Over at USAToday, Cathy Grossman looks at the President's ramping up of his "God Talk."
A cynic would see this as mere politics. But, I actually think the debates about the country's future have rekindled in the President an awareness that these debates are not all about policy, they are about competing values, and that his values are rooted in a Christian commitment to social justice. Those religious leaders who met the with President in the middle of the negotiations over the debt ceiling increase, and who pleaded on behalf of programs that aid the poor, all said he was quite moved, not only by the commitment of these religious leaders to the poor, but by the fact that he rarely has people who plead for anyone but themselves. The religious leaders, including Bishop ramirez representing the USCCB, did not ask for anything for themselves, only for the poor. That made an impression and, in the event, has already resulted in a very positive consequence: The President and Congress agreed that programs that help the poor should be spared from any across-the-board budget cuts if the Select Committee on debt reduction fails to reach a compromise. I suspect that the President's increasingly frequent mention of religious language stems from this realization that he is fighting for values, not just policies. As well, the 9/11 commemoration, made all of us consider the inscrutable ways of the Lord and the President was well advised to go to Ground Zero and do no more than read a psalm. I suspect, too, that this had an effect on the man.