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President Obama's remarks in Tucson.

Remarks of President Barack Obama As Prepared for Delivery

At a Memorial Service for the Victims of the Shooting in Tucson, Arizona

University of Arizona, McKale Memorial Center

Tucson, Arizona

January 12, 2011

To the families of those weve lost; to all who called them friends; to the students of this university, the public servants gathered tonight, and the people of Tucson and Arizona: I have come here tonight as an American who, like all Americans, kneels to pray with you today, and will stand by you tomorrow.There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. But know this: the hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen. We join you in your grief. And we add our faith to yours that Representative Gabrielle Giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy pull through.As Scripture tells us:

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,the holy place where the Most High dwells.God is within her, she will not fall;God will help her at break of day.

On Saturday morning, Gabby, her staff, and many of her constituents gathered outside a supermarket to exercise their right to peaceful assembly and free speech. They were fulfilling a central tenet of the democracy envisioned by our founders representatives of the people answering to their constituents, so as to carry their concerns to our nations capital. Gabby called it Congress on Your Corner just an updated version of government of and by and for the people.That is the quintessentially American scene that was shattered by a gunmans bullets. And the six people who lost their lives on Saturday they too represented what is best in America.Judge John Roll served our legal system for nearly 40 years. A graduate of this university and its law school, Judge Roll was recommended for the federal bench by John McCain twenty years ago, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, and rose to become Arizonas chief federal judge. His colleagues described him as the hardest-working judge within the Ninth Circuit. He was on his way back from attending Mass, as he did every day, when he decided to stop by and say hi to his Representative. John is survived by his loving wife, Maureen, his three sons, and his five grandchildren.George and Dorothy Morris Dot to her friends were high school sweethearts who got married and had two daughters. They did everything together, traveling the open road in their RV, enjoying what their friends called a 50-year honeymoon. Saturday morning, they went by the Safeway to hear what their Congresswoman had to say. When gunfire rang out, George, a former Marine, instinctively tried to shield his wife. Both were shot. Dot passed away.A New Jersey native, Phyllis Schneck retired to Tucson to beat the snow. But in the summer, she would return East, where her world revolved around her 3 children, 7 grandchildren, and 2 year-old great-granddaughter. A gifted quilter, shed often work under her favorite tree, or sometimes sew aprons with the logos of the Jets and the Giants to give out at the church where she volunteered. A Republican, she took a liking to Gabby, and wanted to get to know her better.Dorwan and Mavy Stoddard grew up in Tucson together about seventy years ago. They moved apart and started their own respective families, but after both were widowed they found their way back here, to, as one of Mavys daughters put it, be boyfriend and girlfriend again. When they werent out on the road in their motor home, you could find them just up the road, helping folks in need at the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ. A retired construction worker, Dorwan spent his spare time fixing up the church along with their dog, Tux. His final act of selflessness was to dive on top of his wife, sacrificing his life for hers.Everything Gabe Zimmerman did, he did with passion but his true passion was people. As Gabbys outreach director, he made the cares of thousands of her constituents his own, seeing to it that seniors got the Medicare benefits they had earned, that veterans got the medals and care they deserved, that government was working for ordinary folks. He died doing what he loved talking with people and seeing how he could help. Gabe is survived by his parents, Ross and Emily, his brother, Ben, and his fiance, Kelly, who he planned to marry next year.And then there is nine year-old Christina Taylor Green. Christina was an A student, a dancer, a gymnast, and a swimmer. She often proclaimed that she wanted to be the first woman to play in the major leagues, and as the only girl on her Little League team, no one put it past her. She showed an appreciation for life uncommon for a girl her age, and would remind her mother, We are so blessed. We have the best life. And shed pay those blessings back by participating in a charity that helped children who were less fortunate.Our hearts are broken by their sudden passing. Our hearts are broken and yet, our hearts also have reason for fullness.Our hearts are full of hope and thanks for the 13 Americans who survived the shooting, including the congresswoman many of them went to see on Saturday. I have just come from the University Medical Center, just a mile from here, where our friend Gabby courageously fights to recover even as we speak. And I can tell you this she knows were here and she knows we love her and she knows that we will be rooting for her throughout what will be a difficult journey.And our hearts are full of gratitude for those who saved others. We are grateful for Daniel Hernandez, a volunteer in Gabbys office who ran through the chaos to minister to his boss, tending to her wounds to keep her alive. We are grateful for the men who tackled the gunman as he stopped to reload. We are grateful for a petite 61 year-old, Patricia Maisch, who wrestled away the killers ammunition, undoubtedly saving some lives. And we are grateful for the doctors and nurses and emergency medics who worked wonders to heal those whod been hurt.These men and women remind us that heroism is found not only on the fields of battle. They remind us that heroism does not require special training or physical strength. Heroism is here, all around us, in the hearts of so many of our fellow citizens, just