Barack Obama has circulated thousands of pieces of campaign literature throughout Texas that touts his religious credentials.
Such flyers were jammed in doorways throughout the Dallas area Wednesday, coinciding with his campaign appearance in Duncanville.
Titled "Faith. Hope. Change," the flyer has Obama standing in front at a church pulpit with a cross prominently displayed in the backdrop. It features a quote from the candidate: "My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want. But I won't be fulfilling God's will unless I go out and do the Lord's work."
Listed prominently on the other side are the words "Committed Christian."
Obama's faith has been a side issue in the Democratic campaign because of statements from his minister and a photo given to the Drudge Report of Obama is traditional Somalian clothing, including headdress, during a tour of Africa.
The pastor of his Chicago church, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, has made comments that some have deemed to support black separatism.
On the campaign trail, Obama has acknowledged that underground operatives have been trying to argue that he is or has been a Muslim, even though he's a practicing Christian. He said such tactics are also an insult to the Muslim community.
But the campaign material is not in response to the photo or questions about his faith, aides say. Versions of the pieces were first used in South Carolina and were retrofitted for other states with strong evangelical communities.
"It was based off a similar literature used in South Carolina for our faith community outreach," said Debbie Mesloh, a spokeswoman for Mr. Obama's campaign.
Mesloh said the material was printed before the flap over the Internet photo. I was designed to educate voters about the complex system in Texas involving a March 4 primary followed by evening caucuses.
"We wanted to talk to voters about the two-step process," she said.
Black voters in Texas are largely churchgoers, particularly in Houston and Dallas, where large congregations are coveted by both presidential contenders.
"You're in the Bible belt," said former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, an Obama supporter. "Whatever they are doing has been working."
Kirk added that the flyers could bring clarification about Obama's faith. He's a member of the Church of Christ denomination.
"Given the reality that there are people trying to say he's a Muslim or a non-Christian, it doesn't hurt him to say who he is and that he's a person of faith," Kirk said.
Copyright 2008, The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. Reprinted Via NewsCom.
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