Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Michelle Obama On Living Out Your Faith

I know it's an old article, from 2012, a year and five months old to be slightly less than precise, but who can resist Michelle when she's "speaking truth to power" and talking about Jesus as an example for our lives.  I just read the article again after seeing Mrs. Obama's wise words quoted regarding Liberty Ridge Farms, a business that is doing just what First Lady Michelle is advocating--living out one's faith every day of the week.  Moved to speak about Christ, clearly Michelle is not an angry black woman.

“Our faith journey isn’t just about showing up on Sunday for a good sermon and good music and a good meal. It’s about what we do Monday through Saturday as well, especially in those quiet moments, when the spotlight’s not on us, and we’re making those daily choices about how to live our lives.
“We see that in the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus didn’t limit his ministry to the four walls of the church,” she said. “He was out there fighting injustice and speaking truth to power every single day. He was out there spreading a message of grace and redemption to the least, the last, and the lost. And our charge is to find Him everywhere, every day by how we live our lives.”

The owners at Liberty Ridge Farms remained  true to their beliefs not just on a Sunday when it's easiest to be faithful, but on a weekday when they explained to a probing caller that their business couldn't host a same sex wedding.  Now they're involved in a lawsuit and being asked to pay damages. 

Michelle talks about "our faith journey" though for all she and her husband are now affiliated with a faith journey, minus their perfunctory Easter family visit,  the Obamas are presumably among the 60% or so of Americans who seldom or never attend church.  (That's  except for the 20 years when the Obamas weren't really regular attendees at that Jeremiah Wright church in Chicago and didn't listen anyway when they were there.)  The President's administration is notably hostile to the practice of religion in the public square--exactly what the First Lady is advocating here--with its HHS mandate, its attempts to limit religious freedom in the military, its disinterest in America's commitment to religious liberty globally and the President's narrow interpretation of what religious freedom and the First Amendment mean.  From an article in First Things:
Barack Obama once asserted that “our deliberative, pluralistic democracy demands . . . that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values.”   
As the article points out, this is precisely what our democracy doesn't call on us to do.  Our "religiously motivated. . concerns" are our particular religious beliefs, particular to us, to the dictates of our conscience.  They are, as James Madison writes, our property to which we have that God-given right as expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Referring to President Obama's commitment to religious liberty internationally, which differs not at all from his commitment to religious liberty domestically,  the article goes on to say,
The current administration, while it has delivered some nice speeches on the subject, has invested its energy and resources in the promotion of “LGBT” interests, not religious liberty. Obama took two and one-half years to get his ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, Suzan Johnson Cook, in place, and even then she was buried deep in the bureaucracy, with little authority or resources. Clearly the Obama administration has subordinated religious liberty to the international pursuit of what it believes to be superior rights claims. 
Michelle reminds us that what's important are "those quiet moments" when we make choices about how to live our lives. Speaking truth to power.  Fighting injustice.  Finding Christ "everywhere" by "how we live our lives."  Saying one thing but meaning another.  Probably.  Deception comes in many guises and turns of phrase.