Reclaiming Hope by Michael Wear

When he started work for President Obama Michael Wear was very young and incredibly excited, especially when Obama spoke to the religious leaders at the first meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neeighborhood Partmerships.  Obama spoke about ‘importance of faith in his own life and the positive role faith communities had to play in bringing our country through the difficult times ahead. Wear hoped that divisive politics could be overcome and faith could be part of that solution.  The President had a different approach to faith than over Democratic presidents.  He was willing to talk to religious leaders and he also realised that there was an ‘evangelical reawakening to issues of justice and the common good’, according to the author.

Although Wear was a Democrat, he was not completely at ease in the party.  He was very troubled by abortion and he disagreed with the approach to matters of sex and sexuality.  Gay marriage, for example, would become extremely difficult to deal with.

Wear discusses Obama’s approach to religion profoundly.  Obama was heavily criticised because he didn’t go to church very often.  However,   explains that the attendance of the President at church creates several security problems.  But    does think that Obama was deeply religious. 

Wear also writes about how Obama’s administration dealt with abortion, contraception, and other areas which intersected with religion.  What made him most disillusioned was Obama’s attitude towards gay marriage.  Obama’s opposition to same-sex marriage was crucial in 2008 because of the importance of winning over conservative white voters and many African-Americans. It was a surprise to   when he changed his mind in 2012.  It was even more of a surprise when Wear read a book by David Axelrod in which Axelrod wrote that the president personally supported gay marriage as early as 2007 but he accepted advice to support civil unions which he called ‘sacred’ unions.   Wear was troubled by the possibility of Obama’s misleading the public and using religious language to do it, although he still admires the former president for many reasons.

This book was an interesting insight into what goes on behind the scenes in Washington and I may even re-read it.  However, I thought that it became rather technical at times.  I highly recommend it for anyone interested in politics, and the intersection between religion and politics.

I received this free ebook from Booklook Bloggers in return for an honest review.


Hels said…
I am very interested in politics and the intersection between religion and politics, but from a different perspective.

Growing up in a country that has separation between church and state, it seems totally inappropriate for a President's religious beliefs (or lack of them) to be known by the public. If the head of state and politicians want to go to church, synagogue or mosque each week, they absolutely should do so, without journalists and photographers making it public. If the head of state and politicians want to legislate on topics like marriage equality and abortion, they have to do so without referring to their private religious beliefs.
Viola said…
It's a deep question! The book is worth reading to see how it's affecting the US.
Viola said…
Hello Hels. I meant to edit my comment to write that I can see your point.

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