waiting to be summoned as it was on Saturday morning.Their actions, their selflessness, also pose a challenge to each of us. It raises the question of what, beyond the prayers and expressions of concern, is required of us going forward. How can we honor the fallen? How can we be true to their memory?You see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations to try to impose some order on the chaos, and make sense out of that which seems senseless. Already weve seen a national conversation commence, not only about the motivations behind these killings, but about everything from the merits of gun safety laws to the adequacy of our mental health systems. Much of this process, of debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future, is an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-government.But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do its important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, when I looked for light, then came darkness. Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent mans mind.So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.But what we cant do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.After all, thats what most of us do when we lose someone in our family especially if the loss is unexpected. Were shaken from our routines, and forced to look inward. We reflect on the past. Did we spend enough time with an aging parent, we wonder. Did we express our gratitude for all the sacrifices they made for us? Did we tell a spouse just how desperately we loved them, not just once in awhile but every single day?So sudden loss causes us to look backward but it also forces us to look forward, to reflect on the present and the future, on the manner in which we live our lives and nurture our relationships with those who are still with us. We may ask ourselves if weve shown enough kindness and generosity and compassion to the people in our lives. Perhaps we question whether we are doing right by our children, or our community, and whether our priorities are in order. We recognize our own mortality, and are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this earth, what matters is not wealth, or status, or power, or fame but rather, how well we have loved, and what small part we have played in bettering the lives of others.That process of reflection, of making sure we align our values with our actions that, I believe, is what a tragedy like this requires. For those who were harmed, those who were killed they are part of our family, an American family 300 million strong. We may not have known them personally, but we surely see ourselves in them. In George and Dot, in Dorwan and Mavy, we sense the abiding love we have for our own husbands, our own wives, our own life partners. Phyllis shes our mom or grandma; Gabe our brother or son. In Judge Roll, we recognize not only a man who prized his family and doing his job well, but also a man who embodied Americas fidelity to the law. In Gabby, we see a reflection of our public spiritedness, that desire to participate in that sometimes frustrating, sometimes contentious, but always necessary and never-ending process to form a more perfect union.And in Christinain Christina we see all of our children. So curious, so trusting, so energetic and full of magic.So deserving of our love.And so deserving of our good example. If this tragedy prompts reflection and debate, as it should, lets make sure its worthy of those we have lost. Lets make sure its not on the usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness that drifts away with the next news cycleThe loss of these wonderful people should make every one of us strive to be better in our private lives to be better friends and neighbors, co-workers and parents. And if, as has been discussed in recent days, their deaths help usher in more civility in our public discourse, lets remember that it is not because a simple lack of civility caused this tragedy, but rather because only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation, in a way that would make them proud. It should be because we want to live up to the example of public servants like John Roll and Gabby Giffords, who knew first and foremost that we are all Americans, and that we can question each others ideas without questioning each others love of country, and that our task, working together, is to constantly widen the circle of our concern so that we bequeath the American dream to future generations.I believe we can be better. Those who died here, those who saved lives here they help me believe. We may not be able to stop all evil in the world, but I know that how we treat one another is entirely up to us. I believe that for all our imperfections, we are full of decency and goodness, and that the forces that divide us are not as strong as those that unite us.Thats what I believe, in part because thats what a child like Christina Taylor Green believed. Imagine: here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nations future. She had been elected to her student council; she saw public service as something exciting, something hopeful. She was off to meet her congresswoman, someone she was sure was good and important and might be a role model. She saw all this through the eyes of a child, undimmed by the cynicism or vitriol that we adults all too often just take for granted.I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it. All of us we should do everything we can to make sure this country lives up to our childrens expectations.Christina was given to us on September 11th, 2001, one of 50 babies born that day to be pictured in a book called Faces of Hope. On either side of her photo in that book were simple wishes for a childs life. I hope you help those in need, read one. I hope you know all of the words to the National Anthem and sing it with your hand over your heart. I hope you jump in rain puddles.If there are rain puddles in heaven, Christina is jumping in them today. And here on Earth, we place our hands over our hearts, and commit ourselves as Americans to forging a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit.May God bless and keep those weve lost in restful and eternal peace. May He love and watch over the survivors. And may He bless the United States of America.

