Key religion quotes from presidential candidates

AP News
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Posted: Sep 03, 2011 3:06 AM
Key religion quotes from presidential candidates

As religion and politics have increasingly mixed, presidential candidates have faced more questions about their beliefs. Some notable religion-and-politics quotes from the campaign trail going back five decades:

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"I believe in a president whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation, or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office." _ John F. Kennedy, Sept. 12, 1960, in a speech to Greater Houston Ministerial Association, addressing concerns about his Roman Catholic faith.

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"The most important thing in my life is Jesus Christ." _ Jimmy Carter, April 2, 1976, campaigning to become president. He became the first self-identified born-again president.

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"I understand this is a nonpartisan conference and you can't give me your endorsement, so I give you mine." _ Ronald Reagan, Aug. 21, 1980, at a gathering of conservative Christians in Dallas, considered a key moment in mobilizing evangelicals for his campaign.

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"Christ, because he changed my heart." _ George W. Bush, Dec. 13, 1999, at a debate for prospective GOP presidential candidates where he was asked to name a philosopher who had influenced him.

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"Dear Lord, maker of all miracles, I thank you for bringing me to this extraordinary moment in my life." _ Joe Lieberman, Aug. 8, 2000, after he was announced as the first Jewish major party nominee for vice president.

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"I believe that I can't legislate or transfer to another American citizen, my article of faith." _ 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, Oct. 13, 2004, in his third and final presidential debate with George W. Bush.

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"I submitted myself to His will and dedicated myself to discovering His truth and carrying out His works." _ Barack Obama, June 23, 2007, describing his religious awakening, in an address to a national meeting of the United Church of Christ.

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"Let me assure you that no authorities of my church, or of any other church for that matter, will ever exert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs, within the province of church affairs, and it ends where the affairs of the nation begin." _ Mitt Romney, Dec. 6, 2007, in a speech answering concerns about his Mormon religion while campaigning for the GOP presidential nomination.

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"The Lord has changed me just by allowing me to surrender to his will. ... A few years ago, he put a call on my heart to have me go into politics." _ Michele Bachmann, Oct. 14, 2006, in a church appearance during her campaign for Congress.

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"That's tough to define." _ Jon Huntsman, responding to a question in a Time magazine interview about whether he is a member of the Mormon church, published May 12, 2011.

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"Like all of you, I love this country deeply. Thank you all for being here. Indeed, the only thing that you love more is the living Christ." _ Rick Perry, Aug. 6, 2011, at a prayer rally he hosted in Houston ahead of announcing his candidacy for president.