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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).

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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. Common Sense

    A Christian does not call the Quran "HOLY," nor does a christian hold the quran in equal regard as the bible.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • kalo

      This will blow your mind, both the Koran and the Bible are branched from Judaism. You just bashed your own old testament! So its half holy at least.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • lee

      You know this because??? Did God tell you to disrespect other religions???

      October 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Nathan

      Obama is a muslim who regards the teachings of Jesus...isn't that special??!! He also has to hide his pastor of twenty years – Jeremiah Wright...for damning America and keeping strong ties with muslims.....anyone else confused

      October 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • fofo

      did you get your answer hypocrite?

      October 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • visitor

      Does your church teach you to be disrespectful? What church is that? I'll make sure I send my kids there to learn intolerance.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  2. kalo

    Ya they are just mad because he wants to give to the poor, heal the sick, and throw the bankers out of the church ect....Oh yes, he is definitely the Anti-Christ. I swear, how many religious people have actually read the bible?

    October 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Mike

      I have. Can you point me to the place which says I should put laws in place to force other people to give their money for these things, rather than being responsible to do it myself?

      October 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • kalo

      Yes I can, give 10% "Its easier for a camel to travel through the head of a pin than it is for a rich man to get into heaven" (Fear to give your money) the passage about the man who couldn't give up his possessions to follow Jesus, the Catholic church requiring donations all throughout European history...Shall I go on?

      October 22, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Mike

      So where in that passage does it speak to anything except the individual responsibility of the believer? That passage doesn't say anything about forcing someone else to give 10% - only that the individual believer give. By the way, that passage also doesn't mandate giving 10%. Go back and read it again.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things . .

    October 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      October 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  4. Dave L

    CNN, the Tea Party channel.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
  5. Kingofthenet

    The 'NEW' everyone for themselves Evangelical Movement is really just 'Outcome Desired' Religion, it's faith catering to the greedy desires of the flock. It's an 'I Built That' religion, and I don't have to share with irresponsible people who aren't successful because they are lazy.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • common sense

      This flies in the face of all my personal experiences of evangicals, so...... ????

      October 22, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
  6. amy

    Kill ALL the religions.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • truth be told

      The true heart of atheism. Atheists have tortured and murdered more people in the last 100 years than were killed in all previous centuries.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Veritas

      The world would be a better and more peaceful place if there were more atheists...like you?!?!

      October 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • kalo

      First off that is a troll, second the Middle East, WW1, WW2, and the other religious wars in Asia have killed less than Atheists...really? Go back to history class, I'll give you Stalin but even Hitler said he was Christian and the master race from god.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • just sayin

      You idiot, TBT, she didn't say kill people, she just said kill the religions.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  7. Veritas

    It's not hate and it's not judgmental. Every religious community (or voluntary group) has to define a point at which "different" means "no longer part of us." Like a "different" Hindu who eats cows and ignores temples – real Hindus wouldn't give him the time of day. Or a "different" Democrat – who wants tax cuts for the rich, outsourcing and to privatize Medicare – would he get invited to the Convention? Every group must do this or the membership means nothing. Obama is a nice guy. But he is manifestly, objectively, historically not a Christian. Doesn't support much biblical teaching, doesn't believe gospel regarding sin, atonement, repentance, etc. It's okay not to be a Christian, but let's not call people hateful for merely defining a voluntary group.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • jvivien

      well, cant agree with you more.
      this post seems to be more open minded

      he has the right to choose his religion. and whatever happened to separation of church and state. at least he is more of a live and let live person. he wont impose his religious beliefs on everyone.
      I may not agree with his economic philosophy or socialist principles. but that has nothing to do with his religious affiliation.

      i feel insulted by republicans. what self respecting woman would vote for a republican when they outright disrespect them.

      republicans want to impose their strict religious beliefs on all people and to bad they are demeaning towards women! their "language is rather insulting to all women. so how are they "Christians" or "religious" if they cant speak respectfully towards women.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • common sense

      jvivien – what are you talking about??? by the fact that there are many, many republican women who are unaware of whatever you are citing, it indicates that you are either illogical or extremely arrogant.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  8. lily

    Wow! Obama wants to talk religion-something he didn't want to talk about in the last election!
    He has started his own religion-KILL LIST CHRISTIANITY-1ST COMMANDMENT–Covet thy neighbors goods-take from them the things that they have worked for –because you were too lazy to work for them yourself and Hey, they didn't build that!!! WHAT A DOPE!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Joseph

      Yea,Elect Romney.He will make sure that God's creation is poisoned for profit.Anyone claiming any God would back the sellout greed of the Republican party is a blasphemous soulles LIAR.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • itsallaloadofbollocks

      You are delusional, Lily. None of that is true. Who do you think built the infrastructure – the vast majority is built and maintained by the government so in the main companies did not build it.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • kerry

      pure stupidity!

