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.
Obama is an Islamic Communist
Wow are you one uneducated fool.
Please learn what a communist is before you say that somebody is one. Islamic law favors an autocratic government, or a monarchy, not a communist state.
I am an un-educated middle aged poor excuse for a human, who loves sheep and banjos
I thought he was a socialist.
Obama is a Muslim
....who fakes Christianity to get elected.
I never finished high school either
You are a dick.
We need proof of your statement. Or else start your statement with "in my opinion". Bcos your statement is baseless.
In 8 short days America will awake to a new dawn of restoration and faith, all the sins of the demoncrats will be eradicated and an America of the prosperous for the prosperous will emerge. You liberal losers and ho mo se xuals will be kicked to the curb as we realize the fulfillment of the American dream (Republican revised edition). Hope you like tea. Romney / Ryan 2012
"Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
"Salvatore" degenerates to:
"Douglas" degenerates to:
"truth be told" degenerates to:
"Thinker23" degenerates to:
"Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
"another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
"Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
"tina" degenerates to:
"captain america" degenerates to:
"Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
"Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
"just sayin" degenerates to:
"ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
"Kindness" degenerates to:
"Chad" degenerates to
"Bob" degenerates to
"nope" degenerates to:
"2357" degenerates to:
"WOW" degenerates to:
"fred" degenerates to:
"!" degenerates to:
This troll is not a christian!.
What you post has nothing to do with the topic or our election. Your stupidity will be a crime under President Romney. Guantanamo isn't full yet. Romney / Ryan 2012
Are you trolling or are you really are that dumb?
this guy posts under about 10 different names and even converses with himself, i think he is just a nut
his known names are Ronald Regonzo, TrollAlert, Jesus, Prayer Changes things, Hall9000 and more
You know you're a teabagger if you use your 'Don't Tread on Me Flag' as a bath towel.
ABORTION WAS MADE LEGAL WHILE A REPUBLICAN (NIXON) WAS IN OFFICE ON JAN. 22, 1973. DID THAT MAKE NIXON, NOT A CHRISTIAN? WHAT ABOUT THE OTHERS IN OFFICE, FORD, REAGAN, BOTH BUSHES. REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN USING THE ABORTION DEBATE TO SUCKER YOU INTO VOTING FOR THEM YEAR AFTER YEAR. THE FOLLOWING REPUBLICAN HAVE BEEN IN OFFICE BUT HAVE NOT HAD THE LAW OVERTURNED. THEY ARE RICHARD NIXON (1969-1974), GERALD FORD (1974-1977), REAGAN (1981-1989) GEORGE H BUSH (1989-1993), GEORGE W BUSH (2001-2009). WAKE UP PEOPLE. THESE PEOPLE ARE USING TO VOTE FOR THEM WHEN THEY KNOW THEY CANNOT OVERTURN IT. WHEN EACH OF YOU SO CALL "CHRISTIAN" THAT A CHILD TO RAISE PARENTS DID NOT WANT THEM OR ABUSED THEM, THEN YOU CAN TALK.
Thank you for posting in all caps. That is the most efficient way to let other posters know that your comment has no value.
The thought that our so called leaders have spiritual counselors, well scares the sh!t out of me this is the year 2012 right ?
It depends really, is it theater or is it real. Much of politics is just so much theater I can't tell anymore.
Yeah if i knew for sure they just did it for show and didnt think a GOD was telling them what to do, id sleep better at night
There's a black man in the White House thinks he's got it so good, and there's a woman waitng for him every night willing to talk..........but ain't that America for you and me.ain't that America somethin' to see .ain't that America home of the free..I had this idea of Barack Obama picking cherries in an orchard and filling up his baskets with them and then walikin through a small town in America on a small street and there an elderley woman is outside on her lawn watering her flowers who spots him and says ' Young man where are you going with those cherries.are they for sell and Barack nods and smiles...so she invites him inside as she says" would you care for some lemonade and some pie" and he replies ".Yes maam" so he sits down to his lemonade and she says " which would you prefer some blueberry or apple pie he says "apple pie please and thankyou maam" then she comes back and says "young man why are you selling cherries. " BECAUSE I WANT TO BECOME PRESIDENT ONE DAY AND THIS IS A GOOD WAY TO MEET PEOPLE " she says what's your name young man and he says Barack Obama and she repeats it Barack Obama the cherry picking president that's gotta nice ring to it..now how much for the cherries he says" 3 dollars a basket" and she eyes him keenly and says why are you asking 3 dollars surely they're worth atleast 5 dollars'. and Barack says" yes maam but I took off two dollars for the lemonade and pie."
slow clap followed up with a 1 finger salute
Teabaggers are still mourning the loss of Peggy Rea, the actress that played Boss Hogg's wife.
