But when one believes that you've been appointed by God for a particular mission in history, you have to be very careful about that, how you speak about that. Where is the self-reflection in that? Where is the humility in that?
But when we place God on our side of things, that we are now ridding the world of evil - that's very dangerous, that one nation has this role to rid the world of evil. What about the evil we have committed, that we are complicit in?
I don't think we should discriminate against an organization or congregation because they're religious, if they're doing good work. But government can't subsidize proselytizing or worship or religious activity. It can't.
I met the president when he was president-elect at a meeting in Austin. He spoke of his faith. He spoke of his desire for a compassionate conservatism, for a faith-based initiative that would do something for poor people.
I think it's a good thing for a president or political leaders to want to put their values or their faith into action. Desmond Tutu did that in South Africa. Martin Luther King Jr. did that here. This is a good thing.
Martin Luther King Jr. really understood the role of the churches when he said, 'The church is not meant to be the master of the state.' We don't sort of take power and grab the levers of government and impose our agenda down people's throats.
No, we are not the master of the state, said King. We are not the servant of the state. We are the conscience of the state. The churches or the religious community should be, I think, the conscience of the state. We're not just service providers.
We are prophetic interrogators. Why are so many people hungry? Why are so many people and families in our shelters? Why do we have one of six of our children poor, and one of three of these are children of color? 'Why?' is the prophetic question.