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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. H. E. Baber

    Oh give me a break: Obama is an atheist and despises us. He makes religious noises on the assumption that we Christians are too stupid and ignorant to recognize his contempt: he assumes that we're taken in by his manipulative crap, by his "using psychology" on us. And, of course, he and his secular-elite groomers and trainers, who assume that all religious believers are ignorant white trash, don't make fine distinctions between Episcopalians and Holy Rollers. No sir: we're all semi-literate ignoramouses who worship flying teapots and sky-fairies–not the sort of people with whom he on anyone he knows have ever met socially.

    Yeah, I'll vote for that elitist bs-er, who regards me as beneath contempt because of my metapysical commitments. But I'm furious. I only how that during his second term he'll come out as an atheist, and stop playing these games. I'm sick of being trashed because of my ontological commitments. I have no sympathy for Evangelicals or their detestable ethical views. I am upper middle class.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      Christians telling other Christians that they're not Christians is funny. You're a ridiculous person.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • NoTheism

      the question is, is what you believe true?

      October 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Curt

      Yo T3. Obama was born a Muslim and if he isnt a Muslim he s atheist. He doesnt NOT follow Christian Doctrine.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      "Yeah, I'll vote for that elitist bs-er, who regards me as beneath contempt because of my metapysical commitments."

      except nowhere, absolutely nowhere, has he even suggested that he sees you as beneath contempt for anything.
      what a bizarre argument you make.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      "Curt

      Yo T3. Obama was born a Muslim and if he isnt a Muslim he s atheist. He doesnt NOT follow Christian Doctrine."

      he wasnt born anything, anymore than you were born a christian. And he may not follow what you consider to be christianity but then again you arent the one defining what makes a christian

      October 21, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • H. E. Baber

      He isn't contemptuous of me? what about that comment about people who "cling to guns and religion"? I'd say that that was about as telling as Romney's remark about hte 47%. And BTW I don't have a gun.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • H. E. Baber

      "Christians telling other Christians that they're not Christians is funny. You're a ridiculous person."

      Hey, we've been doing that since the Council of Nicaea–what's your problem? And please give us liberal Christians some credit–we hate Evangelicals as much as you do. If not more, since they're an embarrassment. Please get it into your heads: some of us Christians are educated, upper middle class liberals who share the fundamental world view and ethical commitments of atheists. And hate Evangelicals with every fiber of our being!

      October 21, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  2. 66th Strategic Command & Operations Unit.

    Why should it matter if he's Christian or not? A leaders actions should be dictated by logic and morality, Not by faith or how close he is to your proclaimed almighty. If he bases or she actions are justified in the name of the Holy and the Divine it makes the U.S no different from any other Theocracy.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  3. jdwolverton

    Why write an article like this now? Why not last summer? Last Spring? Lat year? CNN is doing what CNN does best – act like a concern troll.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  4. David

    Apparently your headline writer has no idea what Jesus taught and has been misled into believing that the intolerant hateful nonsense of right-wing evangelicals is Christianity. It is not. The racism and bigotry that the GOP has firmly played to is not Christianity in any manner.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Will

      They need a like button here. Good thoughts, David.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  5. mommytwice

    Obama is exactly the right kind of Christian. He's the ONLY kind that should EVER be in government or politics. he's the kind JFK had to go on national television to swear he would be. He's the kind of Christian who leaves his religious beliefs at home or in church, and doesn't try to bring them into national policy. Religion has NO place whatsoever in government. this is not a theocracy, and what a person thinks and believes in church has no place in our laws or our government.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  6. lubbockgaymale

    Excuse me, but do we want to become a nation that destroys others because we know 'the truth' and they don't, or because we have 'the right' and they don't!?!? That sounds a lot like radical Islam to me, not the christian faith I grew up in. To me, whatever you wish to label me and Mr Obama, the core of faith is to follow the golden rule. Unfortunately, in today's world, sometimes you cannot turn the other cheek in dealing with folks. What would you have him do? I certainly trust BHO in matters of national security over Mr Romney, who still labels Russia as our greatest enemy!

