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."

Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com

-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Al Gore • Candidate Barack Obama • Global Warming • Iowa • Race to '08 • South Carolina
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Voice for the Uniter

    I don't interpret any of those comments as "mixing religion and politics". He was pointing out religious leaders use issues like aborion to divide people, as if the bible doesn't also call for people to care for the earth and protect the environment. I know that democrats are often turned off by religious talk because it can sound a bit extreme to us. I think that encouraging anyone religious or not to participate in global climate change can only be a good thing.

    October 14, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. David, Roseburg OR

    as to " I had been an Obama supporter till now. primitive superstition is not something government policy should be based on.
    Posted By sean metamora,IL : October 14, 2007 3:19 pm"

    I so totally agree, as long as anyone uses a pulp fiction book written by Kings to control their subjects we will never find a better world. Just what are we fighting for in Iraq, why that would be to give them western religion in the guise of democracy. Plus those groups over in Iraq are fighting each other over religion too. Seems to be a trend here. Once we throw away the "religious" pulp fiction books we just might move on to become true friends on many levels.

    October 14, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. Peter

    The original headline from AP was
    "Obama links faith and environmental protection"

    And CNN's version

    "Obama: Religion should play a role in climate change"

    CNN what are you trying to do here at the Clinton News Network, create a false image maybe?

    October 14, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  4. Steve, Portland, OR

    Seems to me just the other day the political ticker had John Edwards talking about Senator Clinton's flipflops on her policies she would impliment. For all who think Obama is such a threat to this country you'd better wake up and realize when we end up with a congress and President both in Democratic hands we need someone new or we are all in trouble with more big business as usual lead by our lobbiest loving Senator Clinton. They may raise taxes for sure, but we seem to be in for more of the same under her leadership from what I've seen and heard.

    October 14, 2007 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  5. Pete, Arlington, TX

    You've really put your foot in it this time Mr. Obama. There is now not a chance in your superstitious hell that I'll ever vote for you. I expect there are millions of other potential votes you've just lost as well.

    October 14, 2007 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Dan

    Some great week-end news as well for House Democrats, with the Republican incumbent in Alaska trailing his Democratic challenger in a new poll out today.

    October 14, 2007 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  7. Ayyub, Richmond

    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.

    Posted By Mike Omaha,NE : October 14, 2007 4:48 pm

    Mike if you ever supported Obama you would have read the ticker and saw that he's telling religious people to get involved in protecting the Earth. He's not talking about politics but values.

    I hope this clears things up for you.
    OBAMA 08!

    October 14, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  8. monica, rochester new york

    I'm a non-religious person, but Obama offers leadership that respects everyone's views without abandoning his own. He's a constitutional law expert folks, he constantly reiterates the importance of the separation of church and state. One time he said that religious people can do more to respect and value that and secular people can do more to respect and value the role religion plays in the lives of others. He wants us to value each others points of view. I know that's hard for some people to do, but for the sake of our country I hope more of us try to do it.

    October 14, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Armin Baur

    Right on OBAMA,

    Don't be shy and tell Hillary that she is a flip flap politician. Her expereince from the White House days is worth nothing. Hillar has a big problem and that is: she is not telling the truth and Americans across sthe coun try are getting it. So, OBMA please tell her that the American people want a President who is telling the truth, has a good family record and certain we do not need an ex-president as first lady!!!

    October 14, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Jean, New York

    I think we already know who the next president is going to be, Obama would make a GREAT VICE !


    October 14, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  11. Ayyub, Richmond

    I don't interpret any of those comments as "mixing religion and politics". He was pointing out religious leaders use issues like aborion to divide people, as if the bible doesn't also call for people to care for the earth and protect the environment. I know that democrats are often turned off by religious talk because it can sound a bit extreme to us. I think that encouraging anyone religious or not to participate in global climate change can only be a good thing.

    Posted By Voice for the Uniter : October 14, 2007 4:52 pm

    You got it right and thank you for reading the ticker.

    OBAMA 08!
    I hope hillary supports don't like the nation being divided all the time.

    October 14, 2007 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  12. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    When in a world balanced with seas of fresh water, we will keep our heads and homes above water, and the top soil placed on a base of Salt.

    October 14, 2007 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  13. THOMAS BILLIS las vegas nv

    The same old tired arguement to pander for votes.No one drops their religion when they enter the town square.It is if religion dominates the town square.We are living in a theocracy now and what we do not need is to encourage these religious zealots to enter politics to force their religion on the rest of us.Jimmy Carter is as religious a man as has ever been President but he understood the difference between the bible and the Constitution.If your religion presents an obstacle to adherence to the Constitution participation in politics should be discouraged not encouraged and religious tolerance of your position should be encouraged.

    October 14, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  14. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    orange fringe
    orange flange
    orange range

    Po-tateo Po-tatoh

    October 14, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. ROBH

    ,once islam is in ya, its hard not to preach,loopy,scary,go find a preacher position,you are defenitely not ready to lead this country

    HIllary 08 i appreciate her vision On America ,with answers plans,and a thought at process of how we can get back to Normal.this guy offers none of that.

