October 7th, 2007
05:11 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama addresses evangelical megachurch

Obama was scheduled to address a church audience in South Carolina on Sunday morning

GREENVILLE, South Carolina (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama is increasingly invoking his Christian faith on the campaign trail, and on Sunday morning the Democratic presidential candidate will become a preacher of sorts by addressing an evangelical megachurch in Greenville.

Obama will speak to the Redemption World Outreach Center, which describes itself as "a Spirit-filled Church, characterized by dynamic worship, supernatural miracles, and relevant ministry for all ages ...
reaching people from all walks of life." Obama's campaign calls the appearance "an opportunity for the Senator to have a morning of fellowship with South Carolinians."

The church has 4,200 seats. Members of the church said Sunday morning that they have a total congregation of over 10,000.

It's rare for Democratic candidates to venture to the traditionally conservative Upstate region of South Carolina, which is characterized politically by church-going Republican primary voters living in and around Greenville and Spartanburg.

But Obama's visit here is not surprising given his campaign's recent efforts in South Carolina to reach out to Christian voters, including the state's large African-American population that makes up an estimated 50 percent of Democratic primary voters. The state campaign is in the midst of promoting Obama's values through a grassroots effort called "40 Days of Faith and Family," which is reaching out to primary voters through gospel concerts and a series of faith forums.

Last weekend, Obama attended but did not speak at two churches in Columbia, one predominantly black and one predominantly white. At a town hall meeting in Aiken on Saturday, Obama was introduced by a pastor who led the crowd of 2,400 in a brief prayer. There are times on the stump when Obama even sounds like a pastor himself, referencing New Testament phrases and sometimes saying "I'm not gonna preach to ya!" when emphasizing a point to his audience.

According to the religion web site Beliefnet and its "God-o-Meter" tool that measures "God-talk" in the presidential campaigns, Obama invokes religion more than any of his Democratic competitors.

Obama is set to speak during the 9 a.m. service.

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- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Phillip Phifer, Corpus Christi, Texas

    I have not read all the comments on this issue but I read just enough to be extremely frightened. In the church where I serve as the pastor we do not allow politicians to come and take the pulpit on a Sunday or any other time. The church of Jesus Christ is about the proclamation of the word and administration of the sacraments. we are not in the business of trying to create "a kingdom" here on earth. We are part of the Kingdom of Christ, a kingdom that is ours now by faith and at his return ours by sight. The church is not to hold the power of the government and the government is not to hold the power of the church. It is just as frightening to hear Obama talk about creating a kingdom here as it is James Dobson say that one canidate is not Christian enough for his taste.

    October 7, 2007 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  2. Valy, New York, NY

    It's funny how many of those who accuse others of being haters carry so much hate. I don't understand how a church-going christian who decides to attend or speak at a christian church is pandering. It seems antithetical to me that liberals/progressives/democrats would want to disenfranchise people (christians). I submit that people with such sentiments are neither liberal, progressive or democrat.

    October 7, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  3. David Columbia SC


    Why is it that the Dem's use religion and houses of worship to campaign?

    If I were a pastor there is no way in hell I'd let a politician use my pulpit for a stepping stone. It's a slap in the face of God.
    It is amazing to me that these preachers sell-out to The Man for a little bit of publicity.

    It's no suprise that both Obama and Hillary play the church for the religious angle, but frankly, it smacks of hypocrisy in the worst way, and is disgusting as hell.

    October 7, 2007 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  4. Burt, Mandeville Louisiana

    This nation is fortunate that someone like Barak Obama is even running for President. It seems so obvious to a LOT of people ... many who are NOT being polled. I think the "talking heads" and "pollsters" are in for a surprise come election day ... well at least I sure hope so!

    October 8, 2007 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  5. Orlando Smith Philadelphia Pa.

    Someone needs to remind Mr. Obama that the kingdom is already here , the church ,which christ purchased with his blood(Acts 20:28)

    October 8, 2007 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  6. Mark, B'ham, Al.

    It is a good thing Obama is a democrat, If he were a republican the democrats and the left wing media would send the IRS to this and any other church to take away their tax exemption status and yell about seperation of church and state.

    October 8, 2007 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  7. Dere, Phoenix, AZ

    "The state campaign is in the midst of promoting Obama's values through a grassroots effort called "40 Days of Faith and Family," which is reaching out to primary voters through gospel concerts and a series of faith forums."

    I think CNN needs to look up the definition of the term "grassroots".

    October 8, 2007 01:47 am at 1:47 am |
  8. Bill Ward Augusta, GA

    This should put the icing on Obama's failing campaign. "She who must be obeyed" will triumph. (Until next November!)

    October 8, 2007 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  9. Mark. Shreveport, LA

    Ask Obama if he believes in abortion on demand or if he believes that there should be religion in public life. I bet he winks at the liberal left who supports abortion on demand and activist judges who want to strip all religion from public life whom Obama would nominated to the Supreme Court.

    October 8, 2007 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Jake, Houston Tx

    Hussein Obama is a Muslim and always will be. He and Hillary are both phonies and the American people need to realize what will happen to this country if either are elected.

    October 8, 2007 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. Dorinda, Strasburg VA

    Obama is a muslim pretending to be Christian...you don't change faiths to run in an election!! Give me a break on his so call christianity and values!!

    October 8, 2007 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. Megan, Atlanta, GA

    Smart move Obama. Of course, we'll see Hillary in a Black Church in South Carolina next week putting on her best southern accent.
    Democrats are foolish to think they don't have to reach out to conservatives. The religious right actually votes come election day. Remember Ohio in 2004. For whatever reason, minorities and young people are not a reliable voting block, so Dems have to appeal to conservatives on some level.

    October 8, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  13. Matt, Paris, Illinois

    People who fear Obama being some sort of top-secret radical Muslim are beyond ignorant. Obama's father, while raised a Muslim as a youth in Kenya, was an atheist as an adult.

    Or do some of you really think he was just PRE-TENDING to be a Muslim?

    October 8, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  14. A.P. Hopkinsville KY

    Ali or God? The core beleif is the same. I am more worried about the his postion on key items and not where he goes to worship.

    October 8, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. spinstopper

    What is an Evangelical Christian? And how exactly are they different than anyone else that claims to follow Jesus??

    October 8, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. Dustin Hogan, Denver, CO

    Where is the evidence that Obama is a Muslim? And isn't Islam just another form of monotheism? What does it matter?

    To the person talking about Obama's position on gay marriage, I say this:

    I've never seen him support the idea. Maybe I missed it. I've seen him against making it illegal, that's all.

    So gay marriage is a sin. So what? That's irrelevant. Lots of sins are legal. Remarriage, alcohol, gambling, premarital sex, masturbation, anal and oral sex, profanity, nudity in art...

    ...would you have our government be so invasive as to criminalize all of that?

    Admit it. What you want is a Christian theocracy. Theocracy tends to be totalitarian in nature. Where have we seen that before?

    October 8, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. Debi, Philadelphia, Pa

    Religion should be a personal matter not a Presidential Podium. Campaigning in a Church...it just isn't right.

    October 8, 2007 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
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