All Things Considered, October 24, 2008 · Religious language trips off Barack Obama's tongue as if he were a native of the Bible Belt.
From the moment he emerged on the national scene, he has spoken to believers in a language few Democrats have mastered: the language of the Bible and of a personal relationship with God.
Sometimes he shares his adult conversion story, describing how he knelt beneath the cross at his Chicago church: "I felt I heard God's spirit beckoning me," he says. "I submitted myself to his will, and dedicated myself to discovering his truth and carrying out his works."
Sometimes he speaks of sin and personal responsibility: "When a gangbanger shoots indiscriminately into a crowd because he feels someone has disrespected him," he told a group of religious progressives in 2006, "We've got a moral problem. There's a hole in that young man's heart."
And sometimes he borrows code words, not from hymns, but from Christian rock star Michael W. Smith, such as when he proclaimed at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, "We worship an awesome God in the blue states!"
It is this ease with religion that has helped Obama win over voters of various religious stripes — including Catholics who traditionally have voted Republican....