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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. JonS

    Once a Muslim, always a Muslim. And what true Christian would refer to anyone as a bull$$$$er?

    October 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      Once truth full, always a truth full, pain in hind, of a hindu, criminal.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • Gosseyn

      "And what true Christian would refer to anyone as a bull$$$$er?"

      Exactly right. No one with true Christian sensibilities would refer to his opponent as a "bull$$$er," as the president did in his recent interview in Rolling Stone magazine. It's not a charitable thing to say.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • The Truth

      Would you prefer the term "Liar" or Big Fat Lair"? I can go with either but they mean the same things as bullshltter which is exactly what Mitt Romney is. I doubt there's an honest bone in his body.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  2. green thumbs

    At first I thought the artricle was bs and then I saw Stephen Manfiled's name who I trust. I got a strange sense 0f comfort from this article. Our next president must draw wisdom and perspective from the devine or we are all cooked. Just brains will not get us out of this mess. In fact some of our best minds have gotton us here. I am not going to vote for Him but if He gets another term maybe I might think all is not lost.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • snowboarder

      lets stick with brains. there are as many opinions of the divine as there are people.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Gosseyn

      I would trust Billy Graham and his son more than this article. Franklin Graham has endorsed Romney, and Billy Graham has been running full-page ads in major newspapers all but endorsing him.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  3. Gosseyn

    I thought the picture with the Reverend Graham was particularly ironic, given that Billy Graham has been running full-page ads in major newspapers all but endorsing Mitt Romney. I'm supporting Mr. Graham's preferred candidate.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      Every hindu, brain less, follows another hindu, brain less, and you are no different hindu, brainless.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
  4. on StreetWise

    /When Jesus said; "Love thy enemy" did that sound like an "apology tour" in your mind Mr. Romney? Obama gets it... Mitt doesn't have a clue in foreign policies.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Street,
      Do you love the Taliban?

      October 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bosty, do you have a brain? Prove it by posting something that's not idiotic.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Bostontola

      You're so wise, you must be a great leader in your community.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      hindu, fabrication Jesus never existed, get out of hindu, stupid dream of hindu Mithra ism, savior ism.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      As you must be in yours, honey.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • tiredofitall

      Obama gets it????
      He goes to the heart of the Bible belt with these issues
      Abortion
      Gay marriage,
      removing all refferences of God from the government.

      I beliieve this article was dealing with his new found Christianity. James 4:4 You adultous people, don't you know that friendship with world is hatred towqard God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.

      Not to sould like I am judging, But this really rings a bell

      October 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  5. Equalizer357

    Haloweeeeennnnnn....article

    October 28, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
  6. laodegan

    Awesome. They want him to be Christian now so they report it as if it is so. Oh well, at least he's not an atheist. Those guys are nothing but d*cks.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you're what? An angel? A brilliant theologist? A saint?

      You're a fvckin' tool.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Who's "they?" Who are "those guys?"

      October 28, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      They want him to be a black follower of hindu Mithra ism, filthy savior ism. a hindu crook in trinity, deception.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Fact

      I would so much rather be a d*ck than a fool who thinks magic is real because someone said so. Better keep your hand on your wallet because it's about to get picked by a d*ck pretending to be a Christian because it's so fvcking easy to take advantage of such morons, and it's not Obama that's trying to pick your pocket... like you really believe "Mormons" are "Christians", please, you can tell it's a lie as soon as it's off the tip of your tongue. But then again, no one ever claimed "sheep" were all that smart, it's just funny that you all still buy the lie that the priest was just trying to push your kid's through a fence...

      October 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • pflatman

      Then it's probably OK to refer to you as a retard, since you are swept up in this god stuff.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  7. Follower of Jesus

    I cannot find in the "Holy Scriptures" or the "non-cannocial writings" where Jesus pulled a knife or said that someone was "for sure" going to hell for not agreeing with him for his teachings. I belive Jesus would have said,"f you know another way or another place as perfect as the heaven I'll lead you to", then "go on and have fun."

    October 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Fact

      Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6

      October 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • tiredofitall

      Only a non-Christian would make a statment like that..Please read the followowing vs. and see if you might want to go back to your priest and have him read it to you!
      Mathew 7:21
      James 4:4
      These are just a couple that come to mind.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  8. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    Tom, Tom, Son of Nannie, raised on nanny 's milk, gay father+mother had no milk for goon

    October 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
    • pflatman

      Shouldn't you be out back, having your way with sheep?

      October 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
  9. Dumbfounded and Shocked

    I'm amazed at how many people are supporting Romney because thet think that Obama is a "Muslim" or a "Kenyan" or whatever else their hate-filled racist minds can concoct! And I'm dumbfounded and shocked to see how quickly you all are to go back to what got us in the mess we're in now. Are there really THAT many idiots in this country?????

    Mitt Romney made a career out of destroying companies and people's lives. The guy walked away with thousands of worker's hard-earned pensions!!! He should be in jail, not running for President!!

