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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. Hindu

    OBAMA IS NOT A LEADER. HE IS THE FIRST PRESIDENT WHO MAKES POLICIES BASED ON POLLS - POLLSTER-IN-CHIEF

    October 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Francisco

      I bet that every president never made a difference in your life. So what are you complaining about?

      October 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  2. Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race. 1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

    Only God could create a man,
    Evolution was God's Masterplan.
    Our living above and the Godly living inside,
    Aborting one of God's buildings is for woman to decide.
    One God and His Family to each building called Man,
    Life everlasting as only God and His kind can!

    October 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  3. Hindu

    Obama does not believe in God. He is just an opportunist who will use anything to win the election - God and faith are nothing more than tools for him to win the election - nothing more. God is NOT reflected in his public policy and yet reading the polls he got God re-inserted into DNC platform by a dubious voice vote.

    October 28, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Francisco

      Even though Obama has been going to church since he was born? When he was 5 years old, he was already planning to be an opportunist to be a President?

      By the way, for you to say that, you must obviously know the president really well to say something to personal. So, next time you see and and talk to him, because you probably see him in a daily basis, tell him , Francisco from Massachusetts, said hi. And tell him that Romney destroyed our state, making our state the 47th in job growth. He will do the same for the country, since he relies so much on his Massachusetts experience. No other Governor has lost more jobs here in Mass than what Romney did in the History of Massachusetts. God Bless.

      October 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  4. Rainer Braendlein

    Obama has such a loveable Mickey Mouse face, styled by Walt Disney personally. Yet, the devil appears always in the shape of an angle of light.

    If Obama would be a true Christian, he would speak out much more against the Islam as a doctrine (please note that I don't hate the Muslims; it is only the Islamic doctrine which I criticize sharply).

    I would even claim that Obama hates the Muslims in contrast to me.

    How is that possible?

    If someone keeps another one in the fiction that a lie is a truth, he doesn't do him good but bad, and that is nothing but hatred.

    On the one hand we should love the Muslims as human beings with full human dignity but on the other hand we should tell them that their religion is a lie. This would be pure love towards the Muslims.

    There is a lot historical evidence that Muhammad was a womanizer and a warlord. Muhammad shed much guiltless blood through aggressive war. How can a murderer be a divine prophet? Alone the fact that Muhammad was a criminal nullifies the Islamic doctrine. Muhammad was rather authorized by the devil than by God when you consider his historical deeds.

    One may remark that this was just the stoneage-Islam, and is no more significant today. Okay, let that be so.

    Yet, Muhammad also teached wrong about Jesus Christ, and that heresy is still valid today, and poor Muslims are entra-ped by Muhammad's heresy.

    Right teaching about Jesus: God, the Father, delivered, God, the Son, Jesus Christ, for our sins, and raised him from the dead for our justification. Everybody who believes that becomes righteous by word and deed.

    Muhammad did not teach this gospel which is necessary for our salvation, but he even falsly teached that Jesus had been an Islamic Imam who had teached the Islam. Muhammad said that the first Christians would have been Muslims which had turned apostate from the Islam which allegedly Jesus teached. This is outrageous. Muhammad says that the reason for the corruption of the Western World would be Christianity (a heresy from the Islam's sight), and the World would recover if all people would return to the genuine Religion of Truth (Islam).

    Of course, the reason for the corruption of the Western World is not Christianity but the disbelief. Many Westerners are only nominal Christians but Christianity in itself is very good. If people would really belief in Jesus Christ, the Western World would be a paradise.

    Dear Muslims, forget Muhammad, he was the bloodthirsty Son of the devil, and instead join the Son of the loving God, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ wants to cure your soul and your body. Allow him to make you happy, let him be your personal king. Jesus will give you life in fulness.

    Don't believe Obama, he has no idea.

    October 28, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • THE ONLY ONE

      RIDE ON BROTHER//KILL ALL MUSLIMS

      October 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Francisco

      We Christians do NOT talk bad about other religions because God tells you not to do that.

      "Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister[a]? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:

      “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
      ‘every knee will bow before me;
      every tongue will acknowledge God.’”[b]
      "So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God."

      "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval."

      "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall. So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin."

      ROMANS 14:1 – 23

      So are you trying to say Obama is even more of a Christian than you think? Ok okay, thanks for clarifying that. God Bless.

      October 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  5. Hindu

    Obama does NOT glorify God - He wants to use God to get himself glorified.

    October 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  6. joe

    ‘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.’”
    -------
    Oh please. If God wanted something to happen it doesn't need upright monkeys to do its bidding. It can make a universe out thought, make hundreds of billions of galaxies with hundreds of billions of stars in each galaxy but it can't handle what it wants done on one little planet without having the upright monkeys praying to it?

    Just stop the absurd stupidity. This isn't the 7th century.

