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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. Richard Carrier

    Well my posts seem to not be showing up. I have to wonder – are the moderators concerned about someone who talks about the Bible?

    November 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Get over your persecution complex. There a word filter that automatically stops a comment that contain certain words as even part of a different word. You've shown your colors with your comment, and you've shown how willing you are to cry foul at any perceived bullshit slight.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      crac-ker…
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, sopho-more, etc.
      ho-oters…as in sho-oters
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      inf-orms us…
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, t-itle, ent-ity, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!
      There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).


      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • Richard Carrier

      the comment was raised about why abortion was evil. Since the commenter doesn't want to rely on the Bible for right and wrong, then I would suggest googling some pictures of aboritions and after viewing the pictures, if you still think it is not an evil practice, then I guess your heart is beyond hardened.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      like you had a word with a letter combo that tripped the autofilter like t it, as in const ittution or c um as in circ umstance. Or maybe the Communist News Network is monitoring your posts. LOLOLOLOLOL

      November 6, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Chopped Liver

      Richard Carrier,

      Hmmm, you'd sure think that the LORD would help you with that kind of thing.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      So everything that looks unpleasant is evil? Do you eat meat, by chance?

      November 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Richard Carrier

      hawaiiguest = LOL – my, you are an angry little fellow aren't you?

      November 6, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Richard

      Yes I'm the angry one when you assume that a human moderator can read through a proposed comment, and make a decision on the content, then censor it all with the milliseconds it takes for a page to refresh and the comment to show up. If I seem mad, maybe it's because I'm sick of religious fucksticks like yourselves trying to play the victim all the time when it just plain doesn't apply.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • JJ

      No Jesus boy, there is no moderation except Jeeeeesus himself. Apparently he didn't like what you were saying. Perhaps you should pray to baby Jeeeesus for his to allow your post. You fucking retard.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  2. cathycarron

    You mean Obama flip-flopped on GOD?

    November 6, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  3. DMitch

    Why is it that liberals feel the need to call everyone an idiot who doesn't subscribe to their line of thinking? I remember when I was in grade school and called everyone idiots that didn't agree with me.

    November 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You're eating up the attention, D. You crave it.

      As for "redistribution of wealth", dear, how is that different than paying taxes to support the programs that contribute to the common good?

      November 6, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      How is somebody leaches off others "common good"??????????????

      November 6, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • MCR

      I wouldn't base my opinions of either liberals or conservatives on what peoplewith too much time on their hands are anonymously posting online.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you had a clue, dumbazz, the word would be "leeches," but since you're a brain-dead idiot, who cares?

      November 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • DMitch

      Nope, not craving attention. Taxes are a redistribution. There is no argument to that. The problem is that the funds from taxes go to too many social programs. And when the funds from taxes run out we borrow from China to fill the void. Why not place penalties on companies that outsource and create jobs here in America for Americans to work. Place a cap on college tuition costs so people can afford to attend. Pay teachers more than Assistant managers at McDonald's make. Put a cap on welfare so generations of families aren't tricked into believing that they have to rely on it. Take care of the Orphans, teach our kids to respect our women, and provide for those in need but not those who refuse to work. I grew up dirt poor and made my own way by serving in the military. I have no pity for those who will not work and suck off of the social systems that my brothers and sisters are dying for everyday. I didn't need the govt to give me a hand out and neither do most people on welfare. So yes, taxes are redistribution and should be limited to the bare minimum. Now go crazy with your hate comments that are coming because you all don't agree. Knock yourselves out.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How many people, exactly, D, are sucking off the public t!t? Do you have any stats as to how many are on welfare and not even attempting to work? Cite them.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • DMitch

      4,300,000 on welfare. 7.9 % unemployed not counting those who dropped out of the work force which would raise it to somewhere around 10%.
      47,000,000 on food stamps.
      I just saw a help wanted sign in a restaurant window today in Costa Mesa CA. I guess there are jobs out there!

      Regardless of the banter and conversation...Education is the answer. Make colleges affordable and most of our problems go away.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • MCR

      I agree education is one of the answers, but some of the ways to cut that cost are going to be unpopular. Accreditation creep has gone crazy, as professional organizations aim to bolster their prestige by requiring ever higher degrees to join a profession. A perfect example is the new policy that now requires advanced practice nurses to have a doctorate rather than a master's. No one outside their field felt there was a problem with their performance or level of education, but now an advanced practice nurse will need to pay for 4 rather than 2 years of extra schooling(after the bachelors)0, and in that gain mostly just statistics and research methods courses that are no benefit to the patient.

