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. William Courtland, Waterford, Ontario

    So the real point is Governor Richardson needs to convert ocean waters to fresh to save the planet. This water reclamation wouldn't hurt Australia or Egypt either.

    Global warming is due to the water transfer cycle, while pollution relates mostly to a poisoning effect.

    October 15, 2007 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Cary - Lowell, IN

    Obama ruins his credibility just talking about climate change. Of course the climate changes; It's only gone warmer by a few degrees – I'd say that's a good thing; politicians think they're experts on the environment now, too?!

    October 15, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Zizi Khalifati, NY, NY

    Obama ruins his credibility just talking about climate change. Of course the climate changes; It's only gone warmer by a few degrees – I'd say that's a good thing; politicians think they're experts on the environment now, too?!

    Posted By Cary – Lowell, IN : October 15, 2007 12:04 pm

    Cary, Hillary just said on the view that if she becomes president she would use Al Gore to help her end global warming. It looks like all of the candidates believe in Global Warm not just Obama and the majority of Democrates believe in it anyway.

    Zizi out

    October 15, 2007 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  4. Joe Clinton, Los Angeles, Calii

    Thank you Ayyub for giving me more reasons to support Barack Obama for president.

    GoBAMA 08!

    October 15, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  5. Wayne, Detroit MI

    Days after the story about Obauma's racist pastor surface he is telling us great things about his religion and how it needs to be a bigger facet in society? Two-year Senator lacking expereince.

    October 15, 2007 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. Chris, Middletown, CT

    another example of the "more you talk...the less I like" – he has lost me....Giuliani for president!! (and will will win....the only moderate running)

    October 15, 2007 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  7. Ayyub, Richmond

    Days after the story about Obauma's racist pastor surface he is telling us great things about his religion and how it needs to be a bigger facet in society? Two-year Senator lacking expereince.

    Posted By Wayne, Detroit MI : October 15, 2007 12:29 pm

    Your pastor doesn't make your religion and beliefs you do. That's why Obama got away from his pastor.

    October 15, 2007 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. Linda - Albany, NY

    I must respectfully disagree with Obama on this, yet again. While religion/spirituality are important to a great number of people, Mr. Obama seems to be forgetting that we are not all of the same faith/beliefs. Some things are better left in your home and/or church, period.

    I am not Christian, however, I also respect my Christian friends by not wearing symbols of my beliefs around them. They in turn, do not attempt to force-feed me their views. This has NOT hindered/altered either of our beliefs. It is a simple matter of tolerance and respect and the sooner people practice those simple considerations, the sooner the "religion wars" will end.

    Separation of Church and State.

    October 15, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    Obama: Religion should play a role in climate change

    Uh, it already does. That's exactly what "man-made global climate change" is all about... it's religion for people who claim to hate religion. You know, like "Faith for the Faithless."

    October 15, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Coach Haughton NH

    Any political candidate has to understand that there are some religious americans and some non-religious americans. Just like political affliliation, someone is going to disagree with any religious affiliation.

    Political candidates not only have the right to discuss their faith, they have the duty to do so. How else can we make an accurate judgement of their character?

    I'm not republican but I don't think all or even most republican's are stupid. Half the country is republican. Who am I to judge them? More that half of the country is Christian and their voice deserves to be heard. I don't believe we've elected a non-christian president yet.

    Liberals should be overjoyed that someone out there is reaching across the aisle to get something done. He is simply telling people that our mission to make the planet better for ALL people is not much different from theirs. No political party can get anything done without support from christians, because this is a democracy. Majority rules is one of the pillars of democracy.

    Whats wrong with that?

    October 15, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Jim Hall, Jacksonville FL

    "Science has made it undeniably clear that our generation is not living up to this responsibility."...a false statement. We are all waiting for that one scientific report that shows us what is going on with this issue and that it is disproven/proven that this is not just another one of earth's natural cycles.

    October 15, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. Angela, WPB, FL

    so ...Mr Courtland...... are you saying that our contribution to global Warming is contributory but not significant compared to the other climatological/atmospheric systems, but we still can, to some extent, by our activities and choices have a positive effect on our environmental future?

    And thank you for responding, you're really fascinating. Honestly.

    October 15, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  13. joseph, austin, tx

    Thank God hes not a republican or you libs would have chewed him up, its amazing how he gets a free pass but God forbid GWB says he uses faith in his politics. I get it he's talking about claimate change the choosen religion of the left so everything is ok.

    October 15, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. Ayyub, Richmond


    I incourage you all to go to this website to see the different issues and views of all of the presidetial candidates not just Democrate but also Republican.

