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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. Bob Knippel

    Spewing news about presidential candidates' religious convictions is not in line with the concept of keeping religion out of government. Everybody has some religious conviction, even if it's a belief in nothing, but that has nothing whatsoever to do with government or being a suitable presidential candidate or effective leader. What IS a problem is those who attempt to extend their own religious convictions throughout American society via attempts at legislation over issues such as abortion.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  2. bozobub

    *Stalin

    October 28, 2012 at 10:29 am |
  3. bozobub

    Anyone who thinks a President's faith in Deity should matter at all is a purblind, unamerican fool. It's no marker of a successful President; hell it's no marker of ANY good leader. Just about the only genocidal leader in history who was an atheist was Josef Staslin, FFS.

    Any person's faith (or lack of it) is between them and their Deity of choice. It's no one else's business, period, except for their clergy, if they ascribe to a specific faith.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  4. Truth

    To bring an end to this bickering back and forth, here is the solution:
    OBAMA IS A N!GGER. N!GGERS DO NOT POSSESS A SOUL, THEY ARE NOT HUMAN BEINGS. THEREFORE, ON1GGER HAS NO RELIGION. Maybe some african n1gger voodoo or witchcraft, but no soul = no religion.
    CASE CLOSED.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • FloydZepp

      My sister says her n1gger botfriend feels 10 times better inside her than I ever did!

      October 28, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • bozobub

      Sorry, "Truth", you simply have no say in the matter. Or would you care to point at the passage in your *cough* "holy book" that states black people have no souls..?

      Oh, that's right, you're just a hateful little twit, nothing more, who has nothing productive to say. I'm amazed you're literate enough to post on a blog; did mommy type it for you?

      October 28, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • snowboarder

      you are just a child looking for attention. pathetic.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • bozobub

      As an aside: It's amusing to see you display your true colors, "Truth". I remember not long ago, when you were vehemently denying that you were a racist on a different CNN blog.

      Whatever. In your case, PEBKAC.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Truth

      And I'm getting it.
      Thanks sheep!

      October 28, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Truth

      What in the world will you n1gger loving, race-traitor, non-Americans do when your pet n1ggers gets the boots and Romney goes on to see 8 years in the WHITE House?
      It shall be GLORIOUS!
      Na na na na, hey hey hey, GOODBYE On1gger!!!! :)

      October 28, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • bozobub

      I'd pay a good amount of money to see the look on your face during Obama's swearing-in for his 2nd term =3 ...

      October 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  5. Jim

    Romney is losing by 2.3 or 2.4% in Nevada, Iowa, Ohio and Wisconsin.

    A candidate behind that far wins that state only 14% of the time.

    Even if Romney beats the odds and wins ALL of the toss up states where the race is closer, he STILL needs Ohio or Wisconsin to reach 271.

    Romney is history.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Truth

      Margin of error says your n1gger is done, gone, bye bye. See ya in 4 year,s n1gger lover.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • dav

      You facts are a bunch of lies,obama is behind everywhere

      October 28, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • bozobub

      Sorry, Dav, even Faux news has Obama ahead. YOUR insistence does not actually happen to create truth, sorry.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Truth

      When it is all said and done, you race-traitors will EAT YOUR WORDS!!
      Ohio may be an overly n1ggerfied state, but the human beings still outnumber the welfare recipient n1ggers there 3 to 1, at least.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • bozobub

      Isn't your mommy tired of typing for you, "Truth"? Go abuse your pets.

      October 28, 2012 at 11:06 am |
  6. Rachel

    It's interesting how CNN decides to make this a front page story while in the meantime we're finding out from other news sources that Obama is lying about Libya. Way to tow the party line, CNN.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Jim

      Watching Romney dance on the graves of Americans to score political points is disgusting.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's "TOE" the party line, and the only source that's making hay is Faux. Go watch them if you think they've got the truth.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  7. Again?

    Again with a lead article on the PResident's failth? I think you Romney equal time. I don't care what faith he is, he has more character than Romney has in this little finger.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • MikeB

      Obama? Cartoon characters have character also, but we don't elect them President.
      If you want entertainment then stay with the fantasy authors. Bill Clinton did say the Obama had brought his fairy tale to D.C.
      If you want to save America, by preserving Personal Liberty and our National Sovereignty, you'll vote for Romney/Ryan.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  8. FloydZepp

    I love how Mammon Worshiping evangelicals still think they get to decide for Jesus who is and isn't "christian"! What a hoot!

    October 28, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • MikeB

      And you do?

