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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. Emma in Baltimore

    People will think what they want to think. President Obama's faith and salvation are between him and God, regardless of the amount of ugly bickering people want to spew about it. I think his heart is in the right direction, and God uses that. I wish people would be less critical and more supportive of him. Then the nation would recover faster, and they'd be happy because they'd have less to be critical of.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:47 am |
  2. George Marshall

    It is irrelevant as to what Obama's religion is or whether he has one. I would like to see an atheist or a Wiccan elected president, not because I'm advocating atheism (I'm not) nor because I'm a witch (I'm not), but because it might signal and end to these ridiculous and unproductive brouhahas over religion. Religion is a personal and private matter.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  3. Logic

    There is no "right religion".... They all have equal evidence to support their claims (zero evidence), so how can one be "right" or "wrong"? If you want to believe in the bible, go ahead, but to tell other people they're "wrong" when you have no evidence is bigoted, closed minded, and just plain stupid.

    On another note; if you get your morals and values solely from the bible, I feel bad for you. While there are a few good lessons from Jesus, ultimately the bible is a source of horrible morality and it is irrelevant to today's world.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  4. mike

    Judging from the comments, I am so glad that our founding fathers separated church from state.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • crazeelegs

      I am glad that the founding fathers attempted to separate church and state, but Republicans have used religion in every election. It is a main reason they have won the southern vote since the 1970s. It is called The Southern Strategy implimented by "Tricky Dick" Nixon used to exploit southern fears, racism, and their concern about integration laws. The GOP, unfortunately, has used it successfully since then to impose their beliefs on others and use it to keep the uneducated and uninformed to continue to vote against their own economic benenfit. It is wasn't so serious of a matter, it would be hysterical. Vote Democratic and for President Obama.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:56 am |
  5. McShannon

    The President of the USA shouldn’t represent any religion or be expected to impose the beliefs of any religion on others as the Taliban demonstrate all to well.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • oldbones24

      Amen, It is "abortion" not "obortion" And Romney has repeatedly said he is pro choice. Now swallow that pill.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  6. Stopthemadness

    It doesn't matter what kind of Christian he is. Religion doesn't belong in politics. What's more these same so called Christians are violating the word of God by judging. So who are you going to take serious? A man who has shown nothing but higher moral values and statesmenship, or some right wing nut job who doesn't think he is Christian enough yet can't follow his own bible? To me it's a game of b.s. And all these word games distract from real issues.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  7. Lori

    ...RELIGION ..HAS NO PLACE IN OUR GOVERMENT...

    October 21, 2012 at 7:45 am |
  8. McShannon

    President Obama isn't offensive with unnecessary chiding remarks that would serve no purpose but to inflame other nations. The opinion of many here is that diplomacy with Muslim nations is hopeless and that we should treat all such nations with scorn. Yet the conservative view based on Christianity always was one of love your enemy leave vengeance to God but these conservatives are not who they once were. President Obama is on target to consider that Israel can be wrong and that Iran could be a nuclear nation without WMDS. We must sit down together knowing that sincerity exists without overtones from Israel and other urging nations and clueless politicians.

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

    Mormonism is not Christian because it denies one or more of the essential doctrines of Christianity. Here is a basic list.

    1.There is only one God in all existence (Exodus 20:1-4; Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5).
    2.Jesus is divine (John 1:1;14; 8:24; Col. 2:9)
    3.Forgiveness of sins is by grace alone without works (Eph. 2:8-9; Rom. 3:28; 4:1-5)
    4.Jesus rose from the dead physically (John 2:19-21; Luke 24:39)
    5.The gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Cor. 15:1-4)
    Mormonism denies that there is only one God in all existence and also denies the forgiveness of sins alone in Christ alone.

    This does not mean Mormonism is wrong, just simply not Christian. Just like Judaism and Islam – they are not Christians.

    Ironically, the only Anglo-Saxon Protestant running is Obama (Biden and Ryan are Catholics).

