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My Take: Obama is not a Muslim (and Romney is a Mormon)!
There are a lot of misconceptions about the religious faiths of Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, according to a new Pew survey.
July 27th, 2012
02:00 AM ET

My Take: Obama is not a Muslim (and Romney is a Mormon)!

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

Before I comment on a new survey on religion and the presidency, I want to say one thing: Barack Obama is not a Muslim. The U.S. president does not observe the Five Pillars of Islam. He does not worship in a mosque. He does not call himself a Muslim.

Why not? BECAUSE HE IS NOT A MUSLIM!

Also, Mitt Romney is not a Hindu. He does not believe in reincarnation. He does not worship the Hindu god Shiva. He does not self-identify as a Hindu. Why not? BECAUSE HE IS NOT A HINDU!

I say this, and I do so in capital letters with exclamation points, because of a survey released Thursday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life regarding voter perceptions of the religious beliefs of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

The people at Pew wanted to see how the candidates' religions are affecting voters’ views of them. But it is hard to hold Romney’s Mormonism either for or against him if you don’t even know he is a Mormon. And according to Pew, only 60% of Americans do know that.

Meanwhile, one out of every six Americans (17%) continues to believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim, and of that group, two out of three (65%) are uncomfortable with his faith. Though, of course, they are not actually uncomfortable with his faith, because, as I have said: Barack Obama is not a Muslim.

If this is starting to sound like a rant, perhaps that's because it is. For years, I have been lamenting the religious ignorance of the American public. In my book "Religious Literacy," I argued that the United States is one of the most religious countries on Earth, and yet Americans know very little about their own religions and even less about the religions of others.

According to the 2010 U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey, another Pew project, most Americans cannot name the four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. And while 82% can identify Mother Teresa as a Catholic, only 47% know that the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist.

You might imagine that this problem is going away, but it is actually getting worse. Despite the fact that Obama has talked repeatedly about his Christian faith in the years since he was elected president, most Americans (51%) do not even know that he is a Christian.

Moreover, 30% of Republicans now believe that Obama is Muslim, roughly double the figure from the 2008 campaign.

None of this would matter if religion remained private, something presidents and senators did on the weekends in their places of worship and at the supper table throughout the week. But religion is now an undeniably public concern.

Republicans and Democrats alike routinely bring religious reasons to bear on public policy questions, quoting the Good Samaritan story in debates on immigration policy and the Sermon on the Mount in conversations about marginal tax rates. And the overwhelming majority of Americans — 67%, according to Pew — continue to want their president to have strong religious beliefs.

When he was running for president in 1960, Jack Kennedy told the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, “I am not the Catholic candidate for president. I am the Democratic Party's candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic.”

That sort of argument no longer washes in a public square saturated with religion. For better or for worse, Mitt Romney isn’t just the Republican candidate for president. He is also the Mormon candidate. Or is he? If a Mormon runs for president and you vote for him without knowing that he is a Mormon, did you just vote for a Mormon president?

I used to believe that our epidemic of religious illiteracy was rooted in large part in a system of public education unwilling and unprepared to teach our young people about the Bible and the world’s religions. I now see that much of the problem can be attributed to our partisan politics, more particularly the politicization of virtually every corner of our common life, including the facts.

According to today’s Pew survey, 34% of conservative Republicans are now laboring under the misapprehension that Obama is a Muslim. This figure is up sharply from only 16% in 2008.

Where are they getting this disinformation? Obviously from people who have something to gain by it. And there is plenty to be gained by it. According to Pew, 82% of Americans who know Obama is a Christian are comfortable with his faith, versus only 26 percent of those who wrongly see him as a Muslim.

I see nothing wrong with a public square informed by religious reasons. From the beginning of our republic, religion and politics have been in conversation with one another. Church and state have never been strictly separated.

But there is something deeply troubling about the state of religion and politics in America today. And among those troubles is the cynical manipulation of religion for political gain - the use of God as a pawn in our political projects.

One solution to this problem is religious literacy. If "we the people" know more about the Bible, politicians will be less likely to quote from it haphazardly or to draw bogus conclusions from its words.

The same goes for Mormonism or Islam or Hinduism. If we know more about these religious traditions, there will be fewer opportunities for politicians to use disinformation about them to draw us toward one candidate or scare us away from another.