    October 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Francisco

      Just because God doesn't do what you want, it doesn't mean he is ignoring you. It just means that he is doing something good and you aren't even noticing. Foe example, if you ask God for patience, I doubt He would give you patience. He you give you more troubles, so that way you can train and get more patient. Sometimes you ask God for something, but when He is helping you, you don't realize what he is doing. Because you want everything with perfection. Well, if you want perfection, it is not by asking God, it is by following God's Law without mistake.

      October 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  7. Hindu

    Desperate attempt by Mr Gilgoff (the ATHEIST) - trying to divert evangelical vote from Romney towards Obama. Pathetic loser, Gilgoff!!

    October 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  8. Hindu

    Hypocrisy of the atheists and CNN - they do not have problems when Obama says he is a faithful Christian. They celebrate Obama's faith but deride Republicans' faith.

    Actually they just are just Obama worshipers - trying to build a cult of personality around the false prophet Obama.

    October 28, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  9. Russ

    @ Dan Gilgoff:
    why does this read like an appeal to conservative Christians having trouble voting for a Mormon?

    Consider: Romney is not a Trinitarian monotheist. His religion is still widely regarded as a cult in conservative Christian circles. And yet Romney's ethical stance on abortion & g.ay marriage is closer to "conserving" major biblical concerns than Obama's so-called "more conservative" theology.

    Jesus was a radical, social progressive WHILE being a staunch theological conservative.
    at no point did he violate 'conserving' God's Word (Mt.5:17), and yet he called out his culture's norms consistently.
    Maybe William Wilburforce & MLK *sometimes* approximated such a tension.

    But claiming Obama is a theological conservative is as laughable as claiming Romney is a monotheist. It's demonstrably untrue.

    October 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  10. Rainer Braendlein

    If Obama would be a true Christian, he would speak out much more against the Islam as a doctrine (please note that I don't hate the Muslims; it is only the Islamic doctrine which I criticize sharply) for the sake of the Muslim's health.

    I would even claim that Obama hates the Muslims in contrast to me.

    How is that possible?

    If someone keeps another one in the fiction that a lie is a truth, he doesn't do him good but bad, and that is nothing but hatred.

    On the one hand we should love the Muslims as human beings with full human dignity but on the other hand we should tell them that their religion is a lie. This would be pure love towards the Muslims.

    There is a lot historical evidence that Muhammad was a womanizer and a warlord. Muhammad shed much guiltless blood through aggressive war. How can a murderer be a divine prophet? Alone the fact that Muhammad was a criminal nullifies the Islamic doctrine. Muhammad was rather authorized by the devil than by God when you consider his historical deeds.

    One may remark that this was just the stoneage-Islam, and is no more significant today. Okay, let that be so.

    Yet, Muhammad also teached wrong about Jesus Christ, and that heresy is still valid today, and poor Muslims are entra-ped by Muhammad's heresy.

    Right teaching about Jesus: God, the Father, delivered, God, the Son, Jesus Christ, for our sins, and raised him from the dead for our justification. Everybody who believes that becomes righteous by word and deed.

    Muhammad did not teach this gospel which is necessary for our salvation, but he even falsly teached that Jesus had been an Islamic Imam who had teached the Islam. Muhammad said that the first Christians would have been Muslims which had turned apostate from the Islam which allegedly Jesus teached. This is outrageous. Muhammad says that the reason for the corruption of the Western World would be Christianity (a heresy from the Islam's sight), and the World would recover if all people would return to the genuine Religion of Truth (Islam).

    Of course, the reason for the corruption of the Western World is not Christianity but the disbelief. Many Westerners are only nominal Christians but Christianity in itself is very good. If people would really belief in Jesus Christ, the Western World would be a paradise.

    Dear Muslims, forget Muhammad, he was the bloodthirsty Son of the devil, and instead join the Son of the loving God, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ wants to cure your soul and your body. Allow him to make you happy, let him be your personal king. Jesus will give you life in fulness.

    Don't believe Obama, he has no idea.

    October 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Truth Hurts, Doesn't it?

      Where were the Muslims in World War 1 and 2 bloodshed? Where were the Muslims in Holocaust? Where were the Muslims in centuries long wars in Europe and North America, that started from the birth of Christianity? Were the Muslims responsible for the deaths of Millions of people in Vietnam, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia?

      October 28, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      I did not accuse the Muslims but only Muhammad.

      Muhammad was an impostor, that is a historical fact.

      I am concerned about the Muslims. They may get lost, if they don't shift from criminal Muhammad to holy Jesus.

      October 28, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  11. Bob

    Obama "transforms" because he has no beliefs. He says or does whatever is needed to move him along. He's Muslim, he's Christian, he's a drug user, he's friends with domestic terrorists, he's a "community activist". The reality is he's a chameleon.

    October 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Bryan

      exactly

      October 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  12. Hindu

    Obama is a false prophet with God-complex trying to write his own Bible.

