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The Gospel according to Obama
President Obama is not just a racial trailblazer, but some say a religious pioneer as well. No president has ever shared his type of Christianity, historians say. Some say he may revive a form of Christianity that once dominated America.
October 21st, 2012
06:59 AM ET

The Gospel according to Obama

By John Blake, CNN

President Barack Obama was sharing a pulpit one day with a conservative Christian leader when a revealing exchange took place.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Christian who has taken public stands against abortion and same-sex marriage, had joined Obama for an AIDS summit. They were speaking before a conservative megachurch filled with white evangelicals.

When Brownback rose to speak, he joked that he had joined Obama earlier at an NAACP meeting where Obama was treated like Elvis and he was virtually ignored. Turning to Obama, a smiling Brownback said, “Welcome to my house!”

The audience exploded with laughter and applause. Obama rose, walked before the congregation and then declared:

“There is one thing I have to say, Sam. This is my house, too. This is God’s house.”

Historians may remember Obama as the nation’s first black president, but he’s also a religious pioneer. He’s not only changed people’s perception of who can be president, some scholars and pastors say, but he’s also expanding the definition of who can be a Christian by challenging the religious right’s domination of the national stage.

When Obama invoked Jesus to support same-sex marriage, framed health care as a moral imperative to care for “the least of these,’’ and once urged people to read their Bible but just not literally, he was invoking another Christian tradition that once dominated American public life so much that it gave the nation its first megachurches, historians say.

“Barack Obama has referred to his faith more times than most presidents ever have, but for many it’s the wrong kind of faith,” says Jim Wallis, head of Sojourners, an evangelical activist group based in Washington that focuses on poverty and social justice issues.

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“It is not the faith of the religious right. It’s about things that they don’t talk about. It’s about how the Bible is full of God’s clear instruction to care for the poor.”

Some see a 'different' kind of Christian

Obama is a progressive Christian who blends the emotional fire of the African-American church, the ecumenical outlook of contemporary Protestantism, and the activism of the Social Gospel, a late 19th-century movement whose leaders faulted American churches for focusing too much on personal salvation while ignoring the conditions that led to pervasive poverty.

No other president has shared the hybrid faith that Obama displays, says Diana Butler Bass, a historian and author of “Christianity after Religion.”

“The kind of faith that Obama articulates is not the sort of Christianity that’s understood by the media or by a large swath of Christians in the U.S.,” says Bass, a progressive Christian. “He’s a different kind of Christian, and the media and the public awareness needs to reawaken to that fact.”

Some Christians, however, still see Obama as the “other.” He doesn’t act or talk like other Christians, says the Rev. Gary Cass, a conservative Christian president of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

“I just don’t see or hear in his accounts the kind of things that I’ve heard as a minister for over 25 years coming from the mouths of people who have genuinely converted to Christianity,” says Cass, pastor of Christ Church in San Diego.

Cass says he’s never heard Obama say he’s “born-again.” There’s no emotional conversion story to hang onto.

Obama talks about his faith and attends church, but Cass says that doesn’t mean he’s a Christian.

“Joining a church doesn’t mean you’re a Christian. “You can put me in the garage, but that doesn’t turn me into a car.”

The origins of Obama’s faith

The suspicion about Obama’s faith may seem odd at first because he’s written and spoken so much about his spiritual evolution in his two autobiographies, “Dreams of my Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.” Other books, like “The Faith of Obama” by Stephen Mansfield, also explore Obama’s beliefs.

The 1925 “Monkey” trial of John Scopes, a high school biology teacher who taught evolution, drove fundamentalists underground, some say.

Mansfield says Obama is the first president who wasn’t raised in a Christian home. Obama’s mother was an atheist and his grandparents were religious skeptics (Obama’s family has challenged the description of his mother as an atheist. Obama called her “the most spiritually awakened” person he’d ever known, and his sister called their mother an agnostic).

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Mansfield called Obama’s boyhood a “religious swirl.  He was exposed to Catholicism, Islam, and strains of Hinduism and Buddhism while growing up in Indonesia during the 1960s.

“In our household, the Bible, the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology,” Obama said in Mansfield’s book. “On Easter or Christmas Day, my mother might drag me to church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites.”

Obama became a Christian while he was a community organizer in Chicago. He joined a predominantly black United Church of Christ. The UCC became the first mainline Protestant denomination to officially support same-sex marriage in 2005.

