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Obama touts condoms to evangelicals

ANAHEIM, Calif., Dec. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told California evangelicals Friday he strongly disagrees with anyone who opposes the use of condoms to fight AIDS.

But he also told the 2,000 evangelicals gathered in Orange County that the solution to the AIDS epidemic must come in part from churches guiding people to make moral decisions, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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He was less sanguine about absolute chastity.

"We can't ignore the fact that abstinence and fidelity, although the ideal, may not always be the reality," he said, "that we're dealing with flesh and blood men and women and not abstractions -- and that if condoms and potentially things like microbicides can prevent millions of deaths, then they should be made more widely available."

Some evangelicals criticized the church for inviting Obama, saying his support for abortion rights disqualified him from speaking in the church.

Obama told his audience "there is a moral and spiritual component to prevention" that's absent in many places, including the United States, and that "the relationship between men and women, between sexuality and spirituality, has broken down, and needs to be repaired."

Obama is believed to be positioning himself for a presidential run in 2008.

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