      October 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • bozobub

      I don't see where FloydZepp implied he did. Finding something funny in someone else's behavior does not necessarily imply YOU act the same way, you know.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  9. paintpaintpaint

    REEAAALLLY long article (are you writing a book? Just WRITE it.). And truthfully – WHO cares? Are we voting on how much we like each candidates' religion? How ridiculous would THAT be? Let's just say this.... it's obvious Romney cares about Mormans. And making lots and lots of money. It's also obvious that Obama spends most of his time trying to stop the horror that was the 2008 crash, so people don't lose their homes and fewer people lose their jobs. And adding jobs, although it's been tough with the Republicans voting lock-step against every single bill. Mitt caused many people to lose their jobs – it's what he and his people do – and if the company goes bankrupt and everyone looses their job, well, Bain still gets paid. I don't give a rat's hoo-ha where, how or how often a politician prays publicly. It's how he ACTS publicly that I care about. Your story's waaaaay too long.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:26 am |
  10. MikeB

    What? No one is claiming that Obama is flip-flopping on his faith?
    Next thing we'll hear is that he's an atheist. Which would be consistent with a flip-flopper that doesn't sticking with anything of moral principle.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Truth

      N1ggers cant' actually "flip-flop". That would require having at least some conviction in one idea at one point. N1ggers have no heart, no soul, no conviction. It's all just some african n1gger smoke and mirrors.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • paintpaintpaint

      Of course you are speaking about Mitt Romney, right? because his huge flips are recorded on film. "I won't raise taxes on the rich!" "I will raise taxes on the rich!" "I don't care about 47% of the people." "I care about all Americans" "I support a woman's right to choose" "I'll overturn Roe v. Wade" etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. If Obama missed a couple of campaign promises... well name one president that didn't... I dare you. And also he walked into the economic crisis of 2008 – which, unless you really understand how vast the US economy is, and all it's connected to, internally and globally, you won't 'get'.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • MikeB

      paintpaintpaint – You can't tell the difference between the straw-men that Obama sets up to define Romney and the Real-Deal.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  11. FloydZepp

    Did an angel really give Mr Smith golden tablets and magic underwear? LOL

    October 28, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • MikeB

      You must have been a bully in school. You still haven't grown up.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Lilith

      MikeB, Floyd has a point and you didn't answer the "very reasonable" question.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • bozobub

      Well, Mr. Smith DID admit he ate some "magic" mushrooms before he saw the angel Moroni.

      I'm jealous; I never saw anything remotely as interesting when under the influence -.-' .

      October 28, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • MikeB

      Lilith – The bully would not listen.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • MikeB

      Obama sure does have a lot of bullies rooting for him.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • bozobub

      A;, I see, MikeB: All of Mittens' supporters are ANGELS; butter wouldn't melt in their mouths...

      Sorry, no. Learn to debate, or get off the cheap bullpuckey. I can point fingers just as well as you can, with even more evidence.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:45 am |
  12. PA86

    "Obama has technically been a born-again Christian for more than 25 years, since accepting Jesus at Wright’s Chicago church in the 1980s" It's not a technicality . . . when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you begin a walk. He is clearly on that walk more than I even thought. For those of you who want to cite this article as too pro-Obama, or not news, or whatever: CNN has been running this story line every Sunday on various religion themes. There is also a story on here about Romney today, should you decided to click that link and follow it. To all of you who think his beliefs about abortion or whatever don't fall close enough in line with yours, you need to consider at least what he is saying. I don't always agree with his stance on every subject personally either. But I do believe that as a Christian, I have no right to "legislate" my beliefs onto to other people, and I think that is the stand I see him taking. God gave man free will and the freedom to choose. You can choose to live your life as a Christian and also choose not to try to shove it down the throat of everyone else in the country. You can choose to live by example, rather than rule of law. And you can choose to quit vilifying someone over all the bs and lies out there that is truly based on racism.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • anonymous

      Do you honestly believe all the criticism directed at Obama is racism? How do explain the history we have in this country of extreme criticism being slung at all previous presidents when they were in office? It's just part of the game. That doesn't make it right but it doesn't make it racism either. We are never going to be able to move forward in this country on the issue of race as long as people continue to believe things like the criticism being thrown at Obama is racist.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • bozobub

      Sorry, but the blatant racism of many Obama critics is quite evident right here on this blog. Just scroll around a bit. Certainly, not all of Obama's critics are racist, and no one has impied that they are. But you're not going to be able to sweep the hooded freaks under the rug, sorry.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • anonymous

      One more comment..... You don't think you should legislate you beliefs on others.....I believe that to a point but when it comes to Christian faith isn't there a point at which the things that are being legislated are so far removed from being Biblical that you have to stand up and say no? There are nonessential (adiaphora) issues that are neither required nor prohibited by scripture. As Christians we need to respect and lovingly accomodate a variety of opinions. How best to take care of the least of these from an economic and political point of view think is one of those areas. There is more than one valid and good way to accomplish that end. But as Christians how do we support legislation that is far removed from the Bible? How can I say I love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind and soul and support just anything anyone wants to do regardless of how disrespectful that issue is to our Heavenly Father?

