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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. malw

    People will choose to believe what they want to believe or what makes them feel comfortable or helps them fit it even regarding the POTUS religious beliefs. Its like the parent who refuses to believe their child is gay. You can disown the child, berate the child, tell yourself the child is not gay, pray for the child and even try to cast out the deamons you believe to exist within the child. If your child is gay, your child is gay regardless of what you say or do about it. This is the ONLY POTUS in our history who has stated his religion and some people refuse to believe it. But then again this is the ONLY POTUS in our history to have his citizenship questioned while in office....Remember, people will believe what they want to believe or what makes them feel comfortable or what makes them fit in. I am proud to be a Christian and proud my POTUS is a Christian as well.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  2. A Convert Myself

    Except for that whole HHS mandate thing...

    October 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
  3. Hindu

    I vote for Obama because he is an awesome celebrity – an IDOL worshiped by the media.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      The alternative is to vote for a greedy crazy mormon which is worse

      October 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Hindu

      @Atheist Hunter

      I will take Romney on substance and not labels. He does not support blanket abortion and gay marriage. That is enough! Judge them what they do and not what they say.

      Obama says he believes in God but clearly he does not care for God's laws in murdering innocents in the womb and allowing gays to marry. Romney shows by his policies that he is a true Christian.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  4. Atheist Hunter

    Obama kills babies.....Thou shalt not kill.
    Obama bows to other gods and wears and carries their emblems....Thou shalt have no other god's before me.
    Obama constantly lies...Thou shalt not lie.
    Obama steals taxpayers dollars to spoil his family while US citizens starve....Thou shalt not steal.
    Obama carries graven images and wears them on his finger....Thou shalt not have graven images.
    Obama's wife compares him the Christ..........Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord the God in vain.
    Obama lies about Mitt Romey....Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
    Obama covets Hitler's power and wants it.........Thou shalt not covet.
    Obama encourages the US citizen to commit adultery....Thou shalt not commit adultery.
    Obama keeps nothing Holy, much less the sabbath.....Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.

    FAIL! New Player!

    October 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Then again i molest sheep so what do i know

      October 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Vic

      Oh my goodness.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • malw

      A little angry?? I hope you dont commit any of the sins you accuse the POTUS of.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • TrollAlert

      "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:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian . .

      October 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      malwhatever......i don't get mad.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • truth never changes

      Yes it is, trollalert / hal / phony jesus / name thief

      October 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  5. csnord

    The man has "faith advisers"? Please ... I'd rather have a man leading the country than some religious sycophant. Sadly, the mindless religious zombies that make up most of the electorate don't give me that choice. I keep waiting for people to grow up and abandon their imaginary friends, but they never do.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      You go ahead and abandon it and let's see how it works out for you first! Take a snow cone with ya!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • gentle_athiest

      Extremely well said... Thanks!

      October 29, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  6. bfitz

    "These days, when the president talks about his faith, he sounds like a born-again Christian." I really doubt that.

    He sounds more like a snake oil salesman.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • truth never changes

      Its ok for leaders to lie about religion they have to. to keep the sheep in line. whats really scary if a leader thinks a god is telling him what to do like Romney

      October 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Howard

      AFTER 20 YEARS ATTENDING THE 'GOD DAMN AMERICA' CHURCH OF JEREMIAH WRIGHT ... ANY CHRISTIAN ACTIVITY WOULD APPEAR TO BE EVOLVING ... EVEN IF IT'S ALL JUST ANOTHER PHOTO OP, TO GET VOTES !!!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Dippy

      Howard, turn off your fucking caps lock.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  7. Atheist Hunter

    Romney is dangerous, if we let this guy in office the world will end as we know it

    October 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Jesus

      I Agree 100 % that guy is a loon

      October 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • TrollAlert

      Yeah Romney is the guy who strapped his dog to top of car for 12 hours, can we let someone that dumb run the USA ?

      October 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Vote Democratic save the country from a theocracy!!!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • truth never changes

      If Romney gets elected we are one step closer to have Religious police, making sure your following the laws of their god. which is really money

      October 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Rap Star

      Romney is dangerous! He will take away my obamaphone and create jobs then make me work. I want to sit at home and get these gov't handouts like I'm doing while I create my next rap CD on my computer. HOLLA!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • truth never changes

      Think for yourself a lot do you?

