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November 17th, 2010
07:20 PM ET

Most Americans say Obama's religious beliefs different than their own

A majority of Americans say that President Barack Obama's religious beliefs are either somewhat different or very different than their own, a poll on religion and the recent elections found.

The poll report, by the Public Religion Research Institute, identified Obama's religion "dilemma," as the institute called it, as one of three significant emerging religious issues to watch toward the 2012 election cycle.

Sixteen percent of respondents said that Obama's views were somewhat different from their own, and 35 percent said his beliefs were very different. Only 40 percent believe that Obama has similar religious beliefs to their own. the poll found.

The report found a strong relationship between how Americans perceive Obama's faith and their views toward him. Of those who said that Obama had similar religious views, 94 percent support the president. At the other end, nearly 80 percent of those who say they have diferent beliefs than Obama have an unfavorable view of him.

The Public Religion Research Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that focuses on research and education on religion, values and public life. The survey was based on 1,494 interviews done in early November.

Another trend identified by the survey was that overall, Americans are almost evenly split on whether the values of Islam are compatible with American values. A majority of Republicans and Tea Party supporters said that Islam is at odds with American values. A majority of Democrats and Independents disagreed.

A third major emerging issue was that a majority of Americans believe God has granted America a special role in human history. Again, members of the Tea Party and Republicans were most likely to hold this belief, with 76 percent and 75 percent of respondents agreeing, respectively. In comparison, only 54 percent of independents and 49 percent of Democrats felt the same way, the poll found.

In all, the survey found no major religious realignments in the 2010 midterm elections.

"Republican candidates held a significant advantage among white Christian voters, while Democratic candidates held a significant advantage among minority Christian voters and religiously unaffiliated voters," the report said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • Polls

soundoff (78 Responses)
  1. Muneef

    Sad to see countries being destroyed while crime gangs grow larger,doesn't wars on countries contribute to the growth and wide spread crime gangs??
    Check this growth as an"Black Howk" example:

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gf94I_uNT0zg1UBJzaVJpW7hM7Tw?docId=CNG.ab4daaef1291f3d88d6e783431722bf7.311

    November 21, 2010 at 6:38 am |
  2. Muneef

    Can we say now that all kinds of natural disasters happen to countries that have majority non religious and filled with sins? Or would they continue telling us it is climate change and global warming ?? Why more of such disasters happen in US and not so much in Canada if I am not wrong?
    Only sinful unjust countries pay their dues purify them by such natural,unnatural disasters that occur to them? So do straight countries as well get some of that just to test the strength of their faith and belief? So as it seems the more sinful unjust countries are the ones that are more vulnerable, exposed, effected by such disasters than other ones...!

    November 21, 2010 at 6:28 am |
  3. Brandy

    A third major emerging issue was that a majority of Americans believe God has granted America a special role in human history? That's weird, it states this is an emerging issue. Consider how many people sing America the Beautiful throughout the country, in school, sporting events, religious events and patriotic events. Listen to the words as I believe them, you'll believe them.
    O beautiful for spacious skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the fruited plain!
    America! America!
    God shed His grace on thee,
    And crown thy good with brotherhood
    From sea to shining sea!
    This article is guilty of taking the numbers from a Poll and instigating a Racist and Religious fight among Americans. I don't buy it. The proof is in how little activity is on this comment board.

    November 21, 2010 at 6:01 am |
    • Muneef

      This is a fine book to read but in this link page it speaks of how the Roman Catholic Church the Vatican is in good terms with Islam towards facts admitted..
      Kindly read it is a good Scientifically written book that explains it all check it:

      http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/MB_BQS/14quran.htm

      November 21, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
    • Muneef

      Kindly find the book which the page above came of:

