Obama was talking about Jesus, gay marriage, his Church and abortion Sunday in Nelsonville, Ohio. At one point, he linked the Sermon on the Mount to the overall issue of gay marriage. Read it for yourself. The transcript of both the question he received and his full answer are below.
Pastor Leon Forte:. Your campaign sets a quandary for most evangelical Christians because I believe that they believe in the social agenda that you have, but they have a problem in what the conservatives have laid out as the moral litmus tests as to who is worthy and who is not. So, I will ask you to speak to those two questions.
Sen. Barack Obama:. In terms of my faith, you know, there has been so much confusion that has been deliberately perpetrated through emails and so forth. So, just here are the simple facts. I am a Christian. I am a devout Christian. I have been a member of the same church for 20 years. Pray to Jesus every night, and try to go to church as much as I can when they are not working me. Used to go quite often. These days, we haven't been at the home church, I haven't been home on Sunday, for several months now. So, my faith is important to me. It is not something that I try to push on other people. But it is something that helps to guide my life and my values.
My pastor is actually retiring this Sunday. Jeremiah Wright is actually retiring and Otis Moss, the 3rd, who is the son of Otis Moss of Cleveland, is our new pastor. And he's a wonderful young pastor.
I don't think that my church is actually particularly controversial. It is a member of the United Church of Christ. It's got a choir. We sing hymnals. We talk about scripture. You would feel at home if you were there.
Jeremiah Wright, who was my pastor, in the past, has said some things that were considered controversial because he has considered that part of his social gospel. So, he was one of the leaders in calling for divestment from South Africa and some other issues like that. And he thinks it's important for us to focus on what's happening in Africa. And I agree with him on that.
Now, I think what you may be referring to, though, when you say controversies, probably has more to do with two issues, which is abortion and gay marriage, which has become, I think, how people measure faith in the evangelical community. And, you know, I think that there are genuine differences of opinion in this area.
I will tell you that I don't believe in gay marriage, but I do think that people who are gay and lesbian should be treated with dignity and respect and that the state should not discriminate against them. So, I believe in civil unions that allow a same-sex couple to visit each other in a hospital or transfer property to each other. I don't think it should be called marriage, but I think that it is a legal right that they should have that is recognized by the state. If people find that controversial then I would just refer them to the Sermon on the Mount, which I think is, in my mind, for my faith, more central than an obscure passage in Romans. That's my view. But we can have a respectful disagreement on that.
And on the issue of abortion that is always a tragic and painful issue. And I think that in the past we have made some mistakes, I think, people who are pro-choice, in not focusing on the fact that there is a real moral element to this. And I think that is how it is experienced by women. It is never an easy decision and I don't think women make those decisions casually.
I think it is always tragic, and we should prevent it as much as possible by making sure that young people are engaging in responsible behavior and that we are encouraging the kinds of good decisions that prevent unwanted pregnancies and that we are encouraging adoption as an alternative. But I think that at the bottom line is that in the end I think women, in consultation with their pastors, and their doctors, and their family, are in a better position to make these decisions than some bureaucrat in Washington.
That's my view. Again, I respect people who may disagree, but I certainly don't think it makes me less Christian. Okay.
More here and here.
OK, time to email me with your comments. Look, if Obama is the nominee, his campaign will try and appeal to Evangelical Christians. I've run into many Evangelicals who like Obama's change theme and his overall new approach to divisive politics. They are giving him a serious look. But still, the life and marriage issues seem to be deal busters. They are very concerned about his liberal views on these topics.
What say you? As an Evangelical, can you see yourself somehow getting past those two issues and crossing over to vote for him?