    October 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  7. Curt

    Barrack Hussan Obama was born a Musln and is a Muslim. Prove me wrong.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • NoTheism

      nice shifting of the burden of proof, Curt

      October 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • moe smith

      you chose to open your mouth. that's more than enough to prove you wrong.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • lubbockgaymale

      YOU sir, are an radical Islamist. Prove me wrong!

      October 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • David

      I don't have to prove bigots wrong when they make absurd claims that they know they cannot back up. The right-wing parody of Christianity hurts the United States.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • Fatima

      no one has to prove sh1tt to you

      October 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • mike

      Mitt Rom-Lie is not a christian, Mormons are not christians and are not accepted by the catholic church or christian evangelicals

      October 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Really?

      Prove yourself right.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      'Barrack Hussan Obama was born a Musln and is a Muslim. Prove me wrong.'

      no one is born any religion for starters so that didnt take long to prove you wrong.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • tgeist

      How about you start by proving he's a muslim? Seriously, what are you basing your claim on? Is it the last name? I recall a group of people that used a persons last name to determine if they might be Jewish. You, sir, are another fine example of what's wrong with this country.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • rightsaid

      You are an idiot. QED.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • William

      Easily done; being a Muslim is a matter of what one believes. Newborn babies have no beliefs.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Joseph

      Prove yourself right.... And please don't simply resort to the spewings of regurgitated right wing propaganda. That is for simpletons...

      October 21, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  8. Fatima

    millionaires. ALL OF THEM! yes, Obama too

    October 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Ayoub

      Johnson received the hihgset percentage of the vote in 1964. A record that still stands.Perhaps presaging history getting ready to repeat itself, President Obama broke a record in his win in 2008. Johnson recorded the hihgset percentage of votes for President. President Obama set the receiving the largest number of total votes ever cast for a candidate for president.The notion that the followup to 1964 would be his withdrawing from the 1968 primary contest was impossible to conceive of for anyone during that time, just as it is impossible for anyone in the know to conceive of anything or anyone capable of beating President Obama during the primaries.Additionally President Obama also shares the same liability that killed Johnson's 1968 chances overseas war. Johnson had Vietnam, and President Obama will still be engaged in all three theaters still spending billions even if combat roles have ended.Currently the albatross around his neck is mainly the economy.As people start to focus on the tremendous waste of war during an economic crisis; his inability to withdraw as he promised despite finally getting around to heading that direction recently; could turn into the unforgivable broken promise, because as president he is Commander and Chief. If there were one promise he could fulfill simply by issuing an order ending the policy of continual war is one of them.How this could play out in 2012 is easy to see and that is a Democrat seen with no chance of winning (Kucinich perhaps, Governor Brown maybe or even Greyson just to make a point) decides to enter the race for the nomination, or perhaps a near total unknown but charisma challenged challenger jumps into the fray, and the same thing happens to President Obama that happened to President Johnson. He comes too close to losing to someone who was supposed to have no chance in hell of beating him.Nothing would make the writing on the wall as clear as day that President Obama could end up being forced from the race if he didn't withdraw. Like Johnson I imagine Obama would find the risk just too high and not worth it. Should history repeat itself, it would be the best for HR Clinton, because then she like Hubert Humphrey could jump in the race with clean hands, and in regards to President Obama this would be extremely important.Were HRC to turn on her President and jump into the primary race while he was still assumed to be the eventual nominee, she would have to kiss a strong black voter turn out goodbye. Black Americans who still overwhelmingly support the President despite the recent distance the Black Caucus put between their positions and the President's, as well as the lack of anything concrete Black Americans can point to that President Obama has tried to do for their community beyond being a Black President (and that is quite a bit actually).IF HRC were to enter the race as you suggest and win the nomination, the bad blood it could potentially create among her and the vital black voter could doom her in the general.To avoid such a fate, any challenge to President Obama would have to initially be someone else. Someone else would have to nearly achieve an upset win in New Hampshire vs. a vs. President Obama and result in his dropping out of the race.Should that happen, then HR Clinton could/would jump in the race with clean hands, and most importantly with the strong support of President Obama just as Hubert Humphrey received Johnson's support once he ended his bid for a second term and little or no hard feelings among Black Democratic voters which would mean she'd win November 2012 no matter who the Republicans put up!