      The Bible, The Qur'an and Science
      by Dr. Maurice Bucaille
      THE HOLY SCRIPTURES EXAMINED IN THE LIGHT
      OF MODERN KNOWLEDGE
      Translated from French
      by Alastair D. Pannell and The Author

      http://www.witness-pioneer.org/vil/Books/MB_BQS/default.htm
       

      November 21, 2010 at 7:53 pm |
  4. Muneef

    The Meaning of Wahy
    The word awha, from which 'wahy' (revelation) is derived, occurs in a number of shades of meaning in the Qur'an, each of them indicating the main underlying idea of inspiration directing or guiding someone. In each example below, the italicised words in the translation are forms of the root word wahy in the original text of the Qur'an:

    http://www.sunnipath.com/library/books/B0040P0004.aspx

    November 20, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
    • Muneef

      Prophets and Messengers of God who received his inspirations and revelations and those are just 25 in the Quran but many mentioned in the elder scriptures and many not mentioned at any:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophets_of_Islam

      November 20, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • Muneef

      Inspirations and Revelations come into insights that are within us through mind visions during awakens or through dreams during sleepiness it is told.  This is an interesting issue to read  
      Our divine feminine, the goddess within ... we all have the ability to know her, whether you're male or female, this 'intuition' or 'psychic awareness' within is omnipresent, a 'universal knowing' if you like.
      When was the last time you went against your intuition or gut feelings just to hear yourself say 'I knew I shouldn't have done that, I somehow knew it wouldn't work out'?
      This gut instinct, intuition or 6th sense, whatever you want to call it, is our spirit, our subconscious or what I like to call our 'authentic' self speaking to us.
      This very intuitive guide we all have within ourselves, and we can always call upon her provided we have the courage to listen to her.
      So often we take what appears to be the easy option, or we remain in our comfort zone, only to later realize the illusion. For example, have you ever stayed in an abusive or unfulfilling relationship, despite your 'intuition' telling you that you are unhappy and should leave, just to avoid being on your own?
      Have you remained in a dead end job that brings no satisfaction and a poor income, despite your 'intuition' telling you that you could do so much better for yourself if you could find the courage to leave?
      Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection and fear of loneliness are, for me, the three greatest reasons why we choose to be deaf or ignorant to our intuitive guide, and wind up staying in relationships, jobs and situations that we are far from happy with.
      Ask yourself 'what is the secret to finding the happiness I seek?' For our goddess within is the keeper of secrets, your secrets, and the greatest irony is that you are the only one who can know the secrets she has to share with you.
      You must develop the ability to silence the noise of your conscious fears, and allow your mind to be still and silent enough for your intuitive guide or our goddess within to communicate with you. Thus she will reveal the secret to your own happiness.
      The more you learn to trust your intuitive guide, the more aligned you will become with your 'true' desires and your 'true' self. For example, if the quiet voice in your head is telling you that starting an affair with your boss is not a good idea, it may be wise to listen to it!
      If that voice grows ever louder and more persistent about something you are doing or considering, see it as your own High Priestess imploring you to listen ... you need to pay attention! Your conscious self must learn to trust your intuitive self.

      November 20, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
    • Muneef

      Now find out all the relations between the comments above quoted and think and compare it with what I would like to say:

      If you may allow me to suggest if you have faith in heart but would want to learn more wisdom's and knowledge of the Holy books?
      I would say read the Holy Books start with the "Quran" being the latest Holy book that came combined to correct the older version ones read just for knowledge and not for finding a religion but to learn what they say about God.. And let your real religion or belief be in heart and mind only towards God the creator only...All you can do is communicate with God on daily basis within your self "mind and heart" gracing,thanking him for all health wealth family and talk speak with in total respect within your selves heard or unheard as respectable as should just as speaking talking to a dear elder respectable highly looked upon person and much higher than that...delegating every charity or good deed you do or good spoken word as only for him to reward you for and not the needy people you helped or assisted by any way ...only try to mind the other things that you might already know being sins or those you might come across when reading the holy books and take what you think makes sense to you and heart mind accepts, you might even quote some words of prayers that spoke of by the prophets that been mentioned in the Quran and even the older books since you would fancy using them as being the prayer of your daily communication with God that you know of in your heart and mind ...
      You know if you did these things you are better than any other committed religious person that might have mixed both good and bad deeds or lost in the too much talk,rules and complications about all religions that has got those dragged far from God wants, communications and good deeds...be different but main thing doing that maintain being at whole time clean as told about the ablution of the person ...my wish to God is to give us guidance and get us all out of this mess and have to look upon him only and not to the policies and politics that are carried out by men running our religions as pleased by words they translated or explained wrongfully or deliberately...
      Kindly ask of all to forgive me if have made any one feel unpleasant by any of my postings and feel thankful to all of you for your kind patience... So long now and God Bless All those are here with us...

