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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. N.Shapiro

    it's time to get serious about this.

    In these last two weeks, President Obama and Democrats are going to get slammed with a massive blitz of negative ads. Mitt Romney and outside groups *are "hoping that burying President Obama in ads will give them a crucial edge on Election Day," reports the Washington Post.
    . . .
    We cannot let Mitt Romney become president.

    While Romney was governor of my state, Massachusetts, the debt burden per capita was the highest in the nation. He raised or created more than 1,000 taxes and fees on people across Massachusetts, while 278 wealthy residents in the state got a tax break. And Massachusetts plummeted to 47th out of 50 in job creation.

    What does it say that the people who know Mitt Romney best trust him least? He is trailing by 20 points or more in the state where he was governor

    October 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Paul

      Talk about flooding us with mind numbing ads...you are a living ad.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  2. LSinclair

    Reblogged this on ConcerTrax.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  3. walleye46

    Republicans claim they read the bible, but do not follow it's teachings. If they did, this would be a better world.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Rynomite

      Depends which teachings you are referring to.... Cause some of the bible is quite horriffic.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  4. Clive

    Obama is too rational a thinker to believe this supernatural mumbo-jumbo. He justy needs to fool the masses who need a "person of faith" in the WH.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Paul

      Could you give an example of a "rational thinker" in history who ran a country that was good? Mao and Stalin come to mind as your best examples. Hitler was VERY rational in his thinking when it came to natural selection.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Clive

      Paul,
      Are you stating that a prerequesite for running a good country is a belief in a supernatural ? Really?

      October 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • ThinkRationally

      Paul, you think Mao and Stalin were rational thinkers? If so, you must be a strong advocate for irrationality. Get a clue.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  5. wanda Cody

    Why I'm voting for President Obama. I can sum it up in one word that Co
    Encompass the True American freedom or it should if you are an American. That powerful word that can't never be denied nor allied t be sold or bordered like its a commody. Its called FREEDOM! RELIGIOUS PEOPLE THAT THINK YOU ARE EVIL BECAUSE YOU DISAGREE WITH THEM OR YOU DONT ACCEPT THAT WHAT THEY BELIVE. MEAN YOU ARE LSS HUMAN OR DESERVE LESS THAN THEY DO FRIGHTEN ME. IT REMINDS ME OF SOMEONE ELSE AND HE CAUSED THE SLAUGHTER OF MILLIONS. HOW DID HE DO IT. SINCE HE HAD HIS BODY BURN BY HIS EVIL MEN SOME STILL ALIVE AND HIDING LOOK AT HISTORY OR GO ASK HE JEWISH PEOPLE. HEY KNOW BEST. WHY AM I SHOUTING HSTORY MUST NEVER REPRST ITSELF AGAIN BY LIMITING ANYONES FREEFOM. NO MORE LYNCHING OR MURDETING MILLIONS SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY DISAGRER WITH YOU OR HAVE BECOME A TARGET TO BLAME FOR YOUR OWN INABILITY TO DAL WITH LIFES PROBLEMS ONE OF WHICH IS THE ECONOY MAKING AJUSYMENS. MANY A PEOPLE HAVE BEEN DESTROYED BECAUSE OF A TEMPORARY?

    October 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • pets

      blah blah blah.....

      October 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Too many capitals; I can't be bothered to read such drivel. If you have something intelligent to say, then show some intelligence and type it like a normal person.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Paul

      You SURE ARE ENJOYING YOUR FREEDOM...lol

      October 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  6. VINCENT

    Nevertheless, as dozens of you nay sayers are on this site submitting your 2 cents – us 47 percenters and others are voting. Who has time to go over Obama's religious background all over again. Stop spinning. It did not work in 2008 and it will not work now.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Oz

      You are right Vincent, it is not about religion so much this time......but about Obama's lies, failure to change anything, and the lingering questions about his favor towards Islam

      October 22, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • OneTruth

      Oz, What questions? Examples?

