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. Mark

    What in the holy hell does this have to do with anything? What do you want to report on next, how his taste in jazz fusion has evolved subconciously?

    Stop creating drama out of thin air. Obama is about as concerned with God as Mitt Romney is. (they're not)

    October 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  2. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Where are the jobs?

    Four and OUT in November.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  3. King Yu

    A real Christian leader will lead his people to God, practice and keep His Commandments through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for all sinners, and whoever repent his or her sin and accept Christ as the Savior, he or she will have eternal life. President Obama have some improvements to make in his personal life and his life as a leader of this nation.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Edweird69

      So, are you judging Mr. Obamas life are you? Judge not lest ye be judged. Please remove the beam from your own eye, before removing the splinter....

      October 28, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  4. Mohammad A Dar

    Piper's Son turned sour!!! Messiah Obama coming is coming back.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  5. Sterike Four......Your out in 4!

    Obama is praying that no one finds out before the election that he lied to the American Public about Bengazi. He was told within 10 minutes of the start of the attack on the Lybian Embassy attack and told the military to stand down and not to help. Both Obama and Hillary should be tired for treason. This man, our President, directly caused the deaths of three American by refusing to give them help. We had LIVE coverage by satelite and via Drones of the full attack taking place. National Security is required to let the Pentagon and President know within 15 minutes of any negative event and they did. The Pentagon was told to stand down while Obama used his people to figure out what was happening. His people have not idea what is going on and it cost American LIves. I hold him 100% responsible. He could at least admitt he screwed up and it cost an Ambassador and two of his security people their lives. But no, he lies to us thinking that he can skate by past the elections. He will either be tried for treason or be inpeached by Congress for lying to the American Public. This man is the devil incarnated.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • He's outta there

      'Bama's out like Cartah.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Seems rather pale, compared to the WMD lie told by Bush.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • He's outta there

      What a fool. Bush didn't lie. Go read the intelligence briefs from that time period! Even the dumb democrats thought Saddam had WMDs. Not only that, but libs conveniently forget the other reasons for regime change in Iraq as laid out during the Clinton presidency.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  6. Chrisekpo

    Obama does not appear to me as somebody who has any FAITH.
    He is only pretending to be a christian for political power.

    He "evolved" in an election year to be a supporter of gay marriage
    in 2008 he was for marriage between a man and a woman

    ROMNEY is a mormaon. And we know that is what he has been
    OBAMA is a fake man

    October 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Good post. I agree totally.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Sterike Four......Your out in 4!

      His wife insisted he claim to be Chiristian, even though he is of the Muslum faith for political reasons. Look at his past and will see Muslum all over it, why would he suddenly be Christian? The "HOly Koran" as he so elequently calls it and can quote from it, says it is alright to lie to the enemy in order to fool them. He has lied the gullable for over 4 years now and they still eat it up becasue he is black.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor little troll doesn't even have the guts to use his own name. Guess that's an indication of the balls he has.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Gotta go. I just wet my pants.

      Happens all the time when I argue with myself.

      I'm not a psycho. Really I'm not.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      so you guys and gals know, I just had enlarged prostate removed, I forgot to put diaper, so my panty is wet, nothing to worry.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  7. Doodles

    It is amazing to me how there is absolutely NO separation of Church and State.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Dick Dastardly

      It is amazing to me that you don't know the definition of the term.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  8. jim

    A real Christian does not proclaim the ability to know who is and is not a Christian. A real Christian does not flip and decide to vote for a Mormon just because the other candidate is black. How many of you have ever voted for a white presidential candidate and a black presidential candidate at some point. I am quite comfortable with my decision and Lord willing I will have the opportunity to vote for a woman some day and a Latino and an Asian......If you have not why?

    October 28, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Sterike Four......Your out in 4!

      Tell me the last election was not a racial election and I will call you a lier.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • He's outta there

      Because Heaven knows you should vote for a black, Latino, Asian, or woman over and above the person with actual qualifications. I'm becoming disillusioned with democracy, as people, in general, are too dumb to vote.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You can call someone a "lier" but you'll look might stupid doing so, unless you mean they "lie down," you stupid azz.

