Candidates Speak About Their Religious Beliefs

One impact of the pope's visit was to inspire media coverage of religion in public life.

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One impact of the pope's visit was to inspire media coverage of religion in public life. And both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama obliged by talking about their own faith—unlike past Democratic candidates, including John Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000, who considered religion a private matter. But Clinton and Obama feel a need to reassure religious voters about their character and values, so they are talking freely and frequently about their beliefs.

At a mid-April forum at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., Obama said, "Religion is a bulwark, a foundation when other things aren't going well. That's true in my own life, through trials and tribulations." Clinton said, "I have, ever since I've been a little girl, felt the presence of God in my life." She suggested that she felt God's grace when her husband was unfaithful to her and on many other occasions such as "taking a walk in the woods. It could be watching a sunset."