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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. Jack Wibbe

    Evangelicals are so positive that they know God's will, that in their minds anyone who disagrees with them is really disagreeing with God. Psychologists call that "delusions of grandeur". And they think Obama's the wrong kind of Christian because he's a black Democrat - they are chucking moderates out of their ranks almost as fast as the Republicans are.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Luv U

      No, Jack. Apparently you have never heard of long-standing Christian tradition and theology, both of which Obama's supposed faith violates.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  2. DocHollywood

    "Joining a church doesn’t mean you’re a Christian"....just like saying you're born again doesn't make you one. The hypocrasy from these Christian leaders in this article are appaling. They wrap theirselves in a flag and raise the bible and tell everyone else how wrong we are. They are pro life, yet have no problems pulling a switch on someone they've judged to be guilty of a sin. Or send other people's young boys and girls into a needless war. Or watch priests prey upon young altar boys and remain silent and protectionist. And these Christian leaders who say it's not the government's responsibility to help feed the poor or heal the sick, I don't see them coming up with a better plan other than ignoring them as if they aren't there. If religion is not kept personal, it becomes nothing more than any other form of power. And that's usually bad.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  3. Non-believer

    Maybe President Obama is a secret atheist...Good for him is he is!!

    October 21, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Luv U

      Most of us suspect that is the case. Either that or he's a closet Muslim. ;-)

      October 21, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Jesus Juice

      Yeah, the proud racists in this country all think he's a secret Muslim. It's hard for some people to accept that an educated black man is our president. Thats the sad truth. Hope their heads explode when he's re-elected.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  4. evil_atheist

    There is no "right type" of Christian.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Anne

      There is no reason for any religion to be in politics. Once it does it becomes no different from the Taliban and Sharia law.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  5. Imaginary Skydaddy

    THERES AN INVISIBLE MAN IN THE SKY AND HE HATES GAY PEOPLE!!!! HE LOVES YOU BUT IF YOU DONT WORSHIP HIM HES GONNA BURN YOU FOR ETERNITY!!!!

    October 21, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Imaginary Skydaddy

      Being in a church doesn't make you christian just like standing in a garage doesn't make you a car!

      October 21, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  6. Trustyone

    Separate Church and State, Religins should stay out of Politics, just that simple.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Luv U

      Either religion contain the principles based on which you live your life, inseparable from politics, or your religion means nothing. Obama's and Biden's seem to mean nothing. What principles do they actually stand for aside from"liberal principles"?

      October 21, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  7. Kelly51

    I guess this is just a soundoff for Obama supporters. Anything anti-Obama is deleted. Nice freedom of speech you got going her CNN.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • midwest rail

      1. There are no 1st Amendment issues involved when commenting on a private corporation's website.
      2. There are no moderators here, only word filters.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  8. dinkusmcgee

    Going to church is a shear WASTE of time for 90% who go there!

    October 21, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  9. kontraxed

    What's all the conversation about Obama and Christianity? I thought he was a moslem?

    October 21, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Softship

      You "thought"? How quaint!

      October 21, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  10. patw

    Liberals hate God and America, end of story.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • JPX

      You are right, I hate religion. Religion is the root of all evil and it poisons everything. I am so happy to have a president who, in all likelihood, is an atheist. Religion is for the simple minded; for people who need a simplistic explanation for things that are far more complicated.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • mm

      So, you'd like to remove all "liberals" from the church rolls and nix their contributions.

      Careful with your response there.

      One more point: Republicans have called Mitt Romney a "liberal" for about 3 decades until a few months ago. Did he convert in the meantime?

      October 21, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  11. AgonyF

    Are the many Christians here late for Church?

    Oh wait.... it's on TV.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  12. Florida

    Thats because he is a Muslim...

    October 21, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • mm

      He is about as Muslim as you are peanut.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  13. mm

    What a racist pile of garbage article. Was the author supposed to be the "right" kind of Christian with all that us vs. them Hate?

    Pathetically low, CNN. How does this even qualify to be in the "Belief" section...Maybe you should make a new section for "Bigots".

    October 21, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • JPX

      No, mm, this article is entirely consistent with how religious people think; believe what I believe or I will hate you. Isn't religion great?

