(reprint from last year; Obama's acceptance speech)
There are times in an individual's life that their view of the Gospel shines forth. It is a time when the problem of life is clearly defined and when the solution is presented in no uncertain terms.
This was that time for Obama.
At the center of the American stage, with millions of viewers hanging on his very words, he had the opportunity to define the issues and present the solution. And he did just that. The problem was presented more negatively, yet clearly. The Dream is slipping away from the grasps of hard-working Americans: job insecurity, unpaid bills, credit debt, lack of good education, etc. In contrast, Obama wants to see these things change:
We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage…We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president …The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great, a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight. (NY Times transcript).
America's problem is not spiritual. The problem of America is economical. People need more economic opportunities to succeed: more education, more health care, more job security, more, more & more. But the problem is not simply the economy, as the rest of his speech pointed out. The government bureaucracy is a problem as well. And it is politics-as-usual that is another block in the road of American Progress. There are so many problems (war, money, society), in fact, that America needs an all-encompassing change. It needs to return to her own primeval salvation: the American Promise: "Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility, that's the essence of America's promise"
America needs each other; America needs responsibility. America needs to pull herself up by her own bootstraps.
The American Promise was summarized in a more forthright manner at the beginning of the speech when he described his parent's hope: "a belief that in America their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to." Immediately he elaborates: "It is that promise that's always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice each of us can pursue our individual dreams. but still come together as one American family"
That is the key to the dream of Obama. The Obama Promise is that any American can "achieve whatever he puts his mind to." In fact that is the American Promise. And it is a promise that is for both the individual American and America in the aggregate: all of us together can make our dreams come true.
Economic inequality will fail; political incompetence will cease; social ills will vanish and faith in ourselves will never fail.
Obama's "I wills"
"I will end…I will build...And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future." (p.5)
The American Promise is a promise of freedom, peace and a better future. It is heaven on earth. The sins of economic, political and social inequality will be eradicated and the tears of the disadvantaged will be wiped away.
And this will be almost single-handily accomplished by the DNC messiah: Barack Obama.
Well, it will be accomplished with the help of the American people, if they follow him to the promise land. He cannot do it alone. He's only human after all.
"But this, too, is part of America's promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort." (p.5)
The Obama Promise—the American Promise—for the two are one and he desires we be one as they are one—is a promise of strength and grace. Grace is not the Promised Person that comes from eternity into time to grant forgiveness and regeneration, rather grace is the "promise of a democracy" wherein grace can be found by group-participation through our votes, decisions and will-power to achieve whatever we put our minds to.
And it is not because of America's wealth, military or education that she is great. "Instead, it is that American spirit, that American promise, that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend." (p.6)
It should be clear by now that Obama's gospel is a gospel of self-help, of self-effort and of collective redemption through voting. His faith is in himself and in his America--a faith in "what is unseen." Furthermore, not once did he mention repentance, God or Christ for that matter. Sin and redemption have been completely transformed into liberal talking points about politics, economics and society. If these are the American sins—inequality in all its forms—then redemption comes through changing the environment, exercising good-will and voting Democrat.
This faith in the American Promise—in American working out her own salvation—is shouted out to all who have hears to hear, when he arrogantly applies the Sacred Word to himself and America:
"At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise, that American promise, and in the words of scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess. Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America." (p.6)
Democracy is where Obama finds grace; the unseen potential of America to achieve whatever she seeks is where Obama places his faith. The Gospel according to Obama is an unfettered America united for the glory of man.