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The Post-Secular in QuestionReligion in Contemporary Society$
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Philip Gorski, David Kyuman Kim, John Torpey, and Jonathan VanAntwerpen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780814738726

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814738726.001.0001

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“Simple Ideas, Small Miracles”

“Simple Ideas, Small Miracles”

The Obama Phenomenon

Chapter:
(p.105) Chapter Five “Simple Ideas, Small Miracles”
Source:
The Post-Secular in Question
Author(s):

Hent de Vries

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814738726.003.0005

This chapter examines the Obama phenomenon in which America's forty-fourth president appealed not just to “simple ideas” but also to “small miracles” in formulating his agenda of “hope” and “change.” It argues that Barack Obama represented and represents a post-multicultural, post-identitarian, post-partisan, and, indeed, post-secular form of politics. It cites Obama's “political theology” as a decisive factor in his effectiveness and explains what this term means by drawing on some of the intellectual resources cited in his published writings, including the thought of Reinhold Niebuhr, as well as key speeches made during his presidential campaign, and important presidential declarations issued since his election. The chapter also discusses Obama's deep pragmatism and his ability to strike a balance between the theological reference and a resolute, relentless realism.

Keywords:   hope, change, Barack Obama, post-secular, politics, political theology, Reinhold Niebuhr, deep pragmatism, theological reference, realism

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