Obama's prayer: Religion as uniter, not divider

It's old news that Barack Obama (and/or his speechwriters) has a way with words. But his remarks today about religion strike me as among his most moving to date. The speech, in its embrace of difference and its vision of faith as uniter rather than divider, signifies a profound paradigm shift from the previous administration.

I liked this passage in particular, clear-eyed but hopeful:

"I'm not naive," President Obama says. "I don't expect divisions to disappear overnight, nor do I believe that long-held views and conflicts will suddenly vanish. ... But I do believe that if we can talk to one another openly and honestly, and perhaps allow God's grace to enter that space between us, then perhaps old rifts will start to mend and new partnerships will begin to emerge. In a world that grows smaller by the day, perhaps we can begin to crowd out the destructive forces of zealotry and make room for the healing power of understanding.

"This is my hope. This is my prayer."

Read more at USA Today's 'The Oval' blog.

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