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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 • Evangelical • 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. Bellief

    The truth is in Mormonism. Shine with us and become the leaders of this earth, and you will find your own.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Um, no.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • snowboarder

      there is no truth in any religion. only folly.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
    • Bellief

      Shun as as you will. Remember, we have no choice but to guide you. You will reach fulfillment.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Huebert

      I like Mormons alright but I would never want to be one. You don't allow people to drink alcohol, coffee, or tea. Besides those three the only thing that I drink is water, And I refuse to live on water alone.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • snowboarder

      belli – of course you have a choice. you just choose to ignore it.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • Bellief

      You may drink alcohol if you wish

      October 22, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Now I'm calling troll. The last reply was way too Borg-like to be anything but a parody.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • ryanwin

      Belief, you are no mormon. You do not communicate ideas like one, you are just a troll trying to scare people away form mormons.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  2. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    AND THE INFAMOUS ANGELIC CONS CONTINUE TO WREAK STUPIDITY UPON THE WORLD

    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    October 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  3. Do As I Say, Not As I Do

    I find it telling that the President quotes the Bible as the reason he is so passionate to care for the poor, yet he personally gives little or nothing to charity year after year. The Bible is written to individuals, and tells each of us to care for the poor ourselves, not through our inefficient/corrupt government. For every dollar we give the President, pennies make their way to poor people, however, private charities are chastised if the amount that gets to the recipiants is less than 85% – 90%. To this President, the Bible and his faith are nothing more than tools to be used to reach a political agenda. Shame.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • snowboarder

      do – why must you lie?

      the president has given millions to charity.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      That is a pack of blatant falsehoods.

      For one thing, your characterization of the Obama Family's charitable giving is simply invented. Made up. A lie.

      Sure, Mitt Romney gives more to "charity" (meaning, directly to the Mormon Church), but then, he's gotten incredibly wealthy by shutting down profitable American companies in order to benefit personally from the near-slave labor available in China.

      Romney has taken from a lot of little people in order to amass more of a personal fortune than the President, who has spent his adult life in real public service. That's nothing for Mitt Romney to be proud of.

      'Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.'

      The difference between the two candidate's partisans is that Romney's surrogates will literally lie about ANYTHING to smear the President. The President's supporters tell the truth, give verifiable specifics, and are ignored by the Romney surrogates. Never a refutation, just another attack.

      I hope everyone watches the 'secret' fundraising video. You can talk up Romney all day, but it will never re-hide the many awful truths that video revealed about Romney's TOTAL lack of character, literal detachment from reality, and STATED contempt for most of the poor and middle class.

      Romney is an AWFUL man, and he would be one of the worst Presidents in American History.

      Republicans drove the economy into the ground for 8 years – almost brought it to collapse, literally – and because President Obama hasn't cleaned up their mess fast enough for them, they want to be given the power to do it all over again.

      After the last collapse, another Republican President would be national suicide.

      By the way.... Hit a search engine and do a little research.... Mormons are NOT CHRISTIANS. They reject The Apostles Creed, and they reject the very fundamentals of 2000 years of Christendom. That's a fact, regardless of what a Mormon might try to suggest.

      Research it yourself!

      October 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  4. Tim McIntyre

    The so-called "religious right" that the media portrays is a such a small part of the American Christian church. They make noise and get the press because the media loves the sensationalism. I lead a church in a borough of NYC and most if not all of my colleagues are concerned for the needs of their communities. And they are doing something about it. Go to any city in this nation and take a look at what faith-based groups are doing. Sorry to say, this has nothing to do with Obama and everything to do with the greatest commandments – love for God and love for others.This is Biblical Chrisitanity, not "progressive Christianity". I sincerely doubt Obama's legacy will include "religious pioneer". That statement was good for a chuckle ...

    October 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  5. Proud Mormon

    Praise and convert.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Clive

      I'll get right on that

      October 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  6. Proud Morman

    Please do not fear us. The media is portraying the wrong picture of us. We don't hate Christians who aren't Mormon, we want to show you the way. In time you will realize and praise with us. We will be one.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • ryanwin

      You can't even spell Mormon right, troll.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Proud Mormon

      Please correct your spelling error.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  7. ryanwin

    How can Obama claim he is Christian when he doesn't believe the Sermon on the Mount? Obama is not nor was he ever Christian.

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

      Please, stop regurgitating anonymous urban legend emails. They make you look stupid

      October 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Proud Mormon

      There is much you don't understand about the truth. Convert and be saved.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • ryanwin

      urban legends? It's in the article above, silly girl.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Todalwave

      The article doesn't say anything about the POTUS belief in the sermon on the mount. Rather, the POTUS was asking which parts of the bible should guide policy. He implied if we follow the sermon on the mount, the defense department would not be around. Please learn to read deeper, and not skim.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
      • ryanwin

        The point is, he does not understand the meaning of the sermon on the mount, and called it "a passage that is so radical..." Those are not the words of a follower of Christ. You know it. I know it.