Obama’s faith showed many of the elements of a liberal Protestant church: an emphasis on the separation of church and state, religious tolerance and the refusal to embrace a literal reading of the Bible.

In a 2006 speech before a Sojourners meeting, Obama talked about his approach to the Bible:

“Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?”

When many people think of Obama’s religious experience in Chicago, though, they cite his exposure to the angry sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and “black liberation theology,” a movement that emerged in the late 1960s and blended the Social Gospel with the black power movement.

Bass, the church historian, says another black pastor shaped Obama’s theology more: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

He attended liberal Protestant seminaries where he learned about the Social Gospel’s concern for the entire person, soul and body.

Obama has reached out to evangelical leaders like Rick Warren, seen here praying at Obama’s inauguration, but many still doubt his faith.

King once wrote that “any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them …is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.”

But King and the black church also fused the Social Gospel with an emotional fervor missing from white Protestant churches, Bass says. Other presidents like Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were influenced by the Social Gospel, but they weren’t shaped by the black church.

“This is the first time we’re hearing the Social Gospel from the perspective of the black church from the Oval Office. It makes it warmer, more emotive, more communal," Bass says. "There is less fear of linking the Social Gospel with the stories of the Bible, especially the stories of Exodus and Jesus’ healings.”

The emphasis on community uplift - not individual attainment - may strike some Americans as socialist. But the emphasis on community is part of King’s “Beloved Community,” Bass says.

King once wrote that all people are caught up in an “inescapable network of mutuality… I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be.”

“When I listen to Obama, I don’t hear communism, I hear the Beloved Community,” Bass says. “But a lot of white Americans don’t hear that because they never sat in those churches and heard it over and over again. It’s the whole theology that motivated MLK and the civil rights movement.”

Obama is not a Christian, some think

For some, Obama’s actions in the Oval Office seem to contradict Christianity.

Jesus was nonviolent. Obama has ramped up drone attacks in Afghanistan that have not only removed terrorists, but killed civilians.

The Bible talks about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. Obama invoked Jesus when he came out in support of same-sex marriage. “The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule," Obama told ABC News during his announcement.

Jesus talked about helping the poor. But he never said anything about creating a massive health care law that taxed the rich to help the poor, some Christians argue.

But Wallis of Sojourners says Obama’s push for health care was a supreme example of Christian faith.

A situation where 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance is “a fundamental Christian problem,” Wallis says.

“Health is such a Gospel issue. Jesus was involved in healing all the time, and to have some people excluded from health care because they lack wealth is a fundamental Christian contradiction.”

Wallis has been one of the most persistent defenders of Obama’s faith. But no matter how much Scripture he and others cite, doubts about Obama’s faith have followed him throughout his political career.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson once said that Obama distorted the traditional understanding of the Bible “to fit his own world, his own confused theology.” The Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, publicly questioned Obama’s faith, then later apologized.

Conservative Christian books and websites are filled with stories of Obama allegedly trying to suppress the nation’s Christian heritage.

The Rev. Steven Andrew, author of “Making a Strong Nation,” says Obama is trying to change the national motto from “In God we Trust” to “Out of Many, One,” and he’s ordered the Pentagon to remove biblical verses from its daily report.

“That’s the most serious thing someone can do to a nation, trying to separate a nation from God,” he says. “He seems to be trying to change the Christian laws our Founding Fathers made.”

Andrew says Obama is actually an enemy of Christianity. In his book, Andrew argues that the Founding Fathers were Christians who created a “covenant Christian nation” and calls for a “national repentance.”

“I think he’s an anti-Christ,” Andrew says.  Cass, of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, says Obama’s emphasis on helping the poor through social justice isn’t Christianity.

Christians who talk about “social justice” are often practicing “warmed-over Marxism,” Cass says.

“Do I believe in caring for the poor and oppressed? Yes. But you don’t do it along the lines of communistic redistributing.”

Obama’s support of same-sex marriage and abortion rights also disqualifies him from being a Christian, Cass says.

“It’s the most pro-abortion administration in the history of America.  On every social issue – the sanctity of life and of marriage between men and women – Obama is on the wrong side of every moral issue,” he says.

He says a progressive Christian is a contradiction.

“No Christian says I believe in Jesus Christ and I reject the Bible,” Cass says. “These progressives who say they’re Christians are liars. They’re using Christianity as a guise to advance their own agenda.”

