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The Gospel according to Obama
President Obama is not just a racial trailblazer, but some say a religious pioneer as well. No president has ever shared his type of Christianity, historians say. Some say he may revive a form of Christianity that once dominated America.
October 21st, 2012
06:59 AM ET

The Gospel according to Obama

By John Blake, CNN

President Barack Obama was sharing a pulpit one day with a conservative Christian leader when a revealing exchange took place.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Christian who has taken public stands against abortion and same-sex marriage, had joined Obama for an AIDS summit. They were speaking before a conservative megachurch filled with white evangelicals.

When Brownback rose to speak, he joked that he had joined Obama earlier at an NAACP meeting where Obama was treated like Elvis and he was virtually ignored. Turning to Obama, a smiling Brownback said, “Welcome to my house!”

The audience exploded with laughter and applause. Obama rose, walked before the congregation and then declared:

“There is one thing I have to say, Sam. This is my house, too. This is God’s house.”

Historians may remember Obama as the nation’s first black president, but he’s also a religious pioneer. He’s not only changed people’s perception of who can be president, some scholars and pastors say, but he’s also expanding the definition of who can be a Christian by challenging the religious right’s domination of the national stage.

When Obama invoked Jesus to support same-sex marriage, framed health care as a moral imperative to care for “the least of these,’’ and once urged people to read their Bible but just not literally, he was invoking another Christian tradition that once dominated American public life so much that it gave the nation its first megachurches, historians say.

“Barack Obama has referred to his faith more times than most presidents ever have, but for many it’s the wrong kind of faith,” says Jim Wallis, head of Sojourners, an evangelical activist group based in Washington that focuses on poverty and social justice issues.

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“It is not the faith of the religious right. It’s about things that they don’t talk about. It’s about how the Bible is full of God’s clear instruction to care for the poor.”

Some see a 'different' kind of Christian

Obama is a progressive Christian who blends the emotional fire of the African-American church, the ecumenical outlook of contemporary Protestantism, and the activism of the Social Gospel, a late 19th-century movement whose leaders faulted American churches for focusing too much on personal salvation while ignoring the conditions that led to pervasive poverty.

No other president has shared the hybrid faith that Obama displays, says Diana Butler Bass, a historian and author of “Christianity after Religion.”

“The kind of faith that Obama articulates is not the sort of Christianity that’s understood by the media or by a large swath of Christians in the U.S.,” says Bass, a progressive Christian. “He’s a different kind of Christian, and the media and the public awareness needs to reawaken to that fact.”

Some Christians, however, still see Obama as the “other.” He doesn’t act or talk like other Christians, says the Rev. Gary Cass, a conservative Christian president of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

“I just don’t see or hear in his accounts the kind of things that I’ve heard as a minister for over 25 years coming from the mouths of people who have genuinely converted to Christianity,” says Cass, pastor of Christ Church in San Diego.

Cass says he’s never heard Obama say he’s “born-again.” There’s no emotional conversion story to hang onto.

Obama talks about his faith and attends church, but Cass says that doesn’t mean he’s a Christian.

“Joining a church doesn’t mean you’re a Christian. “You can put me in the garage, but that doesn’t turn me into a car.”

The origins of Obama’s faith

The suspicion about Obama’s faith may seem odd at first because he’s written and spoken so much about his spiritual evolution in his two autobiographies, “Dreams of my Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.” Other books, like “The Faith of Obama” by Stephen Mansfield, also explore Obama’s beliefs.

The 1925 “Monkey” trial of John Scopes, a high school biology teacher who taught evolution, drove fundamentalists underground, some say.

Mansfield says Obama is the first president who wasn’t raised in a Christian home. Obama’s mother was an atheist and his grandparents were religious skeptics (Obama’s family has challenged the description of his mother as an atheist. Obama called her “the most spiritually awakened” person he’d ever known, and his sister called their mother an agnostic).

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Mansfield called Obama’s boyhood a “religious swirl.  He was exposed to Catholicism, Islam, and strains of Hinduism and Buddhism while growing up in Indonesia during the 1960s.

