Earlier this week, Buzzfeed—continuing its bid for legitimacy—published a lengthy interview with President Barack Obama which covered a variety of intriguing topics. For example, Obama finds both Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton to be "highly qualified" candidates for the presidency, he thinks Vladimir Putin "has a foot very much in the Soviet past" and, notably, dismissed the idea that the "coalition" of people who elected him would automatically support the next Democratic nominee. "I don’t think any president inherits a coalition," he said. "I think any candidate has to win over people based on what they stand for, what their message is, what their vision is for the future."
Interesting points but this is still Buzzfeed, and Buzzfeed being what it is (and the Obama Administration's media strategy being what it is) you know the President wasn't getting out of there without some sort of viral-ready video ...
You never know what the Internet is going to give you on any given day, which is why it's important to stay on your toes. Tomorrow it might be a ferret who correctly predicted the Super Bowl, and next week it might be Anna Kendrick unwrapping a Starburst with her tongue. Today, however, it's President Barack Obama being edited to sing "Shake It Off." Why? Don't ask why. It's the Internet. You figure it out ... Discuss
On Thursday, President Barack Obama gave an address at the National Prayer Breakfast, in which he gave a strong condemnation of groups that use religion to justify violence. The remarks were an obvious reference to recent horrors committed by ISIS, but Obama acknowledged that Christianity has its own skeletons.
Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.
That's an undeniable point, but it's one that opened Obama up to some of that religious questioning he referenced last week. Bill Donahue from The Catholic League said he felt it was "an attempt to deflect guilt from Muslim madmen." Breitbart called it "a lesson in moral relativism." Both seemed to miss the point the President was trying to make, but that's the Internet for you. In any case, Obama was roundly applauded for later remarks in which he called for the release of Pastor Saeed Abedini from Iran. You can listen to the whole speech below ... Discuss
Speaking at the Siri Fort auditorium in India, President Barack Obama addressed some of the accusations of his personal faith and encouraged religious tolerance in India. “In our lives, Michelle and I have been strengthened by our Christian faith,” he said. “But there have been times that my faith has at times been questioned by people who don’t know me or they’ve said I adhere to a different religion—as if that were somehow a bad thing.”
Obama went on to encourage India to embrace those of all faiths. “Our nations are strongest when we see that we are all God’s children—all equal in His eyes and worthy of His love,” he said. “Across our two great countries, we have Hindus and Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, and Jews and Buddhists, and Jains and so many faiths. And we remember the wisdom of Gandhi, [who said], ‘For me, the different religions are beautiful flowers from the same garden, or they are branches of the same majestic tree.'" You can hear the full speech here ... Discuss
On Monday, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) confirmed reports that, yes, he presented at a gathering hosted by white supremacist leaders in 2002. The rumors first started swirling when Stormfront—a Neo-Nazi site we don't care to post a link to—mentioned Scalise had spoken at the conference, hosted by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO). Scalise, who became House majority whip earlier this year, has confirmed those rumors, but insists he was unaware of the group's racist and Neo-Nazi ties, or that it was founded by KKK golden boy, David Duke. There is no recording or transcript of the speech (yet), but Scalise's spokeswoman insists that he "has never been affiliated with the abhorrent group in question."
Rep. Steven King (R-Iowa) told reporters he stands by Scalise, noting that “Jesus dined with tax collectors and sinners." On the other hand, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) told The Washington Post that "I think it’s a real test for Speaker Boehner as to whether Congressman Scalise should remain in Republican leadership" ... Discuss
On Friday, Rabbi David Saperstein, a former law professor and director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, was finally confirmed as the new U.S. ambassador of international religious freedom by the Senate. He will be the first non-Christian to fill the role, which has been vacant since October of 2013. Nevertheless, numerous Christians—including the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s Russell Moore and former ambassador Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA)—have given Rabbi Saperstein their broad support. “Like most Jews, I know all too well that, over the centuries, the Jewish people have been a quintessential victim of religious persecution, ethnic cleansing, and demonization,” Saperstein was quoted as saying at his confirmation hearing last September. “We have learned, firsthand, the costs to the universal rights, security and well-being of religious communities when good people remain silent in the face of such persecution" ... Discuss