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Of presidents and prime ministers who talk of faith

Obama in America and Cameron in Britain have spoken of how their Christian faith influences their approach to shaping society. The US presidential campaign is also skirting church-state issues. How much should religion and politics mix?

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Audience members pray at the 60th annual National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington Feb. 2. President Obama spoke to the assembled elected leaders and others.

REUTERS/Larry Downing

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Elected leaders rarely talk of how their faith inspires their governance. That tradition was reinforced Thursday by Barack Obama at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. “Our goal should not be to declare our policies as biblical,” the president said.

Still, in both his speech and a recent one by British Prime Minister David Cameron, both leaders proclaimed a religious basis for how they would shape society.

The very fact that Mr. Obama, a liberal, and Mr. Cameron, a conservative, feel comfortable in openly speaking about religion – including prayer – reflects just how much faith remains a public topic in these two secular democracies.

In America’s presidential contest, especially, religious issues are becoming nearly as important as job creation.

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