“In our household, the Bible, the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology,” Obama said in Mansfield’s book. “On Easter or Christmas Day, my mother might drag me to church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites.”

Obama became a Christian while he was a community organizer in Chicago. He joined a predominantly black United Church of Christ. The UCC became the first mainline Protestant denomination to officially support same-sex marriage in 2005.

Obama’s faith showed many of the elements of a liberal Protestant church: an emphasis on the separation of church and state, religious tolerance and the refusal to embrace a literal reading of the Bible.

In a 2006 speech before a Sojourners meeting, Obama talked about his approach to the Bible:

“Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?”

When many people think of Obama’s religious experience in Chicago, though, they cite his exposure to the angry sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and “black liberation theology,” a movement that emerged in the late 1960s and blended the Social Gospel with the black power movement.

Bass, the church historian, says another black pastor shaped Obama’s theology more: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

He attended liberal Protestant seminaries where he learned about the Social Gospel’s concern for the entire person, soul and body.

Obama has reached out to evangelical leaders like Rick Warren, seen here praying at Obama’s inauguration, but many still doubt his faith.

King once wrote that “any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them …is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.”

But King and the black church also fused the Social Gospel with an emotional fervor missing from white Protestant churches, Bass says. Other presidents like Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were influenced by the Social Gospel, but they weren’t shaped by the black church.

“This is the first time we’re hearing the Social Gospel from the perspective of the black church from the Oval Office. It makes it warmer, more emotive, more communal," Bass says. "There is less fear of linking the Social Gospel with the stories of the Bible, especially the stories of Exodus and Jesus’ healings.”

The emphasis on community uplift - not individual attainment - may strike some Americans as socialist. But the emphasis on community is part of King’s “Beloved Community,” Bass says.

King once wrote that all people are caught up in an “inescapable network of mutuality… I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be.”

“When I listen to Obama, I don’t hear communism, I hear the Beloved Community,” Bass says. “But a lot of white Americans don’t hear that because they never sat in those churches and heard it over and over again. It’s the whole theology that motivated MLK and the civil rights movement.”

Obama is not a Christian, some think

For some, Obama’s actions in the Oval Office seem to contradict Christianity.

Jesus was nonviolent. Obama has ramped up drone attacks in Afghanistan that have not only removed terrorists, but killed civilians.

The Bible talks about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. Obama invoked Jesus when he came out in support of same-sex marriage. “The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule," Obama told ABC News during his announcement.

Jesus talked about helping the poor. But he never said anything about creating a massive health care law that taxed the rich to help the poor, some Christians argue.

But Wallis of Sojourners says Obama’s push for health care was a supreme example of Christian faith.

A situation where 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance is “a fundamental Christian problem,” Wallis says.

“Health is such a Gospel issue. Jesus was involved in healing all the time, and to have some people excluded from health care because they lack wealth is a fundamental Christian contradiction.”

Wallis has been one of the most persistent defenders of Obama’s faith. But no matter how much Scripture he and others cite, doubts about Obama’s faith have followed him throughout his political career.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson once said that Obama distorted the traditional understanding of the Bible “to fit his own world, his own confused theology.” The Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, publicly questioned Obama’s faith, then later apologized.

Conservative Christian books and websites are filled with stories of Obama allegedly trying to suppress the nation’s Christian heritage.

The Rev. Steven Andrew, author of “Making a Strong Nation,” says Obama is trying to change the national motto from “In God we Trust” to “Out of Many, One,” and he’s ordered the Pentagon to remove biblical verses from its daily report.

“That’s the most serious thing someone can do to a nation, trying to separate a nation from God,” he says. “He seems to be trying to change the Christian laws our Founding Fathers made.”

Andrew says Obama is actually an enemy of Christianity. In his book, Andrew argues that the Founding Fathers were Christians who created a “covenant Christian nation” and calls for a “national repentance.”

“I think he’s an anti-Christ,” Andrew says.  Cass, of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, says Obama’s emphasis on helping the poor through social justice isn’t Christianity.

Christians who talk about “social justice” are often practicing “warmed-over Marxism,” Cass says.