    October 14, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  16. Tyler, Westport CT

    If anyone's got the time check out this video on Obama's believes of faith and politics. It's an amazing speech and one that will be def looked at as a landmark address down the line.


    October 14, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  17. Evan Esteves, Boca Raton FL

    I'm disappointed in my fellow democrats that post completely idiotic statements about another democrat on these articles...You all sound more like Republicans than anything else...

    October 14, 2007 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  18. Shawn

    with faith and the environment,your nutty.i want no preacher for president.

    Hillary you won my vote,

    October 14, 2007 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario



    But one presets the mind for orange to be in opposition to a rhyme.

    October 14, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  20. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    As the world turns: the land masses floating on a sea of magma, and existing of a different density to that of water with the pressure of the outward centrifugal force those continental land masses will attempt to enter into a balance. Water should in a far future cover the entire earth when gravitation and this centrifugal force win out over the mountains so giving a shallow region near the equator and an endless sea between the poles. Amongst the tectonic shifts and volcanic activities water is exchanged in an endless cycle of melt, evaporation, and liquefaction from the sun’s energy. As the world’s land masses dry and evaporation is reduced the air will lose its heat retention capabilities, it will get colder faster, it will get hotter faster, and water will evaporate at an increased rate, and this loss of heat retention as atmospheric water loss will also affect the barometric pressures. The location of the globes masses will determine if the entire earth will shift on its axes again; polar relocation is one of the greater changes the world can endure.

    The body of the earth would have been extremely round in the beginning until our moon struck it.

    We do pollute the environment; we displace the elemental gasses higher as we increase the oxidized carbonation level of the lower atmosphere, so increasing the diameter of the earth and thus absorbing more solar energy: so increasing the greenhouse effect and the evaporation rate. But, we as a species can attempt to control our outputs or with a greater understanding: move the masses ourselves, and wet the world in answer to the need for rain; the plant life that converts that free carbon will grow under such watering, and we can reclaim regions lost to now barren deserts.

    A tree exists in the Sahara; it possesses a tap root nearly a mile deep; it reaches the ground water table well below the sand. The tree is small on the surface in comparison to others of its type; desert sands have easily covered that tree long ago; it thousands of years old; existing from a time when the Sahara was part of the great northern reaches of an African forest, it a living tree that could hold the residing sol of an man named God who died so long ago, it living from the time he passed; or possibly the sol of his mother Maya might reside there.

    Water is trapped in the sea, the sun can not release it but in storms of destructive power. What is salt good for, what elements does that sea water contain in solution? What does it take but solar power to evaporate that water when it is placed in small amounts onto the land? What would it take to condense that evaporate back into the consumer state? Does it take a governor, a company president, or a national assembly to achieve this?

    October 14, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  21. Roberta, Sarasota FL

    I am amazed at how many people will just lap up everything Obama says, like kittens with a plate of milk, even though he has strayed WAY too far in this effort to blend politics and religion. He's just not ready for prime time.

    October 14, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  22. Angela, WPB, FL

    Mr Courtland, are you trying to make a point with your post:

    orange fringe
    orange flange
    orange range

    Po-tateo Po-tatoh
    Posted By William Courtland,

    It so, please clarify.. seriously I am interested.

    October 14, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  23. josphine,ks, mo

    True true true, we need you now Obama. We need you now we are hurting..

    October 14, 2007 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  24. Ayveel, Dallas, TX

    Obama needs to get real. He believes in abortion on demand likeone poster said and he thinks climate change is a moral issue. Trying killing innocent babies.

    He is a political genius with his statements making those who believe in science feel good about showing up Christians for not taking care of the environment.

    And Obama does think that his religion is better than others. Just like any other person of religious faith. Why would you become part of something if it was not better and correct in your eyes?

    He is trying to push interfaith, but is he interfaith?

    You can't seperate religion and politics because 99% of politicians design programs and legislation that relfects a religious viewpoint. If you don't, then how religious are you?

    If you are a Christian, how can you not claim you don't believe in Jesus? If you believe in Jesus, why leave him out of your life when you enter a certain arena (politics). Oh, that must be the convenient Jesus that everybody leaves alone to enter politics.

    Everybody makes a decision based on something. Whatever you base it on, people might not call it religion, but it probably is. Whether it is CHristianity, Islam, Judaism, or SELF? Self-Religion is the most mainstream religion. Nobody acknowledges it, but it exists in its biggest form. If you ask the politician what is legislation based on, they might say public opinion or public progession; just another form of religion.

    October 14, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  25. Bethany, St. Lousi, MO

    Obama isn't talking about mixing politics and religion people, he's talking about the environment.

    Wake up and do your homework, Obama is our man!

    OBAMA IN '08

    October 14, 2007 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
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