September 19th, 2010
04:36 PM ET

For first time in months, President Obama attends church publicly

President Obama publicly attended church Sunday morning for the first time in nearly six months, and shortly after a major survey showed that only a third of Americans can correctly identify Obama's faith as Christian.

The first family attended the 9 a.m. service at St. John's Church Lafayette Square, an Episcopal congregation about a block from the White House.

The Obamas - the president, first lady Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha - made the trip on foot.

The family sat a few rows from the altar, among roughly 40 worshippers. Each family member received communion, led by the president.

St. John's rector, the Rev. Luis Leon, preached on the weekly gospel reading, Luke 16:1-13, which ends, "You cannot serve God and wealth," in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

The visit, Obama's first public trip to church since Easter, comes several weeks after a major survey showed that a substantial and growing number of Americans believe that Obama, a self-described Christian, is Muslim.

Nearly one in five Americans believe Obama is a Muslim, up from around one in 10 Americans who said he was Muslim last year, according to the survey, conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

The number of Americans who expressed uncertainly about the president's religion, meanwhile, is much larger and has also grown, including among Obama's political base. For instance, fewer than half of Democrats and African-Americans now say that Obama is Christian.

The survey was conducted in late July and early August.

Despite intense media speculation about which Washington church Obama would join when he arrived in Washington, the White House has yet to announce that he has joined any, though the president sometimes attends chapel at Camp David.

Obama had been a member of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago until spring 2008, when he left after videos surfaced showing his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, delivering controversial sermons about the United States.

At St. John's on Sunday, Rev. Leon said that the week's gospel passage - known as the parable of the dishonest steward - was a call to "act shrewdly on behalf of God."

He said that the parable showed that "Jesus has a sense of humor... he also likes to shock us" and the extent to which "everyone has cut a corner or two."

After the roughly hour-long service, Obama chatted with Leon and the first family and strolled back to the White House.

According to the Pew survey released last month, most of those who think Obama is Muslim are Republicans, but the number of independents who believe he is Muslim has expanded significantly, from 10 percent last year to 18 percent this summer.

In March 2009, 36 percent of African-Americans said they didn't know what religion Obama practices. Now, 46 percent of African-Americans say they don't know.

"You would think the longer the person is in the White House, the more the 'don't knows' would decline," said Alan Cooperman, the Pew Forum's associate director for research. "But the 'don't knows' are higher now than when he came to office."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Church • Houses of worship • Politics

soundoff (508 Responses)
  1. Zaid Parks

    Couldn't he just have decided to go to church???? Why is it about august polls and what Americans think. The man wanted to go and he went – why is this a story????

    September 19, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  2. Rita

    Too late Hussein...Should have thought about your image with the Christians before defending a victory mosque. It's too close to the elections and we know what your really up too!

    September 19, 2010 at 6:08 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You make me wanna puke.

      September 19, 2010 at 7:03 pm |
    • honestanon

      That's you right as an American. Go puke.

      Just don't do it on my shoes...

      September 19, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
    • Elaine

      Hey idiot. who told you he is Muslim? Are you that brainwashed???

      September 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
    • MSG

      Elaine – Hey idiot. who told you he is Muslim? Are you that brainwashed???

      Elaine, Obama did admit his Muslim faith – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMUgNg7aD8M

      Sorry but that was no where edited!

      September 24, 2010 at 6:03 am |
  3. Austringer

    Can you imagine what a shock this must have been for our president to sit down and attend a worship service in a Christian Church? Kudos to him for giving it a try. One can only guess about the conversation on the way home.

    "Daddy? How come this Reverend talked about the Gospel of Christ rather than telling us how filthy America and the white man is like Reverend Wright always did?"

    September 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  4. james

    It's a shame really, it seems President Obama is pandering to right-wing religious nuts in this country by attending church so close to an election. I say TO HELL with all so-called "values voters." They won't shove their values down my throat. Or as the Tea-baggers say: "Don't Tread on Me."

    September 19, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
    • Stephny

      hahaha, attending an Episcopal Church is no way to court the right-wing!

