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In Obama’s first term, an evolving Christian faith and a more evangelical style
President Obama speaking from the pulpit of a Washington church in 2010.
October 27th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

In Obama’s first term, an evolving Christian faith and a more evangelical style

Editor's note: This is the last in a series about the faith lives of the presidential candidates, which includes a profile of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) – President Obama’s prayers for a strong first debate may not have been answered, but that doesn’t mean the prayers weren’t happening.

Before he stepped onto a Colorado stage earlier this month to face off with Mitt Romney for the first time, Obama joined a conference call with a small circle of Christian ministers.

“The focus of that prayer was, ‘Oh, Lord, you know precisely what the president needs to say,'” says Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Methodist megachurch pastor from Texas who helped lead the call. “'You know what this country needs during the next four years.’”

“'And so I would pray that your primary will and words that you want the president to say will fall from his lips,'” Caldwell goes on, recalling his prayer.

Obama, for his part, was mostly silent.

“There’s a profound and genuine humility in the presence of Christ himself,” Caldwell says, describing the president on such calls. “I think he recognizes it as a holy moment.”

It was the second time Caldwell and Obama had prayed by phone in as many months. The two had connected in August on a prayer call Obama has hosted on his birthday every year since coming to the White House.

Welcome to the intense, out-of-the-box and widely misunderstood religious life of President Barack Obama.

Though he famously left his controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the year he was elected to the presidency, a handful of spiritual advisers close to Obama say that his time in office has significantly deepened his faith.

The making of a candidate: Mitt Romney’s faith journey

Stephen Mansfield, a former Christian pastor who wrote the book “The Faith of Barack Obama,” goes so far to say that Obama has experienced a spiritual transformation.

“I think we do have at heart a new man, so to speak,” says Mansfield, who worked closely with the White House and with some Obama religious advisers on his book. “He has undergone a pretty significant personal religious change in his first term.”

Methodist minister Kibyjon Caldwell, right, has grown close to President Obama after serving as a spiritual counselor to President George W. Bush. Here, Caldwell and Bush share a stage in 2003.

Obama’s faith advisers say Mansfield goes a step too far, though they acknowledge that when it comes to his faith, Obama has changed.

“There is a deepening development in his relationship with God,” says Joel Hunter, a Florida-based pastor who has been in touch with Obama nearly every week since he took office. “He chooses to stay faithful in daily habits of study and prayer and consistent times of interchange with spiritual leaders.”

“I am not sure he did that before he came to the presidency.”

Whether or not Obama has been spiritually “reborn” in the evangelical sense, his spiritual counselors say the president’s faith has helped shape his first term in ways that haven’t been appreciated by voters or the news media.

And they say the presidency is bringing Obama to a new place in his faith - building on a system of belief and practice that helped bring him to the White House in the first place.

Talking like Billy Graham

These days, when the president talks about his faith, he sounds like a born-again Christian.

Addressing the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington this year, Obama recalled meeting the nation’s most iconic evangelical Christian, Billy Graham, and described his struggle to find the right words as he prayed aloud with the aging evangelist.

“Like that verse in Romans, the Holy Spirit interceded when I didn’t know quite what to say,” Obama told the gathering, invoking the New Testament.

It was hardly the only part of the speech where Obama was speaking “Christianese” – employing a lexicon familiar to evangelical Christians, who put a premium on quoting Scripture and communing directly with the Holy Spirit.

Understanding Barack Obama’s gospel

At the same breakfast, Obama spoke of spending time every morning in “Scripture and devotion” and dropped the names of “friends like Joel Hunter or T.D. Jakes,” both well-known pastors of evangelical megachurches.

“He was talking like Billy Graham” at the breakfast, says Mansfield, who also wrote an admiring spiritual biography of former President George W. Bush.

Even in the more secular setting of the Democratic National Convention, Obama hinted at an intense White House prayer life, along with his need for God’s grace.

Some say President Obama sounds like an evangelical when he speaks about his religion, echoing the famous evangelist Billy Graham. The two men met at Graham's mountaintop home in North Carolina home in 2010.

“While I'm proud of what we've achieved together, I'm far more mindful of my own failings,” Obama said in his acceptance speech, “knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, ‘I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.’"

Such pious talk marks a departure from how the president discussed his faith life before his White House years.