    However, I think it is incredible that people question these men (and others) faith. All four have stated their faith and none of us knows their heart. All four of them have had public actions and voted legislation that is in conflict with their faith. I am not aware of any elected official of follows his Church's doctrine in all votes.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:42 am |
  10. Mimimama

    Mr. Obama is a Christian of convenience, one who uses the perception of faith as a sparkling lapel pin, an accessory that he can take off or put on. Whether it be conflict from his childhood when he was raised in Muslim household, or from his time in Hawaii when his Communist mentor likely eschewed any religion, or during college bringing him closer to a community likely agnostic at best, atheist perhaps, followed by years in which he sat listening to Black Liberation Theologian Wright, his relationship with Christianity's basic tenet is uneasy to say the least.

    Some have said he is a moral man, a point that can be debated, but which I, for purposes of argument, concede if one defines ones philosophy of morality; however to say he is a Christian in the Judeo Christian model is to deny that religion's most basic tenets. He does not believe in life, nor does he believe in marriage as defined, and he appears to wish to place state in place of God in everyday society, a society in which the fundamental moral code is no longer defined by God, but by man. Therefore, I say, Mr. Obama is not a Christian. If he is a man of any faith, it is secular humanism to which he belongs, I would say.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • mark

      I am not a christian . I believe the ancients created god not his lying son . Are something that you need to live . Because you have nothing in your heart

      October 21, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Stopthemadness

      You really have mental issues you know that right. Here you are calling someone a part time Christian, acting like you are a Christian. Yet here you are violating the bibles own verses judging a man. DO you expect ANYONE to take you serious about Christianity when you yourself are not even close to acting like a Christian. Read the book you may learn something. Like you aren't anywhere near acting like a Christian.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • Jack

      Your assessment of President Obama is warped and fueled by racist hatred. You may not even be aware of it, but it is clear.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • NCBKVET

      mimimama , I blieve it is not our place to say that Obama is not a christian or not let god decide what he is , we have not heaven or hell to put anyone so we should not be judging ..... believe what you may, but seems to me he don't believe in forcing other people to live under his belief

      October 21, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • 40 acres

      Obama is a Christian who believes in the concept "Judge not, that ye be not judged". And perhaps this also: "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done [it] unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done [it] unto me."

      I wonder....are you?

      "

      October 21, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Deb

      Mim–that's a lot of pretty words coming from someone who is.....*gulp* standing in judgement of another. I thought that you "Christians" believed that "judgement" was the job of the big guy upstairs. Hypocrite!!

      October 21, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • Doodlebug2222

      I personally feel it is incorrect of you to say > you know what is in anothers heart.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • akmac65

      Mimi....you realize that your OPINION of the President has no more validity than any other opinion. You conveniently consider your opinion to be fact, real world notwithstanding. I venture to guess that you have not been given divine authority to judge your fellow humans, although you may think you have. In addition, your biblical knowledge is sorely lacking, especially in the area of relationships/marriage. The bible is up to its binding in incest and general fornication. Your biblical marriage is a modern invention not an historical truth.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  11. McShannon

    Netanyahu and Romney are as they say “Birds of a Feather”. I think that it is good that Mitt has made this connection endorsing the “RED LINE” idea of Netanyahu's. They both seek to be glorified and recognized for cunning strategy regardless that it means nothing as Romney is just a lesser candidate. Fortunately for us our military strategist and foreign policy advisers have another plan that doesn’t involve self aggrandizing by a few attention seekers.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:42 am |
  12. arosel

    Obama is a good Christian man. Most Christians know this by how he conducts himself and his words.
    Look at what he's tried to accomplish on healthcare.

