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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).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obama is not a Christian, some think

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He says a progressive Christian is a contradiction.

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

Cass says he doesn’t know what Obama believes.

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

How progressive Christianity lost the public square

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Writer

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

soundoff (8,626 Responses)
  1. Brian Repko

    A christianity like no other president before him? Seriously? President Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ. Which is also my church and the church (or one of the churches that joined to form the UCC) of multiple other presidents and fore-fathers. Hell, Thomas Jefferson, author of the Jefferson bible, was a Diest – a brand of christianity that fits more into UCC or Unitarian than anything else around. There is a serious lack of knowledge of christian history in this article – but honestly I didn't get past that line I was so infuriated.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  2. Joyceb4014

    The young richman came to ask Jesus how he might get to heaven(be saved). Jesus Christ told him to go and sell everything he has and follow him. He left a sad man for he was a man of much means. Jesus came for the least amongst us

    October 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Jesus was a 1%er born to a wealthy father with purchased Roman citizenship, much like Romney and Bin Laden.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Deepak

      Hey Roger,Thanks for posting this inrevtiew. I have Lynn's book, and find it to be a balaced presentation of the historical time.Lynn has done a ton of research for this book, and there are extensive foot-notes and bibliography. As a history buff, I really enjoy her work.God Bless,Lisa

      November 8, 2012 at 3:18 am |
  3. Observer

    One fiction club member to another fiction club member: "You're wrong!"

    October 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  4. Russ

    Read David L. Chappell's "Stone of Hope." It was not "progressive Christianity" that changed the South on civil rights. It was precisely because MLK appealed to the Bible that conservatives believed & demonstrated their failings from Jesus' own mouth that he won the day. Obama's "Christianity" cannot and does not make such an appeal. It says "ignore what you believe & believe as I do."

    October 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  5. Robert

    obahma. the wronge kind of Christian? A person either lives by the full word of God. like the 10 commandments. you either live by the ways of the world? or the ways of God. obahma is a people pleaser. for him to obtain power. He must give the world abortion. gay rights condoms children. and to allow the aclu to push Christ as far a fay from man knind as possible. Thant is no christian

    October 21, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      So who is a Christian? Someone who worships Mammon?

      October 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • DC1973

      What?

      No, seriously. What did you just say?

      October 21, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Lucretia Jones

      Obama is a pure political chameleon. His shade changes with the room. With black folk he talks ghetto. With white folk he get all uppity. He is the worst of all worlds and stands for only self absorption. He promises everything to everyone and delivers nothing. If he is re-elected we will watch the death of the middle class and the rewarding of the dead beat welfare moms and the lazy who dont seek employment. Romney is no bargain but he's heads taller then this shmuck.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Guest

      Robert,
      Can you live by the laws of the Bible 100% ? No one can, so stop pointing fingers.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  6. ddtrey

    Here is a question for all the black voters, if Obama was white and Romney black would you still vote for Obama?

    October 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Yes

      If every thing about each remained the same except for skin color, I would vote for the White Obama.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Lucretia Jones

      So true. Fake is fake but the media loves to kiss black a**. Dont you find it racist that any black person who disagrees with Obama is immediately attacked by the black community? Turns out its the black community not the white community that is purely racist. So lets make a new rule, you can only vote for someone who is just like you.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Tebag Jones

      Black people will pick the black candidate regardless. Just listen to them and the media. Look – they dumped on Hillary didnt they? even though Hillary would have been even more supportive of minorities. Obama's in it for the fame and glory.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Marty

      ddtrey,

      Your question about would blacks vote for Romney if he was black and vote for Obama if he was white is so bleeping lame. You are impling that blacks are voting or Obama strictly based on his color, which is false. Gore received 90 percent of the black vote in 2000, and Keary received 88 percent in 04. Obama received 95 percent in 08. So a difference of seven percentage point between what Keary and Obama doesn't indicate that blacks are strictly voting for Obama simply because he is black. In a hypothetical race between Herman Cain and Hillary Clinton blacks would overwhelmingly support Hilary Clinton, and let me remind you that she is white. Blacks support Obama based upon his politics not based upon his race. Let me remind you that blacks support the Democratic Party and if Romney was a white democrate running against a black Obma with the same policies as a white Romney, blacks would support Romney. Now a question for you why can't rual whites support a black candidate when he represent their best interest?

