I believe that Barack Obama is someone that we must learn about (no matter your political persuasion or affiliation) as he did very well in the IA Caucus and he is expected to do well in other Democrat primaries. If he wins in the primaries he will be the Democrat presidential candidate and he may capture the excitement of the press and people all the way to being the 44th president of the USA. What does he stand for? Here are some things that I found related to my time studying him (watching a remarkable speech on faith, "Call to Renewal", some of the Keyes - Obama debates in the 2004 IL Senate race on You Tube, and using his own Web site).
He is not ashamed to be associated as a progressive (what conservatives often call as liberals). He claims to be a Christian and even has a testimony of his conversion (see that speech on faith linked above) but is not a conservative Christian. He even has put down people like Pat Robertson or Alan Keyes publicly, as ones that misuse their faith to gain political power or points. Clearly he is a committed liberal Christian church-goer that doesn't preach the Gospel that I understand clearly based on his public emphesis, though he did say that Jesus died for our sins in his speech. He has a social justice emphasis, that is common in the African American church and in the Democrat party. He seems to also have a pluralistic view of all faiths as equal that encompasses all faiths in his dialog that makes me uncomfortable. His faith is connected to his lifestyle very much but it's different from mine.
He is pro-choice and supports homosexual civil rights (seems to be that homosexuals can have the same legal rights as married people without being married). He would support hate crimes legislation as well (which has been used to control religious free speech in other countries). I've heard him says that he doesn't support abortion and gay marriage based on personal reasons related to his faith, but his personal views do not impact his role of government beliefs. He claims that he won't use his faith to impose on others what to do. He said he wants to use common sense things that have appeal across all faiths, and believes that the Constitution mandates a separation of church and state. With that said, he said he wanted to not have separation when it comes to social issues, and wants to have more faith in the public sphere. He even sites Lincoln, Douglas, and others as examples of how personal faith related to morality should be used in the public sphere. With this point, he wants to get us all to engage in governmental solutions to social issues (like poverty, heathcare, education, family, jobs, etc.). I agree that these issues are important but disagree that creating a larger government bureaucracy that has proven to be infective and inefficient with tax payer money and programs (they can't manage a budget, social security, and even veterans' healthcare). A larger bureaucracy could easily tilt us into a economic downturn (that effects our way of life, children's way of live, and has side effects that affect our ability to be a great nation, including our national defense, and worldwide charity, and positive leadership for freedom).
He does seem to understand the importance of the family and having a mom and a dad in the home but doesn't say that religious faith and values are important to maintaining a family and then therefor solving all these social problems. He implyes that we all have responsibility to empower the government, but that seems dangerous to me. I wonder how much a secular government can help families without defending and supporting the basis of morality which is cultural supported Judeo-Christian ethics, without creating a secular nanny state... perhaps by appealing to the Judeo-Christian heritage of our Founding Fathers is the key (which is a conservative point of view). He seems to use the basis of common sense or is it natural law, which does have appeal to many. There is something that he understands about common sense that I agree Conservatives would work harder to appeal to vs. their religious text, that can divide.
Also of note: I heard him the debates in 2004 and in a speech in 2006 that he judged religious leaders and political figures as being wrong in their usage of faith in politics. These people he picked are conservative Christians (that I am one of) that believe in the Bible (in a non liberal way). I see how he has put down those who see homosexuality as a sin and aren't afraid to share that, as gay bashers or ones that are haters. This rhetoric is divisive, inappropriately spoken, and yes, I will say, morally objectionable, and thus will lead to further division for people of strong conservative faith and the progressives if he would become president.
Perhaps it's because of his world view that Homosexuality is innate (people were born that way) when asked (see Keyes-Obama debate link above), and is not a choice. Where did he learn this? This is a worldly beliefe that has no foundation in a Biblical worldview unless you are engaged in putting your own bias into the Bible or using a very liberal hermeneutic.
Do you see how he is inconsistent? Conservatives Christians exercise their faith in the public sphere with their voices and votes by being for traditional marriage and against special civil rights for something they believe the Bible speaks on as morally wrong, and more importantly are against abortion as a woman's choice (and also harvesting and destroying embryos). They have a high view of human life that comes from faith, with abortion being a subtle but real form of murder, as they believe that human life begins at conception. Barack can use his faith for social change on other issues but didn't respect others when they use there's. I hope he's dynamic enough to change on these things but I haven't found any evidence of that yet. I have real problems supporting Barack Obama based on these problems. I'm afraid that we may have well meaning people that vote based on his charisma vs. the substance of his positions, I hope you don't after learning more about him.