Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One for the nonbelievers

There were many things to praise in Obama's inauguration speech today, but the one that struck me the most was his open-armed welcome to "Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."

In recent years, acknowledging that good people do not necessarily worship a deity used to be political suicide -- even though many of the founding fathers, including Jefferson, were either agnostics or atheists. (They were, after all, children of the Enlightenment.)

In recent years American politicians have been so terrorized by the Christian right that they often pretended to be believers, faux Sunday-morning churchgoers, in order not to needlessly offend that important voting bloc.

Perhaps no more. It now looks certain that Obama means business when he says he wants government to be all-inclusive. Having Rick Warren deliver the invocation at his inauguration and also, on the same day, recognizing the moral legitimacy of those who do not believe in a higher power is nothing short of revolutionary.

It's about time.

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