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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. Bruce Rubin

    THE SOLE REASON I AM VOTING FOR OBAMA IS BECAUSE I LIKE THOSE BIG FLOPPY EARS HE HAS.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • John Galt

      Whatever floats your boat.

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

      hehehe.. that's so funny... more proof we are evolved and not created... right...
      So are those Irish ears or African ears?

      October 21, 2012 at 11:43 am |
  2. RudyG

    Hey Stein, the Nazis passed into the dustbin of history 70 years ago. Your words and thinking are past their prime!

    October 21, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Bruce Rubin

      ACTUALLY THEY REGROUPED IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND THEY ARE DISTORTING ISLAM

      October 21, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  3. Machine

    Obama is not anti-Christian, anti-muslim anti-anything. What faith he follows has, in my opinion, has nothing to do with his presidency. I have found him to be the most secular president I can think of. Which is exactly what this country needs. We are a free country of many peoples and many faiths. To label he USA as being founded on Christian beliefs is rediculous. We are NOT a Christian nation, we ARE a FREE nation.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • GauisCaesar

      Perhaps the study of the American origins has eluded you? Trust me, not everyone is that irresponsible to post something showing your absolute lack of understanding into history.

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

      We are a free nation.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Hello

      Stanley his mom was an anthropologist who like most Atheists have studied religions and myths. They like most Atheist have collections of books on all or most of the main myths to study. If you take the time to learn about the myths you will see a distinct pattern of mythic belief. and how these myths were created as crown control tools for leaders. Like most Atheist parents they educate their children on these myths, even take their kids to churches etc so the kids can see for themselves how they mythic control tools works. Others can also learn the paths of the myths into religions by reading The Masks of the Gods by Joseph Campbell and reading The Golden Bough by James Frazier. and also read Daniel Quinn's books starting with Ishmael. Religions were created as political tools to keep the few in power and control the masses. It is still used today as you can see that religious leaders demand christian belief for all the leaders in America. Yet they have no knowledge of the culture the myth was created on or from. Joseph Atwill has found the root of the christian myth.. Read Causer's Messiah to learn the details.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  4. Reality

    For those who missed this on p. 17 of the commentaries:

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

    Only for the new members of this blog–

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Added details available upon written request.

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

    e.g. Taoism

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

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

    October 21, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Bruce Rubin

      I THOUGHT THE SAME THING UNTIL I CONSUMED THE FRUIT OF FORBIDDEN KNOWLEDGE.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  5. RichardSRussell

    EVERY kind of Christian is considered the WRONG kind of Christian by some OTHER kind of Christian.

    You know who could settle it all in a flash? Jesus! Why don't we all pipe down and wait for him to show up and answer the questions once and for all?

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

      He "ain't" coming back.

      To wit:

      JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

      Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

      So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

      October 21, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  6. /lol

    Wow, just , wow. I have to say that it disgusts me that the 'wrong' kind of christian is one that follows the teaching of jesus in the new testement instead of the smite and hate of the old.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  7. Frank

    All the Obama groupies cannot defend his recored of failure so they attack and attack and attack the better man; Romney. Obama certainly has redefined what it neans to be a progressive Chirstian. It means to be Muslim in act and sypmpathy. CNN stop being such groupies. It's embarrassing . No wonder fox continues to be number 1. President Romney has a great ring to it don't you think? Get used to it folks. It's about to become reality, LOL.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • John Galt

      Obama is four and OUT on November 6th.

      It may even be a Reagan v. Carter landslide.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • == o ==

      The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:

      "Frank" denerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" degenerates to:
      "Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to this extreme homophobe as
      the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp flunkie.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Frank, this article was about Obama, not Romney. Are you seriously suggesting that writing an article about person A can be an attack on person B?

      October 21, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Seyedibar

      Record of failure? i know he's had a rough time mopping up the mess of our last republican president's economic bankruptcy, but I wouldn't go so far as to call that failure. Now Congress... they're the ones who have failed the American people again and again over the last 12 years.

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

      Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

      The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

      2008 Presidential popular vote results:

      69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

      And the irony:

      And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

      The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • John Galt

      Hey, Seyedibar..... Ronald Reagan inherited a far worse economy than Obama did. And at the end of his first term we had 6 percent economic growth and the economy was generating between 600,000 and 800,000 jobs a month.

      That's why Ronald Reagan got a second term.

