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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. mama k

    Christians are experts in telling each other they are "not the right kind of Christian". This has always been the case. In the U.S., before and during the founding of the government, different Christian sects were feuding and persecuting each other in several states (or soon-to-be states). Anglicans were persecuting Baptists in Virginia; Quakers were being hung in Massachusetts, and more. Because this feuding between these sects annoyed our founders so greatly, they made it a top priority to establish the separation of church and state (and to make it Amendment #1 of our Constitution). This is also reflected in what they had to say on the matter:

    James Madison (our 4th President, was the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    (A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785)

    and then ten years later:

    Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?

    (A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of VA, 1795)

    Thomas Jefferson (our 3rd President, was the key author of the Declaration of Independence)

    Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.

    (Letter (as POTUS) to the Virginia Baptists (1808))

    and then of course we have clarifying moments in history such as:

    President John Adams and the U.S. Senate on behalf of the U.S.

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;

    (from Article 11 of the U.S. treaty ratified with Tripoli in 1797)

    Senator John F Kennedy said on Sept. 12, 1960, just prior to his winning the Presidential election:

    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Shut up! You're not the right kind of Christian!

      October 28, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • mama k

      And you are not Tom, Tom – cowardly poster who is stealing Tom's ID.

      October 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • OTOH

      mama k,

      Yes, and not only stealing, but lying and coveting the fame of another! It's the lake of fire for you, Bubba!

      October 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Da King

      mama, You have wasted a lot of time to entertain and impress yourself. A Christian believes in and tries to live by the Bible.
      They all fall short but the grace of God carries them.

      October 28, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • mama k

      @Da King – well that's fine, dear, but just remember this is not a theocracy and our nation was not founded on Christianity.

      October 28, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • CNNLiberalMediaInBedwithObama

      Lot of people follow people that follow Jesus. Why not follow Jesus directly. Also, some can fake it but most times you can judge the tree by its fruit.

      President has an evolving faith and hope his theology is based on the bible and not his pastor. We all can see his actions and judge for ourselves convictions and politics. Some politicians willing to give us almost anything for power even their convictions. But who am I to judge, I am a sinner saved by grace!!

      October 28, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      Cut, cut, snip, snip. I could easily paste here ten times more snippets to the contrary. Wouldn't that be fun?!?!?

      October 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
  2. tony

    Collection Plates are the Rock-solid proof that gods don't exist, and never did during human history.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • snowboarder

      but god obviously needs mans help to spread his "truth".

      October 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • CNNLiberalMediaInBedwithObama

      Hope when you find the truth, you are still breathing on earth.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • snowboarder

      CNN – if i'm not breathing it won't matter will it. once the brain shuts down, there is no more learning.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Gawd can create the heavens and earth, but creating money seems to elude him.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • CNNLiberalMediaInBedwithObama

      God is such a gentleman that He gave each person a free will 0 you can choose to follow him or not – but of course there are consequences to our actions.

      Obama's politics are the opposite – no free will – He knows best and decides for everyone. Government comes first and then people. Punishes those that doesn't take up his mandate. No blessings. Wow, I just made a great comparison!!

      October 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  3. teetee

    wow

    October 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  4. mark

    are u kidding me CNN? this Obama guys spent 20years in church that hate white people and now his"faith" has changed...how bout he never had any faith...and who cares....he is suppose to be President.....how bout this he has ALWAYS been a fraud!
    CNN u are pathetic!!!

    October 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Shawn

      It's not the fact that he was an active member of Wrights Church...u guys are missing a valid point...THE FACT THAT HE SUBJECTED HIS CHILDREN TO THIS HATRED IS UNSPEAKABLE...