      October 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  9. Dave

    I hope there comes a time when we don't know what religion a politician is, or even IF they are religious. I DON'T CARE!! It's absolutely, completely irrelevant.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Hoosier53

      Therein is one of the problems – for many of us IT IS RELEVANT! I don't believe Obama believes in God – I think he goes to Church, participates in prayer, etc., because it (thus far) is politically correct.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • kalo

      i'll take an Atheist over a religious fundamental in the oval office any day. I don't want someone to actually bring the book of revelations into reality because "We will be fine in the next life" an Atheist would be much more fearful of just not existing anymore; I'll take that shielding of the ego over "Let me do your bidding my lord" *presses button* Already happened with Iraq "God told me to."-Bush.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
  10. Mike

    There is no doubt that the New Testament mandates that the Church care for those who are sick, without clothes, hungry, etc.

    I think one would be hard pressed, however, to find that the New Testemant supports (1) the Church pushing it's responsibility to care for others upon the government or (2) anyone forcing another person to take care of those who are sick, hungry, etc.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Since John Kennedy 2/3 of Catholic Charities have been paid for by Social security funds, but thanks for playing.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • lily

      No it doesn't mandate the church to do anything-there were no churches only synagogues-and Jesus only said it would be easier for you to get into heaven if you did-I'm a pagan and I HAVE READ THE ENTIRE BIBLE!

      October 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Mike

      Christ clearly mandates that the Church (the universe of believers - not any particular building) take care of the sick, and hungry. It's in the gospel of Mathew. Might want to read it at some point.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  11. lee

    there is nothing more hypocritical than a bunch of white people rallying against the poor and claiming they are Christians

    October 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Nana

      AMEN. Best comment ever.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
  12. Henry

    You're not a "good" Christian until you become adept at being two-faced when necessary – being able to argue any side of any argument from that conflicted Bible, regardless of how it coincides with Jesus' simple teachings. This is mostly true of the extremist Christians to include Evangelicals, Mormons and Catholics. The President is fairly moderate compared to any one of these groups.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
  13. papaw nick

    The Obama gospel is according to Rev. Wright for 20 years. That is not the teaching most Christians sit under.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Nathan

      Which is a good thing since most Christians are losers.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Hemlock

      Mitten's belongs to a faith that's waaaay more corporate than religeous. Plus screening your flock? How does that work out in the eyes of the Lord?

      October 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Epinoia

      And just how do you know what 'most Christians' think? Did you do a poll? I highly doubt it. Do you have ANY historical sense as to how Christianity is seen in other parts of the world? Or are you only limited to what's seen in your own backyard and your own time period?

      I majored in Philosophy in college, and much of my emphasis was on Philosophy of Religion. And I can tell you with absolute certainty that the Social Gospel mentioned in this article is right on the mark. Christianity in the USA is a distortion from anything that preceded it historically around the world. That's simply a fact. Much of that radical change was brought forth by Calvinism - which radically shaped Christianity to fit with the new economic theory on the block....Capitalism.

      Calvinists even made a novel argument: God knows all because He is outside space and time. Therefore God knows ahead of time who is going to get into Heaven. And God is also a Just God - and he will not treat those going to Heaven unjustly. Ergo, you can tell who is going to Heaven by how WELL they are living today.

      See how nicely that fits with Capitalism? Obama isn't a Muslim. He's old-school Christian - the sort of Christian that existed PRIOR to Capitalism and Calvinism.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  14. palintwit

    Real Christians believe the earth is only 6,000 years old. Real Christians believe that early man rode dinosaurs to church every Sunday.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Common Sense

      Dont be ignorant

      October 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Nathan

      and that is why the views of most "real" christians is 100% irrelevant.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      Umm... a small percentage of Christians believe something remotely like that. The rest don't.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Epinoia

      It's difficult for right-wingers to understand it, but there was Christianity long before Capitalism. They'd look at the vast majority of Christians this world has seen and say that those were all NOT Christians. Because right-wingers can't separate Capitalism from Christianity ever since Calvinism merged the two in the USA.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  15. Bob Gospel

    whatever. i still think michelle is one fine shawty, and i'm white...wonder how submissive she really is?