      September 19, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You said, "hahaha, attending an Episcopal Church is no way to court the right-wing!"

      You are right. The Christian Right will vote Republican. The Christian Right wants to rule the country.

      Vote for the Dems in November.

      September 19, 2010 at 7:13 pm |
    • Adrian

      Dont vote Dem or Repub they'll ultimatly destroy this country. The whole lot of them.

      September 19, 2010 at 7:17 pm |
  5. Jaxi

    Way to go Obama – you technically used the church today. Obama didn't go to church with his family because he wanted to. He went to church because surveys told him he basically should. In my eyes, 'using' the church is a sin – especially if you are using it for a political gain. This is atrocious and sad. If Obama knows what his faith is, he shouldn't have to prove that to anyone (now that he is president, vs just running for president).

    Perhaps someone should craft a 'new 21st Century Bible' – a slight twist on the Bible – one that is unique to America and American Politics. If someone ever did get genius enough to do this: then they could start with modifying what today's preached sermon was by ending it instead with: "You can't serve G-d and serve Politics".

    September 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • Elaine

      Actually, relition = politics = controlling people's behavior.

      September 19, 2010 at 9:47 pm |
  6. Kayla

    You people need to get a life. His religion is no one's f'ing business. Is the next report going to be "Obama picks his nose in public" which will SURELY PROVE that Obama eats his boogers!! OMFG.

    Religious idiots make me sick. Religion needs to die, with its followers along with it. Who cares if he's Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, or oh my GOD atheist? END OF THE WORLD. END OF THE F'ING WORLD. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH.

    September 19, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • Judy

      I am sure you will be right beside him in hell....he will need company.

      September 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • Adrian

      Kayla take your pills.

      September 19, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You can't even prove there is a god.

      September 19, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • Adrian

      @ David And you cant prove how the Universe was created without one.

      September 19, 2010 at 7:11 pm |
    • Elaine

      Exactly. Well said. Thank you.

      September 19, 2010 at 9:45 pm |
    • Bill

      @Judy – well, at least we know YOU'RE not Christian. No true Christian would pass judgement on another – true Christians believe that is the domain of God and no one else.

      @David and @Adrian – neither one of you can prove your side of the argument. Which is EXACTLY my point. Why the hell should any of us care whether Obama is Christian or NOT? None of us can say with any certainty that God exists, or that Jesus existed, or even that Jesus was the son of God. So.. the question really comes down to "Is Obama delusional or not?" or "Is Obama good at picking deities to worship or not?" or even "Should Obama really care what the commenters on CNN.com think" 😉

      September 20, 2010 at 1:58 am |
    • Mike

      Dave you can not prove there is conciseness, does it still exist because of your lack of ability to prove it.

      September 20, 2010 at 8:34 am |
    • David Johnson


      The person/group making the extraordinary claim are expected to supply the proof. I can't prove a negative.

      But, this is also true of Santa Claus. I can't prove Santa doesn't exist. But, by a preponderance of the evidence I can conclude that for all practical purposes, Santa is fake. I afford this same courtesy to god/Jesus.

      September 20, 2010 at 10:51 am |
    • Mike

      The proof is all around us, do you look up into the sky and be greatful for the great gas ball is in the sky and your whole life is based on random chance.

      Also back to the original question: consciousness, does it still exist even though a " person/group making the extraordinary claim are expected to supply the proof."

      September 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • David Johnson


      You said, "consciousness, does it still exist even though a " person/group making the extraordinary claim are expected to supply the proof."

      Consciousness is not an extraordinary claim.

      Ever heard of the cogito? "I think therefore I am" – Descartes
      That the act of thinking guarantees the existence of the self. – Yep, it works for me.

      Consciousness is a product of brain function. When your brain dies, our consciousness ceases. No heaven. No hell.
      It is based on the philosophy of material realism. What evidence do you base your belief on?

      In general, realism is the belief that there is an absolute truth or ultimate reality of some form.

      Scientific Realism , which I believe in , states that truth can be known through science. A belief that truth is held in the laws of physics and that which is material is generally assumed.