    He's not in a cult like Romney.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • FLIndpendent

      I would love to believe most Christians can recognize the President's good deeds but I know many that refuse to. Remember, there are many pastors & priests telling their congregations that Obama is a "bad man" and that he is destroying our religious freedom. The sheep will follow unfortunately.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  13. crazeelegs

    The Republican Party is the party of hate. They hate anyone who is different and they promote that hate into their politics. They call themselves the party of "values"? They prove that they are hypocrites as well as hate mongers.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  14. woody

    Black Liberation Theology is the cult and non-religion with it's hate and bigotry based diatribes

    October 21, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • arosel

      Mormonism is a cult

      They believe a former Freemason, Joseph Smith Jr., who wrote the book of Mormon. That's a real cult belief.

      How about Romney's belief in planet Kolob being heaven.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Name*dunracin

      Right on!

      October 21, 2012 at 7:42 am |
  15. Pete

    The problem with invoking god in politics is it shuts down intelligent discourse. Politicians know this and use it effectively to divert us from issues we ought to be discussing. Faith is fine. Belief in god is fine. But religion is a creation of man, a way of creating not hope, but rather of manipulating the masses of non-thinkers.

    Those who cast their vote solely on the basis of what they hear in church are not acting as Americans, but as sheep.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • JJ

      Invoking god in any discussion about reality ends the discussion.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:41 am |
    • VK

      exactly! Why don't people anslize Romney and his Mormonism??? I don't want to say the word religion about Mormonism.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Sane Person

      Invoking god in a discussion about anything pretty much spells the inability of the invoker's ability to reason and argue with actual fact. Its the ancient equivalent of "Cause my mommy said so".

      October 21, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • House4rent

      Two thumbs up, Pete. I believe in God. After a long religious and spiritual journey, I found myself a Deist. Religion has nothing to do with God and everything to do with control.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:47 am |
  16. ipmutt

    Well, we know leading up to his election campain, he was a member of and a supporter of a very racist sect of a Chicago militant anti white church. We have video of him supporting the minister. We have a great deal of information on how the media covers this up. So when I see articles like this it is simply confirmation the mainstream media is running a hard core misdirection campain to keep this guy in office. You will get nothing from these guys resembling facts to lead you to your own decisions.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:36 am |
    • ipmutt

      Sorry a chicago militant and white hating church

      October 21, 2012 at 7:38 am |
    • Over It

      Which is why he quit that church when the reverend lost his mind. Try to keep up with the facts.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • akmac65

      ipm......"WE"? You certainly do not speak for the rest of the country. Perhaps you are using the imperial "we" in the mistaken assumption that you are emperor of the universe. By the way, paranoid delusions are not considered factual.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  17. bernard

    don't know what is wrong with CNN these-days. picking up one sided poll and announcing
    debate winners. we are all watching. remember is the whole nation that have made CNN what it is today. what is this article suppose to mean.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • KK Denver

      The very fact that you don't know what this article means is the very reason for this article. The perverse notions of the fundamentalist christians are a disease that only secularism can cure. INclusion not exclusion is the way to live a godly life. And before your little rat brain hurts itself I certainly do not include criminal behavior in my definition of inclusion.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • D. Green

      I think it means if, and that is if, you are a true BORN AGAIN christian then you know better than to vote for Obama in Nov. My 12 yr old is being forced to learn the Islamic religion in her "history" class but if she carries a bible or wears a t-shirt promoting a Christian summer camp, to school then she will be sent home or expelled for offending other students. Obama is about as far away from being a Christian as a person can get and that's fine cause this country could care less about religion anyway.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Chanel Babe

      D. Green - then how can you vote for Romney or Ryan, one a Mormon the other a Catholic. Neither of whom are born again.

      Are you trying to blame Obama because your school district has rules you don't agree with?

