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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. laurie

    I don't know if Obama is a Christian or not..... and personally, it is non of my business. Based on merit and facts alone, I don't agree with the direction or vision he has for this country.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  2. Robert Kauffman

    It is amazing how CNN can make such a biased story. I am not an Obama supporter. But I am a Christian. When I read articles like this that mock Christians, saying that the President bring the idea to help the poor and that so called right wing christians don't it really makes me mad. Christians and Churches in this and other countries on a daily basis are helping the poor and less fortunate. My father run a food bank at the age of 73 in my old church not for praise and adoration but because it is the Christian thing to do. This is not a Black or White issue, Christians don't have a problem with him being a Black President they have a problem with him being a bad president. He seems to be a good family man and his religion is what he makes of it, it is not for me to judge. It is always the left that want's to bring color into it, even when color has nothing to do with it. Christ was color-blind and so are most Christians, so quit racebating.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Believer

      Kauffman? Are you not jewish? Most with that last name are.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Chooch0253

      You typed a lot of nonsense. I wasted some time reading it. This article in no way mocks Christianity. You "claim" to be a Christian. I read nothing in your post tht would indicate that was even remotely true... Oh by the way, I am an Astronaut.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  3. Carol

    Brought up in Holy Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, and never heard of the term, "Born Again". Baptists have used this term. Lutherans baptise their babies, and they are given to Jesus for life. Now since Fundamentalist Christianity has grown so enormously they have the audacity to accuse other Christians of not being Christian. President Obama is right, the house of Brownbeck is God's house for all God's children.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  4. okiedale@live.com

    If Obama is really a Christian rather than a Muslim as many think from his past comments, then why is he and his campaign so devious???? He has surrounded himself with individuals, advisors, and mentors who despise the Christianity of hundreds of million real Christians.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Chooch0253

      Have you considered posting anything factual?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      "He has surrounded himself with individuals, advisors, and mentors who despise the Christianity of hundreds of million real Christians"
      such as?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  5. buddy in pa

    I am a white Christian, my wife is a black Christian. We have watched and have seen demostrated the evil of supposed white Christians. They have threatened to kill us ...They have told us bluntly that the are not Bigots ...but that they just don't like black people (some way to try to excuse their guilty consciences) Their hatred of blacks is so strong they will vote for Romney the ANTI-Christ and counterfeit who so strongly aligns himself and clothes himself with the Religious Jargon that they pretend to beleive. America remember God sees what is in your hearts and will give you what you meat out for yourself.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  6. Believer

    Obama is an atheist who makes a show of being Christian just to secure votes ... this point was proven in DNC where they had to re-insert God into their platform based on a dubious voice vote. Classic example of using God conveniently when you need votes and dumping Him when it comes to making policies ....

    Obama got God re-inserted into DNC platform because he found out polls showing God is still important .. not time yet to dump God. Was this a principled stand? NO ... it was based on polls .... Obama is NOT a leader ... he is poll-follower .. who flip-flopped his position on gay marriage solely based on POLLS ... we need a LEADER in WH ... not a POLLSTER ...

    October 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Believer

      I also love goats tight holes

      October 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Chooch0253

      What a freaking simple minded sock puppet. You most certainly are no Christian. It is a sin to lie but you have no problem with lying. Obama requested that reference to God be put back into the Democratic National Committee Platform statement as well as recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Another pretend Christian making a posting, what a surprise.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Guy

      Well stated...... My only regret is that they didnt have a seperate voice vote on each matter . I would have liked to have heard that vote .,... Its my personal belief that every God fearing democrat had the phones ringing off the wall at their state representative and senators office in Washington DC that day and that forced thier hand at the convention I dont believe this was an executive decision as much as it was an executive reaction its very consistant on the way Obama chooses to lead ....

      October 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  7. accidentalfission

    All you evangelicals professing to be "true" Christians, please show your credentials.

    See the problem here with judging others? How you gonna prove who's Christian and who's not? Oh, I see, your special Christian radar lets you know.

    The louder you proclaim your righteousness, the less likely it is you are truly righteous.
    Example 1) Jim Baker
    Example 2) Ted Haggard
    Example 3) Scott Vitter
    Example 4) Dinesh D'souza
    etc.

    Do any of you Christian extremists even understand the concept of humility?

    Christ with his face in his palm. That's the true symbol for American evangelical Christian extremism. Also the bumper sticker, "Christ please save me from your followers."

    October 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  8. Ryan M.

    I wasn't aware that Jesus promoted different kinds of Christianity; he pretty much bent over backwards to say that the Church is to be one.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  9. GOD

    if you really believe in me and the bible, you must go kill people that are working on Sunday. It says so in the bible, so it is true and you must follow it. you cannot pick and choose what you will follow. if you do not, I will throw you in hell forever. but remember, I love you my children.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  10. Believer

    We have a bunch of angry atheist haters here spewing their anger and hatred ... burning their own heart with the fire of anger and hatred that is burning inside them ... I feel pity ...

    October 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • NoTheism

      Believer, it seems to me that you're the one hating...