      Being a Modern realist, I tend to be more certain of the ability of science to obtain the ultimate truth which forms the basis of realism.

      I rely upon a singular method which is believed to be superior to obtain ultimate truth. This is generally science.

      September 20, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
  7. Judy

    Really do we have to have a daily update on what this guy does?? I do not care what he does or who he does it with. I am sick of seeing him on every station and newspaper. He has got to the me most "want to be in the media" President ever. I can't wait for Jan 2013 when he and his family move out of the White House and someone with a clue of what our country needs moves it. Get over yourself Obama...you nor your wife are all that. COME ON NOV 2012 and you can keep that slogan hope and change because all you have taken is our hope and left us with your spare change from all you trips around the world on our DIME!!!

    September 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • Josh M

      How would you like it if your boss told you how to spend your paycheck since they're paying you? I bet you wouldn't like that at all. You should really think about some of the things you say. He has just as much right to go on trips as the rest of us. Be careful what you wish for.

      September 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
    • Michele

      Judy – Your response is exactly what is wrong with this country, a lack of respect, be it party affiliation, religion or otherwise.
      "That guy" is in the media because he is the President of the United States of America. Whether you voted for him or not, he still deserves the respect of that office.
      Is it okay for children to disrespect their teachers if they believe in a different God or vote a different way on election day?
      Tolerance is a fading virtue drowning in the quagmire of constant, inflammatory dialog, whether it's accurate or not.
      The increase in media coverage is a direct result of our misguided ratings-generated society, to all of our detriment.

      September 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm |
    • Debbie

      Judy it sounds as tho your jealous. Jealousy will get you know where.

      September 19, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Actually, I'm looking forward to Obama's second term.

      September 19, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
    • JeanV

      Judy - You sound like a jealous 13-year-old ragging on the cute, popular kids. The man is OUR PRESIDENT. Of course the media follow him around and report on what he does. That's their job. How many times did we see pictures of President Bush cutting brush, golfing, making a speech or just getting on/off of Marine One on his way someplace? It comes with the job. By the way, you'd better get used to seeing him in the press because he'll ALWAYS be news-worthy, even after he leaves office on January 20, 2017.

      September 19, 2010 at 8:13 pm |
  8. Kathy

    Where the President of the United States worships and even if he worships is of no consequence to me. I rarely go to church and yet have a deep Christian faith. People need to grow up and cut him some slack. And, quite frankly, when did this country become so intolerant of the Muslim faith. We have much bigger problems to deal with and this is definitely not one of them.

    September 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • John

      This country became so intollerant of Muslims when the Repukes in this country decided that was the issue they would use to scare and bully everyone, to spread false information about. Its a inherent part of the Republican ideology. They wish to keep people stupid and ignorant. The more they can do that, the more they can push their views by them, or spread false ideas on to the low hanging fruit, who in turn make it a huge deal that the fruits higher up on the tree grab hold of and infect the rest of the fruits in their tree. Its just the way the Republican party operates. They believe they are the ruling class and everyone else should just back down and take their word for it.

      September 20, 2010 at 1:13 am |
  9. ickybogg

    Those of you professing christianity surely don't serve the God of Heaven - Jesus is not a hell raiser. Free-will is who he is, whatever choice we make, live with it!

    September 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  10. SmithonPolitcs

    Breaking News! The President of the United States.........attends church.

    September 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  11. Eric

    Why is it a big deal to people that the president doesn't publicly pray? Does that mean anything in the grand scheme of life? No, it does not. People can be so judgemental when they themselves are way less than perfect...

    September 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
  12. Lamar H

    Oh the things people will do for power...

    What would our beloved President do without Focus groups advising him to parade himself as a christian – how does Nobama address the question of people thinking he is Muslim?

    It's not that I think he is Muslim (nor do I care if he is Christian)... what I do believe is that he thinks that people are stupid enough to vote for him again just because he decides to parade himself as a Christian (not that religion should matter in politics) – The real reason his approval numbers are down are because he is no good. Period.

