October 14th, 2007
01:27 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama: Religion should play role in climate change

Obama spoke at an interfaith forum in Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said Sunday that the separation of church and state should not force the people of the United States to "leave [their] religion at the door before entering the public square" and that, indirectly, faith informs politics.

"Our faith informs our values, and I think we'd all agree that our values inform our politics more than they have over the last six years," the Illinois senator said at an interfaith forum in downtown Des Moines.

Obama said that too often religious leaders use faith to "exploit what divides us" by saying that the only issues that matter are abortion, gay marriage, school prayer, and intelligent design.

"Everyone in this room knows that's not true," Obama said.

He said there are other challenges that can unite people of faith, one of them being the issue of climate change.

"The bible tells us that when God created the earth, he entrusted us with the responsibility to take care of that earth," he said. "It is a responsibility to ensure that this planet remains clean and safe and livable for our children, and for all of God's children."

"Science has made it undeniably clear that our generation is not living up to this responsibility."

Obama also took a moment to praise former vice president and recent Nobel Prize-winner Al Gore for his work on global warming.

"I think all of us give great thanks to him for his extraordinary dedication, his extraordinary service, [and] his grace after a bitter defeat to rise up and actually transcend and do even more than one could have ever imagined to help highlight this issue."

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Filed under: Al Gore • Candidate Barack Obama • Global Warming • Iowa • Race to '08 • South Carolina
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. John, Newport News, VA

    This guy always has positive messages for America. I really, really hope we're fortunate enough to have him lead us. He's a modern day Jack Kennedy.

    October 14, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  2. Mac, Severn, Md

    While not an Obama fan, I have found it interesting to listen to his ideas – until now. This sounds almost kind of loopy. I think he should steer clear of religion and politics. And bowing at the feet of Gore is very unbecoming.

    October 14, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. DSF, Courtenay, BC

    Modern day Jack Kennedy? Never. Kennedy was the OPPOSITE of Obama..he went out of his way to make sure church and state were kept separate! Obama is tryig to woo the Bible belt to his side and it is getting pretty pathetic. He sounds more and more like GW Bush...lets pray he DOESN'T get in the White House and continue the faith based disaster thats there now...

    October 14, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. SilverB

    What is that "All men were created equal" in the constitution about?

    In God we trust

    Obama 08

    October 14, 2007 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. David, Sacramento, California

    Senator Obama keeps trying to reinvent himself to rise to the top. I am not sure what he is or when he will change his strategy and opinion again. I know where Senator Clinton stands on issues and how solid she is.
    I think Senator Obama should become a preacher and a moral leader for the black American people.

    October 14, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. Angela, WPB, FL

    "The bible tells us that when God created the earth, he entrusted us with the responsibility to take care of that earth," he said. "It is a responsibility to ensure that this planet remains clean and safe and livable for our children, and for all of God's children."

    "Science has made it undeniably clear that our generation is not living up to this responsibility."

    This guy is a Politcial Genius!! NO SARCASM!!

    He just challenged the Bible followers to be true to their beliefs in their Bible and cited the scientific community as proof that they(the Bible followers) are not following what God told them to do.

    In summary, he gently challenged the Christians, and he deftly validated the Bible and Science at the same time.
    I'm seriously impressed with this – He's got my attention from now on.

    October 14, 2007 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  7. John, Cedar Falls, IA

    Obama mixes politics and religion more than even some Republicans do. Giuliani comes to mind as a GOP candidate who never does this.

    Very unbecoming Obama... you have to differentiate yourself from Hillary somehow, but talking about God creating the Earth with a wave of his little finger is not the way to do it. At least not if you're running for the nomination of the party that actually makes an attempt to research and understand science.

    October 14, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. rene

    Obama and Gore, two men of incredible integrity. As Gore has shown his greatness, Obama will too. Obama has such vision and we need right now. He is a great leader. He can do so much to heal and transform our political system. As Warren Buffet said, he will be a very special person for America. I think we need to choose him to lead the Democratic Party as our nominee.