      October 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      Its funny Believer but it does seem to me that a mjaority of your posts are spouting anger and hatred. I am not sure you can talk.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Chooch0253

      I am Catholic. You are no Christian. What you are is an ignorant attention seeking buffoon.. End of discussion.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  11. cindy

    cnn protecting corporate interests by doing a hitt job on President Obama two weeks before the election, even worse using christianity on sunday morning
    DISGUISTING

    October 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  12. Laurie Wayne

    Interesting headline two weeks before an election. What does that term 'wrong kind of Christian' mean? Is that code?
    Our President, everyone who lives in the United States' President is an honest, kind, considerate man and a thoughtful, inclusive, decisive leader as well as a brilliant statesman.
    We live in a Country where there is separation of Church and State. The separation is there for a reason. To prevent misleading 'coded' inquiries such as the one posed by CNN. And to guarantee we are not governed by someone's personal 'faith'.
    Frankly, we should all be thankful we are lucky enough to have this extraordinary man as President.
    And while the question is coded to incite some and to that end quite offensive, the answer is, it's too bad there aren't more 'christians' like him, who display true qualities of what being a christian really is.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • J777

      Personally, I think this artice just points out the extreme hypocrisy and 'wrong-ness' of the so-called Christian right who are so-so wrong. If you actually read the New Testament, Jesus only condemned people like them (self-righteous religous hypocrites) and said he came to seek the lost. The Bible proclaims Good News. Republicans: only hate-filled bad news (you're all bad; we're good; God hates you and loves us). Yeah right.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  13. Ohyeah

    Well of course he is the wrong kind of Christian. He is Black. That's the wrong kind of christian for many republicans right?
    Even cult like Scientology is the right kind of Christian as long as they are the right color. Lets face it. They hate him because of his race. Nothing else.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • laurie

      LOL.... stop the insanity and fueling the "race" debate. Obviously, Obama had to able to "win" over those of every ethnicity in order to be President. He did that.... We all voted for him.... It is not the color of his eyes, skin, or underwear why some of us won't vote for him again. It all comes down to merit and where his vision for this country resides.

      There is only one race... and that is the Human Race. Get over it.... Only "haters" themselves call others that....

      October 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  14. JQ

    Shame on you CNN.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • NoTheism

      actually, I thought this was a very good analysis of the issue

      October 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • fofo

      The only wrong kind of Christian are Christians.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  15. Reen

    The Bible tells us & I do believe that proof of one's BELIEF in GOD first & foremost is in OBEDIENCE to the WILL OF GOD. Matthew 7:16 "You will KNOW them by their FRUITS..." and John 14:15 " If you love Me, you will keep MY COMMANDMENTS ". That said look at what Obama & his administration promote and ask yourself is this obedience to the WILL OF GOD ???

    October 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • J777

      YES!

      October 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • DB

      Healthcare for all and economic opportunity? Yeah, I'm pretty sure God's cool with that, sunshine.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • GOD

      the bible also says to kill people if they work on Sunday. how many have you killed this sunday?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      It is impossible to govern as a true Christian. You would have immediately stop all military actions. You would have to oppose any covert intelligence gathering (cover stories are lies after all). And so forth.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Ting

      Was Bush following your god when he invaded Iraq? I think he was. That is the problem. Religion has no place in government. Keep your religion to yourself.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • jillian

      Absolutely!!!

      October 21, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • laurie

      Only one kingdom was ever meant to last forever... and this is not it.

      Christ and the disciples were never "free loaders".... nor did they support those that wanted to be. If you did not work, you did not eat... 2 Thessalonians.

      This administration is only making people more dependent on the government.... by making it easier to become enabled and dependent.... and harder to break out of the system. They provide chains rather than ladders....

      October 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  16. Consequence

    I think it is useful to consider that a Christian works to further the work of Christ – bringing others unto Christ. One gets the impression that Obama's association with Wright's black UCC was part of his growing ambition to have an audience among Chicago's black leadership, many of whom attended Wright's Church and not from that "still small voice" that called Obama unto Christ. By their works ye shall know them...and by his works, Obama has done much to thwart that most important mainstay of Christian practice...marriage between men and women solemnized in a House of God.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      "Obama has done much to thwart that most important mainstay of Christian practice...marriage between men and women solemnized in a House of God."

      you think thats the most important mainstay of christian practice huh?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Chooch0253

      Please elaborate on your statement. Exactly where might I find this "mainstay of Christian practice...marriage between men and women solemnized in a House of God." in the scriptures. I have read a number of different religious "books" and recall no such writing in any of them.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  17. Rainer Braendlein

    Don't let us focus too much on Obama, the Diabolos, but on the things which really matter because if we clarify the basic misconceptions concerning the Christian faith, we will proceed, and understand everything of the current course of time.

    Recently I have occupied myself a little with Frederic the Great, King of Pruzzia and Benjamin Frankin which were both leaders of Englightenment and hence belong to the Fathers of the modern Western World. They spoke out very much in favour of virtue (which even actually means manhood in Greek or Latin language). They said everybody should aspire for a life of virtue.

    I extremly appreciate Frederic and Benjamin for their promotion of righteousness and virtue, it is only that they neglected a little (at least I got the impression) to explain completely the way to virtue. One reading scriptures of Frederic or Benjamin could conclude that he could become virtuous just by some special training.

