quarta-feira, dezembro 31, 2008


Works, Not Words by Nathan J. Diament
How Obama can appeal to religious voters without abandoning his party's principles.
(In The New Republic, 29-12-2008)

"President-elect Barack Obama remains under fire from some liberals for inviting Pastor Rick Warren--an evangelical who is pro-life and anti-gay marriage--to deliver the invocation at his inauguration. Say what you will about the Rick Warren controversy, one reason Barack Obama will be sworn in on January 20 is that he courted and won the votes of more religious Americans than any other Democratic candidate in a decade. He received more votes from Catholics and Evangelicals than John Kerry, and improved upon both Kerry and Al Gore's performances with those who attend worship services more than once a week by eight percentage points.
Obama began his faith outreach effort long before he announced his presidential run, delivering a much-discussed speech in 2006 embracing a robust role for religion in public life, and expanding on the ideas further in The Audacity of Hope. Throughout the campaign, he honed the art of showing respect for religious voters even while disagreeing with them on policy. He spoke at Warren's Saddleback megachurch and other religious venues, even though he knew the audience was skeptical. He met with religious leaders across the ideological and denominational spectrum and granted interviews to religious media outlets. On the trail, he often recounted his decision to revise his Senate campaign website when an Illinois voter confronted him about its harsh language about pro-life advocates. "I will listen to you, especially when we disagree," became one of his most popular refrains. His choice of Pastor Warren is his latest, and most controversial, symbolic outreach toward religious voters.
But a president does more than listen and offer symbols--he acts. In office, Obama has a chance to show his sensitivity to religious voters' concerns, and, in some cases, advance policies that are important to them, without sacrificing Democratic principles. "

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