely meant there, the nature of man and man’s society. As a result, it’s contrary to Him that He would run for president. I found Barak Obama’s ‘witness’ insincere and of an insincere spirit, disingenuous. I’d heard on NPR some call him pandering and when I also heard on that same broadcast how a he’d sucked up to the black pastors in the Chicago area, it definitely confirmed my assessment that he’s ambitious and a part of the same soft money machine that I have despised that has bought and sold more public servants, regulation and legislation, than honesty and integrity. Huckaby sounded like a brainwashed idiot, convoluted and inane. I was one of Senator McCain’s delegates from New York in the 2000 Republican National Convention. Although since the onset I vigorously had and have opposed the 2 hot wars in the middle east, the huge ‘national security’ operation at this point abusing america into a control-surveillance society, and found that where our public servants take their oath of office to uphold the Constitution, while ignorantly supporting non-tariffed (ie, ‘free’) trade which violates Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, at this point I have separated from supporting any candidate that in their actions and ignorant words oppose the Constitution and engage or support war actions harming the balance of the world, plundering the american people and selling the debt to our ‘competitors’ such as the PRC. Anyone who really KNOWS the LORD would discern of what spirit these men are or what is driving them. It is not the Holy Spirit. The world needs the Lord. He is seated at the right hand of the Father and the power of HIs victory over sin and death will transend into this realm and here too and with us -those who have true relationship with HIm, defeats sin and death in us and will in this natural realm – conquering the ‘world’. Remember the Beast sits on 7 hills and has 10 heads. It is in its time of rest, completed its work and dominates from its position, also generally controlling the reasoning and thought. What are ‘consumers’? What is the medical system that experiments on people and gets a pass? Discern the utter corruption of such sociopathy. Likewise what about all the religious confusion?Because the power of God is greater, it only is through the Lord that the Beast and the Beast system is defeated.

  • tom

    Being Jewish, you don’t appreciate the nuances of the debate, do you?

  • Mike

    What really is scary is that a secular liberals religion is the government. All of the “hope” and “dependence” is in a BIG government that will take care of everything. That’s how Hitler came to power with his charisma and promise of solving their problems through a government in which they gave away their freedoms. I thought Americans in this day were too enlightened to fall for this fools gold.

  • cd

    Tell me, all of you secularists who think huckabee seeks to impose his religion on everyone in sight. You do recognize that he was a governor of a state in this country? Tell me, even among his detractors, has there been one complaint of him imposing his relious beliefs on anyone in Arkansas? He has a decade long track record-so where is the evidence? I am an urban catholic, but not active, and therefore a cultist according to many southern baptists, but Huckabee doesn’t scare me. Matter of fact, I think I am a secularist too, as I don’t like the government telling me how much I can drink, what time and place I can engage in vice, or how much I have to give to the poor. I am not a morals voter, but I can appreciate Huckabee for his measured views on Taxes and infrastructure spending. What I find scary is that so-called secularists would rather elect a nearly empty resume on expensive paper than people who have actual experience doing this kind of work. I will not vote for Obama because he hasn’t earned the right to occupy the office. Kibbutzing with Rezko doesn’t qualify him either.

  • jhbyer

    What’s alarms liberal secularists is not the Jesus stuff or the meatless biblical bones thrown to the gluttonous subset of evangelicals who will beg. Trouble with Huck is he (a) he doesn’t believe in evolution (b) believes in biblical creationism (c) wants to draw a mustache on our most sacred text, the US Constitution (d)he pardoned/tried to pardon several rapist murderers because they found God in prison and what they did wasn’t that bad, he implied. (e) when asked by the press he blamed the pardon on Clinton. WaPo’s Fact Checker determined Huck lied about Bill’s role which was actually to PROTEST the pardon (f) his signature was on a gratuitous full page ad in the NYT declaring women subservient. (g) he explained that the ad was meant for Southern Baptists’ eyes only, never mind they have a newsletter for that sort of thing and aren’t likely to read the NYT, a Northern liberal, um, rag. (h) his chosen church split from the national Baptists to protest of its abolitionist activism and opposition to slavery, which Huck’s church favored until long after it was illegal, same as it supported American apartheid. It goes without saying, Barack does not have a similar record.

  • DrCha

    Secular conservative viewThere is nothing “EVIL” in believing in god as long as one does not attempt to tamper with constitution to make non-believers a LESSER creed.

  • bruce

    For those interested in the miracles of Jesus, especially from the perspective of the Historical Jesus, I would recommend John P. Meier’s THE HISTORICAL JESUS — RETHINKING THE HISTORICAL JESUS — Volume Two: Mentor, Message and Miracles (1994), Doubleday Anchor Bible Reference Library.The entire last 1/3rd of this volume from Chapters 17-23 address the miracles of Jesus. Chapter 17 addresses briefly the issue of miracle and the modern mind, at least from the perspective of many educated people in the Western world today.Chapter 18 addresses the issue of miracle in the ancient world, including the distinctions as seen by the author, but not by Morton Smith, David Aune or John Dominic Crossan, between miricle and magic.Chapter 19 addresses the miracles of Jesus that are recounted in the Four Gospels.In Chapters 20, 21, 22 & 23 the author addresses in turn Jesus’ miracles of exorcism, healing bodily afflictions, raising the dead and finally what Meier calls the ‘grab bag’ of the so-called ‘nature miracles,’ a category that he personally rejects. By applying the criteria of historicity to the decisions addressing especially the later category, the results are sometimes surprising and not always what Meier would have even expected or wanted. In that regard, most of the so-called ‘nature miracles’ seem to stem from the early Christian church, with the possible exception of the story of Jesus feeding the multitude, which may actually reflect a special meal Jesus held during his short ministry.As to the distinction between ‘magic’ and ‘miracle,’ often ‘what the other guys do is called magic, but what Christians do is called ‘miracle.’Nevertheless, that practical distinction does not carry weight with Meier who would note the following distinctions between magic & miracle:MAGIC — At the one end of the religious spectrum, magic, same would be characterized by the elements of (1) automatic power possessed by a magician, (2) in virtue of secret formulas and rituals, with (3) the resultant coercion of the divine powers by humans, (4) in search of quick solutions to practical problems. Also, magic is usually marked by (5) a spirit of individualism or entrepreneurship as opposed to a perduring community of faith.MIRICLE — At the other end of the religious spectrum, miracle belongs in general to a context of (1) faith in a personal God to whose will one submits one’s own will in prayer, (2) a perduring community of belief and (3) a public manifestation of God’s power, (4) that is not dependent on a set ritual or formula. In Meier’s view, magic and miracle are ideal types at 2 ends of the spectrum; concrete cases will often ‘float’ somewhere in between.

