home
RSS
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.”

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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. matt

    calling all cars – we have an obama emergency – he is not getting reelected – all mainstream / liberal media be on alert – write only good stories – write contridictory stories – just all obama all the time – we are about to loose our rock star.

    its over liberals – take your smug, arrogant agendas and shove them up the eye of YOUR hurricane (IYKWIM)

    October 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  2. Lou

    This whole article is rubbish. This fabrication is fashioned in the hopes that if people swallow this tripe, it may influence the 300,000 evangelicals who didn't vote last time in the hopes to sway their vote this time. The minute the election is over he goes right back to his koran.....He is a phony and a deceiver. He fooled a lot of folks last time. Don't make the same mistake.

    October 28, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  3. Kay

    This article was amusing. What else can they come up with to get people to re-elect Obama.

    October 28, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  4. SCOTTA.

    hey demoncrats pray to obama because he is your god.

    October 28, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Da King

      What a stupid thing to say.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Lou

      You are a glittering jewel of colossal stupidity

      October 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
  5. Da King

    This election is difficult for Christians because neither candidate is a Christian. So, we try to vote on their adherence to Bible principals. And, both candidates flip flop on those. So, it's punt and hope at the polls and pray for the best. This may be an end of times set-up. Are you ready?

    October 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What hyperbole. People like you have been predicting the "end of times" since time began.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Da King

      If Obama isn't a Christian, yet he attended da Reverend Wright's church for 20 years and listened to the black militant tripe, what exactly is his religion?

      Mau Mau?

      October 28, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • tony

      Judging who is a Christian or not is solely God's choice. Blasphemy will get you out of that class yourself.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Da King

      Good question!

      October 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • jason

      Romney is a Mormon, and the Mormon god lives in the planet Kolob... not exactly the history of Jesus Christ

      October 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Da King

      Tony, I you have been born of the Spirit of God you are a Christian. Period. If you have been, you know it. And, others who have been know who is and is not. Where does that leave you. I don't think you will find the answer at your church.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      SoDa King, you believe you "know" who is a Christian and who isn't? You're qualified to state who is saved and who isn't?

      Gee. What do we need God for if we have YOU?

      Idiot.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Da King

      TOM TOM, READ AND BELIEVE THE BIBLE AND YOU WILL KNOW ALSO.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Already read it. No sale. You're a tool.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Da King

      I know. Thank you.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  6. GodFreeNow

    I think it's sad that this otherwise seemingly intelligent person has to pander to a fantasy-based society. I long for the day when reason trumps illusion.

    October 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Da King

      Sorry Pal, Gods got the power. You have the imagination.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Tim

      Seriously, people like you have been waiting for that day to come since the dawn of time. It won't come. Get used to people of faith being around.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  7. Mike P

    "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."

    How about reject abortion and gay marriage?

    October 28, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • sheila

      Hitler professed to be a Christian too. We are looking at his actions, like his attacks against the church and our religious freedoms.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • jason

      Lets get this straight Mike.. are you trying to mix religion and politics... Because the founding fathers , who were deist, not christian, made it very clear religion should have no part in politics.,.. and anti abortion and gay marriage is religion based ideas...... I thought Republicans wanted LESS Government.... right.. unless its about who you marry and a woman's right to choose.. then they want MORE Gvt.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  8. I don't care

    I don't want the Church in my politics, and I don't want politics in my Church.

    October 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Mr Sarcasm

      Did you know that atheists now believe in a God? Yep, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You see, they realized that without the FSM to keep them in line when nobody is watching, atheists would start murdering each other. The FSM will send them into the great boiling pot of sauce if they disobey.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      October 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • NoWingNutsAllowd

      Religion is for the weak minded who need to be led like the sheep they are.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • Luv U

      That's easy to do. Let me try.

      Atheism is for the weak minded who need to form hate group atheist societies and follow their saviors, Barack Hussein Obama and Richard Dawkins.

