December 4, 2006

My Faith Reminds Me That We All Are Sinners

Senator Barack Obama gave a speech at the 2006 Global Summit on AIDS and the Church titled, Race Against Time.
Like no other illness, AIDS tests our ability to put ourselves in someone else's shoes - to empathize with the plight of our fellow man. While most would agree that the AIDS orphan or the transfusion victim or the wronged wife contracted the disease through no fault of their own, it has too often been easy for some to point to the unfaithful husband or the promiscuous youth or the gay man and say "This is your fault. You have sinned."

I don't think that's a satisfactory response. My faith reminds me that we all are sinners.

My faith also tells me that - as Pastor Rick has said - it is not a sin to be sick. My Bible tells me that when God sent his only Son to Earth, it was to heal the sick and comfort the weary; to feed the hungry and clothe the naked; to befriend the outcast and redeem those who strayed from righteousness.
Senator Barack Obama has the exceptional ability of invoking this religious convictions in the pursuit common good.
We are all sick because of AIDS - and we are all tested by this crisis. It is a test not only of our willingness to respond, but of our ability to look past the artificial divisions and debates that have often shaped that response. When you go to places like Africa and you see this problem up close, you realize that it's not a question of either treatment or prevention - or even what kind of prevention - it is all of the above. It is not an issue of either science or values - it is both. Yes, there must be more money spent on this disease. But there must also be a change in hearts and minds; in cultures and attitudes. Neither philanthropist nor scientist; neither government nor church, can solve this problem on their own - AIDS must be an all-hands-on-deck effort.
Absolutely, AIDS must be an all-hands-on-deck effort. Our political, social, economic and religious differences should not prevent us from facing the problems of AIDS.
I also believe that we cannot ignore that abstinence and fidelity may too often be the ideal and not the reality - that we are dealing with flesh and blood men and women and not abstractions - and that if condoms and potentially microbicides can prevent millions of deaths, they should be made more widely available. I know that there are those who, out of sincere religious conviction, oppose such measures. And with these folks, I must respectfully but unequivocally disagree. I do not accept the notion that those who make mistakes in their lives should be given an effective death sentence. Nor am I willing to stand by and allow those who are entirely innocent - wives who, because of the culture they live in, often have no power to refuse sex with their husbands, or children who are born with the infection as a consequence of their parent's behavior -suffer when condoms or other measures would have kept them from harm.
Please, go read the rest of speech.

Unlike most politicians the Senator did not pander to the audience. The Senator spoke clear reality to the evangelical AIDS conference with this disagreements with them over policy. The Senator has no awkwardness expressing this religious beliefs in a public forum. Invoking his own faith on behalf of those who most need it by encouraging involvement by the private and public sectors. The Senator does not wear this faith on this sleeve to promote this political party but he does use religious convictions in the pursuit common good. He should be applauded for it. More Liberals should follow this lead.


At December 04, 2006 8:06 PM, Blogger KC said...

That speech is amazing. I love the way he uses words.

I agree with your commentary-he doesn't wear his faith on his sleeve but doesn't dodge it, either. I like that.

At December 05, 2006 10:05 AM, Blogger Eloy said...

The Senator Barack Obama continues to give great speeches. If he does run for President, all of the other candidates will have to raise up there speaking skill to match the Senator. Which is a good thing.


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