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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. a4mrtheist

    The only" wrong" kind of christians are the intolerant and judgmental ones.

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

      Agreed.

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

      Hopefully their numbers will diminish.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Lisa

      Well said!

      October 21, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Surfer George

      If they are judgmental and/or intolerant then they aren't really Christians are they?

      What did we call those who showed up in their fancy clothes and pious pronouncement who "knew" God's word but didn't really practice it?

      October 21, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Kevin

      Did you just judge Christians? How friggin ironic!

      October 21, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • kneesus

      There was no irony. Did the OP identify them self as a Christian? Or are you trying to justify Christians being judgmental?

      October 21, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • skysgirl

      I agree!

      October 21, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • skysgirl

      All those Fox followers are probably the worst example of a "Christian" than anyone. They have so much HATE for anyone that does not agree to their views! Fox News FB page is unbelievably at the top of the chart when it comes to Bigotry. If that's what a Christian is......then ....everyone else must be SAINTS!

      October 21, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  2. RudyG

    Obama spent years and years cavorting with Reverend Wright. Wright was his main counselor and personal friend. If that's the kind of Christian he is, then yes, he is the wrong kind! The anti-American kind! A totally politicized kind! And, it explains why his first and most important trip overseas was to simply apologize for America!!!!

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

      Mitt Romney attends and is a leader in a church and entire denomination that did not accept African Americans into their flock and condemned interracial marriage. They also believe you can have more than one wife. This was preached continually from the beginning of Mormonism until the last 20 years. Before you condemn at least get both sides of the story.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  3. TTTTT

    It doesn't matter if the President is black or white, as long as there is hate and disrespect in our words we will never come together as a nation. We are in a sad state....

    October 21, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  4. GAW

    From the article. "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 same could be said for Dobson he prooftexts from the Bible for his purposes as well.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  5. Vince

    Some of these critics of our President, President Barack Obama confess to be Christians, not saying that they're not, because unlike them I can't judge the condition of a man's heart, but if you want to be Christ like, spend time praying for our leaders and not tearing them down...That's what Christ would do. They say that they are upset because he supports gay marriages, woman rights to have abortions as well as other policies that give people the rights to make their own choices for their lives??? Isn't that what God does, He doesn't force man to do anything, God gives mankind free will to choose to except or deny Him, He doesn't force them to....and if God doesn't neither can we...Let the wheat and tarry grow together and God will do the separating...As they say not everyone that is saying Lord, Lord will make it in.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  6. steve

    That's it. How dare you put a "story" like this up front? Three quarters of this country believe their fate is in the hands of angels. If you're trying to change the face of this election, congrats. If my President is the "wrong" kind of Christian then what the f*** is a Mormon?!? You misrepresent polls. You try to appeal to the lowest denomintors. If you want to alter this election so all our jobs get outsourced to China then what you're doing is tantamount to treason. Look at these pathetic comments. Just go ahead and put Fox CNN on your commercials. Please, for the good of the country go back to having your "reporters" do stories on Honey Boo Boo. That's all you're good for. Meanwhile stop trying to be the news and for the love of God try just once to report the news.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • GauisCaesar

      Angels? Do you even know anything about Christianity? From your comment, it is clear you do not!

      October 21, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Kevin

      It's pretty evident to me that most of the people posting after this story are either non-Christians, agnostics or Christians, who do not know their religion very well. Religion is a personal journey, but it is also a collective one, embodied in a church. Jesus CHRIST said, "Where two or more of you are gathered together in prayer, there also am I." It's pretty clear that the message includes the concept of "organized" or collective religious expressions.

      What is absolutely baffling is that CNN would post an article using religion to prop up "The Chosen One". This article has no place in journalism; it only serves to encourage the non-religious and religious crazies to come out from their dark, damp hiding places.

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

      I agree!

      October 21, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Deanna

      Agreed!

      October 21, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • kneesus

      It's pretty evident to me that you have blinders on and cannot see the cracks in the perfect facade you see as Christianity.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  7. John P. Tarver

    The American left has always involked Christ in their socialism. FDR read Timothy on the radio to get Social security passed, but neither FDR, or Obama, are Christians.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • yevettej

      By whose standard are they not Christians? I am amazed by how judgmental people who call on the name of Jesus are and are becoming. I am and most of my fellow Christians I know are an Obama type Christian. In God's Word, the people who know are condemning President Obama were the Pharisees and the Sadducees of our time. Jesus' ministry focused on feeding the poor, healing the sick and uplifting the downtrodden. He gave his life for sinners who believe not for hypocrites who condemn,

      October 21, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  8. JamesinOKC

    Obama is not christian. Reverand Wright is not a christian, he is a church that preaches hate against whites. obama openly, in 2007 and 2008, said he attended there for over 20 years. He denied his church and faith once he was the DNC nominee in 2008. He further went against his faith when he went for gay marriage. Not saying anything personally against it, but all the black churches and Reveran Wright preached highly against it, until Obama said he changed his mind (aka Flip Flopped for votes).

