Monday, 24 November 2008

Barack Obama and the Bible

I received this article from my from my friend, and elder brother in Christ Vishal Mangalwadi. I taught his daughter too and his wife is a close friend of mine. They live in California now. Check out his website which I have linked.
Vishal is an author, speaker and thinker of international fame. (International lecturer, social reformer and political commentator) He has written 13 books on Eastern religions and the New Age, India 's social problems and the impact of the Bible on the western world.He travels all over the world speaking in top universities, presenting Christ and engaging in open forums and debates.He is really a radical thinker. This is what he says about President Elect Barack Obama.

SHOULD BARACK OBAMA SWEAR ON THE BIBLE ?

Same-sex marriage is now being framed as a new Civil Right movement. Since the opposing view comes from the Bible, it will be cast as the enemy of progress, liberty and human rights. Will President-Elect Obama come under pressure to break with the past and "change" the tradition of a new President swearing on the Bible to take the Oath of Office? He may not succumb, but those concerned need to spark a public discussion on the place of the Bible in the past and future of American civilization?
Most people have no idea that Mr. Obama was elected because of the Bible. It was the Bible that inspired America to abolish slavery, institute civil rights, and transform Europe's aristocratic culture (that would have elected Hillary Clinton or John McCain) in favor of meritocracy that elected a little-known member of a racial minority to its highest office. As you will see below, the Bible supplied the values that forced Hillary Clinton to support her opponent.
A national conversation on the Bible is needed urgently because America has drifted so far from its heritage that the above claims would seem outrageous to most people. I presented a cultural case for the Bible in a lecture series at the University of Minnesota: "Must the Sun Set on the West? An Indian Explores the Soul of Western Civilization" (available from http://www.vishalmangalwadi.com/).
The following are some of my reasons: Why Obama Should Swear on the Bible on January 20, '09 (Please strengthen, add or challenge this summary) 1st Segment: (5-7 minutes) Obama was Elected Because the Bible Made America a Meritocracy President-Elect Barrack Obama should place his hand on the Bible to take the Oath of Office because he owes his election to the Bible. How could Americans select Obama over distinguished rivals such as Hillary Clinton (former First Lady and Senior Senator from New York) and Senator McCain (war hero, Senior Senator with a distinguished pedigree and a wealthy, glamorous, socialite wife)? Negative reasons such as economic fears and an unpopular President were real factors behind Obama's success, but they would not have elected him in any other culture. America elected Obama because through the Puritans the Bible wrote the principle of meritocracy into the very DNA of America. John Winthrop, the first Governor of New England was not a nobleman. Class conscious English aristocrats would have never chosen him to lead the Company that came to colonize America. The Puritans accepted him as their leader only because they followed the Bible in putting ability above class and connections. (Expound David, Jesus and the 12 Apostles, 1 Corinthians 1:26-28 etc.) The Bible's emphasis that God prefers humble and capable follower-leaders is the reason why people coming from class-oriented European society metamorphosed into meritocracy in America. Obama won because (rightly or wrongly) the voters perceived him as the better leader. This American/biblical tradition of putting merit before pedigree, wealth or connections is one of the most important cultural reasons for America's intellectual and economic ascent over the rest of the world. By undermining the Bible, America will undermine its very soul - the secret of its corporate success: educational, scientific, technological, economic and political.2nd Segment: (5-7 Minutes) Obama was elected because the Bible ensured that Hillary Clinton had to Support Him Senator Hillary Clinton needed to do nothing to ensure that her supporters voted for McCain in order to defeat Obama. But her support for Obama was passionate, powerful and unequivocal, even if it came out of a broken heart. If Hillary Clinton were an Indian politician she would have gone as far as seeking a McCain-Clinton ticket! American culture, however, required her to support an opponent who had defeated her in an emotionally charged primary. Such trivial issues split Indian political parties that not one of our 900 registered political parties can even imagine holding "primaries". During the Democratic Convention, Mrs. Clinton asked her foot soldiers why they were campaigning for her during the primaries. She claimed that her election campaign was never about her. It was about America's greater good. She was fighting, she said, for certain moral principles and values and if her supporters understood her and cared for what she cared for, then they would have to rise above personal hurts and campaign vigorously (along with their former in-house rivals) to elect Obama. As an Indian, I want to understand what makes American politicians different from Indian politicians. Why didn't Hillary Clinton follow secular postmodern/Nietzschean "will to power?" Why was she able to submit the 'quest for personal power' to (what she considered) higher "moral" principles? When I heard her speech, as an Indian I assumed that her appeal was nothing more than political necessity; she could not be sincere; she could not really want her supporters to work for Obama. Yet, as the election unfolded it became clear that most of her supporters believed her and worked for Obama. I was still an Indian in my subconscious thinking but her supporters were biblical at the core of their being, even if they reject the Bible at a conscious level. I doubted Hillary's sincerity because secular universities deny that we live in a moral universe where moral laws are real and moral principles matter more than personal power. By doing so, secular intellectuals have made themselves incapable of helping our countries understand why American democracy still works. Hillary Clinton acted the way she did because she is an American and has the DNA of the American culture which was written by the Puritans who came seeking - not just gold - but the Kingdom of God. People followed the Lord Jesus in search of the Kingdom of God. He taught them that they cannot have God's Kingdom unless they deny themselves, take up their cross and follow him in sacrificing themselves for others. America loves to condemn its Puritan past. But the reality is that at its core American culture continues to be Puritan rather than postmodern. Had the Bible not been the soul of Western civilization, Obama could not have become the President. Therefore, it will be wise for him to honor the Bible at his inauguration. 3rd Segment; (5-7 minutes) Obama was elected because the Bible wrote the Truth of Human Equality into America's DNA Many American women supported Hillary Clinton because they do not experience themselves as equal to men. Indeed, it was "self-evident" that the secular media did not treat Governor Sarah Palin as a candidate "equal" to Joe Biden. The blacks voted for Obama because it has never been self-evident to them that they are equal to the whites. Human equality has never been self-evident in any culture at any period of history because it is not an observable, empirical, self-evident, scientific fact. Inequality is the observable fact. Equality appeared self-evident to the American Fathers only because their mental lenses were colored by the Bible. If the American Constitution were being written today, it would have to read, "We hold these truths self-evident that all human beings have evolved equal . . ." That would be an absurd statement because evolution is an explanation for the observable fact of inequality. No amount of intellectual juggling could build a case for equality on the basis of a belief in evolution. [The segment will discuss the historical and theological basis for America's faith in human equality, its relationship to Obama's election and why it would be a huge mistake if he saw himself as the answer to the hopes and dreams of the oppressed in our world. The best thing that he can do for the minorities in America and the oppressed for the world is to turn their attention to the Bible]