    September 19, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
    • JeanV

      Question: When you or a family member or co-worker or friend go to church of a Sunday, are you "parading yourself as being a Christian" or are you just...oh,..I dunno...going to Church?

      Do y'all have to read nefarious intent into EVERYTHING the man does with his wife and kids? Really?

      September 19, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  13. Aweful Noise

    It's sad that they are reduced to this kind of publicity stunt to try to diffuse all the lies being spread. Religion should NOT be a reason to vote for someone. If anything, it should be THE MAIN REASON NOT to vote for them, it might just imply that they are delusional, and their fear will effect their judgment.. That and power ARE NOT a good combo.

    September 19, 2010 at 5:54 pm |
    • Andrew Messenger

      And then again, latest statistics from the last US Census show that 86 percent of all Americans believe in God in one way or another. Thus, to your argument, 86 percent of America must be delusional. Consequently, 0.7% on the Census are atheist (who think believers are delusional).

      September 19, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • Aweful Noise

      That poll obviously was taken in the nation controlled by Fox News. Try a European poll. Even Worldwide! You'll notice the education rates will almost always reflect the numbers you're referring to. The U.S.A. has the World Record for spreading false information, it's a direct result of the First Amendment. Great for the individual, destructive to the masses because people believe what they hear. What percent of people don't? Hmmm... another parallel statistic...

      September 19, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
    • Adrian

      Actually most polls show that number and world wide only about .05-2.0 % of people are athiests.

      September 19, 2010 at 6:54 pm |
    • JeanV

      Maybe the man just felt like going to church.


      September 19, 2010 at 8:01 pm |
  14. linda

    u thank god for some sanity on this post. the rest of you are worrying me.

    September 19, 2010 at 5:50 pm |
    • shree


      September 21, 2010 at 8:04 am |
  15. Pat G

    Get over it America, we have a black President and he is of the Christian Faith...Surprise? we also can be Presidents

    September 19, 2010 at 5:50 pm |

      When was Barrack Hussein Obama baptized in a Christian Church?

      September 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm |
    • Ebony

      No: He is only half black.

      September 19, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • David Johnson

      I am white.

      I think Obama is the finest president the United States ever had.

      I don't care about his color or his religion.

      I look forward to voting for him again in 2012.

      September 19, 2010 at 6:45 pm |
    • Terri

      Half black. Half white. How come we never hear Pres. Obama referred to as a white president? I want to know how come there was only 40 other worshipers in church that service? A PR Opt? Or a general reflection on the spiritual stability of Washington DC in general?

      September 19, 2010 at 7:25 pm |
    • Grinnin

      @David Johnson

      You got it right, brother! President Obama is the best president we've had since...um...dang what a long dry spell we had there for "best" presidents!
      I will be voting for him again, too.
      Who cares what religion he is as long as he is doing his job and trying to do his best for the American people?
      Sorry I can't shake your hand through these blogs, man, but I might shake your arm off, anyway... 😛

      September 19, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
    • Sagebrush Shorty

      Ebony............Not according to his census return.

      September 19, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
    • chase

      david Johnson, nobody cares what color he is, except for you guys who accuse everyone of caring even though they don't. They simply see him as a bad president...

      September 19, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
    • Bill

      @Terri – that's about right for that particular church. As the article said, it's about a block away from the White House – it only serves a few blocks; most people don't drive into town to go to church on Sunday. It's also an easy church for the sitting President to attend because the security is fairly easy – not too many churchgoers to vet...

      @GTSmoker... it was only a matter of time before some moron pulled out the "Hussein" card... as if he had any control over what his parents named him. I love how the ones with the lowest IQs always go for the "Hussein" card, or failing that, the "Show us his birth certificate" play. But I gotta give you props for a new twist – "prove to us he was baptized". Here's an idea – prove to us your momma didn't help you type up your response!

      September 20, 2010 at 1:49 am |
    • ICEMAN

      @ GTS SMOKER this dude could've been at first african baptist in christ over the lily in the valley, bright as the morning star church. In his swimming trunks holding up his social security card in one hand and a light saber in the other hand while being baptised and you know what you'll say. Obama the devil cause his lifesaber didn't glow when he came up out the water.