I have no problem with voters who care about the religious faith of their presidential candidates. But if religion is so darn important to our public life, can't we at least make a modest effort to learn something about it?

If so, let's start with these two indisputable facts: Mitt Romney is a Mormon. And Barack Obama is not a Muslim.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Islam • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Obama • Politics • Polls • Uncategorized • United States

soundoff (831 Responses)
  1. ObamaJoe

    There’s a new You Tube video going viral and it’s about Jesus and religion.

    Specifically how Jesus hates religion.

    The video—which in a few days has gone from hundreds of views to thousands to millions—shows Jefferson Bethke, who lives in the Seattle area, delivering a well-crafted, sharply produced, spoken word poem. The point, according to Bethke, is “to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion.” In the past few days I’ve seen this video pop up all over Facebook. I’ve had people from my church say they like it. Some has asked me what I think. Others have told me there’s something off about the poem, but they can’t quite articulate what it is. I’ll try to explain what that is in a moment. But first watch the video for yourself.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      Helloo 🙂 🙂 🙂 😀

      July 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      What if I told you Jesus came to abolish religion
      What if I told you voting republican really wasn’t his mission
      What if I told you republican doesn’t automatically mean Christian
      And just because you call some people blind
      Doesn’t automatically give you vision 🙂 😀 😀

      July 27, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      Religion might preach grace, but another thing they practice
      Tend to ridicule God’s people, they did it to John The Baptist
      They can’t fix their problems, and so they just mask it
      Not realizing religions like spraying perfume on a casket
      See the problem with religion, is it never gets to the core
      It’s just behavior modification, like a long list of chores
      Like lets dress up the outside make look nice and neat
      But it’s funny that’s what they use to do to mummies
      While the corpse rots underneath 🙂 🙂 🙂

      July 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      Because if grace is water, then the church should be an ocean
      It’s not a museum for good people, it’s a hospital for the broken
      Which means I don’t have to hide my failure, I don’t have to hide my sin
      Because it doesn’t depend on me it depends on him
      See because when I was God’s enemy and certainly not a fan
      He looked down and said I want, that, man
      Which is why Jesus hated religion, and for it he called them fools
      Don’t you see so much better than just following some rules
      Now let me clarify, I love the church, I love the Bible, and yes I believe in sin
      But if Jesus came to your church would they actually let him in
      See remember he was called a glutton, and a drunkard by religious men
      But the Son of God never supports self righteousness not now, not then

      July 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      Now back to the point, one thing is vital to mention
      How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums
      See one’s the work of God, but one’s a man made invention
      See one is the cure, but the other’s the infection
      See because religion says do, Jesus says done
      Religion says slave, Jesus says son
      Religion puts you in bondage, while Jesus sets you free
      Religion makes you blind, but Jesus makes you see
      And that’s why religion and Jesus are two different clans 🙂

      July 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      Religion is man searching for God, Christianity is God searching for man
      Which is why salvation is freely mine, and forgiveness is my own
      Not based on my merits but Jesus’s obedience alone
      Because he took the crown of thorns, and the blood dripped down his face
      He took what we all deserved, I guess that’s why you call it grace
      And while being murdered he yelled
      “Father forgive them they know not what they do.”
      Because when he was dangling on that cross, he was thinking of you
      And he absorbed all of your sin, and buried it in the tomb
      Which is why I’m kneeling at the cross, saying come on there’s room
      So for religion, no I hate it, in fact I literally resent it
      Because when Jesus said it is finished, I believe he meant it 😀

      July 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      Would enjoy seeing the video, interested in comparative religion.
      I have found the slants on Scripture by Muslims, Mormons, and Jehovah's Witnesses to be persuasive, mostly focused on the rejection of his Divine nature. All of this is fundamental to their justifying rejection of Christianity, all done in "good faith," to promote their alternative versions and build their own flocks. No shame in that.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  2. Adam

    Seriously, CNN Readers? You really, legitimately, believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim?
    1) Why should this even matter? Religious affiliation should have absolutely nothing to do with an elected official in a secular government. Not only are the "Muslim Conspiracy Theorists" absolutely nutters, they're poorly informed and harboring a good amount of hatred that they mask as religious fear.
    2) Obama is not Muslim nor is he Christian. If you read about his past, he is a secular humanist (as should anyone who controls a nuclear bomb). In his memoirs, he and his family have always viewed religion the same as mythology (as it should be) and joined a church when running for office because for some absurd and ignorant reason you cannot win an elected office without professing Christian beliefs.

