by Andre E. Johnson
Editor: Rhetoric Race and Religion
Here is a paper I wrote for the Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric in a special issue of Religion and Politics. Special thanks to editor Brett Lunceford.
While scholarship of presidential rhetoric fill the landscape of rhetorical criticism, only recently has schol-ars given much attention to the use of religious rhetoric in presidential discourse. Moreover, while this scholarship is growing, scholars have not paid much attention to the National Prayer Breakfast. In this essay, I examine President Barack Obama’s 2012 National Prayer Breakfast Address as an example of rhetorical theology. I argue that during this address, Obama does more than fulfill a sacred obligation; he constructs a theology that challenges the prevailing public and political theology. Obama’s theology is not systematic, but profoundly rhetorical as he invites his audience to see and do faith differently. It is Obama’s framing of faith, grounded in religious values, that allows him to offer his policies—not as liberal ideology, but ones grounded in faith.
Read the essay here