      Another problem is that many people who are in school are just killing time. If you've never taught at or taken classes at a second tier state college or community college you may not have seen this, but there are people in these schools (not all, but maybe half) on our tax dollars who have no interest in studying but are there because they are told that now everyone needs college. So in addition to funding those who deserve it, we need to find a way to restrict higher education to only what is really needed and who can really benefit from it.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • The Truth

      Let's see – wellfare provides a bare minimum of financial assistance restricted to food items and child care items to help the very poor survive. Now all those dollars that go into wellfare get spent at grocery stores owned and operated by private citizens boosting private business sales in that community. With rent and utilities eating up most peoples base incomes, a job at an Arby's isn't going to take one out of poverty, and believe it or not, the MAJORITY of foodstamp recipients have a job, they just have low wage job's like the one you cite and cannot afford to pay the cost of living and provide enough food for their familys. And by the way, George W Bush did more to push people onto the wellfare and foodstamps rolls than anyone in history by running our fiscal ship into the ground. President Obama did nothing to change the existing wellfare and foodstamp programs, it's just that after the financial collapse of 2008 there have been more people in need than we have had since the great depression. If you are unable to understand this then you are either a complete moron or a total partisan who doesn't care about facts but just wants to get the "black" guy out of the "white" house.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • The Truth

      Correction – "wellfare provides a bare minimum of financial assistance" and foodstamps are "restricted to food items and child care items to help the very poor survive"

      November 6, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      College the answer? No, it isn't, you idiot. There are millions of college graduates working in minimum wage jobs because they can't find employment in their fields of study. Get a clue, would you?

      November 6, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  4. DMitch

    I don't believe that I called him either one. I simply stated that he believes in redistribution of wealth. And so did Stalin. I believe you were the one who jumped to the conclusion that I was calling him a socialist and you must be home schooled because socialism is the not redistribution but full govt control of industry and property.

    November 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Then what's the point of bringing it up? Oh right, making the insinuation and non-causal link, and when people point out the obvious line drawing, you get to get up on a pedestal and say "I didn't say that (even though I strongly insinuated it with a comparisson that would make absolutely no sense otherwise).

      November 6, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • DMitch

      Did you bother to read the definition of Socialism before making that response? Socialism is not the redistribution of wealth, it is full govt control of industry and property. So how could I be insinuating that Obama was a socialist if that doesn't even fit the definition?

      November 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      DId I say anything about socialism, communism, or redistribustion of walth? Did I in any way even insinuate that I wanted to go into those things? You're the one that decided to post something that drew a perceived line between Obama and Stalin. You're the one that posted a strong insinuation with that. And you're the one trying to dishonestly discuss something that is completely irrelevant to what I said.
      Don't try a Red Herring, that's just completely sad.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • DMitch

      I didn't insinuate that Obama was like Stalin. I said flat out that they both believe/believed in redistribution. That is not saying that Obama is like Stalin in any other way. I made one comparison on one ideal not Obama's entire personal/ political make up. I don't for one second believe that Obama is a Socialist or a communist and I did not repeat DID NOT make that insinuation. I stated that he believes in redistribution of wealth which is most definitely a belief that Stalin shared, so did Karl Marx, John F. Kennedy, Ghandi, Mother Teressa, and a whole host of others. What I am saying is that the idea of redistribution on a national scale does not work. It has been tried and has failed every time. Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Ireland are recent examples of social system heavy governments gone wrong.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @DMitch

      See, look, you gave examples of the redistibution without referencing a specific person, and there is where the difference comes in. When you give the examples of a single ideal, and then give two people, that makes an insinuation (whether intentional or not) and gives the strong impression of equating the two. Therein lies my problem with your post. The other countries that tried comparrison draws no real insinuation, and would have been better to use, especially when your original was such a hated figure (Stalin). There's baggage that comes with using certain people for comparitive analysis.
      Also, I don't think that you can say that redistribution of wealth was the sole cause of the problems in those countries you listed.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
  5. DMitch

    Johannes...You are absolutely right. We are all guilty and fall short but that is where Gods grace comes into play. And I am not guilty of all 10 commandments. Only 9, I never killed anyone. Oh crap, we are back to abortion again. Full circle.

    November 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  6. DMitch

    Richard, The Koran actually never refers to Christians and Jews as Infidels. That is a common misconception. The Koran actually calls Muslims, Jews and Christians followers of the same God. If you look back before Saladin and Richard had it out you'll see that it was common practice for all 3 to live in peace in areas like Jerusalem and Damascus.

