Analyzing the church in Obama's new video
The second image in President Barack Obama's campaign announcement video is of a church.
April 6th, 2011
04:04 PM ET

Analyzing the church in Obama's new video

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

There's been lots of analysis of President Barack Obama's reelection campaign announcement video, released this week, but virtually no comment on the second image to appear in the film. It's a shot of a church.

The video lingers on the church for just a couple of seconds before breaking  away to an American flag, and there's no sign to indicate the house of worship's denomination or location.

Still, its inclusion as the second image in Obama's first official piece of 2012 election appears telling.

As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama stepped up Democratic efforts to reach religious voters, hiring a faith outreach director and trumpeting his Christian commitment in campaign literature and interviews.

Candidate Obama also went out of his way to express respect for Christian conservatives, meeting with social conservative leaders and vowing to find common ground on the abortion issue.

His 2008 faith offensive played out against false rumors that Obama is Muslim. During his first years in the White House, those rumors appear to have gained strength, with a poll last year showing that nearly one in five Americans believe Obama is Muslim.

Obama's estranged father was raised as a Muslim, though the president has said his dad was a "confirmed atheist," and Obama spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, a majority Muslim country. Many Obama supporters discern a campaign to falsely portray the president as a Muslim, which they say is tied to a broader effort to make Obama appear foreign and "other."

Only about a third of Americans correctly identify Obama as Christian, accordingly to last year's poll, conducted by Pew.

Such figures, along with Obama's enduring sensitivity to the concerns of religious Americans and what he says is his own deep religiosity, militate for much more churchy imagery from the Obama campaign going forward.

What do you think? Was placing the church near the beginning of the Obama campaign video intended to send a message - or was it less calculated than that?

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Politics

soundoff (275 Responses)
  1. Juniper

    I was a little upset that the campaign opted to use a Christian church, as opposed to some other, more inclusive spiritual symbol. But upon realizing the church pictured is a United Church of Christ, I changed my opinion. The United Church of Christ is by far the most welcoming of Christian denominations and supports inclusiveness, no matter who you are.

    April 24, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
  2. Name*Elijah

    What's wrong with all of you. It's fine to express your opinions but man, stop attacking each other. By the way. Jesus loves you. Each and every one.

    April 9, 2011 at 5:57 am |
    • Reality


      Are you sure?

      Another take:

      Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

      Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

      Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices.

      April 9, 2011 at 8:18 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Reality, still on your carnal rampage I see.

      As you were and always will be.


      April 9, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • edengrad

      Amen! It's all about love!

      April 11, 2011 at 12:54 am |
  3. Adeline

    The Church looks like a typical N. American Church. If only churches preach the Gospel of Christ Jesus instead of social gospels...

    April 9, 2011 at 3:16 am |
    • edengrad

      The Gospel of Jesus IS the social gospel. What does God require of us is to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God (Micah 6:8). This is what Jesus did – standing up for the poor in his society. Matthew 25 represents this social gospel. You can't separate the Gospels from social justice.

      April 10, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
  4. ThsIsNotReal22

    The article is wrong when it says, "there's no sign to indicate the house of worship's denomination or location." The United Church of Christ logo is prominently displayed right there on the brick wall of the building. How could they miss that?

    April 8, 2011 at 8:54 am |

      I was thinking the EXACT same thing.

      April 9, 2011 at 6:22 am |
    • edengrad

      Yep – I noticed the same thing.

      April 10, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
  5. Reality

    Obama's millstones:

    major #1, The "Reverend" Jeremiah Wright.
    major #2, His failure to balance the budget.
    major #3, His disrespect for unborn children.
    major #4, Not recognizing the flaws and errors of contemporary religions.
    major #5, His addiction to nicotine.

    April 8, 2011 at 7:31 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Reality, instead of listing what the puppets do. Try figuring out who's pulling the strings to ensure the USA goes belly up from within?


      April 9, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  6. Frederica

    Americans should show respect to God and their Presidents. Human presidents are not perfect and we may not agree everything with the Presidents, but respect is due because of thier positions. Guess why no one respects or cherish anyone or anything nowadays. Respect or disrespect comes back to oneself. Life is actually quite fair. America will be respected by other nations more if Americans respect God and their own Presidents.

    April 7, 2011 at 10:09 pm |
    • JD

      Based on that theory, you are getting the massive disrespect that you have earned, life being quite fair and all that.

      I wonder if the holocaust victims thought life is actually quite fair, or those Amish girls who were gunned down a few years back, or the parents of children who are abducted, rap ed and murdered? Hey, you so-called victims! Frederica says it is fair, so you must have had it coming!

      April 7, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Frederica

      JD, God has ways to pay back to such victims that are unknown to us in this side. We all have so much time on earth, however we depart this world, in a gas chember or a hospital bed. You are bringing extreme cases, but we will all have our final days on earth. Here I meant life's general tendency which is true. Didn't you learn anything from your mother? American Presidents deserve more respect from American citizens.

      April 7, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • Fredrica

      All you Americans just don't know anything at all about America. Only I know that. America is God. You all disrespect God with your freedom and stuff, and the founding fathers just wanted you to obey God.

      April 7, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Frederica (the real one)

      The third Frederica right above is a fake, and not the original Christian Frederica. I will not post under this user name anymore unless I see another fake "Frederica."

      April 8, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Frederica

      I always was a fake Frederica, and before that I was a fake Justina. Now I'm going to be another fake European name to pretend that I'm not from Southeast Asian. So the fake fake Frederica then becomes the true Frederica because I am no longer Frederica, just like I never was really, so the handle is open and anyone can be Frederica. That's my logic and I'm sticking to it.

      And you will never guess my new handle from my whackadoodle comments or anything. Just because some new person is beating you senseless with her Jesus delusion doesn't mean its me.

      April 8, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • Frederica (The Real One)

      The fifth Frederica on the left is a fake, and not the original Frederica either. They will burn in hell for imitating me, for God loves everyone, its just that he loves some at much higher temperatures.

      April 8, 2011 at 2:19 am |
    • Frederica

      The 3rd, 5th and 6th Frederica here are not the original Christian Frederica. Readers' discretion advised if anyone cares. I'm not Southeast Asian and I no longer write under this name. The reason I use European female names is to introduce readers some unknown, possibly forgotten beautiful Western names, and also so that no one would mistook me as a male since I'm a female.

      April 8, 2011 at 7:21 am |
    • HeavenSent

      The real Frederica has achieved spiritual truth taught to her by loving and following Jesus' truth. The fake Frederica is still on carnal mode, full gear, with no breaking mechanism whatsoever to know when to stop, never mind stopping.

      Oh, that carnal ego that blinds so many.


      April 9, 2011 at 11:39 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6
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.