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December 17th, 2012
01:16 PM ET

My Take: Obama's Newtown remarks show presidents as pastors in chief

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Presidents wear a lot of hats. They serve as commanders in chief. They nominate Supreme Court justices. They veto congressional legislation. Increasingly, they are also coming to serve as our pastors in chief.

In his remarks Sunday night at an interfaith service at in Newtown, Connecticut, President Barack Obama vowed to use “whatever power” he has to prevent more mass shootings, and he all but promised to push for stricter gun control laws in the next U.S. Congress. But policy was not top of mind yesterday for either the president or a grieving nation.

Obama began by quoting from the second letter of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians:

Do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away ... inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands (2 Corinthians 4:16-5:1).

He then reminded us that, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. once put it, we are all “caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny.” The tragedy that visited Sandy Hook Elementary School could have been visited on any school in any town in America, Obama said. So Newtown’s grief is not its alone: “All across this land of ours, we have wept with you."

As a pastor among pastors at Sunday's interfaith event, Obama spoke of sadness and comfort and evil and inspiration. As a parent among parents, he referred to "caring for our children" as “our first task” as a nation.

Presidents are often tasked with posing difficult questions about foreign or domestic policy. In this speech, Obama asked philosophical and theological questions instead: “Why are we here? What gives our life meaning? What gives our acts purpose?” He then spoke, as Lincoln did at Gettysburg, about moving through the darkness, without easy answers, “often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.”

In his famous hymn to love in his first letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul wrote that "the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13). For me, the most surprising turn in Obama's speech came when our president did the same.

"Love" is not a word that typically comes flowing off the tongues of our chief executives. But on Sunday, Obama spoke of love nearly a dozen times. In an uncertain world, he said, love is the “one thing we can be sure of."

Then he read the names of the 20 children who died.

Earlier, Obama had spoken the names of the six teachers and administrators who were killed. As he did so, the wailing in the auditorium was audible. When he read this litany of the children, the wailing returned. He read the names slowly. He read them surely, like someone looking out loud for a fallen friend on the black granite of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. He then asked for the blessings of the Almighty on those who were killed and his comfort on those who are grieving.

It wasn't a speech. It was a sermon. And it is worthy of the talents of our current pastor in chief.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Bible • Christianity • Faith Now • My Take • Opinion • Politics • Schools • United States • Violence

soundoff (1,110 Responses)
  1. john2397

    Guns can now be carried concealed in 49 U.S. states and openly in 43 states. Anyone can purchase guns at gun shows where background checks are not required. In many states, guns can be carried into the everyday places where we live – in restaurants, offices, supermarkets, schools, libraries among other public places. It is insane to allow such inhumane, barbaric and uncivilized laws to continue any more. Not only simple guns but assault and automatic rifles and fire arms which can kill 20 human beings in 2 minutes are allowed in few minutes or few days in broad day lights. A time has come not only to ban assault rifles but (i) keep an FBI informant on each gun shop and gun booth to watch and screen who is buying guns and for what purpose and what kind of mental health and family background he/she possess. (ii) No more than one gun license should be allowed (iii) The gun owners must be asked to take yearly class to prevent mis-use of guns. (iv) Also gun owners must take insurance for any accident or misuse (v) Transfer few billions of dollars from homeland security and war on terrorism to spend on these programs

    December 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • rusty10313

      I must dis-agree. Let's say that guns are taken away. Pipe bombs, chemical based weapons, or worse will replace them. The problem is not with the guns They are only a tool used for these types of senseless killings. Guns also protect, they make people think twice before committing crimes. What will you want to ban next? Plumbing supplies?, Fertilizer? amonia? There are a lot of things out there that are more dangerous than guns and they will be used. The problem lies with our society. We have no moral compas and most have never been tought that there really are moral absolutes. The liberal montra that says "what is right for you may not be right for me." is nothing more than BS. It is time to start teaching a real morality to our children.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bullsh!t, rusty. Your lame excuses don't wash any longer. There is NO reason anyone needs to have semi-automatic weapons. Not one.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Plus, rusty, you are an illiterate dolt. It's "mantra." It's a "moral compass." It's "ammonia." It's "taught."

