The Obama two-step

Obama reaches out to evangelical voters via radio:

He has also pledged to continue, or even expand, federal funding for faith-based social programs:

Not only is Obama showing how faith would shape policy in his administration, he’s being so bold as to criticize Bush’s faith-based program for not going far enough in opening the federal social services spigot to churches and other faith-based groups. …

For Obama, who got his political start as an organizer in Chicago’s black churches, it’s difficult to argue that embracing government-sponsored faith-based initiatives is a matter of pure political convenience.

At the same time, it is well known that Obama is pro-choice on abortion. And he has been outspoken in support of equal rights for homosexuals:

As the Democratic nominee for President, I am proud to join with and support the LGBT [Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender] community in an effort to set our nation on a course that recognizes LGBT Americans with full equality under the law. That is why I support extending fully equal rights and benefits to same sex couples under both state and federal law. That is why I support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act and the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, and the passage of laws to protect LGBT Americans from hate crimes and employment discrimination. And that is why I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution [i.e., to prohibit same sex marriage], and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states.

… Finally, I want to congratulate all of you who have shown your love for each other by getting married these last few weeks.

That is an eyebrow-raising two-step. I don’t think this is cynical politicking; both halves of the two-step reflect Obama’s personal convictions.

He stops short of outright support for same sex marriage. And that may be a bit of political positioning:  Obama knows that a lot of folks can accept equal rights for homosexuals as long as government draws the line at the “M” word.

Obama is hard to categorize. He draws the boundaries in unconventional places. He doesn’t play it safe. (Well, sometimes he does — but on occasion, he goes where other politicians wouldn’t dare.)

Love him or hate him, you have to admit he’s a fascinating character.

photo of Obama by Carlos Barria of Reuters


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