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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. Peacemaker

    What is more Christian ...... than wanting to take care of the poor? Obamacare will help and is helping millions of Americans already! Keeping the healthcare industry from refusing to cover YOU if you have a preexisting condition. Preventing healthcare insurers from a "lifetime cap" that hurts those fighting cancer and other illnesses.

    What is more Christian..... thank wanting to keep Medicare solvent?! Instead of dismantling Medicare and providing Seniors with a voucher program that will send many of us, Baby Boomers, into bankruptcy!

    What is more Christian..... than ending the Bush Wars? Working with both our Allies and enemies to resolve world problems rather than chanting ........."bomb, bomb, bomb Iran"?

    What is more Christian..... than wanting the Middle Class to succeed?!

    What is more Christian..... than wanting ALL Americans not just those at the top, to live the American Dream?

    President Obama is more of a Christian, than most of the GOP will ever be! The HATE and LIES that have been spewed at Pres. Obama from the ......so-called...... "Christian Right" ...... goes against everything JESUS taught!

    HATE AND LIES ARE NOT CHRISTIAN VALUES.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      Forgive me, but you are a fool. Not one thing you said there was "Christian." What is a Christian lies at the heart of the word "Christ." The message of Jesus was the message of salvation, which Christians call the "good news" or "gospel" in Greek. You failed to mention that one time in your comment,but that is the meaning of Christianity.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • 1ofTheFallen

      Does Obama and ObamaCare help your children which may die waiting in lines to get treatment. Just like little Lucie Linforth in the UK. Poor Lucie's Dad Eric, 33, had rushed his daughter to the practice after she had feverish coughs during the night.
      Her mother Angie Collins has claimed he repeatedly pleaded with receptionists to get a doctor to examine Lucie but he was told to wait his turn. This is what government run healthcare is like. In Canada the waiting lines and have increased to the longest ever. If you are misdiagnosed or not critical you may have to wait as long as 8 to 9 months. Why do you think the Canadian PM Danny Williams went to the US for his heart Surgery in 2010 or Canadian Mountain-bike enthusiast Suzanne Aucoin who had to fight more than her Stage IV colon cancer. Her doctor suggested Erbitux—a proven cancer drug that targets cancer cells exclusively, unlike conventional chemotherapies that more crudely kill all fast-growing cells in the body—and Aucoin went to a clinic to begin treatment. But if Erbitux offered hope, Aucoin’s insurance didn’t: she received one inscrutable form letter after another, rejecting her claim for reimbursement. IN THE US Erbitux IS STANDARD TREATMENT. In the UK 16,000 patients are denied cancer drugs. 8,000 because the drugs are too expensive and 8,000 because they have little chance of survival and are most likley going to die so the government does not want to waste the money.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • 1ofTheFallen

      Don't be fooled. OambaCare is about controlling cost. It will cover 30 million more people but not add a single doctor. In Canada people have to wait years to get to see a local doctor because he will not take new patients so many people have to travel hours just to see a doctor willing to see them. In Canada and the UK thousands are denied expensive cancer drugs. In the UK over 16,000 cancer patients are still being denied the drugs they need, an RCF report showed. Of the 16,000 patients denied access to drugs, about half have been judged not eligible for consideration under the new regulation for end-of-life criteria. The remaining 8,000 patients, of the total of 16,000, have been considered under the higher cost threshhold but the drugs have still been rejected because they are considered too expensive for the benefits they bring

      October 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • TheTruth

      Christians don't take God out of their party's platform, then force it back in against the party's vote (the vote failed 3 times). Christians don't forget God at Thanksgiving, which was originated as a day to thank God (Governor William Bradford). Christians don't belong to racist organizations masquerading as churches (Jeremiah Wright).

      October 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  2. JBob

    Please, using to Jesus to support gay-marriage and abortion for convenience is like asking Mike Huckabee to write another diet book. Things simply do not add up!

    October 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Peacemaker

      JESUS never, ever spoke or preached against Gays, period! To you, I say, STOP USING Jesus for political gain, its obscene!

      October 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  3. We have a winner!