      Why should anyone with more education than a worm listen to your say-so about anything?

      December 17, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
  2. Seneca

    “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”

    (Roman philosopher, mid-1st century AD)

    December 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Ved

      I suppose the fact that a dead Roman person said this makes it true?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I know!
      How can you trust the truthfullness of something that was recorded in the Roman Empire thousands of years ago?
      All the "witness testimony" from that era is suspect – especially that which was committed to paper decades after the actual events.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • What IF

      Doc Vestibule,

      Perfect!

      December 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • The Eternal Satyr

      Said Ved: "I suppose the fact that a dead Roman person said this makes it true?"

      Who were the founding fathers of Catholicism? Dead Roman persons. Be careful what you say, Ved. You might just reveal more truth than you care to know.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Timodeus

      Can you tell me the book and line this quote came out of? Or is this just a convenient quote pulled out of then air to suit your political opinion? Where is the source?

      December 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • MertonPrice

      Zeus is very angry that people don't believe in him anymore, and that could explain things like earthquakes and bad weather. Until people come back to Zeus, these natural disasters may see no letup. As for Loki, his greatest deception is making people believe he doesn't exist.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  3. lionlylamb

    Many stringent articulates of the no-god principalities alluring peasantries salute nothing and dare nothingness to be one's finality. Such insignificant enigmas of potent portended enigmas leave little desires to be followed for their aimlessness sees death as an end all with no sign of one's conscious conscience to become an ever ongoing stamina around God's godly intentions accruals!

    Dumbness seems to be many atheists nomenclatures of addendum beneficiaries all the while they spit upon God and mankind's godliness ideals! Bitterness of atheists commentaries here does bequeath them to be nothing more than common adjusters of a psychological conditioning meant only to be harassments to the Godly folds daring to be together!

    Dumb and dumber still are even the dumbest of atheism's fodder ever to be made incomplete and even incompetent reservoirs of atomic cloisters in the cellular cosmologies of fractal life amalgams made to run the gauntlets of chaliced engrams deficiencies!

    December 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • .

      more continued drivel ramblings by LL the belief blog idiot.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • The Eternal Satyr

      You are a fine example of the ubiquitous babbling lunatic that gives atheists a good name.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      The Eternal Satyr,

      Where then lays the ubiquitous strengths of Jewish diaspora's fullness of labeled atheisms maddening particles of illustrious braveries but being in the psychotic demeaning of bantered self-altruisms? Your verbal gestations of syllabus renderings leaves commoners adrift in bellied clemencies of acquiesced sediments of filtrated fodder going thru one's orifice! Eat fodder and dare bark at the moon like a good dog dares do

      December 17, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • rational man

      I think it's trying to communicate. What should we do? I know, try math. 1,2,3,5,8,13,21....Nope, he didn't understand it either. Maybe it's one of those prose generating computer programs?

      December 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  4. popseal

    Of the 100 or so members in our gun club, most of us are parents and grand parents. Any one of us would easily give our lives in exchange for the life of any one of those kids, as I would hope most adults would. At the moment of the crime, I was at a toy store buying gifts for the Marine Band concert on behalf of Toys of Tots to be held that night in Slidell, La.. Twenty years ago I felt like this when we got news of one of my son's childhood playmates being killed in a drug deal. I can say that by God's grace we can all go on, but with an unending loss to our humanity.