“Do I believe in caring for the poor and oppressed? Yes. But you don’t do it along the lines of communistic redistributing.”

Obama’s support of same-sex marriage and abortion rights also disqualifies him from being a Christian, Cass says.

“It’s the most pro-abortion administration in the history of America.  On every social issue – the sanctity of life and of marriage between men and women – Obama is on the wrong side of every moral issue,” he says.

He says a progressive Christian is a contradiction.

“No Christian says I believe in Jesus Christ and I reject the Bible,” Cass says. “These progressives who say they’re Christians are liars. They’re using Christianity as a guise to advance their own agenda.”

Cass says he doesn’t know what Obama believes.

“He’s conflicted,” Cass says. “He has Muslim sympathies from his upbringing."

How progressive Christianity lost the public square

There was a time when Obama’s brand of Christianity would have been understood by millions of Americans, historians say.

Obama along with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha leave church after attending a Sunday prayer service.

The Social Gospel and progressive Protestantism dominated the American religious square from the end of the 19th century up to the 1960s. At times, the traditions blended together so seamlessly that it was hard to tell the difference.

The Social Gospel rose out of the excesses of the Gilded Age in the 1880s, when urban poverty spread across America as immigrants crammed into filthy slums to work long hours in unsafe conditions.

Walter Rauschenbusch, a Baptist pastor in a New York slum, urged the church to take “social sins” as seriously as they took individual vices. Churches began feeding the poor and fighting against other social ills.

“The notion that religious people should be about feeding the poor and helping the homeless is a carryover of the Social Gospel,” says Charles Kammer, a religion professor at Wooster College in Ohio. The Social Gospel was adopted by many Protestant churches in the late 19th and early 20th century, says Bass, the church historian. Some of the Social Gospel churches grew popular because they provided the poor with everything from English classes to sewing instructions and basketball leagues.

“The first American megachurches were liberal, Social Gospel urban churches,” Bass says.

The Social Gospel, though, sparked a backlash from a group of pastors during World War I. They were called fundamentalists. They published a pamphlet listing the “fundamentals of the faith:” Biblical inerrancy, the virgin birth, Adam and Eve.

But the fundamentalists lost the battle for public opinion during the “Scopes Monkey Trial” in 1925. John Scopes, a high school science teacher, was tried for violating a Tennessee law that prohibited the teaching of evolution.

Though Scopes lost, fundamentalist Christians were mocked in the press as “anti-intellectual rubes,” and a number of states suspended pending legislation that would have made teaching evolution illegal, says David Felten, author of “Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity.”

The trial drove fundamentalists underground where they created a subculture, their own media networks, seminaries and megachurches, he says.

That subculture thrives today, Felten says, and has infiltrated the political arena. It has created an “alternative intellectual universe” that denies science, rational thought – and any beliefs that violate their definition of being a Christian, Felten says.

“They have millions of adherents who believe in a literal six day creation and a literal Adam and Eve – so it’s not a stretch to believe that President Obama is a Kenyan-born secret Muslim bent on destroying the country,” Felten says.

Progressive Christians eventually lost the messaging wars to this fundamentalist subculture, Bass says. Their nuanced view of faith couldn’t compete with the “spiritual triumphalism” of conservatives.

“If you get up and say we’re right and we have the truth, then you have a powerful public message,” she says. “They have a theological advantage in the public discourse. It’s comforting to have things clear, to have things black and white.”

The result today is that the Protestant tradition that shapes much of Obama’s Christianity is fading from public view.

The share of Protestant Christians in the United States has dropped below 50% of the population, according to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

White mainline Protestants make up only 15% of the nation’s population, the survey revealed. The study also found that the fastest growing "religious group" in the country is people who are not affiliated with any religion.

Another generation of Christians, though, may bring a new version of progressive Christianity back.

The lines between younger conservative Christians and progressives are blurring, says Marcia Pally, author of “The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good.”

Pally spent six years traveling across America to interview evangelicals. She says her research revealed that more than 60% of young evangelicals support more governmental programs to aid the needy, as well as more emphasis on economic justice and environmental protection issues.

