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The minister who leads Democrats to faith

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Faith and politics are two sides of the same coin, according to Daughtry, an energetic yet soft-spoken African-American. They involve private holiness and "public holiness issues – how society treats its people, what God has to say about it, and how I as a person of faith respond to what society" is or is not doing.

Having presidential candidates as articulate about their faith as Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton helped the party make its case. Senator Obama has even stepped up his religious outreach since becoming the presumptive nominee, meeting with 40 faith leaders, speaking about his personal religious journey, and planning an outreach to Christian youths.

The party apparatus has made its own inroads. The FIA strategy involves communicating with national religious leaders and organizations, supporting state parties in outreach efforts, and encouraging candidates at all levels to speak the language of values.

"Americans want to feel comfortable that they know who you are and what to expect if you're elected," Daughtry says. "The only way to accomplish that is for candidates to be transparent and authentic about their values."

FIA's staff interacts with various groups (Roman Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, etc.) and has even engaged with Republican bastions. Daughtry, who traveled to Salt Lake City to meet with elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was invited back to see their new president installed.

"I think we've done a good job of developing relationships across the country," she says. "Part of the reason you see changes in the evangelical community, particularly among younger Evangelicals, ... is that we've better articulated our values around issues such as Darfur, poverty, the environment."

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