    December 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You would give your life for a child you don't even know? I don't believe you.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Ved

      Give your lives? You people wouldn't even give up your guns! Whatever. I almost think all these NRA, gun-loving types are posting on these forums to redirect blame and protect their rights to possess weapons designed for killing rather than to truly say anything about these lost lives. It makes me nearly as sick to read such posts as learning of this tragedy.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The NRA and responsible gun owners are in no way responsible for what happened to these children.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Ved

      The NRA and anyone condemning gun ownership bans are directly responsible for this tragedy. That loner boy would very likely not have known the right people to procure a black market gun, and likely he was too disturbed and enraged to try to procure one, not to say three semi-automatic assault weapons! It's because of you people that people like that boy's mother has guns lying all around the house. If you yourself are a "responsible" gun owner, you are equally guilty, because you knew in fighting against regulating gun ownership, that not all people are responsible for sane, and there is no way of screening against unstable people. There is no need in this country for killing, which is all guns are designed for. So yes, you are absolutely, 100% responsible.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • rusty10313

      Ved, you are a jerk. What ever happened to personal responsibility? If he didn't have a gun, he could have used a pipe bomb or something worse. There is no way to stop someone committed to an evil act. Go back to your hole and stick your head back in your bum. This is a social issue, not an issue of hardware.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • Lee

      @rusty10313

      Actually he probably would have blown himself up trying to make the bomb...with a gun all he had to do was pick up, point, and pull the trigger.
      guns do kill and if NO GUNS ever existed there would be many more people alive today......you're all fools

      December 17, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Whatever

      You'd give your life but not your gun?

      December 17, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  5. ClevelandGAL

    It was a very nice speech and you can tell it came from the heart..I'm not always a fan of his but he did a good job....

    December 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • MertonPrice

      President Obama is clearly a leader who shows empathy for the hard luck of others. We have a president who is on the job big time. The people who lost loved ones were visited by the president of the US. while it didn't bring their loss back, it had to take at least a tiny bit of the sting out of this, because nothing is worse than having something like this happen then realize few people care. History will look favorably on this president.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  6. Carl

    Yes the President has shown his talents as a Pastor. It is a shame he has alittle as a President.

    December 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Ved

      And you have shown your talents as a politicizing troll at this time of grief.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Dooshbag says what?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • sam stone

      compared to whom, carl? two-wars smirk?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Ralph

      Unfortunately, you are completely wrong about Obama's talent as President. We have had many great Presidents, and he is one of them. History will prove that to be true. You must not have been watching him tackle all the challenges a President must handle. Please look again. And there are times when a President must work in the realm of the spiritual, and this he has done very well also.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • The Eternal Satyr

      Carl, the pResident has done his job – he's sold the Corporatocracy's agenda and will continue to do so until he leaves office. Then, whichever Republicrat is "voted" into office when he leaves will do the same thing. And so on, and so on, until We the Sheeple wake up and the revolution begins.

      And suddenly the Fiscal Cliff is nowhere to be found...

      December 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  7. jake

    if our prez wants to help...draft executive order prohibiting the press ffrom that town for the duration of the month....or not until they OK the press coming back....the press are vultures ...and they need to be controlled for the sake of this town and community

    December 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Unfortunately the first ammendment prevents that.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Ken

      The press lives on readership/audience, so you know how to deal with them if you don't like what they have to say. Free press is still essential. Guns are not.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The first amendment protects the right of the press to print what it wants. It doesn't grant them unlimited access into peoples lives

      December 17, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constiitution itself. They are the American peoples’ liberty teeth and keystone under independence... From the hour the pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to ensure peace, security, and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable...The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.”
      ― George Washington

      December 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      I wonder if George Washington would have said the same if he saw the AK-47, the SCAR, Nuclear weapons, sniper rifles, or any of the other weapons that would've wiped an entire platoon away back then before they could reload their flintlock weapons.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Momof3

      ...and, I'm also pretty sure that George Washington wouldn't have included those 26 victims when he was talking about 'evil interferences'...

      December 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Emma Davis

      They should ban the media via trespass laws or declare it an emergency zone. The idea that the press was interviewing little students that afternoon disgusts me. I will never view the press in the same way again. Disgusting.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why do you suppose they do it, Emma et al? Because you are greedy for news. If you didn't watch, they wouldn't report.

      December 17, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
  8. Lance D.