“What’s interesting is that these values, associated with Obama and the black Protestant tradition are now also the values of a growing number of white evangelicals,” she says.

Her perspective suggests that Obama’s faith may be treated by history in two ways:

He could be seen as the last embodiment of a progressive version of Christianity that went obsolete.

Or he could be seen as a leader who helped resurrect a dying brand of Christianity for a new generation.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Barack Obama • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Church • Courts • Creationism • Culture & Science • Culture wars • Evolution • evolvution • Faith • Fundamentalism • Gay marriage • Gay rights • God • History • Homosexuality • Interfaith issues • Obama • Protestant • Religious liberty • Same-sex marriage • Schools • Science

soundoff (8,626 Responses)
  1. Kenisha Baxter

    How can anyone judge someone else? This is the problem with America.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • Roger Tallywhacher

      Well apparently, God personally bestowed the power to judge others upon the relgious right – like James Dobson, Pat Robertson and Billy Graham etc. If there really is a God/heaven and hell; I doubt those guys are really going to like where they will partying for an eternity.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  2. Sy2502

    This article and the comments it generated simply crystallize more in my mind the fact that religion should stay as clear and far away from politics as possible.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Tyler

      Exactly! So if socialism is Obama's religion why should he be able to impose it on the entire country?

      October 22, 2012 at 1:18 am |
  3. Steve

    I'm pretty sure that Jesus is the only authority on who is or is not Christian and not any of these blowhard conservatives who seek to brand Obama as something different because they disagree with him politically.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Tom

      What makes you think that Jesus wanted anyone to be a Christian? He was a Jew, speaking to fellow Jews about how to be better Jews. That's all.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:45 am |
  4. Carole Clarke

    Got an email that showed closeups of the "wedding ring" Obama wears on his left hand. He's worn it since long before he met his wife. It has raised lettering in Arabic calligraphy that can be seen to read the basic Moslem credo that there is but one God and Mohammed is his prophet. I don't get how he can be Christian and wear or believe that. I get that it is spiritual but when you enter that office you need to state your beliefs plainly so the voters know just what they are getting. He's free to believe whatever he wants but his statements have to match up to his actions.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Observer

      Carole,

      Snopes investigated. They got a better closeup and had several Muslims look at it. They all agreed it is not what you said.

      Don't believe rightwing emails on Obama since 70% of them are blatant lies.

      Do some research next time.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:45 am |
    • Lou

      Are we just supposed to believe what you say without proof? How gullible do you think we are?

      October 22, 2012 at 12:52 am |
    • MaryJ

      @Carole Clarke
      There are Christians who have tattoos, which is clearly anti-biblical.

      Leviticus 19:28 “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord.”

      However, I have yet to see an youth minister who isn't proud of their tats. Funny how selective that is.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • Roger Tallywhacher

      Carole, what does this "basic Moslem credo" say? Quite curious to hear from a "Moslem credo" expert.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Kt

      Carole Clarke
      You "got an email"? Ever hear of spam? Anyone can write anything in an email, you do know that, right? Oy!

      October 22, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  5. RBSG

    People love to shout "God Bless the USA" and claim "We are a Christian Nation" while getting all teary-eyed, waving the flag and watching fireworks on 4th of July. But let the conversation turn to the hard parts of Christianity such as sharing wealth and addressing social conditions, things specifically commanded by "Jesus", and all of a sudden all talk turns to calling people heretics. It's easier to sit in a Joel Osteen style mega church and have your ears tickled about how much "God" wants you to be rich...and if you're not getting richer, then you must not have a right relationship with "God" (and all other kinds of BS)–than it is to actually do something to solve the problems of the world. As an atheist (formerly Christian), I respect the author of this article for saying what needs to be said and pointing out the obvious elephant in the room. It doesn't change any of my theological conclusions (because I think religions are all man-made, including Christianity), but I appreciate that this author is at least trying to light a candle in the darkness here.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  6. Reality

    Saving Christians like Obama and Romney from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

    The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    p.4

    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Timothy Biddiscombe

      As soon as I see a bible quote I stop reading ...NEXT!