    Of course, training as described in Franklin's Autobiography is very important but the absolute foundation for an improving life is the faith in Jesus and the sacramental baptism.

    The great issue is that our "grandfather" Adam once forsake God, the Life, the Light, the Peace and the Community. Everything which awakens in us the associaton of joy is in God, God himself is the Joy. Hence, when Adam forsake God, he forsook all which could make him happy. Adam was once made in the image of God but regretably Adam voluntarily and without any reason left that marvelous and glorious state, subordinated himself to the powers of death and degenerated biologically. Hence, we are the descendants of the degenerated Adam.

    God gave the commanments or the law of the Torah. With that he expresses that he is not pleased with our behaviour. Now, if we would be perfect by birth, we had never broken any divine law. Yet, the reality is that we break the divine laws nearly every moment because or core essence is corrupted. Of course, we still resemble God in some respect because he at first made us in his image but we also have an evil germ in us which wants to prevail more and more, and can destroy our life, if we don't start to suppress it.

    The basic requirement to dampen this evil germ in us is the faith in Jesus' death and resurrection which convinces us again of God's love towards us. Through faith we return into the confident community of the eternal God, the Life. Yet, Jesus Christ died for us not only in order to gain forgiveness for us but also redemption. It seems according to the Epistle to the Romans by St. Paul that everybody easily undestands the we can have forgiveness through Christ's sacrifice when we regard it as an atonement for our sins but only a few people or actually nobody understands that it is also a work of redemption.

    This problem is solved by the Holy Sacramental Baptism of the Christian Church, insti-tuted by Christ himself. There we get metaphysically connected with Christ's death and resurrection. Through baptism we die for the sin and "enter" Christ because we have resurrected with him through the marvelous baptism. After baptism we are in Christ who is then our righteousness. It is only that the biological body remains sinful in itself, and we have to fight against it/him our whole life. Our life improves when it becomes a habit for us to overcome our body daily by the power of Jesus' death and resurrection.

    Having that divine knowledge of releasing baptism we can also apply the special method of Benjamin Franklin which begins with a reduction of food intake which was also recommended by Jesus and the Apostel, and also Martin Luther.

    http://confessingchurch.wordpress.com

    October 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Cedar rapids

      diablos huh?

      thanks nutter.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  18. Steve

    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 12:58 pm |
    • Consequence

      Republicans 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 1:02 pm |
    • accidentalfission

      Succinct. Quotable. Pass that around.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • okiedale@live.com

      No Steve the Democrats do not champion the causes of the poor, rather they keep million down on the plantation and on welllllfare because they need reliable voters come election time. This president and administration has done nothing but lie, cheat, and steal from those who have to buy votes, wiseup son you need a clue.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • laurie

      People... not a "party" are there to help one another. What I believe is completely wrong and will bring revolution faster than anything, is to "champion" one political party while wanting to silence / destroy the other. Regardless, 1/2 of the citizens of this country are on the right side of the line... and 1/2 on the left.

      My problem with Democrats is... They want to silence 1/2 the voices use name calling / mean tactics for anyone that has a different view.... but they will take Republicans money all day long to line their own pockets and pay for programs that are failing and have been proven to fail.

      Read up on 2 Thessalonians 3: 6-10. Christ and his followers were never "free loaders" to those around them. Let's not confuse charity and championing for those in need with those that have spent generations being supported by the government. To me... that is the key difference between Republicans and Democrats.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Chooch0253

      @Consequences. Yes I have a question. On what planet Kolob?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Chooch0253

      @Laurie. I find it amusing you pretend to be Christian. It is a sin to lie but you have no problem doing so.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  19. imet mckenzie

    every religious organization in america has an agenda that pleases them. the mormom religion is just deemed biblical sound by Franklyn Graham for the sake of swaying ignorant people to vote for romney. what a tragic and confused country this is. the southern baptist choose a black man last year to lead because their finance and membership is threatened. after practicing racism for all these years. talk about the Pharisee and Saduccees, the religious right wing conservatives are fit nicely into these two group of people in Jesus time. they are too far to see (Pharisee) and too darn sad to see (Saducees) may God Almighty have mercy on us all.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • What does word Christianity means, hinduism, fabrication of hindu Jew's, criminal secular, A word without any traslation.

      hinduism, absurdity called Christianity is based on hindu Mithra ism, savior ism, based no on human equality but hinduism, racism. Bunch of hindu's pagan's claiming to be, they can never be, believer of human equality by faith. Way of hindu Pharisees, criminal self centered, secular s, deniers of truth absolute GOD.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • What does word Christianity means, hinduism, fabrication of hindu Jew's, criminal secular, A word without any traslation.

      read not on please.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  20. What does word Christianity means, hinduism, fabrication of hindu Jew's, criminal secular, A word without any traslation.

    Does any one know the meaning of word Christian, No, but always claiming to be, having no clue, what are they trying to be. way of hindu gentile's, brain less ignorant slave Christians, repeating words like a bird.

    October 21, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Chooch0253

      CooCoo for Cocoa Puffs.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:38 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.