Cass says he doesn’t know what Obama believes.

“He’s conflicted,” Cass says. “He has Muslim sympathies from his upbringing."

How progressive Christianity lost the public square

There was a time when Obama’s brand of Christianity would have been understood by millions of Americans, historians say.

Obama along with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha leave church after attending a Sunday prayer service.

The Social Gospel and progressive Protestantism dominated the American religious square from the end of the 19th century up to the 1960s. At times, the traditions blended together so seamlessly that it was hard to tell the difference.

The Social Gospel rose out of the excesses of the Gilded Age in the 1880s, when urban poverty spread across America as immigrants crammed into filthy slums to work long hours in unsafe conditions.

Walter Rauschenbusch, a Baptist pastor in a New York slum, urged the church to take “social sins” as seriously as they took individual vices. Churches began feeding the poor and fighting against other social ills.

“The notion that religious people should be about feeding the poor and helping the homeless is a carryover of the Social Gospel,” says Charles Kammer, a religion professor at Wooster College in Ohio. The Social Gospel was adopted by many Protestant churches in the late 19th and early 20th century, says Bass, the church historian. Some of the Social Gospel churches grew popular because they provided the poor with everything from English classes to sewing instructions and basketball leagues.

“The first American megachurches were liberal, Social Gospel urban churches,” Bass says.

The Social Gospel, though, sparked a backlash from a group of pastors during World War I. They were called fundamentalists. They published a pamphlet listing the “fundamentals of the faith:” Biblical inerrancy, the virgin birth, Adam and Eve.

But the fundamentalists lost the battle for public opinion during the “Scopes Monkey Trial” in 1925. John Scopes, a high school science teacher, was tried for violating a Tennessee law that prohibited the teaching of evolution.

Though Scopes lost, fundamentalist Christians were mocked in the press as “anti-intellectual rubes,” and a number of states suspended pending legislation that would have made teaching evolution illegal, says David Felten, author of “Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity.”

The trial drove fundamentalists underground where they created a subculture, their own media networks, seminaries and megachurches, he says.

That subculture thrives today, Felten says, and has infiltrated the political arena. It has created an “alternative intellectual universe” that denies science, rational thought – and any beliefs that violate their definition of being a Christian, Felten says.

“They have millions of adherents who believe in a literal six day creation and a literal Adam and Eve – so it’s not a stretch to believe that President Obama is a Kenyan-born secret Muslim bent on destroying the country,” Felten says.

Progressive Christians eventually lost the messaging wars to this fundamentalist subculture, Bass says. Their nuanced view of faith couldn’t compete with the “spiritual triumphalism” of conservatives.

“If you get up and say we’re right and we have the truth, then you have a powerful public message,” she says. “They have a theological advantage in the public discourse. It’s comforting to have things clear, to have things black and white.”

The result today is that the Protestant tradition that shapes much of Obama’s Christianity is fading from public view.

The share of Protestant Christians in the United States has dropped below 50% of the population, according to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

White mainline Protestants make up only 15% of the nation’s population, the survey revealed. The study also found that the fastest growing "religious group" in the country is people who are not affiliated with any religion.

Another generation of Christians, though, may bring a new version of progressive Christianity back.

The lines between younger conservative Christians and progressives are blurring, says Marcia Pally, author of “The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good.”

Pally spent six years traveling across America to interview evangelicals. She says her research revealed that more than 60% of young evangelicals support more governmental programs to aid the needy, as well as more emphasis on economic justice and environmental protection issues.

“What’s interesting is that these values, associated with Obama and the black Protestant tradition are now also the values of a growing number of white evangelicals,” she says.

Her perspective suggests that Obama’s faith may be treated by history in two ways:

He could be seen as the last embodiment of a progressive version of Christianity that went obsolete.

Or he could be seen as a leader who helped resurrect a dying brand of Christianity for a new generation.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Barack Obama • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Church • Courts • Creationism • Culture & Science • Culture wars • Evolution • evolvution • Faith • Fundamentalism • Gay marriage • Gay rights • God • History • Homosexuality • Interfaith issues • Obama • Protestant • Religious liberty • Same-sex marriage • Schools • Science

soundoff (8,626 Responses)
  1. lily

    Obamacare Defines A 30-Hour Work Week As ‘Full Time’--THIS SHOWS HIS DISDAIN FOR THE POOR–Great-– now all those minimum wage workers will have to live on 29 hour a week paychecks-way to screw the poor-- because you know that's what will happen–they will have to work 2 part-time jobs to support their families–what a way to screw women and families-and planning for daycare on those hours–will really suck–Obama anti-poor, anti-women–anti-families!-WHEN IT'S HARD ENOUGH TO FIND ONE JOB

    October 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • us_1776

      That isn't Obamacare defining the work week. That is part of US labor laws and has been for a long time.

