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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. genny01

    Unfortunately......most of the people that respond to this kind of article are conservatives that do not give one whit about anybody but themselves.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • david95@msn.com

      I disagree. They care more about "word of God" than every human that walks the face of the earth. This is why religion scares me. If Obama BELIEVED GOD REALLY told him to destroy the word. All 7 billion of us stupid humans couldn't convince him otherwise.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • christianity

      So true however, they are blind to that fact! Sad really, just like the Pharisees & Sadducees.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  2. brad4nyc

    The religion of our leaders is totally irrelevant. There is no such thing as a right kind of Christain, especially since Christians worship a jerk like Jesus. Even more proof Jesus was a jerk:

    What if you want eternal life? What do you need to do? Presumably you need to hate everyone and life itself. Then in Luke 10:25-28 we find another requirement:

    On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
    "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

    He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

    "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."

    Is that true? If you do this, will you have eternal life? Actually it is not true. In Luke 18:18-22 Jesus says:
    A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
    "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.'"

    "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.

    When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

    The answers in Luke 10 and Luke 18 are totally different. This clearly means that Jesus is making this stuff up as he goes along. Which is something that a jerk would do.
    Then in John 6:53-58 we find an additional requirement:

    Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever."
    That sounds grotesque, doesn't it? And it totally contradicts what Jesus just told the two guys in Luke 10 and Luke 18. And what about Matthew 18:2-3:
    He called a little child and had him stand among them. And [Jesus] said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
    How, exactly, does one "become like little children?" For example, little children frequently believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and often will fight fiercely with their siblings. Are we, as adults, supposed to take on these qualities? Jesus does not really say, making this requirement totally nebulous.
    But is it true? If you "become like little children", do you get to go to heaven? No, actually not. In reality you have to be "born again" in order to see the kingdom of God. In John 3:3-8 Jesus says:

    "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
    "How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

    Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

    That is about as clear as mud, isn't it? But that is what Jesus says, and it totally contradicts all the other stuff he said.
    But let's ignore the contradiction for a moment. Is this true? If we become like little children... in fact, if we regress all the way to infants by being "born again" of water and the Spirit, do we get to go to heaven? No... Jesus is wrong again. Because in Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus says this:

    "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.
    This is getting absurd, isn't it? Pharisees and scribes are adults, not children. And if you read the Bible, you know that the Pharisees were anal nut-jobs. But that is what Jesus says. Forget the "born again" stuff and the children - turn yourself into an anal nut-job instead. Our righteousness, and our adherence to the laws of the old testament, must exceed that of the Pharisees in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. Which means we need to start killing a whole lot of people.
    And then there is the famous verse, John 3:16:

    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
    So which is it??? What do you have to do to have eternal life and go to heaven??? There are probably 15 other stipulations scattered throughout the Bible. There is no way to know which is right, and they all contradict each other. Now that you have looked at all this stuff, one thing should be crystal clear: Jesus had absolutely no idea what he was talking about.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • david95@msn.com

      How do you know he was a jerk? Are you 2200 years old? Oh, I forgot, you believed all the words in that science fiction fantasy book. Does that make you just as bad as them?

      October 21, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • brad4nyc

      David

      You are right about the fantasy. Of course Jesus and god are imaginary and the bible is a book of myths and lies. To be clear, I am saying is the imaginary character, Jesus, in the fairy tail storybook called the bible was a jerk. Obviously I was not there, but writings about the mythical creature Jesus describe a first class jerk.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  3. david95

    What? Who cares? What about their consitutional values? Does anyone care about that anymore? I need to hurry up and die. Because if I don't, this country is going to be overrun with religion. And religous people want to lynch me. :(

    October 21, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  4. Bernardo Stevens

    Yeah. He's the kind of Christian who prayed at a mosque with his grandfather. Who had hours every week of Koranic instruction.
    He's the kind of "Christian" who joins a church pastored by a "former" Nation of Islam member. Yes, Rev Wright is a "former" Nation of Islam member and still best buddies with Louis Farrakhan.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      "Yes, Rev Wright is a "former" Nation of Islam member"

      you can cite the actual source for this claim right?

      October 21, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Jon

      Once again we see the folks on the Right who, when reality won't give them the tools for demonizing the President, make up their own reality in order to facilitate their hate. Nice job. Way to trash the Prez, Reality, and not least Jesus.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  5. Rainer Braendlein

    Obama criticizes Old Testament slavery but makes us slaves? Is that righteous, Mr. Obama?

    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?"

    At first, what about Old Testament slavery? Good or bad?

    Actually God (the God of Israel) had commanded Israel to exterminate some nations (they lived on the territory of today Palestine) because these nations committed unimaginable sins: intercourse in all directions: man with man, woman with woman, father with daughter, mother with son, father and mother with animals, etc.. Furthermore they sacrificed infants to their idols (Moloch and the like). Sometimes it happened that Israel did not kill all war prisoners according to God's command but took them as slaves which was tolerated by God. In that context the slavery was a grace for the concerned people because at least they kept their life. We can imply that the concerned nations had been admonished many times before God started to judge them using Israel as his tool of wrath. These nations were stubborn sinners which had deserved no more grace but only judgement.