        October 25, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  8. Chris33

    Romney doesn't want to talk about his governorship because he left with a 34% approval rating.

    Romney doesn't want to talk about Bain Capital because he looted American companies and shipped their jobs overseas.

    Romney doesn't want to talk about his religion because its a weird cult.

    Romney doesn't want to talk about his taxes because he supervised the biggest tax fraud in American history at Marriott.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Proud Mormon

      No, it is NOT a weird cult. It is the purification of man.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • nonBelieverOne

      How long ago did they allow blacks to be leaders and participate fully in the church and be eligible for salvation?

      October 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  9. True Words

    He does not believe in God and just says he is Christian to get the Christian Community to vote for him and on his back. He will support Gay and Lesbian to get their votes, he will support abortion to also get their votes. He will support as many groups and ditch them later to stay voted. Most who run for any political position do that and will go far without care of any group. The Bible does not say be a Christian and go stone people or do sacrifices. That's completly ignorant of the person who reads it. They do not understand the old testament laws ment for the jewish pack and the New testament that improves all the laws and greater understanding of Love, mercy and the law it self. Man is so hard hearted that God had to write Obvious laws to stop man from doing wrong. If you don't believe in Jesus and do not want to try hard to follow his teachings then you are not a Christian. Christian means follower of Christ. Yet, many do not follow Christ and are labeled as such. Anyone who does evil in the name of Christianity is not a Christian. God does the judging and he takes action not us. We are taught to pray for those who do evil to us, forgive those who hurt us and to endure. True Christians are peaceful and mostly helpful. But like the Bible says... we will be very few as time goes by on earth. But in great numbers in the Kingdom of God.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  10. Go Romney

    A year ago Romney stated he could balance the budget by eliminating all tax exemptions for religions and other NFP's.It's about time we had a president with balz large enough to make that happen.

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

      What Romney or Obama need to do:

      How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?: And how many “souls” would be saved?

      Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
      There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror LIKE 9/11.

      - One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

      - Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

      - Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

      Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
      There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

      - The Mormon ti-the empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

      - the faith-based federal projects supported by both Bush and Obama will be eliminated saving $385 million/yr and another $2 billion/yr in grants.

      - Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
      Abraham and Moses never existed.

      - Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

      - All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

      Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

      October 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  11. Patrick Portland

    Obama is a muslim if he's anything. Really could care less what his views about Christianity are since he isn't one. The only Christianity this boy knows was taught to him by the hateful Jeremiah Wright. Not loving & compassionate – dowright racist & hateful.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Fundiots are so cute when they foam at the mouth.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Hmmm

      Patrick, referring to the President of the United States as "boy" indicates where the racist is on this blog. Disrespectful and disgraceful and you should be ashamed of yourself. I am not here to judge you but I hope that hatred leaves your heart or you will never know peace.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  12. FOLKingTALES

    "Gospel acording to Obama"....This must be a joke! Since when does Obama have any convictions?? You cannot be a Christian without convictions, you cannot be an antheist without convictions. Obama has tried his best to appeal to everyone in the last 4 years.

    Obama has but one firm belief and one firm conviction...to get the votes... His record proves he is a pleaser of the people, or at least he tries to appeal to everyone.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  13. Terry Brookman

    Just look at the ring on his finger, it tells everything. It is supposed to be a wedding ring, the same one Michael put there on his wedding day but it was there long before they got married.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • midwest rail

      The ring tells nothing, as it says nothing, which you well know. Fundiots perpetuating an intentional lie reek of desperation.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • sybaris

      Terry Brookman <<<<<<<<<<<< Loony Alert!!!

      October 22, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • nonBelieverOne

      I guess you've seen it, huh? Or are you one of those typical loons that believe every bit of anti-Obama hearsay they meet? By the way: who's Michael?

      October 22, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Hmmm

      Terry, the First Lady is named Michelle. I am giving you the benefit of the doubt as a Christian that you made a simple mistake by typing Michael. We are not here to judge.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  14. Michael

    “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.”

    This comment is skewed it isn't funny. First of all, speaking as a conservative Christian, we do not view Christianity as a "faith of the religious right". I love how people try to make it seem like a religion that excludes, when the truth be know it is a faith, as the Bible says, "for whosoever will". Your political view or aspiration does not make you ineligible to become a Christian. Yes there are morals and standards that we promote based of the Bible, but the view of whether govenment should be limited or be big has is not a requirement to becoming a Christian.

