I didn’t watch the State of the Union adress, but I did watch this interview on PBS’ Religions and Ethics panel. (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/religionandethics/episodes/by-topic/assessing-the-state-of-the-union-address/8007/)
It included some really nice points, and a brief clip of the President’s speech. In that brief clip Obama refers to our diverse religious practices, and “our common creed.”
This confused (and frustrated) the heck out of me.
Miram-Webster gives these two definitions of the word ‘creed’:
: a brief authoritative formula of religious belief
: a set of fundamental beliefs; also : a guiding principle
This particular choice of words seems deliberately ambiguous to me, but likely for good reasons, but still. If one takes the first definition, of sharing a common religiously-defined code (they list ‘dogma’ as a synonym), then one can see an umbrella cast over the Abramhamic traditions; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Being able to SEE this common ground is critically important in helping our nation begin to mature into a functioning pluralistic society. But it isn’t enough.
We need to be using the second definition; a common ground defined by ALL traditions, including secular and areligious ones. We need to see, too, the *rest* of America; the estimated 10% of atheists in this country, the Hindus, Buddhists, Pagans, and believers in other faiths who, while maybe not forming the backbone of our culture, help form the arms and legs, reaching out to different perspectives and paradigms, and solidly rooted in other traditions and thoughts that help provide us a broader foundation for our culture on the whole.
A backbone forms an essential core; it connects the pieces of the body, and shelters the spinal cord, so that we can send messages to the mainstream (essentially Abrahamic) political brains of our nation. That said, a body backbone that can’t recognize its body’s arms and legs, that lacks the ability, the wherewithal, to reach and stand on firm footing, resides in the body of a quadraplegic.
We are, in many ways, at a standstill in this country.
That won’t do, folks. We need to MOVE.