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My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. Universities and states, including Illinois, are taking part in a divestment campaign to pressure the Sudanese government to stop the killings. And right here in the UCC, we’re hearing from God about what it means to be a welcoming church that holds on to our Christian witness. Because in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s Army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the GI Bill. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few.

John Kerry believes in America. And all across the country, communities of faith are sponsoring day care programs, building senior centers, and in so many other ways, taking part in the project of American renewal. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us. I am also proud to carry with me the goodwill of the American people, and a greeting of peace from Muslim communities in my country: assalaamu alaykum. I do so recognizing that change cannot happen overnight. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support.

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