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The role of religious influence in the ongoing Democratic nomination race changed shape today. For the very first time, I heard Senator Barack Obama say something negative and it was not about his opponent Sentor Hillary Clinton.
In recent weeks, mentions of faith and moral core now help shape our understanding of two very similar candidates (at least on paper). To be honest, I am so glad that religion is not just a limited tool for the GOP; the Right should no longer be allowed to monopolize that piece of voter influence. While I have seen mentions of faith in Obama's two best-selling novels, Dreams of my Father and The Audacity of Hope, it is shocking to hear Hillary Clinton share that side of herself...I wonder why? More interesting is the observation that the influence of religious leaders (including the kitchen sink) can be thrown into debate at any time.
I am not sure if Rev. Jeremiah Wright should be saying what he has said. I am not sure how much joy the media is getting from replaying the same clips of his speech at the recent NAACP dinner, where so many other issues were discussed. Either way, I am sure that Rev. Wright has the right to do what he has done and Barack Obama should not be blamed for his exercise of that right. I've enjoyed hearing both conservatives and liberals rail about the issue but I see it as something that should not be an issue at all because, as you will note, just the other day Rev. Wright was a simply another face at the pulpit with little influence in the secular sector of politics.
I am proud of Barack Obama for showing, by example, how one should appropriately react when someone says something that you do not agree with. It is never healthy for our party when we take stabs at others in order to tear at the person's character, because the art of dissent is truly telling about those pointing fingers. Overall, my hope is that we soon return to the candidates themselves instead of seeking desparate points on the campaign scoreboard...sounds so much like the very sort of politics that got us here in the first place.