      .

      October 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • Summerday1

      So is working 60 or 70 hours a week better? I don't think so, all of you that work so proudly 50-70 hours a week take away some work that could be done by the unemployed. So instead of letting people do their own job you need to work longer hours, and pay larger taxes that pay for those that cannot find any work. Instead of complaining about work, work your full time job and let others work as well.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • Joe

      Lily ARE YOU ON DRUGS? Wake up, smell the coffee and GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT. Uninformed yoyo's like you need to get some correct information rater than FOAMING AT THE MOUTH WITH INACCURATE NONSENSE!

      October 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  2. nightmusicobservatory

    This headline is offensive and misleading. You have just lost a reader and a viewer.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Jason R

      How come? Read the article. It discusses how some right-wing evangelical Christians dismiss Obama's religion despite it being the same as theirs because they disagree with his social policies. It's the truth, it's why so many evangelicals are voting for a Mormon president – the typical American "lesser of two evils" dilemma for people who are absolutely gung-hoe over the abortion and women's rights issues.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  3. draa

    As opposed to Romney who's actually NOT a Christian. What a crock of crap that CNN has become. And it's no wonder that it's ratings and it's journalists suck so badly.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  4. upwardquest

    It really doesn't matter what kind of "Christian" Obama is. He is a very spiritual man who doesn't cow-tow to the "religious" right. He thinks for himself, as all people are supposed to. He is a deeply caring, loving man. President Obama helped me keep my home, and helped thousands of other people do the same.

    Romney is a shallow pretender who espouses hate, negativity and pessimism. He thinks nothing of lying or say and doing anything to try to get elected. He would be bad news for America. I have already voted for Obama, who deserves four more years. With Obama as President, we will move forward and everything will continue to get better and better.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Jason R

      I wouldn't diminish Romney's faith just in retaliation for some Christians trying to diminish Obama's faith. But you're right, I don't think Obama's faith is smoke and mirrors like some evangelical "leaders" are suggesting. He's really steadfast with his beliefs, and they fit the framework of the progressive variant of protestantism that you typically see in Northeast churches.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  5. RE687

    Who cares what kind of Christian he is or what religion he is for than matter. I would have voted for him even he was an atheist.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Simon

      The material point here is – that he claims to be one!! If Obama is a christian, then the bible is wrong.....what he is – is a Islamic who regards the teachings of Jesus. His beliefs are more universal...but do not resemble anything like Christianity. If he is selling a new kind of Christianity – we aren't buying!! Out of all the presidents – he is truly the most phony.....and dangerous

      October 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  6. us_1776

    It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.

    .

    October 21, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  7. John De Salvio

    To all the commenters complaining about the author's commentary: He wrote an OPINION on his BLOG. He is not "reporting". If you don't agree with his opinion, don't say he – or CNN – is an insult to "journalism".

    October 21, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  8. jake

    This whole discussion is absurd. Obama is a Christian as understood by all of Christianity,

    Romney is a Mormon. Sure they believe in somebody named Jesus, but it's not the same Jesus Christ Christianity believes in. Their Jesus, according to the Mormon faith, was once a man who grew up on some other planet and is now a distinct God, seperate from Gad the father and the Holy Spirit who all now live on a planet named Kolob.. I'm not saying Mormon's are bad people, most of them I've met are pretty admirable, but calling them Christians is absurd. Romney, like all Mormons, is a member of a polytheistic sect that happens to call one of their God's Jesus Christ. That may make them small c christians, but they are not part of the wider Christian faith.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • treblemaker

      SO WHAT! Romney is just as qualified as Obama.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  9. Ricardo

    OH yeah right, I forgot that all other USA presidents were saints and preach love and peace around the world!!!
    Tell me one president of USA that wasn't directly involved in some war around the world.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  10. Josey

    Obama is the "wrong" kind of Christian?!?!?
    jeeeeez - CNN has gone totally Fox & Frightwing radio.