    Our Blessed Father Barack who art on the Earth -Hallowed be Thy name - Thy Will be done throughout the entire earth as it is in America - Give us this day our daily bread - Deliver us from Rightousness - For thine is the Kingdom and the power and glory - Forever and ever - Amen

    December 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Forget about the Gelgameks?!!

      December 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      Wow, Lance....how clever

      December 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Ved

      Yes, now is clearly the time for lame satire.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Ralph

      You are speaking sacrilege.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Rick in SD

      I guess Lance doesn't understand the difference between a pastor and God.

      December 17, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  9. Michael Daniel

    I am sending a message of love to all the people of Newtown, and to ALL of my fellow Americans.

    May love ring louder than all of this tired, bitter acrimony.

    December 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Wendy

      There is a movement that people are doing 20 acts of kindness for the 20 children killed. With love and kindness we can show love prevails in this country.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • The Truth

      Now there is a message everyone can get behind, thanks Mike! You do not need laity when you have love.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • Frank Tillery

      Amen

      December 17, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I'm in. Thank you Wendy

      December 17, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  10. The Truth

    I shudder at the thought of almost having to hear a President Elect Mitt Romney give a slimy grinning speech giving comfort to the gun owners and claiming "if only more people were packing this kind of tragedy would not have happened..."

    December 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • popseal

      We ought to ban alcohol because it kills so many on our streets. Wait...we tried that about 90 years ago and it didn't work either. I can't imagine what A BLACK MARKET FOR GUNS WOULD BE LIKE.......it would be worse than anything we've seen with the drug trade..........

      December 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • The Truth

      We had the assault weapons ban for 10 years, we did not see an explosion on the blackmarket because of it. We are not talking about a gun ban, we are talking about gun safety. It's pretty plain and simple. Have better background checks and add requirement for gun safes or trigger locks. It's not foolproof, but it certainly would have been harder for this kid to do what he did if his mother did not have available weapons for him to use that were not under lock and key. However, just owning a gun increases your risk of being killed by one as a 2004 study showed:

      "Those persons with guns in the home were at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 3.4). They were also at greater risk of dying from a firearm homicide, but risk varied by age and whether the person was living with others at the time of death. The risk of dying from a suicide in the home was greater for males in homes with guns than for males without guns in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 10.4, 95% confidence interval: 5.8, 18.9). Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6). Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home." Oxfordjournal.org

      December 17, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  11. Dave

    I am probably too bias to comment but the President appeared too opportunistic to me last night – I kept hearing "never let a crisis go to waste," "It takes a village" followed by "You didn't build that" (they are the nation's children) and then more redistribution of wealth talk (provide every opportunity to every child). The notion that a government can protect us from tragedy or prevent evil is a fallacy to the greatest degree, a point that has been proven repeatedly throughout human history.

    The answer to his initial premise "Have we done enough for our children?" will always be no because any parent will tell you that nothing will ever be enough. Especially if we are so easily distracted. But most of us do what we can.

    I don't have an issue with the President quoting scripture. He could have quoted a popular song or movie for all the good it did. I found it pointless. The realness of the event came from the audience as they cried at in their grief when he listed the names of the dead. And their hope when they laughed at his joke. That meant more to me than anything he had to say.

    December 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Akira

      Yes.
      I do think you are too biased.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • budgiegirl

      Yes you are too biased, because with your view, there is nothing the President could have said that would have appeased you. Y ou take everything he says as political opportunism. And if he had said nothing, you would have criticized him for that too. You find the right words, and let us all know.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • The Truth

      I found you pointless...

