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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. Alexis Arabella Benson

    I can assure you Harvard is not a "muslim" school, although they do have a School of Divinity.

    November 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  2. Maya

    This is one of the reasons I voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson. He had the guts to come out and say that he doesn't go to church and believes that his religious beliefs are a personal matter and not to be foisted upon the public or used to garner votes. That is the kind of integrity and respect for others which Obama and Romney both lack.

    November 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • Alexis Arabella Benson

      I believe that Religion should NOT be a part of politics. Certain people have forgotten that our great country was founded by people wanting Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Expression & the Freedom to Self-Govern. Remember the Pilgrims?

      Further, I don’t want any politician to craft law based on THEIR religious beliefs. WHY? Because not everyone believes the same thing. What if the President was Jewish, Catholic, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu or Buddhist? The Evangelical Movement would be up-in-arms if a Jewish President crafted law designating Saturday as THE Sabbath or designating ALL 19 Holy Days as National Holidays (bank holidays/stock market closures). The Evangelical Movement has done nothing but cause division within the GOP. If Romney loses, he can thank the Evangelical Crackpots! Just my humble opinion...

      November 6, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  3. kyphi

    Obama obviously believes in a personal relationship with God which is good for the nation. Beware of those who vocally express their beliefs yet whose actions say differently. Moral atheists will disagree with me, but if the outcome helps the less fortunate, weak, and disabled it doesn't matter.

    November 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  4. poohcorner

    "Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me," Jesus said. Are not the unborn "the least of Jesus' brothers?" How can anyone justify abortion, unless the mother's life is truly in danger? Would a God who manifests Himself to human form to show us how to live want us to kill our unborn children? Respect all life. Live and let live.

    November 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Martin Angell

      And vote not out of revenge, but for respect for life, humanity, decency, responsibility and fiscal stewardship.

      Folks, we're $16 trillion in debt, and at the end of Obama's 2nd term $21 trillion in debt. Our American dream will be over.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • JJ

      Nuts like you are so inconsistent as you toss out sayings by your invisible sky god. You then say live and let live. Get a clue. Also, sounds like you are anti-choice unless the life of the mother is in question. This reveals that you do indeed view the mother more important than the fetus. If they are both equall then how can you say such a thing? You hypocrite.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Maya

      Read Leviticus. Your god has no problem with killing children and commands parents to do so in certain situations, such as when they are disobedient.

      If you're looking for a moral argument against abortion, don't look in the Bible. In the Old Testament, God clearly prescribes a lesser punishment for causing a woman to miscarry than for killing her (monetary compensation to the father versus death). Even your god doesn't think fetuses are people.

      November 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  5. Robert

    The chosen one rarely attends church. Only when it makes for a good photo op. He is a hypocrite. No shame in him.

    November 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Think4Yourself

      Since when did church attendance equate to how faithful one is?

      November 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Ron van der Veen

      I am a deep follower of Jesus, but attend a formal church only once every 2 years. Having a community of believers is important to me and to every believer. I don't see any verses in bible that require church attendance to follow HIM.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  6. Whatever

    President Obama for the win 2012!

    November 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  7. Canadian

    Canada has a right wing government. We arn't socialists but at least we have a health scheme in which all citizens have universal
    health care. Seems the rest of the world also has it!! What's the reason the U.S.A. doesn't?

    November 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • JJ

      Why do Canadians flock south of the border for superior medical care? Just don't get sick in Canada or the UK, especially if you're a pensioner and no longer paying into the dysfunctional system.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Martin Angell

      America has the best healthcare in the world. We don't have a healthcare problem–we have a HEALTH Problem. People like Obama smoke, take drugs and they want everybody else to pay for their obesity, smoking, lack of exercise and eating right. We are lazy, watch too much garbage TV and movies and are reaping problems associated with poor health.

      We don't want to pay for everybody else's bad living habits and decisions to live with mediocrity.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • BYE BYE BAMA

      Cause universal healthcare sucks. And when you Canadians get real sick and can afford it, you come here for care.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I'm a Canadian who has used the health care system in four provinces and never had an issue.
      Family members who have sufferred from serious, life threatening illnesses have not gone to the US – they stay right here and get excellent medical care.

      November 6, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  8. TheTruth

    I see nothing in Obama's life that demonstrates his Christianity – I have, however, seen much that denies it.

    November 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • D. Healy

      deaf, dumb AND blind, eh?

      November 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Whatever

      Really? it's because that's what you "want" to see.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Seeker of the Real Truth

      Take off your blinders. Make sure before you make such statements that you actually back it up with factual information. If you are just going on heresay, then shame on you!!! It is evident from our president's words and walk, that he is a Christian. Your words of negativity make me wonder if you are though! Bless your heart!

      November 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • JC

      Ain't that the truth!!

      November 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • RMB

      That is because that's what you want to see. AT LEAST OBAMA IS A CHRISTIAN. Romney believes Jesus and satan are brothers. He is a cultist.

      If you want to vote for Romney fine go ahead. But PLEASE don't try to tie him to Christianity. Mormons aren't Christians period.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Martin Angell

      Obama is not a follower of Jesus–he's a follower of Allah. Just go to YouTube and watch Obama in his own, unfiltered words and actions.

      Jesus: "If you deny Me before men, I will deny you before My Father."

      November 6, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • CHRIS

      Good one!

      November 6, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  9. john

    A follower of jesus is a fool.

    November 6, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • TheTruth

      No, the fool says in his heart, "There is no God".

      November 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • JJ

      The intelligent person demands proof for claims of the supernatural.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • JC

      No an "intelligent" person has no faith.....

      November 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • JC

      No an "intelligent" person has no faith.........

      November 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • UncleM

      @TheTruth again – every post a lie.

