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Steele and his "Come to Jesus Moment"

Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele yesterday exhorted religious leaders to build stronger ties between church and state and called for targeting more state money for community programs run by faith-based groups.

"Oops I am not supposed to use the word: Faith based! Faith based! Faith based! Don't get me started," Steele said to the more than 600 leaders of nonprofit, community and religious groups gathered for a conference at Prince George's Community College.

"I wanted this to be a come-to-Jesus moment," Steele (R) continued. "We have a lot of different approaches, but one common goal: To do good work that touches people's lives."

As a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Steele has made outreach to faith communities, particularly African-American churches, a key part of his campaign. As lieutenant governor, he oversees the Governor's Office of Community Initiatives, which helps faith-based groups gain access to federal money available for their organizations.

Hamil Harris

By Phyllis Jordan  |  February 27, 2006; 6:25 PM ET
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