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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. nottolate

    "Is Obama the 'wrong' kind of Christian?"

    Get this people, there is but one kind of Christian: Born Again. Obama ain't it and neither is Romney. All else is counterfeit.

    1 Now a certain man, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, who was a member of the Jewish ruling council, 2 came to Jesus at night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs that you do unless God is with him.” 3 Jesus replied, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb and be born a second time, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it will, and you hear the sound it makes, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    October 21, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • snowboarder

      notto – and still somehow people disagree when i correctly indicate to them how divisive religion is. thanks for proving my point.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • nottolate

      "notto – and still somehow people disagree when i correctly indicate to them how divisive religion is. thanks for proving my point."

      That is because they are really illiterate when it comes to matters of religion but can't keep their mouths shut knowing full well they haven't put in the time to find out these things.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  2. Art

    If Obama is a Christian I am the pope he is a muslium who else goes and kiss's the rag heads ass

    October 21, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • midwest rail

      Tell the truth – someone helped you spell your screen name so you could sign in, right ?

      October 21, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • john

      pathetic unamerican racist you are. So now you presume to the role of God to judge others? Where is that in the Bible?

      October 21, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  3. kutubo

    the republicans are wrong kind of christian

    October 21, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  4. Reality

    Putting the kibosh on this discussion in less than 10 seconds:

    Only for the new members of this blog–

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    October 21, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  5. sim namore

    Well, religion certainly does matter. Especially if that religion has an apocalyptic view of the world and seeks to precipitated events leading to the end of that world. Mr Bush and Mr Romney share that view–Bachmann was a poster child for the "world end" view. Here she is praying with a crowd of anti-Semites for that very thing: "Lord, the day is at hand. We are in the last days. You are a Jehovah God. We know that the times are in your hands. And we give them to you…The day is at hand, Lord, when your return will come nigh. Nothing is more important than bringing sheep into the fold. Than bringing new life into the kingdom…You have weeded that garden. The harvest is at hand."
    Bishop Willard's religion ought to frighten any rational person. The LDS remains the sole church founded–founded–with the destruction of the United States as its sole reason to exist. Its founder was charged with treason twice. LDS declared war on the U S, named B Young as our President, and every single member swore "An Oath of Vengeance Against the United States" as a condition to joining the church for well over 150 years. Have a look–I can't make this stuff up. They are among the most bigoted "churches" to exist–then and now. We stand poised to elect one of their Bishops–and the wealthiest Mormon among them–a direct descendant of a Prophet, to our highest office. So. Go head–let the Angel Moroni rule from the planet Kolub. You'll yearn for a sane president before this is over. We will get what we deserve.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:12 am |
  6. Roger

    A Christian somehow finds his or her way to church to give God the praise and worship He deserves. Obama's church of choice is the church of the 15th hole. Is President Obama the wrong kind of Christian? there is no such thing. He is NOT A Christian and neither is Mitt Romney

    October 21, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Sane Person

      I wish he wasnt. Im tired of you wing-nuts issuing edicts based on your fantasies.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  7. Peter

    So since when is "Muslim" a "Different Kind of Christian"?

    ... or did the reporter on this article fail to do any actual real homework?

    .For the record, I did all the homework and research footwork that the reporter in this article clearly failed to do and everyone out there should make no mistake, Obama is definitely no Christian.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • midwest rail

      Since you did so much research, you'll be posting your sources for your absurd claim, right ?

      October 21, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • nottolate

      I get so tired of the press and their illiteracy when it comes to religion. Why write about religion when the outcome will reveal you don't know the first thing about the religion.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  8. Dan Slaby

    Social conservative Christians and Mormons for Mammon: Romney-Ryan the promise of God for prosperity and deliverance from a socialist black president. Jesus – the liberal Jewish alternative to the TP GOP social conservatives who think Aynn Rand capitalism is founded on the Bible.

    When Jesus said "come follow me" he wasn't talking about your stock speculation or investments in gold, or preaching the right-wing social conservative Christian gospel of prosperity. 2012: a choice to vote for Mammon or a government working for justice and fairness that keeps secular politics and personal religion beliefs separate.

    Social conservative Christian evangelicals, no matter how much you dance before the altar of Baal (Mammon), your vote wll not trickle down the blessings of wealth and liberty, but those of us taking on the mantle of justice, compassion, fairness and decency will flare up the flames of citizenship where we carry burdens for one another, and where we are our brother's keeper.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Roger

      In all your rambling about Christian conservatives (which I am) and your brand of Christianity. You did not even mention THE GOSPEL! not once. That should be the first thing out of your mouth when talking about the mission of Christ and His followers.
      My friend you are just as clueless as the ones you accuse.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  9. Eric

    I had no idea he was a christian, he certainly shares none of their values. If Obama is a christian then I just lost my religion, guess I'll go worship Satan now or strap an explosive to my chest Al La La BOOM!

    October 21, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Dan Slaby

      Become a Mormon; they believe Jesus and Satan are brothers, and worship Mammon.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • snowboarder

      surprisingly to some, there are a vast variety of christians. there are nearly as many interpretations of scripture as there are readers of it.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • nottolate

      "surprisingly to some, there are a vast variety of christians. there are nearly as many interpretations of scripture as there are readers of it."