10 Fertilize my soul:

Jeanette said...

Wow, Amrita! I read this in bloglines and said, "I have GOT to go over to Amrita's blog and comment on this!" How I love this man's thinking and his ability to communicate logic! It has brought tears to my eyes, and I have no explanation except that God is with him and is speaking through his words. Thank you so much for this post!

Jeanette said...

PS: I don't see the link you mentioned, but maybe I am missing something...

Louise said...

Excellent, excellent post my friend! Thank you!!

tanyaa said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Becky said...

Amrita

Just wanted you to know I am praying for you....I don't know just read an article about Christians in India and wanted you to know I am praying.....you know the kind Romans 8:26 where He knows...Thanks sister in Him for being such a light.....

Sita said...

Depth..wisdom...worthwhile pondering...hope Obama reads this...I think Vishal spoke in my church...ask him if he knows Sunder and if he spoke in Sunder's church...
Blessings to you...

Donetta said...

Great post! Really interesting view. Very intelligent speaker.
Here we are celebrating Thanksgiving this week. I am Thankful to call you friend. You are a treasure and a gift.

Amrita said...

Thank you friends. Vishal is a very insightful man and although I am not personally in touch with him now as he is so busy I get his newsletters via email.

Renae said...

Excellent post, Amrita. Thank you so much for sharing it. I am praying for you, and for the people in India.

--renae

nvittal said...

The party most of the religious conservatives support (Republican) is not known to be very friendly to minorities/blacks ! That's why majority of minorities end up voting for Democrats.

Second - Gay/Lesbian marriage. It's a hot topic for religious conservatives here. But, I don't understand why they conviniently ignore teenage/pre-marital/consensual sex that goes on everywhere!! Is it not part of the religion?

Third - We shouldn't mix religion with politics. It should be up to the politicians. However, there is a notion among far-right, religious groups over here that Obama is not really a Christian. So, these groups are trying their best to make him prove his 'Christianity' in every step.

I think it's a wrong thing to do in a democracy.