Back then, Obama cited his religion more as a basis for social action than for spiritual sustenance. He would temper declarations of belief with affirmations of doubt.

Asked in a 2004 interview whether he prayed often, Obama, then a candidate for U.S. Senate in Illinois, responded: “Uh, yeah, I guess I do.”

In a 2007 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Obama voiced skepticism about Scripture.

“There are aspects of the Christian tradition that I’m comfortable with and aspects that I’m not,” he said. “There are passages of the Bible that make perfect sense to me and others that I go ‘Ya know, I’m not sure about that.’”

These days, Obama forgoes such equivocations in favor of a full-throated Christianity.

To Mansfield, the evolution of Obama’s comments on religion bespeak a born-again experience, prompted largely by the president’s break with Wright and his arrival into a circle of spiritual counselors that includes many evangelicals.

The White House declined requests to speak to Obama.

But Hunter, the president’s closest spiritual counselor, says Obama has technically been a born-again Christian for more than 25 years, since accepting Jesus at Wright’s Chicago church in the 1980s.

But it's in the last four years that the president has become more evangelical in his habits.

He now begins each morning reading Christian devotionals on his Blackberry.

And then there’s the circle of pastors Obama has begun praying with before big events like the first presidential debate.

A circle of evangelicals

After landing in Washington following his 2008 election, Obama shopped around for a new church. But he wound up making his spiritual home instead among a circle of far-flung pastors that includes Hunter, Jakes and Caldwell, the minister from Texas.

Conference calls with the group started while Obama was still a presidential candidate, including on the night of his 2008 victory. The president-elect spoke by phone with Hunter and other Christian ministers, rejoicing in victory but also grieving the death of his grandmother, who helped raise him, just a few days earlier.

The migration from Wright – who almost brought down Obama’s campaign with videos that showed him sermonizing about “God damn America” and “the U.S. of KKK A” – to this new group, says Mansfield, has been underappreciated.

“[Obama] went into the Oval Office … questioning the only pastor he’d ever had,” Mansfield says. “Wright left him humiliated.”

“And there were deeper questions about the theology that [Obama] had received,” Mansfield continues. “Some part of Wright’s religious orientation had failed.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Where Wright is a liberal mainline Protestant, emphasizing liberation and social action, Obama’s new circle of pastors includes theologically conservative evangelicals like Hunter and Jakes, who stress God’s grace and personal transformation.

Mansfield notes that the chaplain who has presided for the last few years at Camp David, where Obama spends many Sundays, is also an evangelical.

Some of Obama’s spiritual counselors credit Joshua DuBois, executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, with leading Obama to a more evangelical-flavored Christianity. Caldwell calls him the president’s personal pastor.

A former associate pastor at a Pentecostal church in Boston, DuBois is the one responsible for sending Obama Scriptures and scriptural meditations five days a week; Hunter does it on the other two days.

The evangelical pastor Joel Hunter, center, and White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Executive Director Joshua DuBois, right, are the President’s closest religious counselors. Here they are in February.

DuBois convenes a daily 8:15 a.m. conference call with pastors to pray for the country and the president, who is not on the call. (Lately, those calls have also included prayers for Mitt Romney.)

And it’s DuBois who organized the president’s circle of spiritual advisers. After graduate school at Princeton, DuBois talked his way onto Obama’s staff at the U.S. Senate, repeatedly driving to Washington to make his case after job applications were rejected.

When Obama launched his presidential campaign a few years later, DuBois was plucked as its faith outreach director.

The 30-year-old White House aide plays down his influence on his boss.

“He has always been on a Christian journey,” DuBois says of Obama, “and the challenges of the office, of being leader of the free world, provides a deepening and strengthening of faith, and that’s what you see with the president.”

“I remember working with him around the Scripture he would use at the memorial service for the miners in West Virginia,” DuBois says, referring to the 2010 tragedy that left 29 dead. “These are obviously moments when one's faith is strengthened.”

The unparalleled trials of the Oval Office have been known to deepen the religiosity of presidents ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Ronald Reagan.

Hunter says the same thing has happened to this president: “His faith has been growing as the challenges of the presidency have become more naturally the main part of his own everyday life.”

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One of Hunter’s first Oval Office encounters with Obama came shortly after the president took office, at a time when the economy was shedding 750,000 jobs a month.