  • terry

    The probable reason is, the church under white people has been completly discredited, haggered et al, have all been caught with their bible bashing pants down, taking drugs and if not having affirs with other women, with other men.

  • terry

    Can omniscient God, whoOther than that I have no strong feelings either way

  • Edward Poole

    The premise of this article is just silly: if Barack Obama (or any other Democrat or Liberal or left-leaning politician) ran on a platform that called for personal religious beliefs to be enacted as Federal (and even Constitutional) law, there would obviously be an outcry from the same people who have criticized Huckabee (not to mention GW Bush, Pat Robertson, Gary Bauer and every other right wing fundamentalist who yearns for a theocratic American government). The reason Obama’s expressions of faith and Huckabee’s are treated differently is NOT the (R) or (D) that appears after their names, but whether the candidate in question believes in imposing their faith on fellow citizens who hold different beliefs. That is where political ideology matters — we liberals believe in a multiplicity of viewpoints as both a boon to democracy (where the best policy will hopefully emerge from the free exchange of ideas an open society offers) and as a necessary component of individual self-expression. Liberals don’t hate religion — no matter how many times Conservatives employ that charge, it simply isn’t true — we only fear State-sanctioned (and mandated) religious orthodoxy. Unlike Conservatives, we aren’t frightened when we find that others hold different beliefs — we only get scared when the power of the U.S. Government is deployed to coerce adherence to those beliefs.

  • Joe Schlatter

    The answer to your question — why no one complains when Senator Obama refers to spiritual matters — is contained in your own article. Governor Huckabee has proposed amending the Constitution to include God — the Southern Baptist God, that is — to ban abortion, and to ban same gender marriage. Senator Obama has not used his faith to bludgeon people. That’s the difference.

  • Joshua Xanadu

    It is no coincidence Barak Obama chose a passage from Jeremiah in a letter to the exiled… the book of Jeremiah was scribed, as was probably the letter, by Baruch, one of the few Godly men at the time, son of Abinoam, one of the judges of Israel.Barak = Blessed; Baruch = BlessedGod spoke the word through Jeremiah, then used Baruch as the secondary messenger. Is Obama intimating that he is also a secondary messenger of God?

  • sooper delegate

    “This absence of outrage”What a BS nonsense assertion.What garbage.I DO NOT want to hear godbaggery from any candidate, whether on “my” side or not.I do not “purr” when Obama, Clinton, or any other Democrat spouts their Christian claptrap.I wish the candidates, and, well, you would stick to substantive issues and leave your stupid sky fairy fantasies where they belong – safe behind the closed and locked doors of religious institutions – and I do mean institutions.

  • Mark Peterson

    Mr. Berlinerblau looks very serious. Mr. Berlinerblua’s looks are the deepest part of this article. Is it that Mr. Berlinerblau gets paid to think? Is this an example of thinking that one gets paid for? Do you know what a jam sandwich is? When you don’t have anything to put in the sandwich you jam two pieces of bread together and eat that. Some people call it a nuthin burger. This article is a nuthin burger.Peterson, 03/08

  • drew

    I’m sure I won’t be the first, but let me add my voice to the number of atheists who are upset that Obama uses religion as a tool for his election, and who have raised more than a peep among their friends.

  • Anonymous

    “…that we will be discussing for months if he wins big tonight. One is that God has a plan—a plan that is apparently centered on America…”

  • bruce

    At 1:15am I posted commentary referencing Father Meier’s views on Miracle & Magic regarding The Historical Jesus.Perhaps it is fair to also reference John Dominic Crossan’s views as he expressed them in his treatise, THE HISTORICAL JESUS — The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, (1991), Harper San Francisco.These can be found at Chapter 13 — Magic & Meal at Pp. 305/306, et. seq.; p. 320, et. seq. and with respect to ‘the nature miracles,’ Chapter 15 — Resurrection and Authority at P. 395, et. seq…..Magic and religion can be mutually distinguished, in the ancient world, or in the modern one, by political and prescriptive definitions, but not by substantive, descriptive or neutral descriptions. Religion is official and approved magic; magic is unofficial and unapproved religion. MORE SIMPLY: ‘WE’ PRACTICE RELIGION, ‘THEY’ PRACTICE MAGIC. The question is not whether magicians are for or against official religion. Their very existence, totally apart from such intentions, is a challenge to its validity and exclusivity. Thus, for example, as we have seen, great Jewish magicians such as Honi the Circle Maker or Hania ben Dosa had to be carefully sanitized in terms of prayer and study before they were acceptable to the growing hegemony of the rabbinical tradition. …. Elijah, Elisha, Honi & Hanina, were magicians, and so was Jesus of Nazareth. at Pp. 305Magic is the art that makes people who practice it feel better rather than worse, that provided the illusion of security to the insecure, the feeling of help to the helpless, and the comfort of hope to the hopeless. … Of course it is all deception. But who can endure naked reality, especially when there is no easy way to avoid it. That is why magic has worked and continues to work, no matter what the evidence may be. … Magic makes an unmanageable life manageable for those who believe in it and a profession profitable for those who practice the art. at Pp. 306.MEDICINE — is a method of diagnosis of human ailments and a prescription for them based on a combination of theory about and observation of the body, its functions and malfunctions.MIRACLE — embodies the claim that healing can be accomplished through appeal to, and subsequent action by the gods, either directly or thru a chosen intermediary agent.MAGIC — is a technique, thru word or act, by which a desired end is achieved, whether that end lies in the solution to the seeker’s problem or in damage to the enemy, who has caused the problem. In other words, ‘if the technique is effective of itself in overcoming a hostile force, then the action is magical. If it is viewed as the intervention of the god or goddess, then it is miraculous. If it is a facilitating of the natural function of the body, then it is medical.And on and on we go abra-kadabra, et. al, etc.

