obama2.jpgThe Obama campaign called it a “groundbreaking moment for faith and politics… the first time a Democratic candidate has participated in a forum like this with Hispanic Evangelicals.” The forum was a meeting between Barack Obama and 200 Hispanic evangelical leaders in a prayer service near Brownsville, Texas on Friday.
Obama couldn’t have bought better Christian press coverage of the event than what The Brownsville Herald offered:

Sen. Barack Obama’s address to Hispanic clergy Friday was more like a minister speaking to parishioners than a candidate convincing potential voters of the merit of his words.

With these heart-to-heart forums with religious leaders, Obama is going further than any candidate besides Mike Huckabee in discussing the particulars of his own religious experience and outlining a model for a working relationship between faith and politics. Sure, Hillary Clinton granted an interview to the Christian Broadcasting Network last week. But that was a departure from the kind of venue she usually pops up in. For Obama, appearing in overtly religious settings has gotten to be a habit.
One of the results is that, even though Obama talked specifics on Friday about how he came to Jesus, much of it echoed his January interview with Christianity Today:

So one Sunday, I woke up at 6 a.m., brushed the lint off the only suit I owned, and went over to Trinity United Church of Christ on 95th Street on the South Side of Chicago. And I heard a sermon about the audacity of hope. And during the course of that sermon, I was introduced to someone named Jesus Christ. I learned that my sins could be redeemed and that if I placed my trust in Christ, He could set me on the path to eternal life.

God-o-Meter isn’t proposing that such redundancy is bad for Obama. To the contrary, Democrats need message discipline among religious voters more than other constituencies because speaking directly to religious audiences is still so new to them. And Obama went further in discussing his belief in a purpose-driven life in Friday’s service than he had previously:

[W]henever I hear stories about Americans who feel like no one’s looking out for them, like they’ve been left behind, I’m reminded that God has a plan for his people.
God has a plan for the father who goes to work before dawn, and lies awake at night wondering how he’s going to provide health care for a daughter who’s ill.
God has a plan for the boy who’s watched his parents hauled off in an immigration raid.
God has a plan for all those men and women serving tour after tour after tour in a war that should have never been authorized and never been waged.
God has a plan for his people. But it’s a plan He’s left to us to fulfill.


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