A major theme of our book is the influence of religion on American politics. One sign of this influence is the abundance of presidential references to the Bible. In his address to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, for instance, President Obama referred to the third chapter of the Book of Daniel.
You know, being here with all of you -- with all the outstanding members of the Congressional Black Caucus -- reminds me of a story that one of our friends, a giant of the civil rights movement, Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery, told one day. Dr. Lowery -- I don't think he minds me telling that he turns 90 in a couple weeks. (Applause.) He’s been causing a ruckus for about 89 of those years. (Laughter.)
A few years back, Dr. Lowery and I were together at Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church in Selma. (Applause.) We've got some Selma folks in the house. (Applause.) And Dr. Lowery stood up in the pulpit and told the congregation the story of Shadrach and Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace. You know the story -- it’s about three young men bold enough to stand up for God, even if it meant being thrown in a furnace. And they survived because of their faith, and because God showed up in that furnace with them.
Now, Dr. Lowery said that those three young men were a little bit crazy. But there’s a difference, he said, between good crazy and bad crazy. (Applause.) Those boys, he said, were “good crazy.” At the time, I was running for president -- it was early in the campaign. Nobody gave me much of a chance. He turned to me from the pulpit, and indicated that someone like me running for president -- well, that was crazy. (Laughter.) But he supposed it was good crazy.
He was talking about faith, the belief in things not seen, the belief that if you persevere a better day lies ahead. And I suppose the reason I enjoy coming to the CBC -- what this weekend is all about is, you and me, we're all a little bit crazy, but hopefully a good kind of crazy. (Applause.) We’re a good kind of crazy because no matter how hard things get, we keep the faith; we keep fighting; we keep moving forward.