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

      People forget that what the Founding fathers, who were Deist not Christian, meant with freedom of religion is that your are FREE to pray or follow ANY religion or NOT follow ANY religion at all... keep Religion out of Politics.... you people sound like fracking Muslim fanatics. The Tea Party =The American Taliban

      October 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  10. Billy

    Yes, Obama bin laden is a Muslim and wears dresses. He bendsova for the Saudi king and I saw that on TV so it
    Must be true. I see that 99.9 % of black people will vote for him and of course they are not racists they know he is doing a
    Great job. Let's see, he has changed nothing and has no actual plan to solve the issues but he has goals. He can stick his
    Goals up his black/white bung hole did I miss anything?

    October 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Mr Obvious

      It is frustrating that those who cry racism loudest are admittedly!! the ones supporting Obama because he is black. H Y P O C R I S Y!!!

      October 28, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • jb

      get off your parents computer, you have 2nd grade tomorrow.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      KKK, that's all you picked up in your ABC class! Start working on your beer belly punk.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Mr Obvious

      99.9% of blacks vote for Obama! Who is racist? Hmm...that's a real puzzler.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • jason

      LMAO.. another crazy one ... just crazy .. too funny.make up your minds.. i thought he was a communist... and Communist and Muslims cannot be more opposites... you people are so sad...

      So far we've seen Obama the Communist, Obama the Black Radical, Obama the Secret Muslim, Obama the Atheist, Obama the Kenyan, Obama the Indonesian, Obama the Black Radical, Obama the Guy Who Is Just Like Adolph Hitler, and even Obama the Antichrist.

      What makes Obama the most interesting man in the world is not just that he is able to simultaneously be all of these things – a gay Muslim who is really an atheist Communist yet claims to be a Christian – but that no one who he ever met in all that time seems to be willing to verify any of these details. Which, if you really want to get into conspiratorial mode, is probably because he had everyone who knew his secrets killed execution-style by the Illuminati Hit Squad.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  11. IslandAtheist

    It's time we get rid of these bronze age myths.

    October 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Luv U

      I agree! Throw atheism in a lake of fire already and put it out of its misery.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Luv U,

      On the other hand I'm ordering some Dehydrated Boulders and Earthquake Pills from the Acme Corporation for use on theism.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Da King

      We did that! Where were you?

      Jesus is still here. I guess you missed that too.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  12. Austin

    Mr. President, please dont Talk the Talk With Christianity, Walk the Walk as Jesus commands.

    October 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Pitbull

      He is a Muslim not a christian. He lies, lies, lies

      October 28, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Bob

      And get going on that daily goat sacrifice, as the bible demands. Jesus said the old laws still apply, so get on that goat or god will torture you forever, according to the bible.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Luv U

      LOL Bob! If you're going to criticize Christianity, at least know something about it. Jesus was the lamb, the once and for all sacrifice. Learn some theology.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Luv U,

      Ah, the 'lamb' - it is SO much more romantic than the basis of the old Hebrew superst'ition from whence it stems: "The Lord's Goat" and "The Azazel Goat".

      October 28, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Luv U

      Let's see, now what was it that figured in the Passover story? Oh, yes, lamb.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Bizarre

      Luv U,

      Passover? Magical lambs?:

      Fantasy and superst'ition.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Luv U

      You thought the lambs were magical? LOL No wonder you atheists can't believe in anything, you can't seem to get it right.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • michd

      Who every claims that the president is a muslin does not understand the muslin religion. A muslin will never bow, worship or acknowledge Jesus Christ. A muslin will never pretend to be a christian. I am a christian and have studies different religion. I find that christians are the ones who mostly deny their faith but are always trying to discredit those who stand up for theirs.
      Not many people will stand up and tell the world that they are a follower of Christ. I believe that the president is a Christian.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Da King

      MAY IT BE SO!!

      October 28, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Luv U

      If you've studies (sic) religion, then you probably know Muslins (sic) are a figment of your imagination.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  13. wowzah

    Zimrod your comment about President Obama being a moron is offensive. I refer you to last week's episode where Ann Coulter referred to the president as a retard. Google John Franklin Stephens response to her. It made news all over the world.

    October 28, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Bob

      Stephens' response was brilliant and brave, that he made to that beotch whose name I won't even mention

      October 28, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  14. Hugh Mann

    Hackneyed old chestnuts thinly veil the hatred of racism...Americans are a common people divided by their complexion

    October 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  15. Norbleem

    Obama is a Muslim . He has Muslim Brotherhood members in his Administration , and lets the American Muslim Brotherhood have open door access to the Oval Office , Obama has cuddled up to Islamists .

