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Elizabeth Warren channels faith in Rainbow PUSH convention stump speech

Fellow Democratic presidential hopefuls Amy Klobuchar and Tulsi Gabbard also spoke at the convention Saturday at Apostolic Faith Church in Bronzeville.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren announces some of her presidential plans during the Rainbow PUSH Coalition International Convention at Apostolic Faith Church on Saturday.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren announces some of her presidential plans during the Rainbow PUSH Coalition International Convention at Apostolic Faith Church on Saturday.
Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun-Times

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren brought Sunday school to Chicago a day early at her second presidential campaign stop in the city, using Bible verses and her laundry list of plans for the country to try to connect with a South Side audience.

“The sheep are being divided from the goats, and just so y’all understand, the sheep are going to heaven, the goats most definitely are not,” Warren said Saturday morning at the Apostolic Faith Church in Bronzeville, setting up a reading of Matthew 25:31-46.

The Massachusetts senator said the passage highlighted three lessons: that there is God in everyone, that all people are called to act and that people are called to act “because it is right.

“As I travel this country, and I hear from the American people, they share their struggles, they share their fears, they share their concerns, but the people know what is right and they are ready to act,” Warren said. “They know that they have been called for such a time as this and they are willing to step up. I am here today to say that none of us is alone in this fight. When I am president, we will answer this call together.”

A diverse crowd filled the pews to hear presidential pitches from Warren, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at the second day of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition’s Annual International Convention, following former Vice President Joe Biden’s Friday appearance.

Klobuchar, Minnesota’s first elected female senator, lived in Hyde Park while attending the University of Chicago Law School, a place that’s “good for presidential aspirations,” she said — a nod to former President Barack Obama.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar greets guests at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition International Convention at Apostolic Faith Church.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar greets guests at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition International Convention at Apostolic Faith Church.
Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun-Times

She talked about her entry into politics — which wasn’t borne of any Chicago-style “political machine,” she said, or from big money. Klobuchar said she entered the political arena to change a rule that kicked new mothers like her out of hospitals 24 hours after giving birth.

Klobuchar highlighted her priorities of tackling child poverty, mental health services and student loans, because if billionaires can “refinance their yachts, you should be able to refinance your student loans,” she said.

“I didn’t make all the promises that some people make, but I promise you this: in my whole life I have always done my work with integrity, I have gotten things done and I will govern with integrity and I will govern for you,” Klobuchar said.

Gabbard, an Army National Guard major who first saw combat in Iraq in 2005, reflected on her time stationed in an area known as “Mortar-itaville” for its daily mortar attacks, she said. A sign near her camp, read “Is today the day?”

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard poses with former Ald. Bob Fioretti during the Rainbow PUSH Coalition International Convention at Apostolic Faith Church.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard poses with former Ald. Bob Fioretti during the Rainbow PUSH Coalition International Convention at Apostolic Faith Church.
Kevin Tanaka/For the Sun-Times

She said she often asked herself that to make sure she was doing the most with her time.

“We have no time to waste. There is so much at stake,” Gabbard said. “We have too many leaders who have, for so long, been dragging us into these wasteful, regime-change wars one after the other, costing us so many lives, taking trillions of dollars out of our pockets... dollars that belong here in rebuilding our own communities.”

Along with the Bible verses, Warren laid out her exhaustive list of policy proposals, among them an additional 2% tax on the ultra-wealthy, Medicare for all, strengthening unions and bolstering manufacturing jobs.

Warren called the Democratic effort to unseat President Donald Trump a “righteous fight.”

“I often turn to Scripture for inspiration, to keep the faith and to stay and fight, so for me it’s 2nd Timothy — for God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,” Warren said to some applause. “I am in this fight because I am not afraid, I know our fight is a righteous fight, and if we stand together, if we fight together, if we persist together, if we dream big and fight hard, then we will win and we will make this the America of our dreams.”