home
RSS
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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

“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. Bill

    You cannot create your own version of "christianity". You must either follow the major beliefs of the church you claim to be part of, or do not bother. The Democrats have a very hard time pushing their liberal agenda, and then stating they are Christian. Why bother other than to get votes? They follow none of the major beliefs (I am not saying they are right or wrong, they are just not doing it), so why even make the claim.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Joel

      Well, now that you've explained this to us definitively, I guess we can all go home.

      (Oh, wait – every single Christian invents their own version of it. Because that's what people do.)

      October 22, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Andy

      There are 1000s of different versions of Christianity. Even evangelicals are divided into many groups. What version do you imagine is THE Christianity?

      October 22, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • GauisCaesar

      Obviously Andy doesn't research too much. I guess he considers denominations to be different "versions" of Christianity instead of different ways to worship God. These are the people that condemn Christianity...those that have no clue!

      October 22, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • Fact

      No, Joel, the point is: a true believer and follower of Christ submits to the authority of Christ and acts according to biblical precepts. That is precisely why so many doubt that Obama is really a Christian. Many who do not even claim their faith as Christian KNOW that abortion and gay marriage are inconsistent with biblical teaching. Obama pushes the "social gospel" because it fits his Marxist agenda.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Michael

      You can name yoursefl "Fact" but that doesn't make you factual and it certainly doesn't make you an expert on what it means to be Christian. You should be as Christ-like as Obama. Christ himself laid out social justice as a requirement. Se Mathew 25 310-46

      31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
      32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
      33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
      34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
      35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
      36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
      37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
      38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
      39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
      40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
      41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
      42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
      43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
      44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
      45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

      46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • WHY?

      You are absolutely correct! Christianity is fabricated religion. It evolved over hundreds of years and still is ever-changing.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  2. gladiatorgrl

    Obama has said: (paraphrasing) I'm a Christian because I believe I'm my brothers keeper. I'm a Christian because I believe in treating others as I would like to be treated.

    Just because he doesn't impose God on others with a gun doesn't mean he's not a Christian. Bush II was "born again" and took us on a "crusade" (his words)to Iraq with other peoples children and DIDN'T pay for it except with other people's childrens lives (cluster#$@ my words) . Keep the "gun" mentality of Christianity in the back woods that's where it belongs – if anywhere.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • GauisCaesar

      You are missing the point! Christianity is not about those things, those things are just requirements to be on God's side. A Christian is someone who believes the guy of Jesus was here for our salvation. The liberal left these days are scrapping the belief of "sin" which also destroys the whole foundation for the need for a "Christ." Therefore, anyone that says liberal Christianity is correct is smoking paint chips!

      October 22, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • kousa

      @gauisceasar. Romney is a Mormon. He's not even a christian because Mormons do not believe that Jesus Christ is God Almighty. Jesus is a little god, like them but not Almighty Elohim!

      October 22, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  3. ramsaxon

    The right religion most likely would manifest itself if the collection basket disapperaed along with the pagans!

    October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • mexigogue

      Higher IQ and education correlate with lower levels of religious belief. I doubt any President in the last 25 years actually believed in God.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  4. M

    Obama isnt even Christian he is a Muslim. He even said so in 2008, as well as when he applied for citizenship to Indonesia he claimed his faith was Muslim. I cant believe this is ignored.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Andy

      It's ignored because it's a myth.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • Lionel

      Where are your facts. You must be a birther. Look, Romney is the wrong type of Christian. He was a bishop in a cult.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • kousa

      You are a incorrect. People like you continue to misrepresent the truth. Obama stated on TV with Pastor Rick Joyner that Jesus Christ was his Lord and Savior!

      October 22, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • WHY?

      Are you crazy?!? There is nothing closely related to Islam that the President follows!

      October 22, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  5. Sniffit

    "There's no such thing as "best of the Bible'"

    Tell that to Thomas Jefferson....you know, seeing as how he made up his own Bible by chopping out the parts he thought were absurd or objectionable.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  6. Mark

    Neither religion nor this entire discussion has any place in our political system. The framers of our country made it painfully clear that there was to be a separation of church and state, so why has that fact seemingly lost on millions of Americans, both with and without means and reason?
    Im an atheist, not because it’s convenient, it is decidedly inconvenient in the USA these days, but because it’s true and “truth will out”.
    My father just died last month and it would be much easier to find faith in his eternal soul and everlasting life but just because it’s easy, doesn’t make it true.
    I have my problems with religion in general but I am seriously awestruck by the level of hate coming from Christians who are reading from the same book which teaches love and peace…… or did they all go back to the old book of hellfire and brimstone? If that’s the case, they should just come out of the closet and pronounce that they are indeed Jewish.
    Open your minds America, please!

    October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  7. Jannae

    CNN should at least post an article about Romney's Mormon faith. When did CNN become a biased right-wing news media?

