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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. Zach

    Wow! CNN Wow. Real stretch calling this man a Christian. A real Chirstian doesn't believe in murder (abortation) A real Christian doesn't believe in gay marraige as it clearly states in the Holy Bible that marriage is between a man and women. Some Christian ol' Barry is!

    October 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What is "abortation"?

      Honestly, I can't decide if posts like yours are hysterically funny or deeply depressing.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Nola

      Yes, Zach, sounds like a last minute lame attempt at convincing some pew warmers that he is. Good luck with that! Pathetic. I almost laughed when I saw the headlines and then I remember the lies that always surface during the two weeks before election. Pure brainwash journalism.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • Michael

      And yet Zach has no problem endorsing a man whose religion has, in the past, embraced polygamy (but hey, the Hebrews themselves practiced it, I suppose) and racism; a religion that says the faithful will all get their own planets, will become gods, Satan and Jesus are brothers, and lots of other gibberish. Yes, because of Zach's hatred, he is calling THIS legitimate Christianity while claiming Obama isn't a Christian... the mind boggles.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Nola

      Zach I've found out over the years they are two people you don't waste your time replying to. One is the one that always picks out a grammar error or typo, they are usually trying to one up you and make you feel inferior. The other one is the ones that start using the word hate or hater. Neither one of these are worth the time of day to respond to and as Christians it would be going against your faith to respond due to the 'casting of pearls to pigs". These two types of individuals will try to trap you into conversation and suck up your precious time that could be used to minister to those 'who are open to the gospel'. Being a missionary I pick my battles carefully. :) Just a heads up just in case you haven't encountered this type of unacceptable behavior online. Blessing to you. Happy voting out Obama.

      October 21, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      nola: how would your describe those who advocate for a group of people to have lesser civil rights than you, other than a bigot, or a hater?

      October 22, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  2. ObaWendon

    This isn't a my God is better than your God issue. Although I will say lately the religious zealouts seem to forget this is America where we have the right to chose our own path instead of the path they want to push on us. What matters is the subsatance and honesty of the man we are going to elect. Obama has done many of the things he promised in his last election period, not everything but he has tried. What matters more this time is who ends up in the Congress. We need to get out all the people who believe more in Grover Norquist than us, and who are alway's blocking bills that would make things better for us. The need to comprimise is primary and we need to vote in people who are willing to do things for the greater good, not for Grover Norquist.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  3. Nola

    This is pretty ridiculous and obviously was not written by a Christian. Christians are known by their actions not just their words.
    To be a Christian you most be reborn. That is biblical and not hard to understand. ????????????? You either are or your not, there are no gray areas or 'different kinds"?????????

    October 21, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  4. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Who cares what they believe? What I care about is who is smarter, has more experience with foreign policy, has done more to avert a financial meltdown that could very well have spelled disaster for the world economy, got rid of Ghadafi and Bin Laden, which is certainly more than Bush did, who has shown restraint in his remarks instead of recklessness.

    If you think Romney will do a better job, go ahead and vote for him. If you think Obama will, then vote for him. But if you're so stupid that you are voting based on your prejudices about the religious beliefs of EITHER of the candidates, you should just stay home and pray, and let people with some brains go to the polls.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
  5. howard

    Obama is someone who cares for the minority. He should have never taken this job as president – he did not have the experience and has proven he cannot change things. I feel sorry for him in some regards, but then he shows such arrogance at times its sickening. He is a great talker – but not a changer

    October 21, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • ObaWendon

      No one has the experience of President until they are out of office. What we need is someone with common sense and humanity. Not someone who spouts off before he knows the whole story and who is secretive and full of "Trust me I am the one" without telling us what he will be planning. Romney is like a snake oil salesman! Trust me, Trust me! Well, I think Obama has done a good job in spite of Congress and all those who are still so prejudiced and full of hate.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Richard Alexander

      "Trust me I am the one" that sounds like Obama's previous campaign slogan. "Hope and Change."