  • Daedalus

    If you’ll excuse me it’s the after effects of from the civil rights movement but the GOP also shares a great deal of the blame. They wanted to hold onto the Republican South but they also alienated minorities in their ‘white America’. Moke Huckabee is perceived as a resident of this land and will always receive a cold shoulder outside of it. The Scopes Monkey Trial took place nearly eighty years ago and evangelists still can’t deal with the expanse or the complexity of God’s creation. It reminds me of a scene in All The President’s Men when the source reprimands Redford, “If I had told you the entire story in the beginning you would have called me crazy!”

  • vonerik

    Are you for real? The reason is simple – Obama is tolerant of other religions/cultures. Wackos like Huckabee think they are the chosen ones regardless of any lipservice he gives to other ideas. I can say all the stupid religious stuff I want as long as I don’t force it on others. Forcing it on others is, almost, the definition of evangelical christian america.


    People! Take a step back, exhale, and smile! We should ALL be relieved that no matter WHO the next President is of this country, be it an old man, an annoying woman, or black American, we are ALL guaranteed a leader better than the one that’s been in the White House for the last 8 years.Secondly, all politicians come into this race with some degree of unclean hands. Hillary is no better, McCain is no younger, and Obama’s intentions are as misleading and suspicious as Huckabee’s.The biggest threat to the stability and well-being of this world is our own country: USA. We are our own worst enemy. In the last 8 years, our credibility as a nation — beginning with the President, to the FBI, CIA — has turned into a joke to other countries of the world.We have our work cut out for us: there is a separation of church and state for a REASON. This country’s creation and foundation was built on that principle, that’s why it’s in the Constitution. That’s why the founders of this country left Europe in the first place. Don’t depreciate our potential by these ridiculous and judgmental religious debates. It’s a shame that Democrats and Republicans are waiving their fingers at each other over these ridiculous rants that accomplish nothing more then wasting oxygen over issues that are not relevant to the resurrection of our country’s credibility.Jacques Berlinerblau — You can do better than this. The only thing you are achieving by proposing your rancid Huckabee – Obama comparison is reminding us how quickly this nation’s downfall mirrors the Holy Roman Empire’s.

  • Mariano Patalinjug

    Yonkers, New YorkSomebody is imagining things when he says that seclarists hiss when Huckabee speaks and purrs when Obama orates.That simply is not true.Secularists happen to be intelligent people who participate seriously and rationally in their nation’s political process.They respect Mr. Huckabee in the same way they respect Barack Obama.It could very well be true however that some Christian evangelicals are rhapsodic whenever Mr. Huckabee tells his audiences that he believes in every word of the (Christian) bible, etcetera, etcetera.If they ever attend Barack Obama’s rallies, Christian evangelicals give him the respect that he deserves. Probably a few of them get seduced and mesmerized by Mr. Obama’s soaring oratory–which is what happens to the young and the disaffected who attend Mr. Obama’s rallies religiously.Mariano Patalinjug

  • Husein mashni

    anything that assures us that Obama isn’t muslim will make people purr. also America, jsut watch our cheesy commercials and hollywood PC, liberal movies, always allow for Black Christianity as an accepted norm but see white male Christianity as hypocritical and self-righteous. the secular liberals of hollywood have designated it as so. it is acceptable in hollywood that a white man be a catholic — this is in case frank rich wants to throw in his bing crosby defense. we know that Huckabee is the real thing. but we also know that obama can talk all the talk to please everybody and everything to where after a while he may as well be a muslim. his wife seems to hate america enough.

  • Jim G

    Your error, as for most conservatives, is in think that liberals and progressives are godless. We are not! We’re just not so arrogantly certain about who God is or what God wants. Religious liberals don’t deny scientific consensus in favor of antiquated interpretations of old testament narrative. We don’t interpret biblical teachings in ways that demonize wide swaths of people who don’t agree with us. Most importantly, religious liberals and progressives do not desire to re-make the U.S. into an official Christian nation… THAT is why Mr. Obama can say those kinds of things and Mr. Huckabee cannot.

  • Madrone

    There are varying degrees of secularism, some want religion completely removed from the public square, however most simply want religon seperated from policy and public/government institutions.While there are definately some who do not want a canidate to mention religion at all in public, most secularists understand that religion is an important part of many peoples lives, indeed, many secularists are religious themselves.What they resent is when religion becomes not just part of the politicians persona, but when they actively try to intergrate their religion with their policy. An easy example being the one you mentioned; Huckabee wanting to have the constitution updated to “God’s standards”. And yes, it does make secularists uncomfortable when religion is used to justify policy decisions. But generally not as a narrative to a politicians life.I will concede once a politican has crossed the line that secularists percieve them to have their policy too influenced by religion, than any instance of mentioning religion gets increased scrutiny. However that is more to do with human nature, than any quirk or hypocrisy on the part of secularists – once we label something as “bad” or “wrong” we percieve any action remotely similiar by that individual also as bad.Huckabee, and Bush are both perceived to have their policy be too influenced by their religion, and hence any mention of religion makes secularists cringe. While Obama has not crossed that line however if he did, I can guarentee he would face similiar treatment.

  • Tonio

    “Are you really concerned that Huckabee will amend the constitution? “No. The issue is his desire to do so and his justification for doing so. He’s not even trying to present secular arguments for amendments against abortion and gay marriage. He’s simply claiming that his amendments come from God. It’s reasonable to expect someone who makes that claim to push for other “God’s standards” amendments like mandatory school prayer.

  • Keith M

    I actually do have a problem with Obama occasionally wearing his religion on his sleeve. But I’m less concerned about it coming from him than I would be from the average Republican candidate for a very simple reason — the Republican right has as 20+ year track record of trying to jam their version of religion down everyone’s throats and in not hesitating to use the country’s legal system to do it. Obama’s occasional preachiness is annoying, but I never worry that he will try to whip the rest of into his religious line at gunpoint. (Gunpoint is, after all, the way laws are enforced.)

