SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Democrat Barack Obama (search), responding to Republican Alan Keyes' (search) claim that Jesus would not vote for Obama in the U.S. Senate race, said Wednesday he will let God judge whether he is a good Christian and Illinois voters judge whether he would make a good senator.
"I don't concern myself too much with Mr. Keyes' judgment on either matter," Obama said.
Keyes has said Obama's support of abortion rights means Jesus could not vote for him. He singled out Obama's opposition to a state Senate bill that supporters said would have protected any fetuses that survived an attempted abortion; critics said the bill was a political stunt that could have restricted access to all abortions.
"Christ would not vote for Barack Obama because Barack Obama has voted to behave in a way that it is inconceivable for Christ to have behaved," said Keyes, who opposes abortion even when the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.
During a campaign stop, Obama said he does not question Keyes' religious beliefs and Keyes should give him the same consideration.
"I will leave Mr. Keyes to the theological speculations. My job is to focus on the issues that voters care about — jobs, health care, education," Obama said. He added, "I'm not running to be the minister of Illinois. I'm running to be its United States senator."
He said until a fetus can survive on its own, the issue of abortion is an ethical and religious choice that should be made by the mother.