      September 20, 2010 at 6:16 am |
    • MSG

      and I quote: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMUgNg7aD8M

      September 24, 2010 at 5:58 am |
  16. U

    I wonder if the people who are so focused on pointing the finger at Obama actually behave like true Christians? How many hours do you spend in church?

    September 19, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
    • Andrew Messenger

      That would be a question for the CNN news correspondent and CNN for choosing to make this story newsworthy. If they consider this story to be newsworthy, then perhaps they are the ones making scrutiny out of the topic. Or, on the other hand, as CNN knows that faith is a big sore spot for controversy, they continue to publish this dribble for the sake of stirring up the comments and the bottom of the story (adds more hits to their page, increases the amount of advertising dollars they receive as a result of more hits).

      September 19, 2010 at 5:51 pm |
    • AD

      And if they do, hopefully it makes them more compassionate, caring loving people, not wanting to exeterminate anyone who doesn't embrace their believe.

      September 19, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • honestanon


      The use of religion to define an answer to a legal question is obscene. Nothing less.

      September 19, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You said, " nobody cares what color he is, except for you guys who accuse everyone of caring even though they don't. They simply see him as a bad president..."

      I have never seen a president given so little respect as Obama has been given. Racial slurs have been made about his family. During the health care debate, a black senator was spit on. Not any white ones, only a black one.

      Oh, this is about racism all right.

      The Republicans always find a group to make America fear, every election. It's the Muslim's turn this time. And, the Republican bigots are trying to convince the American public that Obama is a secret Muslim.

      September 19, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
    • Bill

      Simple answer: NO. If they were true Christians, they would only have love for Obama. But then, that was probably a rhetorical question, right? 🙂

      September 20, 2010 at 1:40 am |
    • James Swanson

      Christianity has nothing to do with how many hours you spend in church, so this question is irrelevant. It has everything to do with trying to bring God's will to earth, loving people like Jesus did, and acting as he would in every situation we are in on a daily basis.
      Only God on judgment day will be able to answer the debate of whether our President is a follower of Jesus or not, so all of our speculation is completely irrelevant.

      September 20, 2010 at 10:58 am |
  17. Shareef

    Would the Presidents faith change the way he is doing his job? And since when is it ok to be so intolerable of the muslim faith as the Republicans clearly are? What does this have to do with and how does it fix rising unemployment or partasinship that gets nothing done in congress.

    September 19, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
    • SurRy

      Nothing new here. The Republicans target a different group to demonize every election cycle. Then they came for me
      and by that time no one was left to speak up...

      September 19, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • Olivia

      All it said about the republicans was that they participated in a poll about the President. Since when is that unacceptable...?

      September 19, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
    • honestanon

      Well... this question first and foremost would be one of legality. The NY bar exam asks everyone, specifically, 'have you ever been known by any other name, or have you used an alias?' Answering fraudulently is apparently a felony in the State of New York. Then, of course, the questions involving conflict of national interests arise. We could argue forever about how that affects national policy and international relations depending upon you politics, but the questions remain.

      Many responses so far, but can anyone answer the question? I couldn't find an answer to date...

      September 19, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
    • honestanon

      ... and political party affiliation means nothing. More and more Americans are divorcing themselves from party ident-ity as both parties become increasingly polarized. It's easy to point fingers; more difficult to answer objective questions. Is he or isn't he? Was he or wasn't he? Did he or did he not?

      September 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You said, "Nothing new here. The Republicans target a different group to demonize every election cycle. Then they came for me"

      You have spoken pure truth! We must get everyone we know, to register to vote. We must vote for the Dems. The Republicans are the party of rich, white men. They are the puppets of the Christian Right.

