Mike Kueber's Blog

February 17, 2012

Wedge issues

Filed under: Issues,Politics,Religion — Mike Kueber @ 2:32 pm
Tags: , , ,

I’ve blogged occasionally about American exceptionalism, usually to defend the position and to suggest that President Obama is not a true believer.  Over the course of debating the issue with liberal readers of my blog, I have moved a bit to the left and have come to believe that the issue is just one on a long list of so-called wedge issues that hyper-partisans waste time and energy bloviating about.  (“Bloviating” is one of Bill O’Reilly’s catch phrases.) 

Yesterday, while enjoying a Happy Hour with my friend Robert in Austin, we compared the American exceptionalism argument with the arguments of some (Franklin Graham) that President Obama may or may not be a Christian.    Although Robert and I took the typical red-blue positions, I believe these positions are genuine, not knee-jerk.

My position that President Obama is not a genuine Christian is based on the premise a genuine Christian thinks that the only way to heaven is through Jesus.  And I believe a person with a worldly perspective like President Obama (he famously said that he believes in American exceptionalism, just as the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism) is not going to believe that the billions of human beings around the world who are not exposed to Christianity are doomed.  That is not in Obama’s essence. 

Robert’s position (I think) is that perhaps my premise is wrong – i.e., President Obama truly believes in Jesus, but doesn’t accept the “fire & brimstone” preaching.  (Cafeteria Catholic?  Also see my earlier posting regarding the nascent movement amongst Evangelicals asking, “What if there is no hell?”)     

Who says that friends should avoid discussions of religion and politics?  Robert and I had an enjoyable, enriching discussion, and left Icenhauer’s as good of friends as ever.

But my point is that arguing over American exceptionalism or whether Obama is a true Christian does not move us in a positive direction or help us find common ground.  All it does is divide us.  It reminds me of Bill Bennett’s classic response when asked to comment on the validity of studies that show IQ differences between blacks, whites, and Asians.  Bennett said that he doesn’t waste his time trying to evaluate those studies because the answer is irrelevant.  Public or personal policy does not need to know whether races have different IQs.  Similarly, President Obama should be judged on his public policies, not on whether he genuinely believes in the concept of American exceptionalism or strict Christian orthodoxy.


1 Comment »

  1. Good points mike. I’ve seen very few disagreements settled with data and logic and those were essentially math and computer related…


    Comment by Q — February 18, 2012 @ 12:43 am | Reply

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