      October 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  7. Astonished

    I don't understand why there is so much discussion regarding the Bible and what Obama believes or doesn't believe, there is no mention of his opponent's complete disregard of the King James Bible. As a Mormon, they don't read the Bible and act on it's verses; rather the read the Book of Mormon and act on its tenets in order to achieve the Mormon ideal of salvation, which is definitely different that the ideal salvation as proposed in the Bible. Why isn't anyone discussing Mitt's beliefs according to the Bible and Christianity? Clearly, a Christian president that according to James Dobson, proclaims to be "born again" is the only president the US should have. So, to me, the real question becomes do you, as a devout Christian, vote for someone that has rejected the Bible and its Christian tenets in favor of a different path to salvation, or someone that actually does believe in the Bible and its Christian tenets but interprets those tenets in a less literal way that seems to run counter to your more literal beliefs? If I was a right-wing Christian, that would be a pretty tough choice. Proud to be a Union supporting, teary-eyed liberal that doesn't so much believe in the Bible, but does believe 1% of the people should not inherit 98% of the wealth. And, yes, I said, inherit because that is the number 2 reason for acquired wealth...not hard work as most Republicans would have you believe.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      As a Christian republican, not a right wing as you catagorize, I had that question. However, I have done reseach as to what Morman study and believe. You information is false. Since you don't really understand it by your own admission, you are really not a good source of facts. You sound like Ricky Bobby saying, "With all do respect, ...........".

      October 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Michael

      Rob-Texas – And just how do you know Romney's Mormon beliefs? You certainly won't learn it hear at CNN or any other main stream media because talk about his cult is out of bounds. Even Billy Graham labled Momonism a cult until he sold his soul to Mitt Romney and the Republican Party. I don't know your source for information about Mormonism, but any organization that places Satan and Jesus Chist on the same level is an abomination.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • bigbudda1920

      Just to correct your misinformation. I am a mormon and proudly believe in the king james version of the bible. All mormons do, the book of mormon is about christ appearing to people on the American continent and sharing the same gospel he preached in the new testament with the people on the American continent. So you can't believe in the Book of Mormon without also believing in the bible.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • bigbudda1920

      This is for micheal who was talking about mormonism being a cult. Get the facts of what we believe at http://www.lds.org, The homepage for mormons, or by our proper name, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. If you really want to know what Mitt Romney believes in check out this web site and you'll get all the answers you want.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • visitor

      Well then straighten some of this out:

      1. Mankind can evolve to a high status, so high, that eventually Men can populate a new planet. True/False?
      2. Marriages are "sealed" for eternity, and the Husband needs to call the Wife into Celestial Heaven. True/False?
      3. Non-Mormons (including Christians) cannot enter Celestial (the most exalted form of) Heaven. True/False?
      4. That which is known as God was once a man, in human form. True/False?
      5. God is married. True/False?
      6. Zion will be somewhere in Missouri. True/False?
      7. Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers. True/False?
      8. Non Mormons can serve Mormons in Heaven but cannot be members of the highest level of heaven, Celestial Heaven. True/False?

      October 22, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • visitor

      I find it 100% amazing that no Mormon will discuss their religion on this ENTIRE BLOG SITE. They only cite links. "go here" or "go here".

      No, discuss. Didn't any of you actually serve on missions? What do you do? Hand over website links?

      October 22, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  8. Howard

    I suppose if one can rewrite history, then redefining Christianity to one's own liking is ok, too – entirely incorrect, though. God defines us, not the other way around.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  9. JulieMS

    It's sad to see that Christianity is getting WATERED DOWN with each generation. TRUE Christianity is getting rarer and those who stray from it will reap it's consequences.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Rynomite

      So you are Amish?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      "It's sad to see that Christianity is getting WATERED DOWN with each generation. TRUE Christianity is getting rarer and those who stray from it will reap it's consequences."

      Yeah.....nothing like them first century virtues

      Julie: Your empty proxy threats indicate a weak argument. Now, back on your knees

      October 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Rynomite

      Sam I'm curius to know if Julie has accepted her inferior position to men as she is a woman who believes in TRUE Christianity. I would love to find a woman who exists for nothing more than to be the vessel for my children and the plaything in my bedroom. OOps I forgot they don't treat TRUE Christianity anymore in churches cause women don't like the implications.....

      October 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • ThinkRationally

      JulieMS, your thinking underscores a major thing that is wrong with religion. I'd tell you to go look up the No True Scotsman fallacy, but maybe it's better to try and explain why your att_itude is scary.