      October 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Get a clue

      Hey Truth Never Changes, 1060 called, it wants its religious argument back.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Get a clue

      *1960, but 1060 might work also

      October 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Ronald Regonzo

      America as we know it is more than ready to return to the moral common sense of the 1950's. If you liked Ike, you'll love Mitt ! Romney / Ryan 2012

      October 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  8. Hindu

    Sandy is the nail in Obama's coffin. Sandy will make people realize the power of God and turn away from this false prophet with God-complex trying to write his own Bible supporting blanket abortion and gay marriage.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • --

      A fool is posting over and over again under most of the handles here demonstrating what a troll looks like.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Huebert

      The idea that God communicates his discontent with our political policies by occasionally throwing giant national disasters our way is just plain silly.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Howard

      Sandy will remind people that Obama is a 'Fair Weather Friend' ... who has a record of throwing people under the bus, once he has used them.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Hindu

      @Huebert

      God does not create such disasters - we create these ourselves by not heeding the good advice of the true prophets and scriptures. God is compassionate to us - He wants to lead us on the right path and save "our soul" from real disaster of being lost in the matter.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Huebert

      This just goes to show that you can't argue with crazy.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Paul

      agreed

      October 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Madtown

      we create these ourselves by not heeding the good advice of the true prophets and scriptures
      ----–
      Ah yes, we created this hurricane by not reading the proper scripture. Well, which scripture do I have to read to make it sunny and 75 in the upper midwest all winter long? Cuz' I'll get right to work on it.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Hindu

      @Madtown

      Winter is not a disaster like hurricane Sandy.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  9. allenwoll

    This thread pretty well proves that religion has no proper place in politics ! ! !

    In order to secure Freedom OF Religion, we need first to secure Freedom FROM Religion ! ! !

    This would be the religionists Top Chant if he had ANY clue at all ! ! !

    Religion is its OWN worst enemy ! ! ! . It brings out the WORST in people ! ! !

    October 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Excuses, excuses.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  10. -----

    I take it in the bum.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • -----

      All these posters are same person

      Atheist Hunter
      TrollAlert
      Millie
      DON'T FEED THE TROLS!!
      Ronald Regonzo
      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
      Jesus
      truth never changes
      Michael
      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      CNN do something about this please at least make us login here anyone can post under any name

      Giving crazy people a voice is just wrong

      October 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  11. Gang Banger

    Obama give me a phone hommies, he is quite cool.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • OBAMA PHONE

      YEAHH OBAMA PHONE!!!!!!!!!!!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • -----

      IM doing a paper on mental illness and forum posting, would you answer just one question ?

      Are you doing this because you think your making a difference ? or are you paid by someone to propagate this agenda you seem to have ?

      Atheist Hunter
      TrollAlert
      Millie
      DON'T FEED THE TROLS!!
      Ronald Regonzo
      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
      Jesus
      truth never changes
      Michael
      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      all same person

      October 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  12. Kingrb

    Mr. Gilgoff, You are unbelievable! You try to rationalize Obama and Rev Wright's past and current history of Christianity. Shame on you for not even getting your facts straight. No wonder CNN is at the bottom of viewership. The main problem with demorcrats is that they hold the right to a much higher standard than they're willing to hold themselves. Why aren't you writing about the biggest scandal in decades, and that is the Libya scandal? CNN has hit the bottom of the pit in journalism sir

    October 29, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • --

      Seriously what do you do for a living since you spend so much time on this blog posting your stupid comments. Get a life.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • sean

      What scandal in Lybia, the murder of the countries leader, no declaration of war while NATO planes bombed Lybia, the complete lack of concern in which terrorist organization took over the country? Or could you be referring to the ambassador not realizing his life was in danger everyday he was in that country and now after the fact Americans seem to care?

      October 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  13. Barrack

    My name is not a christian name is is actually Muslim , thanks.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • -----

      Get a life

      October 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • ****

      Go read the Bible. Mentioned in the old testament and in Hebrews for his faith.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • ME II

      I thought his name was a family name, hence the Barack Hussein Obama II.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Michael

      And what religion is the name "Mitt" fool?

      October 29, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
  14. Raul Lopez

    Hey I would like to thank Obama for letting me and my entire family of 15 live in the good old USA. Thanks Mister I owe you one :)

    October 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  15. Vic

    It seems to me that the republicans stood in the way of every piece of legislation. You get an F.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  16. ace

    Bill Maher was right about one thing. Obama is an atheist. Always has been. A Christian does not mock people who believe that people "cling to their religion and their guns." A Christian doesn't believe there are many ways to heaven. His abortion and gay marriage stances are not the way most Christians would think. Even Jeremiah Wright said Obama and his wife never really attended church, and when asked to explain to Franklin Graham how he became a Christian, Obama conceded with mostly for political purposes because he had to. His actions as a whole are not the actions of one who is a Christian.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Ryan

