Let’s put the grumbling about President Obama’s corralling of clergy to give vetted invocations at his Beyond-the-Beltway town meetings together with the grumbling over his choice of Federal District Judge David F. Hamilton to ascend to 7th Circuit. The invocations, according to Gilgoff’s sleuthing, have got to be inclusive. And Hamilton’s most controversial decision–at least to the religious grumblers–is his declaring unconstitutional pervasively sectarian (as opposed to “inclusive and non-sectarian”) invocation-giving in the Indiana House of Representatives. Coincidence?
Over at my temporary blogging home on Belief, I’ve outlined why I think it’s perfectly OK for the White House to screen invocations for inclusivity. Here I’ll just make the point that Obama’s sense of the role of religion in society is of the let’s-get-together-and-raise-the-barn variety. This, as I’ve argued elsewhere (see here and the last chapter of One Nation, Divisible), is a classical Midwestern Methodist disposition, and very much congruent with classic American civil religion. Oh, and perhaps not coincidentally either, David F. Hamilton is the son and grandson of Midwestern Methodist ministers. Not to mention a nephew of former Indiana congressman and current Obama foreign policy eminence grise, Lee Hamilton.