      October 25, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  18. oldbones24

    A "progressive Christian"? Wrong, Obama takes Jesus at his word, not doctrines because those are man made. When I think of Romney I see Jesus taking a whip to the money changers at Temple. Jesus said," it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven" ( I think it is impossible), "no man can serve two masters" ( you love God or you love money). Lets not forget Peter's letter, "the love, pursuit, desire for money is a root to all evil." Romney made a vulgar amount of money destroying the lives of American Citizens and he took pride in this out sourcing, it was not illegal but it goes directly against the teachings of Jesus. Obama is called a "progressive Christian", but Romney is truly anti-Christ.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • Snowdog

      It is ok that Obama belives in obortion which goes against all that is Christain.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • D. Green

      While you are harping on Romney and the whole money thing let's just turn a blind eye to the man who supports killing babies cause after all they aren't babies until they're born so this justifies murder. Neither candidate follows the Bible to the letter as no person can because "none are perfect, no not one." But people shouldn't pick and choose what they want to promote while making the other candidate blameless for his actions. If you are going to use the Bible as a judging tool then use it on "both" candidates not just one.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • joe

      Snowdog, if abortion goes against "everything that is christian", then why didn't Christ ever say anything about it? If it were that important you'd think he would've mentioned it.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:15 am |
    • lrich_9

      Sounds like nothing short of pure jealousy to me which is you are a believer is also considered a sin. Personally, I think you all sound like religious zealot nutbags and if I believed in a god then I'd be thanking that god right now that none of you people are of any importance in this nation.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  19. Snowdog

    Obama claims he is a Christian and I am not going to judge that but actions peak louder than words. He is for obortion and gay marriage. These go against the beliefs of Christianity. Obortion is murder and gay marriage goes against what God created.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • oldbones24

      Oh the gay thing, the next thing on the list of abominations is a gossip. Interesting that gossiping is right up there with gay men, the very next thing on the list. I have never seen or heard a single "Christian" persecute a gossip, in fact I have heard ministers gossip from the pulpit. I guess you don't want to take the beam out of your own eye, it's just more fun to take the speck out of your neighbors.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:43 am |
    • AFRetired

      Mitt Romney also supported abortion rights for women for the past 60 years and only just recently decided it was wrong. He is hardly consistent. And I take great offense to you saying that anyone is not spiritual. You have no way of knowing that. No one knows what is in any other man's heart.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • NCBKVET

      i believe people put to much emphasis on that. I see it as if he would allow one of his daughters to do so or his family member then he believes in it... Just because he supports it does not mean he agrees to do with his family , he is not pushing a belief on other people is the way I see it

      October 21, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • joe

      Jesus never said ANYTHING about abortion or gay marriage. You don't need to have beliefs about either of those things in order to be a Christian.

      He did speak, unendingly, about the moral necessity of taking care of the poor. So if you go by Christ's actual teachings, Obama is a much better Christian than most of the Christians who are questioning his faith right now.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:06 am |
    • nonBelieverOne

      Wrong! Obama is for people having equal rights and the right to choose. Those are truly American principles and to deny folks those rights is un-American. Since our country "is a 'Christian' nation" that extols the virtue of the individual's right to pursue happiness above all else, those rights Obama stands for must be Christian in origin, Obama must be a Christian. Additionally, he displays a more Christian view of the world and humanity than any Conservative/Republican in government these days, as he fights for the poor and not corporations, who some politicians believe are people.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  20. Planned Parenthood Does Not Do Mammograms, Only provides Referrals

    Obama lied on stage at the 2nd debate when he said "Planned ParentHood does Mammograms, and under Romney they would lose funding for millions of women to get the test screen done for breast cancer" This is not true and is a lie, Planned Parenthood only does referalls and does not have the equipment to do mammograms onsite. Thats lie # 666 from Obama. If you think Obama is a Christian by choice, then you are misled. He joined the Black Militant Jerimiah Wright church in Chicago to get a base of vote from its participants. He is not a Christian because he wants to be but rather because in odays political landscape thats just where he fit in. It is well known the Obama's are not very "spiritual" people as niether one of them grwe up in that kind of environment according to the many many books written about them on both sides. What you have here is basically a guy who sides with the feeling and emotion of Christians and Muslims to work both ends from the middle for his own cause. At least with Romney, you may not agree with him but can know he has consistant religious beliefs.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:34 am |
    • Over It

      So you're saying that you want to have a lying contest between the two candidates? Don't think you want to take the lid off of that can of worms. That's one race Romney would win hands down. And 'consistant religious beliefs' is not even on the top 100 list of what it takes to run this giant government on BEHALF of its people.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • oldbones24

      That maybe true in your state but my state planned parenthood does breast cancer screening. So who's the liar?