    October 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • jason

      LMAO.. you are crazy... just crazy .. too funny.make up your minds.. i thought he was a communist... and Communist and Muslims cannot be more opposites... you people are so sad...

      o far we've seen Obama the Communist, Obama the Black Radical, Obama the Secret Muslim, Obama the Atheist, Obama the Kenyan, Obama the Indonesian, Obama the Black Radical, Obama the Guy Who Is Just Like Adolph Hitler, and even Obama the Antichrist.

      What makes Obama the most interesting man in the world is not just that he is able to simultaneously be all of these things – a gay Muslim who is really an atheist Communist yet claims to be a Christian – but that no one who he ever met in all that time seems to be willing to verify any of these details. Which, if you really want to get into conspiratorial mode, is probably because he had everyone who knew his secrets killed execution-style by the Illuminati Hit Squad.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Mr Obvious

      If Madonna thinks Obama is a Muslim, that's good enough for me!

      October 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • jason

      Madonna? LMAO..... love ur sarcasm

      October 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  16. Colin

    A few questions should help shed light on the relationship between religion and rational thought.

    Q1. The completely absurd theory that all 7,000,000,000 human beings are simultaneously being supervised 24 hours a day, every day of their lives by an immortal, invisible being for the purposes of reward or punishment in the “afterlife” comes from the field of:

    (a) Children’s fairytales;

    (b) Medieval mythology;

    (c) New age pseudo science; or

    (d) Christianity

    Q.2 I honestly believe that, when I think silent thoughts like, “please god, help me pass my exam tomorrow,” some invisible being is reading my mind and will intervene and alter what would otherwise be the course of history in small ways to help me. I am

    (a) a delusional schizophrenic;

    (b) a naïve child, too young to know that that is silly

    (c) an ignorant farmer from Sudan who never had the benefit of even a fifth grade education; or

    (d) your average Christian

    Q3. Millions and millions of Catholics believe that bread and wine turns into the actual flesh and blood of a dead Jew from 2,000 years ago because:

    (a) there are obvious visible changes in the condiments after the Catholic priest does his hocus pocus;

    (b) tests have confirmed a divine presence in the bread and wine;

    (c) now and then their god shows up and confirms this story; or

    (d) their religious convictions tell them to blindly accept this completely fvcking absurd nonsense.

    Q.4 I believe that an all powerful being, capable of creating the entire cosmos watches me have $ex to make sure I don't do anything "naughty". I am

    (a) A victim of child molestation

    (b) A r.ape victim trying to recover

    (c) A mental patient with paranoid delusions

    (d) A Christian

    Q.5 You are about 70% likely to believe the entire Universe began less than 10,000 years ago with only one man, one woman and a talking snake if you are a:

    (a) historian;

    (b) geologist;

    (c) NASA astronomer; or

    (d) Christian

    Q.6 I have convinced myself that gay $ex is a choice and not genetic, but then have no explanation as to why only gay people have ho.mo$exual urges. I am

    (a) A failed psychologist

    (b) A fraudulent geneticist

    (c) A sociologist who never went to college; or

    (d) A Christian with the remarkable ability to ignore inconvenient facts.

    Q.7 The only discipline known to often cause people to kill others they have never met and/or to commit suicide in its furtherance is:

    (a) Architecture;

    (b) Philosophy;

    (c) Archeology; or

    (d) Religion

    Q8. What is it that most differentiates science and all other intellectual disciplines from religion:

    (a) Religion tells people not only what they should believe, but what they must believe under threat of divine retribution, whereas science, economics, medicine etc. has no “sacred cows” in terms of doctrine and go where the evidence leads them;

    (b) Religion can make a statement, such as “there is one god comprised of God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, and be totally immune from experimentation and challenge, whereas science can only make factual assertions when supported by considerable evidence;

    (c) Science and the scientific method is universal and consistent all over the World whereas religion is regional and a person’s religious conviction, no matter how deeply held, is clearly nothing more than an accident of birth; or

    (d) All of the above.