    Grow up, people. Take off your tin foil hats and abandon these asinine fairy tales. We should have someone with control in military who doesn't believe that we'll all be shipped to heaven when we die, but rather wants to best for all of us still living.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      Here's proof that one can be literate, but have no sense, and no respect for others.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  3. TommyTT

    Who cares about their religions? I guarantee you, plenty of people in this world think your religion is weird. We can be better than that.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      Well Tommy, the point was that many folks are misled or ignorant or malicious. That's not a good thing in a democracy.
      Might be better if clear distinctions were made, and that folks not rely on their misconceptions to vote one way or the other.
      To say that it ought not matter if one is a Scientologist or Atheist or whatever, serving as CinC, makes little sense. We vote our values as much as our pocketbooks.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  4. sonja coryat

    In order to profess any kind of religion, in my opinion someone should be a good, honest person who is antiwar, and since neither candidate is any of those things, neither has any religion.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • ME II

      @sonja coryat,
      "In order to profess any kind of religion, in my opinion someone should be a good, honest person who is..." anti-technology. So obviously you are not religious at all.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  5. Rainer Braendlein

    The stupidity of our today politicians is unlimited.

    Let us regard unemployment. How to solve that problem?

    Every country is like a big body. A body consists of many limbs, organs, muscles, etc. and the brain.

    The lung delivers oxygen for all other parts of the body and the counter performance of the heart is that it delivers blood to the lung. The stomach and the guts digest the food and deliver nutrients. The lung delivers oxygen for the stomach and the guts and the heart pumps the blood. Etc., etc., etc..

    It is very complex, but my point is simple: They all depend on each other. Actually a healthy body needs no support from outside to keep the essential processes as long as their is a balance and as long no organ demands primacy which is cancer.

    Now, imagine the brain would say: "I am the ruler of the body, all blood to me, all nutrients to me, all oxygen to me, etc.!" Would that work? Maybe the head of such a person would grow and burst any time. Hence, the greed of the brain would cause the death of the whole body.

    The USA is not yet dead, but about to die like the whole Western World. The Western body has lost balance of essential processes. We have focused too much on desk-jobs and neglected many other important jobs and trades.

    Wouldn't it be possible to produce all cloths which the US citizens need in the USA?

    Imagine you had a wife which could make clothes, you had not to buy it for money.

    Our economy needs more diversity so that we can produce our products inside. That creates jobs and we save money which we would spend for import. Hence, let us motivate the youth to learn very many different professions and give them opportunity for that.

    A body needs a minimum of organs, limbs, muscels, etc., but if it has got it, it will surely work.

    Not everybody should aspire for being the brain.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      All that straight from St. Paul in the NT, thanks.
      But let's give some thought to the world community, and each nation contributing to the well being of all.
      Thank China for taking on all that pollution and tedious labor.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  6. Drewid

    I find the comments by the atheist on all message boards disheartening. First you have to look deep inside yourself and ask "why am I so angry". Second you act as though you are a know it all yet you have nothing to substantiate your own belief that there is no God. Third you act as though the Bible is a book of fairy tales yet all throughout the Bible there are clues that the books were not randomly written or pieced together. Example..... to the commenter above that stated Paul created Christianity. How would you explain this? The book of Psalm- chapter 117 is the shortest chapter in the bible, Psalm 118 is the exact middle chapter of the bible. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the bible, just a coincidence? I think not. Good day and hopefully you all will find the one true faith and stop being so angry in the process.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • plaster city

      "I find the comments by the atheist on all message boards disheartening. First you have to look deep inside yourself and ask "why am I so angry"."
      What? I didn't know every athiest was soooooooo angry. How do you know this?

      "Second you act as though you are a know it all yet you have nothing to substantiate your own belief that there is no God."
      Athiests are making no claims about god. You are, so you need to substantiate it. We just say there is no evidence and until there is, why believe in it.

      "Third you act as though the Bible is a book of fairy tales yet all throughout the Bible there are clues that the books were not randomly written or pieced together."

