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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. roger

    Repubtard motto: In Greed We Trust

    October 29, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  2. Southerner01

    Obama's religious evolution :
    2008 – Badly pretends to be a Christian, messes up occasionally and calls himself a Muslim.
    2012 – Much better at pretending to be a CHristian. However, still says "the bible" when referring to the Holy Bible, but always says the "holy" Koran.

    October 29, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • roger

      A "spiritual" reassessment over the course of four or more years hardly compares with the flip-flopping that occurs so often by Mittens during this campaign that no one knows for sure what the man stands for (and on issues that are more important than his religion).

      October 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Romnesia

      Southerner. You spewing bile actually does little for your cause especially when you have no evidence.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Southerner01

      No evidence? YouTube has the videos of him saying "my muslim faith" and having to be reminded by the interviewer that he's supposed to be Christian. There's also tons of video in which he say's Holy Koran, and there are those videos in which the makes derisive comments about "which verses in "the bible" (Not Holy Bible), should we be guided by.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're beyond dumb, Southerner.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • homardy

      Please cite sources for both. Otherwise, I say YOU LIE. You're nothing but a milque toast hater.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Southerner01

      Countering facts with ad hominem insults. What an effective debater you are.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're a joke. Nobody could be that stupid. Look up your claims on Snopes, brainless.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Got some of yer "blatant lies, none of which are true," Hoecake?

      October 29, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Southerner01

      Show me one thing I said that is untrue. And feel free to show me where on snopes anything I said has been "debunked".

      October 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Southerner01

      Also, are you seriously too dumb to see that the "blatant lies, none of which are true" was in response to sally's comment "Do you think they could get away with such a blatant lie if it wasn't true"? It really takes all the humor out of something like this when you have to explain it like this. Hopefully you get it now. If not, let me know and I'll break the joke down word by word for you.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CCQQtwIwAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DYY4FeQ7BKdo&ei=meSOUN6iLobq8wS10YGYCg&usg=AFQjCNEMXd48emMKrrXzvNywSwE4yvyVvw

      October 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Vic

      Don't you mean Fox news?

      October 29, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  3. JoeEverest

    when Romney dissolved the company i worked for in his quest to make more money, he ruined my life and 10,000 other workers

    October 29, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Your PUblic Servants didn't hang with you? Servants gone wild!

      October 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • jack

      Oh buck up lil trooper,,, I'm sure your a fine burger flipper

      October 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Southerner01

      And what company would that be, or did not not do enough research to fill in those details of your little story?

      October 29, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • sally

      Well there is already a testimonial of similar story in one of Obama's ads. Do you think they could get away with such a blatant lie if it wasn't true. Of course this was the business Rummy pirate was in. Common knowledge.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Southerner01

      Obama's ads are full of blatant lies, none of which are true. That is sort of the nature of blatant lies. As far as whether Romney ever laid a worker off, of course he did. But, what about all the dealers shut down and non-union workers who were fired during the GM banruptcy, overseen by Obama?

      October 29, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • mama k

      My brother worked for this company was a very bad time for him ..

      October 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Smithsonian

      Romney lies for money

      October 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Southerner01

      Sure, and I used to work for a company owned by the Obamas that slaughtered dogs and sold them as food. He fired all of us when he got a couple semi-loads of illegal immigrants through to replace us. Conveniently, I cannot remember the name of that company either.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      ahahhahahhash "Blatant lies, none of which are true."

      You just can't make up this stuff.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Romnesia

      Southerner. You can't even get your lies straight. Obama was fed dog as a child in the Far East where that is quite usual.

      October 29, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      “During Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital, the firm invested in or helped start up over 100 companies...

      “If you look at just four of the startups alone, they add up to more than 120,000 jobs:

      “Staples = 89,019 Employees (Staples, 10-K Report, Filed 2011)

      Recommended

      WSJ — Bain Capital Saved America

      “The Sports Authority = 15,000+ Employees (Sports Authority, Press Release, 1/9/12)

      “Bright Horizons = 19,000 Employees (The Boston Globe, 11/6/11)

      “Steel Dynamics = 6,180 Employees (Steel Dynamics, 10-K Report, Filed 2011)

      “This doesn't even take into account any of the job growth under other companies Bain Capital invested in during Mitt Romney's tenure.

      “Some of the companies that Bain Capital invested in were struggling...

      “The press has reportedly extensively on many of the cases where job losses occurred. While the campaign is not the source of these numbers, even looking at the totality of those numbers compared against just the four startups listed above, the net job growth is still over 100,000 jobs.

