MAY 12, 2015
President Obama participated in a panel discussion on poverty. Panelists also included Harvard University Professor Robert Putnam and American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks. The discussion moderated by the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne.
This event was part of the three-day Catholic-Evangelical Leadership Summit on Overcoming Poverty at Georgetown University. .
Eugene "E.J." Joseph Dionne Jr.
Mr. President, I wanted you to reflect on this religious question. I mean, one of your first salaries was actually paid for by a group of Catholic churches, something -- Cardinal McCarrick knows that, but not a lot of Catholic bishops notice that -- (laughter) -- that you were organizing for a group of South Side churches. You know what faith-based groups can do. And I'd like you to talk about sort of three things at the same time, which is the role of the religious community simply in calling attention to this problem; the issues of how government can cooperate with these groups; and sort of the prophetic role of these ideas for you, where your own reflections on your own faith have led you on these questions.
Well, first of all, it's true, my first job was funded through the Campaign for Human Development, which was the social justice arm of the Catholic Church. (Applause.) And I think that faith-based groups across the country and around the world understand the centrality and the importance of this issue in a intimate way -- in part because these faith-based organizations are interacting with folks who are struggling and know how good these people are, and know their stories, and it's not just theological, but it's very concrete. They're embedded in communities and they're making a difference in all kinds of ways.
*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.