      Lets clarify... every supernatural claim made by the bible is a fairy tale.. There.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Drewid

      You have plastered me with your know itallism, thank you. Anger is not a virtue the last time I checked. I gave an example, you know deep down whats wrong. Look for truth, evil just gets in the way you are better than this and you know it.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • plaster city

      Changing the subject? Oh well...

      July 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • NickZadick

      I am an non theist and I do believe in god of sorts... I believe there is a force that has created the universe or that is the universe itself... BUT!!!! Believing god chatted with people thousands of years ago and told them to bring out a book, and to put in this book that if you believe the mythical story they wrote... you ... and you alone will get to spend eternity in disney land in the sky...and if you don't.. you will burn in hell forever.. is beyond îdiotic!! it is childish and irrational!! god does not equate with man made books!!!

      July 27, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • sam

      Drewid, when someone disagrees with you or your worldview, that does not automatically mean they're angry. If you feel defensive, that does not mean someone else is attacking you. There's no need for generalizations.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • NickZadick

      and yes,,,, you could say theists make me a bit angry! I don't know how you can be so gullible! I am angry that the race (human) I belong to is so un-evolved and willing to concede to ridîculous myths written by people trying to (and failing to) explain their universe...

      July 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Drewid

      there you go inserting "you" into every equation. At some point in time "you" will begin to understand that life on this earth is the fairy tale and bigger things are planned for "you". God leaves the choice up to "you" as has been the case all through humanity. "You" are blinded by hatred and that makes it very difficult to understand, I know I've been there. The subject is God and the Bible and it will never change Mr Plaster.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • plaster city

      If you want me to believe like you do, then you have to explain how you know these things. And in a rational way, because I, like billions of others in the world, think rationally – and can't help it.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Drewid

      I'm sorry but I can't. I'm no different than you are. I'm a very calculated person just as CS Lewis was. I had a very closed mind and refused to except the rationalization that there was a God because I could not comprehend. I must admit that reading CS Lewis was a turning point because he too did not value religion and a supreme being. He set his life to study and discredit God and Christianity and in turn became a true believer. Not all will come to the same understanding, I know that anger is something that manifest from something deep down inside, don't let it control you. Good luck on your journey through life it can be pretty amazing.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • ttt

      Drewid,
      I think you may be different from me.
      You say that you thought differently before, but changed? Yet you can't describe what convinced you to change?

      Also, you make clear claims about the "afterlife" and "god" that you have absolutely no evidence for. And you expect others who think differently to come to your conclusions?

      This is the definition of arrogance and I hope I am not like that.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Drewid

      ttt I am a believer, I clearly stated that I can't prove to you or anyone that there is a God. Free choice would be absent if all believed in God. I went from having a closed mind to having an open mind. I was angry and I found deep down inside myself what made me so angry. If you would like to call me arrogant that is your choice but I do not claim to have all the answers.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "The book of Psalm- chapter 117 is the shortest chapter in the bible, Psalm 118 is the exact middle chapter of the bible. Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the bible, just a coincidence?"

      coincidence? no.
      wrong? yep, chapter 118 is not the centre, its an urban legend.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      Dear Plaster,
      Of course we all think rationally, and in history there was the Age of Rationalism. Then humanity discovered the limits of reason, and then Kierkegaard discredited all the "rational" explanations for Christian's claims concerning God incarnate. So we are left with the ineffable, the enigma, and you may choose to ignore it, or consider mankind's various responses, or be angry with a god you reject.
      There are no more valid reasons to accept God as there are to reject God. It's all a matter of faith, and you choose a path that appeals to you, and live the consequences.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Shadowflash1522

      Drewid:
      "First you have to look deep inside yourself and ask "why am I so angry". "
      There are angry atheists, yes. There are also angry Christians on these boards, whose handles I can provide you with if you desire some examples (but for courtesy's sake I will not volunteer them). The exercise you are suggesting should really be undertaken by anybody whose blood pressure spikes above 120/80 on a regular basis, and has nothing to do with religious leanings.

      "Second you act as though you are a know it all yet you have nothing to substantiate your own belief that there is no God."
      Hello Pot, I have this wonderful friend named Kettle that I bet you'd get along famously with. The faithful, regardless of the object of their faith, do possess this annoying tendency to believe they have all the answers. Your statement, while the latter half is more or less true, is overall patently false. Atheism is predicated largely on the absence of knowledge (proof), not its presence.

