6/5/2009--What a great speech in Cairo. Subtle. Elegant. Hopeful. But did you notice how religious it was? God wants the children of Abraham to live in peace together in his holy city Jerusalem. You would expect that from the Pope. If George Bush had delivered that speech, secularists would be all over him. Why will they give President Obama a pass?
Several reasons. First, we are partisans and he is our guy. Second, the Muslim world is religion saturated. A speech to that world to be effective must be religious in tone. Third, we don’t believe Obama really is religious. He appreciates religion, calls himself a Christian and his appreciation of Islam was on display. But he isn’t run by some primitive version of the Bible, as we thought Bush was. (Probably wrongly).
Now you see the importance of hallowed secularism, for that is what we think Obama actually is. At the very least, to talk to the world, secularism must retain a taste for the infinite.