“He acknowledged at that meeting what many may know but few remember: that by the time issues get to the president, there are no simple or clear answers or they would have been solved by others,” Hunter says. “So we prayed.”

A few months later, Hunter was in the Oval Office again, noticing that “the unremitting heaviness of the office was setting in.”

“I saw something that has been consistent ever since: He cannot just pray for himself and his family,” Hunter says by e-mail. “At least I have never seen it. His faith, his heart, always includes those who are being left out through no fault of their own.”

Despite the changes they’ve seen in Obama, both Hunter and DuBois are uncomfortable with the word “transformation” when it comes to Obama’s White House faith life.

“The president doesn’t deal in labels,” says DuBois. “He knows God’s grace is sufficient for him and beyond that doesn’t get into labels, evangelical or mainline. He’s a proud Christian.”

Loving God by loving your neighbor

When the Rev. Sharon Watkins and a group of fellow Protestant ministers sat down with Obama at the White House a couple years into the president’s term, she knew the pastors would get wonky about religion.

“You get a bunch of ministers in the room and we’re all church geeks – it’s theological,” says Watkins, who along with the other pastors had come to talk about poverty. “But the president got every biblical allusion and reference. … He’s just a person who is biblically and theologically literate.”

If Obama’s personal theology has grown more conservative, he is inclined to apply it toward liberal political ends.

“I’d be remiss if my values were limited to personal moments of prayer or private conversations with pastors or friends,” Obama said at the National Prayer Breakfast in February. “So instead, I must try - imperfectly, but I must try - to make sure those values motivate me as one leader of this great nation.”

In signing laws that have increased Wall Street regulations and stopped health insurance companies from rejecting patients with preexisting conditions, Obama said at the breakfast, he wanted to “make the economy stronger for everybody.”

“But I also do it because I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years,” he continued. “And I believe in God’s command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’”

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

Obama went on to frame decisions as disparate as ending tax breaks for the wealthy and defending foreign aid as examples of biblical principles in action, quoting Jesus’ teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required” and invoking the “biblical call to care for the least of these.”

That last biblical reference also loomed large in another 2011 White House meeting between Obama and a group of religious leaders. They’d come to urge the president to protect programs for the poor amid his fight with Congress over raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

The Rev. Jim Wallis, a progressive activist, recalls the meeting:

In pressing Obama to take cuts to those programs off the table, one Roman Catholic bishop told the president that “the text that we are obliged to obey does not say ‘as you have done to the middle class you have done to me.’”

“It says as you’ve done to the least of these, you have done to me,” the bishop said.
“I know that text,” Obama responded. The passage is from the Matthew 25 in the New Testament.

“So there was this very rigorous conversation,” Wallis says, “and we pressed him on applying Matthew 25 to this decision about protecting those who were the least of these.”

Ultimately, the programs that the religious leaders were lobbying for were protected in the debt ceiling deal, though it’s unclear how big a role the religious leaders played.

For liberal Christians, such victories embody the justice of the social gospel, the idea that believers should do God’s work – even aid the Second Coming - by improving society.

“I do notice that sometimes, like on health care, when [Obama] says it’s the right thing to do, it’s him saying you love God by loving your neighbor,” says Watkins, who leads a mainline denomination called Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). “He’s doing the best he can to be guided by God so he can be a faithful follower of Christ.”

Skeptics might write off Obama’s Bible talk as sanctimonious window dressing, aimed at no higher purpose than connecting with churchgoers in the purple and red states. But translating the Good Book into progressive politics has always been a mainstay of Obama’s political biography.

‘An awesome God in the blue states’

When Obama landed on Chicago’s South Side in 1985 as an idealistic 23-year-old, eager to start work as a community organizer, he was already a political liberal.

He was also a man without a religion, the son of a spiritual-but-not-religious mother whom he would later describe as “a lonely witness for secular humanism” and an estranged African father who was born a Muslim but died an atheist.

Obama’s work in Chicago, built around causes like tenants’ rights and job training for laid-off workers, was steeped in religion.

His salary was paid by a coalition of churches. And the job took him into many black churches, among the most influential institutions in the neighborhood he was organizing, including Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ.

After a lifelong struggle to fit in, set in motion by his mixed-race parents, Trinity felt like home.

