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CBS: Barack Obama: Faith Has Been “Hijacked”

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  • Ram Lau
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/06/24/politics/main2971556.shtml Barack Obama: Faith Has Been Hijacked HARTFORD, Conn., June 24, 2007(AP) Sen. Barack
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 24, 2007
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      Barack Obama: Faith Has Been "Hijacked"
      HARTFORD, Conn., June 24, 2007(AP) Sen. Barack Obama told a church
      convention Saturday that some right-wing evangelical leaders have
      exploited and politicized religious beliefs in an effort to sow division.

      "But somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to
      bring us together and faith started being used to drive us apart.
      Faith got hijacked, partly because of the so-called leaders of the
      Christian Right, all too eager to exploit what divides us," the
      Democratic presidential candidate said in a 30-minute speech before a
      national meeting of the United Church of Christ.

      "At every opportunity, they've told evangelical Christians that
      Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church, while
      suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care
      only about issues like abortion and gay marriage, school prayer and
      intelligent design," he said.

      "There was even a time when the Christian Coalition determined that
      its No. 1 legislative priority was tax cuts for the rich," Obama said.
      "I don't know what Bible they're reading, but it doesn't jibe with my

      A call was placed to the Washington, D.C.-based Christian Coalition of
      America seeking comment.

      Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ, a church of about
      1.2 million members that is considered one the most liberal of the
      mainline Protestant groups.

      He was warmly received by the crowd of more than 8,000 at the
      cavernous Hartford Civic Center, and was introduced as "one of ours"
      by the Rev. John H. Thomas, general minister and president of the
      United Church of Christ.

      Obama was invited to speak to the church's biennial synod more than a
      year ago, before he declared his candidacy for the Democratic
      presidential nomination, Thomas said. The freshman Illinois senator
      was invited to talk about "how personal faith is lived out in the
      public square," Thomas said.

      In 1972, the church was the first to ordain an openly gay man. Two
      years ago, the church endorsed same-sex marriage, the largest
      Christian denomination to do so. Obama believes that states should
      decide whether to allow gay marriage, and he opposes a constitutional
      amendment against it.

      Conservative Christian bloggers have linked Obama to what they call
      the "unbiblical" teachings of his church. Theological conservatives
      believe gay relationships violate Scripture, while more liberal
      Christians emphasize the Bible's social justice teachings.

      Obama trails Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York by 33 percent to
      21 percent in the most recent Associated Press-Ipsos poll among
      Democrats and those leaning toward the party.
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