A recent event at the White House sends a strong signal about the nation's priorities.
According to the Associated Press (10/18/10) the President hosted a science fair at the White House in which he positively "reveled."
Mr. Obama inspected all 11 projects on display in the State Dining Room and commented positively on the work of the young people who participated. He called them "impressive" and said that their work is "a testament to the potential that awaits" when we educate young people to take part in the scientific enterprise.
He went on to say that "in many ways, our future depends on what happens" in such science fairs as the President hosted, and he expressed hope that American students might make progress against other nations in science and math over the next decade.
That's all well and good; young people should be encouraged to learn math and science and to innovate new products and services for the public weal.
The President uses the White House to showcase aspects of American life that he regards as the best part of the American character and the brightest hope for our future. He has hosted pop singers, broadway acts, and a science fair, among others. Pop culture, education, science and technology, and politics - these, apparently, are the priorities the nation should pursue.
But to date, as far as I know, the President has not hosted an event encouraging young people or the nation as whole to take religion and morality more seriously and to explore ways, through the traditions of faith, of ensuring a safer, more decent, and more prosperous future for the nation. Is he afraid of being chastised for bursting the "wall of separation"? I doubt it. More likely, while the President accepts religion as a significant component of American life, he has little hope in it being able to help make us a better nation.
Is that his fault? No. It's not the President's fault that he doesn't think religion - particularly, his own Christian religion - can offer any hope for a better future. It's our fault, who profess Chrstianity yet who have not managed to demonstrate convincingly the power of the faith of Christ to renew, restore, and bring wholeness to our society.
This is a function of our too-small view of the Gospel and our failure to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in all things. And it's also another good reason why Christians need to seek the Lord for revival - of their own lives and their churches. The history of Christianity shows that nothing has been a more potent force for good in the world than sincere Christians following Jesus in every area of life. If we have not kept up that legacy in a convincing manner - and we have not - then the fault and need for repentance are ours, not Mr. Obama's.
Who Holds the Future?
- T.M. Moore
- October 25, 2010
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore