Obama visits Macon, delivers message of unity, responsibility

Fresh off a big primary victory in South Carolina, Illinois Sen. and Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama came to Macon Sunday morning and delivered not a political message, but a largely religious one.

Obama, seeking to become the first black man nominated for the presidency by one of the two major political parties, told the story of becoming a Christian on the south side of Chicago - a decision born first of political and civil goals, then of God's grace, he said.

Visiting a church in an effort to organize Chicago faith leaders in a job training program, Obama said he was, "introduced to Jesus in a way that I had not been introduced before."

Then Obama told the oft-referenced story of the good Samaritan, the man who stopped on the road to Jericho to help a stranger who had been waylaid by thieves, even when a priest and Levite would not.

That, Obama said, is what we must all do: Help others, and become our brother's keeper.

"Poverty has no place in a world of plenty, and hate has no place in a world of believers," he told a full sanctuary and more than 50 members of both the traveling and local press.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to slaughter," Obama said, referencing violence in the African nation of Darfur. "We cannot walk on by like the priest or the Levite.

"All of us can speak out against injustice," Obama said. "All of us can build bridges."

Obama was well received at Harvest Cathedral, a non-denominational, mixed-race church on the south side of Macon. He won South Carolina's Democratic primary on Saturday in a landslide, besting New York Sen. Hillary Clinton and former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

Edwards will be speaking later today in Dublin.

Come back to today for more coverage of Obama and Edwards' visits, including video and photos.