Don’t count on the First Lady to keep church and state separate. In a recent speech, Michelle Obama said that there was “no place better” than church to hash out the issues our nation faces today.
“To anyone who says that church is no place to talk about these issues, you tell them there is no place better—no place better,” Michelle Obama told those in attendance at the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s general conference in Nashville. The First Lady defended her words, blending political issues with issues of morality: “Because ultimately, these are not just political issues – they are moral issues,” she said. “They’re issues that have to do with human dignity and human potential, and the future we want for our kids and our grandkids.”
According to Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Michelle Obama’s comments politicize religion, two institutions that have long been kept separate, notes CNS News. “Michelle Obama followed in the footsteps of her husband yesterday when she called for the politicization of religion,” he said in a statement. “President Obama has explicitly called for ‘congregation captains’ to organize for his reelection.”
“Since the Obamas have taken the gloves off – in effect calling for Americans not to be restrained by separation of church and state legalisms – others should follow suit,” Donahue said. “I hope that the bishops, priests, evangelical ministers, and the orthodox members of all religions are taking note,” concluding, “We don’t have two constitutions: if the Obamas are giving the green light to those in their faith community to merge politics and religion, there are no more red lights left for anyone to obey,” he said.
According to The Blaze, Michelle Obama’s speech may signal lagging support for Big-O in the religious community. “This is particularly noteworthy, because liberals have traditionally lamented the Christian right’s hand in electoral politics. While the president has faltered many times with people of faith, it seems his wife, at least, is helping to ramp up support for his re-election among the faithful,” they write.
Do you think that the church should have a role in politics? Is church really the best place to talk politics?