It would be hard not to notice the renewed interest in religion and politics today.We were aware of it during the Bush – Howard era as religion was used for political purposes.
But I sense that in the wash-up of these past regimes, there may be a more honest, open and healthy discussion taking place.
We need such a discussion because ultimately religion cannot be ignored. Those days went with the Twin Towers. We need it because, as someone once said, religion can bring out the best and the worst in humanity.
Barack Obama gave an important speech (5 minute edit) on faith before he launched his presidential campaign.
On June 26, 2006, he spoke at Jim Wallis’s Call to Renewal conference, laying out a critique not only of the “Religious Right” but of the secular left. He argued that while Democrats should support separation of church and state, they needed to be more welcoming of believers and the proper role of faith in the public square.
Obama’s speech typifies a growing recognition of the role of faith in the public sphere, in community development, international aid, and community stability. With a renewed exploration of faith engaging with politics in a positive way (Blair, Rudd, Putin, Obama) in the shadows of religious extremism, climate change and global recession, the creation of safe spaces for open discussion about the boundaries of “church and state” for a better and more equitable world has become vital.