Thursday, February 22, 2018

Book review: Reclaiming Hope by Michael Wear

Michael Wear is an Evangelical Christian who was a college student in Washington, DC, when he heard Barack Obama give his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and decided to hitch himself to Obama's wagon. Wear served a role in faith outreach in the 2008 campaign and then in the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships during Obama's first term. He returned to do faith outreach in the 2012 campaign and then left Obama-ville.

This book is his account of that time. It's part memoir, part political analysis, and part religious witness.

There's no question that, especially in the early days, Wear was a true believer. What appealed to him about Obama, as to so many of us, was the candidate's steadfast commitment to bringing all sides together. One of Obama's greatest moments, Wear says, was his invitation to Evangelical super-pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his first inaugural. There was significant blowback among Obama's staff and supporters to this choice because, like most Evangelicals, Warren has a poor record on LGBT issues; but Obama said, early and often, that just because we can't agree on everything doesn't mean we have to oppose each other on everything. And Warren spoke.