Obama, Clinton to Attend Compassion Forum

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How does faith inform the decisions of the leading presidential candidates?

Voters will have the chance to find out this Sunday.

Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama will be able to share their thoughts on the role faith plays in our country and in foreign affairs, during The Compassion Forum at Messiah College in Grantham, Penn.

The forum, "will give the candidates a chance to talk straight to voters about what they'll do as president to fulfill God's command that we be our brothers' keepers," said Mike Huckabee, a former GOP presidential candidate.

"I'm proud that the faith community is taking the lead in asking the candidates to confront the most pressing moral challenges of our times," he said.

Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain has come under intense scrutiny for his decision not to attend the event.

But a source close to McCain's campaign told CBN News that the senator will go on his own compassion tour this spring to conduct "outreach to people of faith across the country."

The forum will not be a debate. Instead, participants will be able to answer questions by the event's moderators.

Issues such as world poverty, AIDS, climate change, the genocide in Darfur and various other human rights issues will be discussed.

Abortion will also be on the agenda.

"We hope to get to the heart of the issue and why it's so divisive," said Katie Barge, communications director for Faith in Public Life.

"We hope to try to pry the door open to potential common ground and ask if the political labels we use when it come to abortion really capture where Americans are on the issue," she said.

"The Compassion Forum is a shining example of the faith community's commitment to justice and compassion for all of God's children," said Dr. Frank Page, Compassion Forum board member.

"It's imperative that the presidential candidates give the compassion issues the attention they deserve," he said. Frank is also president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Sponsors of the forum include" Faith in Public Life, a national nonpartisan, nonprofit resource and communication center for faith leaders based in Washington, D.C., The group is coordinating The Compassion Forum.

Other organizational sponsors of the event include the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, the ONE campaign, and Oxfam America.

The compassion forum will be televised on CNN Sunday night, April 13, from 8 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. On April 20, the event will be shown to church congregations across the country courtesy of the Church Communication Network.

Be sure to log back on to CBNNews.com Sunday night for more on the forum. Also watch David Brody's report on The 700 Club Monday, April 14. Check your local listings for times.

Source: Messiah College

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