      October 28, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • anonymous

      bozobub – there are creeps on both sides of this issue. :)

      October 28, 2012 at 10:49 am |
  13. INGODITRUST

    This is the biggest joke you have come up with yet!!!! Mr. Obama is about as much of a Christian as that stump in my backyard!!! I have had it with CNN's one-sidedness!

    October 28, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • paintpaintpaint

      Why is it your business how and when ANYONE worships? Obama's done a great job in a horrible situation. You're not being very 'Christian'.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • bozobub

      For that matter, how is he not Christian? Simply claiming he isn't does not make it so; I'm pretty sure he doesn't care about YOUR opinion on the matter – lol...

      October 28, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • INGODITRUST

      If he wins you will both see! Praying for you both!!!!

      October 28, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  14. 21k

    hey, shouldn't all you xtians be at church right now? or are you all just a bunch of fakes.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • PA86

      Known fact: There are many people who to church every Sunday who are not really Christians, and there are many Christians who don't go to church on Sunday.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • 21k

      pa, if you ask the former about the latter, they'll declare that real xtians go to church. so get off your lazy butt and get to church! otherwise you'll never get to heaven.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:32 am |
    • rhondarhondarhonda

      Not all Christians attend church on Sunday at 10:00AM.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • bozobub

      Take it from an atheist: The Bible specifically says "Everywhere is God's house".

      The organized Church is merely a mechanism to manipulate the faithful by PEOPLE. The Pharisees were scorned by Jesus for a reason, folks.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  15. Doug Lynn

    The overwhelming evidence points to the fact that Obama is a self-worshiping Hedonist first and, then, a pretend Christian purely for political advantage.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • just me

      thanks for sayinhg that.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • cryslas

      And your evidence comes from the Obama haters? Obama was baptized in a Christian Church, married his wife there and had his two daughters baptized there. Whether or not you like his pastor is NOT relevant. You are NOT the judge of Obama, only God is. I see a virtuous man who has spent countless hours helping others. I see a man who has worked very hard for the poor and middle class in this country. Have you ever once gone to the Whitehouse.org to find out your information or do you just stick to Faux News sites and radical far-right hate monger talk? How much do you know about the Mormon religion and their belief that Mormon's will rule the world after Armageddon? Do you know that Mormons believe you are saved by 'works' and can become a god yourself?

      October 28, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • bozobub

      "Hedonist"..? Explain yourself.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  16. Lilith

    Atheist then
    Atheist now

    October 28, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • cryslas

      Judge not lest you be judged.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • bozobub

      And your evidence is what, exactly?

      Your insistence does not generate fact, no matter how blue you get in the face.

      October 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  17. fred smith

    Watch for the religon in his actions. You shall know him by his actions. Did you know he has a brother in Keyna that lives in a mud hut? Why doesnt Obama care about him if he is so caring? He has several relatives on welfare in the US. How does Obama take care of them? If he has such caring for his own family, how do you think he feels about you?

    October 28, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Lilith

      Although I agree with your sentiment Fred, keep in mind some people like to live in mud huts and many Americans LIKE to be on welfare .. and he "doesn't need to worry about those people".

      October 28, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Truth

      They're all african n1ggers....mud huts and welfare comes standard.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • bozobub

      Mittens' daddy was on welfare for a good bit; it's public record.

      What's that I hear? Your silly argument deflating..? Aww.

      October 28, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  18. John Geheran

    People do change. But Obama's actions speak volumes about his philosophical and religious leanings. His demeanor in his meeting with the Saudi King; his close and long association with known communists, anarchists and black liberation theologists; his pronouncements such as "I will stand with Muslims should the political winds turn ugly"; his assertions at WH Iftar dinners about Islam's role in US history, etc. Nope, no pattern here.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  19. FloydZepp

    Mormonism – because magic panties made on Kolob ships even more jobs out of America!

    October 28, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • NoWingNuutsAllowed

      They promised me my own Planet.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  20. SkepticalTexan

    Wow CNN, removing my post? A non-threatening, rational point about how the comments on this article that state President Obama is Muslim are incorrect and irrelevant gets filtered, yet hate speech is allowed to stay on this site? A comment on how we should get back to the "e pluribus unum" mindset instead of the "One Nation Under [a Christian] God" mindset (i.e. promoting tolerance over self-righteous bullying) is worse than people stating falsely that President Obama is a Muslim secretly plotting the destruction of the world? Is this really is a fair discussion that allows critical thinking of hard-set, unchallenged beliefs?

    October 28, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • NoWingNuutsAllowed

      Would you expect anything less from the Party of Hate.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • bozobub

      You inadvertently included a banned keyword, nothing more. DISQUS doesn't have an AI that actually understands English, you know.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:54 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.