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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. Christian

    OBAMA IS THE ANTI CHRIST

    October 29, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • Mirosal

      If that's what you REALLY think, then keep in mind that your candidate thinks he'll become a god himself and rule over a planet when he dies. If that isn't a sign of mental illness, then psychiatry needs an overhaul.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:06 am |
    • David DeForge III

      Grow up

      October 29, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • kelly51

      You are sad. If Barry is the Anti-Christ. I would think we'd know that by now. Our nation is still majority Christian and He will save us.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • sam stone

      Kelly: He will save us? From what? His daddy's temper tantrum?

      October 29, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • kelly51

      @ sam stone. From ourselves Sam, from ourselves.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • guest

      Christian – where is your proof?

      October 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  2. NorthVanCan

    God help us now.

    October 29, 2012 at 6:56 am |
    • Mirosal

      Your "prayers" are falling upon non-existent ears. No "god" is going to hear you. And if you speak it out loud, people will either think you're delusional, or talking with a bluetooth attachment.

      October 29, 2012 at 6:59 am |
    • Reason

      Mirosal, you made the claim. Now prove it.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:47 am |
    • kelly51

      He is always there for his Faithful servants. Trust in the Lord with all of your might.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Mirosal

      Kelly, show us your god. That's it, just a simple request.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • truth be told

      The only God we are shown is Jesus Christ and Jesus is the only representation of God we will ever need.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:01 am |
    • Mirosal

      ok then, show us docu'mentation from legitimate sources (not your book of fables .. i.e. bible) that tells us your jesus actually was alive at some point in time.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • kelly51

      Faith is believing without seeing. I have had svereal instances in my life where I shouldn't even be here, now. However, He lives in me and I know this to be a fact because I'm still here and serving in His Holy name. I'm sorry that you are blind. I pray it doesn't take a life threatening event or something else that brings you to your knees, before you open your eyes. I don't need to prove His existence, I feel His presence. You prove to me that there isn't a God.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:05 am |
    • truth be told

      There is no credible scholar of antiquities that denies the existence of Jesus and once again to date there have been found more than 30 written evidences of Jesus available from the first century A. D.(in the year of our Lord). Many of the writings are from a position arguing against the Christian claims. But facts do not support your position so you do not accept them, even though some were written by those who "disbelieve" as you do.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Mirosal

      I do not have to prove the negative. You claim he's real.. I say show me. As far as life-threatening experiences ... can YOU top 21 years of military service like I did? I have seen death up close and personal. I watched my parents slowly fade away. I lost an infant son. Your "god" is no more real than any other ancient deity that was once worshipped then fell into the realm of mythology. Soon yours will too, just not soon enough. Just because you FEEL it, doesn't make it true or real.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Mirosal

      were these written DURING, or after, his "lifetime"? Anyone can write a story based on another story they heard. It's called hearsay, and your bible is so full of it, that's why it isn't accepted as eveidence. If your "evidence" is the gospels, again, it's hearsay. No author of those books ever knew your jesus.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • cristopher hitchens

      21 years wasted by fraudulently drawing a welfare check from Uncle Sam?Are you trying to impress someone? That is not service that is imposing a burden on the values of a Christian nation, you were not needed and the country would be better off without you.You are an evil, wizened little dwarf of a human being.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • kelly51

      @ Mirosal-Thank you for your service to our country, first of all. Secondly I am so sorry for your loss, it's unimaginable to lose a child. My neighbors lost there 2 yr old to a drowning and I was there when his body was found. Almost every man in my family has served our great country and have seen the authrocities of war. That strenghtened their Faith, however. I would think that you would want the hope of knowing where your childs spirit resides. I would want to know everything about the One that cares for my child and if you wish to be reunited with your son one day then you better change your course. Your baby is in heaven and the only way you will ever see his little spirit is to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Damocles

      @ch

      Your post is the most ignorant thing I've ever seen on these boards. You demean the whole human race with your hate and stupidity.

      @kelly

      Your post is no better. To arrogantly claim that a child that has died is in some make believe fantasy land and then to try and use that to strongarm someone into believing your fantasy is horrible.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • kelly51

      @Damocles- There was nothing arrogant in my post. I hold my Faith in the Lord near and dear, so it was rather a conviction on my part. I do know that there is an electric energy in all of us and I believe that to be our soul our spirit. If you want to believe that I speak of something false, that is your right, to so so. I however, have my right as well. I am not arrogant, I am full of love and compassion for my fellow man, I can only lead a person to the path of rightousness, it is their choice in the end. I don't force anyone to take that step. Narrow is the gate.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • Damocles

      @kelly

      Color me shocked that you take the posistion of 'doin it for love'. What you and others do is try to run roughshod over what anyone else believes all the while going 'tralalala it's done out of love'. I can respect the belief to a certain degree, but I can not respect what is done in the name of that belief at all.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • kelly51

      @Damocles When something is wrong it's wrong. When a country attacks another for not believing as the do, that is when we must stand against that evil. God's love is freely given to those that choose it. Unlike other radical religions that demand death to those that do not deny their own God and pick up and practice what they would have us do. I will gladly die to defend my belief in the Lord. I do not force anyone to believe as I do. I simply share my joy.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  3. Vic

    It's great to see that many republicans are getting behind Barack Obama. They see that the other guy is not their cup of tea.

