June 10th, 2008
04:49 PM ET
6 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. Lilac

    When do we atheists get our private meeting? How about the Hindus and the Buddhists and the pagans? Why does it always seem that we are forever catering to Christianity in this country? Sure Christians are the majority, but the rest of us live here too, and we're getting mighty sick of religion being pounded down our throats.

    June 10, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. I used to be a Democrat

    Religion, religion, religion... is that all this guy is about?

    June 10, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  3. Don in Florida

    I have faith that Team Obama does things by committee and that those who surround Obama are very wise and smart. They know what they're doing. Obama 08 & 12

    June 10, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. Anita from Arizona

    He's talking to them, not inviting them into his campaign. Faith is important to most Americans. It makes sense to me.

    June 10, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. Richard

    After 8 years of ultra right wing Bush and his followers running the country, so called conservatives have lost their credibility for warning of what would happen under left wing liberals.

    Bill Clinton was considered a left wing liberal and the country wasn't doing so bad under his lead. I know I had A LOT more money in my pocket an the end of the month than I do now.

    Yes, family values were out the window, but the man knew how to run a country, for the most part. Mistakes were made, no doubt, but not even close to the catastrophe of Bush.

    With Obama, you get the intelligence and charisma of Clinton and the family values and 'normal guy' appeal of Bush. Plus, he's HONEST, which is a BIG change this country would benefit from.

    Obama's oratory skills is the cherry.

    Conservatives should NOT be complaining about Obama.

    June 10, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    THINK BEFORE YOU QUESTION WHY THIS MEETING WITH RELIGIOUS LEADERS WAS HELD PRIVATELY AND BEHIND CLOSED DOORS. IF I WERE A MEMBER OF JOHN MCCAIN'S CHURCH, WHICH I HAVE ATTENDED, AND SUPPORTED OBAMA, I WOULD EXPECT THE SAME COURTESY FROM HIS PASTOR, CLOSED DOORS AND UNIDENTIFIED.

    June 10, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. Theresa Jones, Mesa, Arizona

    What happened to separation of church and state?

    June 10, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  8. Independent in MI

    Wonder if Rev Wright was invited?

    June 10, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  9. Nanc, MN

    Hhhmmm – Hey look over there! Could this be Obama's way of getting his prior poor judgement of his personal religious advisers out of the media's eye.

    June 10, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  10. OIF VET

    Marcus West and the AntiChrist.
    You have got to get a life. Hell, if he can reduce are dependence on Arab Oil, end the war in Iraq and make sure that the rich fat cats that loves Bush and McSames tax cuts pay more, then I would vote for him if he was the devil himself.

    June 10, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. Linda

    Thank God for a man who is not afraid to sit down and talk with people. Keep up the great job, Senator Obama.

    June 10, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  12. sharon

    What about all that transparency he was going to bring? Seems pretty secretive and elitist to me.

    June 10, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. skunkrat The Marine

    I support you but I don't like all of these secret meetings. If these ministers want their attendance kept secret they should move to Russia or Cuba because we are suppose to be living in a open society. Secret meetings are the type of things that Bush and your cousin Dick " SHOTGUN" Chaney would do.

    June 10, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  14. Nia

    I think it is a good move. Religion is an important factor for alot of voters and to get everyones aspect in how to reach them is good. Although it's a fine line to walk to try and seperate church and state, when that is a big part of American life no matter what religion you are. However I'm sure Fox nes and etc will try to spin it as some kind of anti Christ shin-dig...whatever.
    Besides he did say a couple weeks ago thathe was looking for a new church home. And that decision was a private one between him and his wife.

    June 10, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  15. OHIO VOTER

    Why would you bring up religion?? Is Reverend Wright on the way back in the headlines? Please talk about the real issues, gas prices, economy, foreclosures, food costs, crime, poverty, health care, Iraq, China, stock market, and so many other ISSUES!!!

    But religion??? Leave it alone.......

    June 10, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  16. jerry

    once again Cnn is showing bias toward Obama, just saw Jeffery Tobin act like a complete a– on the Wolg Blitzer show If Cnn can not have people on their show , that are not bias, they should call their news program the Great Obama Show

    June 10, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  17. Mike

    The RNC is paying bloggers to try and pull Clinton supporters over to McCain.

    Don't listen to the same three or four people that flood the Ticker on a daily basis using different names – they are just paid hacks.

    June 10, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  18. JP

    Cindy CA – I liked your post. I agree, maybe instead the question should be "Is American ready for an intelligent president?"

    June 10, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  19. Mike

    The RNC is paying bloggers to try and pull Clinton supporters over to McCain.

    Don't listen to the same three or four people that flood the Ticker on a daily basis using different names – they are just paid hacks.

    CNN POST THIS

    June 10, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  20. Sadie

    Nevada female voter for Obama–
    "As to Mr. Obama's meeting, perhaps the only other faith community he should include would be rabbi's from the Jewish Community, but he has already met with them."

    And why exactly are we excluding everyone else? There are more religions in this country than just two. Not a single person I am friends with is a Christian or a Jew (mostly agnostics, atheists, or Buddhists), so I guess we just don't count.

    June 10, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  21. Michele, Oregon

    As a Catholic, I am happy to see Obama holding this type of meeting. He knows that vibrant, active people of faith will stand with the marginalized, and seek to care for the poor, elderly, stranger in our midst, etc. Though he does not carry the whole platform, it is much closer than the republicans who have marketed the right wing Evangelicals as a pawn. A lot of Christians have grown up from this myopic way of seeing, realize The Word cannot be limited in such narrow mindset, and are excited for what Obama has to offer to people across the spectrum of all faiths. Good for him for caring enough.

    June 10, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. Ilona Proud Canadian

    Democrats!

    Please, those who do not agree with your beliefs and policies (republicans) can only get to you IF YOU LET THEM! Some of the above comments are just off the wall, and not comments of true democrats, so please just let them talk to themselves. Ignore them!

    Marcus West!
    ==========

    "It just seems like something the AntiChrist would do"

    Marcus you are the only thing about this article that is very very scary!

    June 10, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  23. Rob

    Reaching out to the faith community is a priority for Barack Obama and will be a priority under an Obama Administration,"

    I suspect many of you that are gushing in favor of this recoiled at the notion of President Bush's faith-based initiatives.

    Your hypocrisy and ignorance is appalling.

    June 10, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. Eric

    Jimmy, the 'center' has been drifting RIGHT and fast for decades. It's not 'far left' to believe that our children's health should be comprehensively taken care of. But yes, energy is a national security issue. However, drilling for more oil is just a short-term solution, and Senator Obama seems to understand that.

    June 10, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  25. Bubba

    Obama has met with enough religious "leaders."

    June 10, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
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