During the early years of the 21st century Labour government in the UK, Alistair Campbell (the spin doctor for Prime Minister Tony Blair) famously told a journalist, ‘We don’t do God…’ (in spite of the fact that Tony Blair clearly did ‘do God). Cross the Atlantic to the USA and, in spite of the separation of church and state, no candidate has a hope of being elected to the Presidency unless she/he [usually ‘he’] publicly proclaims their religious faith (even better if they used the term ‘born again’!).
With that in mind President Barack Obama’s development of what might be termed ‘civil spirituality’ is an intriguing development. Obama is a Christian but seemingly not of the George W Bush variety and was a community organizer in the mid 1980s in the faith-based Gamaliel Faoundation. So what is ‘civil spirituality’? A post-secular religious discourse? A pragmatic community organizer’s attempt to engage with all faiths and none? Something else? Have a read of ‘The Obama Doctrine’ by Diane Butler Bass and you decide….