      Who defines TRUE Christianity? You? There are thousands of different interpretations of Christianity, and the people who believe each one are convinced that they are right and everyone else is wrong. Why is that? You take the Christianity you learned (were likely indoctrinated into as a child), and that is your truth. You came by this so-called truth arbitrarily (if you did not, please feel free to explain how you evaluated thousands of interpretations against one another and managed to discern which one was the real truth), and then YOU PRESUME TO JUDGE OTHERS based on a "truth" you arrived at arbitrarily. The scary part is that people who do this see nothing wrong with it.

      You believe you have the "truth" figured out, and you believe God is on your side, and you believe God is never wrong. The scary extension is that you believe your beliefs can therefore not be wrong. God is never wrong, and he's on your side. Get over yourself.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  10. starsnstripes

    Obama is for big government.....that alone should get him kicked out the door!!! He has made what he was given worse!! He as spent billions and trillions overseas and things are worse!!! 47 million on food stamps & 23 million out of work!!!! He can't work across the isle, and says he is to busy being a father to work on those relationships!!! The Islamic world he cherishes – do not cherish him......THIS GUY HAS GOT TO GO!!!!

    October 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • SIMON

      Obama is a muslim, who regards the teachings of Jesus......even Madonna thinks so

      October 22, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      What is funnier is the fact that he talks about this $5 trillion Romney thing like he is completely deficit neutral. It's hilarious for him to care about deficits like he did in 08 since he has done such a poor job of reigning them in. (I know someone will comment that Bush left him this mess, but he clearly told us something in 08 and then changed his mind)

      October 22, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • sam stone

      obama is for big government? as opposed to the other main choice who want the government to be in your bedroom?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Sam

      Forgot Mr Stone....it is ALL about the bedroom for you.....ya anyway, the rest of us are concerned about the financial collapse that the experts are predicting if Obama stays.....bedroom stuff can wait a few more years

      October 22, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  11. Rynomite

    Obama is no True Scotsman!

    Personally, I prefer my Presidents to be more like Jefferson (believing in the philosopy attributed to Jesus is fine as long as they are rational enough to know the rest is bupkus).

    October 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Russ

      "I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-shirt. 'Cause it says like, I wanna be formal but I’m here to party too. I like to party, so I like my Jesus to party." – Cal Noughton, Jr, Talladega Nights

      "All such talk about God is merely self-projection." -Ludwig Feuerbach
      "Who can speak of God but God himself?" -Karl Barth

      October 22, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  12. Ran

    It funny to hear people argue so much over works of fiction.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  13. It is what it is...

    This is a message to the Chrisians out there....

    I am really tired of hearing conservative Christians claiming that if one does not believe or recite the Bilble in exactly in the same that they do, you can be a Christian. Where does this come from? I believe Christ is my saviour and I study the Bible and try my best to follow Christ's teachings, but I am tired on one sect telling me that because I do not follow some conservative evangelical preacher, I am not Christian. Beware. Remember...

    Matthew 7:1-3

    Do not judge, or you too will be judged.
    For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged,
    and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
    "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye
    and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

    I will be judged on Judgement Day, as we all will, and I am not afraid.

    I feel that the far right evangelical conservative Christians are not that far removed from the Taliban. Beware, of the new world you are trying to create. Maybe, the old 50's style religion of my youth was not so bad after all, we were trying to make the world a better place for everyone, including the poor and helpless. Remember...

    Matthew 25:40

    "Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.'

    So, maybe we should try being the Christians Jesus wanted us to be.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      What about the liberal Christians that say sin doesn't really exist, or Jesus wasn't the savior but just a great example of how we should live? How about those that take only certain things from Christianity, then mold it with other religions and call themselves Christians? Jesus himself told us what requirements were needed. That "do not judge" verse is a great one, but are Christians to just ignore it? Jesus himself told us what to look out for...that's not judging.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • It is what it is...

      We can complain all day about what someone else is dong or not doing. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. Ask yourself, "Do the people around you know that you are Christian by how you portray yourself, or do yu have to tell them?"

      October 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  14. Thomas Chia

    Sorry–some typing errors in my previous comment. America deserves a great President who is ethically, spiritually and
    socially committed, regardless of his or her religious affiliation. More importantly. a great American President is for the
    people and the nation–free of any religious baises and prejudices. Why waste time on Obama's or Romney's religion?