    October 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  13. Bryan

    Obama may "love" God, but he hates America. He doesn't see this is a great nation, but as a dictator that needs to be overthrown.

    October 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Hindu

      Obama loves only one God - himself. He is a false prophet with God-complex trying to write his own Bible.

      October 28, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  14. Rob C

    As a Christian I hope this is really true – it is the only hope we have together.

    As a US citizen and voter, I hope he gets to talk to us more about it after January 20th in a new role- as a former president.

    October 28, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  15. Anybody know how to read?

    Americult, the nation of laws for the Lawless.

    October 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  16. jillj

    Benghazi Update: WHERE IS THE RAGE??? I'm posting here because the media is protecting Obama... By now everyone knows that Obama lied about Benghazi and was still lying about it at the UN on 9/25, two weeks later.... No protest, No video. Denied security requests. And, people got murdered.

    But, have you heard Charles Woods, attorney, judge and father of murdered Navy Seal Ty Woods? He called Beck on Thursday and was interviewed by Hannity yesterday to try and get the truth out:

    When his son's body arrived at Andrews AFB, Mr. Woods met with President Obama, VP Biden and Hillary Clinton.

    According to Mr. Woods: President Obama wouldn't look him in the eye, mumbled an insincere apology and was like shaking hands with "a dead fish".

    VP Biden inappropriate exclaimed in front of the parents: Your son must have balls the size of cue balls. And, Hillary continued the lie...

    Ms. Clinton told him: We'll get the guy who made this video...

    Why didn't Obama, Biden and Hillary tell him: We'll get the terrorists who MURDERED your son?

    All Mr. Woods wants to know is: Who, at the WH, gave the order NOT to save my son?

    The attack and firefight last for 7+ hours... Cameras in the compound, drones overhead and satellites streamed LIVE LIVE LIVE video to the State Department, CIA, FBI, Pentagon and the WH Situation Room. Did Obama watch Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans die in REAL TIME, or did he sleep on it and watch it in the morning en route to more campaigning in Las Vegas?

    Mr. Woods wants to know: Did Obama personally block the orders to send in the Quick Reaction Force commandos from Sicily or elsewhere nearby? The Seals were using lasers to "paint" the targets where the mortar attacks were coming from, for air support that never came...

    How's that for leaving them for dead? I'm sure the FBI, CIA and military are brimming with confidence to see how the Commander-in-Chief "has their back". Making a mockery of these murders, lying about it and now blaming the "fog of war".

    Why did it take three weeks to get an FBI investigation team there, when CNN could stroll in the next day and get Ambassador Steven's journal? I'm sure Team Obama (and the biased, corrupt media) are just hoping voters won't find out the truth until after the election. After all this is all about Obama and HIS campaign. Remember, to Obama these murdered Americans are just "bumps in the road." NO RAGE from Obama...

    Americans were MURDERED and Obama, Hillary and everyone else let it happen, then LIED and continue the COVER-UP.

    Where is the RAGE at EVERY campaign event Obama has? How about the media? If this had been Bush or any Republican they'd be covering this non-stop, 24/7. Are they so far gone for Obama they have no morals, or sense of right and wrong, either?

    Where is the RAGE????????????

    October 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  17. Lovely

    I find it puzzling that people don't acknowledge that the following things were in this world PRIOR to Obama being in office but because they dislike Obama sooooo much certain people want to blame him for EVERYTHING, they probably blame him for natural disasters too, or the fact they are mean hateful people with issues against anyone different from them.

    1. ABORTION
    2. FOOD STAMPS (SNAP)
    3. RACIST
    4. RACISM
    5. DISLIKE OF BLACK PEOPLE (AFRICAN AMERICANS)
    6. GAY PEOPLE
    7. GAY PEOPLE LIVING WITH EACH OTHER
    8. GAY PEOPLE WANTING TO GET MARRIED
    9. GAY COUPLES WANTING TO ADOPT
    10. LOW ECONOMY
    11. JOB LAYOFFS
    12. TERRORISM
    13. UNEMPLOYMENT
    14.
    15.
    16.

    October 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Rob C

      I don not believe they are blaming him FOR creating them at all- they are blaming him for he is handling them...has nothing to do with whether they were here before him or not....you have no real point....

      October 28, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  18. Hindu

    Obama believes in only one God - himself. He has even written his own bible that allows murder of innocents in name of blanket abortion and gay marriage.

    October 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  19. Penny Wright

    Science flies you to the moon.

    Religion flies you into buildings.

    October 28, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Hindu

      Tell that to Obama so he can stop saying he is a Christian.

      October 28, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
    • Russ

      and Penny Wright flies into false dichotomies.

      October 28, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • sally

      You're exactly right, Penny.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  20. Hindu

    CNN is least interested in glorifying FAITH through Obama ... they are trying to glorify Obama through faith as a convenient tool. Their goal is to glorify and worship Obama as their IDOL.

    October 28, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.