Obama delivers very Christian message at Christmas tree lighting
President Obama and his family at the Thursday night tree lighting.
December 1st, 2011
10:12 PM ET

Obama delivers very Christian message at Christmas tree lighting

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - President Barack Obama delivered an unusually stark Christian message at the White House Christmas tree lighting Thursday night, saying Christ's message "lies at the heart of my Christian faith and that of millions of Americans."

"More than 2,000 years ago, a child was born to two faithful travelers who could find rest only in a stable, among the cattle and the sheep," Obama said at the tree lighting ceremony, a longstanding White House tradition.

"But this was not just any child," Obama continued. "Christ’s birth made the angels rejoice and attracted shepherds and kings from afar. He was a manifestation of God’s love for us."

Obama has been more public and specific about his religious beliefs since polls last year showed that only a minority of Americans know he is Christian. Last Easter, Obama got unusually specific about his beliefs on Christ's resurrection at a White House prayer breakfast.

Some conservative Christian leaders have questioned Obama's Christian faith, even though Obama got his start in politics through church-based political organizing and has written about accepting Jesus in his 20s.

Last month, South Carolina Christian conservative leader Bob Jones III told a reporter “I’ve no reason to think (Obama is) Christian."

“Some people will say whatever they think the politically helpful thing would be,” Jones said. “I say, ‘Where is the evidence that he is a Christian?’ ”

In his remarks at Thursday's tree lighting, Obama said that Jesus "grew up to become a leader with a servant’s heart who taught us a message as simple as it is powerful: that we should love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves."

"So long as the gifts and the parties are happening, it’s important for us to keep in mind the central message of this season," he said, "and keep Christ’s words not only in our thoughts, but also in our deeds."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Christmas

soundoff (2,184 Responses)
  1. southern pride

    BS. You can't be a Democrat and a christian at the same time. The GOP is the American God party. Demooncrats are for devil worshippers.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Brainwashing at its finest, folks.

      That or Poe's Law. Golly it's hard to tell sometimes.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • Emmy Skaddittle

      Jesus was the Original Liberal!

      December 2, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Emmy Skaddittle

      sure just look at the leading republican candidates, the are the height morality

      December 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
    • George

      "You can't be a Democrat and a christian at the same time. The GOP is the American God party. Demooncrats are for devil worshippers."


      December 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Emmy Skaddittle

      you know 8 out of ten commandments is good enough, well you know the old testament is for the jews anyways

      December 2, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • Mike

      This from a REDNECK IDIOT!!!

      December 2, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
    • DanOman

      You used the words REDNECK IDIOT to describe him. I think you are being a little bit redundant.

      December 2, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
  2. Common Sense

    Obama is too smart to believe in religion.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Drinker

      I sure hope so!

      December 2, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Uncommon Sense

      And some people aren't smart enough to realize that belief in religion isn't an indication of intelligence. Some of the most brilliant minds this world has ever produced believed in God.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Uncommon Sense –

      spirituality (the belief in a deity) has very little to do with religion. I am an atheist and I do not know if there is a God, but believing in the Abrahamic versions when the Bible, Talmud and Qu'ran have been so solidly debunked and proven false is the height of either willful ignorance, stupidity, indoctrination or insanity. Take your pick.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • PraiseTheLard

      Common Sense wrote: "Obama is too smart to believe in religion."

      Obviously not...

      December 2, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • James

      Yep he is too smart to believe in "Religion", But smart enough to believe in Christ (the anointed one). He believes in a relationship with a God who created everything and Loves all. Religion is made made belief in a high being the way they want to believe instead of how God as stated to follow.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  3. Johnnnn

    What a bogus hateful UNCHRISTIAN man that Bob Jones is. What, do we need to have membership cards to the faith these days. Can't get in without proper papers? The height of HYPOCRISY!! No real Christian would EVER deny a fellow travelers faith..NEVER!!!