    By the way, our modern societies more and more resemble slave markets. Who is responsible for that? Mr. Obama.

    Why does God allow that we more and more become economical slaves (human robots)? Because we don't seek His countenance which is actually the meaning of life. Dear reader, a better life in Jesus waits for you. Get it right now, and start to believe in the one who died and resurrected for you in order to set you free, and be your righteousness.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    October 21, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • Nero

      Our troops die for us everyday. What makes Jesus so special? I'd rather worship our troops than a god that if he does exist, obviously cares very little for us. When prayer works it's the work of god, when it doesn't it's gods will. Get real people. Thats's just life. Whether you are a christian or not, you are going too have good and bad times and prayer ain't going to change a thing

      October 21, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  6. T-Max73

    There are much better examples of morality and ethics than Jesus, though some of his teachings were indeed very good. However, Jesus' invoked the idea of hell and eternal suffering for wrongdoings–a barbaric idea that has no basis in fact or reality. If you want decent moral ideas, look no further than Thomas Paine, Jefferson, Socrates, etc. While not all ideas of these people are worthy of emulation, not one of them makes the enormous claim of being a god. Peace.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  7. Allen

    He's not Christian. He goes to church like twice a year only to please the press.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Nero

      So he's no different than most so called christians. I know more christians that don't go do church than do

      October 21, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • christianity

      Being a Christian means to believe in & follow Christ teachings. The best way to know what a person truly believes is by what they DO not by what they SAY (esp when their words were written by someone else many years after they said them). Jesus embodied a kind, humble, empathetic, loving healer (even for total strangers who did not believe as he) plus he did this & taught them for free, or a meal/lodging. Anyone can stand up & say "I've been saved!" or "I've been born again!" Any true follower of Christ Jesus knows to let your ACTIONS speak for you by being loving, nonjudgmental and helping the downtrodden (poor, minorities, widows, single moms, ex-convicts,...). This is what Obama does!!!! This type of love is beyond "Sudo Christians" understanding because THEY are the ones who are not "real Christians". They act as the Jewish high priest... did by being so high on themselves & blindly following tradition that they couldn't understand Jesus' ways & even wanted him dead! (FYI: I was "saved" at 10 y.o., fundamentalist Christian 30 yrs then changed to more progressive Christian 10 yrs. Was at church every time the door was open teaching, started a pro-life center, ... until the last few yrs. I still talk with Jesus/God almost constantly, help others spontaneously when a need seen,... but never attend a fundamentalist church due to the hate & fear-mongering that goes directly against Jesus' teachings & tears people down, not lift them up. When I do go, I go to a Christan church, called Unity, who focus' on being loving and nonjudgmental; Wow what a concept!).

      October 21, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  8. Nero

    I guess to be the right type of christian, you have to discriminate against those that don't fit the christian mold, such as gay people. The right type of christian would be spreading intolerance, not acceptance. Christiananity promotes bigotry. Their is a long history of changed the biblical laws to allow their followers to do things that they had previously preached against. Latest example is removing mormonism from cult status by Billy Graham. The catholics are the worst at changing biblical laws, but they are also the most lax when it comes to practicing their religion. Face it, it's all a farce.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Fact

      Nero(?) The information was removed from the site because Billy Graham knows it would be better to have a Mormon whose faith is greatly in line with Christianity than a "Christian" whose faith and actions are not in line with Christianity. The site never said the reason is because they don't believe, anymore, that Mormonism is a cult. You see, whether or not Mormonism is a cult it is, by far, more aligned with genuine Christianity than whatever Obama's faith is. "The proof is in the pudding." the fact that Obama voted for a bill that would allow a baby born during a botched abortion to be killed, that in itself, speaks volumes about whether or not he is truly Christian.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Cedar rapids

      "the fact that Obama voted for a bill that would allow a baby born during a botched abortion to be killed, that in itself, speaks volumes about whether or not he is truly Christian."

      the fact that you disingenuously make such a claim speaks volumes about whether or not you are truly christian.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Margie Cruz

      Mormonism is a cult, since when the Mormons are Christian? But some Christians Leader believes that any person even a cult member that is running for President and he is a Republican, they call him a Christian, You remember Jimmy Carter he used to said that he was a born again Christian, the Evangelical turned their back on him, why, because he was in the wrong party, he was running as a Democrat. How do you call that?

      October 21, 2012 at 10:14 am |
    • christianity

      Replying to "Fact" about saying the Obama voted for bill to kill babys born of botched abortions:
      "FACT CHECK" says: Obama was, however, “fully in support” of a federal bill that provided the same protection viable fetuses while also including protections for Roe v Wade :

      OBAMA: I have said repeatedly that I would have been completely in, fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported – which was to say – that you should provide assistance to any infant that was born – even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was presented at the state level. What that bill also was doing was trying to undermine Roe vs. Wade.