“I came to realize that without a vessel for beliefs, without an unequivocal commitment to a particular community of faith,” he wrote later, “I would be consigned at some level to always remain apart.”

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who brought Obama to Christianity, ignited controversy that almost brought down Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

The changes that Wright’s church wrought weren’t just personal. Baptism and active membership there equipped Obama with an ability to connect with churchgoers he was trying to organize – and, years later, with religious voters he was trying to win over – in a deeper way.

Wright, who did not respond to interview requests for this story, gave Obama a moral framework for his liberal politics. The pastor espoused a black liberation theology that equates Jesus’ life and death with the plight of those who Wright saw as disenfranchised, from African-Americans to Palestinians.

“Wright is the religious version of almost everything Obama already believed without religion,” says Mansfield, who spent time at Trinity for his book. “It’s a support of oppressed people anywhere in the world.”

When Obama emerged on the national stage, his comfortable religiosity and sensitivity to the concerns of churchgoing Americans helped distinguish him as a Democrat.

“We worship an awesome God in the blue states,” he declared to huge applause in his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, catching the attention of young Christians like Joshua DuBois.

But at that same convention, Obama’s party nominated John Kerry, a candidate who eschewed God talk and who lost his own Catholic demographic on Election Day.

Four years later, Obama hired religious outreach staffers like DuBois for his presidential campaign and made a point of meeting with Christian Right leaders who’d never before heard from a Democratic presidential nominee.

Obama went on to win in places like Indiana and North Carolina, evangelical-heavy states that a Democratic presidential nominee hadn’t taken in decades.

If the Rev. Wright had almost brought down his presidential campaign, the controversial minister had also long ago laid the groundwork for Obama to connect with the churchgoing voters who had turned their backs on Kerry.

The politics of confusion

As president, the line between Obama’s personal convictions and his political prowess on religious matters can sometimes be hard to discern.

Obama invited the conservative evangelical megapastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his 2009 inauguration, ruffling liberal feathers. He introduced an annual Easter prayer breakfast as a new White House tradition. He gives shout-outs to young evangelical leaders in major speeches.

Obama asked evangelical pastor Rick Warren to pray at his inauguration, riling some of the president's liberal supporters.

All can be seen as genuine reflections of Obama’s faith and his appreciation for the role of religious leaders in public life. And in a nation where more people believe in angels than in evolution - a fact that the president himself has publicly noted - all promise political benefits.

The same could be said for Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, and for presidents as diverse as Jimmy Carter and Reagan: All had deep spiritual streaks that enabled the political art of courting religious Americans, especially evangelicals.

The irony, in Obama’s case, is that despite his orthodox utterances - there’s “something about the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective,” he said at this year's Easter breakfast - polls continue to show widespread confusion about his faith.

Only half the country can correctly identify Obama as Christian, according to one recent Pew poll, while 17% falsely believe he is a Muslim.

“He’s a Christian and he professes his Christian faith - I don’t know what else this man has to do to get that into folks’ ears,” says Caldwell, who was also close to George W. Bush.

President Obama at the 2011 White House Easter prayer breakfast, an annual tradition that he started.

But Obama’s public piety has helped him bond with young evangelical leaders, who are less tied to the GOP than their parents’ generation.

“I was struck by the specificity of what he described in terms of theology and what it means to him,” says Gabe Lyons, one such leader, describing a White House Easter breakfast he attended. “His message is very specific and very orthodox.”

Where exactly that new orthodoxy comes from – the pressures of the White House, a new circle of religious advisers or, to a certain degree, from political calculation – may become clearer after Obama's presidency, if he opens up about such matters.

Until then, the president is likely to keep speaking "Christianese" - and resisting Christian labels.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Politics

soundoff (4,988 Responses)
  1. Jim

    To pull a CNN on CNN, why is there not one single white person behind Obama in the top picture? Is he and are they all racists?

    October 28, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • Momo

      Interesting. What does it say when everyone behind Romney is white? Or is that not important to you?

      October 28, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  2. Calvin

    Dear CNN. I know that you are Obama's mouthpiece. But Obama has never and still down not sound like a born again Christian. No born again Christian would continue to support the killing of unwanted but viable babies. And most born-again Christians go to church.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • Qmander

      In Christianity, the very worse sin that you can ever commit is blasphemy. Mormonism is a blasphemous religion. Ergo, Mitt Romney...