      Barack Obama, on the other hand, has 24 million people who have given up looking for work. We're mired in 1.2 percent economic growth. And the only reason the unemployment rate has fallen is because: 1 – people have given up looking for work and 2 - the administration has cooked the books.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Ricardo Quintanar

      How about you get a little progressive thinking going because your ignorance overwhelms your ability to think. If you honestly believe that Fox tells the truth then you are ignorant if you believe any news agency tells you the truth you are ignorant and if you specially believe that by keeping tax cuts on the rich and helping them keep more money in their pockets will make the Rich invest in the public sector " that is public schools, public roads, public health care systems, social and welfare, then you are ignorant". Its hard to believe that Romney will really give a care about the people who do not live the same lifestyle he does especially if he has no mind of his own and has changed his view in less then 2 years and has fallowed the GOP as his mind and let them influence his way thinking. Go read Romneys history he is more of a liberal in 2007-2010 then Obama.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Ricardo Quintanar

      How about you get a little progressive thinking going because your ignorance overwhelms your ability to think. If you honestly believe that Fox tells the truth then you are ignorant if you believe any news agency tells you the truth you are ignorant and if you specially believe that by keeping tax cuts on the rich and helping them keep more money in their pockets will make the Rich invest in the public sector " that is public schools, public roads, public health care systems, social and welfare, then you are ignorant". Its hard to believe that Romney will really give a care about the people who do not live the same lifestyle he does especially if he has no mind of his own and has changed his view in less then 2 years and has fallowed the GOP as his mind and let them influence his way thinking. Go read Romneys history he is more of a liberal in 2007-2010 then Obama. Oh and for Obamas Record ill defended even though I am not an OBAMA fan but a person that believes in what I want for my country and who I believe can get it there. For example Obama ended the Iraq war which should have never been started by the REPUBLICAN party. Obama concentrated on Afghanistan's Al-Qaeda who is the primary suspects for the 911 attacks and crumpled their operation two few minute groups. Obama has kept the Nations deficit steady (this is not the public debt deficit) Obama has invested in our future technology so when we do need it, we can produce it here in the US instead abroad at China who is leading in New technologies. Obama spent 2 and a half years keeping the economy from completely breaking down by saving Auto industries and Banks who screwed themselves and by laws of capitalism should crumble but Obama realized that if he did not saved them, it would create even more unemployment and economic turn down. He also realized that the Auto industries had lower quality products and employee incentives that he created regulations where the Auto industry had to better their products and be more efficient with their employees. Obama has pointed out the corruption in Government and has pointed out how a bi-polar government does not work. Obama pointed out that having the Senate ruled by Democrats and House ruled by Republicans creates the perfect recipe for a stand still and not be able to get any of Obamas progress to work.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  8. Sue

    New low. Very trashy journalism.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  9. RudyG

    I forgive. But I don't forget traitors to my country. To do so would be stupid.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  10. lily

    Name calling, blaming, coveting, stealing and a kill list-just don't reflect Christian values or any religious values or morality-and I have read the whole Bible-though I'm a pagan!

    October 21, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • John Galt

      So you do whatever the Stonehenge obelisk tells you to do?

      October 21, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • KK Denver

      John, I'm pretty sure Lily thinks for herself.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  11. Zwei Stein

    The "Jesus Christ" of the Mormon Faith, was born, raised and operated in South America ... for real. The Mormon Faith operates on a DIABOLICAL premise ... "men are gods and will inherit their own planet." Some will be (or are) more highly placed than the God who owns and controls our Earth ... for real. This belief, in total conflict with the First Commandment, nullifies their pretense at Christianity.

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

      The Mormons don't operate on a principle of EVIL. They simply operate under misguided principles... just like all the other christians that have been fooled into believing that jesus really existed.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • KK Denver

      they operate in order to generate wealth

      October 21, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Hello

      the 10 commandment are from the Jewish myth by the way.... which is rooted in the Egyptian and Greek myths.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Reality

      From Professors Crossan and Watts' book, Who is Jesus.

      "That Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, as the Creed states, is as certain as anything historical can ever be.

      “ The Jewish historian, Josephus and the pagan historian Tacitus both agree that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea. And is very hard to imagine that Jesus' followers would have invented such a story unless it indeed happened.

      “While the brute fact that of Jesus' death by crucifixion is historically certain, however, those detailed narratives in our present gospels are much more problematic. "

      “My best historical reconstruction would be something like this. Jesus was arrested during the Passover festival, most likely in response to his action in the Temple. Those who were closest to him ran away for their own safety.