      November 20, 2010 at 6:47 pm |
  5. MicheleG

    Problem with opinion polls is that they gather people's perceptions rather than truth. Relative versus absolute. Unfortunately politics runs on mood, emotion, bias, and perceived "truth" rather than on rigor, SELF discipline, facts, and reason.

    To gain "consensus" may be a worthy goal but the catch is to ascertain what that "consensus" is based upon. Selfishness or compassion?

    November 20, 2010 at 2:12 pm |
    • NL

      Makes you wonder about those PEW reports on the 85%-ish of Americans who are God-fearing, eh? Perhaps a lot of them are more God-concerned, or even God-less-than-concerned?

      November 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • MicheleG

      True. We live in an age of fuzzy thinking. People not only don't think with clarity they rarely communicate concisely. the "truth" lies buried beneath layers of sloppy thinking, denial, and self congratulations. And, yeah, I well realize I must include myself in this, too, being a standard issue product of my times.

      November 20, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  6. Mark from Middle River

    David – My question was dealing with the fact that both presidents can not shake the label that has placed upon each of them.

    It is no problem about the rant because we both appear to be on separate sixes of the asile and that is how many are. Those that dislike both men have their reasons to justify the labeling but in the end there will believe that GW hates blacks and Obama is a closet Muslim. The story here is really nothing new. If anything it just allows folks to re-hash old hatreds and rehtoric.

    November 18, 2010 at 7:35 pm |
    • NL

      Mark-
      Kanye West's remake was sparked by the Katrina fiasco, and we have every reason to suspect West of not being totally sober while saying it. People have been outright accusing Obama of being a Muslim from the very beginning simply because he doesn't have a 'Christian' name. He had a long-time pastor, one that many of his accusers probably agreed with, and he has always maintained that he is Christian. Still, this accusation has become a widespread political talk point even amongst those running for office. I really don't see how you can lump the two examples together.

      November 19, 2010 at 8:09 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      "Kanye West's remake was sparked by the Katrina fiasco, and we have every reason to suspect West of not being totally sober while saying it. "

      NL – I think most could accept that Kanye West statement might have been alchol induced but that reasoning has a trap. It would contend that a good amount of African Americans that say that G.W. is a racist are intoxcated. If it were just a single drunk screaming it, then many would not take notice. The left has such a high percentage of the African American community brainwashed that they feel any vote for a republican is a vote to return jim crow or slavery. So, that belief that G.W. hated African Americans existed before Katrina. Remember I did not directly state that Kayne began the roumor, but just was stupid enough to say it out loud.

      So NL, armed with the fact that many African Americans think that any white Republicans are racist ...and any African American Republican are pretty much traitors to the black race, I feel that these two situations can be easily lumped together. Remember there was a African American mayor and a woman governor but both got a pass on blame.

      November 19, 2010 at 10:36 am |
    • NL

      Mark from Middle River-
      Let's look at it this way, OK?
      There are still, sadly, many people racist against black people in America, yes? In the two party system whichever party these racist folks vote for, the black community will generally feel unwelcome within and not represented by. Therefore, isn't it logical that the black vote usually gravitate towards the other party?

      November 20, 2010 at 2:56 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.