      October 28, 2012 at 6:50 am |
    • On vacation

      Mormon's are Christians. They follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

      How ignorant and bigoted some people are? Sheesh!

      October 28, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who cares about Obama's religion?

      Where are the jobs? And what's up with the economic malaise?

      And don't give me that "it's Bush's fault" crap because Obama has had four years to get this economy going and he has failed.

      By contrast, Ronald Reagan inherited a FAR WORSE economy from Jimmy Carter. And at the end of his third year we had 6 percent economic growth - versus 1 percent for Obama.

      Obama: FOUR AND OUT ON NOVEMBER 6TH.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Vic

      Yes. On vacation. Aren't you all?

      October 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Equalizer357

      Correction, Obums goes to the place of his worship – Mosque...

      October 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Response

      Calvin, when you judge someone based on just one thing. Can you follow all of the commandments and laws in the Bible? Have you done so? And the Bible says if you've broken one you've broken all. Remember Jesus telling the men "ye without sin cast the first stone".
      You your self are a sinner, so stop point fingers. We all fall short somewhere.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Aha

      Equalizer357,
      Obama goes to the mosque to worship based on what? State your evidence or source. Please put "in my opinion" in front of your statement, because it is absolutely BASELESS!!!

      October 29, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • MsRepub

      Shame on you for judging another man; and you are Mr Perfect? You will accept a man with the belief that he will be a "god" and have his own "kingdom" at his death...(Mormon) when the Bible clearly teaches us not to believe in other gods.
      I have been a born-again Christian since 1985, and my Bible has taught me to love, not to pick my brothers fruit, and be care of those Pharisees who think they are above another brother.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  3. Jim

    This is just rich. He didn't like gays until he needed their vote. He forces Catholics to violate their faith by making them buy coverage that is against their beliefs. Now he's down with the evangelical vote so CNN touts how Christian like he is. He sat in J Wrights poisonous black liberation theology church for over 20 yrs, Wright baptized his daughters, etc. only a blind foold would buy the hogwash in this article.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • Edro

      It's scary that there may be a number of gullible people that will believe this. Judging from the posts so far, thankfully, there's not that many.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:58 am |
    • Equalizer357

      right its scary BUT true.....being christian is the FARTHEST thing in Obamas mind...

      October 28, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Guest

      The President covers up, or spin doctors, anything that will lose him votes. That's why the Obama family has not gone to Reverend Wright's church during his years in office. Of course if he is reelected; then they will be able to show their true affiliation without losing the liberal voters for continuing their close association with a known racist.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  4. ducky657

    Really–who does CNN and this author think they are kidding? Barack Hussein Obama has one God and he stares him in the face every time he looks in a mirror. He is the ultimate narcissist who believes he not only has all the answers but that just because he says something it will come to pass. You notice after he was elected he had little use for Rick Warren and instead chose to tick off the man he called his spiritual by switching his position on gay marriage.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • T-Max73

      Actually, Christians are the ultimate narcissists. They truly believe that they are the center of the universe–that there is some "God" out there who cares for them, who looks out for them, who helps them finds jobs and good parking spaces, who has a personal plan for their lives. Yes, narcissism is spelled C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Raycamp

      Ah yes T-Max we are so self centered that we help more people than the federal government through agencies such as Catholic Charities, local parishes and food banks. But you are right 1-12 people in the world get health care from us, 1-8 in Chicago are feed every day buy us and we are also the largest housing program in the world..... But you are right we are self centered.

      October 28, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  5. ascpgh

    What changed is Obama, to protect his political viability. This guy tells me his political agenda and I am supposed to believe him when he also tells me he sat in Rev. Wright's black liberation theology sermons for 20 years and asserts he "wasn't really listening"?