      December 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • BoFo

      Dave, whoever you are, you are disgusting beyond imagination. Take it from a longstanding Obama detractor, he was sincere last night. You must not be a parent or a grandparent or, if you are, you are a cynical, insensitive person. That is pathetic.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Debebe

      Dear Dave,

      You are one useless hate monger.. a nitpicking type who is trying to find fault where there is none. Our earth would be far better off without your types.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Newsy97

      Dave, I may be biased also. But the way I see it, your mean spirited political diatribe is made even made more repugnant in light of the unimaginable horror that frames it.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I agree with you Dave, you're not alone.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • The Truth

      Are there still morons out there who don't understand the ""You didn't build that" comment? Are there any idiots out there who will stand up and say "We did build that!" knowing the context of the comment? If so they would have to be seriously claiming that they built their road to work, they built the infrastucture that brought them their water, their power and their communications network WITHOUT a single subsidy, without any government help, without getting others together and agreeing on a common purpose enabling the free market to function without the overbearing cost of maintaining societies structure which it need's to function. If you want to see the land of opportunity you think you want, one where the government doesn't build anything, then take a look at Somalia or some of the other extremely poor countrys where government investment in roads and infrastructure is minimal at best. I'll buy you a one way ticket if thats the free enterprise you desire so badly. A little heads up though, 20 school children being shot is no big news over there...

      December 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      "I am probably too bias to comment " We all agree, but you did it anyway. What a nice memorial to the dead children that you would throw their dead bodies at the president because your candidate didn't win. Now go away.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Ved

      Someone like you will never find anything he says to be right. And if he says nothing, you will criticize him for saying nothing.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • ga.democrat

      Dave,
      Are you even a human being? Surely, you are not a parent and most certainly you are void of the compassion and love that our President brought to the grieving families of Newtown.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • jb1947

      yup you are too biased. Look at who supports you in these replies, the bottom feeder Rational Libertarian. wow

      December 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Dave

      I didn't really expect as much hate as I found here. I realize that there were other words that would have been better than a some of the ones I used. I was not out to create offense nor did I anticipate some from responding so in kind. So I will edit what I said. I was responding to the OP calling the speech a sermon. I was commenting on the President's speech. The OP didn't represent his article as being a memorial to the children and adults lost last Friday and my post is not directed to those grieving. I found the political undertones of the President's speech out of place. I didn't overtly question his sincerity. If the President stayed with the stories of heroism, compliance and compassion, praising the first responders and the reading of the names and promising to make resources available would be provided then that would have been a decent speech, with or without scripture.

      I am not a gun owner although I believe the 2nd Amendment protects the 1st and the 1st protects rest. I am a parent and I pray that evil will not befall my child or anyone's child. My heart aches for those families but an over-reaching government is not the answer. I don't believe a government can seriously promote gun control while it provides weapons in hopes of regime change elsewhere but that discussion is for another forum.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  12. Annoyed

    It AMAZES me the amount of criticism that there is after such a tragedy. Get over yourselves. This is a time that we should be coming together, NOT speaking of politics and splitting apart....

    ridiculous.

    December 17, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • .

      hmmm, now you just did the same thing welcome to the belief blog. ;-)

      December 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Annoyed,

      Who then are these critics and what games are they playing?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  13. felix navidad

    The President as a Christian leader to a Christian nation acted with pastoral compassion to ease the grief of his consti.tuents, he could not have been more appropriate. We are one nation under God

    December 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Brian

      "We are one nation under God"

      You mean Gods plural. Personally I think most people are ruled by the money God.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Reasonably

      Which god? The First Amendment would argue with your false belief we are a Christian nation.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • sam stone

      We are not a Christian nation, Felix

      December 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • ReigionIsBS

      This is not a christian nation. I am not a christian, not am I required to be. Also, if it were a christian nation, the 10 commandments would be law, which they are not. I do not face jail time if I dont beleive in your god, or worship other gods, of commit adultry, or covet my neighbors wife, or more importantly – covet any of my neighbors things (the principal to our entire economic structure).

      December 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • felix navidad

      To those that oppose America. We are a Christian nation you are not.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Brian

      "To those that oppose America. We are a Christian nation you are not."

      Why do Christians do this, twist things so in their delusional mind the can justify their stupid beliefs and comments. No one said they oppose America, they oppose that you think this is a Christian nation because we are not.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • sam stone

      We do not oppose America, Felix. It is the inbred fvcks like you who oppose America by trying to make it into a theocracy

      December 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • sam

      Felix, you were doing so great right up until that under god thing.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • felix navidad

      It bothers you that i am right?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Ken

      Felix, it bothers us that you think that you are right.

