As noted here, "President Obama lamented the rancorous, divided state of U.S. politics in a wide-ranging interview with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marilynne Robinson.
In the unusual discussion, Obama revealed some of his longstanding frustrations with politics while asking the Iowa author questions about her family, her Christian faith and her writings.
'How do you reconcile the idea of faith being really important to you and you caring a lot about taking faith seriously with the fact that, at least in our democracy and our civic discourse, it seems as if folks who take religion the most seriously sometimes are also those who are suspicious of those not like them?' Obama asked during the interview, which was published Monday in the New York Review of Books."
Rather than addressing the serious and substantive criticisms – or just plain concerns – directed at his policies, Obama has chosen time and again to dismiss his critics by painting them as dishonest, emotionally unstable or simply obstinate. His fiercest criticism has been directed at those who are actually committed toward their religious beliefs, especially Christians.
Remember when he asserted that Americans who disapprove of homosexuality are clinging to worn arguments and old attitudes. Clearly no one has ever gifted Obama with a copy of Dale Carnegie's best-selling book.
Sophocles, in Antigone 1. 1023, says, "Stubborness and stupidity are twins." How so? Dr. Montague Brown explains as he makes the distinction between tenacity and stubborness: "Tenacity is the dedicated adherence to something we know to be worthwhile. As such, tenacity is positive. It involves a clear purpose - to persevere in what is good - and welcomes new evidence and perspectives that clarify or enrich that good...Tenacity is particularly evident when the adherence required is difficult. If my perseverance requires great effort of body or mind, or if it requires me to face a great deal of peer pressure and perhaps even ridicule, then my holding fast to my good purpose shows strength of mind and courage. In such cases, there may be little to gain in terms of social standing, but much in moral standing. Tenaciously holding to what is true and good not only benefits me in terms of virtue; it also works to ensure the stability of these goods in the community....Stubborness is the uncompromising insistence on having our own way. As such, stubborness is negative. It involves a kind of blindness, along with a willful rejection of evidence and the perspectives of others. Stubborness is particularly evident when the compromise required is easy. If the evidence I need to convince me to change my mind is readily available, or if accepting another's perspective would mean giving up little of importance, then my refusal to yield is not reasonable, but is motivated by stubborness. There is little to lose except my desire to be in control. Such rigid clinging to my own will hurts the community, because I refuse to cooperate with others, and it also prevents me from becoming successful and virtuous." (Dr. Montague Brown, Ph.D, The One-Minute Philosopher, pp. 162-163, Sophia Institute Press).
Obama accuses people of faith with sincere and deeply held religious beliefs as being "suspicious of others." This from the same POTUS whose administration authorized a document entitled the "Domestic Extremism Lexicon," which was issued to the Department of Homeland Security. In this lexicon, the Obama administration defined pro-life advocates as follows: "A movement of groups or individuals who are virulently anti-abortion and advocate violence against providers of abortion-related services, their employees, and their facilities. Some cite various racist and anti-Semitic beliefs to justify their criminal activities."
Religious belief isn't the reason why we lack civil discourse in our politics. The root behind such incivility is fanaticism; The fanaticism which seeks to demonize the other, as Obama frequently does. See here for example.
In his work of critical importance entitled "Man Against Mass Society," the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel writes, "..the fanatic never sees himself as a fanatic; it is only the non-fanatic who can recognize him as a fanatic; so that when this judgment, or this accusation, is made, the fanatic can always say that he is misunderstood and slandered...Fanaticism is essentially opinion pushed to paroxysm; with everything that the notion of opinion may imply of blinded ignorance as to its own nature....whatever ends the fanatic is aiming at or thinks he is aiming at, even if he wishes to gather men together, he can only in fact separate them; but as his own interests cannot lie in effecting this separation, he is led, as we have seen, to wish to wipe his opponents out. And when he is thinking of these opponents, he takes care to form the most degrading images of them possible - they are 'lubricious vipers' or 'hyenas and jackals with typewriters' - and the ones that reduce them to most grossly material terms. In fact, he no longer thinks of these opponents except as material obstacles to be overturned or smashed down. Having abandoned the behaviour of a thinking being, he has lost even the feeblest notion of what a thinking being, outside himself, could be. It is understandable therefore that he should make every effort to deny in advance the rights and qualifications of those whom he wishes to eliminate; and that he should regard all means to this end as fair. We are back here again at the techniques of degradation. It cannot be asserted too strongly or repeated too often that those the Nazis made use of in their camps - techniques for degrading their victims in their own eyes, for making mud and filth of them - and those which Soviet propagandists use to discredit their adversaries, are not essentially different though we should, in fairness, add that sadism, properly so called, is not to be found in the Russian camps." (pp. 135-136, 149).
Marcel explains that, "In fact, the greatest merit of the critical spirit is that it tends to cure fanaticism, and it is logical enough that in our own fanatical times the critical spirit should tend to disappear, should no longer even be paid lip service as a value."
It is obvious that President Obama is no fan of the critical spirit but has, rather, succumbed to ideological fanaticism and the techniques of degradation.
He is the one suffering from suspiciousness of others. To the point of anti-religious paranoia.