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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. Recon

    JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD
    HE DIED ON THE CROSS,
    HE WAS RESSURECTED AFTER THREE DAYS,
    HE SITS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD THE ONLY FATHER
    AND HE IS COMING AGAIN.

    Your turn, obama.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • snowboarder

      recon – nah, there is no reason to believe that other than religious indoctrination.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Dorothy

      Jesus was a liberal who got nailed to the cross by a bunch of conservatives. Some things never change.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  2. sara

    Get with the program CNN, Obama is Muslim.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Dorothy

      Yeah right....and he wasn't born in Hawaii either.....give it up girl!

      October 28, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Cheeto Sareus

      Sure looks that way. He resists shooting them when it would save the life of Ambassador Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Dan

      "He resists shooting them."

      Tell that to Bin Laden, who he hunted like an animal.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  3. CSX

    What a wonder piece of manufactured news. Just in time with more lies and deciet before the election.
    BHO is either a lost man or a saved man in disobedience. Clearly in favor of murdering babies and promoting Sodomites agianst the will of The Lrd God Almighty. Christian, No, no fruits to show that he is servng Christ.

    He is in a wicked political party full of lies as their father the Devil does. Np one can serve Christ and be a Demoncrat. Evil.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Dan

      Jesus was an Arab socialist

      October 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • CSX

      He was a Hebrew Nazarene. Not of the blood of Ismael, but te son of David.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • snowboarder

      csx – it is fascinating that the majority of the citizens of this country considers themselves christian and about half of them disagree with you.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Dan

      Right, because Isaac and Ishmael were DEFINITELY real

      October 28, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • EKG

      CSX,

      I consider myself to be a devout Christian, (Pentecostal) and a strong conservative. But, you saying you can't serve Christ and be a Democrat is crazy, lunatic talk. There are many Christians who are Democrats, and some who are pro-life. We need to be the light of the world, what you posted sounds like hate. Love your neighbor, be pro-life, even be against gay marriage like I am, but love the sinner, and hate the sin. Respectfully stated, EKG.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      uh oh, someone's done woke up Carrie's grandpappy!

      October 28, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Dee

      the PRESIDENT believes that he has not right to tell others what to do with their bodies. GOD gave us free will to choose. I do not believe in abortion, but I also don't believe I have the right to tell you not to have one. It amazes me how pro-lifers only have one cause. I bet you believe in capital punishment too! How much do you value the lives of the living? Ya know, the senior citizens who spend their entire ss checks on medicine, the families that take care of loved ones with Alzheimer's, those children living in cars and that go to sleep hungry. Your faith is a personal issue. You should share it, but you should also LIVE it! Trying to push it on others is opposite of what GOD wants.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  4. Anybody know how to read?

    Mormony rules. Harry or Mitt Chicago mob lives!
    .

    October 28, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  5. allen

    I hope Romney changes his holy underwear as often as he changes his policy.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • CSX

      Nice joke, but America collapsing is real. RR12

      October 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • Dee

      Now that is mean. Shame on you! Your mother needs to yank that ear and wash your mouth out with soap!

      November 9, 2012 at 8:53 am |
  6. jdea

    Haha what a joke, he "changes his faith" for political convenience. Typical politician (and especially a liberal).

    October 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  7. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    hindu Mormon ism = criminal self center ism, secularism =Judaism = moron ism = pig ism. Way of hindu Magi's, criminal tricksters to hind, fool humanity. Same old hinduism, denial of truth absolute GOD, foundation of America under a new label. Visit limitisthetruth.com to learn hinduism, illegality of hindu Jew's, criminal secular s.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  8. Steve

    Religion for Obama is like everything else for Obama - he will tell you what he thinks will gain him the most votes, regardless of what really happened and regardless of what he really thinks, believes, or feels.

    October 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Dorothy

      Right....and of course Romney would NEVER do that......like he back-peddled on his 47% remark!

      October 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Dee

      Steve, have you ever heard of the words positive presuppositions? To make the assumption, he has no faith or that he will lie is unfair. I believe we will do the best we can with what we've been given. Based on your comment.....I'm pretty sure I'm right.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:56 am |
  9. allen

    Ed that's an accurate definition of faith. As much as debunking faith without evidence to the contrary is reactive idiocy.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  10. Steve

    The author is obviously pro-Obama and biased. Obama changes his views, and that's called "evolving" rather than "flip-flopping" as it would be called if a conservative was involved. See the bias?

    October 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Dan

      Obama doesn't change his views based on the crowd he is talking to. He came out in favor of gay marriage when about half the nation opposes it. How is that pandering?