    October 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  15. vic abdessian

    I AGREE WITH RUFUS.T.FIREFLY,
    OBAMA'S ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN HES WORDS .,WASN'T HE THE ONE TO SUSPEND THE NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER?WHY ? I HEARD OBAMA ON SEVERAL SPEECHES QUOTE THE "KORAN ", BUT HAS NEGATIVE WORDS FOR THE BIBLE.. HES INSULTED THE PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL , BY REFUSING TO SEE HIM , BUT SPENT ALL DAY WITH THE PALESTINIAN RADICAL PRESIDENT..HE LIED ABOUT THE TRAGEDY IN BENGHAZI,SO HE WOULDN'T LOOK BAD FOR THE ELECTION.FOR TWO WEEKS THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CLAIMED THE ATTACKS WERE THE RESULT OF SOME ANTI MUSLIM FILM..WHICH WAS A BIG FAT LIE ! THE MAN HAS NO TRUTH IN HIM...AND ANY AMERICAN WHO SUPPORTS OBAMA SHOULD EXAM HIS HEART AND SEE THE MASSIVE LIES THIS MAN HAS TOLD THE PAST FOUR YEARS...
    GOD BLESS AMERICA AND SAVE US FROM PEOPLE LIKE OBAMA....

    October 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • midwest rail

      There ya have it, ladies and gentlemen – contemporary American Christianity at its finest. Characterized by arrogance, condescension, and hatred, it bears no resemblance to the Biblical teachings it purports to follow.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Ran

      Yep, Vic—its a conspiracy. Everyone is out to get you. You are right about everything. Keep your eyes out. They are watching you.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • snowboarder

      vic – obama cancelled the day of prayers?

      do you know that is an outright lie or have you simply been fooled?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      The lower class turk speaks

      October 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Uh, just for the record: nothing you said is in agreement with Rufus T. Firefly.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  16. Just call me Lucifer

    @GauisCaesar

    I think you are confusing Obama with the President. – Obama is the President of the United States. I know they don't tell you that on Fox News.

    Obama hasn't fed any homeless that has been reported. He hasn't helped the sick either. As the President of the US, he has forced an insurance program using tax dollars and using tax penalties. How do you possibly confuse what Obama has done with what he has done as President. Jesus actually went and healed the sick, while Obama mandates us to do it using our tax dollars and force.--
    So Obama has mandated that you be more "christian" like, and you've got a problem with that. No flawed thinking there, right god boy? Also... do the world a favor and provide any sort of proof at all the your precious "Jesus" , healed the sick, walked on water, or even existed. I'll wait....tick tick tick..........

    October 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • goirish12

      The 2 billion christians in the world today is all the proof you need today. If these things didnt really happen then the religion would not have survived the persecutions of the jews, romans, etc. and tens of thousands people would not have died for a religion based on lies.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Ran

      goirish12, by that rationale the 2 billion Muslims would be right as well. Do yourself a favor and learn to think rationally.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • snowboarder

      gorish – i guess that the 1.5 billion muslims validate islam and the half billion hindu validate hinduism.

      i've got a bridge to sell you.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • concern

      Here is your proof , just don't stop breathing....

      October 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • faithful

      OK since you are Lucifer–i'll address you directly...will you prove that evolution works ?? We're waiting..and waiting...and waiting..and waiting..and still waiting and will be for a long long long time..a fertile soup is not going to create complex organisms..ever, just as mineral rich rock does not create a piano, without help. The supporters of evolution and science always conclude with the disclaimer that they do not have all of the facts yet. As far as i had learned was that anyone who ever made a conclusion without having all of the facts was never even recognized, yet the evolution theory is now THE mandatory model for our offspring. One question though. How are you going to be sure that you HAVE all of the facts ?? By asking the subject that you are studying ?? The author of evolution did set the conditions for which his THEORY would not work–conditions that have now been met, with the advances in cell study. Please, if you don't know what is meant here, then own up on your own studies. Please tell me scientist and evolutionist, that you ARE going to HAVE all of the facts SOMEDAY ?? That the future of generations doesn't have to depend on the fact that you have faith that the facts which you gather next ARE going to SUPPORT your theory, OR rather that your non creationist theory can be reversed, if need be, in the quest for truth. ??? The Bible ?? Unbelievable ?? How many claim or have tried to–that the holocaust did not happen? because it is UNBELIEVABLE ?? Many. And quite a few are rare friends of our dear president.. Many things that have been proven, are still called lies by some who might wish it otherwise. Do you think that all of the authors of the Bible, conspired over thousands of years to create a hoax ?? If so wouldn't they have made it a little easier to understand ? Do you believe in the dreams of Edgar Cayce or the predictions of Nostradamus ?? Very popular beliefs. Are they easy to understand ? No, but people have given them not only much study, but the benefit of the doubt 100% of the time. Yet they will shut out the Bible in an instant–almost 100% of the time. Why ?? It IS kind of a wrench in the works isn't it. The idea is, get rid of the wrench first, then you don't have to deal with it, right ? My apologies. I used the word 'faith' earlier...i hope that is still legal ?? I'm not trying to make it difficult for you by asking you all of these questions, but if you don't understand what you read, then please make sure that you don't do the same with what you speak.. think..

