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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. Kathy Gagnon

    Us southern folk are preparing ourselves for Obama's army's to attack all white conservatives.

    October 22, 2012 at 6:45 am |
  2. UncleBenny

    "... 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."

    Precisely what is most wrong with Christianity today (other than willful ignorance) – too much focus on individual salvation. It's all about precious little me and my personal relationship with JEEEZUS! To little about caring for others, who had better damn well just take care of themselves like good Americans do.

    October 22, 2012 at 6:45 am |
    • DanC

      Members of society should and can help those in need through many methods (service, gifts, etc.) and many more efficient organizations other than the Federal Government. When Jesus said to help and feed the poor, he did not suggest that Caesar raise taxes to do so. Charity implies FREE WILL and we cannot legislate matters of the heart.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:02 am |
  3. clarke

    Well, i guess one could ask, "Is CNN the wrong kinda news media" You could make a list for the wrong kinda anything, but you get my point.

    October 22, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  4. setnommarih

    Obama sat in front of Rev. Wright for 20 years hearing the damning of America over and over again. If you believe in God or Jesus YOU are supposed to help people not MAKE anyone else help someone. To say people don't have health insurance so we have to MAKE people pay for others based on christianity is BOGUS. Obama is not christian, he is probably agnostic.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:49 am |
    • LivinginVA

      And yet, I suspect you have no issue with laws that restrict abortion because that's what the Bible says.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:52 am |
  5. WorldCares

    Equally, one could ask, "Is Romney the wrong kind of Christian?"

    October 22, 2012 at 5:48 am |
  6. mariner v

    This was an awful long essay to essentially get to the punchline. Don't worry about what Obama practices as his form of religion. The only thing that is important is for you to practice your faith in a way that doesn't impose itself on others. The reason being since it all a bunch of BS to begin with, at least no one has to suffer for your delusiions. This is why the framers wrote the separation clause. To prevent lunatics from creating a theocracy, knowing that the only thing one could know about God would be from within and not without, which would be to subjected to corruption by all of the all knowing clerics cited even in this commentary. In other words its ok to be delusional just so long as you keep it under your roof. We don't want it stuffed down our collective throats. The clerics and defenders of the church know nothing about God, if God wants to speak up he is more than capable of speaking directly to us without reps or surrogates. All we know for sure is that so far all we have are a bunch of control freaks that profess to know something about God but continually illustrate what a bunch of idiots that they are.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:47 am |
  7. BYRON

    "Ye shall know them by their fruits" ... There is only ONE type of TRUE CHRISTIAN, and Barry is NOT one of them. END OF STORY... Jesus would NEVER sign ABORTION into law!

    October 22, 2012 at 5:43 am |
    • david esmay

      Roe vs. Wade was 1973, the president was 12 at the time, moron.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:52 am |
    • LivinginVA

      Even if Obama supports a woman's right to choose – show me where Jesus said that abortion is wrong. The only place it is even CLOSE to mentioned is Exodus and it is clearly not the same as murder there.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:55 am |
    • sam stone

      Jesus is not running for president.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • DanC

      The Bible clearly supports life beginning at conception and science does now as well (the cell is living? YES. The Cell has DNA unique to any other human? YES). This whole "right to chose" thing is a rouse since murder of the most innocent should not be a choice. But since it currently is the law, a truly Christian president would at least limit its expansion NOT enact law which forces all employers to offer it for FREE! This is social justice??

      October 22, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • Ting

      The Cell has DNA unique to any other human?

      A sperm cell contains about half of the genetic information; therefore, we need a president that will ban masturbation. Are you on board with that?