    October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • OverlordXenu

      I see what you did there.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Mike

      Mormons aren't even chri$tians. Let's look into the polygamist past of the Romney family and let's see how interesting that is.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Cindy

      Jannae, Romney and his cohorts have tried very hard to keep his religion out of the news. If people (specially Christians) knew about his religion, they would not vote for him. He is not a Christian at all. He follows several Gods and his whole religion is based on a man..Joseph Smith. If you want to condemn Obama for not following verse by verse from the Bible, then you must condemn yourself for not following the verse about not following a false prophet. Enough said!

      October 22, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  8. Tom

    I never understood how evangelicals beleive they have some special pasage to heavon and morality. I find ti insulting and based on intolerance of everyone but themselves. The Religious Right make me sick.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  9. Candace Jones

    God chose Obama. He is no different than any other King of old. If he chooses to leave God out of his plans for our future, he will fall. We have no need to throw stones, unless maybe we are sin free.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  10. pc

    Obama is a good atheist, just as all true liberals are atheists. Soon religious people will die out and our politicians can stop pretending.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • GauisCaesar

      Yes soon. Of course statisticians or anyone smart enough to know numbers can understand if only 10% of the world is atheist, the idea that the religious will die out isn't far-fetched, but not anytime in our lifetimes. So the term "soon" in your comment shows you lack the understanding of numbers or how to read them!

      October 22, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Candace Jones

      LOL, I like that perspective of religous people dying out, because it is well time for this needed death.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:18 am |
  11. chas

    CNN this headline is misleading and intended to leave a negative impression of Obama on low-information voters. This is a FOX tactic, beneath you.

    -C

    October 22, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • PaulB

      Actually, the article ties Obama's brand of faith to that of most Americans up until fundamentalism became popular in the 1960s. Our generations who fought through both world wars would have been very comfortable with Obama's faith. Unfortunately, many of them have sense converted to fundamentalism in their old age and have forgotten what people believed in back when they were younger. So much for "traditional" values, eh?

      October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Zoey

      You are definitely right about that. Too bad the low informed get to vote. They are what's messing up this country!

      October 22, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • sheridan

      Totally agree....

      October 22, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  12. John TB

    John 12:36-40 – "While you have the Light, believe in the Light, so that you may become sons of Light.” These things Jesus spoke, and He went away and hid Himself from them. 37 But though He had performed so many signs before them, yet they were not believing in Him. 38 This was to fulfill the word of Isaiah the prophet which he spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” 39 For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, 40 “He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them.”
    Of course, if you don't take the word of God literally, these words from the Apostle John are foolishness, and just ramblings of an old guy who didn't quite get it. I pray He will unblind your eyes and soften your hearts to see the beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ: 1) God is holy and righteous and will punish sin, 2) Every human being (except Jesus) has sinned and deserve the just wrath of God, 3) BUT GOD sent His Son to live a perfect life in order to take on the just wrath of a holy God and die in our place, and He rose again in victory over death and justified those who would believe, 4) Everyone everywhere has been called to repent of their sins and trust in Christ and the work He did on the cross – if you DO repent and believe in sicerity, than you will live eternity with Him; if you DO NOT repent and believe than you will live an eternity without Him in misery.
    This is the gospel – this is what men and women need more than hand outs, or self-help talks, or self-asteem courses. The one is temporal and short lived while the other is spiritual and eternal. I pray that spiritual blindness will be eradicated, but above all, I pray that Christ will be exalted for who He is, Lord and Savior, instead of a self-help and social-justice guru. All to His glory! Amen!

    October 22, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Michael

      John – you should be as Christ-like as Obama. See Mathew 25 31-46. Social justice is a Christian concept and requirement.

      31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
      32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
      33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
      34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
      35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
      36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
      37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
      38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
      39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
      40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
      41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
      42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
      43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
      44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
      45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

      46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:42 am |
  13. Jeff

    “There is one thing I have to say, Sam. This is my house, too. This is God’s house.”
    Oh SNAP! Theological slam.
    Obama is exactly the right kind of Christian; the kind that believes that acts speak more than words or mega churches that preach the gospel of avarice. He is the kind of Christian that understands that God and only be God; the words and deeds of others cannot lessen God. The kind of Christian that knows his salvation comes from helping other not chastising or condemning them. The kind that takes care of the motes in his eye before pointing it out in others first.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  14. M

    Obama is the wrong kind of president. Before responding research non-whitehouse information about his life. It is full of deceit including him using a completely different name for most of his life. He also has made many strange friendships throughout his life with racists, muslim extremists and terrorists.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Candace Jones

      Fairy Tale....the word is Sal-va-tion. Did you sleep through the American Dream part?

      October 22, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Candace Jones

      my reply to your comment was an error

      October 22, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • kousa

      Oh make it plain for all to see. Your definition of "wrong kind of president" is that he is a black man in the White House! By the way, a White House that black slaves built! I'm sick and tired of bigotted folks like you.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • WHY?