      October 28, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  5. DDB

    This article is absolutely an attempt to fabricate an airbrushed image of a man who has demonstrated that he is devoid of Christian faith.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  6. Jay

    So many of the comments in this thread show clearly how polarized the US has become. And also uncivil and downright crude and rude. A far, far cry from the nonjudgmental and all-encompassing love and compassion taught by Christ. Good thing God in Her infinite Wisdom and Grace also gave humanity the Buddha, and Mohammed & the Koran, and the Torah, and Krishna, etc. If humanity had to rely on what now passes for Christianity, it'd be doomed, doomed, doomed.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Shut it, you disrespectful religious dupe who makes silly faces while sucking lemons for no particularly good reason.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Da King

      What passes for Christianity has not changed. It's still in the Bible.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      What does that even mean to rely on Christianity?

      How about relying on Christ, period???

      October 28, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • OTOH

      was blind...

      Do you know one single thing about this "Christ" that you didn't learn from "Christianity"? One? Single? Thing?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      @ OTOH

      was blind...

      Do you know one single thing about this "Christ" that you didn't learn from "Christianity"? One? Single? Thing?

      There are hundreds, if not thousands, of things in The Bible that I was never taught in over 30 years of church sermons and TV programs, etc.

      I think the more appropriate questions is why are why taught so many things in mainline churches that were added by human beings?

      The other important point to be made is that (true( Christianity (being conformed to His image) is a lifelong journey. So we are NOT following Christianity. That would be like foloowing your classmates (for example) rather than following your teacher.

      October 28, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • OTOH

      was blind...

      That Bible you read - guess what?... brought to you "Christianity"! - even the old Hebrew books - all selected for you by early "Christian" committees of men (who were even more uneducated and gullible and supersti'tious than today's Christian leaders).

      October 28, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  7. thecollegeadmissionsguru

    Here's a thought: THERE IS NO RELIGIOUS TEST TO HOLD PUBLIC OFFICE IN AMERICA! MOST candidates for office have not had to defend their "faith" as much as Obama has over the years. Is he Christian or Muslim? Does it matter? It shouldn't, and if it does for you, then you are an idiot and NOT a true American.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Jim

      His inaction on the part of our citizens he puts in harms way favoring to protect the image of jihadists is filthy, disgusting and should put him behind bars.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Oh inaction that caused Americans to die? YOU mean like after Katrina, oh wait that was Bush, a Republican.. You mean in action or was it action, that caused thousands of men and women to die in two unfunded wars, again Republican... Don't start with that BS... it stinks and it's based on lies.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Jim

      So your saying you support the lying because it comes from a democrat? Very weak...

      October 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      No, but if you support Romney, you support a liar who has been called out, time and time again. What's your point?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Da King

      We see why you are a guru. You were never accepted to college, right?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Das King, Ad Hom attacks NEVER solidify anyone position.. so I will not dignify your idiotic comments with any other responses.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  8. Shawn

    Evolved???? Not hardly ....obomo likes to have it both ways...just like Democratic men with their actions toward women...JohnEdwards....Ted Kennedy...Bill Clinton...absolute Hipocrites

    October 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Edweird69

      And no Repub has ever behaved like any them, have they? bahhahaha

      October 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Scott

      Shawn,
      You point out the exact reason as to why I now spell hypocrite, l-i-b-e-r-a-l.

      Edweird69,
      The hypocritical issue is that the komrade lib wing of my party (democrats) claim that they are all for women's rights, ad nauseum, but their actions are those of John Edwards, Ted "The Blob" Kennedy, Slick Willy, etc.

      Scott

      October 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Shawn

      Dont see the Republicans building a false platform around their sincere regard for women's reproductive health...what a crock of crap....the Dems could give a shi_ less about women and their issues...and the best part is that women aren't buying it....9 days left for ya boy...off to Hawaii to make his millions...ahhahahahaha...whooooaaaaaaa

      October 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  9. was blind, but now I see

    Jesus is THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Light.

    How can a pathological liar seriously think/say that he is a follower of Christ???????

    October 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      What? Christians do it all the TIME! Religion is a LIE in and of itself.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      sounds as if you speak from personal experience.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • OTOH

      was blind...