      October 22, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • LivinginVA

      DanC: Where does the Bible clearly state anything about whether abortion is wrong? You say it, but you don't provide any references to back it up. I can, however, point you to a verse that talks about how no one knows how the spirit is put into the bones of the child in the womb (certainly not implying that it was "ensouled" from conception). I also pointed you to the verse in Exodus that speaks about how if a man attacks a woman and she miscarries "but no harm is done", then he pays a fine, as opposed to what happens if a person is murdered.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:14 am |
  8. robert

    Only God Himself and Barack Obama truly know Barack Obama's heart condition. Everything else is mere speculation.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:35 am |
  9. Mixolydian

    Was Jefferson the 'wrong' kind of Deist?
    Religion is myth. Now let's get back to improving the economy.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:32 am |
    • Katherine

      If you consider the words of Jesus, you can be sure that GOP members are not Christian, at all.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:39 am |
    • DanC

      Katherine, how do you figure? When Jesus said to help and feed the poor, he did not suggest that Caesar raise taxes to do so. Members of society should and can help those in need through many methods (service, gifts, etc.) and many more efficient organizations other than the Federal Government. Charity implies FREE WILL and we cannot legislate matters of the heart.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:01 am |
  10. Adam

    Beven, What to do about it?

    October 22, 2012 at 5:29 am |
  11. Don

    Im not sure if this is CNN or FOX NEWS? I guess CNN ratings are so far down the tube that they're copying and pasting the whole FOX NEWS script.

    October 22, 2012 at 5:27 am |
    • Adam

      Like most churches begin, I stumbled here wasted and it started feeling right

      October 22, 2012 at 5:31 am |
    • david esmay

      I agree, this has got to The dumbest subject for an op-ed piece.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:55 am |
  12. Beven

    uhhhh.... OBAMA IS A MUSLIM. He is not a Christian! "Ye shall know them by their fruits." – Lord Jesus (Matthew 7:16)

    October 22, 2012 at 4:48 am |
    • sam stone

      If knowing them by their fruits is appropriate, I don't think Christians have anything to brag about.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:54 am |
    • Adam

      no I've know the fruits of many Christians, the ladies and the men's fruits are so nice, because they never get used, something about their diet makes em taste like candy.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:58 am |
    • Beven

      Don't let others be the accuse for your salvation. Your relationship is a 1 on 1 relationship with Jesus Christ. Not with the world. On judgment day it will be just you and him. Not you him and me. Not u him and a pastor. Just you and him. So come to know our Lord Jesus Christ. Take me out of the picture.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:08 am |
    • Beven

      The satanic deception that leads Islamists to terror is the same that led Catholics to the crusades and Hitler to the Holocaust. We are all victims of Satan's will, and can only be sealed against it by the Holy Spirit which is the gift one receives when they accept Jesus Christ as their savior and love God the father with all your heart. If you deviate from that, Satan and cohorts are going to bring you down in sin and shame eventually. The spirit of Antichrist is rising. Prepare your soul.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:11 am |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Really. So, just like you say you're a christian because of some cherry-picked quote out of your book of man-written BS, here's one for ya...
      "If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. Then you must pile all the plunder in the middle of the street and burn it. Put the entire town to the torch as a burnt offering to the LORD your God. That town must remain a ruin forever; it may never be rebuilt. Keep none of the plunder that has been set apart for destruction. Then the LORD will turn from his fierce anger and be merciful to you. He will have compassion on you and make you a great nation, just as he solemnly promised your ancestors. "The LORD your God will be merciful only if you obey him and keep all the commands I am giving you today, doing what is pleasing to him." (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

      There is your all-powerful all-merciful god sanctioning killing everyone in town and burning it down. Great invisible sky-god you got there. Tell me... you're better than Islamist zealots how exactly?

      October 22, 2012 at 5:14 am |
    • Beven

      The only way to see through these fake snakes is by discernment and wisdom from the Holy Spirit. Obama is a MUSLIM....He was put in power by the Illuminati the Elites. The Pres is not elected, he is selected. The Islamic world always stated they would get America from the inside and that is happening through Obama. He is shredding everything we stand for. KEEP LOOKING UP! JESUS IS COMING SOON! Remember ALL nations will turn against Israel. This is prophesied. LET'S BE AT PEACE AND BE STILL.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:17 am |
    • Adam

      Depending on if you take the bible word for word, if so Satanist was thrown by Michael into the flames of nonexistence. Poof, no more Satan. But if you believe in Dante Inferno's vision of hell, well than Satan is frozen in the center of the earth. Lets just focus on god. God created Satan and Satan does not have free will, Satan is gods slave. If you are good in you heart, god knows, for god make you and you are his slave to. As am I