  • RC

    Thanks for pointing this out. This atheist and secularist (yes, they are different) is completely creeped out by the explicit use of religion by Senator Obama.

  • DT

    Does everyone forget what this country was founded on? christianity!! Your dang right thats what I want the religion of my country to be!

  • SWheelock

    The answer here is very simple: mutual respect. Obama’s faith preaches tolerance; Huckabee’s–despite the image championed by Huckabee himself–is tolerant only with conditions and requirements, and ultimately, in practice, is tolerant only of prejudice and hate. It is a basic tenet in Obama’s (and my) denomination that God speaks to us individually, that whatever communion there is between God and human is individual in every sense of the word, that your understanding of and with God may not be the same as mine. My statement of my faith, therefore, does not require that you conform to my thinking, as Huckabee’s does. A secularist can live with that and respect it.

  • Dave

    The real reason that Obama’s comments don’t raise our ire is that he’s not talking about amending the constitution, or imposing his beliefs on everyone else, while Huckabee is. It has very little to do with “entwining” secularism with liberal politics. To take some points from your piece in sequence:It’s a mistake to broadly equate “secularists” with “atheists.” Most of us are probably Deists of some strain, just believe firmly in keeping the Church as an organization from dictating our behavior through Government auspices.Truth is, most of America are believers of one flavor or another. We don’t want to forbid them from their beliefs, only keep them from forbidding us ours. Obama’s uniting message is not threatening in the way that amending the Constitution to be in line with Christian “morals” gives me the heebie-jeebies.If there is a God, and He has a plan, then moral/ethical secularists clearly would have a role to play in that plan. Since a central tenet of the Bible is the exercise of free will, we will just have to play that part in our own way.”Expressing values through our government” is in no way the same as “imposing religion through our government.” I share the vast majority of the values of the Christian population. Expressing the idea that we should treat others as we wish to be treated through our government sounds like a great idea to me. I just wish that more Christians (and Jews, for that matter) would follow this central tenet of their religion themselves.

  • Anonymous

    The real reason that Obama’s comments don’t raise our ire is that he’s not talking about amending the constitution, or imposing his beliefs on everyone else, while Huckabee is. It has very little to do with “entwining” secularism with liberal politics. To take some points from your piece in sequence:It’s a mistake to broadly equate “secularists” with “atheists.” Most of us are probably Deists of some strain, just believe firmly in keeping the Church as an organization from dictating our behavior through Government auspices.Truth is, most of America are believers of one flavor or another. We don’t want to forbid them from their beliefs, only keep them from forbidding us ours. Obama’s uniting message is not threatening in the way that amending the Constitution to be in line with Christian “morals” gives me the heebie-jeebies.If there is a God, and He has a plan, then moral/ethical secularists clearly would have a role to play in that plan. Since a central tenet of the Bible is the exercise of free will, we will just have to play that part in our own way.”Expressing values through our government” is in no way the same as “imposing religion through our government.” I share the vast majority of the values of the Christian population. Expressing the idea that we should treat others as we wish to be treated through our government sounds like a great idea to me. I just wish that more Christians (and Jews, for that matter) would follow this central tenet of their religion themselves.

  • charlie m

    Well, one definiton of being secularist is keeping religion out of the political arena. Wouldn’t that be the difference between the two candidates?

  • Brad2

    I think this is the breakdown for secularists.Republican Christians are hypocrites, which is bad.Democrat Christians don’t really mean it, which is okay.

  • chris

    There is a difference in Obama and Huckabee in that while both use the rhetoric of God and country, Obama, unlike Huckabee, doesn’t suggest constitutional ammendments to make the country more Christian… There is nothing wrong with invoking religious references if one believes in them. There is something wrong in trying to incorporate certain religious choices into laws and government.

  • Elisabeth

    It might have something to do with Huckabee’s desire to change the constitution to the liking of fundamentalist thinking. Somehow that doesn’t fit in well with a democracy and one based on freedom of religion. Get real and stop reinterpreting what “secularists” or whatever name you want to call those people who don’t buy into the myths of religions; christian, muslim, etc. After all it seems to me these fundamentalists have a cafeteria approach to the teachings of the bible, esp. the ten commandments. Ex. they come down heavily on coveting the neighbor’s wife but killing? that’s OK. Death penalty, sure. Invading another country and killing its citizens? that’s OK also.

  • Roy

    There’s a big difference. Obama expresses his faith which he has a right to do.Huckabee talks about “taking the nation back for Christ” and overthrowing the Constitution for his twisted necon verstion of “God’s standards” There is a big difference in expressing one’s faith and trying to jam it down everyone else’s throat.

  • BD

    To Andrea Psoras: Don’t worry, Frodo will destroy the ring… oh wait different fantasy!

  • spiderman2

    Jacques wrote : “Why do secularists hiss when Huckabee preaches but purr when Obama preaches?”After knowing that all these presidential candidates profess to be Christians, why are you still in America and not live in places where Christ is not worshiped like Russia or North Korea?True Christians protect the Jews and you’re an idiot not to know that. Without Christian America, Jews will have no place to live in peace coz even Israel would not exist.

  • AQ40

    Er, no, America was not founded as a Christian nation. This is probably the biggest lie the religious fanatics spread. Look in the Constitution–you know, that document that codified the intentions of the Founding Fathers of this nation. The only time religion is mentioned isn’t even in the main body of the code. It’s in an amendment. The first one. That thing about freedom of religion (which, yes, means freedom FROM religion, too). Hardly the sign of founding a nation on any religious belief. If the holy men had been in charge, the deity would have been an integral part of the document from the beginning and referenced throughout. Didn’t happen.Nice try.

  • Jinchi

    Huckabee want’s to build a theocracy. Obama wants to keep a wall between church and state. They are at opposite ends of the political spectrum.They don’t become identical because Obama goes to church on Sundays.You show an astounding lack of awareness of the variety of Christians in the country, as well as a complete lack of understanding about the concerns of those you call “secularists”.Not a good combination for the “On Faith” columnist.