      October 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • sally

      No I don't see that, Steve. According to the article, the author is saying me made a conscious decision back in 2008 upon winning the election to find new spiritual counseling. Where has been a change since then? Now Romney has flip-flopped on various issues so many times in the past few months, I've lost count.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  11. Woman on a Mission to Please God not Man

    Why is Romney's faith should be a concern that should scare the crap out of you.. Mormon faith isn't the same as most Christian in America believe. Go read the Book of Mormon Tenth Commandment First one, then go read the King James version of the Tenth Commandment the First one.. You do the math.. I am the Lord thy God... Mormon faith skips right over the rist one. I am the Lord thy God. That means they don't believe in God. They give reference to it, but they don't believe in it.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Dan

      "And now its time for scripture interpretation with mor0ns."

      October 28, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Dee

      People leave Mr. Romney and his faith ALONE! It is not your right to interpret what they believe. Spend more time on your on faith.

      November 9, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  12. Emily

    "You shall know them by their fruits." Matt 7:16. The man can't be a Christian and then blatantly condemn the Bible at the same time. John 17:17 "Sanctify them by thy truth, thy WORD is truth." You can't pick and choose what you think sounds good or doesn't sound good. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God..." 2 Tim 3:16,17 He can't be a Christian and claim he's a muslim when he's with the muslim either. So he either is a Muslim, or he's lying to win votes among the Muslims. If he's lying then, it's obvious he isn't living the life of a sanctified Christian. People can change, and God can work on anyones hearts, but this is an obvious pro-democrat attempt to make Obama more appealing to conservatives. But it's really not that difficult to see what kind of a person and what kind of a "God" he serves.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Dorothy

      So you think the conservatives have a much better understanding of God......Are those the same conservatives as the one that got arrested for "foot tapping" while flying back home through a Minneapolis airport? Or is it the same conservative that wrote DOMA and is now on his third wife? Are those the same conservatives that try to justify their clergy for protecting their subordinates from illicit se x ual charges? Are those the same conservatives that say that 47% of our country are free-loaders (including our vets and retirees)? Because if they are, Jesus was just a liberal that got nailed to the cross by a bunch of conservatives.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Dee

      "Judge not, lest ye be judged". STOP! Pick up your bible to read passages about caring for others, accepting others. Christians like you give the rest of us a bad rap! He has the right to believe what he wants. If that man believes in magic underpants, so be it! As long as he doesn't send them in the mail to me..... I could care less.

      November 9, 2012 at 9:03 am |
  13. Chris

    Why is CNN trying to convince us that Obama has switched from his racist connections of Jerimiah Wright who has his own hate messages to a more conservative Christian belief? Why is it that CNN and others wants Obama back in office when he has really done little in the 4 years he's had control of our country? Do they want more of our diplomats murdered without recourse? Do they want more weapons delivered to Mexican drug cartels to kill our American protectors? Or is it money?

    October 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • LiberalJan

      Keep watching FOX, Chris.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Dorothy

      He got us out of most of the messes that Bush got us into.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Michael

      CNN is not in favor of either candidate. Their model to earn money is to perpetuate debates. They have continually put things about Obama's faith front and center on their website, suggesting somehow that his faith should be questioned. By such tactics CNN has helped to mold a closer election than it may have otherwise been. Obamas faith should be a non issue, especially compared to Romney's as we have never had a Mormon president. But to make the election close CNN has falsely tried to make this an issue. The reverend Wright thing was blown way out of proportion four years ago and to hear it resurface with no new developments is sad. CNN should be ashamed at their hit job on Obama in order to make the election closer.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  14. Anybody know how to read?

    Chicago mobsters rule! Huweyy for Jesus! Catlic hweers foresver!

    October 28, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  15. LiberalJan

    I cannot take credit for this, because I read it somewhere in a comment on the Internet.: Every time you say the word "God," replace is with "the Magic Bunny," and then just listen to yourself and how ridiculous you sound. It's called reality. Live in the real world. It's not always easy, but it's real.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
  16. Penny Wright

    George W. Bush inherited a strong economy, a budget surplus, and a nation at peace.

    Eight years later, he left Obama with a shattered economy, a trillion dollar deficit, and two useless wars.

    Obama saved the country from another Great Depression, rebuilt GM, reformed healthcare, reformed Wall Street, doubled the stock market, created 12 straight quarters of GDP growth, created 32 straight months of private sector job growth, got Bin Laden, got Gaddafi, and got us out of Iraq.

    And now with the automatic spending cuts and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts in 2012, Obama has solved the deficit problem as well.

