Christian Leaders Meet with Obama on Election Eve

On the day before the midterm elections (November 1, 2010), President Barack Obama hosted a White House meeting with about 20 US Christian leaders affiliated with the National Council of Churches (NCC) and its global humanitarian agency, Church World Service. According to the leaders, the meeting, which lasted about 40 minutes, was not political, but rather a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the modern ecumenical movement. Still, participants acknowledged that politics did come up as the group discussed the current divisive political climate, the economy, poverty and hunger, and the continuing crisis in the Middle East. The White House did not announce the meeting and had no statement other than to confirm that it took place. After the meeting, Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly managing editor Kim Lawton spoke with three of the participants: Rev. Michael Kinnamon, NCC general secretary; Rev. Peg Chemberlin, NCC president; and Stan Noffsinger, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren. They gave background on the meeting, described some of the topics raised, and addressed criticisms by some in the religious community that the Obama administration hasn’t been doing enough faith-based outreach.


  • Sally Bickett

    How can this woman say the Faith Community has many things in common with this President?
    Four days into this presidency he turned around the partial birth abortion ban that the last President put
    a hold on. What is more important than life, especially our citizens who do not have a voice yet?

  • Gary

    Why not use the headline, “Religious Left Meets with Obama”? When you use right wing for conservatives why not left wing for liberals? Second, are you saying that this Left Wing group confronted Mr. Obama on his divisive leadership? He is the most divisive President in many years. He called Conservatives his “enemies” and called police racists. He refused to even meet with Republicans. Did they ask him about that?


    Pres. Obama is more Chrisitian in spirit than many churchgoers I know, and his desire for health care overhaul reflects that.

  • Martin

    Michael Kinnamon (and others from the National Council of Churches) always claim to represent “45 to 50 million believers.” They don’t. The NCC leadership consists of radical left leaders who hide behind a thin veneer of religion to push their highly political agenda. As a member of the ELCA, I’m ashamed that my church lends its credibility to this organization.

  • Katie

    Thank you President Obama for meeting with religious leaders. Our last president refused some of the leaders of the most influential churches in the country. Probably in favor of the “right wing Christian leaders” as one of the previous comments mentioned. These leaders do represent me and many faithful people I know. We are often neglected by the squeakiest wheels in public discourse – those that one must vote conservative, generally Republican, to be a Christian.

  • Katie

    PS – When I submitted my previous comment, I hadn’t read all of Martin’s comment yet. I wanted to clearly state that As a member of the ELCA, I’m PROUD that my church lends its credibility to [the NCC]. I’m also proud that both Martin and I can find a place in the ELCA, despite our differences.

  • Norma

    I don’t understand your use of the word “leaders” for some of your articles about groups of mainline Christians and assorted other faiths.

  • V. Taylor

    Since when has helping the poor and needy become a partisan issue? When Gary says:
    “Why not use the headline, “Religious Left Meets with Obama”?”… These are Christian leaders from mainline churches, not leftists. They seek to impart Christian ethics into policy not party politics.

    “1 John 3:17-18
    If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.”
    “Proverbs 28:27
    He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.”