  • Andy Olsen

    “These pious musings have not aroused as much as a peep of protest from nonbelievers and Church-State separatists.”Wait just a minute. Modifying the Constitution is A DIFFERENT THING than giving a speech to religious people. Giving a speech to religious people does not force a religion on anyone. It’s a discussion of faith. Secularists, including our founding (secular) fathers, are not opposed to any discussion of faith. Really, this assertion Mr. Berlinerblau is just dumb. I’m not saying he is, but his assertion sure is. And that’s generous. The alternative explanation is that he is being deliberately deceptive.

  • John Likakis

    Uh, what the heck is a “secularist?” Is that some sort of new slur to be wielded against people who believe in the Constitution and its separation of church and state?

  • Andy Olsen

    Agreed USA was not founded as a Christian nation. Actually, because there was little democratic or individual rights experience from Europe at the time, they borrowed a fair amount from the Iroquois Nations. Were the Iroquois Christian? Not so much.

  • Wesley

    Mr PHONY got a buttkicking last night, even silly liberals are getting wise to his drivel. (Insert your question here, any question)-and the answer? HOPE, CHANGE. What a load of BS.

  • neabinorb

    I’m not a fan of Huck or Obama or Jebus X, himself. But I think there’s a big difference between professions of personal faith and a professed desire to rewrite the Constitution to bring it into line with some wacky interpretation of the bible.

  • none

    You can’t tell the difference between Obama’s comments and wanting to amend the constitution to match the bible? Does the Post have any standards left these days?

  • Luce Imaginary

    Oh Please. I don’t believe in any of the god-related fairy tales and I don’t care what Obama says on the matter, or Huckabee for that matter. It is an uninteresting topic, sort of like discussions about which superhero is cooler, Batman or Superman.

  • Robert Harvey

    This is just silly. I’m an atheist, and I understand that there are a lot of religious people out there, all over the political spectrum. The reason Senator Obama’s remarks don’t bother me is because they don’t cross the line (which Governor Huckabee proudly crosses) of wanting to make his religious beliefs into national law. Clear enough?

  • Robert Harvey

    This is just silly. I’m an atheist, and I understand that there are a lot of religious people out there, all over the political spectrum. The reason Senator Obama’s remarks don’t bother me is because they don’t cross the line (which Governor Huckabee proudly crosses) of wanting to make his religious beliefs into national law. Clear enough?

  • Bob English

    If you can’t tell the difference between Obama’s references to his religious faith, and Romney’s and Huckabee’s attacks on secularists, you aren’t nearly as qualified to write about these subjects as your bio claims.

  • BGone

    God has voted and God’s vote counted. Seems God does not favor the one with the middle name Hussein. But then, how sure can we be that was God and not Devil voting? God is on one side and Devil on the other, of that we can be sure and little else.Hagee hugged McCain. The Devil made him do that.The phone rang at 3AM. Hello. Yeah, hello, Devil here…Tammy tell me true. Who do you want to answer the phone when the Devil calls in the middle of the night? Before you answer remember, “the goblins will get you if you don’t watch out.”Maybe it’s not the economy after all? It’s stupid for sure whatever it is. One out of two isn’t bad but it’s not a passing grade.

  • pbg

    So those who aren’t Christians (and oh, yes, Jews) are ‘godless’?

  • McDuff

    The idea that “secular” people are blinded by partisan affiliation so much that we missed Obama’s Christian rhetoric, and that if we “knew the truth” about our candidate that it would crush our hopes and leave us destitute, does not bear up to any kind of critical examination.The fact is that there is a wide range of reaction from people of a more anti-theistic bent, from those who do reject Obama to people, like myself, who accept him with reservations, to those who think it isn’t particularly relevant. The idea that there is one kind of secular voter is as stupid as the idea that there is one kind of religious voter. Similarly, the idea that all of us secular people get ourselves so blinded by the religious rhetoric that we can’t see very distinct differences between the kinds of policies that the candidates use that rhetoric to espouse is insulting to our intelligence.In cadence and content, Obama’s style owes much to the speeches of Martin Luther King, and I hope you can understand that many secular, liberal people didn’t mind his use of religious imagery in calling for equality and justice at all either.

  • Jay Smooth

    I don’t why you’d imagine that “Secular America” is ever surprised when all major candidates from each party confirms their religious faith. Every major candidate for each party in our lifetime has done so.This obligatory religious posturing is irksome, to be sure, but not at all comparable to the sort of efforts Huckabee makes to inject religion into politics and policy.You cite Huckabee seeking to AMEND THE CONSTITUTION, for goodness’ sake. Surely you understand there’s a world of difference between that and the standard “of course i’m a believer” boilerplate?

  • bruce

    Was America Founded as a Christian Nation ???Not by way of our great Constitution, but it is INSTRUCTIVE to note that of the original 13 Colonies, 12 had compulsory religion. Only Rogues Island [original spelling] did not.Most interestingly, our Constitution did not disallow official state religions, it only precluded them from becoming a NATIONAL religion.

  • Anonymous

    What a dumb article. We secularists don’t care if you believe in or talk about your religion in a non-governmental setting. We believe in freedom of religion. We would care if you a politician wants to use government preferentially regarding any religion. Nothing Obama has said indicated he would do so. He was talking to religious leaders, so no problem. It would be a problem for secularists if he was talking in the Senate or the White House, but this speech did not violate the First Amendment. On the other hand, Huckabee has explicitly said he wants government and law to be based on his religion. Huckabee: “And thats what we need to do is amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than trying to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view of how we treat each other and how we treat the family.”

  • Ann

    Anyone who does not notice that there is no equivalency between Huckabee’s statements and Obama’s statements in terms of its impact on seperation of Church and State ain’t awake yet and needs another cup of coffee. Please notice what happened in England when it was proposed that “God’s Law”, known in the Muslin world as Sharia, be instituted in parts of England. Saying, essentially, I believe in God and God helps those who help themselves is a way of explaining oneself. It is in no way the same as saying, let us amend the fundamental laws of our land to reflect MY religious belief. See the difference?