    Mormonism isn't even Christian because it doesn't believe in the Trinity – the FOUNDATION of Christianity.
    But CNN won't publish an article about THAT.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Jason R

      Read the article instead of just the headline, genius. CNN is incredibly sympathetic toward Obama.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  11. roadrager1

    If he is a Christian, he is a poor excuse of one, and a worst president.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • us_1776

      4.5+ million new jobs and still growing...

      I'd call that very good actually.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • skarphace

      So according to your faith you are allowed to judge others? Why do you think that Obama should be concerned about your approval of his faith? His faith, as with all people, is personal. Your opinion matters not.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
  12. us_1776

    Democrats champion the causes of the poor, the elderly, the sick, the disabled.

    Christ championed the causes of the poor, the elderly, the sick, the disabled.

    Any questions?

    .

    October 21, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • It's Rather Amusing

      Democrats champion a lot of things. Christianity isn't one of them.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
    • William

      Christ didn't take resources from one group of people and give it to another. Paul writes in the New Testament, "if any will not work, neither let him eat".

      Any questions?

      October 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • us_1776

      Democrats champion the right to freedom of religion for all religions.

      .

      October 21, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • Jason R

      Both parties champion their versions of Christianity. That's why there has never been a publicly-proclaimed atheist as president.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  13. dcleveland

    I will never understand what Americas truck is with Obama other than the fact he is black......the guy seems principles...sensible and intelligent....
    the more i see of Americas reaction or at least the ones who make the news...the more i tend to think you have a country of bigots and racists.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Jason R

      America has a huge population of college-educated citizens; the charge that we have a poor education system is a complete myth, perpetuated mostly by nationalistic Europeans. However, one of the drawbacks of a representative democracy with general elections for presidents is that it brings out the worst of the worst in a society. The UK and Canada don't suffer from this problem because of the more local, smaller scale nature of parliamentary elections.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
  14. Joe

    “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.,”

    To be clear I am not an "Obama-ist" I think some things he did are good and some are bad. That said the above quote is PERFECT. If the Religious Right doesn't understand it or if the refuse to understand it (whatever it is) THEY DON"T LIKE IT! Period end of story. Their way or NO WAY. Even things that can be understood by the average Joe are unfathomable for many in the Religious RIght. Their way or NO WAY.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  15. Ancestorscamein1650

    I would far rather have a President whose religion is based on helping people than a President whose religion is money.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  16. Jason R

    I don't understand the people who are decrying this issue as unimportant. Sadly, religion is a huge contributing factor to whether or not a candidate is elected. That's why we've only had one non-protestant president in history.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:56 am |
  17. roadrager1

    He is not a christian, Jesus said you will know them by their fuit.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • Jason R

      A health care law that expands health care access to 40 million Americans, a stimulus package that saved hundreds of thousands of jobs... yep, those sure are rotten fruit.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • == o ==

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

      "roadrager1" denerates 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 12:08 pm |
    • darth cheney

      Jason, you misread. He didn't say "fruit", he said "fuit." He's referring to a lost testament where Jesus blamed the poor, worshipped Mammon, had power lunches with the money changers, and condemned people of different backgrounds. It's called the Book of Lost Fuit, and its finding at the Republican National Headquarters will be the theme of the next Indiana Jones movie just in time for the 2014 mid-term elections.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  18. DC

    He's the wrong kind of president and that's all I care about it.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • dreamer96

      So you are going to vote for the two devotely religious leaders that want to limit all our rights and wage two new wars and send other poeples kids off to fight, and die..and kill thousands in the middle east while they are safe withtheir kids back in the USA..

      October 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
  19. Don Camp

    Ask President Obama. Yes, he is a Christian. The question for me is what kind. Marcia Pally calls him a progressive. That hearkens back to the liberal theology of the 1800s, and that troubles me. Progressive theology emphasizes social action, and as it has morphed into 21st century progressive politics, it places the responsibility of social action on the government.

    I find that contrary to true Christianity. For a Christian, responsibility for social action lies with Christians. And Christians have risen to that responsibility. We have adopted children with no parents,have built hospitals and schools, have fed and clothed the poor. We have provided emergency disaster relief whenever and wherever disasters occur – anywhere in the world. We have gone individually to teach in inner city schools. We are as involved in social issues as anyone.