    Now lets take it a step further. To a normal christian in America like the majority of all chrisitans, you dont follow man, you follow God. So the fact that black churches changed there stance and are now for gay marriage because a man said something, it goes to show who has true faith in God, and who follows a man because of the color of his skin.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Vince

      Then I guess you're not a Christian, because you're judging, after the bible says "Don't judge", then I guest that white people are not Christians, they killed blacks and others in the name of their Christian faith...See, this is why the bible says we can't judge...why, because all have sinned and fallen short of God's Glory.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Kevin

      Actually, Vinnie, the "Bible" doesn't say that at all; the entire Old Testament reflected that kind of judgment. It was Jesus Christ, not the "Bible", who said, "Judge not that you be not judged", signifying the pivot in the Jewish religion to one of love and forgiveness from fear and fatalism. Read the bible and stay away from the Hollywood bible movies; go to the source for your information before you post.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • kneesus

      And it would be nice if Christians spent more time being more like Christ then just quoting things from scripture, warping it to suit their own needs, then kindly ignoring the original meeting on such a course ad infinitum.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:49 am |
  9. dean

    No true Scotsman?

    October 21, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Flavia

      Thanks for your astute obvetsarions, Drue. I always learn something new from you. It worries me, however, that Barack's appeal apparently does not extend to white working-class people. His speech about race was brilliant, but there is also a class divide that few Americans want to talk about.

      December 15, 2012 at 6:53 am |
  10. nina

    yes CNN you should be ashamed...unless of course you are going to highlight Romney's mormanism beliefs tomorrow.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:27 am |
  11. snowboarder

    i don't particularly care what a presidents religious beliefs are as long as he realizes it is not his job to foist his beliefs onto the population and enact his beliefs as civil law.

    this country has never been one of a single h0m0geneous religion and was never meant to be.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • imnotasheepl

      Doesn't the Legislative Branch make the laws? The Executive Branch is only there to enforce the laws made by Congress.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • skysgirl

      I agree!

      October 21, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Kevin

      I care more about what values my president has, not his religion; yet I understand that religion fosters values.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  12. Matt Mattson

    —23 Million Unemployed or Underemployed—47 Million on Food Stamps—5.5 Million Homes in Crisis/Foreclosure—$4500 Drop in Household Income—$5.5 Trillion of New Debt—$716 Billion in Medicare Cuts—$2.6 Trillion for Obamacare—$1.9 Trillion in New Taxes in Obama’s Budget—100% Increase in Gas Prices and CNN focuses on anything but . . .

    October 21, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Lisa

      Oh, come now. Because there is an article about the president's faith doesn't mean there aren't plenty of articles here on CNN showing the damage done by the Bush administration.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Hasn't cured cancer.
      Kids still dropping out of high school.
      Several racists still unenlightened.
      Cubs STILL haven't won the World Series.

      Yeah, the guy's a total failure, all right.

      On the other hand, Matt Mattson has learned to spell correctly. Yay! Clearly qualified to judge.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  13. Alejandaa

    mormon or someone who is not a true Christian??? i think mormon is better

    October 21, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • rh

      Do you have any idea what Mormons believe in?

      If you did, maybe you wouldn't be so quick to judge Obama.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • snowboarder

      tomato – tomahto

      October 21, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Personally, I think chocolate is better. As long as we're settling for near misses, who comes closer, Obama or Romney?

      October 21, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Surfer George

      Mormonism just – JUST stopped being a cult according to Oral Roberts website.
      Obama is more of a Christian than you pretend.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  14. ROCKWOOD

    As I Christian, I don't have to go to church to hear some mans interpretation of the Bible, which I don't really believe in either. I don't believe in what many of the various branches of Christianity teach/preach. Preaching h*ll fire and brimstone is NOT my idea of Christianity. I guess that would make me the WRONG kind of Christian. Even an agnostic can consider themselves spiritual, but for them to link that spirituality to a single God they want proof.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  15. soccermom03

    Am I the only one who acknowledges the fact that the word Christian is based upon the base word Christ. To be a Christian is to embrass Christ as the son of God and He died for our sins. There is this weird confusion between believeing in the one true God and the second major component is Christ is our savior, not anything else, not a prophet. Mormons do not believe in Christ in this way.Those who believe in God are not always Christians. Evangelicals know this and are selling their souls just to expell Obama. I find that extremely fascinating!

    October 21, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • Ilia Grechko

      I thought I'd go look at what Mormons believe. I went to their website, http://www.lds.org. It has what they believe.