    Q.9 If I am found wandering the streets flagellating myself, wading into a filth river, mutilating my child’s genitals or kneeling down in a church believing that a being is somehow reading my inner thoughts and prayers, I am likely driven by:

    (a) a deep psychiatric issue;

    (b) an irrational fear or phobia;

    (c) a severe mental degeneration caused by years of drug abuse; or

    (d) my religious belief.

    Q.10 If I am worried that my children, who I love very much, will not believe something I tell them, such as "smoking is bad for you," I should:

    (a) have our family doctor explain to them the various ill effects of smoking.

    (b) show them a film produced by the National Inst.itute for Health on the topic.

    (c) set a good example for them by not smoking; or

    (d) refuse to give them any evidence of the ill effects of smoking, insist they rely on faith and then take them out into the backyard and burn them to death if I ever catch them smoking.

    October 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Billy

      I love it, thanks for sharing

      October 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Extra credit

      Q.11 If you claim to be a scientist, yet discard the scientific method by proclaiming that God is impossible because "science hasn't found God" (even though modern science is less than 200 years old vs. a 4 billion year old planet), you are:

      (a) A Geico caveman

      (b) A lump of plankton

      (c) An average athiest

      (d) Cliff Claven

      October 28, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • just me

      why are you picking on the farmers from Sudan? who said they're ignorant? they are wise in what is important to them my friend.....you should reflect about this and maybe stop picking on Christians too.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Luv U

      Leave it to the atheist to create a strawman.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Bob

      Not a straw man at all, and right on the mark, as usual for Colin. If you are going to try to cut down a post like that, then explain your reasons, if you can, or retract your statement, if you have the guts to.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Luv U

      Bob, only a moron can think a list like that represents what Christians believe in any shape, form, or fashion. Oh, sorry, did you think it did?

      October 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • nope

      @colon
      nope

      October 28, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Supe

      You clearly have never learned the message of Christianity. It's not about judgement, condemnation, and magic. It's about love, free will, hope, and yes, obedience; obedience motivated by thanks and love. I know it's hard to want to believe, but that doesn't change its reality.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Da King

      SUPE, I'M WIT CHUU!

      October 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • Geoff

      Why in the world did you waste all the time and space you did? I mean Wouldn't just telling ALL Christians that they are brainwashed, unthinking, relegious zelots in one sentence work for you? Thanks for your thoughts though. Hoping your mind might open a bit one day. Perhaps you will get to see the light. Blessings to you.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  17. atheistictruth

    Why is it that Obama's religion is talked about but Romney's crazy completely fictional rubbish isn't even mentioned?

    The media ignores Romney's religion but hammers Obama with the Jeremiah Wright thing? Really? I find it disgusting that we tip toe around Romney's religious belief. These ridiculous beliefs should be just as much fair game as their political beliefs. The sanity of the candidates has every bit as much importance as their political agenda.

    Someone ask Romney why he was a willing member of the church while they blatantly and openly were racist against black men. Remember... this wasn't centuries ago.. This was 1978!!!

    October 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Luv U

      Funny, isn't it? You see, lib trades can't criticize any religion but Christianity because they are "open minded". LOL

      October 28, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • NoWingNutsAllowed

      Actually LUV U we tend to hammer any moron who believes in a mass murdering 1st born sky God.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Luv U

      Ah, yet another libtard who doesn't know a thing about the religions he criticizes. I see you're still open-minded enough to continue persecuting Christianity.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  18. SCOTTA.

    obamas wishy washy this is him i am a muslim wait no i am a CHRISTIAN. i am for 1 man and 1 woman for marriage no wait scratch that i believe in gay marriage. he changes his mind to get votes what a dope!!

    October 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • jb

      Please provide sources for your erroneous info

      October 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Changing your mind is an indication that you are thinking; when you get new data you use it to re-evaluate. Romney on the other hand, changes his position, back and forth, on virtually every issue on a continual basis; you don't need a calendar to track his positions, you need a watch.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  19. Zimrod

    the president can't say for sure,,he believes that the storm will hit somewhere on east coast/he can't say for sure..it's under investigation

    October 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  20. Zimrod

    yes we have a new moron president

    October 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      What, wait, Romney has already been elected...oh, wait a minute; you said moron...I thought you said mormon...the two are so easily confused.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • speak for yourself

      to sqeptiq– you mean you're a moron and the president you support.

      October 28, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Advertisement
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.