Sen. Barack Obama: Revisiting His Historic Speech on Faith and Politics

Democratic Senator Barack Obama's powerful speech on the need for compromise on matters of religion and government.

 

This past summer, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois), delivered the keynote address at a conference sponsored by the progressive Christian magazine Sojourners. Widely acclaimed at the time, in just six months it is increasingly being viewed as historic; a speech not unlike that of another United States Senator almost 50 years before.  In September 1960, Sen. John Kennedy addressed the Houston Ministerial Association on what he called the "so-called religious issue" about his Catholicism and the impact it would have upon him were he elected President.  In that speech Kennedy said, "I believe in a President whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office."  Watch Sen. Obama's speech below to see and hear his take on the vexing question of faith and politics in American life.



View video highlights below.





Part One
"...We can affirm the importance of poverty in the Bible; and we can raise up and pass out this Covenant for a New America."

Part Two
"...I had to take Mr. Keyes seriously, for he claimed to speak for my religion, and my God. He claimed knowledge of certain truths."

Part Three
"...I think we make a mistake when we fail to acknowledge the power of faith in people's lives..."

Part Four
"...Kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side, I felt that I heard God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth."

Part Five
"Our fear of getting 'preachy' may also lead us to discount the role that values and culture play in some of our most urgent social problems."

Part Six
"...To say that men and women should not inject their 'personal morality' into public policy debates is a practical absurdity."



  • Part Seven - "...We are no longer just a Christian nation; we are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation, a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers."

  • Part Eight - "Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values."

  • Part Nine - "No matter how religious they may or may not be, people are tired of seeing faith used as a tool of attack."

    To read a transcript or watch the speech in its entirety, visit www.BarackObama.com.

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