      The first is something called an Article of Faith. Number 1 says:

      We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

      Number 3 says:

      We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved.

      Christ is the Savior of the world.

      You ought to really know what you are talking about before you spout out about it.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Ilia Grechko

      Mormons believe that just as in Biblical times, there are modern prophets. This doesn't mean they worship a prophet, not even Joseph Smith. I believe he is revered for what he did and for his martyrdom, but he's not worshiped or viewed anywhere in the same way as Christ.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • skysgirl

      I find it Hypocritical! OBAMA 2012

      October 21, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  16. John

    The age-old issue, “Can man save himself, or does he need God?” is still raging across the world as furiously as ever. As long as the world goes on, people will build towers of Babel, fashion their graven images, and invent their own ideologies. Now, as in every period of history, people think they can manage without God.

    Economically, they may manage; intellectually, they may manage; socially, they may get by. But down underneath the surface of rational man is a vacuum—a void that can be met only through Jesus Christ. The most astounding fact of all history is that the great and almighty God of heaven can live in your heart. It makes no difference who you are.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  17. Toby

    How bout this...WHO GIVES A SHIZZAT? Really people, when a new CEO takes over a billion dollar company, do you think religion comes into play? It can't even be asked due to anti-discrimination laws. I don't care if Obama is a Budhist....I doesn't matter which make believe story one believes. Leave it alone.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  18. Zwei Stein

    In the collection of ancient Hebrew writings (known as the Bible) God proclaims the Jews as His Chosen People. It isn't open to interpretation for "Christians."

    October 21, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  19. rker321

    For whatever the reason, Religion has become a political issue. these days, Yes we are a country that was founded on freedom of religion, but also, we do have a separation of church and state, which many these days, seem to forget, according to what is most convenient for them.
    These days everyone wants to be seen as a Christian, even the Mormons. which we all know they are not.
    It has become important to be seen as a "good Christian" no matter how you got there,
    So, now we actually count the number of times people go to church to define whether they happen to believe in Christian beliefs of not.?
    We have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. It is more important to judge an individual by his actions. and let the Lord evaluate his or hers Christianity.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Svenja

      Art always falls on the snlideies. Politicians only care about our material well-being, but not about our spiritual development. They campaign about improving science education (whether they actually do it is a different story), but nobody talks about arts education. I hope that Michelle Obama is speaking from the heart!

      December 13, 2012 at 5:29 am |
  20. Colleen

    Does Mr. Blake expect us to believe that Obama's religious views were not primarily shaped by Jeremiah Wright's hate rhetoric against the United States of America? Obama was a member of Wright's church for 20 years, count 'em – 20, was married in Wright's church, had his daughters baptized in Wright's church. If he was opposed to Wright's hate speech, then why was he in Wright's church? Because Jeremiah Wright was his mentor! The "good" Reverend preaches that our gov't invented HIV to deliberately commit genocide against Americans of color. He preaches that 9/11 was our fault ("America's chickens have come home to roost." and "God damn America!")
    Furthermore, upon what basis do you put forth the idea that Conservative Christians don't care about helping the poor? One would be hard pressed to find a Christian denomination that does not put considerable time and resources into helping the less fortunate. The difference is what you believe is the proper role of government. When Jesus preached about helping the poor, he was talking to the people, not to the Roman government of the day. Let's see: If my choice is between a Jeremiah Wright disciple/Muslim and a Mormon, I'll take the Mormon anyday. Romney has a successful record in the public and private sector, and I don't see anyone suggesting that his Mormon beliefs, however strange they may seem, ever informed his decisions in business or government.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Lisa

      You are right about Romney. I read how he and his dad weren't ashamed at all to promote tobacco and gain profit from that unethical practice which Mormons disapprove of.

      Suggest you read more about Wright. He was fiery but if you listen to all of his words, not just 3-word snippets, you find he was really more about challenging America to do better. Three words taken out of context certainly convey the opposite meaning. And, there is the problem of his overly dramatic presentation to the point that it detracted from meaning. :-(

      October 21, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • GAW

      Thank you Lisa for binging balance to the issue.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • yevettej

      Colleen...I would recommend that you go and review and/or listen to Rev. Jeremiah Wright's sermons and teaching. It is said that you and many others have taken one sermon and based his entire ministry on it. If this is the standard, the Southern Baptist church should be condemned for supporting the Jim Crow laws and slavery that many of their ministers preached from their pulpit. So many Christians who followed Bull Connor are not Christians and by your own standard should be condemned to hell. Be careful about what you say you support or believe and who you say are the "wrong' type of Christian. I don't believe in the Bible there is a litmus test for who is more or less Christian...the litmus test is that you believe Jesus died for all of our sins, was ressurected from the dead and is coming back again.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
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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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.