      October 22, 2012 at 12:53 am |
  7. God

    Is he the 'wrong' kind? I'll never tell . . .

    October 22, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  8. John Falcone

    I understand Obama's form of Christianity perfectly: I am a progressive Roman Catholic.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Jenny

      Yes, the kind of Christians who actually wanted to "help" their fellow man, rather than just help themselves to salvation. Honestly, the whole "born again" philosophy has got to be one of the most selfish outlooks on life there is.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  9. dj

    Makes me want to vote for Romney..not gon lie that gay marriage need to go. Its impossible to be a christian and support gay marriage. But i dislike Romney's unconcern for the poor.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • NoTheism

      " Its impossible to be a christian and support gay marriage"
      That's absolutely false.. based on what do you make such an assertion?

      October 22, 2012 at 12:34 am |
    • Rachel

      I don't think Obama is as supportive of gay marriages as it appears. I think he is simply trying to pacify the screaming gays... for now, anyway.

      I am voting for Obama again. This country, and those who are suffering, just cannot risk having this Romney character in office. Otherwise, they will see devastation as never before.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:38 am |
    • Concerned Citizen

      So you see nothing wrong when it comes to denying gay americans the same right you enjoy and in the same breath talk about helping the poor and disenfranchised? That's unreal.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • dj

      i make the assertion based on sin..unrepented sin is destroyed by God..being poor is not a sin or sickness just a state of financial instability...Obama has my vote also he just dont have support from congress..even with Romneys policies hes basically promising more war and governmental takeover..decreasing taxes on corporations is a joke within itself..America is already corrupted and that is the trickle down economics in which he is trying to accuse Obama of doing. Dumb Americans forget how Osama was the first objective then the economy and not the other way around.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Jenny

      Actually, it's much more impossible to support no fault divorces and be a Christian because Jesus actually spoke out against them several times.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:10 am |
    • dj

      of course but it depends on the divorce and for what reason..if someone is unable to divorce and they are being torture someone will commit murder..and divorce is a way of living in peace than murder. Even in divorce God is righteous enough to forgive..gay marriage is a repeated action of sin with no intent to stop.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  10. Thoma

    Obama a Christian? No way! By their fruit you will know them.. The fruit is rotten. But there is hope in repentance.....Thoma

    October 22, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Marie

      From what turnip truck did you say you fell from?

      October 22, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • Observer

      Thomas Jefferson may have been our greatest president and he wasn't a Christian.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • Susie

      I dont know exactly where the cut off is for being a Christian, but I would guess that voting to allow babies born alive through an abortion, to die with no treatment, does not put you on God's good side.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:42 am |
    • Equis

      Well, I dont know exactly where the cut off is for being a Christian, but I would guess that voting to allow babies born alive through an abo rti on, to die with no treatment, does not put you on God's good side.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:43 am |
    • John

      Maybe not your kind of Christian, but there are many other, equally valid varieties.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:12 am |
  11. c.ed park

    A better question might be, Is Romney a Christian?

    October 22, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Rollo Tomasi

      The only question is "who can run government the most effectively?" Religion plays absolutely no role in that.

      You are being hoodwinked by people who want your vote by getting you all worked up about a fantasy issue they never have to deliver on.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:25 am |
    • Brent

      Whether he is or not, it is not what's important. What IS important to make darn sure we keep him out of the White House.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • Andre

      Absolutely amazing! When will the expose on Planet Kolub be broadcast on CNN. Didn't Jesus tell the the rich man to give up everything and follow me? Sounds a little radical don't you think. Baseline Christianity requires a belief in the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit or three in one. How do we square that with the Mormon belief that they are three separate individuals. How about this Jesus and Satan are brothers in the Mormon tradition. My version of the good news comes in the New and Old Testament, where does the book of Mormon fit in? Jesus was a community organizer he had twelve disciples, whom he trained to go out and spread the Gospel. The problem with the Bible is you select the verses, stories and traditions you want to support your view. It's richer and deeper than this superficial report . The President is a Christian and the other guy may require a closer examination of his beliefs.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  12. Mar

    Reblogged this on mar's journey.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • St. Tootie of Flatulencia

      Reblogged this on nearest toilet paper.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:21 am |
  13. Brent

    With much of the world today turning against God/religion, who really gives a rip on what religion Obama follows. Do any of you really care?

