Obama's Christian Appeal
By Perry Bacon
GREENWOOD, S.C. -- The brochure being handed out in South Carolina shows a picture of the candidate with his hands together and eyes closed. In large letters, it reads "ANSWERING THE CALL."
Inside, voters learn of a candidate who was "CALLED TO CHRIST" and even larger letters is a "COMMITTED CHRISTIAN" and is quoted saying, "I believe in the power of prayer."
Barack Obama's campaign in South Carolina is targeting black voters, and one of the ways he's doing it is appealing to a connection based on shared religious faith. Obama, a Christian who attends a United Church of Christ congregation in Chicago, has talked about his faith in Iowa and other states, as well, but his campaign literature is particularly focused on his religion here, where he depicts himself, in one picture, before a pulpit, and, in another, praying with an African American man.
That appeal is no accident. There may be as many African American born-again Christians voting in the South Carolina Democratic primary as white Christians voting in the Republican one. Reaching out to religious African American voters, Obama's campaign hosted a series of gospel concerts last year that drew huge crowds, but also some controversy because of the anti-gay comments of one of the singers, Donnie McClurkin. The candidate did not attend, but the concert included videos of Obama and his wife Michelle speaking.
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