      " Third you act as though the Bible is a book of fairy tales yet all throughout the Bible there are clues that the books were not randomly written or pieced together."
      On the contrary, all human writings are assumed to have some conscious purpose behind them. Aesop's Fables were conclusively NOT "randomly written or pieced together", but fabricated and collected based around certain themes. That your book of choice was also put together with careful deliberation bespeaks a human logic, not a god-thing's magic touch.

      Yours,
      An Agnostic Christian Existentialist
      "I do not know. I choose to believe, but in the end my concern is the living, not the dead."

      July 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Drewid

      I respect the thread we have going its really good dialogue. Shadow, you bring up some good points and I agree with you on some. I have to say that when I say angry atheist I am talking about their viewpoint to there being a God. When you state angry Christians they are not angry at God but angry that the atheist in question are making them out to be lesser than they are. I'm sure that we can all agree that not all Christians are living for God and will take what they know and try to force on others. I don't agree with that but I am only one person and I choose not to act that way, my choice. Thanks for the chat take care and have a good weekend all.

      July 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  7. ObamaJoe

    Wow, can we do that 🙂 😀 🙂 🙂 🙂

    July 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      Interesting 🙂 🙂 🙂

      July 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  8. TheMagusNYC

    The vast majority of religious folks consider Christ to provide a good model of behavior. Joseph Smith, like Mohammed, was presumably sent by God to correct the claim of Christians concerning the eternally Divine nature of Christ. Jehovah's Witnesses are also explicit in their rejection of the triune concept established at Nicaea in the third century. Worship of Christ is blasphemy to all but trinitarian Christians. What is puzzling, are comments by many evangelicals, including Joel Osteen, that Mormons are in any sense "Christian," since Mormons claim Christ to be a created spirit being made incarnate by an incarnate Father. There is no harm nor insult in making fair distinctions, as called for by Stephen Prothero.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • TommyTT

      Ah, but the "harm or insult" is really there in subtext under a lot of this discussion. The real problem is the litmus test: you don't get to categorize your own religion because only I get to do that, and you don't get to decide whether your religion is valuable or appropriate because only I get to do that. Americans (including the noisier of the atheists on this board) should be above that kind of behavior.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  9. ObamaJoe

    Exodus 20:4 ESV

    “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      Understood, Muslims take this seriously.
      Others understand difference between idols and art.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      in other words:
      You shouldn't call venus, mercury, pluto, jupiter, saturn, mars,neptune by their names
      you shouldn'y use the names of the days of the week.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  10. ObamaJoe

    1 Timothy 2:4 ESV

    Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      in other words:
      he wants you all to be saved from the threat he created, and wants yiou to see the bible as if it were truth

      July 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      yes he is,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,when the game is over ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,we will know the truth,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      July 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  11. ObamaJoe

    Peter 3:15 ESV

    But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,

    July 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Who invited me?

      you need a book to tell you mind your manners?

      July 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      no,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but it's easier for me to copy / paste ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      July 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
  12. Joe

    So, no Muslims would pose as a christian to become accepted and cause pain and destruction?

    July 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      What is Muslim ????????

      July 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • plaster city

      Are you a grassy-knowl guy?

      July 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      Who ??

      July 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Serpent Handler

      if he is on jihad , he has permission from his cleric , I suppose to fain his position to infidels .. LOL 🙂

      July 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      Not likely. Required observance of the 5 pillars are not easily honored nor hidden.
      The Muslim influence is growing in South America quite openly, there being no reason to hide, nor for shame

      July 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "So, no Muslims would pose as a christian to become accepted and cause pain and destruction?"

      for 20 years, in the off chance he becomes president? wow thats some deep cover

      July 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  13. K from AZ

    Just look at the words and actions of Imam Obama! He certainly isn't a Christian!

    July 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • plaster city

      I watch the same news but don't get that impression at alll. Can you elaborate?

      July 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      Good ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,he is not a fake Christian,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      July 27, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • Serpent Handler

      well, if he is an siman , then he is supposed to do that...SO!!!!