      And you are clearly wrong, both historically and legally.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Akira

      "To those that oppose America. We are a Christian nation you are not."
      America has no official religion.
      There are many different religions in America.
      No official one, though.
      I will repeat this for you:
      No official religion.
      No official God.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      "We are a Christian nation you are not." Really, because I would have sworn "Christian" meant something different from "troll." Bless your little pointed head.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  14. JAy.

    When I voted in 2008, I voted for a politician running for President, not a pastor. When I voted in 2012, I voted for a politician running for President, not a pastor.

    Regardless of your political or religious leaning, the President is a politician. I want my pastor to be far more.

    Also, while congratulating President Obama for quoting scripture, it might be worth looking at the context of the scripture. In 2 Corinthians, Paul is writing to a church that is being persecuted. The strength Paul encourages is the strength of those living out the Christian faith in difficult and trying times. It is not the same situation in which we currently find ourselves (although it is a situation which is becoming more and more relevant for American Christians).

    December 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • texcal68

      Saul of Tarsus, a man that never met Jesus when alive, high jacked a Jewish movement started by Jesus. Of the 13 letters credited to him, only 7 are considered authentic. My point is: the president or any other person that believes in Christianity is believing in a myth. Not one of the authors of the 27 writing in the NT were eyewitnesses. It time our leaders abandon all Bronze Age mythologies.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • GT

      I agree with most of what you said, I just write a lot.

      regarding the bit about American Christians being increasingly under attack.

      You have a preacher quoting scripture about trails, tribulations, and being persecuted... and you claim that Christianity is under attack. You have different Christians vying for the coveted slot of True Christian... and you claim that no one wants to be a Christian. We consistently elect presidents who most represent some aspect of (what the overall electorate considers – usually evangelical) mainstream Christianity. Our cemetaries are full of crosses. Churches can be found everywhere.

      Here's a hint: He was not quoting the Bhagavad-Gita or the Torah or Buddhist scripts or The Humanist. He was not saying that more than Christianity is required of anything but mundane affairs. He has stated that he is a devout Christian, a set of beliefs which he accepted as an adult.

      This line has been used repeatedly through (at least) American history by evangelical Christians, as a selling point to promote that they are the underdogs, and thus hold the mantle of legit True Christian described biblically. Most often when under attack on moral grounds.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • GT

      make that "you have a President" not "preacher". Totally unintentional slip.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • pritika

      He is the President giving comfort and I do not begrudge his use of scripture. Whatever he or anyone else can do to comfort these folks in their hour of need is commendable. I focused on his words about love as in love each other, do your best for each other. One does not have to be religious to show love.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  15. PDW4JC

    Millions are foolish enough to consider Obama qualified to be this nations President, but only a fool would think Obama could be a Pastor. Any man that could go speak about the atrocity of Sandy Hook, yet all the while promote the killing of millions of children in abortion clinics is the worst kind of hypocrite possible. What comfort could this man offer those that need Jesus, when he himself needs to meet Jesus. Our nation, and world, is so lost, and clueless when it comes to God and having a personal relationship with Him. God has made it possible for any to find peace that passes all understanding, but only through His Son Jesus Christ. To offer anything else, other than Jesus, in a terrible time like this, is the worst kind of cruelty.

    December 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Our nation, and world, is so lost, and clueless when it comes to God and having a personal relationship with Him."

      But YOU get it, right?

      December 17, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • sam stone

      How is he promoting the killing of millions of children? Your hyperbole reveals a poor argument

      December 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • texcal68

      Jesus was a mortal man, conceived in the normal way, that was murdered by the Romans. He wasn't the son of any mythical god. If you took more time to study the historical Jesus, you might be able to write comment worth reading.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      PDW4JC,

      While your words speak volumes to the many only a few do know your wordage commitments. Our nation's kingships are tattered and torn apart as being but only years and not a forever monument due our forefathers acts of worded legislations. Our God dares demand little of us and He dares refrain in His ways to allow all our freedoms' willfulness wanting ways despite the travesties coming upon the lost and least treasured lots living torments.