About the Author

Grant Gallicho is an associate editor of Commonweal. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.



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I"m watching the Fox News response to the President's speech. Hannity, Beck, and O'Reilly aren't on. It's Charles Krauthammer, Britt Hume, Chris Wallace and some guy I don't know saying complimentary things about the President's speech, especially Krauthammer. Can it be that Fox News has had a shaking up? Something good has to come out of this.

My thought was "That's how it's done." May they rest in peace and we live in peace.

Rich Lowry at National Review:

The pep-rally atmosphere was inappropriate and disconcerting, but President Obama turned in a magnificent performance. This was a non-accusatory, genuinely civil, case for civility, in stark contrast to what weve read and heard over the last few days. He subtly rebuked the Lefts finger-pointing, and rose above the rancor of both sides, exactly as a president should. Tonight, he re-captured some of the tone of his famous 2004 convention speech. Well done.

Ailes a few days told them to "tone it down," and I can't see what hay even they'd make slamming the speech/sermon. But one never knows. I thought it was beautifully done, though I'm a sucker for Obama's speeches (and speechwriters). I like that Napolitano read Isaiah 40, and Holder 2 Corinthians 4-5, and almost turned the pep rally atmosphere into a liturgy by using a kind of liturgical structure.


Excellent. Very healing and goes to show what stable and steady leadership can do for a community.

Excellent speech indeed, but still not as good as Bobby Kennedy's "mindless menace of violence" speech.

Can it be that Fox News has had a shaking up? Something good has to come out of this.Wow. Obama's call that "we" all be more civil, that "we" reject the "usual plane of politics and point scoring and pettiness," didn't last very long, did it?First comment out of the box is to snark and attack.

Bender --Could it be that I meant that the combination of Krauthammer, Hume, and Wallace is an improvement?

An adult!

He reminded me of George W. Bush when he visited Ground Zero or when Ronald Reagan spoke after the shuttle disaster. All great speeches

Ann,You obviously don't watch FNC much, and operate from assumptions and stereotypes like most of the critics I see here. Hannity, Beck, O'Reilly etc. never serve as news commentators for events like this Krauthammer, Hume, and Wallace all, one or some do. What you saw was typical, not toned down. Unlike MSNBC, they won't look for a reason to slam people. If the president gave a good and gracious speech, they'll say so. That's nothing new.

I, too, felt the atmosphere was disconcerting, so I missed the President's speech. It is a beautiful testimony to Life.

Passages from the speech do read as a sermon as much as a presidential speech. Without wishing to detract from what seems to be an excellent speech, I do find it interesting that the president believes he needs to bring some of the comfort and hope to this occasion that a preacher would bring to a funeral mass - and that a number of the commenters here were clearly hungering for that message and don't find it unusual that the country would turn to the president for it.

Btw, does anyone happen to know what translation the President used for the scripture passages he quoted?

I believe that it is the NIV. A beautiful speech. He has used Job before in ways that

Jim P: Isn't that always what the nation is hungering for at moments like these? Why do you think Obama should do something "less" or more secular than Clinton or Reagan of Lincoln et al?

Why do you think Obama should do something less or more secular than Clinton or Reagan of Lincoln et al?I think Obama's speech was just great, but many members of Obama's party do get offended when politicians use biblical language.

Yes, and those people are mistaken.

I thought the conclusion was magnificent writing and appealed to all -- especially parents -- to be "worthy of the dreams of our children" -- along those lines... a great , non-partisan note...However, I must admit I had trouble with the cadence and some of the divergences and pauses for ovation. While I believe he believes what he deleivered and that and it was authentic, perhaps the length or delvery style didn't make it as "personal" to my ears as other appeals or similar statements it's compared to. Then nagain, this is a difficult occasion and quite different since it appears that it was a deranged, non-ideological gunman, a Congress-woman not assasinated (Thankfully!!! and apparently recovering , we pray...) and yet dealing with the memory of innocent by-standers killed and wounded... a hard mix to address-- consolatio and hope and "civility"... In general, I thought it was very good, but it ccould have been shorter in my mind...