    If Jesus was interested in politics, he would have magicked himself into being Roman Emperor. It would have advanced his teachings much faster. Instead he chose to be totally obscure, and die a stupid death that others had to reimagine into some contorted meaning of being Jesus' Amazing Sin-dromat.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  4. bored already

    Religion has no place in politics- an invisible man in the sky- think about this, folks.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  5. MrBeenThere

    So President Obama is the Wrong kind of Christian ? so this must be the right kind.............
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6udew9axmdM&w=640&h=390]

    October 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  6. afreepeople

    I was getting concerned BO was loosing support, no fear, he's got support from Chavez, Putin and Castro. Don't know why I was worried.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • midwstrngrl

      rush much stupid?

      October 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Peacemaker

      Interesting your username "afreepeople" BUT..... YOU would take a Woman's Right to Choose away?!

      You would keep women from earning a FAIR wage!

      You would keep a woman from access to birth control!

      The GOP does not stand for freedom..... they are more like the Taliban!

      October 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  7. skykingjwc

    Judas was a different kind of Christian too.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • James Foley

      So were Warren Jeffs [Rapist/child molester], Jimmy Swaggert and Jim Baker [Adulterous johns], Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson [preach(ed) that god punished people through bad weather and speak like through them Jesus comes to bring water from a rock, but taking credit for themselves] and Billy Graham [preached that Jesus was dark skinned].

      October 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • yeahalright

      ...one of these things is not like the other...

      October 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  8. OldMo

    Trotting out the likes of Rick Warren (false teacher/CFR Council on Foreign Relations member) to gain some cred with Christians isn't going to work. "Progressive" Christians or the Christian left aren't actual Christians. They can call themselves whatever they please but if you don't have belief in the fundamental tenets of Christianity you're just carrying out an elaborate act. I don't understand why people do this. If you believe, wonderful. If you have questions, seek and ask. If you have to distort the Bible to make it palatable, why are you wasting your time?

    October 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  9. Howard

    So many people with so much judgmentalism, hatred, and bigotry. All in the name of "God's religion." Satan must be laughing hot red hot *ss off at America. We've already gone to hell.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  10. PK

    What a load. CNN is disgraceful and irresponsible supporting the propoganda of a political candidate, even for Obama.

    Americans are so invredibly lazy that they can't think for themselves so now they rely on the media to tell them what they should believe.

    Here is what you should believe. Obama is a career politician and like all other career politicians his campaign attempts to portray him as a candidate who appeals to the majority of voters.

    The problem here is that this opinion/propoganda being reported as fact is pure fiction. If you have any doubts about what type of Christian Obama is (the suggestion made by the article not me) you need to look no further than Rev. Jerimiah Wright.

    Obama embraced Rev. Wright and his doctrine, even defended it, until Rev. Wright's sermon and rhetoric was made known to the media and the American public.

    Then Obama, who had a long term association with Rev. Wright up to and including campaigning with him, threw Rev. Wright under the bus and distanced himself from Rev. Wright; including making comments about his shock and embarasment as it concerned Rev. Wrights religious and racial beliefs.

    Why? Because it wasn't in Obama's best interest to be affiliated with Rev. Wright as he was the subject of such intense media scrutiny and the focal point of a controversy.

    That's the kind of Christian that Obama is. One who will expeditiously migrate to whatever doctrine, policy and tactic is most likely to garner the favor of a vote for those who can offer one. He's a man who changes his position in a heartbeat and abondons those whom he has held in such high regard for years becuase it's a threat to his success as a candidate.

    Take the drivel that CNN postulates as fact and do your own diligence. Read an objective review of Rev. Wright. Ask yourself why Obama is suddenly so benign in his purported doctrine of faith, Then ask yourself if you are gullible enough to be persuaded. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremiah_Wright_controversy

    October 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  11. James

    There is no such thing as a Liberal Muslim, or Christian....We are told that Satan can come in as an Angel of Light and can deceive...And Jesus talks about people thinking they are Christians, and he says get away from me you doers of iniquity, I never knew you...So just because there is a church building and full of people doesn't mean its a Christian Church..Even if they profess to be...! Christianity is not an easy faith to follow...There are conditions...But trying to change the word so it doesn't conflict with what you want, is not the answer...Same with the Muslims....! You take the Bible Litteraly and the Koran the same way...Or don't take them at all....! You can't pick out what you want...and it deffinetly condems gays, the bible says also, if you don't work you don't eat...and its a shame for someone not to take care of their familys...and yes we are to feed the poor...but the poor need to be taught how to take care of themselves...Your not poor if you have a big screen tv, car, extra jewlery, free cell phone, etc.....So there is no new kind of Christianity....! If you don't like what the Bible says, and your not willing to live by what it says...Then find another religion....!