      October 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  6. jp

    For those who dont appreciate religion, If God does not exist than the only purpose in life is to survive. If your only purpose is to survive than power is your only virtue. That is exactly how society is starting to become. World without religion may sound good to you but man is the creator of war and he will still continue to wage it with or without religion. We have few religions out there that are negative if you follow them. I am a Catholic and I have been told time and time again to love everyone even those who i consider my enemy, even to love them more so. To forgive, live in peace and care for those who need it. Religion goes wrong when our human nature takes over and we feel we need to destroy anything that threatens what I just said. Human nature is the true enemy. It is what allows us to survive and strive, it is what keeps us strong but it can also be our downfall. Capitalism and free enterprise may not be the best society we have designed but it is the only form that takes into account of human nature. Communism and socialism exist with the understanding that we will live on a honest system and we as humans dont work to well with that. If religion does not exist there is no reason for me to be kind or love anyone. I would only be good to my kin and be willing to destroy anything that disagrees with me. If you think this mentality would be good for society understand this, Hitler was very fond of this idea and he use to follow the philosopher who came up with that theory.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • What does word Christianity means, hinduism, fabrication of hindu Jew's, criminal secular, A word without any traslation.

      No need to mix, God, truth absolute and hinduism, corruption of truth absolute religion's.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  7. Bills Cat

    As compared to WHAT? The other dozens of sects and denominations and little hoodoo churches that claim they're right? LOL

    October 21, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  8. Raymond

    Many of the religious right commenting here are as dangerous to our country as radical Muslims.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Bills Cat

      C'mon Ray, lets sing the song...

      My God's better than your God!
      My God's better than yours!
      My God's better BECAUSE WE SAID SO!
      My God's better than yours!

      October 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  9. L Goldberg

    What does Christianity have to do with a person's moral character and ability to lead a nation? Is the right kind of Christian the one who wants to end stem cell research that has the potential to unlock cures for devastating diseases, like GW Bush did and Mitt Romney will surely do? Is the right kind of Christian the one who will think that paying 14% of their $20 million income is fair, compare to a teacher who makes much less and pays a higher percentage? Is President Obama the wrong kind of Christian because he helped avoid a Depression after the last Christian president, GW Bush led the economy of a cliff? Is President Obama the wrong kind of Christian because he saved General Motors and hundreds of thousands of jobs, has been an advocate for the Dream Act, signed the equal pay for equal work act, made us less energy dependent, placed his signature on the affordable care act, which will lead to more Americans getting health care, reduced the interest on student loans, ended the war in Iraq, and on the way, more than doubled the stock market under his guidance, signed the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, and stopped torture that was rampant under President Bush? If he is the wrong kind of Christian, may we have that kind of Christian for not only the next 4 years, but the next 400!

    October 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Gimme More of What You Have

      Gimme Gimme Gimme. That's not enough, Gimme MORE. My, you're a greedy boy, aren't you? Here, would you like my house? Or my car? You can use it whenever you want to. Oh, I see. You want it permanently. But I paid for it, not you. I guess that doesn't matter to you. All that matters to you is lying about conservatives. GM? Obama bankrupted it just like anyone else should have. The rest of your little rant is just as filled with shlt nonsense.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • L'chaim!

      You'd think with a name like Goldberg he'd have enough money for himself. Oh, sorry. He's one of those liberalist leftist progressive reformed Jews. You know – one of those guys that's always kissing Muslim ass thinking they'll go away and then they can hide their Jewishness in the new multicultural society. How's that working out for you, Goldberg? What's that? Only 15 rockets this week? Good for you. Iran won't nuke Israel until after the election. Keep voting Democrat, Goldberg.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • bkiser

      During obama's term, I have lost my healthcare and last month I lost my job after 12 years. Do you really think I would support a man like obama? You must be stupid. BTW, I did support him in 2008.

      October 22, 2012 at 7:22 am |
  10. Beloved4ever

    " You say that, but you don't care that Romney doesn't even believe Christ is the Son of God??

    His whole religion is based on a rejection of Christ the Savior, but you want to post something about Obama that everyone knows is a lie? I remember when everyone was mad at the Wright preacher guy... He was a preacher in Obama's church. You might not like Obama, but obviously that was a Christian Church.

    Romney, on the other hand, is a MORMON. Do you not know what that means??