  • Ken

    I’ve just finished reading all 200 comments and while there are a fair share of liberal idiots, there seems to be even MORE right wing crazies, some of whom think Russia doesn’t have Christianity, some whom are just living in fear of liberal boogeymen, but most just spout the same mindless nonsense.Christians can be both liberal or conservative, I don’t recall Christ declaring for one party or the other. The Bible is missing some important texts (Book of Encoh anyone?) and which version is more correct King James, the New American Standard, the original Greek or Aramaic? Do we follow only some Old Testament laws (not Commandments) and sell unruly daughters to slavery? or just those that selectively that fit our religious or political agendas.It’s plain to see that even within Christianity, there are differing interpetation and debate about dogma.This silly notion that seems to prevail over conservatives, is that they alone know what’s good and right. They alone want to define God and patriotism. For some reason they cannot hold two separate ideas in their head.Someone can be a Christian AND liberal. People can also criticize this country and NOT hate it.

  • Randy

    Do you truly see no meaningful difference between a description of a candidate’s personal faith journey and an insistence that we should amend the Constitution to make it consistent with a candidate’s religious beliefs? Because if you don’t see the difference, then you have no business writing about this subject. Obama spoke about “our” values — that is, values common to U.S. culture. Those values included (or used to) a rejection of torture and a rejection of the use of military force in pursuit of empire. For me, these values are rooted in my Christian faith, but they are (or were) AMERICAN values. I have no problem with a President who finds the roots of his values in religious faith, just as I have no problem with one who finds them in humanism or any other philosophy, as long as I agree with those values. A candidate who believes that we must establish a theocracy, on the other hand, scares the daylights out of me.

  • miasmo

    “…his insistence that “our values should be expressed not just through our families, our communities, and our churches, but through our government.” That’s the new Faith-and-Values friendly liberalism of the 2008 Democratic Party in 2008. And that’s something that may make it hard for secularists to live their lives in peace.”The implication is that secularists don’t have values. That is not just insulting and offensive but incredibly obtuse. Here’s a news flash: Secularists share most of the same values as Christians, Jews, etc. and will be very happy to see these shared values (honesty, integrity, service to others, fairness, equality under the law, etc.) expressed through our government.To get an idea of just how offensive this article is, just substitute “Jew” for “secularist.”

  • Oh, COme On

    Dude -The reason why we don’t get upset when Barack Obama talks about his Christianity is that HE DOESN’T WANT TO CONVERT US OR OUR GOVERNMENT TO CHRISTIANITY. See, its OK with us if people are Christian. Or Muslim. Or Buddhist. Or Jewish. Myself, I’m a Christian and quite devout in my faith. But I could care less if other people are, since my faith is between me and God and not me and my President.But Huckabee still worries me because he did say he wanted to change the Constitution to be more in line with the Bible. He is a Christian who believes literally in the Bible, while I am a Christian who believes in the Bible as parable.So the reason why we have a problem with Huckabee is not that he is a Christian, but that we disagree the way he wants to use power to change and influence our government. And the reason we DON’T have a problem with Obama’s Christianity is that we agree the way he wants to use power to change and influence our government.It’s not hard to understand.

  • Southern Beale

    It seems Jacques Berlinerblau has succumbed to the right-wing talking point that all Democrats are secular, and all secular people are hostile to people of faith. Berlinerblau is not alone: heck, the mainstream media (including the WaPo) commonly repeat the lie that all Christians are evangelical Republicans happy to follow the will of James Dobson.No matter how much evidence there is that American Christians are a diverse group of people with a diverse set of issues and political beliefs, you keep getting it wrong. You keep assuming that Christian = Republican, Democrat = God hater.Wake up. The problem is with you, not us.l

  • Jon

    You don’t get it, Jack. Secularists don’t have a problem with people being religious. They disagree with the spiritual beliefs, to be sure, but few would “lock and load,” as you so pleasantly put it, against a candidate who expressed religious beliefs for that reason alone. It is religious rhetoric that paints secularists as bad Americans, or that is coupled with regressive social policies that so angers the secularist, and with good reason.

  • groucho

    Oh my.Is it possible that a professor would be unable to differentiate between A)a politican who respects and even shares the faith of Christians, and makes no secret of that; and B) a politician who wants to change the constitution to accord with his own beliefs?No, it is not possible.Therefore, what do we have? We have a professor at a respected university who is knowingly putting forward a false argument. There is a word for that.

  • Critic

    Seriously, this is absolute drivel. Does the author honestly think that the fact that Obama uses the Bible and his faith as inspiration to pursue progressive policies is a threat to Church/State separation?And can’t Newsweek do any better than to publish shoddy “analysis” like this?

  • SB

    Mr. Berlinerblau:If you wrote this piece in good faith, you very much need to learn what a FALSE PARALLEL is. If on the other hand you wrote this piece in bad faith, please stop writing for the news media.The false parallel, in case you had not already noticed it, is that you attempted to draw a parallel between Huckabee’s statement, which involved PUBLIC POLICY and RELIGION-BASED AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUION and Barack Obama’s statements, which involved…neither.But I wouldn’t feel bad about not be able to recognize false parallels; 90% of Post editors and writers also cannot do that, including the editor who approved your piece for publication.

  • JoeT

    It amazes me that there can be 200+ comments, and only a handful (Sam, Poole, Harvey, apologies to those I’ve missed) who get the point (and Jacques isn’t one of them). We don’t need to speculate about the difference between Obama and Huckabee. Obama has clearly, articulately and forcefully written that his faith is to be kept out of his politics in the sense that he cannot ask anyone else to accept his position on anything unless he can persuade using reason, not religion. End of discussion.