    October 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Mike

      You know, James, in the Bible there were a couple of groups who believed they had it all figured out. They believed they spoke for God, and had no problem telling other people how to liive their lives and often condemned those who disagreed. They were the Pharisees and the Sadducees. I believe that the Christ had some choice words for them and their brand of religion. I'd be careful if I were you.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • midwstrngrl

      we no longer live under the mosiac code...have you read the greek scriptures?

      even the mosaic code had landowners leave grain at the edge of their fields for the poor to harvest, let the poor pay less for sacrifices at the alter, forgave debt every seven years...go back and read your bible. bet you have never actually done that have you?

      October 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • snowboarder

      james – if you take religious texts literally, you are simply a moron.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • bob

      To Jesus, there were no conditions. His message and teachings were of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. Therefore, every "condition" you read in the bible is undermining the true meaning of christianity, which is to love unconditionally.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
  12. Sirned

    The Church has been wrong many times throughout history. Churches are constantly being called out for their hypocrisy and corruption. Fact. So when I see Churches backing Romney and the Ryan plan that hurts the poor because its mad about gay rights its only hurting the credibility of all Churches....And reasonable Christian people see this clearly....

    October 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  13. paulm5545

    Sorry, but I can never forget or forgive his association with Rev(?) Jeremiah Wright. The ONLY reason he stopped attending that particular church(?) was because it was the politically correct thing to do...not the right thing, but the politically correct thing to do. If those tapes had not come to light, he would still be attending.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • paulm5545

      He didn't deserve the Nobel Peace Prize, but he most certainly deserves an Oscar.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Kingofthenet

      Rev. Wright is a passionate advocate for the poor and downtrodden, sometimes when you are passionate you say stupid things...

      October 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  14. wmb

    Must I be Christian to vote for one or the other party? Must I believe in God (or god) to affiliate myself with a political party?

    I believe that freedom of religion also includes the freedom to not believe like my neighbors; those that spend all Sunday trying to out dress and out cook each other just to spend the rest of the week talking about each other and Saturday night drinking at the football game.

    What ever the President and his family believe is none of my business....every single person believes in a higher power their own way...or not at all. Not one person has the exact same set of beliefs as another....if everyone agreed, churches would be a much nicer place to spend a Sunday.

    I base my vote for or against a candidate on how they have run or promise to run the country. Sometimes I make good choices and sometimes not so good.....like all voters. But religious beliefs have never been a criteria.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  15. James Foley

    Wow the amount of ignorance in this article is amazing. "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..." Jesus could talk to the Roman elite all he liked, and he did, and yet they did not listen. The fact is, Rome wouldn't have done so if he had. Not because the notion isn't worthy of credence, but because Rome was too busy screwing itself, both figuratively AND literally. Rome was an entirely human creation. Jesus knew it was a moot point. Jesus asking Rome to do anything would be like a cat asking a bear to give up some territory. For one they don't speak the same language and for two, the bear isnt' one to have meaningful conversations wiht it's snack food.
    “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.” ???!!! Pot, meet Kettle.

    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.”???!!!
    Cass should consider his own wisdom and engage in some self application.
    "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"... So what? Both Jesus and Hitler grew up among Jews, and each man when his own way with drastically different outcomes, and neither of them claimed ot be a jew.
    This, like many other articles dealing with faith are becoming tedious and disgusting in their intelectual dishonesty.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  16. Darrell A

    The gospel states that Christians should take care of orphans and widows not the government. Just take a look at Obama's charitable donations before he became president (2%) and compare that to Romney's (30% last year). Romney helps people, Obama wants to force you to help people (after skimming a healthy amount off the top).
    Enough said...

