Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama said global warming isn’t just a matter for politics and science but also an issue of morality and faith.

“The Bible tells us that when God created the earth, he entrusted us with the responsibility to take care of that earth, to exercise stewardship over His creation,” the Illinois senator said in an interfaith forum Sunday in Des Moines, Iowa.

“We are not living up to this responsibility when we continue to pollute the air even though we know that it causes almost a third of all childhood asthma cases in this country,” Obama said. “We are not acting as good stewards of God’s earth when our bottom line puts the size of our profits before the future of our planet.”

Obama’s comment came two days after former Vice President Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to promote awareness of the dangers associated with global warming. On Saturday Obama said the award was well-deserved.

Obama said Gore’s “voice and his vision have awakened the conscience of America to the urgency of this threat, and now we must take bold action so that our children inherit a planet that is cleaner, safer, and more peaceful for generations to come.”

Obama, a member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago who in June addressed the UCC’s national gathering, said meeting the challenge of climate change will not happen overnight. It will take not only policies but also sacrifice, he said.

“Solving this challenge also requires faith,” he said. “Not a blind faith or a faith of mere words, but an active faith. It’s a faith that doesn’t look at the hardship and pain and suffering in the world and use it all as an excuse for inaction or cynicism, but one that accepts the fact that while we’re not going to solve every problem, here on earth we can make a difference.”

On Oct. 8 Obama unveiled an energy plan aimed at combating global warming and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

Obama’s plan calls for:

–An economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050.

–Investing $150 billion over the 10 years in alternative energy, creating new jobs in the process.

–Improving energy efficiency, with a goal to reduce energy intensity of the economy by 50 percent by 2030.

–Reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil and reducing oil consumption overall by at least 35 percent, or 10 million barrels of oil, by 2030.

–Engaging the international community to establish the United States as leader in combating climate change.

Obama blamed Washington’s failure to take the lead on energy and global warming on “the failure of a president who spent most of his time in office denying the very existence of global warming, a president who put more faith in the spin of a science fiction writer than the science facts of real experts.”

“It’s the failure of an administration that developed America’s energy policy with a secret task force that opened the door to oil lobbyists and then shut it to every other viewpoint,” he said. “It’s a failure of leadership that has never called on the American people to do anything more than go shopping.”

Bob Allen is managing editor of

Also see:

Southern Baptist Leader Attacks Gore, Says Christians Should Save Souls, Not the Earth

Gore Becomes Third Baptist to Win Nobel Peace Prize

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