    November 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • Richard Carrier

      With all respect DMitch, the God of the Bible is not the same as Allah. Allah was the moon 'god' when the Arabians were polytheistic. Mohommed was the one who decided that since he as the "chief god" like (Zeus or Jupiter) that he should be the only god.

      But the Qu'ran states that it is 'beneath Allah to have a son' – this is a direct resopnse to Christianity. The God of the Bible not only sent Jesus Christ, His Son to die for our sins, but the Bible says we cannot honor the Father if we don't honor the Son.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • DMitch

      Richard, you misunderstood me. I was not calling the God of the Bible the same god as Allah. I was simply stating that the Koran refers to the 3 religions as being followers of the same god.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • MCR

      check Surah 9:5 and then the specific references to Jews and Christians at 9:30 and the next few versus.The author clearly did not think the religions were one happy family and is calling for destruction. I recomment you read the book and not rely on hearsay. Its prettymuch a repeat of "kill all who don't believe" over and over.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Richard Carrier

      apologies DMitch. But I think it is a common misperception that many have. I used to think it myself.

      I became a Christian in 1994 – the Lord Jesus Christ revealed Himself to me in such a powerful way. All the questions I had about whether or not God was real, whether He was Jesus or someone else, etc completely were settled at that point.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • MCR

      @Richard, and the Judeo-Christian god is Mithra.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Chopped Liver

      Richard Carrier,
      "the Lord Jesus Christ revealed Himself to me"

      Well, I'll just wait for that then. Richard Carrier 'revealing' himself to me means nothing. I guess I am just not as special as you are.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  7. DMitch

    Moby, It's called free will. A right given by God to man. And as with every choice there are consequences. The consequence of harming God's people was death.

    November 6, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Bullsh!t. It's called "evil." I expect the same from everyone--decrease suffering. God is evil for not decreasing suffering where he could. Of course, god doesn't exist, but if he did, he'd be to blame for commanding such atrocities as would make Hitler blush.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • DMitch

      Don't worry. Obama will decrease all the suffering through re-distribution if he gets a second term just like Joseph Stalin did in the USSR. That worked really well right?

      November 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I couldn't care less, DMitch. The issue is your god who allows and commands suffering on the largest scale we can imagine.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Mittology

      So either prayer must be futile or your god is not omnipotent.
      You must be home-schooled. Stalin was a communist, Obama isn't even a socialist. Idiot.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • DMitch

      I don't believe that I called him either one. I simply stated that he believes in redistribution of wealth. And so did Stalin. I believe you were the one who jumped to the conclusion that I was calling him a socialist and you must be home schooled because socialism is the not redistribution but full govt control of industry and property.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Pete

      God allows us to suffer for several reasons guys. Let me explain. Simply put, suffering is the consequence of sin. We've all sinned at one level or another so we all suffer. It is the compassion of God the Father and the compassion of his forgiveness that gets us through the suffering. You who say there is no God lead empty lives and you are lost. I pray for you on a daily basis because I don't want to see anyone lost. God allows suffering for the salvation of lost souls as well. I'm sorry that you aren't Christian but I pray that one day you will be saved from your sinful life and forgiven by a compassionate God. Suffering for God is the same is "No pain, no gain".....have a blessed day.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Pete

      Does it make you feel warm and fuzzy to post condescending bullshit like you just did?

      November 6, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      HG is far too polite. Let me put it bluntly: Go fvck yourself, Pete, and the high horse your azz is sitting on, too.

      I don't need or want your silly prayers or any of your advice. Shut up and stay out of my life and my government. Mind your own dam business.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • The Truth

      "We've all sinned at one level or another so we all suffer"

      This is patently false. The ignorant peddlers of religion claim that because our ancestor ate a piece of fruit, we are all bound to sin. But to sin one must know that one musn't behave in a certain manner which takes someone else of authority telling you not to do something. Now the Christians will tell you that is what happened, God told Adam not to eat of the fruit and he ate anyway so he sinned. I however HAVE NEVER HEARD GOD TELL ME ANYTHING. Therefore I have never sinned, go take your eternal damnation and stuff it.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
  8. DMitch

    Mark...It's not the true Muslims that I fear. It's the radicals who twist the words of Allah. I have spent enough time in the Middle East to know that the mass majority of Muslims are a peace loving people. It's the minority that scares the hell out of me.

    November 6, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The same holds true for most ideologies--yours included.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
  9. Mark Kerden

    Do not be frightened the Muslims. True Muslim can never hurt anyone. Search Islam and Kur'an !

