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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-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch


Filed under: Al Gore • Candidate Barack Obama • Global Warming • Iowa • Race to '08 • South Carolina
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. xtina - chicago IL

    What has Obama accomplished? Obama campaigns on vague promises for future programs and ideas, but how can you hire someone on that basis? If you're 'interviewing ' someone you want to know what they have done, not what they 'would' do.

    Gov. Romney reduced taxes and was responsible for taking a bankrupt organization (the Olympic operation in SLC) and in doing so showed great business mgmnt. Guiliani reduced crime in NY and made it safer. Obama only found new ways to tax us in Illinois. He has no executive experience or business smarts, nor does he understand or express passion for protecting Americans from radial Islam enemies.

    October 14, 2007 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  2. mark basniewicz, new orleans, la.

    Barack Hussein Obama is 'feel-good' candidate and is smart, but in the face of terrors such as the WTC attacks and the USS Cole bombing, we need a President who's wise, and has convictions, not just a 'feel good' 'new age' guy who wants to tax others to placate those who aren't motivated to improve their own lives. His mentioning Al Gore puts Obama down a notch, since the Nobel Prize is simply a popular liberal award and a total POLITICAL tool- not a scientific or peace-keeping award anymore.

    October 14, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  3. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    HISTORY LESSON:
    The power and importance of Polls. This is not to compare any candidate to Dean. But you have to ask of todays polls. WHO are they polling. These poll numbers were the same 2 weeks before Iowa 2004.

    SEPT – DEC 2003 IOWA Poll:

    Dean polls 38%
    Kerry 17%.
    Edwards 12%

    Kerry WINS IOWA 38%
    Dean Iowa 18%

    SEPT – DEC 2003 NEW HAMPSHIRE poll:

    Dean Poll 45%
    Kerry 20%.
    Edwards 2%

    Kerry WINS NH 39%
    Howard Dean 12%
    Edwards 32%

    NO Campaign should be celebrating yet.

    October 14, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  4. sonya, atlanta, ga

    lets see no preacher as president- well take off-George Washington at the end of the revoluationary war-"God saved the union",Lincoln-"the better angels of our union", Teddy Roosevelt on saving the environment-very bully pulpit, FDR and the great society-"we are our brothers keeper. JFK's inaguration speach is full of values and faith-culumination in the famous phrase "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country".

    If you know your history, the Presidency is part legislator, part executive chief, part commander in chief and a whole lot of bully puplit preacher- that's where his leadership comes from- leading americans in a direction sometimes they don't want to go. Out of slavery, out of isolationism during WWII, etc. They use their values, faith and universal symbolisms to keep the people moving forward. Sortof a Moses with out the burning bush. So when the next president is sworn in, why don't stop having him take the oath of office with his hand on the bible. Please people get a grip. I don't like how the reglious right have used religion to demonize people but faith and values are not evil. So when Americans heard the whole FDR The only thing they have to fear is fear itself. Values and faith had nothing to do with his fireside chat. Please. Also, Bobby Kennedy the greatest president we didnt have spoke about the poor and hungry children in the appalichan mountains-faith and values didn't guide him. And of course Martin Luther Kings whole existence which changed american forever had nothing to do with faith and values. If that so we would have voter rights, hate crime legislation, the pieces of affirmative action that is left nor equal education protection. You Hillary supports have no clue, that most americans like a canidate who can talk honestly about their faith and values as long as they arent hearing voices from God like George Bush. And this is another reason why HRC won't win, because she has no faith nor values except power, greed and ambition. So cast stones at Obama all you want, because you can't stand on what HRC says, because she stand for everything and nothing all at the same time.

    October 14, 2007 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  5. DSF, Courtenay, BC

    REPLT TO: iuer, KY : October 14, 2007 2:16 pm

    Yes, I am Canadian...one who has family and friends in the USA and who realizes the President of your country impacts my own country and life...so before you say 'butt out', I respectfully decline. Nowhere did I state that Obama will shove religion down peoples throats or 'turn them into Catholics' etc...What I said was, and believe still, is that GW Bush and Obama both preach their religious views like they are standing at a pulpit. Bush uses his Bible like a Rule Book for running America and Obama will too...and that is just plain scary. You say 'everyone knows he won't': how trusting you are...or should I say naive. History is full of leaders who have interpreted the bible in their own way to gain and weild self-righteous power. Please dont elect ANOTHER one!

