Barack Obama declared Saturday to a roaring crowd of 40,000 delegates attending the African Methodist Episcopal Church National Conference in St. Louis, that they should have no doubt of his commitment to his Christian faith, his nation or his political principles.

In an address filled with religious and patriotic imagery, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president told delegates attending the national conference of one of the nation’s largest and most politically and civically active black denominations, that he wouldn’t be fulfilling the Lord’s will unless he were doing the Lord’s work.

He stated that his commitment to the Christian Faith would continue to influence his performance and his politics if he wins the White House, igniting repeated cheers and standing ovations as he reaffirmed his proposals to expand on faith-based government initiatives - begun by President George W. Bush.

Obama preached individual responsibility, employing preacher’s cadences that were interrupted frequently by “Amens? and “yes.? He said he risked criticism for “blaming the victim? by talking of the need for parents to help children with homework and turn off the TV, to pass on a healthy self-image to daughters, and teach boys both to respect women and “realize that responsibility does not end at conception.? Sadly, that seems completely our of touch on the real issues that people criticise him for.

But Obama’s main message was the government’s duty to address what he said are “moral problems? — such as war, poverty, joblessness, homelessness, violent streets and crumbling schools —and to employ religious institutions to do it.

“They are moral problems, rooted in both societal indifference and individual callousness, in the imperfections of man. And so the values we believe in — empathy and justice and responsibility to ourselves and our neighbors — these cannot only be expressed in our churches and our synagogues, but in our policies and in our laws.”

Hopechangery!

Of the two presumptive nominees for president, Obama has been far more outspoken about his religious beliefs than Sen. John McCain. Evangelical Christian leaders have remained skeptical, however, that Obama’s faith comports with their own, especially given his support for gay and abortion rights.

Just last week, Obama expressly came out against using “mental distress” as a justification for late-term abortions, a position widely seen as the latest in a string of moves *cough flip flops cough* toward the political center but one aimed specifically at Christian conservatives.

Such “moves” may run the risk of alienating Obama’s liberal activist supporters but could also broaden his appeal in battleground states and in Republican regions trending Democratic.

Obama Speech AME Conference

Barack Obama at AME Conference Video