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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 • 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. Bob Boise

    If anyone is familiar with current fundamental \ evangelic missiological thinking...one would equate it directly with the former "social gospel" movement. Work in Africa, as well as other mission fields.. revolves around community development, health intervention, economic development, literacy, etc etc. However to distance itself from the evils of the former "social gospel" it is now called "holistic" evangelism and embraces the concept of CHE (community health evangelism).

    October 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • GetReal

      fundamental \ evangelic missiological thinking.......Just stringing words together doesn't make it valid or true!

      October 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bob is a boob.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  2. Brampt

    “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Matt 7:21

    October 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  3. NoWingNutsAllowed

    So much for Christian Love, I see why millions were burned at the stakes. Put them in real power and they'd be doing it again.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Bob Boise

      Just like your 'secular' heroes: Che Guevera, Stalin, Mao, Gengis Khan....

      October 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Boob Boise, do you even try to think?

      October 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  4. B. A. Johnson

    Well, what's next? Typical CNN. What used to be a professional journalistic network is now trash news reporting. No wonder so many people have stopped watching Wolf Blitzer, John King and the lot. What difference does it make whether he is a Christian or not? Is Romney the "right kind of Christian?" A few weeks ago the Republicans were calling Mormons a cult. Today, they are a religion. I guess they have caught "Romnaesia" too. CNN, be real....report on what is important - not the candidates' religion....it does not matter. As a woman, I care about the economy, men making decisions about my body and my social security check which I just started receiving in August. I don't give a damn about the candidates religion. I do care about the social injustice of this country and that the "Haves" are getting more and the "Have Nots" continue to receive even less. Get Real! Early voting has started in Tennessee and I have voted for the candidate who has the "wrong religion." A Senior Citizen!

    October 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • clarke

      Well put, a voice of reason, Thank you!

      October 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  5. GetReal

    So Much Hate.....So Little Time!

    October 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  6. MarkinFL

    Wow, if Obama is the wrong kind of Christian, what does that make Romney?

    October 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Mark

      Hopefully... in "2nd" as far as the election come November 7th.

      Peace...

      October 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  7. Shawn

    Calling Obama a Christian is like calling Hitler a Jew. Obama believes in NOTHING that Christians do. You can't call yourself a Christian and refute everything Christ taught. Obama is an atheist if anything. To be honest, I think he has more faith in himself than anything or anyone else in heaven or on earth.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Dorothy

      Interestingly enough, he is nevertheless more "christian" than most of the right wing religious nuts that call themselves "christian."

      October 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      So exactly which Christians do you consider to be Christians? A specific or two might be nice.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • NoWingNutsAllowed

      Have you even read what Mormons really believe....Planets with Gods.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Shawn

      You Wrote: " Calling Obama a Christian is like calling Hi-tler a J-ew. "

      What the f-vck ?

      You Wrote: " You can't call yourself a Christian and re-fute everything Christ t-aught. "

      Please enlight-en us with examples that show that President Obama has "ref-uted *everything* Christ ta-ught" ?

      Peace...

      October 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      You know nothing about EITHER man's faith.

      Romney is a MORMON.

      The Mormon religion is by DEFINITION a REJECTION of Christ the Savior.

      They do NOT believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

      Mormons believe that Jesus Christ is "just another prophet".

      That is a FACT.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Perhaps your type of Christan

      October 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
  8. t3chn0ph0b3

    Christians telling other Christians that they're not Christians is hilarious.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Bob Boise

      About as hilarious as Black activists calling other Blacks "Uncle Toms" because of their disavowing Black hatred and criminality.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  9. Satanluv

    I'll bet my bottom dollar he is an atheist like any intelligent educated adult and the whole god belief thing is just a smoke screen to pacify the moronic masses

    October 21, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  10. asm_ith

    "Cass says he’s never heard Obama say he’s “born-again.” "

    Since when do you have to be born-again in order to be a Christian? That would disqualify many people both here in the US and around the world who definitely consider themselves Christians.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • Bob Boise

