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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. keith

    Jesus was talking to the Church when He said"...to the least of these", not the gov't. Of course the church has not always carried out that commandment but the gov't cannot do what the church is called to do.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • 21k

      "Gub'mint!, thar takin' our guns!"

      October 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      And Romney belongs to a religion that REJECTS Christ as the Son of God and mankind's Redeemer.

      Mormons believe that Christ was "just another prophet", NOT the Son of God.

      BY DEFINITION, Romney is NOT a Christian.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @keith

      You Wrote: " Of course the church has not always carried out that commandment but the gov't cannot do what the church is called to do. "

      Part of the role of government 'is' to help step in. If... the church did everything to take care of the poor, the needy, the sick, etc... then there would be no need for the government to step in, yes ?

      And... what do you mean "but the gov't cannot do what the church is called to do" ???????????

      Peace...

      October 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  2. addieloggins

    Seriously, CNN? "Is Obama the 'wrong' kind of Christian?" What the hell is wrong with you people?

    October 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • aroomadazda

      Including quotation marks around the word "wrong" in the headline should have tipped you off as to the author's feeling on the subject. Clearly he is criticizing those who are questioning his beliefs, not to mention the whole notion of there even being a right or wrong kind of Christianity. If the headline had not included quotation marks around 'wrong' you might have had a beef, but those quotation marks should immediately get you thinking that the author is going to be critical about those who may say that. And in the end, the author seems to be hoping that the President, and others who believe as he does, can lead a revival of progressive Christianity.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
  3. Matthew Tassone

    He's the kind of Christian that attends racist, anti-anglo saxon congregations then runs away with his little black tail between his legs (like a lib). He's the kind if Christian that praises the word of God and then approves of the very thing that God objects. I don't care if that over inflated black man is a Christian or not. I care about the Republic. I care about freedom. I don't care about the crack head that couldn't get it together, or the rapist and murderers on death row. Let them be slaughtered like pigs and God will judge me regardless. Obama is a fraud and and any fool who would be moved or touched by this nonsense is just that: a fool. The first black president is a failure, an idiot who was defeated by Mitt Romney in verbal combat. A weak and small man that can only blame others for his inability to fix things. A mechanic doesn't complain about fixing your car because you didn't take care of it, a heart surgeon doesn't complain about your heart attack because you ate too many cheese burgers and a doctor treating lung cancer doesn't complain about all the cigarettes you smoked to get yourself some cancer. So why the hell does this president complain about a mess he "inherited." Bush didn't complain about the Barack Osama (intentional) mess he inherited because that punk Clinton couldn't do his. Clinton even admitted his failure in not catching Bin Laden. Obama had nothing to do with Bin Laden's death. This was the years of combat and planning that came before his sorry -. That man couldn't go into combat and win. He is weak. He probably couldn't hold the weight of the uniform. So why don't you liberals shove it.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:25 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 7:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "His little black tail.."

      Yeah, because you're not a racist or anything, right?

      What a friggin' post-hole digger you must be.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • getagrip

      I agree Matthew!

      October 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • Matthew Tassone

      I told you before, I don't care about the faith of these men. I care about the Republic. Let them worship as they so choose. At least Romney didn't ditch his church when the pressure was on him. He stood by his faith. Obama ran like a typical Lib. Post Hole digger? You got me there. I should be insulted, right? The thing is i'm more of a man than anyone who has read this article. So bring it lib (that's right, libs don't bring it, they run).

      October 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • 21k

      i guess bush inherited clinton's "mess" of a budget surplus, used a time machine to jump ahead to 2012 so he could call it osama's (intentional, ain't i clever!) mess, then scooted back to f things up for us. by the way, romney spent vietnam in france, annoying people to convert to moronism, so i guess he wouldn't go into battle either. and neither will his 5 sons after he starts a few wars. you dewshe.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Rick

      @Michael Compton and I quote:
      ----------------------–
      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.
      -----------------
      WRONG on ALL counts except for the fact that Romney is Mormon.
      I am converted Mormon, I was not raised Mormon, I studied it. Jesus Christ is the Heavenly Father and Savior. Jesus Christ is NOT considered a prophet, not even close. Mormons believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Joseph Smith is considered a modern day prophet.

      You seriously need to research and learn before you make yourself look so foolish.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'll bet Matthew is a little squib of a squirt who's shorter than I am and has smaller biceps than a grasshopper.

      And I'm 5'4" and female.

      You're a little dork, Matthew.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Guest

      It took 8yrs to create the mess. You don't expect a miracle to happen in 4yrs to turn things around. He's done things to help get us out the mess. I don't think he is happy, but I know we are moving fwd as a nation.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  4. wjb2

    You're right if you say that Obama is not a euro-centric Christian. But, maybe that's a good thing!

    October 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  5. NoWingNutsAllowed

    And they have the gall to question Obama's faith See :http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q6brMrFw0E

    October 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  6. thejadedwelder

    In the name of sensationalism, your headline is insulting and utterly misleading.

    No one is ever going to accuse CNN of practicing left-leaning journalism.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  7. Rick

    I always thought being a Christian meant doing your best to be like Christ in your daily life. It also meant to accept all people for who they are and leave the judgement up to God. (This is assuming you believe in God).

    October 21, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  8. Orygun Duck

    Jesus hung out with the tax collectors of his day. And for that he faced the wrath of the religious establishment. These current debates are nothing new. They basically said he is the 'wrong kind of Jew.'

