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Religious Life in the Obama Era

Krista's live conversation with Joshua DuBois at the Fitzgerald Theater in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

Senator Barack Obama's "Call to Renewal" Speech

June 28, 2006 – Washington DC
This religious tendency is not simply the result of successful marketing by skilled preachers or the draw of popular mega-churches. In fact, it speaks to a hunger that's deeper than that — a hunger that goes beyond any particular issue or cause.

Selected Audio

SOF Salon: Lived Faith and Civic Life

[mp3, 69:45]
Krista joined a diverse group of 13 individuals to react to DuBois' words, and contribute more stories to the dialogue. Download and listen to the lively and insightful conversation in full.

Pertinent Posts from the On Being Blog

Some stunning photos capturing DuBois' night at the Fitzgerald Theater.


Video of Obama's speech and how it came up in our live event with Joshua Dubois.

Krista speaks with a diverse group about what a new era of service and civic virtue in U.S. public life might look like. Watch it here!

Recorded video of the live stream of Krista and DuBois on stage at the Fitz — and a transcript of the online audience chat.

A White House video about the Obama administration's faith-based initiatives, with commentary by DuBois.

About the Image

Krista Tippett and Joshua DuBois during their live conversation at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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In reality, as regards the abortion debate, the Obama Administration is bought and paid for by Planned Parenthood, etc. The administration's policies and appointment are evidence of this, as well as they give evidence that they are anti-Catholic, and are trying to divide the Catholic community. They talk a lot, and by doing so hope to keep the situation just as it is, which is what they want, don't be fooled.
President Obama is the abortion president. At Notre Dame he, as expected, never made any reference to the idea that the unborn child has any rights at all.

Also, there is no common ground on abortion. Just like the slavery issue, one is for it, or against it. One person thinks it's OK to kill an unborn child, another person thinks isn't - how can there be common ground?
Speaking of common ground, though, does keep things just the way they are, which is what the administration wants: abortion on demand, embryonic stem cell research, etc.

I am so glad that political materialism is being addressed. There is more to life, more than what is material- and this was self-evident to our founding fathers. The principal of "indivisibility" wis understood as the basic tenet of life itself; the creation is not separate from the Creator.

All of life is meant to be spiritualized in oneness, but not sameness, for the experience of God in man- man as an individualization of God - is unique for each being and that is why all truly are equal, for in God's eyes all are of infinite value. It is time now for America to recapitalize our hearts in oneness, and to not be afraid of the freedom that comes with a worldview that includes the Infinite, for what we face cannot be overcome with intellectually finite resources alone.

I submit to all American hearts and lovers of spiritual freedom everywhere, that what needs recapitalization is our fundamental outlook on life! Our moral fundamentals have fallen apart, our ideal for upholding the right of equal opportunity is buried under the weight of dueling politics, dogmatic religion and the institutionalization of life.

Our worth, our means for being an individual yet part of the whole society is not measured by GDP, trade deficits or balance sheets of any kind. What is good for the one and the many must be reached for by going beyond what can be counted, tallied, labeled, charted or weighed.

How can the true health of any economy, of any nation or individual therein – be diagnosed by how well or not credit is flowing? How can health or anything about life or part of life be measured at all? Isn’t it all just relative? Society has created standards that attempt to define how life should be, but how can love be measured, or joy produced from a financial instrument? Open your eyes and see that life itself is worthy, worth an infinite amount of love that can always be given freely to all.

It is this principle- of freely giving what you freely receive that is priceless! No container could ever hold the infinite essence of life, and our bodies appear as fixed containers yet the mind and the expansion of the heart faculty is not limited to the body. There is no monopoly on the true measure of abundance. One’s spirit to give unconditionally is multiplied in so doing; the one giving then receives more to give.

You may say- “but I have nothing to give” yet the world would be transformed by the simple act of giving out smiles and appreciation for all beings and the Earth itself. For when you smile at life, life smiles back even if it is not obvious. The only way life can be experienced as something less than wonder and joy is by accepting the false belief that life is a struggle. Don’t you hear the birds singing every morning no matter what the headlines say? A rose blooms despite stock market losses and scandals. And you are worth more than all of the lilies in the field; YOU are the apple of God’s eye. YOU are the seeds of creation sown by the creator. We already have every true thing that is needed; imagination, free-will, self-awareness and the ability to create change all within our greater Self.

I pray for the soul of our nation and all peoples, that we may remember in our hearts the simple and free gifts we are endowed with. For if we had naught, no possessions- could we still choose to sing a song of praise? Would we? There is always a seed of life everywhere and in all things. Being able to think a creative thought of freedom- as did our forefathers- is a step toward true abundance, for what it represents deep down is a longing for a return to life with the Spirit of Freedom, the Spirit of Life flowing freely without the damns of fear, anger, envy, greed, competition, selfishness and pride – all these things that weigh heavy on our heart and the planet; and thus she tilts from this burden.

The heart must be freed from negative feelings, the mind freed from negative thought, the Spirit liberated from the mortal chains of bank accounts! BE reborn into the true wealth that is as countless as the stars in the Heavens. Is it not wondrous each day to behold the sun, the moon, the stars and the planets; and to know that this blessed Earth is precious?

