June 10th, 2008
04:49 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama meets with religious leaders behind closed doors

,
 Obama privately met with about 30 religious leaders in Chicago on Tuesday.
Obama privately met with about 30 religious leaders in Chicago on Tuesday.

CHICAGO (CNN) - Presumptive Democratic nominee Barack Obama held a private, closed-press meeting Tuesday with religious leaders, which included Evangelicals, Protestants and Catholics, according to campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

About 30 people are expected to attend, including some from Chicago, a campaign aide said. Members of the media were kept out and weren't informed of any details until about 45 minutes prior to the beginning of the meeting.

"Reaching out to the faith community is a priority for Barack Obama and will be a priority under an Obama Administration," Psaki said in an e-mailed statement when pressed for details by members of the traveling press corps. Previously, the only information provided to reporters was that Obama would hold a private gathering with "community leaders."

"This is one of several meetings he will have over the coming months with religious leaders," Psaki said.

The Illinois senator left the traveling press corps upon landing in Chicago after a morning of campaign events in St. Louis, Missouri. Staffers would not disclose the location of the meeting to the reporters who were still on board the plane waiting to depart.

The campaign said privacy was necessary because the meeting includes people who support Obama, as well as some who do not who wanted to remain unidentified.

They provided the names of three leaders in attendance, all of whom happen to be African-American:

Dr. T. Dewitt Smith, president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention; Dr. Stephen Thurston, pastor of the New Covenant Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago; and Bishop Philip Cousin of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, who is pastor of the Philip R. Cousin AME Church in Naperville, Illinois.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. Obama a wolf in sheeps' clothing

    His actions in the last 20 years and his silence in the midst of a raci st church tells us all we need to know about where he stands on religion.

    We already know that he will say and do anything to get elected….but those are just words….it's his actions that speak to his true character and true feelings about people and race……HIS 20 years at Trinity applauding Wright said it all!

    June 10, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  2. CLINTON 08 VP

    TO "Terrell" AND EVERYONE ELSE WHO THINKS OBAMA SHOULDN'T HELP CLINTON OR GIVE HER THE VP: SHE HAD A TOTAL OF 1,923 DELLEGATES IN THE END AND OBAMA HAD 2,156, A DIFFERENCE OF ONLY 233 AND YOU THINK THAT SHE DOESN'T DESERVE IT? SHE LOST OVER BY A HAIR, THIS NOMINATION WAS AS CLOSE AS EVER! SHE OBVIOUSLY DESERVES THIS AND MORE BUT I THINK SHE WOULD BE HAPPY IF OBAMA WOULD STOP DELUTING HIMSELF BY THINKING HE "REALLY REALLY" WON THE NOMINATION BY A VERY LARGE MARGIN SO HE WOULD STOP WRITING HIS STUPID LIST FOR THE VP, OBAMA ONLY HALF OF THE COUNTRY GAVE YOU THE NOMINATION, WILL YOU CONSIDER THE OTHER HALF?

    June 10, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  3. Brett from Austin, TX

    So much for transparency and discretion. Haha. THE POLITICS OF CHANGE!

    June 10, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. Belle

    Still shopping for a politically correct church!!

    June 10, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  5. aa

    he was SELECTED not ELECTED...now he needs more of that

    June 10, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  6. JCB

    A private meeting, my foot. At this point, nothing should be private. I guess it was private so that we wouldn't know if Rev. Wright was present, or not. Actually, this is a presidential campaign, we have a right to know the participants in the meeting. What happen to CHANGE!

    June 10, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  7. Annie

    We already know everything we need to know about where Obama stands on religion.

    His 20 year involvement, participation and funding of a racist church says it all!

    June 10, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  8. True Democrat

    Don't want anyone to know you are still meeting with ol' buddy Wright and Pfleger huh?

    And behind closed doors. All this secrecy from a man who preaches transparency.

    What kind of change is this really? Constantly changing positions? A two faced Obama? Is that what our nation needs?

    June 10, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  9. Nancy

    Its a good idea to listen to what they have to say.

    However, we should keep the idea of separation of church and state clear. This is one of the fundamental ideas of the founding fathers.

    Also, he needs to make these meetings open to the press. Whenever, he leaves them out, the press will try to make more of it than usual.

    If he wants to gain the condidence and truth of the electorate, then he has to be open for all types of discussions.