      I don't know...how about Jesus himself who is qualified to determine who is a Christian. he said "you must be born again". so if you don't believe Jesus I guess you can call a Pig an Eagle..and watch the littler porker soar through the air....And the Earth is flat...and aliens built the pyramids....lunacy.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  11. Angela

    Who are we to judge what's in Obamas heart? We all have to give an account for what we do or say. So becareful who you put your mouth on. The same measure you judge is the same measure you'll be judged by GOD. There are no little sins or big sins.. Sin is sin. It all boils down to who better represent you and your family needs. We all have to personally trust our own heart. WHO can you trust, who has Character despite what we hear in the news look at the facts research the facts and make your choice. The fact is i'm NOT the 47% I'm the 100% so that's what I stand on. I want a President that's stable and unwavery so I'm personally trusting my heart for another 4years. Time brings about change. And I personally believe we need more time.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
  12. You say it like it's a bad thing

    I'd love Obama even more if he proclaimed he was an atheist! This country is full of religious hypocrites.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  13. Bob Boise

    Hugh Mann: Does your ignorant glib comment about judgment get you out of jury duty? or deciding which food to eat?

    October 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Does your insanity excuse YOU from jury duty, Booby? I certainly hope so.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  14. DB

    Simply amazing that there is so much hatred from so called christians. Who died and appointed any of you God?What or who gives you any right at all to make that judgement. I kind of thought that is the central tenet of your faith is that Jesus died for EVERYONE's sins, and that your God gets to make the final call on that pitch. No other umpires, no other needed input from the peanut gallery, no instant replay to see if God got the call right. Guess your faith doesn't really matter much when you are so blinded by hate and bigotry.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
  15. Steve

    The term "Christianity" or "Christian" in its broad sense includes many different variations on faith that traces back to God and his son Jesus Christ.
    Obama has basically "gotten a pass" from the mainstream media on his religious beliefs.
    I think it would be more worthwhile to write an article about the discrimination against and criticisms of Mormons, who are also Christians and part of Christianity. Critics talk as though Mormons are not Christians and have far out beliefs. The beliefs are not far out. They have common elements that exist with Catholics and Protestants. Catholics and Protestants disagree with each other on points and on what is considered divinely inspired books making up the Bible.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • Dorothy

      Actually Mormonism deviates significantly from fundamental christian theology. I am not saying that is bad or good....but for anybody trying to say the Mormonism is a christian faith, it is no more christian than Muslims.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Steve, stated, "Catholics and Protestants disagree with each other on points and on what is considered divinely inspired books making up the Bible."

      Still "pick and choose" divinities yes?

      What do you say or think regarding 1Corinthians 3:9? Are we or our bodies truly God's buildings and if so, just how small does God and His kind have to be in order to take up residence?

      BTW, 1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      Are you lying, Steve – or are you simply ignorant?

      By DEFINITION, Mormons are NOT Christians. They DO NOT believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

      How can you call the m Christians when they believe that Jesus was "just a prophet"????

      ROMNEY has gotten a pass.... President Obama has seen people who politicize faith attack him since he first ran for election.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • John

      Come on Steve, the special underwear? The Planet?? The Harems of chicks?? (Not that there's anything wrong with that). Then there's the whole fairy tale story, jeezzz. It's not just a little kooky Steve, it's absolutely preposterous.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • wjb2

      There is one thing that true Christians do not disagree on: The Holy Trinity! Mormons and Islam deny The Holy Trinity.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Willie

      The issue with the Morman religion is the secrecy behind their temple worships...I know plenty of Mormons and they are great friends. They attend their Sunday serivces at their assigned ward, they share alot of Christian values, BUT they also have many ceremonial activities which are not widely known to the public as well as many spiritual beliefs. I assume if folks were educated on these areas of Mormonism, I would think people would not quite see as anything but a cult. I am not knocking them, I believe to each his own. Just be real.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
  16. GLCarmine