      Find therefore one's solace of sullen measures and let the rulers do that which they feel is to be so done. For God uses the unusable in salient ways unknown and even of the unknowable does God reveal the callousness issues left as tributes to humankind's fates. Keep ever one eye opened and measure well with the eye closed all meanings of life without ending!

      December 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • .

      more drivel ramblings from the belief blog idiot LL.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • sam

      Reactionary bullshit. Allowing a woman to choose is not 'promotion' of abortion. Where do you nutters come from, anyway?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Akira

      He is not promoting abortion, you silly git.

      He spoke eloquently and beautifully, and your GOPism is showing again.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • pritika

      So in your world the president is only worthy of the office if he is willing to force the rest of us to believe as you do and spouts your same religiousity. No, I will stick with a president that is willing to protect the rights of all to choose as much as possible their own thoughts and actions without infringing on the rights of other citizens.

      December 17, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Nsikan

      Mature christians understand choice – after all Michelle and Brack are not commiting abortion. God gives choices to everyone and you call it freedom!! The president did not change the laws on abortion, it has been there for a long time now. Remove the beam in your own eyes so that you can see clearly.

      December 17, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  16. sherlene harris

    THE PRESIDENT WORE HIS HAT VERY WELL. HE IS SETTING A GOOD STANDARD AND RAISING THE BAR ON HOW PRESIDENTS ARE TO CONDUCT THEMSELVES. HE IS THERE FOR THE PEOPLE. MAY HAVE BEEN A SERMON, NO TIME FOR POLITICS IN THIS SITUATION.

    December 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • PM

      psst...why are you yelling ?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  17. Don

    I would like to politely disagree with the premise of this piece. Our presidents are not pastors, and to suggest otherwise is to strike at the heart of separation of church and state. Please leave the sacred task of shepherding to those of us who are actually called to it, and we will leave the equally sacred task of governing (see Romans 13:1 ff.) to those whom He has called to that vocation.

    December 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • The Truth

      As an atheist I can understand where you are coming from Don. But I also can understand where even if he were proclaiming "If there be a genie of the lamp, in this time of darkness we do so rub, for we wish upon thy genie for comfort, for peace, for compassion"... the message is still the same which is "We wish with all our power that these types of tragedys come to an end, that we never have to mourn the losses of so many young children again, and we will pray to fairies, widgets, genies or jackalopes if we thought it added any extra chance of succeeding in that goal."

      December 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  18. ?????????????

    seperation of church and state
    Watch doomsday hype fizzle out as Slooh scans heavens for agents of doom..

    December 17, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  19. Reasonably

    No – he is our President, not our pastor. While I share his sentiment, I – and many others – do not share his faith and will not submit to his faith. America has the 1st amendment. Please do not forget this in the name of your god.

    December 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  20. Rational Libertarian

    He's a d.ouchebag, what else would you expect? Still though, I'd rather Obamer than the Mormon d.ouchebag.

    December 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Our God knows of all our pains,
      Our God loves yet He refrains.
      My God is your God too,
      Your God is my God ever so true.
      Their God is our God one and the same,
      God cares for all creatures even the lame.

      Liberatus Rationale, your ranting raves of scripted messages do belittle the writer of said messages. Our land's Kingship lays fermented upon presidential homages and yes even pastoral leverages of commonwealths inclusiveness. While the masses believe in separations of church and state issues, the federalists cannot be so enamored such separations due the clemencies of multiple duplicitousness sakes issuances in the mentalities of righteousness affirmed well beings made whole and of foremost a wealthy conglomeration of censored socialisms.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • .

      more drivel ramblings by LL the belief blog idiot.

      December 17, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Yes LL, you are a d.ouchebag.

      December 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • fintastic

      @lionylamchops............... do you really think anyone is impressed by this crap you continue to spew?

      December 17, 2012 at 2:29 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.