      Check out your Christian buddy (unless it's you) who is impersonating Tom, Tom on this very page - that's LYING, kid.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      You know Blind, I do speak from experience, I lied for YEARS when I was a Christian.. so I do know what I speak of... thank you for pointing that out.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Truth

      Romney is a mormon. Mormons think Christianity is an abomination. Mitt Romney thinks he can become a God himself. Mitt Romney also does not believe in the apocolypse. He is NOT a Christian. Do not be fooled. Republicans have convinced the religious right to vote against the poor, against the sick, and side with the wealthy, now they are supporting a candidate who doesn't even support God. They are being misled, just as the Bible said they would. You might not agree with Obama, but facts are, he is more of a Christian than Romney and his ilk..and many Christians see this and are not going along with it, myself included.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Da King

      ARE YOU REFERRING TO OBAMA OR ROMNEY? THEY ARE BOTH PRETENDING TO BE CHRISTIAN HOPING FOR VOTES.
      CHRISTIANS WILL TRY TO VOTE BASED ON THEIR CHRISTIAN VALUES BUT THEY BOTH FALL VERY SHORT. THIS STINKS!

      October 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      @thecollegeadmissionsguru "You know Blind, I do speak from experience, I lied for YEARS when I was a Christian.. so I do know what I speak of... thank you for pointing that out."

      I hate to break the news to you, but you never were a (real) Christian then. Period. End of story.

      For Christ, Himself, said that you MUST be born again. That which is flesh is flesh and that which is spirit is spirt. If you were truly born again, you would not continue to lie. I fully realise that there are many many many who claim to be Christians (as if it was some sort of birth right) but are not; just as there are many many many who claim to be Muslims (for example) yet they do not fully follow their religion (thank God), but I digress...

      October 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  10. Jim

    Like he "evolved" on gayness. LOL! No one is buying the CNN crap. And how long is CNN going to leave up the article on a CNN poll that over samples democrats saying he's winning Ohio? No one I know is voting for his sorry b-tt here. And you pull the Benghazi article a few days ago after only about 4 hrs? National Enquirer is a better source for news than the rag you've become.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Scott

      Jim queries: And how long is CNN going to leave up the article on a CNN poll that over samples democrats saying he's winning Ohio?

      Until the morning after National Flush The Toilet Day, November 6, 2012 when CNN's beloved Dear Leader learns that it's a "One-n-Done" president.

      Scott

      October 28, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Hey Jim, just eight more days and ALL the answers will be exposed. Either Obama wins or Romney wins... before election day, it's all just speculation....

      October 28, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Jim

      Amen!

      October 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  11. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    @Tom, Tom, diener of truth absolute, will of Allah can not be ignored, ignorant pagan GAWD worshiper, Obama speaks for millions, your french is still filthy, goon.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  12. bvicente

    Obama's faith? He ditched his 20-year spiritual mentor as soon as it became politically convenient. And virtually no one in the media bothered to pepper him with questions on how he really feels about America ... on whether he agrees with his racist, separatist pastor.

    At least Romney made it clear: My faith is part of who I am. If that really bothers you, don't vote for me.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  13. Scott

    Obama is the typical рrоѕtіtutе (lawyer). It will assume whatever position (religion) it needs for a price (win). It sat in a pew in Wright's church listening to anti-white racist hate for twenty years and then when called on that it claimed it wasn't there on those Sundays. If Obama thought it would help its chance it for re-election it would claim to be ANY religion of convenience.

    Scott

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

      Been a racist long? My guess is your entire life.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Scott

      Ah, ol' collegeadmissionsguru. So when all else fails play the ol' worn out race card, eh loser?

