October 14th, 2007
01:27 PM ET
11 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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-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Al Gore • Candidate Barack Obama • Global Warming • Iowa • Race to '08 • South Carolina
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. D. Davis, Weston, OH

    Barack Obama may one day be a viable candidate for President. At this time, however, his lack of experience continues to bring him lower and lower in the polls. He simply has not had enough of life-learning to lead this country at this point in time.

    October 14, 2007 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  2. Melvin Banks, Royal Oak, Michigan

    I'm extremely impressed with the next president of the united states of America.Go Obama Go ; David, From Sacramento, California For you information Senator Obama is already a moral leader for the black community. Thank you very much.

    October 14, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. Walter Huckeba, Perry GA

    Religion and government must be seperate.

    This walking cartoon character stayed in the sun too long without a hat. He actually believes he is qualified to run the most powerful country in the world. Scary!

    October 14, 2007 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Fred Seattle

    I pray to God he doesn't get the nomination. He sounds desperate and tired IMO.
    "Science has made it undeniably clear that our generation is not living up to this responsibility."

    Really Senator Obama? Please state some facts besaides what you haven't learned already from Mr. Gore. What a surprise that you would make this apeech days after Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for raising awareness about our enviroment. Your just gonna talk abotu whatever the media is going to talk about.

    On the other hand, Mrs. Clinton...she don't care what the media says, Republicans, Democrats, Independants etc. Heck, she even tells her Husband to move out the way when somethign is on her mind.

    She'll govern to and for the people while Obama panders to what voting block he feels gives him an oppurtunity to win–in this case Liberal Protestants. Pathetic.


    October 14, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. sean metamora,IL

    I had been an Obama suporter till now.
    primitive superstition is not something government policy should be based on.

    October 14, 2007 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Joe, Florida

    Obama shouldn't dwell much into religion. He should be cautious

    October 14, 2007 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. Ayyub, Richmond

    Did anybody even take the time to READ THE TICKER! Man, so we should keep the enviroment and religion seperate? He's not saying he wants to mix Politics with Religion (plus, all of the candidates including Hillary campaign and give a message at churches) and he can't do that by law anyway. He's saying (IF YOU READ THE TICKER) that if the Bible tells people to take care of the Earth why aren't we doing so, we should be protect our planet and trying to slow down Globe Warming. Clinton Bedroom Supports are starting to sound desperate to spin something and ignore anything that doesn't help you candidate and has nothing to do with your candidate. It's truly sick to me. The Democratic Party can't turn it's back on a group of people that's discrimination. Obama is living up as the man who will reunite America! I support him but unlike Hillary Supports I'm not brainwashed by him. If he does something wrong I'll speak out against it.

    October 14, 2007 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. Dan, 0swego,NY

    Obama is a fraud on the environment. He refused to take a side when BP wanted to destroy Chicago's great lakes region.Maybe if he stopped being such a politician and sitting in nthe middle he might slide up in the polls.
    ps. stand up for your constituents!

    October 14, 2007 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. Christian, Tampa FL

    There is no excuse for America to make environmentalism a partisan issue. In an ideal world, there should be 100% agreement that taking care of the earth should be a top priority and that we have a responsibility to try and live in harmony with nature, rather than conflicting with and fighting it.

    Many groups of people, including Native Americans and indigenous peoples across the globe, have long known that the Western drive to conquer and exploit nature would have serious consequences in the future. It is about time that all Americans agree to the reality that we must make sacrifices and make substantial changes if we are to continue as a global civilization.

    October 14, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. sonya, atlanta, ga

    Gore links global warming as a moral issue. Moral issues come from your values, alot of Americans believe their values come from the Bible. So what. So what. The bible has universal principle that all men can live buy but it's not going to be ratified into law. Party of the Presidency is about using the bully pulpit as they call it to urge americans to do better. You think this man will subvert the consitution, for goodness sake he was a constitutional professor and civil rights attorney. God is incorporated all over our government. Look at your money and the language of the constitution. What the religious right has done is misuse religion to say people are wrong if they are gave or have an abortion and they should be stopped. But I see nothing wrong with Thou should not commit murder or our country should help the poor or honour are mothers and fathers buy making Social Security solvent, stablized retirements and reform healthcare. I come from a tradition of spirtualism but am very wary of organized religion no matter what demonination.