    I know men who have been to the edge of death in times of conflict whose Christian faith evolved as a result without a notable severance due to public opinion. Animals may have changing characteristics over time in response to their surroundings, that is evolution. When you change colors suddenly to avoid detection you are a chameleon, not a good attribute in a public servant.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:46 am |
    • Todd

      Change colors? Grow up. You know what would solve a lot of problems today? The civil act of organized duel. I'm sick of the crap, and the federal gov't.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:53 am |
    • Babbs

      What do you know about Mormans? You speak of Rev. Wright but do you know what mormans believe about Blacks? Do you know that until Jan 1978 Black could not hold the priesthood or go to the highest degree of heaven the celestial kingdom.
      Stop listening to other and read for yourself. I spend 25 yrs living in Utah and was discriminated everyday of my life becuse I have black skin and was cursed according to their theology.

      October 28, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Guest

      Looks like they moved beyond the racism, but you haven't, Babbs. Get some help, that bitterness is sucking the life out of you.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  6. Raoul Duke, Jr.

    It just floors me that being delusional is a practical qualification for office in this country, but it's not surprising. After all 46% of the population is creationist and believe that the world is only 6,000 years old. So long as this junk is a point of emphasis for voters in this country, we will continue the backward course that we are on. Enlightened countries, like Australia, which elected an avowed atheist, will move ahead in all progressive and scientific endeavors. But we will have god. That will cure cancer, won't it?

    October 28, 2012 at 6:45 am |
  7. southfultonguy

    http://www.wnd.com/2012/10/trinity-church-members-reveal-obama-shocker/

    October 28, 2012 at 6:45 am |
  8. Olsonic

    gag me. This is a reason NOT to vote for Obama.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:43 am |
  9. Todd

    Wth

    October 28, 2012 at 6:43 am |
  10. DRinNC

    In his life and in his actions, there is little to nothing that suggests Obama his guided by anything other than his fathers anti-colonial agenda.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:43 am |
    • Qmander

      You speak the truth! On another note, I believe life starts at conception, and I have a God complex. So sometimes when I'm feeling frisky I pleasure myself over unfertilized eggs. After my shameful act I look down on the mess, and I say, "No, you don't get anymore life today, little Timmy," and then I stomp on the embryo.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:49 am |
  11. Ishmael Whale

    Obama's faith rests in whatever will get him re-elected. He reminds me a little of Jimmy Carter who began to emphasize his born-again status as his polling numbers plummeted. Politicians generally, are hypocrites about religion. Oddly enough, Mitt Romney doesn't seem to fit this model, much to his credit. While I find many of Romney's social positions unacceptable his discomfort with exploiting his religion is refreshing.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:42 am |
  12. Mirosal

    Just to be clear, the words "so help me god" do NOT appear in the Consti'tution (Article 3) for the Oath of Office to the Presidency. In fact, the word "god" does not appear AT ALL in that docu'ment.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:35 am |
    • UncleBenny

      Article 6: " ...no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

      So why do we routinely ignore this clause?

      October 28, 2012 at 7:25 am |
  13. Don Jones

    Obama's faith is significant only to him and his family. We recieved a letter from our health care insurer today listing several new coverages as a result of the Affordable Care act. This is one of several reasons why we have faith in him. He walks the walk, not just talks the talk.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:35 am |
    • Jim

      Youre welcome. That's coming out of my taxes to pay for it and I did not support it and do not. I can't afford to provide that additional care for you.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:44 am |
    • Tom

      I'm glad your coverage went up but so did your premiums and our taxes! Who do you think is going to pay for bama garbage?? And CNN......when are you going to report on the REAL news of bama lying about Benghazi??

      October 28, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • Moses

      You probably could have gotten the same coverage previously, but didn't want to pay the extra premium, preferring to buy other stuff instead. Now you get the coverage because OTHER people are having to pay your extra premium – enjoy.

      October 28, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • OhReally

      Jim, I did not see where Dow Jones said he worked for the government. Employers and employees pay the premiums to the insurance companies, not you. If you want to complain about your taxes, then look at the millions of uninsured that the government ends up reimbursing religious affiliated hospitals for, or elected officials who serve one term and get taxpayer paid heathcare for life.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Obama wolf in sheeps clothing

      this is why we must stop obama this person gets extra coverages at our expense and thanks obama not the taxpayers i am paying for your extra coverages while only making 18k a year and can't get my own coverage nad refuse 100% to go on the government payroll wake up people stop taking government programs your bannkrupting us.

