The more I ponder the President’s comment yesterday to religious leaders that we Americans are “neglecting to live out” the call to the”ethical and moral obligation [to] look out for one another,” the more it troubles me. It sounds more like the a preacher’s admonition to a wayward flock to mend their selfish ways lest they suffer fire and brimstone than of a President’s appeal to act in the national interest.
Victor Davis Hanson finds the invocation of at the “moral argument comes at the eleventh hour” somewhat “creepy,” asking, “isn’t the use of religion as a political tool precisely what Obama and others have objected to in the Christian Right?”
Indeed, Obama’s religious appeal doesn’t seem to trouble those ever ready to denounce his predecessor for letting his faith guide his politics and for hobnobbing with socially conserative religious leaders. Now, no one seems concerned that Obama is attempting to enlist more socially liberal religious leaders in his push for greater government control over the economy, even asking Reform rabbis to address the subject in their High Holy Day sermons.
It is this creepy mixing of religion and politics which really troubles me, a political leader defining a government program in religious terms, asking us to turn to government to fulfill our moral obligations to our fellows. And his presumption that we’re neglecting to act out of that obligation, effectively ignoring the abundant examples of charitable good works done everyday by citizens across the political spectrum and holding a variety of political beliefs.
UPDATE: Commenting on the same interview I reference above, Ann Althouse writes, Obama would like you to see government as religion (h/t Glenn).