Thomas Mathew on Obama’s election
At last, the whole world has become testimony to change – a change extremely radical and noteworthy.
The world received the news that Mr. Barack Obama had been elected as the President of USA with awe
and appreciation. The Oval house door is now open for the first Afro-American President in the history
of United States of America.
The twenty-first century is looking forward to Change, and the responsibility of the new
visionaries is to bridge a world society divided by politics, war, race, ethnicity, religion and civilization.
The American president, being the head of the most powerful nation in the world, can play a key role in
solving the above problems and leading the world into a more just and peaceful era.
People all around the world feel that Mr. Obama can achieve this. We have many expectations
from him. He is young, enthusiastic, multi-cultural, and religiously liberal. He once stated “Religious
freedom should be protected worldwide, and we need to show that example at home”.
He also voiced support for the Istanbul-based Greek Orthodox Patriarchate, calling on Turkey “to grant
religious freedom to the Fener Greek Patriarchate”.
In his book The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama writes “In our household the Bible, the Koran,
and the Bhagavad-Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology. On
Easter or Christmas Day my mother might drag me to church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist
temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites.”
This is very close to the motto of IARF, “belief with integrity”.
I hope a true believer like him can understand the value of every human life, the miseries of war, and the importance of harmony between the religions.
Though IARF was founded 108 years ago, I can now see our mission carried out by many world
leaders. As an NGO, we are not a party of American politics, but we have a responsibility to play our
role sincerely along with world leaders.
I wish and hope the President-elect Mr. Barack Obama, a promising world leader, practices his
words about the protection of religious freedom around the world. We have a dream which will ensure
the dignity of every human being, and respect his or her fundamental human rights.
Thomas Mathew, President
13 November 2008