      October 28, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Guest

      Isn't that sooo nice for you. Aren't you fortunate. Unlike all the other college students included on their parent's policies, our 23 year old child must pay $176 a month for a separate Tricare medical policy. Obama failed to include college age military dependents in his health care law & this is how he fixed it! Military families sacrifice all their lives protecting your civilian hide. This is how our Commander in Chief, our President, thanks us. I guess there weren't enough military kids to be politically significant. No wonder he had Michele make the promise that it would be fixed!
      Think of us, supporting you yet again, as you enjoy your freebee.

      November 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  14. frankcitec

    Judge Obama by his actions not words. His policies like gay marraige and abortion cannot be accepted by real Christians. Under his time, all Christian signs, Bible studies, public sharing of faith, public prayers have become illegal. Some pastors have been sent to prison for practicing these. His hatred to Israel is deep and it is contrary to the teaching to the Bible. I consider this article as desperate attempt for Obama to gather Christian votes. Real Christians are guided by God to discern deception and to know the real sheep and wolves.

    October 28, 2012 at 3:36 am |
    • mama k

      Christians are experts at calling other Christians "non-Christians". They can't help it. That two-faced capability is built into the religion right from the start. Many of them can pick any side of any argument and find something in the Bible to support their political agenda – regardless of how it may conflict with the simple words of that man named Jesus.

      October 28, 2012 at 4:49 am |
    • Don Jones

      Promoting a more equitable policy in the Middle East is certainly not " hatred for Israel", and no amount of Romney's chicken hawk sabre rattleing can make it so.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:38 am |
    • Ultimately

      Please. This is yet another media attempt to paint the man as something he is not. Most understand his faith by his actions over the past 4 years. Stop trying to paint this man as the "messiah" he is not. He is a failure and Democrats are trying to save face.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:42 am |
    • Jesse Christo

      So many of you are gifted at seeing the hypocrites within your religion and I believe that God would be very pleased with you if you would continue to identify them as the heretics they are as you have here. Their favorite retort is that your souls are full of hatred for your flawed fellow humans, but you know that it is the sin you hate and that is what you war against. Obama's visceral hatred of Israel is evident to anyone who prays with Fox News and their inspired reports. Obama believes that Jews manipulate Christian Americans to support their state for no other reason than to trigger Armageddon and that the Jews are laughing all the way to the bank. Maybe so, but they haven't been converted yet, so the laughing will eventually stop. When it does, only a very small handful of proper Christians will be accepted by God along with some converted Jews. Vigilance for heresy within the faith is paramount, and acting on it is even more paramount. May the true Christianity be with you and remember, it isn't hatred when it's the sin you hate, and there's a lot of sin to hate out there. Hate – the sin, of course.

      October 28, 2012 at 7:07 am |
    • Del

      Frankcitec! you are very pathetic and sound like a sad and desperate christian believer who looks for faith from others rather than from God. Why do you tell lies about the president on things that are so untrue? Why are you struggling in your desperate faith to require all Americans to abide to your christian religion. Have you ever heard of separation of church and state? You probably think all Americans are christians or believers. you need to come out of that little cave you have been leaving in and wake up to reality my friend. You can't lie and call yourself a christian and yet try to act like you are better than others. While i won't judge your christian faith since i believe that lies between you and your God, i think its time for you to ask yourself what you believe in ok!! You sound so desperate and depressed in your accusation of our president.

      October 28, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • T-Max73

      "..and since God never actually appears himself, it's done for him by human representatives who claim to act in his name. That's why this point is so important to (Christians) because what it means is real power in the only world which actually exists (the material world) of YOU over ME–and you wonder why I'm not keen on the idea?" ~ Christopher Hitchens

      October 28, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  15. Reality

    One should be voting based on rational thinking. Believing in angels, satans, bodily resurrections, atonement, and heavens of all kinds is irrational.

    Apparently, BO and MR have been severely brainwashed in their theologically and historically flawed Christianity and they are too weak to escape its felonious grip so no matter who wins we will have to be vigilant that he keeps his craziness personal.

    October 28, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  16. H. E. Baber

    Miserable hypocrite. Obama is an atheist, pandering to Evangelicals. C'mon Obama, come out of the closet. You're an atheist. Stop being an enabler to the detestable, stinking Evangelicals–who are destroying out country.

    October 27, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  17. Stephen Miller

    Christian faith doesn't seem to effect his arrogant condescension, incivility, and his disregard for the unborn, promotion of gay marriage and disregard for religious freedom. What kind of evangelical pastor counselors are these?

