President Obama: Raoul Wallenberg should inspire us to make a habit of empathy

QUOTE OF THE DAY | President Barack Obama on making the choice to embrace empathy and compassion in his Rosh … Continued


President Barack Obama on making the choice to embrace empathy and compassion in his Rosh Hashanah reflections.

Read more on religion, culture and politics at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University.

  • haveaheart

    I’m a lifelong Democrat and a supporter of President Obama. I voted for him twice and would do so again.

    That said, I have to take issue with the notion of putting a “humanitarian face” on our obligations in selected atrocities.

    The U.S. has a long record of intervening in civil wars within nations that have something we want. Usually oil, but always some economic “interest.” We also have a long record of stepping in when atrocities are being committed against white people.

    True, we’ve been known to give humanitarian aid to non-white countries in the grips of starvation, natural disaster, or pandemic (except, of course, AIDS). But when was the last time we marched into an African country to stop ethnic cleansing — mass slaughter of millions and the rape and torture of millions more?

    That’s right — never. Unless there was also an economic interest that we could exploit.

    When the president asks us to share in “the belief that when a neighbor is suffering, we cannot stand idly by,” he is, I believe, acting from a place of compassion. But why is it that we engage with worldwide human suffering only when it’s taking place in a region that holds economic interests for us?

    This is sad, sad, sad. We want to “save” people suffering under despots in the Middle East, but we had nothing to offer those who suffered and died in Rwanda and Sudan.

    We Americans are self-centered and mean-spirited. It’s that simple.

  • PaxItaliae

    “We Americans are self-centered and mean-spirited. It’s that simple.”

    Name me a people who is not. It’s the human condition.

Read More Articles

Fundamentalist Arguments Against Fundamentalism

The all-or-nothing approach to the Bible used by skeptics and fundamentalists alike is flawed.

The Three Most Surprising Things Jesus Said

Think you know Jesus? Some of his sayings may surprise you.

How to Debate Christians: Five Ways to Behave and Ten Questions to Answer

Advice for atheists taking on Christian critics.

Heaven Hits the Big Screen

How “Heaven is for Real” went from being an unsellable idea to a bestselling book and the inspiration for a Hollywood movie.

This God’s For You: Jesus and the Good News of Beer

How Jesus partied with a purpose.

God’s Not Dead? Why the Good News Is Better than That

The resurrection of Jesus is not a matter of private faith — it’s a proclamation for the whole world.

An Untold Story of Bondage to Freedom: Passover 1943

How a foxhole that led to a 77-mile cave system saved the lives of 38 Ukrainian Jews during the Holocaust.

Friend or Foe? Learning from Judas About Friendship with Jesus

We call Judas a betrayer. Jesus called him “friend.”

Jesus, Bunnies, and Colored Eggs: An Explanation of Holy Week and Easter

So, Easter is a one-day celebration of Jesus rising from the dead and turning into a bunny, right? Not exactly.

Dear Evangelicals, Please Reconsider Your Fight Against Gay Rights

A journalist and longtime observer of American religious culture offers some advice to his evangelical friends.