Jan 20, 2009

Obama: A Man of Many Firsts

Obama is not only the first black president, but also the first president to acknowledge that America is composed of many world views in his inaugural speech. Obama took the care to mention that non-believers also contribute to the melting pot that we call home.

"For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace." Text of Obama's inaugural speech

Following a paragraph referencing the "scriptures" in a speech ended by "God Bless America," this may not seem like a big step forward. But consider the non-patriotic phrase at one point uttered by former President George Bush Sr.; "I don't know that atheists should be regarded as citizens, nor should they be regarded as patriotic. This is one nation under God."* True patriots value the ideal of equality.

While Obama is unlikely to completely separate his religious views from his work, it is very obvious that he is taking steps to unify this country under the idea of true equality. I say true equality because this is a nation where those in charge have claimed we are all equal for quite some time. We were all 'equal' back when blacks were slaves. We were all 'equal' back when women couldn't vote. In the near future maybe we can look back and sarcastically say: We were all 'equal' back when homosexuals could not marry. We were all 'equal' back when most of America would not vote for an atheist.

If slavery can be overcome in such a relatively short time frame; true equality for nonbelievers is only a moment away.

* http://www.robsherman.com/advocacy/060401a.htm

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