Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Golden Rule

Why I like this guy

Today, President Obama walked into another trap, and as far as I'm concerned, did brilliantly, in spite of a few hecklers, or maybe because of them. I was reading a few articles about the speech, and stumbled across his remarks about faith and doubt. I know there's some who are giving him heat about the war in Afghanistan, and his recent reversal on releasing torture photos, but I still find him worthy of praise, and I find these words very poignant. I also continue to be surprised at having a president who is unafraid of trying to use language intelligently. So, let's cut to the chase here. Please read this fragment from his speech at Notre Dame today, and let me know if this is typical rhetoric or not.

And in this world of competing claims about what is right and what is true, have confidence in the values with which you've been raised and educated. Be unafraid to speak your mind when those values are at stake. Hold firm to your faith and allow it to guide you on your journey. In other words, stand as a lighthouse.

But remember, too, that you can be a crossroads. Remember, too, that the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It's the belief in things not seen. It's beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us. And those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.

And this doubt should not push us away our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions, cause us to be wary of too much self-righteousness. It should compel us to remain open and curious and eager to continue the spiritual and moral debate that began for so many of you within the walls of Notre Dame. And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us even as we cling to our faith to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works and charity and kindness and service that moves hearts and minds.

For if there is one law that we can be most certain of, it is the law that binds people of all faiths and no faith together. It's no coincidence that it exists in Christianity and Judaism; in Islam and Hinduism; in Buddhism and humanism. It is, of course, the Golden Rule -- the call to treat one another as we wish to be treated. The call to love. The call to serve. To do what we can to make a difference in the lives of those with whom we share the same brief moment on this Earth.