      November 6, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  10. Doc Vestibule

    Woe to the unbeliever!
    Those who reject (INSERT HOLY BOOK) as the inerrant word of (INSERT DEITY) will never ascend to (INSERT AFTERLIFE).

    November 6, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  11. rtr

    Alot of Republicans claim to be christian, a christian is a follower of Jesus a non christian is a follower of the old testament. A follower of Jesus isn't rich one of the few things Jesus was against the rich, a follower of Jesus won't judge anybody even gays or women who get abortions, a follower of Jesus would never go to war they'd forgive their enemy not kiII them, a follower of Jesus wouldn't care who is President this is not their world, and a follower of Jesus woulg never take from the poor or complain about helping them never.

    November 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Cathy B

      I agree with many things your saying but Jesus wasn't against being rich he was against the greed for being rich, otherwise why would God want us to prosper and have a bountiful life. For me personally I do not judge gay people because it is not my place to judge but I do believe in Gods word and he says that is like a stench in his nostrols. People need to realize being gay along with for example lying, stealing, cheating, adultry, etc. is a sin and if you continue to do or live in a sin how can you ever be forgiven because it is like you are not truly repenting for it. As a christian it is not our place to judge but to help, isn't that why God sent Jesus to help those who needed help.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  12. Bev

    Holly, you can be the nicest, kindest best person in the world, but if you do not believe in Jesus Christ, that He is the one & only living son of the living God you will NOT NOT NOT go to heaven. Just being "good" is not enough. Jesus said "No man comes to the Father but by me"...period.

    November 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      You can be the bravest, strongest warrior in the world but if you don't pay respect to Odin and die in bed instead of gloriously in battle, you will NOT NOT NOT get to Valhalla.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  13. Nala

    Horse Muffins. Is there no one at CNN with any shame?

    November 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  14. Wow

    Way to go "Against Mormans" keep playing the race card. When will people learn to stand on their own and not run to race to protect them. It is really easy to use because everyone can say your racist if you dare disagree.

    BTW I am black before you call me a racists next. Lets look a t merits not race.

    November 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  15. wyl5326

    I don't want to judge Barack's faith or religious convictions, but I can't understand why he called for approval of gay marriage in this election year ? Outside of Episcopalian Churches, I don't know of other churches who've approved of gay marriage ! So this question will always cropped up with Barack's faith.

    November 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Think4Yourself

      What does one have to do with the other? Since this is not a theocracy, rather a secular democratic republic, the president's faith should have no bearing on his position on particular issues . It does not matter what possition a speciific denomination of religion takes on issues that affect the country as a whole, since they do not legislate our laws.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Boe

      very true!

      November 6, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  16. Peter

    The question in todays vote is, if you are a Christian that believes in Jesus of the New Testament as I believe President Obama does are you going to promote a man of faith in Jesus or vote for Mitt Romney that doesn't? Keep in mind that Jesus trumps abortion or gay marriage – that's if you really believe.

    November 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  17. Native Pride

    If Romney's faith changed....the hedaline would read. "Romney flip flops once again"

    November 6, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  18. Against Mormans

    This is about race and race only. Whites are going to vote for Romney because they hate the fact that an intelligent black man is president. RACIST!!!! The minorities are voting for Barack because he is the best candidate. How can u talk about Barack's religion and Romney is a MORMAN!!! Look up the history of MORMANS!!!! They are not true Christians! They are a CULT. At least Obama is a true Christian!! Romney worships a man not Jesus!!!!

    November 6, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Howard

      PEOPLE WHO VOTE FOR OBAMA, BECAUSE HE'S BLACK, EVEN THOUGH HIS RECORD IS HORRIBLE ... ARE RACIST.

      November 6, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Seeker of the Real Truth

      People who claim that people only vote for Obama because he is black, are indeed racists. If you spout that his record is horrible, you are not using facts and intellect. The facts support Obama, not Romney.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • cgs

      All religions have weird stuff (world floods, parting of seas, dead humans with wings, talking fiery bushes, talking donkeys). Who cares?
      If you are stupid enough to use religion as a voting criteria, here are your choices: a guy who committed to one religion and has been living it; or a guy who went to muslim schools, sat in Reverend Wright's Marxist church for 20 years and then dumped both traditions when it was politically expedient.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • HairlessApe

      What is a MorMAN?? You reveal your ignorance in more ways than your inane statement. Also the fact that 97% of blacks voted for Obama last time indicates who the true racists are.

      November 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • RMB

      You are absolutely right! I am amazed at the number of "evangelical christians" who are supporting Romney" Eespecially those who say they are supportng him for "biblical" principals. They have chosen to overlook the fact he doesn't believe in the Biblical Jesus Christ.

      Mormons teach Jesus and satan are brothers. That is so not Biblical. Who Jesus is, is the most important issue/ foundation of Christianity. You can't be a Christian and not believe He is the Son of God anymore than you can be Budhist and not believe in Budah.

      I'm so tired of the hyprocrisy. If they want to vote for Romney fine do it. But don't try to compare his Mormonism to Christianity. Mormons are cultist.

      President Obama has named Jesus Christ as his saviour publically..... Romney hasn't, can't and wont. He'll talk about God, but he won't dare talk about Jesus. He can't AND BE MORMON.

      November 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  19. John

    I could care less about his faith.. He's failed as a president. His wife was a horrible first lady. She would be better off in the Philly zoo...

    November 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Against Mormans

      John you are a zoo animal!!!!

      November 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  20. rtr

    There are no Christians, i have never met one, i have met followers of the old testament who claim to be. No matter what christians may say or do the only way for them to get into heaven is by following the words of Jesus only, not the words of hate spewed out of the old testament.

    November 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.