      October 22, 2012 at 5:25 am |
    • Beven

      The world is falling into the snares set by Satan the devil and his agents. Many don't see that the devil's goal is for the Muslims, Christians, and Jews to fight against each other. Snap outta it. The rich Luciferians with the most power in the governments of this world want this stuff to happen. They are doing FALSE FLAGS because they know the economy is going to fall through to hell. (Revelation Ch. 18 & 19). America falls. The UN takes over ALL nations. They want war! Don't fall for it.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:26 am |
    • Beven

      @Adam: You can ONLY understand God's Word in the Bible when the Holy Spirit is within your soul revealing you the truth. The Holy Spirit teaches us the Word of God. If you reject Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior, then you DON'T have the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of TRUTH. Without it, the finite human mind cannot comprehend the infinite God.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:31 am |
    • LivinginVA

      Unless you are God, you have no idea what Obama does or does not believe. There are MANY MANY Christians who disagree with most of what you said.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:35 am |
    • Beven

      @LivinginVA: Unfortunately, America "has become the habitation of demons, and the haunt of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." America is falling falling falling. Gravity. What goes up, must come down. Every nation is judged by God sooner or later. Prophecy is being fulfilled quickly in these last days of the Church Age. Many won't believe it though. Jesus said MANY will fall away from the faith. Sin blinds humanity from seeing the truth and receiving revelation from the Holy Spirit. I'm not perfect, but I can point you to who is: Jesus Christ our Lord! ♥

      October 22, 2012 at 5:41 am |
    • david esmay

      You are a moron, plain an simple.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:46 am |
    • LivinginVA

      My uncle, a minister and Biblical scholar for over 70 years, disagrees with you. He has read the Bible in far closer to the original text than you have and behaves the way Christ tells people to behave. I will take his understanding of it over yours.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:48 am |
    • Beven

      @LivinginVA: I'm not being a judge. Just being a fruit inspector. Keep an eye on Israel and end time prophecy about Gog & Magog (Ezekiel 38 & 39). There is no denying Israel is at it's strongest it's ever been and many nations have formed an alliance (Russia, Iran, China ect) that are against Israel. Israel will be have no allies. Jesus Christ will defend Israel himself. But I respect your decision though. May JESUS BLESS YOU! ♥

      October 22, 2012 at 6:02 am |
    • sam stone

      you are an embarrasing representative of christianity, beven

      i find it intersting that people seek eternity with a being from which they have to be "saved".

      spend a lot of time on your knees, do you beven?

      October 22, 2012 at 6:32 am |
    • fintastic

      @Beven; you are truly delusional..... the devil and his agents?..... wow.

      "The world is falling into the snares set by Satan the devil and his agents"

      October 22, 2012 at 7:37 am |
  13. Adam

    Obama may become the best Christian soon. He has taken no money from private lobbyists, listened to the people about what they want. They, the people, me, we said we want universal healthcare. He said its going to be hard, but I'll get it done because Obamacare. Obama fought and fought and it hurt him dearly, but he got it done to Congress-dismay. They said we shall turn his followers against him, and undo what little he got to do. Obama laughed, because he knew his followers had his back, after all he had given them exactly what they ask for. BUT NO mitt spoke as he rose, Obama must be punished and forced to suffer a pain that I myself could not withstand. We will make him carry a neon sign in the shape of a
    T that reads OBAMA on top and CARES at the bottom. While he drags the sigh we can all throw slurs like Muslim, Muslim, until we hang him from one of Trump's Towers. And that is how mitt will help the economy, he starts the new holiday Obama hanging from Trump tower day and all products go on sale. Trump would love it to, a mandatory praise day. He already thinks he is god, now he'll be one step closer.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:47 am |
  14. KLN

    The difference is that instead of voluntarily helping the poor by allowing people to determine how much and when, President Obama wants to make it mandatory and tell us the amount via taxes and government handouts. That's not what Dr. King probably had in mind. That's not how you uplift people in poverty. That creates a vicious cycle where people become dependent on the government and can never gain strength to get out of poverty. Eventually, they lose the belief that they can ever be independent and give up. I work with those in poverty and see it everyday. They have largely given up on their American dream. Instead, it's replaced by food stamps, Medicaid and government housing programs. That's not the American dream.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:42 am |
    • Mark