    October 14, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  9. Zach, Chicago, IL

    Being someone who is really not that religious, I still respect very highly what Obama is saying here. He's basically saying that we have the responsibility to take care of the earth and, oh by the way, the Bible says that too. He is talking about the kind of value that's universal; I think that pretty much everyone would agree that we want the best for our kids and their kids, etc.

    Also, take into account that he's speaking at an INTERFAITH FORUM! So of course he's going to have some sort of discussion dealing with religion, the same as if he were speaking to a church. If I were speaking to this group I'd probably find some way of tying in religion, and I probably wouldn't really know what I was talking about!

    October 14, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. Danny, San Diego, CA

    Wow! Obama is saying he's different from Hillary. Anybody who thinks that Obama would not say things to get elected (just like any other candidate) is delusional.

    October 14, 2007 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. iuer, KY

    DSF are you Canadian? You pray for yourself, if you want but we all know that Obama will not force religion on people. Of course he will keep church and state separate, remember Kennedy still had time to attend catholic mass services while on state tours, this does not mean he forced people to be catholics. Obama will rightly state that religion guides his thinking but he will not shove it down people's throats, so just think twice before you imply that Obama is not keeping state and church separate.

    October 14, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  12. Mary

    Sen. Obama is merely agreeing with the theological positions of all the mainline religions on ecological responsibility. I'm sorry you find a person's expression of their faith to be offensive in respect to what is considered to be an important moral position. But faith and morals for people who are committed to a faith tradition are not diametrically opposed. Senator Obama was speaking at a church and sharing his faith perspective. Hiis faith is being foisted upon anyone. It merely illustrates how Sen. Obama uses faith and morality to inform his decisions. I admire his honesty and the overwhelming majority of Americans understand and share this viewpoint.

    October 14, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. Donna, Gorham, NH

    Thank you, Obama. Yes, it is our responsibility for each of us to take responsibility to protect and preserve our earth and our environment, for our children, our grandchildren, and beyond. I agree, we need faith in our lives. That's what leads us to be good citizens. For more on Obama's plan to protect and preserve our environment, address global warming, and alternative energy intiatives, please visit barackobama.com. Thank you.

    October 14, 2007 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Emily, Minnesota

    Sounding like Bush, no. He's definitely not like him.

    I agree. It's our decision to keep our planet clean. That's the only thing that science agrees with religion about. Even though there's no 'missing link'. Saying humans evolved from monkies, wouldn't it mean that monkies would die out. Or eventually down the line, their babies would turn into humans?

    Anyways, whatever the values of one person is, is based of their religion. I don't care if you say you don't believe in God, you still have values, don't you? And, saying our planet is going to crap is a consensus among most people.

    And, I haven't gotten in trouble for praying in my public school most mornings of the week with many other people.

    October 14, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. Ashley, Tallahassee, FL

    At one point i had a favorable view of Obama. After this past week the favorable view of this guy is gone. First it's a game of political attacks. Edwards gets away with this because we come to expect it from him, but i thought obama was running on the idea of being a different kind of politician. So much for that. Now all the talk about religion. We are not all christian in this country Mister wanna be president. That is why there is separation of church and state. Let's try to keep it separate.

    October 14, 2007 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Dora, Washington

    Bravo Barack!!!! I know that there are people out there who don't believe in God, and that is your choice. But, I believe that God gave us this beautiful planet Earth, and that we need to take care of it, just like we should take take of our family, the less fortunate and hungry people who did not have the good fortune to be born in America.... I am proud of Barack and what he stands for. I don't think he is insisting that we be forced to have faith, but I REFUSE to have the media shove Hillary's 'inevitablity' down our throats... God Bless You, Barack.

    October 14, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. RKA, Chicago, IL

    The Democratic candidates who seemed natural and genuine in talking about their faiths like Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter were able to win elections. Those that could not easily do so lost – Kerry, Dukakis, Gore. A progressive who can talk to people of faith is what makes Obama very electable in a general, regardless of what polls say now. Think about it folks...if they nominate Giulliani, his moderate views on social issues will allow him to compete in blue states....obama can counter with some red state appeal. For us to nominate the most polarizing democrat out there is a huge mistake. The irony is that she takes pro-war positions to get conservative votes and they still hate her. With Obama you can get progressive ideas without ginning up repubican turnout like Hillary will. The Clintons lost congress in 1994 and they could do it again in 2010 if she is elected. We need to nominate our version of Reagan, not our version of Bush.