    It means Romney does not believe in Christ. It means he and his religion think Jesus Christ was 'just a nice guy'. A "prophet", but NOT the Son of God and Man's Redeemer!!"

    Ooh my goodness, you took the words right out of my mouth!!! Thank-you. Now, this is a prime example of one being "Anti-Christ". If I ever saw one. The wrong Christian? I'll give you an example of the wrong Christian.......

    Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: But he that acknowledges the Son hath the Father also (1 John 2: 18, 22, 23).

    October 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Richard Alexander

      Both Obama and Romney are antichrists; neither are Christians. We have been hoodwinked into a false choice, between bad and worse. Neither candidate is the right selection.

      I'm writing in Ron Paul. He's a kook, but he's better than our headlined options.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  11. Craig

    Is Obama the wrong kind of Christian? For Republicans, yes. He's the black kind.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  12. Raymond

    Obama is more "Christian" than most who call themselves by this name. He doesn't feel a need to wear his religion on his sleeve and shove it into everyone's face.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Nola

      How do you know he is a Christian?

      October 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  13. Deham

    You better check Mitt Romney. THE MAN WITHOUT A PLAN!

    October 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Mitt Romnesia

      That's not true. I have many plans. Just let me know which one gets your vote and I will tell it to you.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  14. Richard Alexander

    If Obama attended a real Christian church, he would know the difference between the Old Testament and the New. He would understand that Christianity is based on the New Testament (hence the name), that the Old Testament is predecessor to the New, not contemporary with it. He might even know that Christians are forbidden from obeying Old Testament law, while understanding that the Old Testament provides a preview of the New. The point of the Old Testament is that humanity is incapable of obeying God's law, and so stands condemned before God, but a Redeemer can reconcile those who trust in Him. The New Testament reveals the Redeemer, and sets up the relationship of the redeemed.

    A Christian is one who follows Christ, literally a "little Christ." He is not one who says, "Enable people to do whatever they like." Jesus was, for example, quite clear that marriage is sacred because in the beginning, God made male and female, for this cause, a man shall leave his parents and cleave to his wife; "What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Jesus condemned sin, something that Progressives have trouble doing, as they don't believe in real sin.

    Imitating Christianity, while not being Christian, and using the force of law to violate Christian conscience, is the very definition of an antichrist.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      What Mr. Alexander DOESN'T want to talk about is the fact that Romney REJECTS CHRIST THE SAVIOR.

      Mormons, BY DEFINITION, are NOT CHRISTIANS.

      MORMONS REJECT CHRIST AS THE SON OF GOD.

      Mormons – Mitt Romney included – believe that Jesus Christ was "just another prophet" among many.

      They REJECT the fact that he is the Son of God.

      They REJECT Jesus Christ as the Redeemer of mankind.

      They REJECT the entire concept of Christianity.

      Unlike the silly, anti-Christian liars that are perfectly happy to debase themselves with lies, what I've written is the actual TRUTH.

      Mormons are NOT Christians, by definition.

      You won't hear them talking about that.

      These so-called Christians have no problem lying.

      These so-called Christians have no problem voting for a man who openly admits believing in a religion that REJECTS CHRIST

      October 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Raymond

      Boy, you've described Romney to a "T"

      October 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • iminim

      Christ never spoke about gay marriage. He never addressed abortion. Yet these 2 issues have become the major ones by which the Christian right chooses which political party it will throw it's considerable influence & finances behind. Christ did speak of loving your neightbor and caring for those who are the "least of these". He hung out with the outcasts of society & they really mattered to him. He criticized the arrogantly pious religious leaders & attacked those who sought financial gain in the temple. If the Christian right seeks to gain earthly political power (something Christ himself rejected when tempted by Satan), why don't they at least try to find candidates who support the very issues Christ actually spoke about & challenged us to address as his followers?

      October 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Richard Alexander

      Who said I support Romney? I will not vote for either Romney nor Obama. The cynical side of me says that Obama was put into office just to make Romney seem tolerable to the American public, but either candidate is a disaster for this country.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • 4HIM

      Man Judges by the outward appearence but God judges by the heart. Who are we to decide who is and is not a believer? Are you the Holy Spirit??? All this talk reminds me of christian denominations killing each other oner doctrine. Jesus did say "When I was hungry you fed me, when I was naked you clothed me. When i was sick you visited me. These are not hard core Republican/tea bagger concepts. BTW I am a disillusioned Republican who now votes independent. Romney is 2 faced, has says what is convenient at the time.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Richard Alexander

      Jesus defined marriage; He does not have to describe every perversion of that definition for us to know what the perversions are.