      I do not presume that there were any high-level confrontations between Caiaphas and Pilate and Herod Antipas either about Jesus or with Jesus. No doubt they would have agreed before the festival that fast action was to be taken against any disturbance and that a few examples by crucifixion might be especially useful at the outset. And I doubt very much if Jewish police or Roman soldiers needed to go too far up the chain of command in handling a Galilean peasant like Jesus. It is hard for us to imagine the casual brutality with which Jesus was probably taken and executed. All those "last week" details in our gospels, as distinct from the brute facts just mentioned, are prophecy turned into history, rather than history remembered."

      See also Professor Crossan's reviews of the existence of Jesus in his other books especially, The Historical Jesus and also Excavating Jesus (with Professor Jonathan Reed doing the archeology discussion) .

      Other NT exegetes to include members of the Jesus Seminar have published similar books with appropriate supporting references.

      Part of Crossan's The Historical Jesus has been published online at books.google.com/books.

      There is also a search engine for this book on the left-hand side of the opening page. e.g. Search Josephus

      See also Wikipedia's review on the historical Jesus to include the Tacitus' reference to the crucifixion of Jesus.

      From ask.com,

      "One of the greatest historians of ancient Rome, Cornelius Tacitus is a primary source for much of what is known about life the first and second centuries after the life of Jesus. His most famous works, Histories and Annals, exist in fragmentary form, though many of his earlier writings were lost to time. Tacitus is known for being generally reliable (if somewhat biased toward what he saw as Roman immorality) and for having a uniquely direct (if not blunt) writing style.

      Then there are these scriptural references:

      Crucifixion of Jesus:(1) 1 Cor 15:3b; (2a) Gos. Pet. 4:10-5:16,18-20; 6:22; (2b) Mark 15:22-38 = Matt 27:33-51a = Luke 23:32-46; (2c) John 19:17b-25a,28-36; (3) Barn. 7:3-5; (4a) 1 Clem. 16:3-4 (=Isaiah 53:1-12); (4b) 1 Clem. 16.15-16 (=Psalm 22:6-8); (5a) Ign. Mag. 11; (5b) Ign. Trall. 9:1b; (5c) Ign. Smyrn. 1.2.- (read them all at wiki.faithfutures. Crucifixion org/index.php/005_Crucifixion_Of_Jesus )

      Added suggested readings:

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
      o
      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      30-60 CE Passion Narrative
      40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
      50-60 1 Thessalonians
      50-60 Philippians
      50-60 Galatians
      50-60 1 Corinthians
      50-60 2 Corinthians
      50-60 Romans
      50-60 Philemon
      50-80 Colossians
      50-90 Signs Gospel
      50-95 Book of Hebrews
      50-120 Didache
      50-140 Gospel of Thomas
      50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
      50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
      65-80 Gospel of Mark
      70-100 Epistle of James
      70-120 Egerton Gospel
      70-160 Gospel of Peter
      70-160 Secret Mark
      70-200 Fayyum Fragment
      70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
      73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
      80-100 2 Thessalonians
      80-100 Ephesians
      80-100 Gospel of Matthew
      80-110 1 Peter
      80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
      80-130 Gospel of Luke
      80-130 Acts of the Apostles
      80-140 1 Clement
      80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
      80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
      80-250 Christian Sibyllines
      90-95 Apocalypse of John
      90-120 Gospel of John
      90-120 1 John
      90-120 2 John
      90-120 3 John
      90-120 Epistle of Jude
      93 Flavius Josephus
      100-150 1 Timothy
      100-150 2 Timothy
      100-150 T-itus
      100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
      100-150 Secret Book of James
      100-150 Preaching of Peter
      100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
      100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
      100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
      100-160 2 Peter

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Bruce Rubin

      YOU ARE CONFUSING THE FIRST AMENDMENT AND THE FIRST COMMANDMENT. YOUR GETTIN TO THE FOGGY LINE SEPARATIN CHURCH AND STATE "PILGRIM."

      October 21, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  12. scout

    you are wrong on all points. obama has been lying to you and your too stupid to see it

    October 21, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • == o ==

      The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:

      "scout" denerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" degenerates to:
      "Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to this extreme homophobe as
      the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp flunkie.