    October 29, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • Christian

      OBAMA IS THE ANTI CHRIST, END OF STORY

      October 29, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • Reason

      Actually, Vic, the polls are still showing Romney in the lead. We will mercifully have a new president soon.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • Free

      Obama is the anti-christ based on what? When you make a statement like that, what are you then?

      October 29, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  4. Rick

    ...and how do you measure Obama's increase in faith? Answer: You can't.

    This article was written purely to keep any Obama supporting evangelicals that were leaning left, from voting for Romney.

    October 29, 2012 at 6:47 am |
    • kelly51

      Amen. However, I do hope and pray that the Obama's do keep steady in their Christian Faith. I will not vote for Barry but, if a man says he believes in the Lord? I have no authority to deny or discredit that.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:08 am |
    • Sam

      I totally agree. This was written to make Obama appear to be more acceptable to Evangelical Christians. When you are promoting gay marriage as the law of the land, which he did not do in 2008, I see absolutely no evidence of any change in his faith. Any such talk is a political propaganda.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:10 am |
    • sam stone

      the nerve of them wanting equal rights under the law....what gall

      jest like when the darkies wanted to marry our white wimmens...

      October 29, 2012 at 7:24 am |
    • Reason

      Sam, every male and female have exactly the same rights! Activists want to add privileges.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:51 am |
    • sam stone

      reason: how is it they want priviledges rather than rights?

      October 29, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • sam stone

      Does the right to marry a consenting adult of your choice qualify as a priviledge to your way of thinking?

      Do you feel that marriage should only be defined as man and woman?

      The prohibition on gays marrying will be shot down by the supreme court using the same rationale that was used in loving vs virginia (1967). In that case, the SC found that prohibiting blacks and whites marrying violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  5. khm

    From his actions, I would guess that Christianity is not a significant part Obama's life. If you really want to know what he believes you need to read his book, "Dreams of My Father." Obama's father was more of a socialist/revolutionary. Obama is actually quite faithful to this ideology but those beliefs are not the values that most Americans hold dear.

    October 29, 2012 at 6:45 am |
  6. Mirosal

    This is all getting rather sickening. All I'm seeing is bit'ching, moaning and groaning. You have complaints... fine.. so be it. But, if you think you have the answers, get YOUR name on the ballot, get your ass out there and campaign for yourself to get elected. Go for it, run for the office yourself, see just how "easy" you think it is.

    October 29, 2012 at 6:35 am |
    • James

      It's not as easy as all of that.

      You can't become President without selling your Soul to global bankster and corporate interests.

      Therefore, in this day and age, any President is already compromised. He's not working for the best interests of the people, since those are in CONTRAST to the desires of the global elite.

      If elections could actually change anything, voting would be illegal.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:16 am |
  7. VirginiaFan

    I don't blame any atheist who votes for Obama, unless he cares about the economy too.

    October 29, 2012 at 6:31 am |
  8. B

    Any adult who actually holds a world view based upon supernatural magic should be barred from public office. We need rational level headed people in public office if we want our problems solved, not deluded cowards clinging to death denying fairytales.

    October 29, 2012 at 6:27 am |
  9. lolreally

    Let's also remember that not all Americans are Christian, and those who are have differing beliefs depending on their chosen denomination.

    Like Romney, for instance, sincerely believes that some random guy dreamt of an angel who told him to dig a hole to locate two gold plates, writes the Book of Mormon and creates a new religion... And then turns around and says, "Oops. Sorry. You can't see the plates because I gave it back to the angel to told me to find it."

    It's really no small wonder that Romney flip flops on every major issue he discusses because his core belief system is based on a poorly written fairy tale.

    Golden plates, indeed.

    October 29, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  10. GG

    Bull-S__t

    October 29, 2012 at 5:59 am |
  11. VirginiaFan

    How any minister, even an African American one, can justify teaming with Obama, who has previously promoted late term partial birth abortions is sickening on all counts.

    October 29, 2012 at 5:59 am |
    • littleozzydoak

      boy he is really trying to cover all the bases now!