    October 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Bostontola

      I'm amazed at people who can see absurd positions at others and then spout their own party line's BS.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      Most of them are hindu's, ignorant s, follower of hindu Mithra ism, racist savior ism, but they hid it under word of Christianity.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Fact

      The racist roots are deep in America. The only thing we should not tolerate is intolerance. Please racists, you know who you are, we neither want you nor need you, so get the fvck out.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I'm amazed that people like Bostontola can figure out how to blow their own schnozes.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Bostontola

      @Tom,
      It's really not that hard.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Apparently it is, for you, anyway, Snot-Nose.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Tom, you really have a razor wit.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you do not.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • Bostontola

      You are an amazing human being.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you're a truly phenomenal....
      .
      .
      .

      .MORON

      October 28, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Tom,
      You are an exemplary Christian.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • green thumbs

      Some of the most intolerant people I know are liberals. Fundamentalist liberals are haters with the best of them. Beware for they say you beome what you hate.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you're an exemplary hypocrite. Congratulations.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Bostontola

      Tom,
      Everyone on this blog is envious of your sagacity.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Bonnie Barnes

      I couldn't agree more! Moi aussie! It is truly incomprehensible that people could be so downright stupid and uninformed! Course that's what happens when a country is in it's second generation of public illiteracy.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And everyone thinks, and rightly so, that you are a complete wad.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  10. HenkV

    It is good to know that Obama never panders to anything under the sun, otherwise I would think he is just pandering to religious groups.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
  11. dscon

    WOW,..............Another politician flip-flopping. ;)

    October 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Andy

      I think the story is the flip-flop. Besides, it is about religion, which should not matter. Also, it is Mittens that has set a new world record for flip-flopping, and on some very important issues!

      October 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  12. Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race. 1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

    Soon will come this Age anew,
    Gone will be me as well as you.
    Many though will make it past,
    Although they will never last.
    From God are we born to a woman,
    To God we return ever to be but a human.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  13. Sara

    Can Obama be honest? Reverend Wright held his esteem and respect for so many years and that pastor had a bucket full of hate and anger. I just find it hard to slide love in there – "which is the greatest of these".

    October 28, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Dumbfounded and Shocked

      Yeahh, I mean what reason would an elderly black man who grew up during segregation have for being bitter??!!

      October 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  14. Penny Wright

    "This is a man without a core, a man without substance, a man that will say anything to become president of the United States."

    Republican Rudy Giuliani on Romney .

    October 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      you must be talking about hindu, lair Romany.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
  15. Penny Wright

    "Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that." – Mitt Romney

    "I will veto the Dream Act." – Mitt Romney

    "Let Detroit go bankrupt." – Mitt Romney

    "I would never send American armed forces into Pakistan unilaterally, even after a high value target." – Mitt Romney.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Equalizer357

      Good..

      October 28, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • == o ==

      The only kind of trickle-down that works:

      "Equalizer357" 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 8:31 pm |
    • Gosseyn

      "Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that." – Mitt Romney. [He was talking about government funding, not the organization.]

      "I will veto the Dream Act." – Mitt Romney [so as not to provide a magnet for more illegal immigration]

      "Let Detroit go bankrupt." – Mitt Romney [Detroit did go bankrupt under Obama, at a cost of 79 billion dollars to the taxpayer. Some money has been paid back but billions will likely never be repaid. Romney was talking about a managed bankruptcy, where a company still remains in business, just as it did under the President's plan. Romney implied that if Detroit came up with a workable bankruptcy plan, the government would back it with guarantees. That would have been far cheaper way than what Obama ultimately did.]

      "I would never send American armed forces into Pakistan unilaterally, even after a high value target." – Mitt Romney. [One wonders if he would refuse to send help to Americans under attack in a situation like Bengahzi, a refusal of help that the Obama Administration apparently made to the brave Navy Seals who died there. The Seal requested help at least three separate times, but got none.]

      October 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Simple Truth

      "Planned Parenthood, we're going to get rid of that." – Mitt Romney. [He was talking about government funding, not the organization.] And the government funding is about 32% of their budget, with a total of 97% of their funding spent on non-abortion related health checks for women and 3% of their funding (100% of which comes from other sources and is not government funded at all) is for abortion services. Don't feel bad if you didn't know this, you have just been lied to for so long by Fox News that you likely feel betrayed and will never listen to that verbal feces ever again. "Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice, and, and, well were never gonna get fooled again..."

      October 28, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  16. Da King

    OK, I'm done. All the adults must have gone to bed.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No kidding. That's why you're still here.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It is late. I wonder if it's too late for a 380 pounder like myself to go hit the gay bars.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  17. Gorsh

    Please CNN.. Just stop. We get it.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  18. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    I picked up a glass of hog wash of a hindu from my mosque, oh it tests so good. um um um.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
  19. DPB

    CNN will go to NO limit to protect his clown...

    October 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • == o ==

      DPB – his clown is not his son – neither is his chair.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  20. jjjj

    Um... duhhhh. When you pray to God, he answers if you are Christian. If you are something else, like the emptysuit in my WH, he knows that iddiot is muzzzie.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Fact

      " When you pray to God, he answers if you are Christian." lol

      "muzzzie"
      You are a racist pig not fit to call yourself an American. Get the fvck out.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:17 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.