      September 19, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
    • chase

      Dear David, they are the party of not feeling sorry for every minority, terrorist, illegal immigrants, and gay. They want to protect the U.S. and what it stands for, not how you and Obama are trying to transform it. If that means war on terror, that's how it is. If that means the Arizona Law (which doesn't mention the word "Latino" once) then you do it, whether morons considerate it racist or not. Obama sues his own state that has finally taken the initiative to protect America's border because are "president" has pushed it to the side of his radical agenda. I suppose you call blacks "African Americans", but whites just "white" as well, because you are so politically correct. And lastly, conservatives are not always rich, but many are. Coincidentally these conservatives had to be pretty smart to become rich... And they simply don't want taxes on the wealthy because they are not socialists like you and your boy Husseign. But then again, they won't be friends with terrorists and anti-white pastors, so you have that going for you...

      September 19, 2010 at 11:16 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @ chase

      You said, " If that means the Arizona Law (which doesn't mention the word "Latino" once) then you do it, whether morons considerate it racist or not. Obama sues his own state that has finally taken the initiative to protect America's border because are "president" has pushed it to the side of his radical agenda"

      Your entire comment was spoken like a true racist Republican.

      The Arizona border has remained as is, through the entire 8 years of the Bush administration.

      Jan Brewer is using the border for political motives. The crime rate is falling every year.

      The law discriminates, because it targets Latinos. How many blonde haired, blue eyed people are going to be stopped and asked for papers? LOL.

      The Christian Right will use the Republicans to create a theocracy, with the mythical Jesus as the head of state. Only the Christian Right will be able to hear His voice. They will tell us His will.

      September 19, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
  18. Juan Apenado

    Let's give the Obama Family to practice any religion
    They want, remember that we are in America and freedom include the practice of any or none religion.
    From my stand point of view, the Republicans should be focused on try to help and support this country
    Juan Apenado

    September 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
    • Andrew Messenger

      I just read this article from beginning to end and don't see anything in it about Republicans in it. Not sure how that relates to this story. One thing to think about with religion is that, if they say they are actively professing in a certain faith, it would stand to reason there would be more regularity as to their activities in that faith. Inasmuch, in the past six months, Obama has celebrated several Muslim holidays at the White House. So, if actions speak louder than words, then review their actions and make your own determination.

      September 19, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • AD


      September 19, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
    • Peter

      Andrew Messenger wrote: "Obama has celebrated several Muslim holidays at the White House." ::::::::::::I will remind you that the Bush Administration held hands (literally) with the Muslim Saudi King, had him to the White House, made a big deal about how the new Muslim Prime Minister of Iraq was "a great guy", etc. If "celebrating Muslims" is a crime to you, where is the damnation of Bush? Or are you a typical team zombie with selective memory?

      September 19, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      'Inasmuch, in the past six months, Obama has celebrated several Muslim holidays at the White House. So, if actions speak louder than words, then review their actions and make your own determination.'
      Of course he has also celebrated Jewish and Christian holidays at the White House too. Not to mention that GW also celebrated the same.

      September 19, 2010 at 7:39 pm |
    • gopherguy

      But if I ask you what religion GW practiced you wouldn't hesitate to say he was a Christian would you? If you are not a Christian fine, just don't claim to be one. He seems to be a Christian out of necessity for political purposes.

      September 20, 2010 at 9:39 am |
  19. fishtown mike

    I don't see what the big deal is about him not going to church frequently.

    September 19, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
    • Peter

      Reagan never went to church regularly and nobody made a big deal about it.

      September 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
    • observer143

      You're right. It's non of our business whatever religion he practices or which church he goes to. Most of us here seem to ignore our freedom of religion. Additionally, isn't there a separation between the government and the church? I'm Catholic but I don't mind going to any church, temple, or mosque. For me prayer is a form of meditation, a way of communicating with the Divine Being and we can pray anywhere we want. Let's not forget that Jesus did not say anything about specific religion. He is very inclusive and not judgmental and welcomes everyone, which is the exact opposite of ALL religious groups. " He who has no sins can cast the first stone..."

      September 19, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
    • JeanV

      The Reagans had a White House ASTROLOGER and no one on the right gave a hoot. They're hypocrites. A black man enters the White House and they start seeing Muslims under the bed in the Lincoln Bedroom. Hypocrites and racists.