You idiot, Gov Quinn of Illinois, a demoncrat, was the original teabagger. Ill noise is very sick.
What faith he's only gone to church three times his entire 4 year he's been in office, but he does believes in the religion of government.
When I stay away from "Church" I am closer to "God"
If god is omnipresent why do you need a church – wouldn't it know?
Prayer changes things .
This troll is not a christian!
Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.
An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.
The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs.-
the one thing that doesnt change anything is your posts mr lame bot
Atheism is still useless.
Prayer is still essential and life giving.
I was just wondering when his other personas wouls show up ( jesus and hal )
Mormons, like Stanley, have a problem with s e x.
Now the liberals have sen Obama pray. They will hate him for that.
Why do we have to know what religion the President (whoever it is, not just Obama) practices? This is stupid news. As long as he/she doesn't mix it with his/hers decisions as Commander in Chief everything is fine. Next we'll have what type of toilet paper he/she uses, what his/her favorite food is, what brand of cereal he/she likes, is he/she a vegan...
Seriously who cares!?!?!?
The O's spend more on TP than the Queeny in england.
Whereas @anybody uses her hands – you can tell from what she types.
Be careful when shaking hands with an Arab. You don't need no stinkin' snafu's.
Teabaggers will gladly crawl a mile over broken glass just to sniff the tire tracks of the truck that took Sarah Palin's dirty underwear to the laundry.
The guys a muslim parading around as a christian for votes...we aren't fooled.
You're an idiot – we aren't fooled.
Jack and Dan sitting in a tree Kay Eye Ess Ess Eye EN Gee
His agenda of Pro-abortion and gay marriage are not consistant with Christian values.
Trig Palin -> pro abortion poster child
" gay marriage"
As Christian clergy we proclaim the Good News concerning Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) persons and publicly apologize where we have been silent. As disciples of Jesus, who assures us that the truth sets us free, we recognize that the debate is over. The verdict is in. Homosexuality is not a sickness, not a choice, and not a sin. We find no rational biblical or theological basis to condemn or deny the rights of any person based on sexual orientation. Silence by many has allowed political and religious rhetoric to monopolize public perception, creating the impression that there is only one Christian perspective on this issue. Yet we recognize and celebrate that we are far from alone, as Christians, in affirming that LGBT persons are distinctive, holy, and precious gifts to all who struggle to become the family of God.
In repentance and obedience to the Holy Spirit, we stand in solidarity as those who are committed to work and pray for full acceptance and inclusion of LGBT persons in our churches and in our world. We lament that LGBT persons are condemned and excluded by individuals and institutions, political and religious, who claim to be speaking the truth of Christian teaching. This leads directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death. The Holy Spirit compels us:
-to affirm that the essence of Christian life is not focused on sexual orientation, but how one lives by grace in relationship with God, with compassion toward humanity;
–to embrace the full inclusion of our LGBT brothers and sisters in all areas of church life, including leadership;
–to declare that the violence must stop. Christ’s love moves us to work for the healing of wounded souls who are victims of abuse often propagated in the name of Christ;
–to celebrate the prophetic witness of all people who have refused to let the voice of intolerance and violence speak for Christianity, especially LGBT persons, who have met hatred with love;
Therefore we call for an end to all religious and civil discrimination against any person based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. All laws must include and protect the freedoms, rights, and equal legal standing of all persons, in and outside the church.
Pro-choice is not the same as pro-abortion. The anti-abortion crowd call themselves pro-life but the only life they are concerned with is the unborn – viable or not. No concern for the myriad of other ways that life ends including what they would call "acts of god".
" gay marriage".................Rrrrrriiiiiiggggghhhhhttt. You be smarteer than the Word of God.
Ministers Proclamation, have you like Athena, always had a problem with s e x?
Teabaggers believe that nascar is a real sport and that Dale Earnhardt was a great American athlete.
thanks for the lol.
Oh yeah?????????? You can't even steer so you need a straight track. Whoopdie doo.
I'd have more respect for president Obama if he was an atheist.
But the majority wouldn't, that's the problem.
Teabaggers believe that Deliverance is a classic film, much like Citizen Kane or Gone With the Wind.
I don't know about "classic," but it is a film. What's your point?
Teabaggers believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that early man rode dinosaurs to church every Sunday.
What we beieve is that you're a lacky fool that believes Obama.
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.