      October 21, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • BinaryTooth

      I guess one has to be racist to disagree with Obama.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • BinaryTooth

      JPX, There you go again. A liberal interjecting hate into a conversation. Love you guys.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  14. Rod757

    past Christian presidents owned slaves, keep slavery going,had affairs, lied about wars and ignored the poor, and the elderly. president Obama has not done any of these things so yes he is the wrong Christian for this job. this is why I hate religion. religion is the devil's tool he use to turn people against each other in the name of God.Man created religion not God.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  15. Vidyashanti

    It is totally a absurd concept that a Christian is a religious person. Recent events have shown that the flag bearer of the Church can ditch the GOD and the BIBLE for political and personal gains. Do you call such people religious?

    October 21, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  16. Reality

    A few "to the pointers":

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    STOP AND READ CAREFULLY !!!

    Romney believes that the horn-blowing angel Moroni appeared to the con artist Joe Smith. Not good for someone who wants to be president of any group !!!

    Obama "mouths" that he is Christian i.e. believes in gay Gabriel and war-mongering Michael the Archangel and Satan. BO's support of abortion/choice however vitiates his Christianity as he is the leader of the Immoral Majority who are now the largest voting bloc in the country. Immoral Majority you ask??

    The 78 million voting "mothers and fathers" of aborted womb babies !!! (2012 -1973 Rowe vs. Wade = 39.

    39 x 2 million = 78 million. Abortion rate in the USA as per the CDC and the Guttmacher Insti-tute is ~one million/yr.

    And the presidential popular vote in 2008? 69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM. The population of the Immoral Majority in 2008? ~ 70 million !!!!!!

    And now for the grand finale:

    Putting the kibosh on all religions–

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    October 21, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • JPX

      Reality, you sound nuts.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • Reality

      Dear Messrs. Obama and Romney,

      The reality of se-x, abortion, contraception and STD/HIV control: – from a guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-

      Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

      The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

      : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill (8.7% actual failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% actual failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

      Added information before making your next move:

      from the CDC-2006

      "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

      And from:

      Consumer Reports, January, 2012

      "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

      Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

      "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

      Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

      The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":
      - (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
      - (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)
      Followed by:
      One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
      Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
      The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
      Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
      IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
      Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

      Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).

      October 21, 2012 at 9:06 am |
  17. Byron Jones

    To all of you so-called fundamentalists out there. You have freedom of religion because you have freedom FROM religion. Now, go think about this and then think about your fellow fundamentalists of other religions wanting to impose their theology on you. But wait - you want the same right to impose your theology on them and others. Now go back and re-read the First Amendment and then some history on pre- enlightenment Europe.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  18. phnxrth

    There is no right kind. It's belief, dogma, social climbing, hypnosis, stealing, and worse.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  19. Rainer Braendlein

    Don't have intercourse with men but with women, or have you become crazy?

    It is just satanic to mix good (care for the poor) and bad (support of gay marriage) behaviour. Seemingly, Obama wants to entrap the naive multi-tudes by his strategy of mixing good and bad. I guess his heart is not as beautiful as his face.

    "..., 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-se-x marriage, ... " Mr. Blake said.

    Simply the fact that Obama supports same-se-x marriage, and blasphemously appeals to Jesus in this context, is a clear indicator or evidence that he is no Christian at all.

    A gay man is simply a maniac concerning his s-exuality. He has completely forsaken the trust in the Lord that he may give him a wife in due course, and know he fuc-ks with men. Such a disbelief should not be supported by the society or the state.

    We should not support gay marriage but help single men and women to find appropriate partners of the opposite gender.

    We have too little people in our society which bring about healthy community, this is our problem. Community is nothing which is there for no reasen but must always be promoted and supported by highly spiritual people.

    Such an unselfish love which wants to bring about community is typical for real Christians. As we become more and more lonely this is a clear sign that the true Christian faith is about to disappear from the earth.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    October 21, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Reality

      o "Abrahamics" including the Lutherans believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the gay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore gays are gay because god made them that way.

      To wit:

      1. The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

      “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

      2. "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

      3. See also the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”

      Of course, those gays who belong to Abrahamic religions supposedly abide by the rules of no adu-ltery or for-nication allowed.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Rod757

      I don't think God favors one sin over the other.Being gay is just another sin to me however where is the outcry to dismantle the catholic religion for their support for child raping gay priest?

      October 21, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  20. erielhonan

    Is CNN the wrong kind of news outlet? Survey says – shut up with this nonsense CNN.

    October 21, 2012 at 8:39 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.