      Obama also felt that the legislation would have taken decision-making out of the hands of doctors, giving anti-abortion activists an opening to sue abortion providers by alleging that they chose to terminate the life of a viable fetus on purpose. He did not, however, express any support for “infanticide” or for ending the life of a viable fetus, as Huckabee and Gingrich claim

      October 21, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  9. jp

    I think he's a Christian for political reasons, and for Michelle, but I don't believe he's a Muslim. I do believe he is a Muslim sympathizer, and dislikes Jews and Israel. I believe that is was influenced by the Koran as a child, and has roots in islam....Its cares me to think hes the great pretender.....his whole life is a confusion...

    October 21, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • jp

      oops "he" "scares"

      October 21, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Nero

      You think, but you don't know. I admit that I kind of agree with you on your first point, but the rest is just crazy. I believe most politicians that claim to be christians, are just christians in name only and say they are purely for political reasons. You certainly don't see many of them practicing their religion, what with some of them being gay, others cheating on their spouses, almost all of them are crooked it some way or another. Obama's only issue is his stance on gay marriage and abortion, but otherwise he seems to be a good honest (as honest as a politician can be) christian, which I don't even care about because I'm an atheist.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  10. Grumpster

    CNN...I would challenge you to put up a "non-belief" section or one that is called "belief in fictional god type deity concepts for gomers" section....or just a "common sense" column instead of constantly feeding the religion troll.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • T-Max73

      Did you ever consider the likely possibility that CNN KNOWS that religion is bologna and simply enjoys stoking the criticism and ridicule of obnoxious ideas and beliefs? Remember, when you shine the light, the roaches scatter–in this case, reason and critical thinking are that light.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  11. rodolfo

    Mr Obamaleto, is no A christian He pretend to be .but He's not. To me he looks like that He used all the sources that He had
    to improve his aura. (whom have eyes to see and heart to feeling should know the true christian).

    October 21, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      What was that? Did your cat run across your keyboard? Because that was a sad display of a thought. You MUST be a believer lol.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • biff

      @ InReason I Trust That was hilarious! I think the cat has all of the brains in that operation.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Jon

      I see here yet another example of a Christian touting "biblical values" yet having not a shred of an idea what those values actually are. God alone knows who the "real Christisns" are, and your pathetic attempt to demonize the President via the use of some subjective touchy-feely "real Christian" test is - wake up, now - completely UNbiblical.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  12. TopView20

    Yes to plurality! No to religion in politicas. Common sense.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  13. Bob Sagat

    Mitt Romney believes god is an alien with a body of flesh and bone and lives on the planet Kolob. He also believes in spirit babies and magic underwear. This is all part of Mormonism, go and read the book of Mormon yourself. This is the man who wants to lead our country.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  14. ws

    And one last comment: Jesus Christ was not white. He was Armenian. And Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all worship the same God and believe Christ was at minimum a prophet, just like Mohammed. Only Christians believe that Christ is the Messiah. That's the only difference. That always seems to get lost.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  15. Tony McDay

    We elect Political Leaders, not religious leaders. This article silly and insulting. This why people are waking away from religion at epic levels.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Matt

      It's also why Europe views America as a joke. The amount of sway we allow religion to have over reason is baffling. I cannot say this enough, America is a free nation, not a Christian nation. You can't be a free nation and have a national religion.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  16. joe

    this story makes me sick. President Obama is a wonderful human being. he is a great father and role model for the entire nation. for anyone to even suggest he is a "differnt " kind of chrstian is sad. i have news for alll of the so-called christan right. President Obama acts more like a chrustan then your crowd. i want my children to grow up and carry themselves like president obama not like you hypocrites. lastly, the last time i checked, the guy you are supporting is NOT even a christan.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  17. cj

    whew what a whopper here, if OB is a "christian" then its like his birth certificate. A really bad photo shop job that only libs would believe.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • midwest rail

      Wow – a birther. Next.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      I know what you'll believe CJ.

      Anything.

      Anything like magic virgin babies and magic apples and taking snakes and talking bushes.

      You belive in a Disney cartoon and you want to talk about birth certificates???!

      October 21, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  18. gmenfan54

    My 20 year old cat knows more about religion then John Blake.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  19. Matt

    I love the Christians who four years ago, didn't vote for Romney in the primary because he was Mormon and therefor not a real Christian, but this year embrace him and laud him for his Christianity because he is the closest thing to a good candidate the Republicans have.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  20. charlotte

    Obama is the ONLY tolerable kind of Christian. One who does not try to shove radical religion down the throats of people who know better.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • cj

      great christian with a hit list in the top drawer of his desk.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Tony McDay

      @cj – sanctimonious christians are just as bad...

      October 21, 2012 at 9:45 am |
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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.