    October 14, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    A short list of reasons why to vote Obama in 2008:

    -He's got a clear plan for the future and has clear intentions.
    -He has not lied or used intimidation to get where he is today.
    -Unlike Clinton, he does not flip-flop on ideas, nor does he brainwash people.
    -Obama opposes conflict of any sort that is not necessary or in the best interest of the people. Rather, he will create peace by diplomatic negotiations with nations such as Iran and N. Korea.
    -Being an African-American, Obama has shown much courage to be in this race. This is a sharp contrast to Bush, who has since come to rely on his paranoia.
    -Obama is running on faith and tolerance, whereas his peers are running on either business or religious perfectionism.

    This list is just icing on this already sweet cake. I could ramble on all day about how much Obama is worthy of the title of president of the United States of America. And, as I read the Ticker, I see some of you are concerned about Obama's faith and politics in general. Let me tell you that Obama chose to be a Christian, but religion is trivial to who is best qualified to be in the WH. Also note that Obama is NOT forcing relgion on us, nor is he saying Christianity is better than any other religion (*cough*John McCain*cough*Ann Coulter*cough*).

    OBAMA '08!

    October 14, 2007 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  12. Jackson, Palm Desert, CA

    So now, Obama is pandering to religious groups ... he is turning out to be a very confusing candidate.

    October 14, 2007 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    Religion verse government.

    How are the two different beyond the fact that religion has lost the power over the people to government because government exists and covers a larger area and is required to delegate authority over those from many religions. Religion was a centralized ideal, beginning in one area and spreading with migration; government is the response to govern in places of religious warfare and strife.

    Climate change is a problem for science; science a new faction in the world political order. Science and its method breach the gaps between governments, but science is set against religion due to the inability to prove the moral conscience of humanity. Without proof: the impartiality of science will not be invested, but without the moral conscience’s involvement science can too easily be used to commit wrongs.

    Scientific investigation has always been seen as a corruption of religion: Astrology, alchemy, medicine, and other origins of science have commonly been condemned by religious leaders, yet mathematics was embraced along with architecture and exploration. Religion created the need for government for religious institution furthers exploration, government allows the abilities of universal sciences; is another political faction required, or will it now as Barack wishes come full circle, to prove moral conscience, and allow greater humanity as a scientific right.

    Emily of Minnesota.

    The Missing link was found in the fossil record. Even though Humanus can not easily defeat a great ape (gorilla), for they have a strength that we can not overcome and live in regions that civilization until recently avoided a region which societies now destroy; monkeys are primates, and it is suggested that we evolved from an early common ancestor. Monkeys however stayed up in the trees, so were safe from the early proto-human competitions found as violence. While God is a male of the past who taught a valuable lesson and so his name was granted to us for reference, no one can with proof, name what force created the universe, and it is foolish to believe it could be pronounced by any advanced primate or that it would exist and be recorded on earth for a humanity to easily find.

    Human is a word derived from the word Humanus. Humanus was the term for common people of an ancient Rome, and Christ was by definition a greater humanitarian.

    A force did create this earth, and a force of life is still required to imprint a method to evolve up into a sentient being, so to understand it thinks, and so spreading further; with this conscious of self becoming greater, and with the heightened sapient ability to plan we can colonize space so seek the answer of what that force, with proof: was.

    The missing link as a ‘Bigfoot’ would be another common ancestor; this ‘cousin’ would have never hunted, and in moving away from the competition of slaughter, would not have adorned the skin of animal in coverings. It an omnivore feeding on lower life forms such as bugs and plant life, a faith is required to believe this creature exists and avoids civilization. It would mistrust us, as we even in an advancing society would have gone to war with it in attempts to extinguish the species.