      Jesus condemned sin. In all His dealings with the outcasts, His one call always was "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"

      October 21, 2012 at 10:43 pm |
  15. Beth Galbreath

    Please change this irresponsible headline. The story is good – the headline, terrible. Wrong from whose point of view? So close to the election, this is wrong.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
  16. Ed M.

    Obama believes in one thing: Obama.

    The rest is commentary.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      But you'll support a man that has changed nearly every one of his "deeply held" convictions – Just in the last 6 monthss.

      You'll support a man who is perfectly happy to shut down American factories and ship them to China: All to make a little more money for his already fabulously rich self.

      You'll support a man who protested in FAVOR of the Vietnam War, while he himself dodged service by hiding in France.

      You'll support a man whose religion rejects Christ as the Son of God.

      Whatever it is you think you support, it isn't integrity.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
  17. GodisI

    I think christians what ever that means have screwed things up enough. This country does not need a christian President it needs a good smart President who believes in the value of equal rights and letting Americans make there own personal decisions. The last thing this country needs is some religious zelot trying to enforce their religion on everyone else that is moving backward not forward. This Country need a President in the White House not a preacher at the pulpit leave that to the idiots we need to show the world that we are a strong country not stupid idiots who believe in rainbows and unicorns

    October 21, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Raymond

      Well said. Thank you!

      October 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  18. soraya kaoroptham

    Changing my homepage from CNN to BBC. Good bye CNN. You should be ashamed for such journalism .....
    I am an independent who are still deciding. This article is way too pointless ..... What a shame!

    October 21, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Terminator Jesus: I'll be back!

      You are basing your vote on the opinions of a foreign country?

      October 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  19. "Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly. Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.

    I'm not here for fun, but apparently some others are. WATCH THIS MOVIE and make your minds up for yourself.

    October 21, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Terminator Jesus: I'll be back!

      You're not here for fun? Then why are you here? This is a fight club!

      October 21, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly. Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.

      I'm here because I'm recovering from an outing with my sister's undies and waiting until I can get it back up again.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly. Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.

      You may think this is fight club, but it's not. It's troll bridge chess. Checkmate!

      October 21, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • "Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly. Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.

      Great. The clowns learned how to steal screen names.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • "Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly. Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.

      Shut up, troll. If you don't know how to steal a screen name, you're the clown.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • "Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly. Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.

      I KNOW how to DO it. I'm just busy with my cousin's bra.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • "Dreams From My Real Anu.s" is now available on Buttflix to watch instantly. Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.

      Bring on Jesustan!!!

      October 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • Jehovah's Fight Club Admiinistrator

      Will you idiots get to your corners and stop this folderol?

      October 21, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • "Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly. Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.

      Why are you doing this to me? I'm just trying to get the word out about this important film about Obama's Communist and Islamic upbringing and his relationship with treasonous hippy bombers like Bill Ayiers.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
    • tallulah13

      No thank you. I am more interested in truth than in blatantly and maliciously false propaganda. It's no surprise that conservatives are so desperate that they resort to the same tactics the Nazis used to vilify those they wish to destroy.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • "Dreams From My Psychosis" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly. Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.

      Why oh why are you making it so difficult to tell you about how Zombie Jesus is battling the Mormon Black Helicopters (they wouldn't allow the use of black as a conspiracy helicopter color until 1978, when it was conveniently prophecised by the head of the Mormon Corporation).

      ITZ UH KONSPEEERASEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      October 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • "Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly. Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.

      Have you seen the movie, Tallullah? If so, can you tell me where the blatant falsehoods are in it?

      October 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Jehovah's Fight Club Admiinistrator

      Shut your pie hole and get to bed, you little piglet. School for you tomorrow.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  20. The real question is . . .

    Is Obama the right kind of Scotsman?

    October 21, 2012 at 10:12 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.