    October 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  9. Grampa

    If being intelligent and compassionate makes Obama a "wrong" kind of Christian, what does that tell you about the "right" kind?

    October 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Goode intentions ate not the same as good results.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Rick

      You didn't answer the question. The question had nothing to do with intentions.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
  10. Deva

    Who has the audacity to label one as a Christian and another as a non-Chrisitan? What criteria do you use to designate someone as a good Christian another a not-so-good Christian? President Obama's faith in Christ, in my opinion is much better than even the so called "World Evengelist", Billy Graham. He and his group does not seem to know the difference between Christianity and Mormonism. After calling Mormonism a "cult" for so many years, for political reasons, for the sake of political reasons, he just struck the word, "cult" from his websites. My good American, stop and reason out your stand.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  11. NoWingNutsAllowed

    This one you gota see:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q6brMrFw0E
    And they are questioning Obama's faith.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  12. Peggie Feddersen

    The only Christians are those who do unto others as they would have others do onto them.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  13. Peggie Feddersen

    Misleading headline. The only Christians are those who do unto others as they would have others do onto them.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  14. clarke

    I will be voting for the man with the good heart, he may be the wrong kinda Christian, what ever that is, but he has a good heart.

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

      A man's heart is filled with sin; no such thing as a good heart.

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

      John- A man's heart is not filled with sin. Man creates sin by his actions. You got it all wrong.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
  15. dtboy

    Obama is the WRONG kind of Christian. No where in the bible does it say to use the force of government to do God's will.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Orygun Duck

      Apostle Paul said in Rome to submit to earthly authority.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      What an absurd comment. I hope for the sake of your soul that you ask for forgiveness. Attempting to use God to further your own personal political objectives is a very dangerous thing to do.

      As for Jesus Christ....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 7:31 pm |
    • Rick

      @Michael Compton and I quote:
      --------–
      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.
      -----–
      WRONG on ALL counts except for the fact that Romney is Mormon.
      I am converted Mormon, I was not raised Mormon, I studied it. Jesus Christ is the Heavenly Father and Savior. Jesus Christ is NOT considered a prophet, not even close. Mormons believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Joseph Smith is considered a modern day prophet.

      You seriously need to research and learn before you make yourself look so foolish.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • dtboy

      Again, NO WHERE in the bible does it say to use force to do God's will. If so, point it out to me. God is love, not force. We are to help others via compassion and charity, NOT force.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • Good Christian

      Question to the wrier that said that Obama is the wrong kind of Christian because you believe that Christianity does not seek to use the government to do God's will. Taking your hypothesis to the next logical conclusio I presume that you then agree that the Supreme Court has no power to outlaw abortion because this wold be applying a religious standard under the force of the government. I also presume that since you'd intrpret sickness as God's will that you will not expect hospitals to treat patients who refuse to pay for insurace prior to these acts of God so that in effect they will either pay an individual mandate or accept God's will?
      If yes then you deny the Republican platform if no then Obama is not deviating from your definition of Christianity.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  16. graphicstyle7

    I don't really want ANY kind of super-right-wing president telling me and a country of VERY diverse people what to do and how to live. Leave the religion at home, folks, you are not always talking to one of your kind, and you need to get used to that.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  17. collectivedementia

    If Obama is a christian, he should be asking God for His guidance on a daily basis instead of simlpy calling his opposition fools and liars. Everyone should remeber that Barry will be what any voting demographic wishes him to be. At least untill after November.

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

      How do you know he isn't asking for his guidance on a daily basis?

      October 21, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • clarke

      Like Mitt and the gang haven't done that since day one.

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

      You presume to know what conversation take place between a man and his Lord?

      Funny how you don't mention Romney, who is not a Christian, and has changed virtually every one of his positions (including on abortion) since running for President. Those are FACTS.

      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 7:33 pm |
    • Rick

      @Michael Compton and I quote:
      --------–
      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.
      -----–
      WRONG on ALL counts except for the fact that Romney is Mormon.
      I am converted Mormon, I was not raised Mormon, I studied it. Jesus Christ is the Heavenly Father and Savior. Jesus Christ is NOT considered a prophet, not even close. Mormons believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Joseph Smith is considered a modern day prophet.

      You seriously need to research and learn before you make yourself look so foolish.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  18. Dorothy

    Catholics used to say all Protestants were going to burn in h3ll because they had rejected the true faith. Now Evangelicals are saying the same about those who don't believe exactly how they do. Such rhetoric is the refuge of those who are insecure in their faith and their beliefs (and their insecurity is usually appropriately based in the weakness of their logic)

    October 21, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  19. Lara

    I presume CNN is trying to pass this is as an unbiased article....basically they are saying that Obama is a "Christian Pioneer" who is doing all the things that all the right-wing, "hypocritical", and "judgmental" Christians are "too scared to do." A Democrat being a Christian is nothing new...and a Democrat justifying policies with moral obligations is nothing new either, as well as Republicans questioning their policies for other reasons...Obama is not at all unique in this manner. This article is only attempting to give liberals another thing to praise Obama for.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • aroomadazda

      There we have it folks, this article has now been panned as a right wing attack on Obama for not being a 'true' Christian, AND as yet another liberal ploy to praise the president. I guess people see what they want to see, and they hear what they want to hear. (To quote from The Point, for those of you old enough to remember that.) Apparently not many on this message board actually bothered to read the whole article.

      October 21, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  20. paddlebearer

    I read your articles everyday but this is the worst headline I've ever see there is no wrong Christian only Left and Right Christians.

    October 21, 2012 at 7:14 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.