    October 22, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • lateach

      Giving money is not helping the poor. Providing a means for the poor to have healthcare, education, and opportunity is helping the poor. Obama has done these things. How often do you hear that Jesus gave money to the poor?

      October 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  17. nb123

    1.) Selma March Got Me Born – NOT EXACTLY, your parents felt safe enough to have you in 1961 – Selma had no effect on your birth, as Selma was in 1965.
    (Google 'Obama Selma ' for his full March 4, 2007 speech and articles a bout its various untruths.) ! !

    2.) Father Was A Goat Herder – NOT EXACTLY, he was a privileged, well educated youth, who went on to work with the Kenyan Government.

    3.) Father Was A Proud Freedom Fighter – NOT EXACTLY, he was part of one of the most corrupt and violent governments Kenya has ever had.

    4.) My Family Has Strong Ties To African Freedom – NOT EXACTLY; your cousin Raila Odinga has created mass violence in attempting to overturn a legitimate election in 2007, in Kenya . It is the first widespread violence in decades. The current government is pro-American but Odinga wants to overthrow it and establish Muslim Sharia law. Your half-brother, Abongo Oba ma, is Odinga's follower. You interrupted your New Hampshire campaigning to speak to Odinga on the phone. Check out the following link for verification
    of that....and for more.

    Obama's cousin Odinga in Kenya ran for president and tried to get Sharia Muslim law in place there. When Odinga lost the elections, his followers have burned Christians' homes and then burned men, women and children alive in a Christian church where they took shelter... Obama SUPPORTED his cousin before the election process here started. Google Obama and Odinga and see what you get. No one wants to know the truth.

    5.) My Grandmother Has Always Been A Christian – NOT EXACTLY, she does her daily Salat prayers at 5 a.m. according to her own interviews. Not to mention, Christianity wouldn't allow her to have been one of 14 wives to1 man.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • nb123

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzhtMPU0Uts&w=640&h=390]

      October 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • nb123

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-HqHSkYG-Y&w=640&h=390]

      October 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • nb123

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5VMX2JahrU&w=640&h=390]

      October 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  18. Lee

    Thank goodness – Christianity that asks us to do what Jesus asked us to do!

    October 22, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  19. 1ofTheFallen

    If you vote Obama and ObamaCare and your children may die waiting lines to get treatment. Just like little Lucie Linforth in the UK. Poor Lucie's Dad Eric, 33, had rushed his daughter to the practice after she had feverish coughs during the night.
    Her mother Angie Collins has claimed he repeatedly pleaded with receptionists to get a doctor to examine Lucie but he was told to wait his turn. This is what government run healthcare is like. In Canada the waiting lines and have increased to the longest ever. If you are misdiagnosed or not critical you may have to wait as long as 8 to 9 months. Why do you think the Canadian PM Danny Williams went to the US for his heart Surgery in 2010 or Canadian Mountain-bike enthusiast Suzanne Aucoin who had to fight more than her Stage IV colon cancer. Her doctor suggested Erbitux—a proven cancer drug that targets cancer cells exclusively, unlike conventional chemotherapies that more crudely kill all fast-growing cells in the body—and Aucoin went to a clinic to begin treatment. But if Erbitux offered hope, Aucoin’s insurance didn’t: she received one inscrutable form letter after another, rejecting her claim for reimbursement. IN THE US Erbitux IS STANDARD TREATMENT. In the UK 16,000 patients are denied cancer drugs. 8,000 because the drugs are too expensive and 8,000 because they have little chance of survival and are most likley going to die so the government does not want to waste the money.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Why are you trying to compare the PPACA to the models in Canada and England? That's a typical tea bagger lie. Plus, the PPACA IS Romneycare, just on a national level.

      I also couldn't help but notice you didn't mention the doozens and dozens of folks who die in ER waiting rooms each year because the system is clogged with folks without insurance using the ER for PCP care.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  20. Jill

    This article is exactly why millions of Americans turn away from the religious right and their big box churches which they use for their social networking while abandoning Christ's message about the corporal acts of mercy and to love your neighbor as yourself.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • We have a winner!

      Bingo!

      The best recruiter for atheism is not an atheist but a zealot.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
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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.