      October 22, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  17. Paul

    Obama is a cameleon both socially, and religiously. His core beliefs adapt to his audience. He is a very good politician who pretends to save the people he needs to stay in power.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  18. annieL

    So you changed your inflammatory headline, CNN. That's progress for journalism I suppose.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  19. Dave

    With the Presidential election just two weeks away, prominent Hollywood Democrat Barbra Streisand has sent an “emergency” email to the entire Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) mailing list, urging all recipients to dig deep into their pockets for last minute Obama campaign donations, according to The Hollywood Reporter

    October 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      You mean these campaigns are reliant on fundraising? Shocking.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      The Obama campaign is in the hole BIG for this election. Romney hasn't even spent all of his money yet.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      She is such a great American. So gumpsy!

      October 22, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  20. Sam

    FORTY SEVEN MILLION ON FOOD STAMPS – TWENTY THREE MILLION OUT OF WORK.....WAKE UP AMERICA!!!! IF YA AIN'T DOIN THE JOB – YA HAVE TO GO!!!!!

    October 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • bob

      Exactly!!!! Is this election about same s-ex marriage or JOBS!!!!!!!!!

      October 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How, precisely, has Romney shown that he has a plan to spur job growth?

      How do you know that what he's proposing will work?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • bob

      YES WE ACTUALLY WATCH THE NEWS AND THE DEBATES!!! Romney does have a plan and it will work.....Obama has clearly shown he as no plan, other than what he has been doing – that has made "the mess" even worse!!!!!!! Vote for Romney – go for the nerd!!!!

      October 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope, claiming Romney has a plan doesn't make it so, nor does it mean whatever it is will work.

      Unemployment is dropping and the economy is improving. The estimated value on my house has risen by 75 grand in the last several months. My salary is going up; my spouse who was out of work is now employed and at a better salary than he had before.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Sam

      I am from Canada......Romney is like Stephen Harper our Prime Minister....who will give you a much better deal than that Tommy!! These guys have degrees in business and economics....and have been a success in their own right for years. Obama has no experience at all.....and now is not the time for experiments

      October 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What nonsense. Do you idiots really think that the President is going to be able to turn anything around without Congress? Do you really think the President sits alone in the Oval Office and comes up with economic policy all by his little lonesome? What color is the sky on your planet?

      October 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Zach

      Tom, I personally believe that Romney's plan will work. That is a belief and requires some faith, this is true. What is also true is that what has been going on for the last four years has NOT worked. I would like to hear another argument for keeping things the way they are besides "It's Bush's fault" or "you're a racist".

      October 22, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      Tom- Of course he needs congress. That is why I can't figure out why he didn't work across the isle in his first two years. Once he decided to ram his agenda through without any Republican support. He should have gone ahead and passed everything he needed at the time. No its a bit to late to start saying he is going to work together.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's an "AISLE", not an "isle."

      Furthermore, those of you claiming that what has been done "hasn't worked" are living in a dream world. Had Obama NOT put in place some of the measures he did at the beginning of his administration, our economy would be worse than it is now. If you can prove otherwise, go right ahead.

      The fact is that Obama HAS tried to work with the Republicans in Congress but blowhards like Boehner and his pal Mitch have obstructed any compromise at every turn.

      But why should I bother discussing it with people like you, who probably didn't vote for Obama in the first place anyway?

      October 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And Zach, try to get your accusations straight. I never made either of those statements, jerk.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Beauty

      So go already. We are all waiting

      October 22, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who's "we", "Beauty"? You and your gazillion sock puppets? What is it with you and the "free phone" crap, you little fart?

      October 22, 2012 at 6:25 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.