    December 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  4. Nickell

    Do you know what else is a Christian message? Putting someone to death if he works on the sabbath. Or stoning to death rebellious children. Religion is beautiful.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Morbus

      Those are Old Testament ideas, not Christian ones. Good grief, if you're going to oppose something, at least take the time to educate yourself about it.

      December 2, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  5. George

    I don't know whether Obama is a Christian or not. I suspect that he is an atheist. I don't see him going to church very often. However, I don't know his heart so I will take him at his word.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Johnnnn

      So you're an atheist if you don't go to church "often" – like it;s the number of times that you go that defines whether or not you're a "Christian"??? SO BOGUS! I COULD GO TO CHURCH ONCE A YEAR AND BE A BETTER CHRISTIAN THAN YOU ARE.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Get Real

      I went to church for years and years as a non-believer to please the elders in the family. Yes, I felt like a hypocrite, and I hated that, but somehow I thought that the feelings of the oldsters were more important than mine.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
  6. Rainer Braendlein


    Of course, you should only get baptized, when you consider the gospel as a true message. Otherwise your baptism would be blasphemous.

    Ain't I am right that you fear some consequences of baptism for your personal life. Indeed, if you don't want to abandon certain misbehaviours, it is better when you don't get baptized.

    Please be aware that Judgement Day approaches and if you die today you subjectively will meet your creator today (objectivley maybe in some thousand years).

    Repent and believe and you will get saved.

    December 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Rainer, I do not believe baptism would have any effect or consequence on my life, I simply believe it would be hypocritical to engage in theological activities that I do not believe in.

      Why does your all loving, compassionate God want to destroy His Creation? What did I do in my insignificant little life that p!ssed off the Creator so royally that I deserve eternal torture? Simply because I see the logical fallacies, inconsistencies and outright errors of the established religions? Or is it that I view most Christians (certainly in America at least) as hypocritical blowhards who evince absolutely no traits, personally or professionally, that I identify as "Christ-like"?

      Is that why I deserve Hell?

      December 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Curious

      As a Lutheran, how can you call on someone to believe? I'm Curious. Doesn't that make a "work" of belief?

      December 2, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Brad


      It isn't that people are sent to eternal torture for anything in particular they've done. Rather it's that, in life, people are separated from God. If this isn't remedied then the consequences follow. God does not want to see his creation destroyed, so he provided Christ.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
  7. A wise old woman

    Wake up! THEY ( our central government) are all on the same side ... divide and conquer is as old as time...and a thought on religion..."if this is all there is.... then it's pointless"....we had better hope that we were made by Someone greater and HE has a plan! because we (mankind) have proven many, many times how poor we are at organizing under any banner! All of you sound very immature by the name calling....growup .....don't bother to tell me what you think...I'm out of here to a more reasonable and intelligent blog....

    December 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  8. Don Rogers

    Wow Odumwa better be carefulf , his muslim brothers may think that he's an infidle!

    December 2, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Johnnnn

      Obviously church hasn't made you a better human being.......

      December 2, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  9. fabrianna

    My name is fabrianna me and my mom live in sunset arbor apartments and we realy want a house but we need 400something to get out but we don't have it I figured since ur the president u can help us I'm 12years old I go to johnston though I'm suppost to go to midle school but I failed back to the reason my mom can't make it on her own my dads in jail who doesn't realy care about me his name is dale hoover and my mom wants one other wish my step dad out of prizen in Huston his name is jaun sanchez and mine is to get out of the apartments before christmas and I realy want to work is there a possible way that little kids 12and up can have a job if they want

    December 2, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  10. rod

    'and then Barry went home to his gated community, washed his mouth out with soap, and prayed 'the stuff I have to do during my constant campaign mode'. Praise Allah

    December 2, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Johnnnn


      December 2, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  11. IndieMrJones

    Jaded delusional lefties and grouchy Repubs: Lest we forget that we would not have been in such a dire mess today if it weren't for both GW AND the Democratic-led House/Senate of his administration making and sealing those decisions. It takes two to tango, folks. And as for corruption, don't go pinning this on any one Party when there is enough to go around on the Hill. Barney Frank and his boytoy took corruption to a new low when money was thrown out to everyone who thought they deserved to own a home they couldn't afford. The liberal news media is quick to sweep this under the rug despite the ongoing investigations. Meanwhile, the holier-than-thou conservatives can think twice about shooting their mouths off the next time a clergyman is caught with his pants down.

