And it’s a lesson we need to remember today – as members of another Joshua generation. It’s time for us to change America. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress.
And as I listened to him explain why he’d enlisted, the absolute faith he had in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all that any of us might hope for in a child. So it’s 1985, and I’m in Chicago, and I’m working with these churches, and with lots of laypeople who are much older than I am. And if we can do that – if we can embrace a common destiny – then I believe we’ll not just help bring about a more hopeful day in America, we’ll not just be caring for our own souls, we’ll be doing God’s work here on Earth.
I’m not talking about blind optimism here – the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don’t think about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. I was too young to be involved in that movement, but I felt I could play a small part in the continuing battle for justice by helping rebuild some of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn’t. But that is not yet the case. Indeed, none of us should tolerate these extremists.
But at the end of the day, we cannot walk away – not for the sake of passing a bill, but so that we can finally address the real concerns of Americans and the persistent hopes of all those brothers and sisters who want nothing more than their own chance at our common dream. I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But all of us must recognize that education and innovation will be the currency of the 21st century, and in too many Muslim communities there remains underinvestment in these areas.
If there is a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders. That is not how moral authority is claimed; that is how it is surrendered. All of us have a responsibility to work for the day when the mothers of Israelis and Palestinians can see their children grow up without fear; when the Holy Land of three great faiths is the place of peace that God intended it to be; when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.
Thank you. And may God’s peace be upon you.
But what we know – what we have seen – is that America can change. You have shown what history teaches us – that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars.
He’s still speaking to our Catholic friends – who are holding up a consistent ethic of life that goes beyond abortion – one that includes a respect for life and dignity whether it’s in Iraq, in poor neighborhoods, in African villages or even on death row. For over a thousand years, Al-Azhar has stood as a beacon of Islamic learning, and for over a century, Cairo University has been a source of Egypt’s advancement.
He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God’s work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS. I can assure you it is not. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper. Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. We seek no military bases there. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind, heart, and soul.
But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. It is costly and politically difficult to continue this conflict. Threatening Israel with destruction – or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews – is deeply wrong, and only serves to evoke in the minds of Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress. That is why we welcome efforts like Saudi Arabian King Abdullah’s Interfaith dialogue and Turkey’s leadership in the Alliance of Civilizations. Americans are ready to join with citizens and governments; community organizations, religious leaders, and businesses in Muslim communities around the world to help our people pursue a better life.
The UCC is still listening. Much has been made of the fact that an African-American with the name Barack Hussein Obama could be elected President. That is why there is a mosque in every state of our union, and over 1,200 mosques within our borders.
Thank you. And may God’s peace be upon you.
I was too young to be involved in that movement, but I felt I could play a small part in the continuing battle for justice by helping rebuild some of Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods. They cheered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when Dr. We can affirm our faith without endangering the separation of church and state, as long as we understand that when we’re in the public square, we have to speak in universal terms that everyone can understand. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change. Many more are simply skeptical that real change can occur.
I thought of the families I’ve met who were struggling to get by without a loved one’s full income, or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or nerves shattered, but who still lacked long-term health benefits because they were Reservists. We cannot ignore that we have a right and a duty to protect our borders. And I’ve seen it in this campaign. Resistance through violence and killing is wrong and does not succeed. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons.
I didn’t fall out in church, as folks sometimes do. Religious leaders like my friends Rev. Jim Wallis and Rabbi David Saperstein and Nathan Diament are working for justice and fighting for change. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. That does not mean we should ignore sources of tension.
Our Party has chosen a man to lead us who embodies the best this country has to offer. Now let me be clear. And all across the country, communities of faith are sponsoring day care programs, building senior centers, and in so many other ways, taking part in the project of American renewal. From Willow Creek to the ’emerging church,’ from the Southern Baptist Convention to the National Association of Evangelicals, folks are realizing that the four walls of the church are too small for a big God.God is still speaking. Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful.
Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in a politics of hope? The President vetoed a similar plan, but he doesn’t have the last word, and we’re going to keep at it, until we bring this war to an end. God is still speaking. But it also comes from my own American story. On education, we will expand exchange programs, and increase scholarships, like the one that brought my father to America, while encouraging more Americans to study in Muslim communities.
So let’s rededicate ourselves to a new kind of politics – a politics of conscience. I will cut taxes – cut taxes – for 95% of all working families. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations. Some are eager to stoke the flames of division, and to stand in the way of progress.
Back home, my grandmother raised their baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother’s problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons.
John Kerry believes in an America where hard work is rewarded; so instead of offering tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas, he offers them to companies creating jobs here at home. This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work. I have come here to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world; one based upon mutual interest and mutual respect; and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive, and need not be in competition.
They cheered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when Dr. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either « too black » or « not black enough. » We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it. That is why we plan to invest $1.5 billion each year over the next five years to partner with Pakistanis to build schools and hospitals, roads and businesses, and hundreds of millions to help those who have been displaced.
Anyway, Ashley finishes her story and then goes around the room and asks everyone else why they’re supporting the campaign. Progress in the daily lives of the Palestinian people must be part of a road to peace, and Israel must take concrete steps to enable such progress.
Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America.
More to do for the young woman in East St. And I’m glad to see that. He was nominally a Muslim since there were a number of Muslims in the village where he was born. It’s not consistent with our traditions of justice and fairness. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours – a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot. Let me also address the issue of Iraq.
But it also comes from my own American story. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. We are the party of Roosevelt. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustration of so many dreams deferred. But I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. On science and technology, we will launch a new fund to support technological development in Muslim-majority countries, and to help transfer ideas to the marketplace so they can create jobs.
Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can’t teach our kids to learn – they know that parents have to teach, that children can’t achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. And we cannot ignore the very real concerns of Americans who are not worried about illegal immigration because they are racist or xenophobic, but because they fear it will result in lower wages when they’re already struggling to raise their families. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. America respects the right of all peaceful and law-abiding voices to be heard around the world, even if we disagree with them.
They cheered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when Dr. But we also know that government initiatives are not enough. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. He simply says to everyone in the room, « I am here because of Ashley. » That’s why I stand here tonight. Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third.
This is a problem that’s brought together churches and synagogues and mosques and people of all faiths as part of a grassroots movement. These needs will be met only if we act boldly in the years ahead; and if we understand that the challenges we face are shared, and our failure to meet them will hurt us all.
We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America. In all nations – including my own – this change can bring fear.
And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance. When a new flu infects one human being, all are at risk.
But I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression. As a young man, I worked in Chicago communities where many found dignity and peace in their Muslim faith. Too much blood has been shed.
And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins. As a boy, I spent several years in Indonesia and heard the call of the azaan at the break of dawn and the fall of dusk. Indeed, it suggests the opposite: we must face these tensions squarely.
They saw that I knew the Scriptures and that many of the values I held and that propelled me in my work were values they shared. But I’m hopeful because I think there’s an awakening taking place in America. We’re not going to agree on everything, but we can disagree without being disagreeable. These are not whiners. Tomorrow, I will visit Buchenwald, which was part of a network of camps where Jews were enslaved, tortured, shot and gassed to death by the Third Reich.
Thank you, and God bless America.