    October 15, 2007 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. Jeff, Houston, Texas

    Mr. Obama: If you do not drop all of this religous mumbo jumbo, I will be forced to place you in the paddcok with the other beleivers in the tooth fairy. Pull your head out sir! We need fresh ideas, not old supersition!

    October 15, 2007 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  16. Mrs. America

    The longer Obama keeps up the religious rantings, the more he looks like King George. Fake. Wonder if he realizes that. Not good.

    October 15, 2007 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Mrs. America

    People cannot have evolved from something which lives today. Evolve means to change, as in from one thing to another. Whatever we evolved from no longer exists. The closest extant animal to us is the chimpanzee.

    October 15, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. Carly, Madison WI

    Today Obama came to Madison, Wisconsin, and I was truly inspired after hearing what this man had to say–and I was not alone. People of all different religions, race, backgrounds, and ages came together to hear this "new face of hope" after six years of mounting frustrations caused by the current administration. Republicans claim that this self-proclaimed slogan is too naive to live in Washington, yet I can tell you that he is truly living up to this. I am never the one to get caught up in ultra-optimistic attitudes, yet as this man stood before me with such charisma, tears were soon flooding my eyes. Over 2,000 students were in attendance, which is quite remarkable considering the election is over a year away.

    And as for the comment where he is being compared to Bush... maybe you should brush up on your research.

    October 15, 2007 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  19. Angie, West Des Moines IA

    I really like this guy. I was at this particular speech, not as a supporter but as a voter trying to be informed, and I never felt like he was playing a religion card. One of the intro speakers that morning was a Buddhist woman, so this was really an interfaith forum.

    I'm just so thankful to hear a Democrat who is not afraid to pretend he has faith in a higher power. People of Christian faith have long been led to believe that they were "supposed" to vote Republican... I've been in that camp, and I used to identify myself as a Republican... but now that I've actually started to think through some of the issues without being force-fed my beliefs by the religious powers-that-be, wow, there truly are valid reasons why a Christian could choose to vote for a Democrat. Thank you, Mr. Obama, for reinforcing what I already knew in my heart. That being "pro-life" could and should really encompass a bigger picture, including being against unjust wars, and being for the alleviation of hunger and poverty, and working for the protection of our environment.

    October 16, 2007 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  20. Obama, '08

    ok people, here's the thing... although it may seem like all Obama is talking about is religion; that is far from the truth. Only CNN and other news outlets decide to report on his religious "mumbo jumbo." Each candidate talks about religion daily (Yes, Clinton lovers, even Hillary talks about religion... maybe she's not so cold-hearted. eh, I dont care.) Do research, people, he's the only democratic candidate with substance, fresh ideas, and good leadership for this country.

    October 16, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |

    I'm a non-believer...but I trust Barack Obama to believe and UNDERSTAND the CONSTITUTION. He has a firm grip on seperation of church and state so I have no fear of his PERSONAL beleifs. (that's why he's pro-choice). He's the best candidate we've seen in a long time and he's perfect for America RIGHT NOW!


    October 16, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Linda - Albany, NY

    "This doesn't have anything to do with Obama, so please give him credit where it is due.

    With that said,
    God will judge and destroy you all. You cowards live your lives serving money and immorality. I've been guilty of it too. Very soon we'll feel the pain of our ways and it will be too late to turn back. Repent to God, come home to your brothers and sisters."

    Posted By Harry D, FL

    Oh, geez, here we go again – another fundamentalist on a soapbox, spewing self-righteous judgements and claiming justfication.

    How about taking responsibility for the part we all have in destroying our earth on a daily basis, rather than point the finger at others and screaming "God's revenge is at hand," crap!

    This is exactly the kind of garbage that gets us nowhere fast.

    Oh, and separation of church and state is still a great idea.

    October 16, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Mike, IC IA

    Of course religion (God) plays a role in absolutely everything and Obama understands this. Russia and Iran are now shaking hands while were disputing with both of them. If we touch Iran we got Russia to deal with. We need to resolve some issues fast

    October 17, 2007 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  24. KyleL

    Bucnh of garbage he throws out his mouth..is to close to being a republican.and his repetive religious crap ..he join the church in chicago 3 months before he annouced.. hes a phony

    October 17, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  25. Greg

    Obama leave the Church nonsense out...your way from it..if your supporters think a modern day kennedy.To address fears that his Catholicism would impact his decision-making, he famously told the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960, "I am not the Catholic candidate for President. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for President who also happens to be a Catholic. I do not speak for my Church on public matters — and the Church does not speak for me."[14] Kennedy also brought up the point of whether one-quarter of Americans were relegated to second-class citizenship just because they were Catholic.

    October 17, 2007 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
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