    So please take the rose-colored glasses off, lefties and take a reality pill, neo-cons. Take your small doses of FoxNews, CNN and MSNBC, but do the research for yourselves. Your Us vs. Them b.s. is doing more harm than good.

    And hey, sugarcoat it however you want spinsters, the lesser of two evils is still evil.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      And your ideas for fixing things?


      December 2, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  12. jim

    Who gives anyone the right to judge and determine who is Christian or not. Some wore hoods on their heads Monday through Saturday and professed their faith on Sunday. Some say let us not look after those less fortunate for their dispair is due to their own making like those who traveled for miles just to touch the robe of Christ. I am a Christian it is who and what I am. My being so should not offend for I strive daily to treat my neighbor as I would like to be treated. If you are not a believer that is fine for one day the truth will be known but in the mean time I and perhaps the president will strive to live on the word of God which surely should not offend nor hurt anyone.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  13. MissMissouri

    Why does every political figure feel the need to jump aboard the crazy train and profess their deep feelings on a bunch of old made up stories meant to control and manipulate the ignorant masses? I am not sure if I like the idea of a president without enough sense to realize the bible is bs of course in our country you can't get voted in without at least pretending to buy into the christian crap. Sad that that's the case in this day and age.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
    • NJBob

      I wholeheartedly agree!

      December 2, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • mike

      By old, made up stories, are you speaking of evolution??

      December 2, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      Have you ever wondered why some creatures have vestigial organs? Nature is simply amazing.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • gooddaysir

      you reek of as.s good sir. May you wash your nutz with a rough poison leaf

      December 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • gooddaysir

      you reek of as.s good sir. May you wash your nutz with a rough poison leaf and wash your mouth out with fox doo doo

      December 2, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  14. NJBob

    And another thing. If Obama wants to talk about his religion, that's fine if he does it on his own time. But when he's carrying out a function as part of the job for which he is paid using public funds, he needs to remain strictly secular. In other words, completely neutral. I don't want my tax dollars being used to promote Christianity or any other religion.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Jesus H. Christ

      GREAT IDEA!!!

      December 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  15. Jesus H. Christ

    warmesTghosT is my favorite poster. He gets me.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • warmesTghosT

      Peace and love, brother.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  16. b wagoner

    Who wrote that speech for him?

    December 2, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  17. Sagebrush Shorty

    God is coming soon and she is not happy.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  18. NJBob

    I am SO tired of the religion-saturated climate in this country. Everyone is free to believe or disbelieve what they want, but whatever they choose, I wish they would please just shut up about it so I don't have to listen to that nonsense!

    December 2, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Lin

      AMEN!! Now sit down and shut up about your religious beliefs, we still can think for ourselves and all you do is make us sick with all your God fearing talk!

      December 2, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • gooddaysir

      go sit in a pile of your own waste you dung heap.

      December 2, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Morbus

      Yep, everyone is free to believe as they choose AND to express it. You live in a diverse country and need to learn to deal with people who are different from yourself.

      December 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
  19. Jennifer

    I'd like to know the evidence that Obama is not a christian???

    December 2, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  20. catholic engineer

    Maybe the reason the President gave this speech is because, after three years in office, he thoroughly commiserates with Jesus. Both of them seem to have a big bulls eye painted on them.

    December 2, 2011 at 4:43 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.