      December 13, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  9. gwill55

    Would have made more sense to have an article on Mitt and his cult religion. Of course viewing Mormonism as a christian religion let alone the wrong type of Christianity would have been a stretch. All voters need to do their research on the Mormon religion. You might think twice about voting for Mitt after you read how far out there this religion is.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • David

      Billy Graham allegedly backed off on his anti-LDS claims, but that might be because he has no idea what his son says in his name. Franklin Graham shows from his actions that he is anything but a follower of Jesus.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  10. HF

    This is a horrible headline and story. I AM DONE with CNN for news of any kind. After this type of journalism you have ZERO credibility in my eyes. Its a shame because I'm sure there are many other credible people working on news. Whoever approved, agreed or posted this has caused irreparable damage to your brand...

    October 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      This is an opinion article. It's not considered "news." Get a grip.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • David

      Repeating right-wing talking points is a FoxNews special. Is this FoxNewsLite.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • HF

      When heavily slanted damning "opinion" stories are posted as the top article on the front page of one of the largest news organizations in the world, "opinion" becomes fact in the minds of many who who have no capacity for discernment. CNN has a responsibility to this unfortunate truth and should be more than aware of the impact an article like this will have. Poor distasteful choice to put this ignorant opinion front and center...

      October 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • William

      I'm puzzled by your contention that this is in some way a bad article. For me, a member of a "man line" Christian denomination (Episcopalian), this story makes complete sense. Much of the narrative being espoused in political life now is not derived from Christian teachings; rather, the sort of philosophy found in places like the writings of Ayn Rand (ideas like there being no place for altruism in modern society) fall out of an Atheist tradition. Some of the Catholic candidates for the Republican nomination found themselves being taken to task by their bishops for this, as the Catholic Church sees secular humanism as a much greater threat to faith in the long run than nearly any other issue the Church confronts today.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • HF

      William you're oblivious to the truth. The biggest threat to the church today is hypocritical dogma and the complete and utter loss of the true spiritual meaning of the words of christ. Secular humanism is a result of the need to survive out of the dark ages of your religion. A way that loving kind people can find to live without the damnation of your outdated, misunderstood hypocritical scriptures. This opinionated article has no place as news and religion has no place in american politics period.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  11. JiminDayton

    What kind of Christian favors gay marriage and abortion? Obama is no Christian, he is not even a Muslim. Obama is an atheist that is just pretending to be a Christan for political purposes, just like Jindal.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Fatima

      and why is that wrong. Religion is only an opinion.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • Will

      "Christian" means a follower of Christ. That's 100% it. It does not mean a follower of Christ and the bible, and/or Church doctrine, and/or a literal interpretation of the bible. It's very easy when that definition is accurately applied to be a Christian and believe in womens' and gays' rights.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      Plenty of Christians. Just because you as a Christian don't believe it, doesn't make those who disagree any less Christian. Unless you are God, you have no right to judge another's beliefs.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Joseph

      Jimi, clearly you did not read the article in tis entirety. Go back and read the entire article and get back to us on your statement. If you read the whole article, then I have nothing else to say...