      October 29, 2012 at 6:23 am |
    • sam stone

      how any minister, especially african-american ones, can deny others' their civil rights is bigoted beyond belief

      October 29, 2012 at 7:30 am |
    • Reason

      Sam, since when was it ever a civil right to kill someone? That's just plain evil.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • sam stone

      reason: i am not speaking of abortion. i am speaking of marriage, and the denial of that civil right to gays.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  12. nv voter

    What a convenient evolution of faith, reborn just before the election. Speaking of a deep faith, in his first run for office, Oprah Winery was everywhere promoting Obama. Have I just missed it or has her public support evaporated? Curious.

    October 29, 2012 at 5:42 am |
    • Natalie

      Obama may have had a change of heart and found a desperation for prayer right in his time of trial but it doesn't compare to the free service Romney gave to his church over multiple years. If we are talking faith, Romney is stronger, hands down. I think Obama is a good man in regards to his familiy. However, he is not honest with the public. He said lots of times that legislation would be posted on C-SPAN, nope. He closed his doors to republicans to strong-arm Health care reform through....nice bipartisan work. I just think Romney knows how to balance a budget. He is a businessman who knows how to compromise and work with multiple parties for success. Look at their campaigns. Romney's is balanced while Obama begs me for money through e-mail 3x as much as Romney. Yes, I signed up for notices from both parties.

      PS- I agree with the Oprah comment also. Where has she been? I haven't seen her support Obama lately.

      October 29, 2012 at 6:13 am |
    • anonymous

      Natalie,
      Romney is stronger in faith based on what? What an individual says doesn't mean he is stronger in faith. Its his lie that shows for it, and please don't tell me being in France does it. Just be careful how you judge people on faith.
      Obama is not honest to the public? Based on what? Is Romney honest to the public? One day Romney was pro-choice, then now he is pro-life. To name just one of his flipflops. Also balancing the budget of a company by shipping jobs to China isn't the same as balancing the budget of a country.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  13. Gallup

    Obama: four and OUT!

    October 29, 2012 at 5:36 am |
  14. allinstride

    Well, now I'm confused. DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz says people can not change. Help me CNN! I need to understand before Tuesday so I know who to vote for.

    October 29, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • Amber

      Vote for the American! Vote for the energy candidate that doesn't depend entirely on wind and solar. Vote for one who tells the American people the TRUTH about tough issues. Vote for the one who will create jobs and get this country rolling again. BO plans on more of hte same from the last 4 yrs. You will not like Obamacare no matter what you think you know. Many companies have been granted waivers. Where is the waiver for the American people? Death panels are in there. Penalities are in there...and they're costly. Do you think for a minute that that is going to help the middle class who can afford it least? Do you think that 20 somethings understand what is at stake? We are heading toward communism via socialism and a swipe at fascism!!!! If BO gets re-elected we will "share" and be "equal" in our collective misery!!!

      October 29, 2012 at 5:32 am |
    • Gallup

      Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Creature of the Black Lagoon: Separated at birth.

      The creature is a little easier on the eye.

      October 29, 2012 at 5:38 am |
  15. Joe Clark

    A tree is known by its fruit! President Obama has openly endorsed immoral behavior-gay lifestyles. This is not indicative of Christian values in fact its just the opposite.

    October 29, 2012 at 4:39 am |
    • Gallup

      And the whole country has to bend over and take it up the gazoo from Obozo and the Demotards.

      October 29, 2012 at 5:39 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      " immoral behavior-gay lifestyles"

      Bigotry runs deep in the USA. Being gay is natural and science has made this quite clear, so your imaginary friends rules do not matter. Your imaginary friends rules can't be used to make laws ever, so get over it and move forward...your opinion will not change the course of reality.

      October 29, 2012 at 6:33 am |
    • Reason

      Apparently being an alcoholic is "natural" too, as is the occasional birth defect. Give me a break. Just because someone might genetically predisposed toward pedaphilia, that doesn't mean society should accept immoral behavior. Immoral behavior stays immoral, but those with these issues should be given help if the left didn't get involved and evilly and cruelly prevent that help.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • sam stone

      reason: we are talking consenting adults here, so the pedophilia comment is absurd.

      immoral actions remain immoral? do you think that what we see as moral or immoral is the same as our great grandparents views? that is only 3 generations. why do you feel that the supposed morality of 1st century middle eastern goat herders has any relevance to our 21st century society?

      October 29, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • sam stone

      reason: which other immoral people do you seek to deny their civil rights? drunkards? adulterers? obese? liars, slanderers, lovers of money?

      October 29, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  16. James

    Seems strange that in an article about a lying thief (Obama) that there would be posts condemning God.

    Obama is a man of faith...if by that you mean that he has faith in Obama. He thinks he can do no wrong.

    As for Godliness. Sorry, a Godly man, even as President, does not fashion himself a Kill List. A Godly man does not have a drone program (joystick assassins).

