It's no secret that religion, and in particular our own American home-grown version of Christianity, has been a major source of division within American politics for the past 7 years or so. The rise in the Christianification of American politics has resulted in the aggressive counter movement of outspoken and outraged atheists and agnostics, giving birth to books like 'The God Delusion' and 'Letters to a Christian Nation,' which has then birthed the counter-counter Christian movements embodied by pundits like Ann Coulter, and her book 'Godless: The Church of Liberalism.'
It's a total culture war, where each side does very little to try and understand, let alone even tolerate, the other. But in a healthy democracy, isn't it a given that not everyone will share the same beliefs as you? and you accept that, live and let live, and do your best to increase the common good by way of discourse and conversation. Both secular and religious people have demonized their opponents, making each unable to listen to the perspectives of the other, resulting in two angry, brooding, militant, judgmental, self-righteous sides.
Considering this, I was inspired after I watched this speech by Barack Obama (himself a Christian), who is addressing a group of America's Evangelicals on what else, but the subject of the religious potency in American politics. To listen to Obama speak about religion in such a calming, intelligent, and pensive way is such a contrast to George Bush's thoughts that I can't believe Bush ever became a poster-child for a Christian in politics. If anything, the leader of a democracy has to recognize that he is governing a diverse body of people, and be able to bring people together despite their differences, instead of divide. Barack appears to be a reconciler.
Here's the speech. I got it off Barack's website. I don't know enough about the guy yet to fully endorse him for president, but it's nice to come away from a politician feeling lifted and refreshed.