"That’s not what [Obama]’s trying to say. What he’s trying to say is that it’d be unfair and unconstitutional to make policy based on the ipse dixits of some religion’s God. You’re fully entitled to fight for what you believe, but if you’re going to turn it into law, you need a better justification as a legal matter than “Because God says so.” Otherwise, the only people who will understand it not agree with it, necessarily, but understand it (i.e. who’ll find it “accessible”) are people of your own faith," - AllahPundit.
Dobson's attack on Obama is manna from heaven for the Democratic nominee. And the core argument, as even Allahpundit can see, is one where Obama wins. What Obama did to offend Dobson was point out a core tenet of secular liberal democracy:
Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason.
His specific referent, the abortion debate is not, moreover, pace Allahpundit, an unfair one. In fact, science and reason are very powerful weapons for those opposed to abortion - and more effective and less divisive than pure resorts to revelation. What Obama is doing is to ratchet back the bad use of faith in the public square, while insisting on the validity of people of faith in the public square. He's still too willing to invoke faith himself - his own version - to justify public policy. But this pushback against the extreme of the right is an enormously important project - central to Obama's promise to get us past the hideous cultural deadlock of the past two decades. Obama is as productive to this debate as Bush was toxic. And what Obama is doing - whether he intends to or not - is to open space within conservatism for the kind of reasoned, limited government, pragmatic conservatism that we badly need to revive.
My bet is that this kind of discourse will also be very appealing to younger evangelicals. Classic Obama, in other words: vital, elevating debate, with an undercurrent of political self-interest. But no one should be in any doubt: Dobson is afraid. And he should be.
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