      I never understood why decent people who are believers allow the extremist/bigot/idiot segment of their religion to claim to speak for the entire christian faith. The WRONG kind of christian is the "family values" type whose values are mainly hating those they others and teaching their kids that that is "religion". These are people who fear education and love ignorance because they KNOW that people who can actually think will reject them.
      I see in another article that over 20% of people in the US have no religion, and I have little doubt that the extremist so-called "christian" right is a large part of the reason for that.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:55 am |
  15. Kestie

    In all of this I find some solice in the fact that Tyler is the product of No Child held back, and gosh we need more of that going around with Mitt.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:26 am |
    • Kestie

      Et tu Duck :) see Republican policies might be my salvation if they all are like that.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:29 am |
  16. ouisee

    If you ask this question, you need to ask Is Romney the wrong kind of Christian. Why is CNN all of a sudden not being fair and balance? Have you been bought out?

    October 22, 2012 at 4:12 am |
    • dave

      because they already did a month back?

      October 22, 2012 at 4:50 am |
  17. How about voters choose based on something relevant, like policies

    Obama's new policies for the future: nothing stated, likely more of the same.

    Romney's policies for the future: every possible position stated at one time or another. Likely approach with be plutocratic.

    October 22, 2012 at 4:08 am |
    • Herby Sagues

      Well, "more of the same" would mean continuing with the same trend, which would mean a reduction in deficit to .7 trillion, 4.8% unemployment, a significant reduction in war activities and in soldiers overseas, a 30% increase in the housing market and the US becoming the most respected nation in the world once again (all those are projections of the verifiable trends over the last four years). Of course, that projection would be accompanied with an increase in oil prices, but that one is very unlikely given that during his administration the production of Oil and gas has increased substantially and consumption has remained flat 8despite the recovery, to the fact that the US is today a net exporter of fuel).

      October 22, 2012 at 5:18 am |
  18. mysticnox

    Im honestly wondering about the sanity of the ppl in this country. this is one of the dumbest articles i have ever seen on this website.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • Godzilla

      Oh no, there have been much dumber articles here. The Belief Blog is doing the journalistic limbo: how low can they go?

      Btu that's actually the fun. The only thing dumber that the articles is some of the posters. And then it's the online version of midget-tossing. Great fun.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:01 am |
    • cadecker

      obviously you havent seen the scores of lindsey lohan articles

      October 22, 2012 at 4:08 am |
  19. Publuis

    A Christian does not seek to have others do what he knows he needs to do himself. This is especially true for political leaders. We must stop asking our country to do for the poor when it is our countrymen that ought to be helping the poor. Not because the government holds more powerful arms and can imprison those not willing to help the poor, no, it must come from the heart and soul of each to help others. JFK famous quote says it plainly, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." I will not ask my country to feed the poor when it is my duty to do so myself.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:57 am |
    • Theodore

      Hoping that private donations step up and provide social services for the poor is astoundingly naive. Thinking that government does not have to provide social services, that the private sector will handle it, is just astounding.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:04 am |
    • Larry

      When exactly in the history of America did charities ever supply enough to care for the poor? When was there enough food to feed the poor? If charities had ever supplied for the poor there would never been a need for gov't to step in to help them. To be so niave as to believe that charities are going to fill these need is unbeleivable.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:55 am |
  20. Tyler

    THE BLACK HELICOPTERS ARE CHASING ME!!! COULDN'T THEY AT LEAST BE WHITE AND DELIGHTSOME HELICOPTERS?!?!?!

    I CAN'T FIND MY PROTECTIVE FOIL HAT, AND THE MIND CONTROL BEAMS ARE CAUSING MY BRANE TO WOBBLE LIKE MORMON JELLO!!!!

    October 22, 2012 at 3:56 am |
    • Duck

      Shlt, boy, you've been up all night. It's not helicopters, you big puss. It's just sleep deprivation. Go to bed and give yourself some lovin' so you can relax.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:13 am |
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About this blog

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.