    This is one of the reasons I like Pres. Obama: after attending a private Christian school for 15 years, I can say with complete certainty that being a Christian isn't determined by being the loudest voice with the largest number of followers. There are countless Christians like myself and President Obama who go about their faith in different ways. Faith and religion are 2 separate things, just like God and religion are, too. Pres. Obama is a man of faith; I have faith in God and Christ. That he doesn't partake in the religious right's version of Christianity has no bearing on this whatsoever; people of strong faith might not have to legislate their version of it on everyone else, and might believe that God can manage personal and intimate issues without the law there to enforce a kind of punishment. I have lived outside of the religious right all my life, and find myself blessed and at peace.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Bob Boise

      Muslims have faith. it isn't the zeal of your faith..it is the accuracy of its origin that determines your eternal destiny.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  17. edmundburkeson

    I think they are called Sunday Christians! They use God and the church when it is expedient. When they would rather not help the poor themselves, they invoke Jesus's words to justify giving that responsibility to government. They conveniently ignore passages where the people were admonished for wanting bigger government. Samuels argument against it was the battle cry of the Reformation and later America. Bigger government will take away your herds, your wealth, your children, your very life. The early church condemned so called Christian groups that twisted the gospel, the kind that Elaine Pagels is now peddling. They and Obama;s black liberation theology likewise twist the gospel and try to expand the circle of Christianity where it does not belong.

    October 21, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      Of course, you won't have a THING to say about the fact that Romeny is by definition not a Christian AT ALL.

      Mormon believe Jesus Christ was "just a prophet", NOT the Son of God and mankind's Redeemer.

      Edmund won't mention that... He'd rather lie and post offensive guesses about another person's faith.

      That Mormons do not believe that Christ is the Son of God is no guess – it's a fact.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  18. Janice

    Obama isn't a Christian, that is part of the problem he is a self-proclaimed Muslim and as such hates all the rest of us. The fact that none of you have figured that out yet shows how much bull you want to believe. He also isn't an American, but that lie is for another day. I hope in my lifetime you all find out the truth about Barrack Hussain Obama. And I hope it isn't too late for United States of American when you do.

    October 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • lroy

      Andrew (in the article) is right he is "a" anti-Christ, a forerunner of the one who is yet to come. But fear not, my fellow Christians and other persons of moral (if not devout Catholic) beliefs...someday President Obama will be judge from the One on High.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      "self proclaimed:???

      You are a liar, Janice. That was a lie. He has never "proclaimed" anything but his belief in Christianity and it's tenets.

      That you have to lie, says EVERYTHING about YOU.

      Mitt Romney's whole religion is based on a rejection of Christ the Savior. He's a MORMON... Do you not know what that means?? It means Romney thinks Jesus Christ was "just a prophet" – NOT the Son of God.

      During the last election, Republicans got angry at the pastor of President Obama's former church... a CHRISTIAN Church.

      They DEMANDED that the candidates have a 'town hall' type meeting at Saddleback Church to discuss their faiths. Know whay that didn't happen this time? Because the President is an actual Christian, and Mitt Romney is a MORMON.

      You need to stop lying (might want to check the Bible on that point, Janice) about what the President has said about his faith, and learn a little about the non-Christian you're no doubt supporting.

      Mormons do NOT believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and man's Redeemer.

      THAT is a fact.

      When you're willing to BETRAY God and LIE to support your position, you need to take a step back.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
    • ron

      "he is a self-proclaimed Muslim" uuhhh... I'm pretty sure he was proclaimed muslim (not that there is anything wrong being muslim) by GOP who thought there might be an advantage with narrow-minded voters....uhuhuhuhu like Janice.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • skytag

      Anyone who thinks Obama is a Muslim is a brainwashed fool.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • Belai

      Janice, it's people like you that make Jesus cringe.. reason why He ordered catholics to recite the Divine Mercy Chaplet to desperate souls like you. Obama has nothing to fear on judgment day for he did the will of God and Obeyed Jesus' last commandment – LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF –

      You on the other hand is whom i am worried about.. you tell lies about your neighbor... you wish evil on your neighbor.. you look down on other humans who are all God's creations with disdain and inferiority.. Please Janice, start repenting and save your soul.. you are truly a wicked, hateful, evil person..

