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He also put in a rare good word for Mr. Bush for “putting this on the national agenda and keeping it on the national agenda.”

The Rev. Otis Moss, senior pastor of the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, warned churches about losing their way in pursuit of the almighty government grant.

“When we go to the White House or any aspect of government, getting a grant should not be the front side or at the head of the agenda, because if getting the grant is No. 1 on the agenda, then how can you be the conscience [of the nation]?” Mr. Moss said.

The Rev. Jim Wallis, the chief executive officer of Sojourners and moderator of the two panels, urged the religious to remain involved in public life.

“Let’s maintain our prophetic integrity, but let us also be involved in politics,” Mr. Wallis said.