    Furthermore, he doesn't have to lay his religion all out on the table for each of you to analyze when most of you don't even believe there is a God!

    The mentality level of this country is astonishing.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • NoTheism

      well... statistically speaking, atheists are the smallest minority in the US (3-5%?)

      October 22, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • Brent

      I am speaking of the agnostics, the ones who believe it is possible that 'something' in greater than themselves, yet they just can't put a finger on it. There are millions here in the USA, and the numbers grow larger year after year.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Rollo Tomasi

      Decent people were the tiniest minority in Nazi Germany too. I guess majority always means right, eh?

      October 22, 2012 at 12:23 am |
    • chris kempf

      H. L.. Menken said it best..."Nobody ever lost a dime underestimating the intelligence of the American people.."

      October 22, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  14. george

    It is funny that Republican who are so obsessed with deficit (which was mostly created by them), considered deficit as an "ok" thing during GWB. Anybody remembers the famous (or infamous) Cheney quote, " Deficit Doesn't Matter"?!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  15. MJ1972

    THIS ARTICLE IS ABSOLUTE NONSENSE. STOP DISTRACTING US FROM TRUTH AND INTEGRITY, MITT AND RNC.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  16. Getreal

    It is only BS to the ones that have their eyes closed..

    October 22, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  17. Getreal

    how is he a liberal. Jesus said. Take up your cross and follow me. He never said for the conservative preachers..

    October 22, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Observer

      Jesus disagreed with some of the Old Testament. His death supposedly convinced God to change all the rules on the ruthless killing God advocated in the Old Testament. You certainly don't see Jesus spouting out commands to kill people.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:48 am |
  18. Gregg

    friends; have to go. I invite you to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and to save yourselves from this corrupt generation....

    October 22, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • St. Tootie of Flatulencia

      Friends, I invite you to embrace the lovey goodness of Lovey Howell, Goddess of Gilligany Goodness

      October 22, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • This Corrupt Generation

      "You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

      October 22, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  19. Gregg

    I wish you guys had the facts...Israel prevailed when the followed God; were devastated when they do not. It is afair point that some governments which reject God will benefit for awhile, but in the end you cannot reject God and prosper forever

    October 22, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • NoTheism

      ok... facts, like you have them?
      "but in the end you cannot reject God and prosper forever" I guess you have been at the limit of infinity and know what you're saying to be true and based on facts.
      Interesting

      October 22, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • MaryJ

      Since we can not witness a nation "forever" isn't claiming that one would be successful that long if they only followed God a silly argument to make? I mean, isn't it only to be expected that every nation's time on top has to eventually end? Every great empire ran this cycle, and most of them never worshipped the Hebrew God, so why would that be considered key here?

      October 22, 2012 at 1:00 am |
  20. Laura Key

    What kind of BS article is this???? Listen this is so stupid. Stick to the points!!!!!!!!!! I am disappointed in you CNN. I usually come to you for my info because we all KNOW the OTHERS are so biased. I may or may not agree with you at all times but this just seems to be some kind of "attack" article. WRONG CHRISTIAN? MUSLIM? AMERICAN? NOT AMERICAN. So tired of all the crap! STICK TO WHAT MATTERS!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Joe

      If you think CNN isnt liberal youre very gullible.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • David Brown

      The fact that you usually listen to CNN proves you are greatly mis-lead. Why not try listening to all of them usually and seeking the truth. The truth is CNN is very bias, and left leaning just look at the daily headlines on Fox and CNN and compare, but lean in their own camps. This article does however, point to some truth about Obama that is hard for a liberal to swallow. I mean to point out such truth that he is not a Christian and to quote many other truths even though to do it as quotes when proving a point does squeak out the truth. Remember the truth sets you free and always wins in the end. Try it some time you will feel enlightened! After all Jesus, "The truth shall set you free."

      October 22, 2012 at 12:27 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.