This country is still the last best hope on earth
—Barack Obama on Letterman in 2007.
Things like this provide me with the distance I need from the mania of the impressive campaign of Barack Obama, and the “excitement” he has injected into the American political process. I’m impressed with his speeches, and I find myself feeling that this is what we need in a president; that it will be a relief to be able to feel some amount of confidence in the intelligence and depth of the person running the White House.
But I am also 2/3 of the way through Jesus For President, and statements like Obama’s above show how even from the left, the myth of America’s salvific attributes are alive and well. I also know that much of this may be Obama playing to the politics of “building up America”, but that doesn’t stop me from recognizing how , in the midst of all this flack about the “bitter” comments, and the other comments about “clinging” to religion, that there is never any questioning of the “clinging to patriotism”, which is , in American politics, the ultimate basis for community and “common ground”. In fact, Obama’s real point in all this seems to be that people turn to what they have left when “government deserts them”. But beneath all that, I am uneasy about such statements that put “America” on a level that seems to rival our theological allegiances. There are those who would say, one is political, the other is theological, but as Jesus for President reminds us, “Son of God” was a very politically challenging designation , for that is what Roman emperors used to describe themselves.
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