Beliefs Mark Silk: Spiritual Politics Opinion

South Carolina Tag Team

I watched the videos of Oprah and Obama addressing their huge crowd in South Carolina with an eye to tallying the sum of religiosity on display before the largely African American Sunday audience. Both, sure enough, began with churchly comments.

“It is Amazing Grace that brought me here.”
“For me, it’s stepping out of my pew.”
“Each one of us has a calling here on earth to do the good and the great thing.”


“I am so grateful to be here to be here today, giving all praise and honor to God. Look at the day that the Lord has made.”

But that was it, at least by way of explicitly religious talk. Neither speech ended by summoning God’s blessing nor did either speaker deliver the kind of Biblical language that, say, Martin Luther King, Jr. specialized in. At the same time, the force of their remarks was very much in the millenarian mode of black civil religion: Obama represents a new day, an epoch when Americans of all races and creeds will come together, live in harmony, achieve greatness, be a light unto the nations. The latest polling shows the black vote in SC swinging decisively toward Obama. Any white folks who think Obama is too white to appeal to black folks should think again.


About the author

Mark Silk

Mark Silk is Professor of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College and director of the college's Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. He is a Contributing Editor of the Religion News Service

1 Comment

Click here to post a comment

  • obama does all those so called christian things so then christians vote for him and so he looks good you people fall right into his trap and i know he is tricky if you do not beileve wait until he is finnaly president and se whats gonna happen from a nice smart loving man to a hateful murderer and much more.