      October 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  19. Theseeker

    Did you notice who Obama Threatened?
    It's incredible that 42% of Americans think that this unqualified, incompetent, dishonorable, ego-driven fraud is doing a good job. Take a moment. Admit it to yourself. You know who his supporters are.

    From now thru November 2012 this should be required weekly or at least monthly reading BY ALL WHO VOTE!!!

    Did you notice who Obama threatened when he wasn't getting his way on raising the debt ceiling? He threatened to not pay:
    - Social Security Retirees,
    Military Retirees,
    Social Security Disability
    and Federal Retirees.-

    - Now … let this sink in really good -

    - He did not threaten to stop payments to illegal aliens

    - He did not threatened to take frivolous benefits such as Internet access away from violent inmates

    - He did not offer to fire some of the thousands of unnecessary federal employees that he hired

    - He did not offer to cut down on his or his wife's frivolous gallivanting around

    - He did not threaten to not pay the senators and representatives or any of their staff

    - He did not threaten to take benefits away from welfare recipients

    - He did not threaten the food stamp programs

    - He did not threaten to not pay foreign aid

    - He did not threaten to cut back on anything that involves his base voters
    - The list could go on and on. He is in full political re-election mode!

    • Why are we allowing this person to destroy this wonderful country with his selfishness and his lies? Have WE lost our blooming minds!!!!!!!!

    • His type of change is killing our country. He needs to be stopped and only our votes can stop him.

    • Do not forget about his tactics when it's election time. Vote Obama out of the Presidency in 2012.

    LET'S MAKE 2012 – THE END OF AN ERROR!

    We the people are coming

    October 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • skytag

      It's amazing that so many people have been brainwashed to believe all that nonsense.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      Totally unhinged, and filled with so many fallacious statements and misrepresentations it would take an hour to dispute them all. You have zero concern for the truth, 'seeker'.

      When you have to rely on crazed copy and paste jobs to support a candidate that has changed his position on virtually EVERYTHING at LEAST once, you know you haven't got a leg to stand on.

      Hope the author of this article is proud of the sort of ignorant, dishonest racially-informed (yes, "racially informed"... Bush increased the number of federal employes by much more than President Obama has and that's a fact. Strangely, Republicans didn't mind until a black man was in the White House) hatred his little hit piece has created.

      You think that picture was picked by accident? lol... Talk about pushing an agenda.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Former undecided

      Wow! Thanks for making my mind up for me! Until I read your comment I actually had considered voting for Romney, due to his business experience and the possibility he might do a better job improving the economy. Now I'm certain I'll vote for Obama, because there's no way I would side with anyone who holds the beliefs that you do. Scary stuff!

      October 21, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • xyz

      Can't agree more

      October 21, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  20. jacqueline

    "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ." – Gandhi

    October 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Sam235

      Yes If Gandhi accepted Jesus and became a Christian, then he is in heaven; otherwise, he is not.

      Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

      October 21, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • GLCarmine

      Amen!!!

      October 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • NoWingNutsAllowed

      Do you people even know what Mormons really believe. Try Googling "Mormon Cartoon" its truly unbelievable.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Man

      To Sam235 and GL Carmine: Jesus Said, but he never did prove. He is soo global warming! Belief ain't the Truth and Ghandi was telling the Truth. American Christians do not emulate the values and message of Christ. Accordingly, with regard to your beliefs, you'll be visiting HELL really soon. Stay warm!

      October 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Bob Boise

      Dear "Man" unfortunately you speak a sad truth. Many American wrongly equate Capitalism and Americanism as foundational to Christianity. Christianity exists without a national culture. When we allow our love of culture to determine our beliefs we are headed to disaster. We must filter our cultural believes through the bible and then follow what is right...including social justice...which the Bible is filled with.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • GLCarmine

      "Man": as a Christian I'm only asking this out of curiosity, not of concern, for God has my soul and devotion and has had it for over 18 years now. What are you talking about? I agree that Christians do very little to emulate the Christ they believe in and serve. Since we are saying the same thing in agreement with Ghandi ... ?

      October 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
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About this blog

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.