      October 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • H. E. Baber

      "What kind of Christian favors gay marriage and abortion? Obama is no Christian"

      Me. Christianity isn't a moral agenda. It's an ontology: it means you believe in the existence of a Trinitarian God and post-mortem survival. Check out the Nicene Creed. Nothing in it about ethics.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  12. Jeb

    The "Christian" church in America is a Pharisee church of hypocrites.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • David

      But Jeb, it's so much easier to be a smug, self-righteous right-wing condescending fool if you call yourself a Christian. Clearly these folks have no idea what the Sermon on the Mount says or have rejected it wholeheartedly.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  13. Denise

    So, Romney's a Christian, then??

    October 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Will

      By definition, Yes. You only need to be a follower of Christ to be a Christian. You don't need to believe in the Bible, the book of mormom, the church, scripture – none of it. So if the mormons follow Christ, then they are Christians, and any of the more "mainstream" cults that try to say otherwise are really just trying to squat on land that doesn't belong to them.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • mike

      Rom-Lie is not a christian,

      October 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  14. Bill

    Most of the people who doubt Obama's faith are people who doubt a lot of things about Obama that would make him a legitimate president, like his place of birth. To be honest, I really don't care about a president's faith. We elect him to be the president, not the pope. Personally, I found W's talk of faith and God to be a little phony, but it didn't change my opinion of him, just like Clinton's affair didn't change my opinion of him. We elect these people to do a job, and that job is to be the political leader. I can understand that people of faith may think it's important that our president is a man (or woman) of faith, but which religion someone follows (or if they even follow a religion at all) has no bearing on how good of a job they do as president.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • H. E. Baber

      "Most of the people who doubt Obama's faith are people who doubt a lot of things about Obama that would make him a legitimate president, like his place of birth"

      No. I'm a supporter, voted for him and will again. Of course he's a legitimate president; of course he's a native born American. Please give us religious believers some credit: we aren't that stupid. But Obama is an atheist, like most people of his social group–upper middle class academics. I just wish he'd be honest about it. And I wish that he and his team weren't so contemptuous of us religious believers, us "People of Faith," to "use psychology" on us in this way.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  15. RaisedMormon

    Soon, God willing, we can dispose of the "Christian Nation" moniker, and truly become a morally correct Country! Organized Religion in all of its many forms is Anti-GOD!

    October 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  16. JM

    Hmmmm....who in this parable sounds like Democrats and who sounds like Republicans?

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    October 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  17. Curt

    Since when is Hussian Obama a Christian? He cant be a Muslim and a Chrisdtian! He was born a mMuslim and is a Muslim.

    The Question s mute..................

    October 21, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      "Moot." And he's a Christian, afterbirther.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • midwest rail

      There is no such thing as a "mute" question. I assume you meant "moot". You are the one who should have remained "mute".

      October 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • JM

      And, according to the Bible, and your response, you must be a follower of Satan.

      It's pretty clear...

      No one gets into heaven if their parents were Christian, btw.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • gwill55

      Did you post this after consuming a six pack or two. You probably identified with the country folks in movie Deliverance.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  18. Believer

    You could even write your own Bible from scratch based on say Koran. Does that make you a Christian? No that makes you a Muslim. You are either a Christian or you are not! There is no 'other kind' or 'wrong kind' of Christian.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  19. page

    I am a mormon and the video is untrue in regards to the mormon faith. It's sad you don't look into the truth and you try to manipulate and mislead people in regards to the belief and faith of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If you want to know the truth about what they believe go to mormon.org instead of rely on ignorance and an erroneous interpretation of soneone trying to manipulate and change the truth.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
  20. Really?

    Seriously CNN? What is with that headline? And calling him the anti christ back handedly by saying "other people call him" that is cheap. Changing my default home page, just can't take this shotty reporting anymore.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • chica#1

      They are just stating the truth. I have heard many people call him the anti-Christ. Do I believe he is – no. Are people saying that – yes.

      Do I believe we need a new president, yes. Not because of his religion but because he is ruining the country.

      October 21, 2012 at 12:55 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.