    He shouldn't give the press any excuses to try to slander him.

    June 10, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. Tony Howard

    Bottom Line: This a very intelligent man trying to help and unify the country of his birth, and the country that he loves.

    June 10, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  11. Mitch

    He is so full of him self and only getting worse.
    Democrats are easily fooled, but not this one. No vote for me even if Hillary is on the ticket
    Democrats wake up and stop fooling yourselves before it's to late, he is not the second coming of Christ

    June 10, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  12. Independent Voter

    You would think this guy had learned his lesson by now:

    America = Separation of Church and State!

    If he had paid attention to that maxim 20 years ago, he might be a much better elected official today. But he didn't, and he's not.

    In the next few weeks we can look forward to seeing Rev. Wright again. Today he announced he may not retire after all.

    If I wanted ministers involved in government, I would have voted for the Evangelicals – no need – it seems they're coming in the back door.

    June 10, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  13. G. Penley

    We aren't allowed to display the Ten Commandments publicly, but our Presidential candidates can court religious leaders, in private, no less. THIS IS SCARY!

    June 10, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. Phil Newton, Murphy OR

    I'm an Evangelical and Obama has my vote.

    June 10, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. Unempressed voter

    Probably telling them how important it is to keep church/state seperate – probably because of the flareups he had (every church I've been in has said some pretty bad stuff about others and other religions – quite sad in my opinion)

    June 10, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. susa

    marcus west you are getting paranoid all right.

    June 10, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. js

    Re: Marcus West comment, I have heard "anti Christ" mentioned several times today–now that is creepy and spooky

    June 10, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. Kay

    What about how Bush lied to the religious right? Made fun of religious groups once they got the White House. There is a great book on how the republicans don't care.

    I see the Republican blogs are still coming on here. Get a Life! You are so transparent. Only a Republican would be this dumb to not recognize who you are usually posing as Hillary people that will realize McBush is anti Roe Vs Wade.

    June 10, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. ben

    I will vote for Obama, and I could not care less what religeos people af any faith think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! When we start electing presidents to please
    some moralist religeos group or groups, then let's go back to the inqusition and let the church make laws for us to follow

    June 10, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  20. Sebastian

    I think most people expect that Mr. Obama will be viewed in ecumenical circles as the most genuine, faithful candidate in the race. He will bring his Christian faith with him as president but not be dominated by it. That's the balance we want.

    I wonder how long will it take the closet republican operatives to start the sophomoric references to Wright & Pflegger on this blogg?

    June 10, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  21. Bacusla

    Marcus West: "... but rather a paranoid worry. It just seems like something the "AntiChrist" would do. Ha. Look what television and media do to me. But it does seem very creepy."

    It takes a very stupid person to come up with a perverted interpretation like yours. And frankly it is foolishness of the kind you put out here that will usher in the "AntiChrist" (to quote from your equally poor spelling).

    "Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genuis - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction." – Albert Einstein.

    Govern yourself(ves) accordingly.

    June 10, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. Ilona Proud Canadian

    jimF?

    "the meeting includes people who support Obama....as well as some who do not .....who wanted to remain unidentified.

    The people who do not support Obama wanted to remain unidentified.

    June 10, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  23. Don in Florida

    As a part of Obama Nation I know that wiser heads will prevail in choosing the best person to be his VP. And if that happens to be Clinton then so be it. So for my 'peeps in Obama Nation saying they will not vote for Obama if she's on the ticket, please reconsider that. Don't you realize that his team knows better then we do who should be his VP?

    And to those Clinton Supporters saying they won't vote for Obama if he doesn't choose her, please also reconsider. They won't do it out of spite or just because of the bad blood, but for reasons you and I are probably not going to be privy to. Team Obama will pick the candidate that they feel gives them the best chance to win in November. However, if you still feel that you will choose McCain out of spite then that's your prerogative but repeating it in these blogs will really not change anyone's mind.

    June 10, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  24. KB

    Closed door meeting? Only 3 members were willing to be identified? Is this the change and transparency in government that BO has been promising? In my opinion, this man is dangerous. I want to know what was talked about in this meeting. Don't you?

    June 10, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. Vasilios Birlidis

    ummmm, okay. let me get this straight. Obama meets with every possible religious leader except anyone from the jewish community.

    Way to go Obama. We are so losing this.

    June 10, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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