      October 21, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • crazeelegs

      Mitt is "consistent"?? The only thing Mitt is "consistent" about is that he is INconsistent and has flipped on abortion, gun rights, gay rights, healthcare, tax cuts, minimum wage, Vietnam, and climate change. One day Mitt says he is "severely conservative", the next he says is is "moderate". How can Mitt's own base even believe anything the Mitt says–it changes depending on who he talks to. Do not vote for Mitt –who cannot even recall what position he supports.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • Planned Parenthood Does Not Do Mammograms, Only provides Referrals

      Planned Parenthood Does Not Do Mammograms, Only provides Referrals for them which you pay 100% of the cost as a woman in all 52 States of the Union. Thats a fact jack, do the research call ant PP office yourself and try to schedule a Mammy, they will refer you. Thats point #1

      As far as Obama being a Pregressive Christian, it is an oxymoronic statement. The very fundamental view of a Chrisitan is that they believe the Bible is 100% God's word and not take parts of it to further their agenda, but leave the other parts as "too complicated" or "contradiction". Thats a cop out. Obama was never and still is not a Christian. He is only a person who takes whatever tools are at his disposal and uses them to further his agenda of Social Redemption aka "Reparations" to his base.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • joe

      To "Planned Parenthood Does Not Do Mammograms..." you said:

      "The very fundamental view of a Chrisitan is that they believe the Bible is 100% God's word"

      No, actually, it isn't. The fundamental view of a Christian is that they believe in Christ, that he was God's son, and that he died for our sins.

      The Bible was written by men, not God, and men are fundamentally fallible. If you believe that the Bible is "100% God's word", then you're treating something created by men as holy. That makes you an idolater, not a Christian. Any real Christian would know the difference.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Planned Parenthood Does Not Do Mammograms, Only provides Referrals

      @ Joe, I dont know what church you go or belong too. But Christians believe that the bible was written by man and inspired by God, surely youve read that in the bible in the New Testament. You really should read up on Christianity before you post non-sense. Just because people will read your post doesnt mean they will believe it. This is what public school and public education breeds, a distorted view of Christian principals. No true Christian can A) support Abortion and B) Gay Marriage. It's just that simple and by thier fruits you shall know them. As soon as you hear someone professing to be a Christian saying they support the 2 things. then you know tha they are not and decieving people. Simple stuff really.

      October 21, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • joe

      @Planned Parenthood: "No true Christian can A) support Abortion and B) Gay Marriage."

      Of course they can. Christ never said anything about either of those issues. You're confusing "Christans" with idolaters like yourself.

      Simple stuff really.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Planned Parenthood Does Not Do Mammograms, Only provides Referrals

      @ Joe, thanks for coming out of the closet and letting us know your gay. Now, just how much time and money will we waste in the next 4 years shoving you back in?

      October 21, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Doodlebug2222

      I think that your focusing too much on this one thing – to give credence to your own agenda. Yelling and screaming that "another did this" as vehemantly as you are, only better serves to question your credibilty. I look past what you are saying to how you are saying it and in that – your words had no real power and I dismissed them as a rant.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • joe

      @Planned Parenthood:

      I'm not gay, nor did I claim to be. If you were actually Christian, you'd know that it's a sin to bear false witness.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • nonBelieverOne

      You don't know what you're talking about. All lasting social constructs are progressive, or else they would die off... especially religion. For example, at one time many religious leaders in the early days of our "Christian nation" and even (some of our) Founding Fathers believed that people of African decent were not fully human and used the Bible as proof. How many pulpits preach that today?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:59 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.