"An Almost Chosen Nation"
Obama's Inaugural Bibles Represent More than Liberalism
President Barack Obama was sworn in for his second term on Monday using two Bibles: one belonged to the Rev. Martin Luther King and the other to Abraham Lincoln. Clearly President Obama wanted to weave his presidency into the American narrative of equality so apparent with King and Lincoln. But, Dr. Joseph Loconte argues on CNN.com, there is more to King and Lincoln than a love of equality. As important as their commitment to equality was their belief in the exceptional character of the American republic.
“Both men saw clearly the moral contradictions that tore at the fabric of American democratic life,” Dr. Loconte writes, “Yet both also believed deeply in the exceptional character of the United States and the spiritual significance of its democratic mission.”
The public writings and addresses of King and Lincoln support Dr. Loconte’s claim. Dr. Loconte writes that, “Lincoln’s description of America as an ‘almost chosen people’ captured brilliantly the qualified and uncertain character of the nation’s democracy: deeply and grievously flawed, but nonetheless caught up in the righteous purposes of God.”
Similarly, Rev. King wrote in his “Letter from the Birmingham Jail” that “We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands.”
To connect the Almighty to the character of the United States, and by extension declare a “sacred heritage” is rejected outright by liberals. Thus Dr. Loconte writes that “In this sense, Mr. Obama’s party, the party of liberalism, would not know what to do with a Lincoln or a King.”
Dr. Loconte concludes saying:
“It is heartening, and symbolically important, that Mr. Obama will be using the Bibles of these two great leaders as he takes the oath of office. It would be more significant, though, if the president found room for their moral vision of the United States in his administration and in his party.”
Click here to read the full article on cnn.com.
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