Kamala Harris at church: ‘This is where we go when the times test our faith’

Marquise Francis
National Reporter & Producer


DES MOINES, Iowa — In an era in which religion and politics have frequently been used to create division and dissension, the pastor of a historic church is instead trying to utilize them for higher purposes.

“Religion and politics should be partners for humanity,” says Rev. Jonathan Whitfield, senior pastor of the Corinthian Baptist Church in Des Moines.

Founded in 1898, Rev. Whitfield’s church is one of the oldest historically African-American churches in the city. And since its inception, Whitfield says, Corinthian has “brought forth a very consistent foundational spirit of inspiration of worship to God.”

That was the message that presidential candidate Kamala Harris heard — and echoed — when she attended services there last Sunday. Harris visited the church as part of a five-day, 17-stop campaign swing. She is not underestimating the importance of Iowa, which will hold the first caucus in the nation on Feb. 3, and hopes to regain the momentum she enjoyed after a strong showing in the early round of debates.

Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks to parishioners at Corinthian Baptist Church on August 11, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)


Harris spoke from a lectern about the importance of the church in her life, and in the life of the country.

“It is the church where we go when we need upliftment,” she said to the congregation of about 200. “It is the church where we go when times like these test our faith and we need to be reminded of all of Christ’s teachings and what Jesus has taught us about the good in people.”

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