    But I, at least, am troubled when anyone, Christian or not, demands social responsibility of me or anyone by the redistribution of wealth. That removes responsibility from me and places it in the hands of the government. I simply don't trust the government to use the money efficiently or to spend it where the needs are. Just take a close look at government social programs for the evidence.

    October 21, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • The Hard Truth is

      Correct, but why not come right out and speak the truth – the progressive belief system is simply another form of communism, and we all know how much the communists respected religious freedom. They would have us worship the state.

      Don't believe me? Do a little reading... Don't take my word for it. Start with Saul Alinsky...

      October 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Chuck

      Government spending on social programs actually has less waste than gov't spending on military programs.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  20. dreamer96

    The hate against the west and the USA has a lot to do with the millions killed in the middle east by GOP Pro-Christian followers of a pacifist, War Mongers...

    Eisenhower over through the elected President of Iran after that government voted to nationalize their oil fields...and put the Shah in power..who was brutal to anyone that opposed him..that was why the religious leaders were able to build up the population against him...when ever you know someone killed or tortured by a leader you can find followers that want to overthrow them..

    Nixon and the Yom Kipper war

    Reagan has a long list but consider Reagan talked Saddam into starting the Iran- Iraqi war 1980-1988...That war killed about 1 million young men on both sides..and is why the populations of both Iran and Iraq are now mostly young...the war lasted the same years as the Reagan Administration..

    And Reagan sold Saddam many WMD's and weapons..Military grade Anthrax, Sarin Gas, Tuban Gas, Mustard Gas, Botulism, Diluted Agent Orange in the form of Roundup to be used as a nerve gas..

    60 helicopter to gas the Iranian troops and the Iraqi Kurds..Saddam gassed entire Kurdish villages..killing men, women, children..and Reagan sold radioactive Yellow Cake..which was stolen and now is in Iran's Nuclear Weapons Program..Ironic...

    And Reagan even sold the shoulder launch missiles to the Afghan rebels and helped make Bin Laden a hero and leader of Al-Qaeda...

    GHWBush killed 100,000's of Iraqi troops and people maybe a million in 1991 gulf war..

    GWBush killed 100,000's in the Afghan and Iraqi wars and occupations... So how would you feel if someone killed a member of your family..your country..We went to war over the killing of 3,000 people...

    Look at the southern states today..they are still showing signs of PTSD from the Civil War..Most of these extremist groups, anti-government groups, in America and their fear of NATO black helicopters, and a one world government are like a nightmare from the Civil War years, of the invading North Armies, and the flood of the Northerners, the Carpetbaggers, that flooding into the South and changed their world forever...

    Our own past shows how our pro-Christian GOP Presidents have used the US military to rain death down on the people of the middle east...while praying to a pacifist God and preaching the importance of God and every life...

    Obama is going after the terrorist leadership...

    But Mitt Romney, and Paul Ryan, both devoutly religious leaders, are talking more Wars..Iran and Syria...All while praying to a Pacifist God....Two pro-lifers that talk about the importance of every life, and then want to kill hundreds, or thousands, of innocent people in the middle east...Ironic and scary at the same time..

    October 21, 2012 at 11:54 am |
    • dreamer96

      The last real war we fought with God on our side was WWII...and our President was FDR...

      Even George Washington was not a conservative Christian..but believed in a supreme being and questioned the organized churches and religions of his day...as being too judemental and infringed on the personal liberties of the people..many were against drinking alcohol and George Washington had 5 stills and was the largest brewer in his area..

      October 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Emilio Dumphuque

      You're wrong. It's spelled "overthrew". ;-)

      October 21, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • dreamer96

      Emilio Dumphuque

      Overthrew...gotcha... I need a proof reader real bad...

      Thanks I've been spelling it wrong all week...

      October 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Noneya

      Dreamer96...

      Everything you mentioned is common knowledge to most who lived during those times. That is if you don't live in the bubble of right-wing Christian America. Facts only filter in as 'conspiracy theories' and 'liberal propaganda'.

      So even despite the reality of the U.S.'s involvement in Middle East affairs over the years, conservatives choose to knowingly ignore the facts. This is the basis of their foreign policy, and the reason they turn to war as their choice of solution. 'Why should be listen to the world when we have a military that can annihilate them many times over.'

      So regardless of things like facts and reality they can wantonly pursue their own agendas... guilt free.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:22 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.