    October 27, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • H. E. Baber

      "Arrogant condescension" is dead on. Obama assumes that all we "People of Faith"–and doesn't that patronizing, condescending phrase set your teeth on edge–are white trash who "cling to guns and religion." He despises religion, and regards all religious believers as uneducated lower class ignoramouses, to be wheedled and manipulated. I'm sick of being trashed by his elite-secular political machine.

      October 27, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  18. Eliminate hinduism, denial of truth absolute by hindu's laires, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    Expect nothing better but mayhem among humanity by following of hinduism, denial of truth absolute, Allah, and following of hindu pagan Mithra ism, savior ism, neither commanded, nor allowed in Islam as a religion, but Theen Allah, consti tution of truth absolute.
    Shiaism
    hindu Mithra ism, savior ism invented little over 100 years after Sydana Mohammad pbh by tribes of Kujar of north Africa and imposition as Fatmid Khalaphit by force by denial of Hidth and Quran, justified by hindu Judaism, pagan secularism to impose hinduism, racism by hindu, fabricated relationship with Family of Syadana Mohammad pbh to justify existence of hindu criminal Kings, a violation of fundamental commandment, human equality under the LA. truth absolute Allah. Cause of conflict among Muslim's and cause of down fall of Muslim's and Islam in Spain.

    Sunisim, invented by Turk's by corruption of Quran and hidth to justify existence of hindu King's as Khalipha, after death of Ruler Mohammad, but later renamed, Mehmmat, wisdom of spirit of truth by siblings from his Armenian wife, follower of hindu pagan Mithra ism, savior ism in 13th century.

    Christianity, invented by hinduism,. corruption of truth absolute by hindu Pharisees, pagan self centered, follower of hindu filthy pig ism by corrupted Torah, known as Greek Torah, translated and commented by Ben Asheer in 250 AD in Yiddish, secularist, self centered language, also known as Old Testament, part of book of Mithra ism labeled as Bible. A way to justify hindu criminal Kings and self proclaimed Prophets, fortune tellers as god's to rule over humanity.

    JUDAISM, Self center ism, pig ism, or Atheism, invented by hindu's pagan's of Egypt by corruption of truth absolute in Torah to Justify hindu pagan Pharaoh's and their hindu pagan Santans, goons as god's to rule over humanity with impunity.

    HAVE hINDUISM, CORRUPTION OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE, RELIGIONS AND LIVE WITH MAYHEM, AS HAS BEEN THE CASE FROM hIND, DARK AGES TILL TODAY. FOLLOW THEEN ALLAH, CONSTI TUTION OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE, ALLAH , GOD AND THE LORD, FOUNDATION OF CONSTI TUTION OF AMERICA TO HAVE PEACE AMONG HUMANITY. To learn more please visit truthisthelimit.com

    October 27, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  19. Mohammad A Dar

    Blind leading a blind blah blah blah blah blah blah Do you ever read the article or you just shoot your mouth off? Get a life. You are no more than an annoying fly.

    October 27, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      was meant for Hindu-bot.

      October 27, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, denial of truth absolute by hindu's laires, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      Kiss my hindu filthy shoe hindu, ID Thief.

      October 27, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      and what the fvk is that supposed to mean? are you translating some Arabic saying?

      October 27, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  20. Eliminate hinduism, denial of truth absolute by hindu's laires, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    Blind leading a blind, faith of hindu gentile's, ignorant slave christian's of hindu Jew's, filthy secular s to be Spiritual, but in following of their hindu soul, ignorant desire in reality, having nothing to do with truth absolute GOD, foundation of American Consti tution.

    October 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Blind leading a blind blah blah blah blah blah blah Do you ever read the article or you just shoot your mouth off? Get a life. You are no more than an annoying fly.

      October 27, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, denial of truth absolute by hindu's laires, for peace, Islam among humanity

      Read?I cannot read,, read is for hindu dogs. Pet parrot tell me what you say, I bangbang keyboard hope stuffys come out.

      Pet parrot also say I heap big nincompoop, but will not tell me what that long word means. He poop on my head when I sleep. Parrots are hindu.

      October 28, 2012 at 3:33 am |
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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.