    November 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Richard Carrier

      RIIIIIGHT! It is the Muslims who want to impose Sharia law everywhere they exist. The Qu'ran itself speaks about killing Jews and Christians since they are considered "infidels" and lower than dogs.

      the Qu'ran promotes killing people who are unbelievers or subjugating them to paying tribute. It is even in their Qu'ran to crucify someone, or cut their ears and nose off if they reject Islam. Google about the fellow that was crucified in Iran I believe it was.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  10. Thomas More

    Didn't the Democrats try to remove God from their platform? I know they've tried to remove God from the pledge, the currency and schools in general. For Democrats, God is made in their own image – they believe the parts of the Bible that they want to believe as long as they don't have to submit to His will selflessly. "Not everyone who calls me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven...Matthew 7:21

    November 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      As a non-believer, I wish that were true.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Pasting your lies won't make them true, dumbazz.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • MCR

      God wasn't in the originalPledge. It was a McCarthyera addition when failing to play along with the would have gottenyou flagged as a communist.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son "Pasting your lies won't make them true, dumbazz."

      Why have you not figured out for yourself what you (think you) have figured out for everybody with a different opinion from you???

      November 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Let me know when you translate that hot mess into English, dipsh!t.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • nurseteacher

      You certainly judge President Obama who has cared for the poor, protected the wages of women, brought our soldiers home from Iraq, provided unemployment to those who need it and is kind to everyone. Yet you believe in a Mormon who follows Joseph Smith, has only recently accepted men of color, has a belief that women are second class, wears magic underwear, terrifies classmates, dodges the draft (but expects others to go), and family practices polygomy.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  11. JUSTIN CASE

    Wasnt his Father a womanizer and a Muslim? Is there a common thread like mine with my Father?
    Barak Sr a Muslim?
    Before working as a cook for missionaries in Nairobi, Barack Obama Sr.'s father Onyango had traveled widely, enlisting in the British colonial forces and visiting Europe, India, and Zanzibar, where he converted from Roman Catholicism to Islam and took the name Hussein. Hussein Onyango was jailed by the British for six months in 1949 due to his involvement in the Kenyan independence movement. According to Barack Obama Sr.'s stepmother, Sarah Onyango Obama, Hussein was subjected to beatings and abuse which caused permanent physical disabilities and a loathing of the British.[16]
    Obama Sr. was raised in a Muslim family

    November 6, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      And...

      November 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  12. Thomas More

    It is inconsistent that liberals say that abortion is not murder, but if asked whether they personally would do it – they say maybe, but they would wrestle with the idea. If it is not murder, why do most women wrestle with it. They would never use abortion as birth control although they say that there is nothing wrong with it...if there is nothing wrong with it, why not use it frequently. I think you know abortion is murder. By the way, the majority of babies aborted has always been female, so abortion condemns women unfairly. In China it is unlawful for a doctor to tell the gender of the baby because too many abortions were occurring on the females.

    November 6, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Richard Carrier

      You know what's even stranger yet? People want to find microscopic cells on Mars to prove evidence of "LIFE". Yet, cells that form a baby are somehow...."NOT LIFE". – Go figure.

      Abortion is wrong. Period. God hates it.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Nobody's saying that the fetus isn't alive, moron.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So now you think you know what God "hates"? Arrogant twit, you don't speak for god or anyone else, and I couldn't care less what you think 'god hates' since he's not in charge of me or the country.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Thomas the Bozo, perhaps you should undergo an abortion to see how wonderful and experience it is. I've never had nor sought one, myself, but I can imagine the anguish women must feel at having to make such a decision. You, apparently, cannot. Too bad for you that R v W was decided and won't be overturned. What you think of women is irrelevant. In fact, you're irrelevant.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Richard Carrier

      sorry you fellas have to resort to name calling. Quite honestly – anyone can know what God hates. It's all in the Bible, starting with the Ten Commandments.

      Anyone can also know what pleases God – that's in the Bible also. He doesn't conform to 21st century viewpoints. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      There isn't a single word about abortion in the bible, you moron. Not a word about hom0s3xuality, either. Too bad you have nothing to back up your claims.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't believe that abortion is "evil" or "wrong." Prove otherwise without resorting to the bible as evidence. Then tell me why YOUR opinion should hold sway when it's not YOUR pregnancy, YOUR body, or YOUR rights that are being discussed? Why should you have any say at all?