"Jim P: Isnt that always what the nation is hungering for at moments like these? Why do you think Obama should do something less or more secular than Clinton or Reagan of Lincoln et al?"That is a good context. FWIW, I don't think that he should do less or more ... the Lincoln comparison is very good - both seemed to speak it from the *heart*. I don't doubt that GW Bush tried to hit similar notes in the wake of 9/11, but I don't know that it would 'come off' as well. I don't think anyone would doubt the sincerity or depth of his faith, and I'd stipulate that his speechwriters are as good as Obama's, but Bush doesn't have the oratorical gifts. (I don't doubt you're much more attuned to presidential speeches than I am, so would welcome more thoughts from you on this).Clinton and Reagan both seemed a little too facile to me - just in general, not only in the context of speaking after tragedies. So I would have had my guard up if/when they spoke about something like this. I didn't look to Clinton for comfort in the wake of the OKC bombing. I looked to him - the government - to catch the perpetrators.My remark to which you responded was coming from this angle: I've been reflecting quite a bit recently about mediating institutions - let's consider Christian churches to be such - how indispensable they are to the way our society functions, and how weak they've become over the last couple of generations. I do think Obama was playing a sort of ministerial function yesterday, and I don't have a problem with it. But it is interesting that he's sort of filling a vacuum left by the deterioration of the Christian churches. We're less churched and more media-attuned than we used to be, so it does make a sort of sense that we'd get our comfort from the man who holds the office that commands more media attention than any other.

JimI agree on the point that mediating institutions once held that function. However, in the history of the United States the role of the presidency fucntions as a kind of mediating office for the nation. I think it was designed that way. As I recall, and I may be fuzzy on the details. some of the framers thought that the executive should be elected from the House of Representatives, which would be more of a parliamentary model. However, it was decided that there would be a separate executive branch elected apart from the House. There remains vestiges of the divine right of kings with presidents having veto power and pardoning abilities. Cutlurally, the presidency therefore has a kind of quasi-monarchical function not unlike the Pope or the Queen.People do tend to look to the president, in times like this, to strike the tone and style. I did think Bush did a very good job after 9/11; his affect was correct and he acknowledged the truth that America had been hit and they had in a way that they had never experienced.I thought Obama did an excellent job of not even alluding to the kinds of comments in the press (and even here on this site and I include myself in that mix( that sought to frame this in a way that is disquieting and not very helpful.There is a subtle shift now in tone and addressing the trauma that people are feeling that is, I think, going to be more productive.That the kind of rancour that exists across the board in politics needs to be ratcheted down a bit is something I think intuitively everybody gets.

My wife and I thought it was just the right speech for those gathered at U. of Arizona - look at the family and friends reaction thereto in the audience.As to the nation ,I think it generally will help the tone somewaht, but those who want to pick apart how"great" or"presidential" it might hav ebeen are probably coming at it from the same partisan (or, if I can adopt Ms. Steinfels point, non-adult perspective.)

But it is interesting that hes sort of filling a vacuum left by the deterioration of the Christian churches. Jim,Interesting thought. Can anybody think of anyone in America who would have been a better choice to make that speech? Back in the old days, before he became in effect a political partisan, Billy Graham might have been the right person. But I don't think any of the prominent "pastors" nowadays would be right. I don't pay much attention to them, but my sense is they are too political. The local bishop is Bishop Kicanas, and he might have been a controversial choice. I don't think we would have wanted to see Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton. Who are the nonpartisan, spiritual and intellectual leaders in the United States today?

Jim P, I think that the phenomenon you describe has been there for a while, but I think the complicating factor in episodes such as this is that the victims are coming from so many faith traditions. It was a very religious service, and very Christian. Also very much megachurch, with a kind of liturgical undercarriage. That seems about what was needed, and possible. I still think that when public figures die or are killed and they come from a particular tradition it can display the hallmarks of old institutional faith even if politicians take part. Think of Ted Kennedy's funeral, for example, or Ozzie Davis, for the RC and Af-Am traditions.

BTW, for a bit of uplift ahead of Christina Green funeral today, check out a story on the Trappists of Iowa who made her casket:

My family have used these Trappist caskets.. beautiful /simple' air shipped next day.. maybe they will take out an ad in Commonweal ?