How can we fail to appreciate the limitless seed of life that blossoms into the beauty and majesty of oceans, mountains, rivers, forests and continents; for the purpose of supporting us as the ever-flowing streams of life that we are? The sun does not decide who to shine on or not, it perfectly sustains life and shines on ALL people, isn’t that a symbol of true equality? Appreciate a blade of grass, a grain of sand, a raindrop – for life is there and it is abundant.

You see, abundance is a state of consciousness; life is a state of consciousness. The kingdom of God is a state of consciousness! Consciousness is the element of life itself, born into the world but not of it.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not the object beholden, it is an internal knowing not an external judgment. One simply knows and recognizes beauty as that which is mirrored from within. Worthiness of being who you are is not in the perceived value of outer characteristics or possessions. The right to live free and pursue happiness isn’t dependent on owning or defending anything.

The real abundance of life isn’t anything to compete for, because it is not finite, it is free to all who are willing to be harmonious with the principle of unity. It is time to recapitalize our hearts with the joy de vive which can only come from the source of life itself; for we all know in our hearts that money can’t buy happiness or health or love or wisdom.

Life is empty, a shell, a façade and a struggle without the connection to its essence, without the realization that there is more, that there is but One Source and we are all unique expressions of it. The trumpeter heralds the dawn and softly sets the sun; the music and the musician are one. It is the artist, not the art that is unique; it is the scientist not the science that is being discovered. The creation is not separate from its creator; and so it is with humankind – the world here below is meant to be like the heavens above.
The kingdom of God is meant to be expressed here on Earth by US, for we are here as co-creators. If you think you should wait until you die to be in Heaven, think again – you already came from Heaven and you desired to come to Earth and learn to create, for you are a God in the making. Rejoice! Celebrate! Choose to BE the star that you are!

Dear hearts – there is only heart, for all have loved and lost, all have lived and cried in agony and joy. We are having the same experience in different ways so why see your neighbor not as yourself? Stock up on charity, invest in faith, bond in forgiveness and accumulate the gold of grace from above.

Recapitalize the virtues of living in harmony with each other, for there is only victory when all are victorious in the light of truth. There is health and prosperity when wholeness is desired in Spirit more than anything of this world.

Recapitalize your courage to share, to give, to be royal in your own purple heart of service to others, for in thinking and doing not for self is found the fount of youth. The seed of the abundant life is multiplied when sown with unconditional love, watered with joy, and freely shared. Take care to remove the hardness of heart that causes one to be selfish, for those walls are your own prison of lack. Open your heart, and therein you will find the true treasury of life, for the softest overcomes the hardest.

There is no way to defeat the outer conditions of depression, recession or poverty by doing something to the same system. There really is only one struggle that is repeating itself in different ways. There are some persons seeking to obtain absolute control over people’s minds to prevent the destiny of unity because they don’t want to progress to the next stage of human development- the giving up of the separate-self; the selfish ego.

Many of the world’s leaders have become closed off from the abundant life by believing in the lie that money and power is the end all be all. NO single nation or person has an ideology, a philosophy, or system – be it capitalism or communism; that is right for everyone. There is no doctrine or “special” group of people – Christian, Muslim or Jew that has a monopoly on truth. The reality of this crisis is to awaken the heart which knows the truth as universal and sheds its light on all sentient beings.

Give up the impossible quest for the ultimate system that is the perfect answer and if we had it, then we would never have to change – there would be security, stability. Beware, this is false security because we as a species are meant to continuously re-invent and discover progressive revelations about life. Our societal problems stem from limiting beliefs to stay put in a certain expression, stuck in a snapshot in time; resisting the force of life which is both evolutionary and revolutionary.

The way out is the way up, raising our awareness and that is how humankind has always progressed. The world was not flat even though for a time people believed it was. Beliefs are not inherently true. We must ask ourselves again- “is what we collectively believe about the world true?” We know that there is no state of “total knowledge”. What the world sees is not as it seems; knowledge is incomplete. We do not know what we think we know, we assume too much and those assumptions are based on manipulations.
It is time now to come up higher and see that there is no man-made system that is not built on the sands of time. All things transcend, nothing is permanent. Change is the only constant! We are here to create a better and better world, and this is the time to realize the opportunity at hand.

What is our right, our liberty to pursue happiness? Is it not that we can choose to be this or that – whatever makes us happy, and haven’t there always been people who have demonstrated that no handicap, condition of birth, or circumstance could stop them from experiencing life and being who they want to be despite seemingly insurmountable odds? These examples are countless. What is behind this?

The spark of life is the drive to be more; creativity is not a system- it is the gift we are endowed with in the very core of our awareness that gives us the potential to be all that we can be. Creativity and the impulse of life that drives us to want change is what brought freedom-seeking persons to America and to create a New World. Do not forget that we created what we have, for there is no something from nothing.

