December 16th, 2007
11:23 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama talks faith in 'Music Man’s' church

CNN Producer Mike Roselli captured this photo of Obama in Algona, Iowa Sunday.

MASON CITY, Iowa (CNN) - Presidential hopeful Barack Obama told worshipers Sunday that he wasn’t raised in a church, but “came to Christ” during his years as a community organizer in Chicago.

“During this holiday season, and during the political season, I am continually reminded that the values I learned in the scriptures and at church ... can be applied outside of church every single day,” the Illinois Democratic senator told attendees of the First Congregation United Church of Christ on this gray and snowy morning in the Hawkeye State.

This church, in particular, seemed an appropriate venue for a Christmas season appearance. Meredith Wilson, who wrote “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” and “The Music Man,” attended this church.

For the past 40 years, parishioners have had a tradition of tossing mittens, hats and scarves - all intended as donations to the poor - onto a church Christmas tree. Obama had a pretty good toss, and joked that his days of playing basketball helped him.

“I am confident of my skills,” he said.

Obama's stop came in the midst of a six-day swing that will take him to more than 20 cities in the Hawkeye State, and will end in Des Moines on Tuesday.

- CNN Political Producer Mike Roselli

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Here we go again. This Bible banging bigot really needs to switch parties. Oh – I forgot. The chances of someone of his race getting the Republican nomination are pretty much non-existant. This man is a liar and a phoney who will say and do anything to gain power. The Democrats version of G. W. Bush.

    December 17, 2007 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  2. Mo, NY NY

    Senator Obama's sincere faith in and experience with Christianity is detailed in his book "Dreams from My Father" written over ten years ago. This book, which shows a level of intelligence, candor, and honesty unparalleled by any of the candidates makes clear that Obama was raised in an agnostic-Christian environment by his white American mother and Grandparents. His sincere faith in Christianity was awakened during his time community organizing in Chicago while working closely with churches and pastors. This experience forced him to explore his spiritual needs and to seek spiritual sustenance in order to continue to continue to better the blighted urban landscape that surrounded him. Any voter that is interested in knowing about the life of Barack Obama should read "Dreams from my Father" or passages from it. In the end, you'll find that you know more about Obama's faith in Christianity than we do most other candidates.

    December 17, 2007 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  3. Michelle D. - Atlanta, GA

    I used to respect Obama, until he decided to run for President.He does not fit the mold in any way, shape or fashion to be the leader of our country.

    I can't say I condemn the man for finding religion at a late stage in life, but I don't think he is a Christian by any means – just because he attended a christian school and attends church – sometimes.

    Sorry, Obama. Your consolation prize is your new found relationship with Oprah. Poor Michelle Obama. Did you see how she was watching Oprah cling on her man?

    December 17, 2007 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  4. Rose Hann New London, CT

    As I watched Obama with Oprah, it was a satigical move which had an episodic impact. It was a campaign of diviosn. Oprah has paid for taking a side of a black candidate and her past uninvolvement was the better idea.
    Americans can agree, Obama is a rising star but his star is far from risen. It would be an enormous mistake to elect a person because they are likable. We have to get back to what is best for America, and that is not Obama, at least not yet. Perhaps eight years serving in the Senate will give him the experience. As for church and values, I'm sick of the idea we need to make this an issue. It's a non issue and after seven years of Bush and religon, we need to leave the bible home and go to the voting booth with our brains. I do not care who beleives in what, I do care we use caution because the alternative will give us eight more years of what we don't want repeted again. Remember, "Separation of Church and State" and for those who force their faithful to effect the outcome should lose tax expemption.
    I am equally tired of the double stadard we still have in the 21ST Century, where a woman running for office is held to a different standard then her male counterparts. Let's get with it, we are waay behind other countries. We have left the country in the hands of men, now, we put it in a womans hands. Come on America!

    December 17, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. MikeNJD, NYC

    By the way, Meredith Wilson was a man, not a woman.

    December 17, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  6. mc, Clearwater, FL

    Obama was NOT sworn in on the Koran. You must be a Bush supporter, following in his footsteps trying to use people's fear of terrorists to get your way. It wouldn't be news that Obama was in church if not for people trying to paint him as something other than a Christian.

    December 17, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    From where did Barack Obama come to Christ from? Was he a Muslim? Also, he says that he came to Christ. Is he to say that he accepts Christ as his lord and savior?

    Posted By Fred Beebe, Pittsburgh, PA : December 16, 2007 1:49 pm

    The majority of American's don't care whether or not Obama accepts Jesus as his Christ and Savior and frankly I don't ever want to hear my president talking about something so ridiculous and foolish. Go practice your abra-cadabra elsewhere and leave the improtant decision making to the rational folks.