      September 19, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
    • JeanV

      k80lh = Exhibit A
      Everyone who was "upset" that he attended a church in Chicago with a Black Liberation Theology preacher is NOW "upset" that he's "really a Muslim". Next week they'll be "upset" that he might be a closet Catholic or Mormon or Scientologist. They simply hate the man and make up a pack of lies to see what they can make stick, even while claiming to be Christians who conveniently forgot that one of the Ten Commandments is, "Thou shall not bear false witness." Liars. Hypocrites.

      September 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
    • Joy

      Me neither. Bottom line is he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.

      September 19, 2010 at 9:11 pm |
    • KellyinCA

      @observer143, I thought it rather unusual, actually, that an Episcopal service would have as its gospel reading the _same_ passage about the dishonest steward as is in the Catholic missal for this week.

      As for Obama's religious affiliation, I think it's none of our business, really, and that those who a) believe him to be Muslim and b) feel that this negatively impacts on his performance as President are just completely out to lunch.

      September 19, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
    • Lucifer

      Why go to church? I mean who cares about what some person in a robe says anyway! They all say there's is the right church. There's no right church. There's no right religion. I don't like how this country shoves christainity down our throughts. What about everyone else?

      September 19, 2010 at 11:20 pm |
    • rh

      It might be something more simple, such as his kids are being picked on at school. You know those private schools can have a lot of bullying that is swept under the rug.

      I find it funny if there are any converted to atheism Christians who are in an uproar about him attending a madrassa. When he was too young to do anything other than what his stepdad said. Isn't it more impressive if he had some Islamic teaching and said "hey, I'd rather be Christian"?

      September 19, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
    • Notsurprising

      Not surprising at all that the Episcopal church and the Catholic church used the same scriptures this week. Both are Lectionary based denominations, meaning that the scriptures for a given Sunday are set out for years in advance, and follow a progression, meaning that a story in the Bible will continue over several weeks. Most mainline churches follow the Lectionary.

      September 20, 2010 at 1:17 am |
    • S

      Fishtown mike- its not that he doesnt go to church it that he choses to suddenly start going right before elections. It shows this guy is a fake and is nothing more than a slimy politician and oh one more important thing you might want to know. He's a freakin socialist. HELLLOOOO!!!

      September 20, 2010 at 9:22 am |
    • jean2009

      I think we would all be better of if we did away with religion.

      September 20, 2010 at 10:56 am |
    • DanW

      Obama made it a big deal when he went on Rick Warren's show and proclaimed himself to be an evangelical, born again Christian, whose "Lord and Savior is Jesus Christ." Had he not done that, he wouldn't be open to such criticism. The man is his own worst enemy.

      September 20, 2010 at 2:21 pm |

    It's good to find the lord at every election cycle.

    September 19, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • RUReal

      And the Lord sayeth elections are nigh. "Go thee forth that they might know that you are my faithful follower."
      And thusly did the Chosen One go forth into the house of the Lord on a quarterly basis.

      September 19, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
    • jmho43

      Absolutely, politics as usual. Bottom line, who cares, just do your job. Unfortunately too many people judge based on stuff that has nothing to do with anything.

      September 19, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • JeanV

      Hateful much?

      September 19, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
    • chase

      Paul, that is probably the dumbest statement I have ever heard in my life... A president that worships Satan... that would be literally the end of the world. Think before you speak

      September 19, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
    • BlackPoodle

      Thank you!!

      September 19, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • NRod

      Paul. I think that is a valid statement. I am with you when you say you don't care which God Obama worships, or if he worships any Got at all. I feel that if the president's goal is to better the United States, and as long as he is out for the greater good of all U.S. citizens, then I could care less who, or what, he worships. That is his personal business and we should not judge him because his beliefs differ from ours. If he is Christian (which he is), let him be; if he is Muslim (which he is not), let him be; and etc. for any religin (Buddhist, Hindu, Kabbalah, Agnostic). An argument such as this gets the country nowhere rather quickly. Our country will not prosper an greater if Obama was a Christian or otherwise. We should end this foolish talk about religion and move on to greater debates.