Ed -same with my family

David G. --Good analogy with the mega-church services. As one who occasionally has watched Joel Osteen, I don't think those services are a spiritual wasteland. And the service/ceremoney/memorial is a good example of how people of many faiths can pray together very meaningfully. I wish Benedict had watched, and the LeFebrists too. The thought struck me as the President spoke that after he leaves the White House he might become a preacher of some sort. Maybe even go back to study theology. His sincerity was obvious, I thought, and he certainly has the brains. And, yes, the reading of Scriptue was most appropriate. I wonder who planned the service. I read the Obama wrote most of his 'sermon' the night before..

"I had trouble with the cadence and some of the divergences and pauses for ovation."Not I. If you have ever spent any time listening to black preachers, Obama's style was redolent of that style. Obama is, after all, a child of the black church. This is a way of speaking that speaks to the heart as well as the mind. It recognizes the ebb and flow of appeal during such a "sermon" and makes allowances for expected reactions. In some way it is a "call and response" type of speaking and I, for one, think that Catholic homiletics is much the worse for not recognizing the value of this and incorporating it into more of what we hear.

If you notice, the New Mellary Trappists have established a child's coffin fund. I cannot think of a better place to put some of my money and have just contributed thereto.I hope more who lurk and post here do the same.New Melleray Abbey6632 Melleray CirclePeosta, IA 52068Phone: 563.588.2319E-Mail:

Jimmy Mac --What you said. Would that Catholic priests could get immediate feedback to their sermons. I wonder what the first Masses were like.

All that was missing for me was the 'In Paradisum' which I believe may well be the most comforting part of the Roman Funeral Liturgy. I always use it at Funerals, in Latin, from the original chant. It has an ethereal quality that captivates the assembly, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. It is from the 'In Paradisum' that the popular sentiment 'and may choirs of angels sing thee to thy rest' comes.If you do not know or remember this prayer, here it is, in Latin. Even reciting it and thinking about it is powerfully healing.'In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere ternam habeas requiem.'

Jonathan --- here's a bit more than what you presented above:From the Gabriel Faur Requiem, Opus 48May the angels lead you into paradise,May the martyrs welcome you and take you into the holy city,the new and eternal JerusalemMay the choirs of angels welcome you where Lazarus is poor no longer.May you find eternal rest.(In paradisum deducant te angeli, in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Jerusalem. Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere. aeternam habeas requiem.)Additional words, source unknown (does anyone know from where?):May the voice of angel chorus lift your soul to God's embrace,May the martyrs come to welcome you and saints prepare a placewhere all sorrows and all burdens melt before the tenderface of Christ's love who bestowed the cross of love.May your loved ones bid you blessing,As you welcome sister death.May our Christ redeemer grace you with untold happiness,In Jerusalem eternal, holy city of sweet rest,You'll find love and unfold the cross of love.May the Lord bless and keep you til your journey is complete,May the face of God shine on you, God's gracious light increase.May the Holy One with kindness look on you and give you peace,Give you love for you walked the cross of love.

The Obama knockers on Fox commented tonite about the Tucson memorial terrible 'rally' atmosphere...What? they have never met 18-20 year old college 'kids' with inappropriate noise?.. and I thought they claim being family people! Ha

Here's a bit from the NYT's David Brooks article about why we've become so uncivil. I think he's right."The problem is that over the past 40 years or so we have gone from a culture that reminds people of their own limitations to a culture that encourages people to think highly of themselves. The nations founders had a modest but realistic opinion of themselves and of the voters. They erected all sorts of institutional and social restraints to protect Americans from themselves. They admired George Washington because of the way he kept himself in check.But over the past few decades, people have lost a sense of their own sinfulness. Children are raised amid a chorus of applause. Politics has become less about institutional restraint and more about giving voters whatever they want at that second. Joe DiMaggio didnt ostentatiously admire his own home runs, but now athletes routinely celebrate themselves as part of the self-branding process."So, of course, you get narcissists who believe they or members of their party possess direct access to the truth. Of course you get people who prefer monologue to dialogue. Of course you get people who detest politics because it frustrates their ability to get 100 percent of what they want. Of course you get people who gravitate toward the like-minded and loathe their political opponents. They feel no need for balance and correction."Beneath all the other things that have contributed to polarization and the loss of civility, the most important is this: The roots of modesty have been carved away."\

David Brooks continues to be a big bag of wind. Joe Dimaggio would not attend the Old Times Day at Yankee Stadium unless they introduced him as "the greatest living ball player." We have to get off that Augustinian kick of quoting those who know how to turn a phrase and conceal their bs well. Articles like Brooks can be churned out with blindfolds. Almost sounds like Vaticanese. Give me the old Latin Mass and the Introibo ad altari Dei! Brooks is right that we have to keep the sense of our sinfulness. Just don't call it a modern fault.