      100% correct! obama is not a follower of Jesus... he shows this by his actions!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • ME II

      I would have thought that a Christian would leave that determination up to their God.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • Michael

      And a true Christian doesn't take someone's words out of context to distort and slander another person. One thing about Romney's 47% comment is that we have the full context in which he said them and it is irrefutable that Romney is not for 100% of the people. At most, he is only for 53% and that is only if you give Romney the benefit of the doubt.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      He worships at the alter of narcissism.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Madtown

      A Christian doesn't believe there are many ways to heaven
      ------
      And, this is a main reason why christianity and christians are so blatantly and hilariously flawed: it ignores the very basic logic that millions throughout the world will never hear or learn the first thing about christianity.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  17. Obama Bin Laden

    Rise up my Muslim Brothers, African Americans and illigal Immigrants! For I am the welfare President for all of lazy America!

    October 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • jose garcia

      Obama good! He let me and me 12 kids stay in country free and no deport!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Ja Rule

      Obama give me my free obamaphone to call all my homies! He is the shizzle! I don't ever have to work with all deez gov't handouts! HOLLA!!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • -----

      another examples of same person talking to themselves to spread their propaganda

      October 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Jeff

      Obama is still better then a lying evil wacko mormon

      October 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Jeff

      I don't know much at all, but I will vote Obama because I am 35 and living at my Mom's house. Obama gives me free handouts and now I dont have to work. Oh, Judge Judy is on TV, gotta go!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Wafaie

      Please let's not judge lest we will be judged, on the other hand Mr. Obama we are supposed to pray to God all the time, in health and in sickness, and in the time of election or at any other time, May God Bless America, Governor Romney and President Obama, so the best for the Country would win

      October 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  18. -----

    Read comments 80% of them are one person posting propaganda ( talking to himself and whatnot ) they really need to get rid of these forums or make some security it has become a haven for crazy people with agendas

    October 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • .

      It's just a great example of someone suffering from low self esteem issues and why bullying is an issue in our society.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      ............... and . and what exactly are the two of you doing here? Sounds a lot like talking to yourselves to me!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Many of us are here laughing at tools like you, AH.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • -----

      Atheist Hunter hes one of the personas of the wacko im talking about

      October 29, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  19. Atheist Hunter

    Obama's had four years and did nothing but make a mess of everything! New player!

    October 29, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • -----

      Id spend more time looking at your own failure of a life first

      October 29, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      He's the one trying to rule the world which affects all our lives, not me! God stick you head back in the sand until he comes to getcha for one of the FEMA retirement centers!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Michael

      Nope. Obama had to clean up the mess left by the last player who by the time he left office, the country as losing 800,000 jobs per month. Perhaps gaining 200,000 jobs a month as we are now is less than optimal,. but it is a heck of a lot better than the economy the Obama was handed by his predecessor. And there was no question in most people's minds that GWB wasn't "born again", but it wasn't much help when it came to economic matters.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      AH, you're a moron. Every time you post you look more and more desperate to prove you're actually not a houseplant. My cat is smarter. My cat's turds are smarter.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • TrollAlert

      "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:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian!!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Michael

      Nope. Obama had to clean up the mess left by the last player who by the time he left office, the country was losing 800,000 jobs per month. Perhaps gaining 200,000 jobs a month as we are now is less than optimal,. but it is a heck of a lot better than the economy the Obama was handed by his predecessor. And there was no question in most people's minds that GWB wasn't "born again", but it wasn't much help when it came to economic matters.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Michael............bah bah bah. You're head must be in the sand as we speak! Let me guess you're black!

      October 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      AH, "you're" is short for "you are." "Your" is a possessive.

      The school curriculum covers that before you get to 5th grade.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son.........now my day is just ruined. you don't like me. boo hoo! Do you atheists Obama lovers really think I care what any of your think???? Really???? If being smart makes you vote for an illegal for US president then I'll take moron anyday! You fools kill me!!!! LOLOLOLOLOL

      October 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • guest

      You want a miracle in 4yrs when it took a long time to create the mess?

      October 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Vic

      @Atheist hunter. Let me guess. You are racist.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're partly right–he's a racist and a teenager with nothing but time on his hands.

      October 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  20. Michael

    The ignorance of Republicans on this thread and elsewhere is boundless. They falsely claim to be "born again" but they are not by any stretch of the imagination Christ-like. Born again, my a–.

    October 29, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Why cause we're anti the obamaanti-christ?

      October 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Huebert

      AH

      The anti-christ is supposed to be elected pope, not president. Get your own mythology right.

      October 29, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
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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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.