      November 6, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Richard

      The question of "Is it life" has never been the issue, nor will it ever be the real issue. Perhaps you should actually educate yourself to the real issue instead of running with a false one.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • was blind, but now I see

      @Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son "There isn't a single word about abortion in the bible, you moron. Not a word about hom0s3xuality, either. Too bad you have nothing to back up your claims."

      Wrong once again.....yawn.........

      November 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you can show chapter and verse in which abortion and hom0s3xuality are discussed, then? Otherwise, you're a complete loser who hasn't a clue what the words "evidence," "proof," or "cite" mean.

      Hardly surprising, as you have already outed yourself as a cretin.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, that's what I figured, you little chicken-sh!t.

      November 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  13. DMitch

    Moby Schtick... Non human Huh? Do yourself a favor and look up a DNA test profile on an aborted fetus and let me know if it shares the same DNA as a goldfish. And as far as the first couple comments, man forced the hand of God. The Jewish people were under constant attack and like any good father he defended his children. God commanded the death of women and children to end the bloodline of those who would harm his people. This was the only way to secure future protection for his people. God is a god of provision and care and sometimes that care comes in the form of physical protection.

    November 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Holy crap are you serious? LOL. What a stupid and weak god who has "his hand forced" by mere humans. It seems like he could have come up with something better than such wholesale slaughter-–being god and all. Well, as guess that's your god being as good as he can be--pretty fvcking disgusting if you ask me, but hey, if that's your idea of good and holy, keep on worshiping.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      How about just taking that civilization and putting it on a different planet that's the same as earth and let them destroy themselves if they so wish? See, how easy is it to come up with an alternative to complete and wholesale slaughter of women, young men, unborn babies, and adult men. But don't forget, they got to keep all those nice young virgins as spoils of war.

      November 6, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  14. Susan G

    The article writer says Obama has become more conservative religiously. What? I'm a pastor in the United Church of Christ, and believe me, many of us have no problem praying with our evangelical or Catholic friends. The President realized that the message of Jesus was what he was about, and that's how he became a Christian. I heard him give his testimony. His heart for the poor, oppressed, and those on the margins comes from what he was taught as a child, and also from his time in the United Church of Christ. Jesus had a heart for these people, too. As for abortion – the Bible says only one thing: if someone causes a woman to lose a pregnancy, they have to pay a fine to the father. We do not need that kind of government interference in our lives.

    November 6, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • DMitch

      I guess God was naive enough to think that we could look through his word and see the definition of life as conception which leads to the 10 commandments and thou shalt not commit murder. A life in the womb is a life not a parasite. An abortion ends that life and President Obama is in favor of ending these lives.

      Bible Defines Life:
      A. Now where uses phrases "human" or "human being"

      Uses "man, woman, child, son, daughter, baby etc."
      Since these terms are used for unborn children, then we have evidence that human life is present before birth
      The Bible makes no distinction of any kind in the terms used to describe a fetus.
      Body without spirit is dead: Jas 2:26
      The blood is the life: Deut 12:23 fetus has bloodstream at 4 weeks

      B. "Begat sons and daughters" Gen 5:3,4,28-30

      Begat always refers to conception and fertilization

      C. "children & sons in womb" Gen 25:21-22; 2 Ki 19:3; Ruth 1:11

      D. "a man child conceived" Job 3:3

      notice the difference: day of birth, night conceived see Rev 12:5 "man child born"

      E. "mother" of unborn child Num 12:12; Lk 1:43

      F. Rom 9:11 for though the twins were not yet born, and had not done anything good or bad

      G. "baby leapt for joy" in mother's womb Lk 1:41,44

      conceived a "son" Lk 1:36; Acts 7:29

      November 6, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  15. JUSTIN CASE

    Oh my is he a Muslim?
    CNN reporter John Vause visited State Elementary School Menteng 01 and found that each student received two hours of religious instruction per week in his or her own faith. Vause was told by Hardi Priyono, deputy headmaster of the school, "This is a public school. We don't focus on religion. In our daily lives, we try to respect religion, but we don't give preferential treatment."[18] Interviews by Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press found that students of all faiths have been welcome there since before Obama's attendance. Akmad Solichin, the vice principal of the school, told Pickler: "The allegations are completely baseless. Yes, most of our students are Muslim

    November 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  16. Richard Jones

    Bronco Bahma a Christian ???? Surly this clown has to be kidding !!! At best Bronco is a Christian-hating Moslum, at worst he is the Satan himself !! I tend toward Satan !!!