Re: Brooks' thoughts on polarization: many folks over the years have observed that the Internet tends to reinforce polarization because folks hang out with the like-minded and tend to drive away/persecute those who think differently.dotCom is very valuable in this respect because a variety of opinions, if expressed civilly, seems to be welcome here. Much more interesting to read here than in an echo chamber!

Maybe it's just me, but does anyone find the plug for Trappist caskets and complaints about what was left out of this little girl's funeral somewhat unseemly? My Lord, I got flashbacks to being at funerals with my Aunts Olive and Grace, who felt compelled to comment not-so-sotto voce on the mortician's art, the spikiness of the service, and the quality and quantity of the lunch afterwards.That people cheered at a memorial service was a little off-putting, but not everybody there was Catholic--I presume some people come from religious traditions that involve more participation. Or perhaps come from no religous tradition at all and just don't know any better. The main point is that they were there, no?

Seems like everybody in the professional pundit ranks was pretty positive on the speech. But The Daily Show had a great (and thoroughly dispiriting) roundup of the petty criticism that was directed at pretty much every other aspect of the event on Fox and CNN. I didn't watch the service or the cable-news postgame; this reminded me why.

It does seem surprising, though, that the reaction was so positive. Part of the speech is surely a deliberate rebuke to people who were "far too eager" to turn the incident into a chance to attack their political opponents (Palin, etc.):

But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do its important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.. . . Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.. . . But what we cant do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations . . . .

And I definitely give Obama credit for that. I can't think of a time when President Bush rebuked his base for being over-eager.

Bush most probably never rebucked his base for two reasons. First, there wasn't much of a base to rebuke and Second, his speechwriters probably couldn't find a proper way to do so using 3 - 4 letter words to be spoken in 3 - 4 word phrases.(Cheap shot, I know, for all you flaming far-righters who would gladly have W back, my apologies)

My apologies to all for not using a spellchecker...

So Bob Nunz thinks that those who laud Obama's speech as "presidential" are probably being partisan? This is the kind of suggestion that is very effective in muzzling liberals. A conservative Irish Catholic journalist who initially liked Sarah Palin has the same observation on Obama's speech

"many members of Obamas party do get offended when politicians use biblical language."Is this true? Many people in the president's party get offended when biblical principles are imposed with only biblical warrant, or when biblical adherence is used to determine who's in and who's out, but can anyone remember a politician getting in trouble for quoting Isaiah at a funeral? Bill Clinton certainly did it, as has been said. Don't forget, we're still known around the world as the country where no one can be elected as president without claiming to be a Christian. I think this "democrats are allergic to anything remotely Christian" meme is simplistic and a caricature.

Fr. O'Leary - did I say that? My point was that (as Mr. Stewart pointed out) the talking heads in the aftermath could easily turen out to be partisan.

"That people cheered at a memorial service was a little off-putting, but not everybody there was CatholicI presume some people come from religious traditions that involve more participation. Or perhaps come from no religous tradition at all and just dont know any better."The last time I looked, this was not billed as a Catholic or other religious service. It was a CIVIC memorial service. Since when do religious practices dictate what happens at a civic memorial service?

Jimmy, that was my point. People put off by the cheering might be responding that way because they're looking at the event the wrong way. Conservative pundits don't harrumph when crowds at sporting events cheer after the national anthem, even though the Girl Scouts and my parents said that was verboten.

Is this true? Many people in the presidents party get offended when biblical principles are imposed with only biblical warrant, or when biblical adherence is used to determine whos in and whos out, but can anyone remember a politician getting in trouble for quoting Isaiah at a funeral?Some people disagreed with Bush on several occasions when he done nothing more than mention religious ideas or allusions. See, e.g.,

Your original point was many members of Obamas party do get offended when politicians use biblical language. My disagreement was not based in a belief that Democrats never object to any politician's use of any biblical language, and the article you linked to only says that at one point Democrats were objecting to George Bush's particular brand of religiosity as expressed in his increasing use of biblical language. My point was just that religious language in itself isn't necessarily objectionable to them.

In the event that anyone is still reading this, it's turkey trot time:

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