    October 14, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. Louis, St. Louis, MO

    I am God;
    I am Joshua;
    I am Lincoln;
    I am JFK;
    (I am a hypocrite);
    I would like to be Al Gore too(to receive some prize money is not bad!)
    I know everything;
    You folks know nothing;

    So vote for me, please please please!!!

    October 14, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  7. Jon, Grand Junction Colorado

    Surly we need to be concerned with our enviroment, but I don't want our politacal leaders being involved with what our churches should be preaching. What would be next?

    October 14, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  8. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    David, CA, I think you are right. Obama should become a preacher or moral leader for black American people. Black youngsters just need him more than ever. Louis, St. Louis, it is good question. "I am God, Joshua, Lincoln, JFK and would like to be Al Gore", then what is Obama's true color and true character? I don't think Obama could answer this doubt.

    October 14, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  9. ronnie - knoxville, tn.

    dont scare the liberals, barack, with your religious babblin' . They like their Presidents stone cold atheists

    October 14, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  10. Arshad, Newburgh, NY

    There is a difference between being educated and being enlightened by education. Like wise there is a difference between being religious and having a reflection of values & teaching of religion in one's living his life.

    Obama is saying that abortion and gay marriage are not the only moral issues as Repiblican present them in front of people are serious about faith. The issues of poverty, giving every one a fair opportunity to have a decent shot at life, helping each other in community in the time of need, and being responsible to protect the planet are also moral issues. People who are serious about faith should also consider these issues as moral issues and politicians as well as public policies should reflect these issue.
    By the way, Obama support reducing late stage abortion, education & awareness building to reduce early pregnancy to reduce abortion in first place. He also belive a woman, her faith and judgment, have the final say on the issue based on her health condition and her physician's suggestion. He supports civil union for gay people and he is against gay marriage.

    Some people here are too worried about the preservation of a collection of human cells during early pregnancy. But every day sufferings of living human being who are in pverty or without job/home or without a hope for a better life seems does not have an appeal to them. I simply don't understand your love for human life and humanity when you are too worried about life at inception or conception and don't care about real, living, full blown human lives.

    October 14, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  11. Angela, WPB FL

    Hmmm. ...Mr. Courtland
    In amongst the windy, punctuationally challenged and disjointed basic Earth Science lesson there must have been an idea or key piece of information that you were so cryptically trying to convey to us of much less intellectual stature than yourself.

    What was it??????

    October 14, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  12. Jim Bremer

    Barack Hussein has done it again. Being who he is, it's very hard to keep religion away for long. Soon he will start quoting verses from the Koran, such as " It's your duty to do Jehad "

    This guy's Islamic streak is beginning to show.

    October 14, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  13. Jim Bremer

    Someone said " Bush uses his Bible like a Rule Book for running America and Obama will too"

    The unspoken worry of many people is that Barak Hussein Obama will use a book alright, it may not be the Bible – but a totally different deadly book

    October 14, 2007 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  14. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    ALl of youse guys should keep your silly-arse religion to yourselves.

    October 14, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  15. Maria, Houston

    Evan Esteves in Boca,

    ignorance and stupidity is bi-partisan. After reading blogs for a while I came to conclusion that our current political parties and their platforms do not represent our society adequately. There should be following parties:

    a/ Open minded
    b/ Idiots

    The party affiliation should be based on a fundamental reading comprehension test, 5th grade level.

    I agree with you, it is depressing to think that some of these people will vote and therefore have impact on our children's future. I hope that our young generation will realise what's in stake and come out and vote for Barack, the only candidate who truly has their best interest in mind.

    October 14, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  16. Arshad, Newburgh, NY

    Bremer,
    This kind of nasty propaganda was tried against Obama during his Senate race in 2004. Guess what he was elected with the highest margin in the history is senate.

