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
Edwards is the winner of a MoveOn.org straw poll.
Asked which Democratic "presidential candidate's position on dealing with the climate crisis” is most preferable, Edwards topped the list with 33 percent - more than double the support received by the second place finisher, Dennis Kucinich (16 percent).
New York Sen. Hillary Clinton comes in a close third with just under 16 percent, followed by Illinois Sen. Barack Obama (15 percent), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (13 percent), Delaware Sen. Joe Biden (3 percent), Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd (3 percent) and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel (2 percent).
A total of 95,284 people voted in the poll, according to MoveOn.org spokesman Trevor Fitzgibbon. That number is nearly the amount of Democrats who participated in the 2004 Iowa Caucus.
The poll followed a virtual town hall Saturday night on the issue. All of the candidates participated. It was the largest event sponsored by MoveOn.org since 2004, according to the organization, with over 100,000 people either watching online or attending one of 1,300 house parties.
“The enormous response we got from our members on this issue emphasizes how important it will be for our next president to make solving the climate crisis a top priority in 2008,” said Eli Pariser, Executive Director of MoveOn.org, in a statement.
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney