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What faith leaders want from Obama II


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Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals

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Most campaign speeches end with the words "God bless the United States of America." I believe God has blessed our nation, and my number one prayer and hope for the president over the next four years is that God will continue to bless America under his leadership. My desire is that President Obama and his administration will bring Americans together in peace without a national crisis and will fulfill the vision of the Old Testament prophet Micah: "And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

I would like to see a president committed to continued American leadership in the defense of civil liberties. The president should work with Congress to end indefinite detention without trial of citizens and others. The president should also lead a vocal campaign in opposition to anti-Islam legislation that is sweeping the nation. And I think it is time we found out why some American citizens, almost exclusively Muslim, are being denied the fundamental right to return to their country.

My "wish list" for the White House:

• Repeal the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act.

• Work to pass both the End Racial Profiling Act and Safe Schools Improvement Act.

• Close the Guantanamo Bay detention center and end the unconstitutional practice of prolonged detention outside of our nation’s justice system.


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• Reassess the nation’s CIA/military drone strike program that has led to civilian deaths in Pakistan (now being expanded to the Horn of Africa) and harmed America’s image and interests.

• Reassess the nation’s policy of assassinating American citizens overseas.

• End the questioning of Muslims at the U.S. border about their faith and religious observances.

• Reassess the nation’s policy of preventing some American Muslim citizens from returning home after overseas travels.

• Review the nation’s Watch List program to make it easier for individuals wrongly placed on the list to have their names removed.

• End the CIA’s relationship with the New York Police Department to spy on American Muslims.

Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Someday, a president may take the oath of office and find himself with a prospering nation, budget surpluses and a world at peace. Jan. 20, 2013, will not be that day. Instead, the newly inaugurated president will face a host of challenges at home and abroad. The voices of people of faith "speaking truth to power" as the president decides how to meet those challenges will be more vital than ever.

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