Belief Beat

The theme of President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address was “winning the future,” which — much like “war on terror” and “defeating evil” — strikes me as one of those impossibly vague and overly simplistic turns of political phrase. But aside from that, I thought it was an effective speech, with enough new/unexpected material — the call for campuses to welcome back ROTC in the wake of the DADT repeal, no mention of gun control in the wake of the Tucson shooting — to keep things interesting.

Here are the faith-related excerpts from his prepared remarks (easier to copy and paste that way, but let me know if you caught a major difference in what he said at the podium) that directly referenced religion:

“And as we mark this occasion, we are also mindful of the empty chair in this Chamber, and pray for the health of our colleague — and our friend — Gabby Giffords.”

“We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.”

“Of course, as we speak, al Qaeda and their affiliates continue to plan attacks against us. Thanks to our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, we are disrupting plots and securing our cities and skies. And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family.”

“Our troops come from every corner of this country — they are black, white, Latino, Asian and Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they love because of who they love. And with that change, I call on all of our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and the ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation.”

“Thank you, God Bless You, and may God Bless the United States of America.”

His speech also noted the recent events in Sudan and Tunisia, which are faith-related stories. (Click on the links for GetReligion’s analyses.)

Check back tomorrow for a round-up of faith-related coverage of the speech.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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