      It's "liar." You should know. You are one.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And I just wet my pants again.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Your Name Here

      So, Jim, are you saying you voted for Obama last election because it's cool to vote for the black guy? You idiots need to stop the race card crap!

      October 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  9. What do Rummy Pirate, Paul Ryan, Ann Coulter, Jan Brewer, Donald Trump and Michele Bachmann have in common??

    Answer: They all evolved from a frothy mixture of expired santorum.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      They all slept with your mother, too.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  10. Alicia

    Not sure how that works when you are a globalist that follows the orders of the evil elite and be a Christian at the same time... maybe I'm missing something.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Edweird69

      You are missing something... brains.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Alicia

      Eddie...

      I'm the one missing brains and you are the one voting for a fraud.... uhmmm..ok... whatever you sayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  11. jim

    Have you ever seen a Muslim not admit to being a Muslim?

    October 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Dick Dastardly

      I have seen a Muslim not admit it and that Muslim is the POTUS...anyone who thinks differently is in deep denial.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  12. OBAMA FOUR AND OUT ON NOVEMBER 6TH

    Learn it.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  13. SU Dave

    A real Christian does NOT support abortion or gay marriage or lie. So that shoots big holes in this story.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Edweird69

      So Dave.. Plese define a "real Xtian" for us. Hopefully you'll say someone who believes in slavery, killing people who work on Sundays, etc. etc.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • pockets

      Perhaps one of the saddest news articles I have ever read on CNN. The reason is simply, a President has to admit to believing in a non-existant sky-god. Like Thor or Zeus, Ra and the thousands of other myths that have existed over time. To me, an atheists it borders on frightening, to know that someone in the position regardless of who he is or what party he belongs to much go along with this insanity. We are not long out of the cave. RIP Hitch, you were right all along.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • Alicia

      Edweird...

      A True Christian has no slaves... and as for killing, Obama belongs to bilderberg, whom has aspirations of murdering 5+ billion people that you presently live with on the planet.

      Do you research or find another pastime other than guessing.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • gordon

      A real Christian would know that we are all sinners in need of a Savior. There are things that we do not all agree on but that does not make us non-Christians. Many Christians that I come across gossip, fornicate and are fat. All of which are sins. I guess no one is a Christian then.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  14. Scientificpoetry

    Prayer accomplishes nothing but wasting time. Things happen when you take action. If the human race relied on prayer for things to go their way, we'd still be in the stone age.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • pockets

      These people are still in the stone age, frightening thought isn't it.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  15. cleareye1

    I am always just a little bit offended when there is a story about Obama praying. I would really like to vote for a leader who was strong enough to follow their own instincts and not need the mystical crutch offered by the invisible spirits. We may as well elect a witch doctor who promise to use their voodoo on al Qaeda.
    We will grow strong enough one day to elect someone unafraid to describe themselves as a secular humanist.

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

      You are confusing God with religion. Jesus rebuked the Sadducees and the Pharisees (religious leaders of his day) on a regular basis ,so he, like you, had a problem with religion. However the attributes of God are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I can't see how removing God from our country would be a good thing.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • OTOH

      sheila,

      You cannot add or remove "God" to/from our country anymore than you can add or remove Superman.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  16. Sharon

    I'm sorry, but what a crock.

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

      HUGE crock

      October 28, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You can't even spell it right. There is no "R".

      October 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 28, 2012 at 6:00 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 6:02 pm |
    • cleareye1

      Only coincidentally. Otherwise, how does one account for all the unheard prayers of the innocent?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • truth be told

      @cleareye
      What unanswered prayers are you talking about?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @tbt – oh you know... like helping starving babies.. you know.. those little prayers like that.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • truth be told

      @edwierd
      Are you also cleareye? Starving babies ? Could you illustrate a prayer that a starving baby spoke so I can respond more accurately? How is it that you would know the prayer of a starving baby and have not done anything about it?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hahahhhahah, Turdie the Tool shows up on a post directed at "Atheism is not healthy" just out of the blue.

