Everyday Ethics

President Obama spoke at the NAACP last night, thanking them for the work the organization has done that broke barriers and helped get him elected. He also urged African Americans to take responsibility for their own future success, saying, “Your destiny is in your hands, and don’t you forget that… no excuses.” (Watch video here.)

Now, teaching the next generation responsibility is something we take seriously at Beliefnet, but I wondered if some might have found his remarks, like Bill Cosby’s some year’s back, a bit patronizing.

Does the president have an ethical obligation to press the African American community to succeed, or should politicians skip the morality lectures? (We’ve seen what some, like Sanford, Ensign and Craig do for the cause of family values, after all…)

Is it Obama’s duty to share a positive example by exhortation, or is it an imposition? I think the former, particularly since in this case he was the organization’s invited speaker, and, as with a college commencement, he was expected to give inspiring – even pointed – remarks.

What’s your take?

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