Tuesday, June 16, 2009

People of Faith for Obama

Obama in Church ~ Brooks Kraft / Corbis for TIME

What got me started writing about American religion was my participation in, People of Faith for Obama, during the Obama presidential campaign. As participants, we were asked to respond to weekly “values questions”. The purpose was to generate interfaith dialog and of course convince conservative Christians who may be more inclined to vote republican to support Obama.

It is not likely my participation convinced any conservative Christians to vote for Obama. In my life I have formally belonged to three different religions. I was raised as a Disciple of Christ, participated in a Wicca circle for twenty years and am now a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism. I’ve have also had the honor of participating in Native American ceremonies, I've been a student of Zen, through yoga have learned and practiced Hindu chants and have celebrated the Mexican Day of the Dead. The American right to freedom of religion is not wasted on me.

As diverse as my religious explorations have been I have come to see my path as uniquely American. Religious freedom itself, the availability of information and teachers, a society that values religious tolerance and even my Protestant upbringing all contribute to my identity as an American seeker. I discovered through writing short essays for the Obama campaign that American religion was a topic I wanted to explore further both as an intellectual pursuit and as my own spiritual quest.

My People of Faith for Obama Houseparty
transforms into an Om for Obama Drum Circle.