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.barackobama.com/pdf/ObamaonFaith.pdf