Obama accuses Christian Right of hijacking faith

Sen. Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaButtigieg tweeted support for 'Medicare for All' in 2018 Brent Budowsky: To Bush and Obama — speak out on Trump Graham on Syria: Trump appears 'hell-bent' on repeating Obama's mistakes in Iraq MORE (D-Ill.) strongly criticized Christian conservatives Saturday, saying they had “hijacked” faith and are using it to drive a wedge between people.

“Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart,” Obama said at the United Church of Christ in Hartford, Connecticut.

The presidential candidate stated that the “so-called leaders of the Christian Right” have been “all too eager to exploit what divides us.

“At every opportunity, they’ve told evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their Church, while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage; school prayer and intelligent design,” he said. “There was even a time when the Christian Coalition determined that its number one legislative priority was tax cuts for the rich. I don’t know what Bible they’re reading, but it doesn’t jibe with my version.”

Obama told his audience that he is getting a sense – after talking to Americans all across the country – that there is something missing in their lives.

“They want a sense of purpose, a narrative arc to their lives,” he said. “They’re looking to relieve a chronic loneliness. And so they need an assurance that somebody out there cares about them, is listening to them – that they are not just destined to travel down that long road toward nothingness.”

This feeling, he added, is what he experienced as a young community organizer in Chicago.

“Slowly, I came to realize that something was missing as well – that without an anchor for my beliefs, without a commitment to a particular community of faith, at some level I would always remain apart, and alone,” he said. Obama became a member of the United Church of Christ after his arrival in Chicago.

The senator called for the days to continue in which faith brought people together.

“So let’s rededicate ourselves to a new kind of politics – a politics of conscience,” ha said. “Let’s come together – Protestant and Catholic, Muslim and Hindu and Jew, believer and non-believer alike. We’re not going to agree on everything, but we can disagree without being disagreeable. We can affirm our faith without endangering the separation of church and state, as long as we understand that when we’re in the public square, we have to speak in universal terms that everyone can understand.”