      Both those statements are inaccurate and I suspect you know it. There is but one kind of Christian because there is but Spirit. And if there be but one Spirit how do you claim there are many kinds? Your ignorance is showing. My comment above spells out precisely what is an authenthic Christian. As for interpretation, there can be only one interpretation of scripture because God is the author. Either you know what God means by his words it having been illuminated for you by his Spirit or learn to keep your mouth shut and just say I don't know. That is a human failing that has nothing to do with Christianity them.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • snowboarder

      notto – you can be certain when someone uses the adjective "true" or "authentic" in regard to religion that only BS will follow. you are an excellent example of the divisive nature of dogmatic religion.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  10. TommyTT

    The religious right needs to be challenged. They are paralyzing America through their bigoted zealotry and their opposition to real science. Obama is not some kind of strange outlier. He's the rest of us, trying to move forward and stop the fundamentalists from destroying us from within.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  11. JD

    This is nothing but socially sanctioned bigotry. Way to go CNN, you're now a vehicle for hatred. I hope it serves your agenda well.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • TommyTT

      When bigots get challenged, they often accuse the other side of being bigoted. Remember (just as a for instance) that we're not trying to make you marry a gay person. We're not stepping into your life or your church or bedroom. You're stepping into the lives and places of worship and bedrooms of other people–and that meets the definition of bigotry. Opposing your actions does not.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  12. migraine headache

    Just remember, George W. Bush was the 'right' kind of Christian.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Sane Person

      Well, he said the word "god" a lot. What is important is that we get a man in charge of our military and nuclear stockpile, to listen to voices in his head telling him what to do. One that believes that if he silently whispers requests while closing his eyes that a magical fairy will grant all his desires. Yes, this sounds like a great idea.(I mean obviousy god likes the USA more than other countries, it says so in the bible) We're set! Just pray the debt away.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  13. bookgirl

    Funny that we don't see a story about Romney being the wrong kind of Christian (indeed not a Christian at all,but a believer in a cult religion). CNN continues its effort to promote Romney in its headline stories. What has this man promised CNN?

    October 21, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • TommyTT

      And here, just a couple of posts apart, are people accusing CNN of favoring the right and favoring the left. Wow.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  14. bugmetoo

    He's a different kind of christian alright. A fake one.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Fred

      Then vote for Mormon, and his magic underwear.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  15. Rick McDaniel

    Is there a "right kind" of Christian?

    The entirety of organized religion, is so truly dishonest, so truly NOT what they want us to believe, that it is incredible to hear how they truly speak.

    In the first place, no one can truly be certain, what Obama believes in. He is a devious man, who we cannot trust, in any way. he lies to the people on a daily basis, he favors our enemies over our own people, he gives away money we don't have, to foreign countries, and he does nothing to help America.

    The question of religious affiliation, is still a very big issue with Obama. His sympathies with Islam, are known, and indeed obvious, from his actions. With Islam being the most violent and dangerous religion on the planet, that should be of greater concern than it is.

    Organized religion simply has failed to show us any true validity, to religious beliefs. organized religion, tends to ostracize, tends to discriminate, and tends to be controlling to a fault. There is little that is positive, about organized religions, of any kind.

    The current trend of organized religion against the entire gay community, is an obvious example, of that discrimination and ostracizing behavior. The entire basis for attacking an entire segment of our population, is religion. That is simply unacceptable for me, and it should be for anyone who is truly, a kind and accepting person.

    I reject organized religion, as the behavior does not match with the philosophy. It is not genuine.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • regan flint

      Boy , you sound like a great Christian...lol... All your judgements and your own B.S. Not to speak of your racist views about Islam. If you knew anything about Islam they also called JESUS a great profit. Christians have their own bloody history filled with murder and genocide. Just ask the first African Americans and the First Nations People of the Western Hemisphere as just 2 examples.
      JESUS was NOT an American , Capitalist , Republican who wanted every one to own a gun. America is a country made up of many faiths. Not just Christianity. Your comments about many things are just laughable. Learn some history , please.
      So ROMNEY , is a MORMON. Is he a " real " Christian?

      October 21, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  16. Fank

    FART NOISE !!!!!!

    October 21, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  17. 2tor

    Explain the difference in "challenging" as opposed to "imposing"?

    October 21, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  18. Reality

    Dear Messrs. Obama and Romney,

    For discussion during Debate #3:

    The reality of se-x, abortion, contraception and STD/HIV control: – from a guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-

    Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

    The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

    : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill (8.7% actual failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% actual failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

    Added information before making your next move:

    from the CDC-2006

    "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

    And from:

    Consumer Reports, January, 2012

    "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

    Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

    The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":

    – (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
    – (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)

    Followed by:

    One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
    Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
    The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
    Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
    IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

    Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).

    October 21, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  19. Mike blow

    Separation of Church and State CNN, Religion and Education is used to see what thier moral foundation is built off of. Obama is not a new candidate, this is irrelavant info, Obama = Rev Wright we saw that last election

    October 21, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  20. Frank Cardenas

    By and large, conservative Christians "cherry pick" the Bible and even the Gospels. I believe President Obama follows the teaching of Jesus but not the dogma of religion.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • SixDegrees

      "By and large, conservative Christians "cherry pick" the Bible and even the Gospels."

      And in that regard, they're no different from liberal Christians or moderate Christians.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:15 am |
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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.