Why Would the President Say That?
This week president Obama has been overseas for the G-20 summit. I’ve been trying to find details on what’s actually happening or what’s he’s saying. There hasn’t been much analysis in the media about this. Reports have been general at best. Finally, I heard a report about something he said that really bothered me.
While giving a press conference in Turkey he said in regard to America:
“We do not consider ourselves a Christian nation.”
Why would he say this–especially during Easter week? Something about this really rubbed me wrong and it’s not because I am a Christian, or that the Declaration of Independence (what our whole Constitution is based on) has blatant references to God based on the Judaeo-Christian values of the Founders, or that I don’t understand what he was trying to say with the intent of his words. In light of the context of many other things that he has said while on this trip, I find it a little unnerving.
It’s as if he’s been living the lyrics if Nirvana’s All Apologies song:
I’ll take all the blame
I’ll proceed from shame
Sunburn with freezer burn
Choking on the ashes of her enemy
That seems to be the sentiment of his words on this world tour. I just don’t think it’s stately or smart in the context of a trip like this to be communicating the idea like America is evil, weak, and guilty, especially coming from its preeminent leader. Is that the message we want to send? It does not engender trust, respect, or honor for the future going forward.
I’m all for diplomacy. I’m all for building bridges. But not at the expense of our security or future. Instead of emphasizing the negative, how about a focus on the positive? Instead of saying what we are not, how about saying what we are? Something like this:
“We are a nation of diverse people: Jews, Muslims, Christians, and more. Those with faith, and those without. But we are all committed to building bridges and creating solutions…”
Maybe this is a better sentiment to come from. I think that would accomplish his intentions even better. It’s nice, neutral, and inclusive.
Let me say, I don’t believe America was, is, or should be a theocracy. Although we may not officially be a Christian nation, we are still proportionately a nation of Christians (regardless of what Newsweek’s recent article The End of Christian America hopes for). I think this was just a poor choice of words from our President. Although I believe it was meant to be inclusionary, it was in fact exclusionary. After watching the press conference, I just don’t think it worked.
Am I being picky? Maybe. But he is the President, after all.
With my approach, I think everyone can be happy.
[you can watch the clip for yourself below]