August 28, 2008
Obama's Code Language
Democratic nominee borrows from New Testament.
I doubt any commentators will accuse Sen. Barack Obama of using religious code language in his acceptance speech. Yet two famous New Testament passages made an appearance. As is typical of civil religion today, God was replaced by the "American promise."
"Instead, it is that American spirit – that American promise – that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend," Obama said, borrowing from 2 Corinthians 4:18.
Obama then concluded his remarks this way: "Let us keep that promise – that American promise – and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess."
This statement comes from Hebrews 10:23. But the context of this passage explains something far more beautiful than the American promise. "Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water" (Heb. 10:19-22).
Editor's Update: There's some confusion in the comments below, so some explanation may be helpful. Collin Hansen wrote this, but was having trouble posting it. So Ted Olsen posted it to the blog. The first comment (which begins, "Your observation is a shrewd one") is from John Hubers. The second is from Bethany Pledge Erickson, and so forth. (Oh, I didn't realize you'd gotten married, Bethany! A belated congratulations to you.)