      “(Press reports of job losses at Bain Capital-invested companies: ADAP/Auto Palace: -20 jobs; AMF Bowling: -271 jobs*; AMPAD: -385 jobs; Closings Ltd.: -30 jobs; Dade International: -1,700 jobs; Ddi: -2,100 jobs*; EduServ Technologies: -400 jobs; FTD: -205 jobs; GS Industries: -750 jobs*; GT Bicycles: -100 jobs*; Handbag Holdings: -206 jobs; Holson Burnes: -294 jobs; The Learning Company: -500 jobs; LIVE Entertainment: -40 jobs; Midwest Of Cannon Falls: -40 jobs; MotherCare Stores: -100 jobs; Physio Control: -50 jobs; Transtar: -1,000 jobs; Waters Lab Technologies: -70 jobs; Wesley Jessen: -600 jobs)”

      October 29, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Vic

      @Southerner01. You are good a looking up information to support only what you want to believe. Do a search for how many companies Mitt Romney and Bain put out of business. Sensata was the most recent one. He is still invested in these companies and makes money each time they close one and send them to China.

      October 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Vic

      @BillDeacon. Tell that to the individuals who lost their jobs.

      October 29, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Southerner01

      Romney has not run Bain Capital in a decade. Bain's current managing partner is Steven Pagliuca, is a Democrat who once ran for Ted Kennedy's former Senate seat. His executive team includes: Jon Lavine, an Obama campaign bundler and senior member of the firm, or Matt Levin, also a partner at Bain who is said to be very active in Democratic politics.

      Soooo... Lets put the blame where it belongs, ok?

      October 29, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  4. Ralph

    CNN and Mr. Gilgoff are just trying to promote the chameleon in chief. He is only pretending because he was forced to cover his real religion. Why CNN does not publish a similar article(Web Front page, Photos, etc ) showing Romney. The chameleon is not EVOLVING is HIDDEN IN PLAIN VIEW an cover by CNN. Waiting to strike. Does CNN belongs or work for the Chameleon in Chief?. Mr. Gilgoff are you getting any profit to publish this article with such of bias. Mr. Gilgoff, remember rev. wright and chameleon are just waiting. and for all chameleon's followers, he is nnot the Messiah.

    October 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • eAh

      CNN did a 90 minute Television Bio on Mitt called "Romney Revealed: Family, Faith, and the Road to Power"

      October 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  5. Penny Wright

    Paul Ryan's hero is a Russian atheist Ayn Rand.

    October 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  6. Penny Wright

    Could the contrast be any greater between Romney, who looted American companies and shipped their jobs overseas, only pays taxes at a 13% rate, stashes his money in the Cayman Islands to avoid U.S. taxes, and President Obama who saved GM and created 30 straight months of private sector job growth?

    October 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Dan

      Go Obama he has my vote Romney is a greedy money hording man.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Southerner01

      Obama has investments in the Cayman Islands and in China. Also, Romney only invests his own money overseas. Obama gave $200 million to FIsker to Make electric cars in Europe, and it was our tax money.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • Mittology

      Southerner. Do you have evidence that Obama has money in tax shelters?

      October 29, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Southerner01

      Part of Obama's retirement pension is invested in Advent International GPE VI-A which is a Cayman Islandbased trust fund. Google it. His pension also has holdings in Chinese companies.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • John Atkinson

      Penny, please take your meds and listen to something other than MSNBC. Pres. Obama's policies are bankrupting the country and destroying the middle class. Income for the middle class DOWN 4 straight years. If his policies are so good why is that happening? 15 million more on Food Stamps. If we are on the right track and the ecomomy is improving why are the numbers consistently increasing for the last 4 years. Why do we have the slowest recovery in the entire post WW II era? Why do we have the lowest workplace participation rate in 40 years after 5 plus trillion in deficit spending and 1 trillion in stimulus (a/k/a waste) ? Additionally he has a proven track record of lying to the American people re terrorism, see Libya, the Ft. Hood shooter, Maj Hassin, the Christmas Day underware bomber, and the Times Square bomber. All had strong proven ties to al Qaeda except that is not what the Pres. and his minions admit. His foreign policy is a disaster (Russia, China,Egypt, tossing our ally Isreal under the bus, North Korea, Iran, Iraq now sinking into sectarian violence, Pakistan (the doctor who helped with Ben Laden rotting in jail while we keep pouring money in) and on and on. He's not just pro union, he anti captalism. Open your eyes and see him for what he is a hard core leftist. Given another 4 years and he will remake America...problem is it won't be America anymore!