    President Obama suggested that Christians remember a basic tenant of the faith which is to take care of the poor. This is true and President Obama suggested correctly. However, the implication he made is not correct and that is the Bible does not state that it the responsibility of the government to care for the poor. He said it is the Christian's responsibility. So, though he did quote scripture, he was twisting it to try to make a religious argument for a political case for social programs. His interpretation of scripture, while it does have a foundational truth, is not what the scriptures mean.

    Christians, by the way, do help take care of the poor. Granted I think that there are definately areas that we can improve, but I believe it was even CNN who posted an article several months back about how it was found that states that were prodomintely Christian outgave the states that had a lower percentage of Christians. I personally, know of a minister friend of mine, who goes out and feeds the homeless all the time, even going into "tent cities" and passing out food and sharing the love of Christ!

    So, because most Christians are in favor of less govenment and social programs from the government, means that we have left the basic of caring for the poor is at the least a misstatement or misunderstanding.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • birch please

      As this country clearly shows the negative control, the government needs to take care of the poor and it should not be left to the people.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • nonBelieverOne

      A chain is as strong as its weakest link. It is in (all of) our best interest to take care of every American as much as possible. What Christians, like you, need to fight against is those political opportunists on the right wing of the political spectrum who are taking our country down the wrong path by inferring that programs that aid the poor are bad, wasteful, and anti-American. Consider this: we've had poor in our country since its inception, with Christian and non-Christian individuals and organizations acting charitably towards them, but the problem of poverty remains and is getting worse. If one part of the help is removed from the equation, i.e., government, how much worse will the problem get? Government is not the problem.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Well stated Michael and as our friends above note, there is a political faction in this country who believe it is the governments job to take care of the poor. However, as often happens when the government gets involved, the problem has gotten worse while the expenses have skyrocketed out of sight. The U.S. system of governance is at a tipping point where we have to decide (and are about to) whether we believe in the free exercise of enterprise and good will of the people or whether we will subjegate our freedom for the care of a bureaucracy. Choose wisely my friends! The founders sacrificed everything to give us freedom. We should not surrender it so lightly.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  15. Mr. Zooman

    We have a separation of Church and State here, remember? Christianity is concerned about the poor and the widow. However, it is not the Obama Government that now needs to take the place of the Church. Liberals give far less to charity and demand that we cough up our earnings so that the government can be the charitable donator. Christians believe, and do generously give to societies needy. THe government needs to stay out of the Church "wanna be" business, let us keep our money, and society will get along just fine without them.

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

      tax all organizations, including property tax. End all not for profits including religions. The middle class is tired of supporting these leaches. Pay your taxes

      October 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Scott

      Everything the goobirmint touches turns into garbage.

      Scott

      October 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  16. Chair Weight

    BALONY!!!!!!!! The whole story! If Obama doesn't say the words "Jesus Christ" he's not a CHRISTian. I'm not saying he doesn't believe in God. I'm sure he does, However, a CHRISTian believes in the centrality of Christ. A CHRISTian believes that the only way into heaven is through Jesus. Not my opinion, it's a fact. That is the definition of Christian.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • nonBelieverOne

      Any of the leaders on the right are Christians... only when convenient. They don't propose any laws based on Christian values.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  17. Terry Brookman

    Obama is a Muslim who thinks it's OK to pretend to be anything as long as it serves the purpose of Islam.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Mr. Zooman

      Amen to that!

      October 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Realist

      Tax all religions, including property tax. There is no law that gives them a right to leach.. I'm for Romney and Romney promised he'd make religion accountable and tax them. Vote Romney.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • sybaris

      Please, stop regurgitating anonymous urban legend emails. They make you look stupid

      October 22, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  18. ArthurP

    And the next CNN Beliefs Blog story will be :

    "How Many Angles Can Dance On the Head of a Pin"

    October 22, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Or "How many pinheads can post gibberish on CNN?"

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

      Right angles or isosceles?

      October 22, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • What IF

      Maybe arc angles!

      October 22, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      or ...

      How many Saxons can shimmy on a shield?

      How many Jutes can juggle on a spear point?

      How many Danes can dance on an axe head?

      October 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  19. Not Likely

    I think CNN just punched a hole through the bottom of the barrel.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Patrick Portland

      LOL...Candy Crowley was hopefully the final death knell for this organization that has tried to pass itself off as a legitimate news organization. They're nothing but biased non-factual cheerleaders for anything not white, male, conservative, straight, or legal.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • visitor

      Yes how dare Candy Crowley call out a lie to stop a crazy cycle in what is supposed to be an adult debate. How dare Candy Crowley not let Republican lies steamroll a national event.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  20. Think about it

    A Christian who doesn't think there are moral absolutes(things that are right or wrong no matter what humans think) is like an Atheist who thinks there are.

    October 22, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Think about it

      Yes... in a 'very' generalized, no grey area, no wiggle room kind of philosophical thinking.

      Peace...

      October 22, 2012 at 3:29 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.