  • Donald Holtz

    Dear Mr. Berlinerblau:Allow me (a humble secular Architect)to help you, an acclaimed University Professor, understand the important distinction, which you highlight, and hyperlink even:”Compare this to the former governor of Arkansas who enraged Secular America when he suggested that we amend the Constitution to God’s standards”Yes, yes, Governor Huckabee has mentioned only abortion and gay marriage. But it sure sounded like he leaves himself an out on limitations. Amending the Constitution to ‘God’s Standards’ (Whatever that means: Keeping kosher? No spitting on the Sabath?) is a far cry from “pious musings”.I have no problem whatsoever with politicians informing their conduct and policies with their religious faiths. What I do object to is the idea that those of a particular faith find it within the scope of political power to impose those religious beliefs on the rest of us, particularly by writ of Law.I am sure, Mr. Associate Professor, that you can understand this important distinction. My guess is that you actually take issue with a Liberal that speaks of his faith. Let’s face it, Liberals are all just Godless heathens, without exception. Right?As a secular person who has read the Bible, I actually wish there was a little more Sermon on the Mount and a little less Armegeddon in our public discourse. Conservative insistance that they hold the Monopoly on Morals and Values has shut out Liberals of good faith, and ultimatly has debased issues of spirituality. Politics has soiled religion more than religion has lifted up politics.And I promise, if Obama suggests that we “amend the Constitution to God’s Standards”, he will lose my support.Donald Holtz

  • MS

    Dear Jacques,Our Constitution protects all of the beliefs of all of the people in this country, and says that the government cannot mandate one religious belief (that there is a God, that Jesus was saved) over another (that there is no God, that Jesus was a man).Best of all, our Constitution allows any office holder (the President, for example) to hold any beliefs he or she wishes (ie, Sen. Obama can believe in the power of prayer and the importance of Jesus).But our Constitution does not allow anyone to put their own beliefs into the government (ie, Mike Huckabee can’t tell my children that they should believe in Jesus as he does, or never have abortions because his religion forbids that).I’m happy that all the candidates are religious, and fully support their right to worship and believe whatever they wish. But they are not invited to impose their religious beliefs on me.

  • ice weasel

    This might be the most simplistic, tedious and just plain ridiculous commentary I’ve read in awhile. And given the general competition in the media, that’s a prize you have to earn. Well done! You’ve managed to say very little in a lot of words.

  • edsbowlingshoe

    “And that’s something that may make it hard for secularists to live their lives in peace.”I usually love your articles….but come on – stop being so dang sensitive. Smart politicians appeal to different groups – Obama is trying to appeal to Christians (and seems earnest about it) as well as secularists. What on earth is so surprising about that?

  • Andrea Psoras

    a very interesting forum, however perhaps Talmud over the OT (the First Covenant) has had its day in the sun among our fellow participants who are of Jewish heritage and/or religion. back to the related theme:I think results from the contempt that the media ( The 4rth Estate as they like to think of themselves) has for the everyday american voter, and not as if the everyday american hasnt him or herself brought contempt on themselves. back to God and the theme here. The founders didnt want a national religion like they’d seen plunder europe among other atrocities that that institutionalized paganism did to the people and their lives. At the very least the founders wanted man to have life liberty, (ability to own property/)pursuit of happiness. I figure many of the founders believed in God although whether they knew HIM or not was another matter. But back to huckabee and obama, as I said, in listening to both, huckabee is confusion and it says in the Bible, “God is not the author of confusion’. In the OT, the Babylon was a site of confusion and in time after the Jews after carried away to there, eventually were able to leave behind confusion and the corruption of it. Obama is a put up job. Virtually nothing genuine about him. He is expedient and i have said before, although not in this forum that expedient people are easily manipulated by their fears. That is not the Lord; that is not from the Lord. There is nothing about expedience that is Godly. The Lord Himself was not expedient; quite the contrary. So for these men to tow any line and think it is God, represents God, serves Him or is worthy of the whitehouse is not of God and is delusion on their part. The founders would roll over in their graves if they were able to hear what all of this is today in the Republic they’d hoped to have left us but is quite dead at this point.

  • Parrotlover77

    Jacques – Can you point out the part of Obama’s speech where he said he would amend the constitution to fall in line with “God’s law?”I can’t find that part.(The world must look weird without shades of grey.)

  • Sarah Schaefer

    Perhaps there hasn’t been a peep from liberal secularists like myself because we do see a difference between a candidate expression religious convictions and a candidate saying those religious convictions should be made into the law of the land by amending the constitution to include them. I have no problem with a political leader having any religious beliefs, be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, etc. My problem is when they try to force those beliefs upon me with the rule of law.

  • tubino

    The whole piece depends on a stupid conflation of Democrat=liberal=secular=anti-religion.And that’s just stupid.I have Christian friends who believe that the message of Jesus Christ, of love, tolerance, distinction of what is Caesar’s/God’s, is most consistent with liberal progressive values.Why is that hard to understand?

  • digitusmedius

    If others have already said this, then it’ll be said again. There’s a pretty big difference between the way Obama and Huckabee present their faith in their respective campaigns. Huckabee plans on trying to implement elements of his faith as policy, if not downright, institutionally. Obama does not so intend. As a person of “none of the above” persuasion, I’ll take Obama every time.

  • Norman Doering

    I’m not yet sure if your one of those Jewish atheists or a believing Jew. But in this post you do not seem to know the difference between secularism and atheism, a common and dangerous confusion. You use the terms “non-believer” and “Secular America” interchangeably.You write first:”And during the course of that sermon, I was introduced to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed and that if I placed my trust in Christ, He could set me on the path to eternal life.””Later you replace Secular America with “nonbelievers and Church-State separatists” and wonder why:”These pious musings have not aroused as much as a peep of protest from nonbelievers and Church-State separatists. (Compare this to the former governor of Arkansas who enraged Secular America when he suggested that we amend the Constitution to God’s standards).”They don’t compare. What you don’t seem to grasp is that Obama is both a believer and a secularist. Believing in God, even in Jesus, doesn’t preclude one from being a secularist and supporting separation of Church and state. And, in fact, because Obama has said other things we can know he is a secularist. For example, this speech, the “Call to Renewal Keynote Address”:”… they 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. That during our founding, it was not the atheists or the civil libertarians who were the most effective champions of this separation; it was the persecuted religious minorities, Baptists like John Leland, who were most concerned that any state-sponsored religion might hinder their ability to practice their faith.””Moreover, 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 Levitacus, which suggests slavery is ok 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?””This brings me to my second point. Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God’s will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all.”That speech clearly defines Obama as a secularist if not a non-believer. And, yes, if Huckabee had said what you quoted from Obama then that would add to my negative feelings about Huckabee. That’s because Huckabee also said:”I have opponents in this race who do not want to change the Constitution,” Huckabee told a Michigan audience on Monday. “But I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do — to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards so it lines up with some contemporary view.”Claiming that the constitution must reflect God’s standards is clearly the view of someone who doesn’t even grasp the concept of separation of church and state much less believe in it.This doesn’t mean that I do not find some of what Obama says disturbing, but I find it disturbing as an atheist, not a secularist. But even here my worries about Obama’s sanity would be eased if some journalist would ask him this question: “You have said that you think God has a plan for his people and that it’s a plan He’s left to us to fulfill. Do you really know God’s plans?”If he answers “yes,” then worry. If he answers “no,” you can worry much less. Thinking you know God’s plans is what makes Farrakhan, Hagee, Huckabee, Bush and bin Laden dangerous nutjobs.