      October 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Mittology

      Southerner. That is a huge difference than personally putting money in a tax shelter. I'm sure your pension does the same. Romney personally put his money there.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • Romnesia

      John. And you shouldn't rely on Fox . Income for the middle class has been declining for 40 years. Obama inherited this mess from Bush and Romney wants more of the same – he has many Bush advisors on his team.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @John

      Talk about single soundbites. All of what you said is basic FOX "news".
      Has Obama made mistakes? Of course, no president was perfect. Could things be better right now? Yes the economy could have improved faster. What you don't address though is that the president does not have supreme power, and the fact that partisan politics within the legislative branch has slowed things significantly for years. The ridiculousness of the current Senate is exceeded only by the absolute partisan idiocy of the House. Tell me, how is the country supposed to recover when our "representatives" act like 5 year olds with a single ball to play with? Literally blaming everything bad on the president as if there is supreme power within that office shows the trap you've fallen into, and the partisan mindset that is partially responsible for the fucked up state of the country.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Southerner01

      No, Romney did not put his own money there. His money is held in a blind trust. http :// www (dot) politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2012/oct/17/mitt-romney/romney-says-obama-also-has-investments-chinese-com/

      October 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wrong, John. Just wrong. The economy has been growing, albeit slowly. Joblessness is dropping, although many are still looking for work. The stock market, even though it dropped on Friday, has been doing better. My 401K is worth far more now than it was during Bush's tenure.

      And Osama bin Laden and a number of his minions are dead. So's Ghadaffi.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Southerner01

      So is Ambassador Christopher Stevens. I thought we stopped using body counts to declare victory after Vietnam.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Vic

      @Jon Atkinson. Please take your meds and listen to something other than FOX news.

      October 29, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  7. Anybody know how to read?

    Hillabilly is quite luvable when da kweer muslims make a date with the ambassadors.

    October 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • mama k

      Romney only loves money the people will suffer Obama is the only sane choice

      October 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • homardy

      How old are you? Your post is juvenile.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  8. truth truth truth 2012

    be back i have 10 other articles to post my propaganda on

    October 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  9. Papo

    In short, Obama was an atheist until he decided he had a future in politics and changed his religion to something more palatable o the masses. Obama is a fraud and fake Christian and lied about his faith in God so he could "make it".

    October 29, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • truth truth truth 2012

      All sane leaders have to lie about religion, who wants to trust a world leader that believes in fairy tales ?

      October 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Andy

      Care to back any of that up with – oh, anything??

      October 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Papo

      A dodgy answer from a hypocrite who condones lying when his chosen candidate does it, but indicts anyone else he disagrees with for the same falsehoods.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Yours was the dodgy answer. Care to back up your accusation with...anything ?

      October 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Romnesia

      papo opap papo opap papo. Is that how I say your name?

      October 29, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • homardy

      Really, who cares? It's 2012, not 1812. Unlike most advanced nations, religion still has an influential role in American politics. Bunch of hillbillies.....

      October 29, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Nah, just a run of the mill narcissist. The medical profession let everybody down when they weren't killing babies.

      October 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  10. Atheist Hunter

    Romney is the devil in disguise

    October 29, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      What disguise?

      October 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    I wonder if prayer works ? why im wasting my time posting on cnn i should just pray for the world to believe in my fairytales

    October 29, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • A Traveler

      Nothing fails like prayer.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  12. Carrie

    If Obama is a Christian he should read what his Bible says about supporting Israel and start living like a Christian. Actually, he proclaims to be a lot of things, trying to be fair and not offend anyone, which makes him none of them. His "Pastors" shoul dhelp him see what the bible says about really being a Christian. Sad.

    October 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • homardy

      What is sad is that you expect your nation's leader to base policy on a fairy tale concocted by the ancients trying to understand their place in the universe.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Carrie, you better look up divorce.

      October 29, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    I'm Important, i can prove it by posting under different names all day and talking to myself. i am the reason people should be scared of religion and its ignorance

    October 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  14. Bob Hopkins

    "President Obama’s prayers for a strong first debate may not have been answered, but that doesn’t mean the prayers weren’t happening."

    “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.

    ----------------------------------------–

    Did it ever occur to anyone that it is entirely possiable that his prayers were answered, and that Obama's lack of performace in the first debate reflects this.