    December 17, 2007 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    OMG!!! Miller from Iowa I'm pretty sure that you win the award for dumbest and most factually incorrect posting EVER!!!!!! Following your rational (if that's even possible) if a child is born to a parent who is in jail for a crime then that child should automatically be punished for the crime committed by his parents...
    and exactly when did it become a crime to be an athiest in this country????? BTW- His mother is not an athiest.....
    More proof that we need to have an IQ test to be able to vote....

    December 17, 2007 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. David, Dallas Tx

    Fred said, Also, [Barack] says that he came to Christ. Is he to say that he accepts Christ as his lord and savior?

    As opposed to Christians who "Come to Christ" but reject Christ as lord and savior???

    It'd be an odd bird, the Christian who thinks Christ's death wasn’t particularly relevant. 😉

    December 17, 2007 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  10. David, Dallas Tx

    Mike in Iowa said, This man has no real experience. Yet he's hoping to rule the most powerful nation on the planet.

    Let's look at Papa Bush's credentials when he ran for president:

    Director of CIA
    Ambassador to China
    Chairman of the RNC
    Ambassador to United Nations
    Congress, House of Representatives
    Naval Aviator during WWII

    Today we can pick between state governors (like Bush Jr., and look where that got us), city mayors, and one- or two-term senators. If you want experience, vote McCain—he’s the ONLY candidate with significant national and global political experience. Unfortunately, too often his views and mine don’t coincide.

    I think the issues like candidate’s religion and who cuts their grass receive more attention than usual in this campaign cycle because there’s so little else to report about.

    After all, in how many other campaigns would being married to a president be considered as a serious declaration of political experience? 😉 It’s sad, really.

    I like Obama's views best, so he's got my support.

    December 17, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  11. jan henderson kingsville texas

    first he didnt put his hand over his heart to the star spangled banner .,,.then it was his drug testing years.,now its the muslim link,.,.i dont trust him either,.we need experience only hillary can give us

    December 17, 2007 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. jessica,worcester,ma

    Meanwhile, Hillary had to lug some old bible around as a prop for the day.

    December 17, 2007 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. The PTA Coalition For Truth - All Across America Strong

    Quote from a previous post: "For those who have focused on him struggling as a child of a single mother as a teenager, and blaming him for trying pot you might consider that he hasn't been fed from a silver spoon all his life."

    Don't y'all just love it when everyone buys into the spin messages?!

    Child of a single mother – Who was married to his father (who already had a wife & kids in Kenya) until Obama was 2, then she remarried when Obama was about 6?

    Four years at the very most of being a single mom, struggling while they lived with his Grandparents in an affluent home in Hawaii??

    From what I gather he struggled as a teenager and young adult with alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine because he didn't know where he fit in, being half-black but living mostly in a white community.

    And as to not being fed from a silver spoon all his life, his step-father was head of an oil company in Indonesia and his grandparents were far from being poor. But the story has a nice style to it anyway :o)

    The concerns are not so much for his having abused drugs in his youth, the concern is: Is this really the kind of message that we want to send to our children? Sure it's hopeful and inspirational, but then so was President Bush's recent reflections on his own drug and alcohol abuse as a young man. Do we really want YET ANOTHER one in the Oval Office? Instead of Bush advising our children "To the 'C' students, I say to you: you, too, can be president of the United States " - Senator Obama could inspire them "Don't worry if you're a drug abuser, you too can someday grow up to become President of the United States of America."

    Has our pride in America sunk so low that this is the true world image which we wish to portray? And the hope for our children's future? We as Parents and Teachers All Across America don't truly believe so....

    December 18, 2007 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  14. Bert,Martinez,CA

    We voted a person lacking in experience to be president of this great country and what we got is George Bush and the Iraq war. De we need to try again in the person of Barack Obama? I'm afraid we might have a world war III this time or one religion against the others.

    December 18, 2007 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. lianette

    I is sad to know that candidates are using faith for their candidacy. I don't think God likes it. They only think now that they are courting people to vote for them. Well, try......but we are smart voters. We are intelligent voters. We don't buy such game anyway you want it. Obama tries everything he can from celebrity helping him to now paying faith. Sometimes it is very unfortunately for a candidate to try to hide his real qualifications. Not having the experience to run a the most serious and critical position in this country, you cannot just do it, I am so sorry to say that. I cannt afford another disaster to come or to happen to our country. We cannot afford either to be run by advisers just because you don't have the knowledge or experience to run our country. Please......we know better than that.

    Only Hillary so far is the one that I could see the most qualified candidate to be the President of the United States of America.

    December 18, 2007 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. HUCK,LA.


    December 18, 2007 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  17. Mrs. Harris

    Barack says be believe in God, however he did not use the Holy Bible to be sworn into office he used the Koran? What about not giving reverence to our flag? What about not reciting the Pledge of Allegiance? This is who people what for president? Thanks that make you say hummmmmmm

    January 15, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
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