  • spiderman2

    After WW3, Huckabee would be the President of the States. By that time there would be no more liberal states coz God has wiped them off the earth already.I suggest that he keeps on trying till that day happens coz it’s coming soon.

  • merlallen

    Why would that be? I don’t care if Obama talks to Jesus when he insists that I do too, then I’ll be offended.

  • Paganplace

    The difference, Mr Berlinerblau, is that Senator Obama can talk about his own faith without it being about excluding others or in support of policies based on unreason. His faith neither breaks my arm nor picks my pocket. Nor threatens my person.The difference between him and Huckabee is that, contrary to conservative defamation of liberals, it’s not actually about how Christian someoneone is, …it’s about how American they’ll be. He may have his devout Christianness, but he’s never let that make him support denying my civil rights cause some Christians feel I’m less human when I’m with another woman than otherwise. He may have his devout Christianness, but he doesn’t use it to make me a second class citizen or an outlaw because I pray to other Gods. Unlike Huckabee, he can say ‘Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ without tripping over the last bit and saying something else. In short, no, liberals and secularists aren’t hypocites, and it’s *not* about whether or not someone has certain beliefs: It’s about what they do and propose to do. Not only do I support Senator Obama on the basis of his record and promises and stated values, but I intend to *hold him to them.* And, frankly, he’s a dude I suspect would actually listen. With respect. Yeah, there’s a difference, Mr. Berlinerblau. And it’s not actually the religion. Who knew.

  • Paganplace

    I mean, hey. Not to put too fine a point on it, buthehas a better civil rights record than Hillary, particularly as involves my particular litle tushie, not to mention other issues of some import. He could be a card-carrying Pastafarian with a side order of marinara, for all I care, as long as I get a recognizable America out of the deal, for once. Seriously.

  • Sammy


  • Rasta

    not too bad for an eeeeeevil “Muslim” hey? maybe you’re just jealous your fat idiot Hagee didn’t say it first.but hey….it’s a sad thing when you have to pander to the delusional masses that suffer from the same affliction to get votes. Obama knows this. it’s like your hand has to be stamped with stupidity to get in, but that’s always been american society. the slow descent into fascist decay and madness celebrates it’s cult of stupidity….check that…it DEMANDS that you conform to the cult of idiots and then celebrates those “champions” that descend to it’s depths.oh by the way…..don’t ever pretend to know where Canada is. (let alone Manitoba)

  • wwz

    “Admit it, Secular America. If Mike Huckabee had said something like this on the campaign trail you’d be locking and loading faster than you could hum John Lennon’s lyric “Imagine all the people, Living life in peace””Huge strawman. Admit it, you don’t know what the h*ll you’re talking about.

  • kamidiotique

    I don’t know when Obama started ramping up his God talk but it could have something to do with the emails I’m getting claiming he’s a “dirty little Muslim.”I don’t like his God talk. I don’t like anyone’s God talk unless they’re talking to me one on one about their personal, private, intimate beliefs.

  • Liveliest Crib

    I have never commented here before. I only found this article via another site that linked to it. But I feel inspired to echo and add to some earlier comments.What a ridiculous thesis this article advances!The obvious difference between Huckabee and Obama, as others have noted, is that Huckabee has genuinely advanced theocracy, while Obama merely talks about his personal faith. (Whether he is genuine or pandering is another subject altogether.)I am an atheist. I have no problem voting for a person of faith if s/he shares my political viewpoints. There are plenty of people of faith who believe in the separation of church and state, who do not seek to embed their faith into the law or enforce their faith on me. Likewise, there are plenty of people of faith who will represent my political interests, and vote for the policies in which I believe.Why, precisely, should only secular people be alarmed by Obama’s words? His words are unmistakably Christian. By the logic of this article, shouldn’t Jews, Hindus, Muslims and any other non-Christian be alarmed by Obama’s public expression of his Christian faith? And would the author of this piece fear me if I ran for office merely because I am an atheist? Even if I agreed with his political viewpoints? Does the author justify the fear so many expressed about Kieth Elison, who is the first Muslim in Congress?The tenor of the article suggests that no one can, in good conscience, vote for someone who does not share her personal religious beliefs. That is not just silly; it’s terrifying. I shudder to think what our country would be like if everyone really thought that way.

  • Vernon Blank

    Nice try Jacques, but you’re missing the point.

  • William

    God ia concept by which we measure our pain.

  • Ba’al

    Obviously there is a difference between expressing a personal statement of faith (even if I personally such things to be irrational) and advocating amendment of the Constitution to turn the country into a theocracy. Saying that our “values” should be reflected in our government is not offensive to me since I know that the values Obama is talking about are ones that I as an atheist can share with many believers. Things like access to health care, and not torturing people, stuff like that. In fact, it is a favorite tactic of the radical right to argue that because atheists don’t believe in their Baby Jesus that we are in favor of child sacrifice and fascism and communism and Hitler and socialized medicine and free sex and the Mexicanization of America and islamofacscism and Burkas all at the same time. Listen a little more closely to the Huckster. It’s all in there!As for McCain, he will cover all these topics in one speech and then deny it all the next day and you guys will call it Straight Talk.

  • Henry Bemis

    Clinton,Obama,McCain are all bought and paid for corporate stooges who will say whatever the group they are talking to want to hear,Huckabe really would try to make america into a theocracy

  • dave Buchen

    (Compare this to the former governor of Arkansas who enraged Secular America when he suggested that we amend the Constitution to God’s standards)duh. obama has not called for changes to the constitution based on the bible.BIG difference. i guess as an atheist supporter of obama, i’m not too worried about being mollycoddled.