    The assumption is that the lord wants Obama to be president, and that the above prayer wasn't answered. But the prayer included “'You know what this country needs during the next four years.’” Isn't it possiable that the lord kept Obama's mouth shut because he does know “ what this country needs during the next four years.’” isn't Obama......

    October 29, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • asdf

      What really happened is that prayer does nothing (ever), and he had an off night.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • A Traveler

      Nothing fails like prayer.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I had the same thought Bob. Thanks for enunciating it.

      October 29, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  15. Juan

    um...cool...um...story...um...bro...um um um um um um um (the only word he knows really well....

    October 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Send CNN a clip of yourself speaking to the nation, bozo.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  16. A Traveler

    I look forward to the day when candidates for the Presidency have all grown past believing in the fairy tales of organized religion.

    October 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • mama k

      I think its going to get worse before it gets better. more and more of these religious people are getting positions of power in political system the day is coming when we have religious police enforcing the will of the old man in the sky. the year being 2012 i cant believe people are falling into myth and magic

      October 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  17. bland

    All these people are one or two people with agendas look through posts they always say same things over and over to each other. either some religious freak group or a total crazy person

    Maria Gutierez
    == o ==
    Anybody know how to read?
    Dan
    Javi Romero Garcia Lopez
    Jesus
    Troll Alert
    Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things
    mama k
    Anybody know how to read?
    DON'T FEED THE TROLS
    truth truth truth 2012
    TrollAlert
    missy
    Mike T
    Atheist Hunter
    Mitt Romney
    Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    October 29, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Juan

      I'll um...have um...some um...of um...what um...he's um...smoking um....

      October 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  18. palintwit

    It must be absolute hell to wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and realize you're Sarah Palin. If it was me I'd jump into a big meat grinder and make myself into dog food.

    October 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • mama k

      Oh don't say that. Then the poor dogs fed that dog food would be running around trying to do things they are incapable of doing – pretending to be "mavericks", and biting people, then barking "you betchha!" At least my dog pretends to read the newspaper.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • steelerguin

      And what does that idiotic post have to do with Obama's faith?

      October 29, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  19. mama k

    DID YOU KNOW?

    During his presidency, James Madison vetoed two bills that he believed would violate the separation of church and state. He also came to oppose the long-established practice of employing chaplains at public expense in the House of Representatives and Senate on the grounds that it violated the separation of church and state and the principles of religious freedom**. Starting from his anger over feuding Christian sects in his home state, until the end of his life, he was a fervent promoter of separation of church and state.

    Who is James Madison? He was the 4th President of the United States and the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution.

    ** Library of Congress – James Madison Papers – Detached memorandum, ca. 1823.

    October 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • mama k

      After being a lesbian drug friend for 20 years i finally found jesus, what other kinda person would go preaching on cnn.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Kill some more Christians commie mommie. Abort your court. You da man, err mom.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • jarhead333

      People talk about Christian living in the past, and how "times are changing." Now reaching into the past. Psst, James Madison isn't running.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      So mama, why would you want to keep spreading a misunderstanding? Are you wicked?

      October 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • mama k (the real one)

      OK, very funny, but cowardly troll, probably truth be told, but regardless, I am not what was described. I don't think there is anything at all wrong with being gay, however. (That's why I mentioned 'truth be told' – he is very homophobic.)

      October 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Hear This

      Cowardly, lying, stealing, covetous Christian troll is goin' to the lake of fire. Neener, neener, neener.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • mama k (the real one)

      I encourage readers to do their own research on the issue of separation of church and state. Founders like T Jefferson and James Madison were fervent promoters of it. Currently our democracy is under threat by fundamentalists who are trying to re-write history. An example of this is the "author" David Barton of Wallbuilders whose recent book about Jefferson was so riddled with misinformation, that the publisher had to pull his book. David Barton is nothing more than a "for hire" Christian extremist who has created lies about our founders and supplies these lies to ultra-right-wing members of Congress and others. Be careful what you read. Insist on sources.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • mama k (the real one)

      Yes i have nothing against lesbians becuase i still indulge and then go to confession and all is right again.

      October 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  20. Maria Gutierez

    Obama is going to make my family US citizens!!!

    October 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • == o ==

      The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:

      "Maria Gutierez" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" who writes lovely things like "que ers the ones who gave aids to america" degenerates to:
      "Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to this extreme homophobe as
      the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp flunkie.

      October 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • bob

      give it up are you trolling or just crazy ? with all your different names talking to each other

      October 29, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • mama k (the real one)

      Romney has better idea to make them slaves

      October 29, 2012 at 3:29 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.