    October 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  16. Christy

    Gary Cass is the worst of what religion stands for: if you don't think my way you're wrong. I am not an Obama fan but I respect him more after reading this article. I pray that evangelicals crawl back into the cesspool they rose from.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  17. Joe Loven

    Obama is not a Christian. He pretends to be a Christian so he can steal some Christian votes. A true Christian recognizes Obama for another what he is. Not what he pretends to be.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Common Sense

      i've never considered Obama (by his actions and words) to be a christian

      October 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Vic

      Is Romney a Christian? Does he believe that one day he will or has a chance to become a God. What does he believe ab the trinity and what does he believe an Jesus and Satan's relationship. Answer those questions and then let me know if Romney is a Christian.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Common Sense

      VIC: Romney is not a Christian either. But I do agree with his politics far more.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • W.G.

      I believe Mr. Obama is a Christian . The Bible says look at the fruit of the tree . Mr. Obama looks after the needs of the poor and the old and the sick . Mr. Romney looks after the needs of the rich . The biblel says that the anti chgrist will be able to fool even the elect of the church and I think Mr. Romney is doing that with every "Pulpit Pimp" that bacxks him . Mormons believe that satan is the brother of Jesus ande that Jesus is not GOD . To be counted as a Christian you have to believe that jesus is GOD .

      October 22, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Sara

      Neither is Romney. When did Mormonism suddenly become a Christian religion? Evangelicals since the existence of the Mormon church have labeled it as a false religion and a cult. Now suddenly Mormonism is 'christian.' Give me a break. Evangelicals are the biggest hypocrites on the planet.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Epinoia

      You don't get to define what a Christian is. I suggest you take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror. And when you're finished, break open some history books that explain Christianity throughout the last 2000 years. This modern-day version of Christianity is extremely different from what was understood by CHRISTIANS just a couple hundred of years ago. CALVINISM blended Christianity and Capitalism. And because of that, YOU can't figure out where Christianity ends, and where Capitalism begins.

      The simple fact is...Obama is practicing a Christianity that most Christians would recognize up until the advent of Calvinism. And since that is basically the first 1800 years of Christianity, I'd say he's more correct than your hybridized frankenstein version of Calvinianity.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  18. Tony

    What does religion have to do with being President? It's been my experience the more people tell what great Christians they are the more they're not.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • lee

      Ill bet your experience is vast and great

      October 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Steve Wilkinson

      Well, religion is a core component (actually THE core component) of what makes up your world-veiw.... which directs how you live, think, and make decisions. A better question would be what does it not have to do with being president.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • lee

      It is amazing to see the obvious hypocrisy of the wealthy rallying against the poor and calling themselves Christians.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  19. I've got a QUESTION

    Among so many pages, how does one find his own comments to check for replies? Is there a way?

    October 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Joel

      You don't. This forum isn't good for conversation, just drive-by verbal sniping. It's terrible. (And yet, I post comments. I am just that complex.)

      October 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • sonny chapman

      I guess this is what "going viral" looks like.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • fofo

      try to remember the time you posted your comment.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • I've got a QUESTION

      Thanks! I see I'm not the only one that's frustrated :)

      October 22, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • What IF

      I've got a QUESTION,

      The only way I have found is that, if the conversation is important enough to check back on, you need to jot down the page number (or bookmark the page). Noting the time will not help all that much, since there are all sorts of different times under each post and on each page.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
  20. A Convert Myself

    This is a terribly slanted article. Charity (caritas) is not a new concept that developed in Protestant megachurches in American inner cities in the early part of the 20th Century. Also, believe it or not, conservative Christianity is far more complex and thoughtful than the verbal mis-steps of Franklin Graham or losing the Scopes trial. This article focuses entirely on Protestant groups, while utterly ignoring Catholic and Orthodox Christians, LDS, and others, the very existence of which severely undercut the article's thesis.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      The interesting thinkg about Scopes is that he was completely wrong. We know today from the global geological record that species occur rapidly followin a mass extinction, the opposite of Evolution. We also know from DNA that Man's closest genome relative is dog and that man and ape do not share a common ancestor. Scopes is very like Obama, divergent from reality.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • common sense

      Absolutely well said, I was thinking the same thing. The author is apparently so misguided that they attribute charity as a recent development in liberal protestant churches.... The idea itself is so laughable, I am not going to cite why that is incorrect.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Epinoia

      I suggest you try to learn more about Christianity as it progressed throughout history - especially before Calvin merged it with Capitalism. Evangelicals today are mostly Calvinists rather than Christians. They're a hybrid of Christian and Capitalist.

      Christianity does not support unlimited greed at the expense of actual human lives. Jesus would NEVER say that it was more proper to let people make untold billions of dollars and let people die for lack of health care. NEVER.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
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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.