    November 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  17. DMitch

    You can not call yourself a Christian and be Pro Choice. There is absolutely no way that any professing follower of Jesus Christ would ever support murdering innocent children. If he is a Christian then he is hiding his true moral convictions for political gain and that makes him spineless and deceitful.

    November 6, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Meh.. God murdered little babies by the millions in the flood and commanded the Israelites to murder little babies and pregnant women in every other chapter of the OT. I don't think he's that worked up over one woman deciding she doesn't want to host a nonhuman parasite the size of a penny.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Please list all the substantive actions taken by the GOP to overturn Roe v Wade.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Richard Jones

      Don't forge, Moby, those were Jews your'e talking about. Not Christians !!!!

      November 6, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Thomas More

      Didn't the Democrats try to remove God from their platform? I know they've tried to remove God from the pledge, the currency and schools in general. For Democrats, God is made in their own image – they believe the parts of the Bible that they want to believe as long as they don't have to submit to His will selflessly. "Not everyone who calls me, 'Lord! Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven...Matthew 7:21

      November 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Thomas, cite any move on the part of the Democratic party to remove anything from the pledge or our currency. Thanks in advance, idiot.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Richard Carrier

      Agreed – any Christian that votes for abortion should should repent. Abortion is completely against God's will.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      What difference does it make, Jones? The god is the one I judge to be an azzhole, not the name the followers use. God is a murder and torturer of little children; obviously, he's just fine with abortion.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Johannes

      DMitch, your comment speaks of the shallow theology that most so-called evangelicals adhere to. Despite what you may have been told, taught or come to think, the USA is not a Christian nation yet so many citizens have managed to push the idea that the POTUS is a bishop or something like that. If you claim to be a Christian then do what the Bible asks: work your own salvation with fear and trembling. I'll tell you a series of sins you are guilty of: the entire ten commandments, if you know them, which will make you just as guilty as the POTUS and any other human being. I join in this just to remind you that none is good. Pray for all in authority over you would a lovely approach.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Votes on abortion"? There IS no vote "on abortion", numbskull. That issue was decided in 1973. If you are so naive that you think electing Romney will result in overturning R v W, I have some swampland in New Mexico for sale.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  18. WillieLove

    Who Are The Illuminati?

    November 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  19. WillieLove
    November 6, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
  20. Linda K.

    What religion? Obama was a muslim, is a muslim and always will be a muslim! He's been busy for 4 years trying to hasten the demise of this country so we can be turned over to his Islamist buddies!

    November 6, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Larry Metzger

      I can't believe people still believe he is a Muslim... and you know what... so what if he was.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • ap

      you are an embarrassment. stop watching fox news you lunatic.

      also; even if he is a muslim, who the hell cares? what's wrong with you? go buy a gun from walmart and shoot yourself.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • jimrussles

      oh, i'ts this again

      November 6, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • JUSTIN CASE

      Umm the Democrats started the KKK....
      See? First KKK

      The first Klan was founded in 1865 in Pulaski, Tennessee, by six veterans of the Confederate Army.[16] The name is probably from the Greek word kuklos (κύκλος) which means circle, suggesting a circle or band of brothers.[17]

      Although there was no organizational structure above the local level, similar groups arose across the South adopted the same name and methods.[18] Klan groups spread throughout the South as an insurgent movement during the Reconstruction era in the United States. As a secret vigilante group, the Klan targeted freedmen and their allies; it sought to restore white supremacy by threats and violence, including murder, against black and white Republicans. In 1870 and 1871, the federal government passed the Force Acts, which were used to prosecute Klan crimes.[19] Prosecution of Klan crimes and enforcement of the Force Acts suppressed Klan activity. In 1874 and later, however, newly organized and openly active paramilitary organizations, such as the White League and the Red Shirts, started a fresh round of violence aimed at suppressing blacks' voting and running Republicans out of office. These contributed to segregationist white Democrats regaining political power in all the Southern states by 1877.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Richard Carrier

      Justin Case – Kudos to you for being educated on this matter. Few people realize that the Democrats started the KKK, were the party in favor of slavery, and were in favor of segregation and the Jim Crowe laws.

      People ignore history. It was the Republican party that sought to bring an end to slavery in the US. Funny though, how many African Americans tend to lean towad the Democrats in spite of the Democrat's shady past in dealing with African Americans.

      November 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
    • nurseteacher

      That is the most ignorant statement I have heard recently. What are you? What makes you think he is muslim? Do you only listen to Faux and Limbaugh? Look for evidence that the President is Muslim.

      November 6, 2012 at 7:27 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.