      What a friggin' toad you are, Turdie.

      Have you learned what "puns" are? Or are you still trying to figure out the alphabet so you can look up words in your picture dictionary?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      BWAHAHAHAH! The dolt can't even read simple sentences. What part of the post did you not grasp, Turdie? Did the poster say starving babies were the ones doing the praying, you fvcking imbecile?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Edweird69

      @tbt – I've prayed for starving babies to be fed. Doesn't seem to work. "Ask anything in my name and it shall be done for you'. Guess I was lied to... the babies are still hungry according the news. If you were a starving baby, what would you pray for?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • truth be told

      So no one can repeat a prayer that was not heard in any context then? Am i to assume that those who bring such thoughts to the table wish to impress their compassion and wisdom at the expense of those who have legitimate needs or sufferings?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • truth be told

      Don't anyone orce tom into anything.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      You could say Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son is a horses orse.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor turdie. Still smarting from the beating you took over "gall" and "Gaul" and your stupidity and ignorance exposed to all.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I peed myself again. I always pee when I get excited.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • herbie

      Apparently the only one who didn't catch the pun was poor demented Tom Tom. Sad really pathetic little loser Tom lost in its own tiny key board world. Don't let herbie get you Tom Tom Halloween is coming.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
  18. Javier Ocariz

    I find it amusing that there are so many Atheists posting responses to an article about belief. Why bother wasting your time commenting on something you don't believe in?

    October 28, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Because people like you want to impose the beliefs you hold on our laws and orce us to give up rights we have worked hard to obtain.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      edit: force

      October 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • OTOH

      Javier Ocariz,

      Believers *do* exist.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • NoWingNutsAllowed

      Because you don't own the debate process anymore. The time of you reign is over, you will no longer force religion down the throats of our sons and daughters. Unless of course I can have my own planet with plenty of virgins.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • == o ==

      The only kind of trickle-down that actually works:

      "Javier Ocariz" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" degenerates to:
      "Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to this extreme homophobe as
      the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp flunkie.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Maybe Javier will be able to grasp this: Because it's a free country and we have a right to speak our minds. Doesn't matter what YOU think of it, since you seldom do so anyway.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Or in my case, I'm allowed to excrete the contents of my feeble mind on this website.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Alicia

      Hey ! Tom_Tom_the_Guy _That_Hangs_out_in_here_all _day is here.....rarely or never top posting, just his own pep squad complete with pom poms..

      October 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It must really bother you little turds that I post here. How sad for you that your God hasn't seen fit to stop me.

      Why is that, if he's such a big important all-powerful superhero?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Funny, whenever I say anything bad about God, I went my panties.

      Why do you suppose that is?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  19. martin

    morons pray

    October 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I pray, but I don't think I'm a moron.

      Do you think I'm a moron?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Who cares about Obama's religion? I mean, we've got 24 million men and women who have given up hope of finding a job, a one percent growth rate, and a health care plan nobody asked for and nobody wants. And your employer can elect to pay a nominal fine and throw you under da gubmint healthcare bus.

    As far as I'm concerned, Obama is FOUR AND OUT ON NOVEMBER 6TH.

    October 28, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Edweird69

      I think you're asking someone to clean up a train wreck, with a feather. I doubt it Obama will be gone, no Repub has won the WH without Ohio.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So troll, your position and your arguments are so weak that you have to invoke MY name to give them weight?

      What a weenie.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Tom, Tom, be honest to yourself or you will find yourself burning in HELL, do you or do you not care Obama's religion?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's your hell; you burn in it. I don't give a crap about Obama's beliefs regarding god.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And I'm a total idiot who argues with myself - among other things I do with myself when I'm all alone.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Alicia

      Thomas_Thomas_needle_nose, see? you still have time to get saved.... before the globalist get you.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • NoWingNutsAllowed

      Alicia...saved from what? Your mass murdering 1st born Sky God.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Alicia

      Wingnuts...

      God had many non believers killed.... I rest my case.

      Where do you stand in the mix?. Wink*

      October 28, 2012 at 6:28 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
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.