      October 21, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  7. Robert Gallaway

    In Matthew 22: 35-40, one of the Pharisees asked Jesus a question, tempting him, and saying,
    " Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
    By this standard, that of Jesus, President Obama proves through his compassion for the 100% that he is a true Christian.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  8. Organic1

    Refreshing to have someone in that position that does not make a decision and then prays it was the correct one. We have had enough of shooting from the hip, only to leave a bruise on every ones head. The old adage 'Look before you leap' always applies, or should with leaders of anything greater than a can of soda.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  9. Kathleen

    Your headline absolutely sucks, giving entirely the wrong impression. How about "Obama: a progressive Christian?" Every day, in every way, your claim to be journalists gets more and more tenuous.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  10. Tony

    Sadly, many of today's Christians do not worship Christ and are not concerned with doing the work of Christ. Take a look at the megachurches and so-called Christians television stations. The top two priorities are 1) personal "feel good"....keeping my spirit uplifted through mental conditioning, not attaining satisfaction from doing the work of Christ and helping make the overall human situation better; and 2) prosperity and wealth.....focusing on how God can prosper (materially) me. Churches today teaches us not to look beyond our own situation and to worship big-business.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Those roller coaster Christians become very addicted to the spiritual high. That form of Christianity may feed upon their original bi-polar personalities, from my observations. Addicted to Jesus was an affective way out of drug addiction, but today the drugs are right there in Church.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  11. Surthurfurd

    Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. [Matthew 5:9]

    October 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  12. Aaron

    Nice sentence CNN-
    "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."

    That's a great point. Jesus mentioned countlessly of taking care of the poor, but he never once said "Thou USA shall pass a universal health care law two thousand years from now" See! so there- Jesus is against Obamacare and anyone for it is the wrong kind of Christian! Gosh, I love logic

    October 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • DC1973

      It's scary how many people actually believe that is logical, though. This isn't the first time I've heard it.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  13. Joyceb4014

    When I was sick, you visited me, when I was hungry, you fed me, when I was naked you covered me, when I was in prison, you visited me. That is the definition of Christianity to me, anyone out there prove me wrong??

    October 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      Amen. Sadly lots of people claim to be able to feel they can cast stones because they are the ones with the social advantage.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  14. Christianity Suks.

    That is all.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  15. DC1973

    I have to agree with Brooks. This is a fascinating article, and one that I am in complete agreement with, but that headline is ridiculous. Of course, I'm one of those progressive social justice Christians who's been told over and over again that I'm lying about being Christian at all.

    But someone should probably tell the Steven Andrew person that our national motto has always been 'E Pluribus Unum.' Until Eisenhower changed it in the 50s, that is. And that it's perfectly reasonable for the president to refer to the words on the Seal of his Office as the national motto. Not that I think he'd listen, because that would mean he's wrong, but someone should really tell him that anyway.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  16. Surthurfurd

    I guess for some, the wrong type of Christian is a Black man or maybe someone who cares about things Jesus told us to care about.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Cathe

      You are so correct. The embracing of these right wing supposedly religious folk is purely for the camera. If they really followed the tenets of the man they supposedly love and admire - Jesus - then they would behave in a more Christian manner.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  17. cindy

    why does mitt romney get a pass from franklin graham and cnn for the way he flaunts his wealth
    the bible says that flaunting wealth when your neighbors are in need is a sin
    race horses, overseas tax shelters, car elevators, muliple homes, 10,000 dollar betts..
    why isnt this article about mitt romney and his wrong christainlike life

    October 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  18. yep

    The GOP uses religion to get votes but following religous tenets is more of a pick and choose kind of an action. I'd say they are social darwinists more than anything else with a little bit of the Taliban thorw in when it comes to women. Why is it the GOP always says they want Government out of their lives. NO relgulation,NO financial oversight, NO stopping big business and corporations from avoiding paying taxes, etc... But when it comes ot your personal life, they have every right to say what you do with your body, if your a women, and what you do in your bedroom and who you do it with? Holy Smokes Batman many of them are enormous hypocrites!

    October 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Cathe

      There is a lot of hypocrisy among"smorgasbord" Christians. But they love to judge others and evaluate their worthiness!

      October 21, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Jack Ishmael

      Actually with the Christian perspective on abortion, it's not about 'controlling bodies'. Of course people are allowed to control their own bodies, but with an unborn child, what's at stake isn't the woman's body, it's an unborn life that's just as valuable and sacred as the life of the woman carrying it. It's a question of life, and I think writing that off completely and refusing to acknowledge it is one of the reasons that the abortion debate in the US has become so vitriolic and pointless.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  19. Surthurfurd

    It seems like Right Wing Christians ignore Jesus' teachings as much or more than anyone else.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Cathe

      You are so right - the blow-back evangelicals get is due to the fact that they pick and choose what verses of the bible to believe and don't seem to understand that religion and politics are supposed to be separate.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  20. J Martin

    Mr. Blake – congrats on a well-written article. This causes one to ponder what a follower of Jesus really looks like. In this regard, President Obama seems to fit in all the other presidents, long on lip service, but short on discipleship. An honest look at all of our Presidents will reveal stories very unlike the Jesus whom they claim to serve. The religious right seems to think belief and throwing out the occasional prayer/Bible verse is sufficient, the religious left is concerned that one does the moral activities sans belief . . . Perhaps Jesus wants both faith and deed.

    October 21, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.