    Obama has done a very good job.
    ... .

    October 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • alfonds

      If indeed you are right, why, just why will he be a One-Term- President?

      October 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Recon

      He has accomplished nothing.
      He allowed 4 Americans to die in Libya after refusing to send help 3 times. That sounds like an enemy.
      16 trillion in debt, 46 million on food stamps. ...good job, huh???
      If America collapses, it will be because of people like you.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • LiberalJan

      Yes, he has. He saved us from total devastation. You think a recession is bad? Try thinking about the Great Depression again. Obama inherited a mess in every area–economy, wars, collapsing housing, banking mismanagement, years of low taxes which means no funding for states or federal programs. Great job, Bush. Hats off to our President. We survived.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
  17. chuckleberry1974

    Thank you Ed.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  18. CNNTT

    This story is a handcrafted crap to gain support to Obama from evangelical Christians by CNN. I guess this is the time for all other races to support Mitt as left wing is acting crazy. For example, when almost all blacks vote for Obama then CNN consider that as natural and CNN will not consider that as people reacting based on race and they will not even talk about it.
    I guess the face of US is changing like other countries where minorities are respected more than the majority people as majority people votes are granted.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  19. Recon

    He is not a christian.
    Maybe according to his "muslim faith".
    Didnt you know? He has "known islam on 3 continents".
    Im sure it was his that said that the islamic prayer call "was the prettiest sound on earth".
    However, if he want to prove it he would have to state publicly that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that the ressurection
    is fact.
    He wont.
    Christian...sure he is.
    God knows who he is.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • James Lyng

      Recon, you want the nation to believe you are an Obama historian, a psychiatrist and a disciple of God?

      Well you are non of those. You seem to get a kick out of lying and that is not a Christian thing to do.
      If you are a Christian then you also must no that LYING is a sin. If you are not religious then at least be
      honest about it and come forward.

      I say you are not a Christian. I say you are likely an atheist pretending to be a Christian.

      Good luck with your personal struggles.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • alfonds

      He is 50% white. Where does the words,"Our first African American President" come from??????????????

      October 28, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why does it matter so much to you what race he is?

      Do you have a problem?

      October 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  20. Ed

    I really hope someone reads this and it plants a seed. Free yourself from the chains of religion. Skepticism and wonder are far more rewarding than mindless belief in dogma that has no proof. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. I was once a committed christian and can’t begin to tell you how much more rewarding it is to free your mind and think for yourself. Think about it. You are a christian most likely because your parents were christians, or you happened to be born in a christian culture. You are no more emphatic about your delusional beliefs than millions of hindus, muslims, or jews. There is no reason to believe gods, an afterlife, or hell exists. They are all man made. Take a chance. Read a book by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, or Christopher Hitchens. If your faith is based on sound principles, there is no threat. Otherwise, you just may see the light and be free.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      You were never a committed Christian. Not anymore than Satan was/is.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Recon

      Chains are for unrepentant sinners...and atheists.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • IkeNewton

      It's atheism which is man made. I'm a Christian and I believe that God wrote the laws of physics in such a way to bring about our physical world. I have no problem with evolution as God's tool to create us. I've read books such A Brief History of Time and find nothing which in the least troubles my faith. Try reading Dr. Eben Alexander's Proof of Heaven if you're so certain of your atheist faith. Atheism views itself as science, which is ridiculous. Atheism believes that purely natural forces created the universe. That is a faith, unsupported by science.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Ed

      I was every bit a committed christian as you think you are, and every bit as brainwashed. "Faith" is the willingness to believe something that has absolutely no evidence. That is why christianity values it above all other virtues.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • u are wrong

      If you trace back evolution all the way back...all the way to the "big bang", you should see that the big bang is full of crap, and if there was something that even resembled the big bang, it would be god.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Do tell. Have YOU traced the "big bang all the way back" you moronic shi!twit?

      October 28, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      I like this thing someone said the other day:

      The God of Abraham hasn't gone anywhere that man didn't take him.

      So true.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • IkeNewton

      Ed, whether you were committed or not is a matter of speculation on my part. Your speculation that I'm brainwashed is a reflection of your fear that your faith is not valid. There is no scientific proof that the universe was created by entirely natural processes as atheism teaches. You have a faith, not science.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Ed

      Ike, I'm glad you accept evolution. I just wish that you would take that extra step and reject dogma that has no proof. It is your fear that prevents you from doing so. I'm not the one claiming to know how it all happened. Believing that "goddidit" is a lazy way to explain it all.

      October 28, 2012 at 11:19 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.