NEWS: The Inauguration of President Obama: An Opportunity for Interfaith Dialogue?

obamasouthcarolinaToday, America will witness the inauguration of her 44th President, Barack Obama. Arguably, the media frenzy that has accompanied Obama’s campaign trail and subsequent election will not abate just yet. Hidden among all of the column inches is a recent article by Eboo Patel, who attempts to answer the question, set by The Guardian: ‘Will Obama be good for religion?’

Eboo Patel points to the unusual gathering of religious community leaders, which he believes demonstrates Barack Obama’s plans for his presidency. Among those invited to participate in the inauguration events are Eugene Robinson, Rick Warren, and Ingrid Mattson, together with three Rabbis. Against the backdrop of horrific events in the Middle East, as well as the long standing row over homosexuality within the church, President Obama’s choices appear particularly radical.

However, Patel insists that Obama has the necessary desire and skills to bring people together regardless of fundamental differences of belief. Furthermore, he insists that:‘Obama’s challenge for the next few years is going to be to convince separated communities to find common ground themselves, and if they can’t find it, to build it. That is a task worthy of the title president, and Christian.’

Related Articles:

Coexistence, Conflict, and the Practice of Toleration
By Benjamin J. Kaplan
From A Companion to the Reformation World

Christianity and Other Religions
By Ian Markham
From The Blackwell Companion to Modern Theology

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