This spirit of creativity is the key to breaking free from the spiral of materialism. We will not get anywhere following the blind leaders into the bottomless pit of problems that are unsolvable form the same state of consciousness that created them. These false leaders are trying to stop the flow of creativity, to trap your free mind in their trap of status quo. Don’t be fooled. Realism is realizing there is an alternative state of mind that is beyond the level of elitism and separation by superiority. By taking a revolutionary leap in thought we can create a new platform that is above the old mentality of monopolistic rule.

How do we get to this new platform? People must take back their freedom to choose, loose themselves from the lies of the wolves in sheep’s clothing and let go down the drain that which is not based on the foundation of universality – the rock of the higher law that is incorruptible for it is not of this world. Only a raising of one’s own self-awareness to a new sense of identity as being here to co-create in harmony can lead to change spoken by Martin Luther King in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. And I too have a dream- a dream for the overcoming of the sense of separation from God and each other once and for all.

We can leave behind the lessons of the past, the rise and fall of civilizations, the drowning in the Red Sea, the idol worship of money and the golden calf culture by getting connected to our own higher sense of being and purpose. You have your own lamp of inexhaustible light within you, and that light is the same light that lights every being that comes into the world.

If you are willing to TRY to find this light within, then know that the Light has already found you, for God is the only power that can act. Just keep taking one small step and have faith that if you ask it will be given to you, if you seek the truth you will find it, and if you knock on Heaven’s door- that door will be opened to the magnificence of your own God-presence, the Light that never fails.

The meaning and purpose of life is to grow in awareness until you know yourself as God, to love yourself as God loves you, to know that every creature great and small, every living being was made by the same Creator. And in that knowing, you are enlightened to the truth of unity which shall set you free from the prejudices that make peace seem impossible. But it is not.

With all your getting, get the idea of Oneness and you will find the wholeness and healing you’ve always wanted, for it is the higher law that works for you when you work for the sake of another. This is why selfishness is one and the same as disease manifest in many forms, for the root of all human dis-ease lies in seeking something, an advantage, for your self in some way.

Looking out for #1 perpetuates the collective human struggle. To let it go from your life, simply engage in real life as a real person with a heart of gold that is not stained or tarnished by greed, envy or jealousy over perceptions which are usually untrue anyway. Fear not! For we always have the angels of Faith, Hope and Charity at our side, waiting for us to cry out to God with our heart, for only the heart can speak the truth and that is the language of oneness that will break down all walls of pride and prejudice; freeing us even from the images of death.

Choose this day Oneness, and you will be blessed with every good and perfect gift – for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give you His kingdom while you and all other co-creators are here on Earth.

I so enjoyed this recent episode of Speaking of Faith. As one of the founders of a non profit in Cincinnati called 'New Life Furniture', I am very encouraged by what Mr. Dubois had to say about our governments role in community Service. Thank you so much for airing it. I am hoping that you will provide your listeners with more information about Mr. Dubois's office as it becomes available.

New Life Furniture collect gently used furniture in the Cincinnati Ohio area and delivers the items directly to families and individuals that have overcome homelessness, women escaping abusive situations and those that are living at or well below the poverty line.

Again, thank you for your consistantly excellent programing!

Why doesn't Obama or Dubois mention Buddhists, when according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey, there are more Buddhists in the U.S. then Muslims or Hindus?

I look forward to hearing more from Joshua DuBois on future endeavors of the constitutionality of federal funding to non-profits.

What a wonderful sharing and group of people. It is good to see this energy happening in so manny different situations in our world.It is also refreshing to hear new possiblities of bringing our nation together in a positive manner to give responsiblity to people to bond in common purpose and to value life and the human person.

I am employed at a Retreat Center in Southern California as a massage therapist. The South Bay Interfaith Group came into being as the result of our Catholic group inviting other relious groups to celebrate the Christian "Holy Year" in 2000. All the leaders from the different faith communities; ministers,priests, sisters, Rabi and leaders met regularly for the year. It was decided that we would honored the Jewish Community by gifting them with an art piece acknowledging Krystal knock. The art piece continues to be rotated between all the Jewish Temples in the area. The Holy Year celebration ended by joining all the congregations for a candel lite walk from the Retreat Center, one-half a mile to the Temple were the Rabi was presented the art work honoring our Jewish brothers and sisters.

Every one became so invested that the group has continued as the South Bay Interfaith Group and we have four annual events rotated and hosted by the different congregations: a Lectures Series, create musical exhanges and create apportunity for the congrgations to meet. There is mutual respect which opens the door for new possiblities.
After listening to the exchange with the group at your meeting with Joshua DuBois, I saw how addressing the poverty issue may be a challange of new depth to this South Bay Interfaith Group.

Krista thank you for the openess you have created through Speaking of Faith programing.


Voices on the Radio

Joshua DuBois

is the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Production Credits

Host/Producer: Krista Tippett

Managing Producer: Kate Moos

Senior Producer: Mitch Hanley

Producer: Colleen Scheck

Associate Producer: Nancy Rosenbaum

Associate Producer: Shiraz Janjua

Technical Director: John Scherf

Online Editor: Trent Gilliss

Associate Web Producer: Andrew Dayton