"Maya Angelou pointed out that 'I find it interesting that the meanest life, the poorest existence, is attributed to God's will, but as human beings become more affluent, as their living standard and style begin to ascend the material scale, God descends the scale of responsibility at commensurate speed.'

"Living a life of faith and working for economic empowerment are intertwined."
--November 25, 2003 speech in Detroit


On Choosing Not to Become a Minister
"I decided that I could do what she wanted me to do and what I wanted to do in the ministry better in politics."
--Quoted in Democracy in Action

On Church-State Separation
"The fact that we cannot allow the government, we cannot have the government, supporting religious views or supporting religion. We've got to have a wall of separation... I understand, and we all have our own philosophy, and we all have our own religious beliefs and our own ethical beliefs, and that's great. That's part of the diversity and wonder of America. But the government has to divorce itself."
--FOXNews O'Reilly Factor appearance, Sept. 29, 2003

"I think saying God is -- I realize there are people that don't believe in God and this is somehow stating something to them that they may not accept. But I think when you go to the point of putting down ten rules of life as part of religious belief, you're promoting only one religion's views of how life should be lived, and I think you're transcending over that line between church and state that we shouldn't do."
--FOXNews O'Reilly Factor appearance, Sept. 29, 2003



John Kerry
Senator John Kerry is Catholic, though he recently discovered that his paternal grandparents were Jewish. Kerry's grandfather was born Fritz Kohn in Austria in 1873. He changed his name in 1902, converted to Catholicism, and moved to Boston, where he married a woman who had also converted from Judaism to Catholicism.

On Prayer
"We had guys on the boat from Arkansas, from South Carolina, from all over the place. But none of that mattered. We were a bunch of guys fighting under the same flag, praying to the same God."
--Speech at a VFW hall in Tacoma, November 2002, quoted in Vogue, March 2003

On Democrats & Religion
"We've got to prove we're as God-fearing and churchgoing as everybody else."
--Quoted in Vogue, March 2003

On Fighting Extremism
"We will not prevent a clash of civilizations with Islam, radical Islam unless we begin to reach out to countries and bring the real world of religion together to understand the similarities even as we look at the differences. To recognize that we all pray to the God of Abraham and Isaac and that we need to find a way to isolate the extremists....If you don't pray that's fine, and that's the country we are also incidentally."
--Speech at a Concord, Mass. campaign event, Aug. 8, 2003

On Church and State
"May I say that one of my objections to this administration is that it has crossed that delicate line that our forefathers drew in the Constitution that separates church and state. And it is vital for us to hold on to that line. But those who pray, pray to that same God. Or they pray in a way that is peaceful and at one with the universe. But they do not accept the notion that martyrdom and killing innocent people is somehow connected to legitimate religious activity."
--Speech at a Concord, New Hampshire campaign event, Aug. 8, 2003

On Not Losing Faith
"Judy, if I do nothing else in my life I will never stop trying to bring to people the conviction of how wasteful and asinine is a human expenditure of this kind. I don't mean this in an all-consuming world saving fashion. I just mean that my own effort must be entire and thorough and that it must do what it can to help make this a better world to live in. I have not lost faith--on the contrary--I have gained a conviction and desire greater than ever before--and now, a sense of inevitability--a weighty fatalism that takes worry out of the small actions of late and makes the personal much more important."
--1968 letter to ex-wife Judy Thorme, after learning of the death of his friend Dick Pershing in Vietnam, quoted in The Atlantic, November 2003



Dennis Kucinich
Rep. Dennis Kucinich was raised a Roman Catholic, but his views about the interconnectedness of the world have appeal for many who consider themselves "spiritual but not religious."

On Church & State
"The essence of our Constitution can be understood to be expressive of high principles, not only of law and ethics which subsume those principles, but of Spirit. Whether we look at the first motto of the United States, E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one), which is a spiritual principle, or in the latter motto "In God We Trust," we have to recognize the Founders were immersed in contemplation of a world beyond our experience, one of spirit, of mysticism, one which saw the potential of the country as unfolding in a multidimensional way, both through the work of our hands and the work of our hearts.

"The Founders meant to separate Church and State, but I don't believe they ever meant to separate America from spiritual values."
--Interview with Tikkun magazine, March/April 2003

On Light & Truth
"The psalms have a phrase in Latin: 'Emitte lucem tuam.' Send forth your light. And we so need to do that at this moment, so that we can describe the entire Persian Gulf in light this evening, and to send the light of peace in that region. To take the light of peace which is in our hearts, and extend that light, and that love, and that compassion. From my studies of the Scriptures and the Gospel of St. John, it begins, in the early verses, it speaks of the light shining in the darkness. 'And the darkness grasp it not.' Light always shines in the darkness. And though this darkness has dropped upon our country, upon our Constitution, upon our highest aspirations for America, upon our historic traditions--the light of truth will shine in that darkness, and the darkness will neither comprehend nor overwhelm it. So we are called upon at this moment, to be witnesses for peace, for truth, for light, for love, for compassion, and for the potential of humanity to evolve from a condition where some believe that war is inevitable, to a condition where our knowledge that peace is inevitable becomes the defining paradigm of a new century and a new world."
--Acceptance Speech for the 2003 Gandhi Peace Award

[His politics are grounded in] "a spiritual sense of the interconnectedness of the world."
--Quoted in the Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 2, 2004

"With all those who understood the deeper meaning of the Gospels in Matthew 25, when Christ said, 'When I was hungry did you feed me? When I was homeless did you shelter me?' and then went on to say, 'Whatever you did for the least of my brethren, you did for me' - that's the interconnectedness. That is the leitmotif of interconnectedness, right there, it says it all. And so my work in public life resounds with that connection to higher principles and with an understanding of the power of the human heart."
--Interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 2, 2004

"While our fathers understood well the importance of the separation of church and state, they never meant America to be separate from spiritual values. Spiritual values can improve our own health, our spirit, our nation, and the world."
--Interview with the Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 2, 2004