    October 14, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  14. Julie Novak, Colorado Springs, CO

    The title of the article clearly misleads the reader. Obama said that "We" are responsible for improving the environment not God or religion. Shame on you.

    October 14, 2007 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  15. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario


    Entered into conflict with. War is a place, a zone afflicted.

    October 14, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  16. Ayyub, Richmond

    So now, Obama is pandering to religious groups … he is turning out to be a very confusing candidate.

    Posted By Jackson, Palm Desert, CA : October 14, 2007 3:50 pm

    No, He's not confusing. He's a liberal with the values to unite America. That's why I'm voting for him.

    GOBAMA 08!

    Pulse, all of the candidates talk at churches to religious people. Like I said you can't be discriminate in politics if you want to unite America across party lines.

    October 14, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  17. Alexa, Annandale VA

    Obama isn't pandering to religious groups by saying this- he's saying what he believes. He's also speaking at an INTERFAITH forum, so if you expect him to not say anything about religion ever you need to pay a bit more attention. What Obama is here demonstrating is not that religion should dictate politics- he doesn't want to impose his faith on anyone. But that one's individual faith affects one's individual beliefs, and that you need to stand up for those. There is no reason for that to be an indictment on him. Please read closely, without preconceptions, and listen to the sense this man makes.

    October 14, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  18. Bill Tate DeLand FL

    I have read in the bible "Thou shalt not kil" I have not read "Thou shall not produce greenhouse gasses" His view on abortion is of greater threat to our children than the current environmental trends.

    October 14, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Joe O'Hara, Akron,PA

    I would say to Mr.Obama that it is clear to all that he is attacking conservative Christian leaders by misrepresenting the truth. They care about a wider spectrum of issues but the issues you mentioned are especially important because abortion is the termination of innocent human life, gay marriage is unnatural according to God's word, school prayer gave youth a reason to exercise their conscience and intelligent design simply states that God owns the patents on His creation. Perhaps everyone in the room agrees with you because they intend to vote for you but the greater Christian community knows that he who puts the above in a 'lesser value category' is not a candidate to worthy of the presidency.

    October 14, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  20. pl. at the UN for a while.

    God created; fine. But Mr Barak Hussein Obama linking hands with Mr Al Gore? I don't get it.
    The candidate obviously hasn't been reading the comments against Mr Gore's politizising of the climate.
    And such a simplistic preK-G view of things–nop, I definitely don't get that one.

    October 14, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. Steve, Lovelock, Nevada

    Obama is trying to woo the bible belt voters so that Hillary will nominate him as the VP candidate so that he can peel away Christian voters from the Republicans.


    October 14, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. Gabriel

    This is a shot at right wing fundamentalist freaks who have OWNED the religion card in politics. Here is his quote
    "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,"

    What he saying is that its time to end the reign of the hypocritical right wing bible thumping war mongers!

    He is offering up things that every politician is afraid to touch with a 10 ft pole, that the Bible says other things than what is shoved down our throats by 'conservative christians'.
    Beyond 'pro-death, gay, god in school' etc. That we are in fact connected to this earth we stand on and not seperate from it. That we have a responsibility to not pass on to our children a world that is unlivable.

    No other politician could possibly be this brave. Go! Go! Obama!

    Let those who have eyes, see. Let those who have ears, hear.

    October 14, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. Wong

    To the hypocrits who are saying that god should be left out of politics, lets remember that George Bush's GOD drives every decision that he makes. Lets pray that GOD blesses the USA while we drop bombs all over the world.

    October 14, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  24. Greg, Clearwater, FL

    "For all of God's children?" Except the ones you want to kill, sir.

    October 14, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. Mike Omaha,NE

    I was an Obama fan, but I am starting to give up on him. I have heard him speak and he has a great message. But in the last couple weeks he has started to self-destruct in my opinion. He is putting way to much focus on combining faith and politics. I want to hear his views on real world issues, not about all the churches he has been to.

    October 14, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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