      Maaaaaan... SHUT UP!

      October 22, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  15. ChuckB

    Fundamentalist Christians go out of their way to distort the truth. Most, if not all, presidents were progressive or liberal Christians; in fact five were Unitarian Christians: both John and John Quincy Adams, Jefferson, Fillmore and Taft. In fact Taft may have been a closet atheist. Their number exceeds the number of born again Christians who have been president. Ironically the three presidents from a conservative Christian background were Democrats: Truman, Carter and Clinton (all three Southern Baptists). The rest of the presidents belonged to "mainline" Protestant churches, such as the Episcopal Church, or were unaffiliated. One of the most fundamentalist candidates for the presidency was William Jennings Bryan (although he was a Presbyterian, a mainline church, his views were very conservative—e.g., the Scopes “Monkey trial”), also a Democrat, who was the party’s unsuccessful nominee three times. Along with the five Unitarians, five presidents preceded Obama declaration of himself as being unaffiliated: Thomas Jefferson (also leaning towards Unitarianism), Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, U.S. Grant and Rutherford Hayes. The truth is that in the light of the nation’s history, a conservative, fundamentalist Christian would be of the “wrong religion.” Today we are experiencing historical revisionism from the Christian right on a grand scale; they are trying to paint a history of the nation that is patently false.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • paulruffin

      Well the analysis about Obama not being a Christian is accurate. You can't deny the bible and call yourself a Christian. What's ironic is in the 2006 video by Obama he says the sermon on the mount is so radical. Well that's what Christianity is about. Christianity is radical in nature and a true Christian does not back down from it. The bible even says you are not to conform to society and patterns of the world. So in other words, you do not blow with the wind or go with what society views as acceptable or truth. This is why many philosophers in the past have made the argument that a real Christian cannot engage in American Politics. You would have to sacrifice your beliefs to appease a secular crowd. But to be fair, the right wing conservatives have hi jacked Christianity in America and called it their own, even though their policies are contradictory to Jesus teachings, just as conservative Christian Jim Wallis pointed out. American atheists and American "Christians" both live self-centered lifestyles. The only difference is one group does it proudly with no shame while another lies to the masses and calls themselves Christians. Just as the guy said, there is no such thing as a progressive Christian, but only a secularist who shares some Christian values.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  16. buzz

    "there they go again" with the foolishness. A good christian, are you kidding me? Brownback is a desperate hypocrite/fool. CNN next article should read Romeny/morman non christian, flip flopping liar, cheater, outsourcing American jobs, etc.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:14 am |
  17. Lauren

    In my opinion, Romney holds the wrong set of religious views. I know Obama is a Protestant Christian – he's actually referenced his Christian faith more than George Bush.

    I believe with strong conviction that Mormonism is a cult and has fundamental dissent from traditional Christian doctrine – mainly the divinity of Jesus, the Holy Trinity, and atonement. It's amusing to me that some people are okay with Romney being an ardent follower of Mormonism, yet don't think Obama is a Christian.

    I support the real Christian and he's already in the White House and I already voted to keep him right where he is.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Lionel

      Agree. Thank you for your comment.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Fact

      Really, you really think Christ would approve of abortion and if the baby survived then infanticide would be okay? No, Obama is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • anunfolding

      amen

      October 22, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • paulruffin

      If you think Obama is a real christian, then you probably should study the Bible a little bit more. Obama is as much as a Christian as George Bush.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • WHY?

      The practice, or lack there of is what makes a Christian, Christian. Christianity is a religion of hypocrisy.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  18. Jeebus

    Mixing religion and government doesn't make government better. It makes religion worse.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  19. biologic

    Christian: To be Christ like.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Beth

      That's correct. If you want to be a Christian, you have to take your cues from Christ, period.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • paulruffin

      Exactly. The whole purpose of a Christian is that your lifestyle, desires and worldview matches that of Jesus himself. Taking snippet's of Jesus teachings to advance your cause does not make you a Christian at all. Just as Bill Maher said this country is runned by a bunch of pseudo-christians.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  20. Candace Jones

    America, if we don't begin to use the common sense that's been awared us, as people who have obtained the American Dream, we will be soon labled as "Dumb" when it comes to spiritual awareness. We should be more concerned about our own paths of salvation. Choose ye this day who YOU will serve. God or Religion!

    Our mouths are too quick to become as a filthy dung hole. And, it will tell on us.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • Joel

      We should be concerned about the here and now, about the real suffering of real people around us every day. What comes after will take care of itself.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • Lionel

      Romney was a bishop in a cult. Why is he not the wrong type of Christion?

      October 22, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • Fairy Tale Awareness

      You should be more corncerned about the salivation coming from your filthy dung hole.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Candace Jones

      I agree Joel

      Lionel, yes a bishop in a cult is in fact the wrong type of Christian.

      As for the Firy Tale person, just keep sleeping honey.

      October 22, 2012 at 10:28 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
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.