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New Christian group airs ads – for Obama

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About these ads

"We've seen the domination of just a couple of issues surround the Christian voice in politics," says Mara Vanderslice, the evangelical founder of the group who worked for John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004. "We wanted a Christian voice that better reflected the gospel values missing from the landscape." For this reason, the organization named its effort after the gospel story in which Jesus calls on his followers to "care for the least of these."

The new PAC is gaining support from a variety of Christians, some of whom are new to political action.

The Rev. Wilfredo De Jesus, a leader in the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference says it was time for him to join other believers in addressing concerns of marginalized people. "For Hispanic Evangelicals, this is something deep in the heart," he says.

Some Catholics see the network and Obama as addressing the justice concerns that are part of Catholic social teaching.

"People like myself get a lot of attention when we talk about issues like abortion and family life, but not when we talk about helping low-income people," says Sharon Daly, former vice president of Catholic Charities. "Matthew 25 gives us the opportunity to try to get candidates to focus on these concerns."

While the network is only endorsing Obama this year, it aims to become a permanent group that eventually supports candidates at various levels of government.

"The issues people pray about before they go to bed at night aren't those divisive issues Republicans have raised," Ms. Vanderslice says. "They pray about their son or daughter being overseas, or how they'll take care of their mother-in-law's nursing bills, or whether their son can go to college."

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