    So keep trying nasty game. You guys are hard core, biased Clinton supporters. You guys have lost your perspective, logic is not working in your head anymore so you need nasty name calling and perversion of truth. But the fact remains you have only one vote and your truth twisting is visible to voters who take voting seriously. At the end you are helping him. You so called liberal activists or pundits don't undertsnad ordinary Americans are faithful people and Democrats have been pushing them away just by not relating to the people of faith. A president should not impose his religious belief on people. But there are a few things that are common for all religion and reflection of those in public policy to promote common good does not mean mixing state and church.

    October 14, 2007 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  17. josh

    Religion should play a role... unless, of course, you are a republican... Then there should be seperation of church and state.

    October 14, 2007 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  18. Ron, TX

    Someone said " Bush uses his Bible like a Rule Book for running America and Obama will too"

    The unspoken worry of many people is that Barak Hussein Obama will use a book alright, it may not be the Bible – but a totally different deadly book

    Posted By Jim Bremer : October 14, 2007 9:34 pm

    Yeah. The deadly book is called the Constitution. Obama is a COnstitutional lawyer and has represented small-time people against big-time foes for most of his life. Heaven forbid a politician try to bring people of all religions and all views together on a subject like the environment. Of course, the NEWS headline is only trying to CREATE a NEWS story- no accurate reporting here. A few days ago, Obama released a COMPREHENSIVE energy plan pertaining to the environment, detailed and well-laid out. Where is Hillary's energy plan? "Invade Iran"?

    October 14, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  19. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    American paranoia is more frightening than what Americans are paranoid about.

    October 14, 2007 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  20. WE LIKE CAPS IN, PA

    ANYONE BUT HILLARY '08

    October 14, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  21. PA

    Obama is a leader with charisma and fresh ideas.

    Hillary is a leader, yes, but a conventional leader with no new legitimate ideas. She says what the people want to hear and that is all. She needs to learn to think outside the box. Honestly, I believe Obama would give the RNC a run for their money rather than Hillary. If Hillary wins the primary, Republicans will come out of the woodwork and vote against her regardless of who the Republican candidate is.

    I will be one of them. If Hillary wins the primary, I will be voting FOR whoever runs against her. So please, Iowa, NH, SC, and other early primary states, allow us to vote for the best candidate too – Barack Obama.

    October 14, 2007 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  22. sj, new jersey

    Id like to ask 'Jim Bremer' and anyone else who isn't tolerant of George Bush being a Christian, what has Pres. Bush ever done to you that imposed his religion on you; and what have you been stopped from doing in this country because of Pres. Bush's religion?

    October 14, 2007 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  23. Gary, Orlando Florida

    Actually, Obama is exactly correct. The Bible does instruct believers to take care of creation, and even many conservative evangelical Christians are coming to this point of view.

    For reference, see the website for The Evangelical Environmental Network
    or
    <a href="http://www.creationicare.net/"Creation, I Care

    Obama is at the leading edge of a new religious movement, and one that is long overdue. He is exactly correct in that this is one movement that can unite all people. Bravo to Obama!

    October 14, 2007 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  24. Jeff Morgan, TX

    dont scare the liberals, barack, with your religious babblin' . They like their Presidents stone cold atheists
    Posted By ronnie – knoxville, tn. : October 14, 2007 8:59 pm

    Well I am proud to be one of those stone cold atheists, and I approve Obama's message. For those who like facts, he's been doing this since before he was running for president.

    Why do I support his religious message? Obama has the ability to turn back the tide of religious extremism greater than any other candidate, and we can stop fighting over sex, and starting fighting to end global warming.

    There is a huge difference between mixing religion and politics, and mixing religion and policy. He's trying to get religious people on-board with climate change, and we're complaining?!

    October 14, 2007 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  25. Gary, Orlando Florida

    To correct bad html coding in my link above:
    Creation I Care site

    Also, here's another good reference:
    Evangelical Climate Initiative

    It's a shame that Obama gets any ridicule over this point of view; it's a very theologically correct one, and one that is growing in prominence. I know that CNN has interviewed Dr. Joel Hunter of Northland Church on this issue, and he is a very credible spokesperson.

    October 14, 2007 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
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