    October 14, 2007 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. Ayyub, Richmond

    Senator Obama keeps trying to reinvent himself to rise to the top. I am not sure what he is or when he will change his strategy and opinion again. I know where Senator Clinton stands on issues and how solid she is.
    I think Senator Obama should become a preacher and a moral leader for the black American people.

    Posted By David, Sacramento, California : October 14, 2007 2:06 pm

    You, all of you, not just this person who are Clinton Bedroom Supporters don't know what you're talking about. This person I CAN'T BELIEVE said Obama reivents himself. No he doesn't he's been doing this for quiet a long time. This isn't new David. Plus, he's talking about Religion and the enviroment not Politics. Globe warming isn't politics it's what's truely going to harm our planet in the future. Did you guys even read the story C'mon! This guy doing a very good thing, he's getting religious people more interested in what's happening to our planet. I think he's help Al Gore's cause. And there's nothing wrong with that.
    AYYUB

    OBAMA 08

    October 14, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. Lee, IA

    Faith and Politics....what a duo!!! Absolutely NOTHING could be further apart either morally or ethically. Obama has finally convinced me that I need to vote for the Geico Gecko.

    October 14, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  20. Peter, Amityville, NY

    "Obama said that too often religious leaders use faith to "exploit what divides us" by saying that the only issues that matter are abortion, gay marriage, school prayer, and intelligent design.

    "Everyone in this room knows that's not true," Obama said.

    He said there are other challenges that can unite people of faith, one of them being the issue of climate change."

    THIS GUY believes in abortion on-demand, but he thinks CLIMATE CHANGE is a moral issue?

    October 14, 2007 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  21. Q. Christian Atlanta GA

    How come people can't see that he is doing exactly what he is accusing Senator Clinton of doing? He is saying anything to anyone to try to regain momentum in the polls. People now realize that the honeymoon is over with Barack Obama. Has anyone ever realized that Senator Obama only attacks Senator Clinton on issues he didn't vote on.

    He didn't vote for the war in Iraq–he attacks.

    He didn't vote for the resolution naming the Revolutionary Guard a terrorist Organization–he attacks.

    He even has the nerve to attack Senator Clinton for not removing all troops from Iraq if she becomes President even though he has said the same thing. This guy couldn't survive in this race at all if it weren't for Senator Clinton. He is trying to be the very opposite of everything Senator Clinton stands for. I wish he would come up with his own agenda and stop bashing Senator Clinton for being a leader.

    I don't think that he should be mixing God and global warming. This to me is just wrong. God is an integral part of all our lives but trying to wrap God into the global warming debate is just wrong.

    Hillary 2008

    October 14, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. Rodney Dallas, TX

    Religion HAS to be left at the door. There are far too many types of religion and beliefs and no matter which one you choose, someone will be offended. Religion has no place in politics.

    October 14, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  23. Maria, Houston

    Another beautiful, dignified, intelligent speach. You are an inspiration, Senator Obama, and your integrity is admirable.Thank you!

    You have my vote!

    October 14, 2007 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. Angela, WPB, FL

    Emily, Minnesota

    Your question:
    "..Saying humans evolved from monkies, wouldn't it mean that monkies would die out. Or eventually down the line, their babies would turn into humans?"

    This is a common misconception among Creationists.

    Humans DID NOT evolve from Monkies, Humans and Monkies shared the same ancestor.(read Wikipedia on Evolution)

    Just like you and your cousin share the same ancestor(Grandparent). You did not come from you cousin because you share the same ancestor and your cousins babies will not turn into you because you share the same ancestor.
    I hope this helps you better understand the concept.

    October 14, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  25. Gil, Burke, VA

    Obama is like all leftist politicians: only faith that validates his political positions is important.

    BTW, SilverB, "All men are created equal" is not in the Constitution. See if you can find where it really is.

    October 14, 2007 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
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