Among the Excommunicated

Because the “controversy” over the president’s remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast last week mostly focused on Obama’s alleged “false equivalency” between Christianity and Islam, I devoted my weekly column at TPMCafe to the other issue it raised: the continuing efforts of some religious conservatives to expel religious liberals from the community of the faithful via attacks on Obama.

I also addressed a subtopic I haven’t mentioned here at PA: the irritation many liberals (religious or not) feel for Obama’s attendance at events like the National Prayer Breakfast–very much a conservative evangelical show–which leads some to decide he deserves whatever punishment he gets. You could even make the case that Obama has a bad habit of legitimizing the very people who deny the legitimacy of his faith–and the faith of the many millions of other Americans who do not believe in biblical inerrancy or its use to deify capitalism, nationalism and patriarchal culture. But as I conclude, the other way of looking at it is that he’s simply turning the other cheek.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.