      Loser: As in it can't get a job out here in industry so it hides out in komrade academia. ;)

      Scott

      October 28, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Ah Scott, who couldn't make it in academia, and therefore, shows his anger by attacking, not one's position, but one's occupation.. so mature of you. And just because I pull the RACE card, doesn't mean you aren't a racist, idiot.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Jim

      Seems its always the wonderful, accepting liberals always pulling out the race card. While I can't say no racism is out there in either party, to the vast majority of us leaning right, color has nothing to do with anything. I can't stand Obama and was blessed to have an upbringing on army bases where race meant nothing, if anything, maybe rank had some bearing (e.g. What you'd made of yourself). Why must dems always bring up race?

      October 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  14. Dennis

    How about the faith millions of Americans had believing his BS

    October 28, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    October 28, 2012 at 6:31 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 6:32 pm |
  16. Edweird69

    Christianity explained: "Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own
    father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and
    telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove
    an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a
    rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.
    Otherwise you'll be tortured forever by an invisible red guy with horns."

    October 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      Wrong on all statements.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • He's outta there

      Shows what you know...nothing.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • == o ==

      The only kind of trickle-down that actually works:

      "cristopher hitchens" 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 6:35 pm |
  17. Desperation

    The Obama reelection team is desperate to keep him in office. If what he has done in the last four years ever gets out he would not stand a chance of reelection. Why do you think Bengazi and Ambassador Stephens has been a cover up since day one? Obama's lack of leadership refused the protection Stephens requested, and Obama was alerted within 10 mintues of the start of the attack. Our military could have responded in less than a hour at the site and saved his life and the two security members. NO, instead the military was told to stand down and not respond. What kind a person leaves others to be slaughtered like that? A cheap, lying, crooked, thug that does not have any courage at all. Yup, that is Obama right to the rotten core. If you reelect him, I hopy you all suffer greatly from what he has planned for you. He has been a law breaking, drug using loser all his life and will continue to be so.

    October 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  18. Shawn

    Rejecting GOD is utter Intellectual Suicide......

    October 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Edweird69

      Consider me a suicide victim then... he's rejected on all levels.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    There's some troll impersonating me so I'll state my position here for the record:

    Obama is a dupe. He's four and OUT in November.

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

      I'm an Internet meme. I am all Internet trolls and they be me.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Scott

      I fervently pray that you are correct.

      Scott

      October 28, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • mama k

      No you are obviously not Tom, cowardly impersonator.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Pray, and pray fervently, for I am legion.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
  20. sheila

    Benghazi is blowing up in Obama's face. He politicized it by lying about it being tied to the video when he knew from the beginning it was a terrorist attack. Romney had it right from the beginning and Obama didn't like getting called on it. The question is... WERE THOSE DRONES ARMED???? Why won't he answer that question? Because they probably were and he didn't use them to save our people. He is Incompetent at best.

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

      Let me guess.. you're a birthed too. What should he have done, have the Drone blow up the whole building.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • mama k

      A lot of speculation there. You know for some odd reason, this whole Benghazi incident is making me remember about the Watergate wiretapping incident. Hmm.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • sheila

      I could care less where he was born. According to reports, SEALs gave the exact coordinates of the enemy and even had a lazier on them and were begging for help – they fought for 7-8 hours. There is no excuse for us not to help when we had people standing by ready to help and drones (if they were armed) that could have targeted the enemy. Why all the secrecy and lies from this administration if they have nothing to hide? If the stories being reported are wrong, why doesn't the president give us a complete story. But then, would we believe him when he has already lied about the video. BTW, the Obama administration's 2 week promotion of that video is what caused the world-wide riots and violence for 2 weeks straight. He is responsible for all that since he knew from the beginning it was a terror attack and not the video riot that caused all this (he admitted this in the 2nd debate).

      October 28, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • George Stephens

      By the time it was "safe enough" for the FBI to investigate the scene, multiple news organization had been there and reported that anything of value had already been ransacked. Computers, with all files and sensitive information, were gone. There were lists of people who had supplied information to NATO forces ( snitches ) on those files, not to mention things the administration probably did not want the American voters to know. I have no evidence, but this whole scenario refuses to pass the smell test. Me thinks there is something rotten in Benghazi.

      October 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.