A few days ago Christopher Hitchens caught my attention when in an interview in his typical bold form stated he thought President Obama was "one of them" and pointed to Obama's quoting Thomas Paine in his inaugural address "without any reference to who he was." This especially gained my attention when listening to the president deliver his graduation address to Arizona State University and hearing him quote Thomas Paine again and reference his Confessions without reference to the man.
Paine, though he grew up in a Quaker context, became a professing DEIST. In the second part of his Age of Reason, he wrote:
The opinions I have advanced . . . are the effect of the most clear and long-established conviction that the Bible and the Testament are impositions upon the world, that the fall of man, the account of Jesus Christ being the Son of God, and of his dying to appease the wrath of God, and of salvation, by that strange means, are all fabulous inventions, dishonorable to the wisdom and power of the Almighty; that the only true religion is Deism, by which I then meant, and mean now, the belief of one God, and an imitation of his moral character, or the practice of what are called moral virtues – and that it was upon this only (so far as religion is concerned) that I rested all my hopes of happiness hereafter. So say I now – and so help me God.
It's unclear whether the president follows Paine and quotes him because of his political positions, liberalism, intellectualism, recognition as a revolutionary, etc.; however, I would be interested to see the question presented to him.
In this context, along with considering the articles addressing the administration's position of trying to avoid the major issues on abortion (and by present inaction) to fail to protect life, ... along with other issues including weaknesses evident in personal accounts of leader's religious faith, the exceeding priority given to the politics rather than righteousness, etc., I've come to believe what's needed most today in people of leadership is a renewed sense of the transcendence and especially the immananence of God pertaining not only to the fear of the Lord but the continual impression of the active presence of the Lord which not only affects one's perspective of the present and of one's responsibleness before the Lord but reminds them of their ongoing and future accountability. What a difference it would make if rather than quoting and/or practically living like deists, leaders today in all areas of life were to come to be awakened with the conviction of God's personal and reigning presence, ... the one who is the king of kings and lord of lords, who raises up and brings down, and before whom we all serve and ultimately answer.