    CNN can run this propaganda to try and influence the election in terms of spiritual people, but most TRULY spiritual people already see Obama for what he is....an evil crony-capitalist who lied about every single thing that he promised during the first campaign.

    Jesus and Obama are as opposite as it even can get.

    October 29, 2012 at 4:38 am |
    • Amber

      Right on! No Messiah in Obama. His hidden faith is Islam. Listen to his words. Look at the billion+ bucks he's about to give as a "bailout" to the Muslim Brotherhood! Why should we, the American people, have to, by proxy via this prez, give money to those who want us dead and will do anything to accomplish that task??? These are game changers. Or, in a rationale America, they should be. We have a pathological liar in the white house and rising generational ignorance and expectations of handouts. This does not make for a strong economy and people are seriously making a fatal choice by voting for this dictator and thief.

      October 29, 2012 at 5:38 am |
  17. whoever

    Come on people, with all the cr@p going on in the world, even if there was a god you really think he'd care about a debate or an election in the US?
    Seriously all you people who believe in God, tell me one thing the way the bible is written he is supposed to be good to everybody and nobody will be receiving preferential treatment so why would he help Obama and not Romney?
    Relegion is so ridicilous!

    October 29, 2012 at 4:24 am |
    • Natalie

      I don't think you have read the Bible. God DOES give preferential treatment. He FAVORS those who keep his commandments and also gives them tests and trials to help them become better. It doesn't say he forgets those who don't follow him. His had is stretched out still. Making fun of others' beliefs has no foundation. An agnostic and atheist have faith also. The agnostic believes religion doesn't matter and the atheist believes God doesn't exist. Neither point can be proven, just like Christianity by pure sight. That is why Christ invites everyone to try his gospel out and see for yourself. Have you tried living his words? I have. They are more powerful than any hatefully driven act. Like "Green Eggs and Ham" you should try it, try it and you may, I say. You may like green eggs and ham.

      October 29, 2012 at 6:24 am |
    • b4uheis

      Before making a comment about anyone's belief system know the facts and be contextual. Everyone has a belief system, the question is are you trying to push your beliefs on others. Not all belief system teach the same thing.

      Natalie, nice comment.

      October 29, 2012 at 7:22 am |
  18. CMJ

    I have seen allot lately regarding people saying "I’m voting for Obama because he’s black, and if you don’t vote for him then you’re a raciest." If you believe that, then you’re the raciest. If you vote/not vote for someone based of their skin color, then you are just as ignorant as they come and should be castrated so that you may not be able to breed your ignorance and hate with future generations.

    October 29, 2012 at 4:09 am |
  19. check the mirror

    Ya'll need to calm down, collect yourselves and look at the situation clearly: these are POLITICIANS... And yeah, they're gonna lie, and scheme, and make themselves out to be the best for the job... Do any of you think you could do better? I thought not... Christianity is based on countless lies and bloodshed, so I really don't see why people are so obsessed with making Islam out to be some kind of gruesome and horrific religion. It's not any worse. And just to be clear, every major religion has the same basic moral principals, and if you're a good person who cares about others you won't need to criticize the man beside you who refers to God by a different name. Vote for whoever the heck you want but remember that We The People are still gonna be here after election day... Change doesn't happen overnight, not in a year, four, eight, or even fifty if we can't work together. I suggest everyone convert to Buddhism and meditate a bit cuz ya'll be trippin

    October 29, 2012 at 4:01 am |
    • Jerad

      You are confusing Christianity with the cultures and societies of those who claim to be Christian. Christianity is based on one thing only; the grace of God. Sure, you can look at "Christian" societies and point out evils. However, if you look at the recorded teachings of Christ, which is what the term "Christianity" should really entail, then you see nothing but love and compassion. If everyone were to "love their neighbor as their self" then the world would be a beautiful place.

      October 29, 2012 at 5:14 am |
    • Amber

      Islam is a real threat. Remember Benghazi? Convert or be killed. You cannot make anyone believe anymore that Islam is a religion of peace. They are killers from the cradle...or whatever they put their babes in. They are taught to hate from an early age. The world does not need these kind of people because there will never be peace. We live with this constant threat. So, all religions are NOT created equal. Christianity does not compel one to kill.

      October 29, 2012 at 5:43 am |
  20. helenecha

    We don't know what Obama's religious belief is. Obama said that he believes in redistribution, for he insists on that people belong to Government. Obama said that we must use people's power, for he knows more about how to use them as a politician's arms but knows less about how to power his people right way. Obama said that he wants to end Bush tax cut to the wealthy, for he only learns well about money and learns poor about capital. Obama is like an old-fashioned proletarian revolutionist.

    October 29, 2012 at 3:47 am |
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About this blog

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