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

      Perhaps so, but at least I'm not so stupid I can't use my shift key or find the apostrophe.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • /lol

      It is you're, learn to spell before calling someone stupid.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Bruce Rubin

      I THINK YOU BOTH NEED TO GO TO CHARM SCHOOL

      October 21, 2012 at 11:48 am |
  13. Beth

    America is under attack spiritually ...good verses evil. Obama is anti God...he sounds more like an atheist than a christian , who is using his power along with the left wing radicals and left wing hollywood stars to destroy the moral fabric of this great nation.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Zwei Stein

      The real attack on America, Beth, is stupidity such as you spout.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • KK Denver

      you terrify me and your ideas will set us back generations

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

      Interesting belief. I actually think that using phrases like "so and so is the anti-God" to describe someone with whom you disagree is destroying our country. By demonizing those who don't agree with you, you free yourself from having to consider their opinions, beliefs and a need to compromise.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • RichardSRussell

      Boy, I only WISH he were an atheist. Sadly not so.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Rational Mind

      And what if he IS an atheist? On the off chance that he is, whats the big deal? It would just make him more objective. All the evidence points toward him being a christian, but if he was atheist or Muslim, WHO CARES. Religion or non religion does not necessarily affect leadership qualities.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Just Saying....

      Matthew 7:1-5 (NIV)

      “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

      3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • Bruce Rubin

      I JUST DID A TAROT READING ON YOU BETH. I SEE ANTI-PSYCHOTIC MEDICATION IN YOUR FUTURE

      October 21, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  14. Obama

    I can't believe that CNN would run a story like this a few weeks before the election.. Here's a fact Mitt Romney is nor a Christian... CNN must have been purchased by Faux News...

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

      I agree comletely

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

      Funny – Just like religion – CNN took 1 day of rest from having a front page article that bashed Romey – and put something up about Obama. They don't report on all the intel coming in on new findings on Libya, women speaking out that have worked for Romney, or changes in swing polls. So they took one day of rest. Obama is a Christian when it is politically convenient. Same guy who disowned his preacher of 20 years, apparently heard nothing for 20 years, when it became politically convenient to do so.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:46 am |
  15. John Galt

    I don't care about religion. All I know is we've got 24 million people who have given up looking for a job and economic growth mired in the 1.5 percent range.

    This is all so Jimmy Carter.

    Obama: four and OUT on November 6th.

    Because it's the economy, stupid.

    - Oh, yeah... good job on Bin Laden.

    But it's the economy. Really. It is.

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

      It is about the Economy, for most of us that is. But for the Right is about the Hate.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • John Galt

      So when your policies fail and people attack them in the arena of political ideas, it's hate.

      I wonder. Did you hate George W. Bush?

      Just wondering.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • sybaris

      Hey John, please post the closing numbers from the Dow in March 9, 2009 and post the numbers from this past Friday.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  16. Jim R

    Those who believe in religion belong to the infancy of our species. It's nothing more than deluded thinking, trying to fashion your own personal universe that somehow was designed with us in mind. How arrogant and egocentric

    October 21, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • KK Denver

      any religious war in the future will be to obliterate religion all together

      October 21, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Rational Mind

      agreed

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

      Very good. You have now insulted over half of the country, almost all of the world, all of those that have given their lives for a religious belief, and your own forefathers. I bet you think you did a good job huh?

      And to your clone below who commented that any war in the future would be to eradicate religion: do you think the 10% of the world would be able to eradicate the belief of the other 90% in a war? You both are mad!

      October 21, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  17. Sue

    Trashy journalism! Is this what it has come to. Bush can kill thousands of innocents. But watch out for those drones. Hypocrisy at its best

    October 21, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  18. rh

    Imagine if a NFL players came out as an atheist, what would he be met with?

    Imagine if a senator came out as an atheist, what support would she get?

    Imagine if a teacher came out as an atheist, would the parents and students be supportive?

    Atheism is the "new gay" – it is far more shameful for someone to admit being an atheist than to admit being gay.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  19. Bruce Rubin

    Why would Jeremiah Wright's mold Obama's Religious views if all you hillbillies are sure he is a Muslim

    October 21, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • John Galt

      There is only one hillbilly on this site and his first name is Bruce.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • KK Denver

      John Galt: Answer the question.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  20. Mary

    Religion is to me, and should for everyone, be a very personal journey. I do not judge others as to how religious they are, or proclaim to be, nor do I vote based on how "on the surface" religious a candidate is. Let everyone's spiritual journey be their own, and judge them on their actions in the real world, not their words. Although I am voting for Obama this election, this has nothing to do with his religion. My reason for not voting for Romney had nothing to do with his religion, either.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:30 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.