By Michael D. Peabody -
RELIGION SEEMS to have taken cen­ter stage this elec­tion cycle.  Obama’s pro­gram, “Joshua Gen­er­a­tion Project” is designed to reach young evan­gel­i­cal vot­ers.  It is quite inspir­ing, actually.

In March, Obama spoke at a com­mem­o­ra­tion of the march to Selma, and linked the Bib­li­cal story of Joshua to the Civil Rights move­ment to the present.

I’m here because some­body marched. I’m here because you all sac­ri­ficed for me. I stand on the shoul­ders of giants. I thank the Moses gen­er­a­tion; but we’ve got to remem­ber, now, that Joshua still had a job to do. As great as Moses was, despite all that he did, lead­ing a peo­ple out of bondage, he didn’t cross over the river to see the Promised Land. God told him your job is done. You’ll see it. You’ll be at the moun­tain top and you can see what I’ve promised. What I’ve promised to Abra­ham and Isaac and Jacob. You will see that I’ve ful­filled that promise but you won’t go there.

We’re going to leave it to the Joshua gen­er­a­tion to make sure it hap­pens. There are still bat­tles that need to be fought; some rivers that need to be crossed. Like Moses, the task was passed on to those who might not have been as deserv­ing, might not have been as coura­geous, find them­selves in front of the risks that their par­ents and grand­par­ents and great grand­par­ents had taken. That doesn’t mean that they don’t still have a bur­den to shoul­der, that they don’t have some respon­si­bil­i­ties. The pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion, the Moses gen­er­a­tion, pointed the way. They took us 90% of the way there. We still got that 10% in order to cross over to the other side. So the ques­tion, I guess, that I have today is what’s called of us in this Joshua gen­er­a­tion? What do we do in order to ful­fill that legacy; to ful­fill the oblig­a­tions and the debt that we owe to those who allowed us to be here today?

Now, I don’t think we could ever fully repay that debt. I think that we’re always going to be look­ing back, but there are at least a few sug­ges­tions that I would have in terms of how we might ful­fill that enor­mous legacy. The first is to rec­og­nize our his­tory. John Lewis talked about why we’re here today. But I worry some­times — we’ve got black his­tory month, we come down and march every year, once a year. We occa­sion­ally cel­e­brate the var­i­ous events of the Civil Rights Move­ment, we cel­e­brate Dr. King’s birth­day, but it strikes me that under­stand­ing our his­tory and know­ing what it means, is an every­day activity.

Moses told the Joshua gen­er­a­tion; don’t for­get where you came from. I worry some­times, that the Joshua gen­er­a­tion in its suc­cess for­gets where it came from. Thinks it doesn’t have to make as many sac­ri­fices. Thinks that the very height of ambi­tion is to make as much money as you can, to drive the biggest car and have the biggest house and wear a Rolex watch and get your own pri­vate jet, get some of that Oprah money. And I think that’s a good thing. There’s noth­ing wrong with mak­ing money, but if you know your his­tory, then you know that there is a cer­tain poverty of ambi­tion involved in sim­ply striv­ing just for money. Mate­ri­al­ism alone will not ful­fill the pos­si­bil­i­ties of your exis­tence. You have to fill that with some­thing else. You have to fill it with the golden rule. You’ve got to fill it with think­ing about oth­ers. And if we know our his­tory, then we will under­stand that that is the high­est mark of service.

This has appar­ently led to a new project called the “Joshua Gen­er­a­tion” described as fol­lows;

The Joshua Gen­er­a­tion project will be the Obama campaign’s out­reach to young peo­ple of faith. There’s unprece­dented energy and excite­ment for Obama among young evan­gel­i­cals and Catholics. The Joshua Gen­er­a­tion project will tap into that excite­ment and pro­vide young peo­ple of faith oppor­tu­ni­ties to stand up for their val­ues and move the cam­paign forward.”

It involves hir­ing a full-time evan­gel­i­cal out­reach staff mem­ber who will appar­ently be plan­ning a cur­ricu­lum for a 90 minute dis­cus­sion on faith and pol­i­tics that will take place at thou­sands of house­holds nationwide.

How­ever, Chris­t­ian Broad­cast­ing Net­work (CBN) is report­ing that the con­ser­v­a­tive Home­school Legal Defense Asso­ci­a­tion may be fil­ing a law­suit against the Obama cam­paign alleg­ing that they have used the name since 2003 for one of their initiatives.

Whether HSLDA suc­ceeds in stop­ping the Obama campaign’s use of the term will depend on how likely it is that there will be con­fu­sion between the two orga­ni­za­tions.  A quick Yahoo search showed there are sev­eral iden­ti­cally named orga­ni­za­tions some of which have been in exis­tence before 2003.

In the mean­time, watch for both McCain and Obama to reach out to attract evan­gel­i­cal vot­ers like never before. What bet­ter way to achieve polit­i­cal suc­cess than to tac­itly claim the endorse­ment of a “Higher Source”?

Obama has also cre­ated a doc­u­ment on his view of faith enti­tled, “Obama on Faith”:  http://​www​.barack​obama​.com/​p​d​f​/​O​b​a​m​a​o​n​F​a​i​t​h​.​pdf