Full Transcript: Saddleback Presidential Forum, Sen. Barack Obama, John McCain; Moderated by Rick Warren
Aired August 16, 2008 – 20:00 ET

WARREN: Religious persecution, what do you think the U.S. should do to end religious persecution, for instance, in China, in Iraq, and in many of our supposed allies? I'm not just talking about persecution of Christianity, but there's religious persecution around the world that persecutes millions of people.

OBAMA: Well, I think the first thing we have to do is to bear witness and speak out, and not pretend that it's not taking place. You know, our relationship with China, for example, is a very complicated one. You know, we're trading partners. Unfortunately, they are now lenders to us because we haven't been taking care of our economy the way we need to be. I don't think any of us want to see military conflict with China.

So we want to manage this relationship and move them into the world community as a full partner, but we can't purchase that by ignoring the very real prosecutions, persecutions that are taking place, and so having an administration that is speaking out, joining in international forums, where we can point out human rights abuses, and the absence of religious freedom, that, I think, is absolutely critical. Over time, what we are doing is setting up new norms and creating a universal principle that people's faith and people's beliefs have to be protected.

Over time, what we are doing is setting up new norms and creating a universal principle that people's faith and people's beliefs have to be protected.

And as you said, it's not just Christians, and we've got to make sure, you know, one thing I think is very important for us to do on all of these issues is to lead by example. That's why I think it's so important for us to have religious tolerance here in the United States. That's why it's so important for us, when we are criticizing other countries about rule of law to make sure that we're abiding by rule of law, and habeas corpus, and we're not engaging in torture, because that gives us a moral standing to talk about these other issues.

 

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