      September 19, 2010 at 11:31 pm |
    • sockpuppet

      @RU LMAO to your first post
      but I think it matters somewhat–I think a religion with a flat out evil intent would be a problem. Frankly, I think he's an atheist, just like every president has REALLY been (besides GW) since Carter. They all claim Christianity to get elected. The difference is, Obama hasn't been smart enough to keep faking it after taking office.

      September 19, 2010 at 11:50 pm |
    • sockpuppet

      thought you posted twice, nevermind

      September 19, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
    • john

      Paul you are right on the money. Better question is "Of the 10,000 gods man has invented, does anyone care which one Obama mumbles to in his head?"

      September 20, 2010 at 12:52 am |
    • muchogroucho

      Episcopalians are almost as bad as muslims.

      September 20, 2010 at 1:25 am |
    • Jack B

      Being Episcopalian I will only say that we have a broad umbrella under which we accept the length and breadth of humanity without being judgmental. This includes accepting gays as our priests and bishops as well as women. Insofar as Jesus accepted all including the outcast I take the reference to Islam as a reference to the forgiveness and acceptance of our Lord. And I appreciate that our president chose to share time with Episcopalians whether or not this is his final spiritual home.

      September 20, 2010 at 4:30 am |
    • brad


      "Of the 10,000 gods man has invented...." There is sciencific method in which observations are made, theories are proposed, back to the drawing board if necessary, and laws formulated. There is also religious method. Religious thought has been going on for millenia and has matured greatly. Who believes in Rha, Thor, Zeus, Zarathrusta, etc. anymore? I claim the same right for religious method as rationalists claim for scientific method.

      September 20, 2010 at 9:17 am |
    • S

      I love how he goes to church right around election time. What a joke! This man is nothing but a phony and has you all snowed. If you havent checked into his background by now you're all a bunch of hypocrites spewing nothing but hate for the right. He is a socialist/communist and has no business being our president.

      September 20, 2010 at 9:19 am |
    • brad

      CNN has set out the bait and the atheists have taken it. Like sheep they flock to the religion page where they can "get religion forced down their throats."

      September 20, 2010 at 9:22 am |
    • David Johnson


      Then I assume you have falsified all of the bible myths? The scientific method would.

      September 20, 2010 at 10:38 am |
    • Zetetiac

      George Bush sayeth: See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over again for the truth to sink in to kind of catapult the propaganda. And the Republican Party went forth and spread lies about the opposition.

      September 20, 2010 at 11:38 am |
    • brad


      The differences among lies, fairy stories, and myth is vast. Carl Jung, the father of analytical psychology, can explain myth to you.

      September 20, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • 14401


      September 20, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
    • Simo Hayha

      It's just another sham because he knows the Democrats are losing badly. I wouldn't care if he were Muslim if he were a good president who stood up for America where it counts, stopping the illegal immigration, getting our nation fixed instead of just painting the rust. He's an inexperienced, incompetent boob who has driven this country into the ground and is trying to fix the economy by officially saying that the economy has been better for a year. Vote for Gov Jan Brewer in 2012, and no I don't know or care what her religion is.

      September 20, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • flipside

      1in5 americans are morons.

      September 20, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
    • Tee

      It does not matter what PRESIDENT OBAMA does, people will always find something to ridicule him about. We have much bigger issues, LEFT BEHIND BY HIS PREDECESSOR, that we need to be concerned about. Besides, without faith we have nothing!

      September 21, 2010 at 10:14 am |
    • David Johnson

      You said, "George Bush sayeth: See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over again for the truth to sink in to kind of catapult the propaganda. And the Republican Party went forth and spread lies about the opposition."

      You are exactly right. The Republicans got the idea from the Nazi, Joseph Goebbels:

      “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it."

      The Republicans use this scheme all the time. Faux News is their medium.

      Vote for the Dems in November. The Republicans are the party of rich, white men. They are racists.

      September 21, 2010 at 11:58 am |
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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.