      ALL POLITICIANS ARE NOW IMANS ... 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

      July 27, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • freeme10

      K from AZ – you are the reason why I am dreading my upcoming move to Phoenix.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • chris

      Oh yeah like wanting to help the sick....I mean how unchrsitian can you get?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  14. expakistani

    The confusion surrounding the religious beliefs of Obama are due partly to his closing the lid on his past. He has a great affinity for Islam. There is no doubt about it. Wrights church in Chicago sends a message most of us find troubling but Obama was in regular attendance. I really don't know what Obama thinks.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Serpent Handler

      then go by the words that come out of his mouth or drop the whole idea of what he does .... seeign that in this country a religios test is not required nor should it bee... instead we should go by the actiosn and deeds of politiciasn if he hasacted in a way which has religiously offended you then dump him as you relected official... if he has done what all politicians do then you are still confused unless he is one of your pets... 🙂

      July 27, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things ,

    July 27, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Serpent Handler

      then spend more time in prayer and change things un approvable...or unacceptabl;e 🙂 🙂

      July 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      like rain dances change the weather

      July 27, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      If it rained every time we danced, or if the sick healed every time we prayed, faith would not be necessary.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  16. pauleky

    The only ones confused are those that insist Obama is a Muslim. Mormonism is looney tunes – I can't believe anyone other than other Mormons would ever vote for someone that believes that stuff. However, we vote for Christians all the time, so I guess we can rationalize anything.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Serpent Handler

      Soooo .... we are now voting on religion rather than politiciasn ... you know republican Democrat... Independant ... and such like...

      heck!! I've vote for a whig... if there was one... maybe... 🙂 🙂 🙂

      July 27, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • CypressSteve

      Perhaps you would do well to read the article again and take the author's advice? Clearly, there is some value people think they derive from the various religious traditions or they would not continue practicing. To dismiss them as "looney" (or otherwise) simply seems to prove the author's point.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      If I were born into a faith organization that was a solid socialist oligarchy having fair flat tax, budget surpluses, welfare without shame, culturally sensitve worldwide outreach, and promise to rule over a planet of my own, I would find sticking around to be a good bet, and all the myths to be no more bizarre than those found in other faith traditions.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  17. JB

    IMO that religious ignorance stems from Christian belief that their faith is the only "correct" religion and all others are wrong, so why bother learning anything about them.

    Disagree with the man's policies, disapprove of his performance, but anyone who still truly believes Obama is a Muslim is just an idiot. There is no polite way to put it. Only an idiot would continue to believe something in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Robert

      Thanks for so perfectly describing the believers in every religion.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      Every religion considers itself the only correct one; the Hindu inclusion is like "Divine incarnations happens all the time." Note that "other religions" go to great lengths to study the Bible to point out inconsistencies and to challenge the claims of Christianity.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Serpent Handler

      I disagrre wiuth you becaue Christians its the only true faith in the earth today .. it is God designed...

      However I am a Christian and I go by James 3:17 which tells us .the wisdom from above is first pure then gentle easy to be intreated full of mercy and good fruits with out partiality and with hypocrisy ....

      if all Christians reflected this then it woudl be easy to see us as the only true and righteosu in the world... 🙂 🙂

      July 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "Note that "other religions" go to great lengths to study the Bible to point out inconsistencies and to challenge the claims of Christianity"

      yeah, and lord knows christians never try to moan and point out problems with the koran.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      It seems to me that critics of the Quran point to specific passages that they see as offensive, whereas critics of Christianity effectively challenge interpretations, sometimes changing wording for their own version, or adding supplemental "scripture." Of course you're correct about attacks on all sides.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  18. SDG

    Obama's words and the truth have very little in common. Actions speak much louder. His embracing of the Muslim Brotherhood while snubbing Israel is just one example that raises doubt about his Muslim faith (Oops I meant Christian-wink,wink). His confrontational stances against the Church on gay marriage. abortion and so on also contradict his Christianity claims. If a self-professed NAACP member spent his evenings riding around in sheets and burning crosses, polls would probably dispute that claim. Most of us don't consider the "God damn America" religion to be Christianity.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • pauleky

      So, you'd rather believe lies and idiocy? Good to know about you.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Robert

      So your agrument is that to be a true christian one must be a mindless automaton and a bigot? I couldn't have put it better myself.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • DonJose

      This is an utterly idiotic statement. Obama has just signed a new defense treaty with Israel. His administration has vetoed every anti-Israeli resolution in the UN Security Council. So, where is the snubbing. And he did not embrace Muslim Brotherhood. He accepted the fact that its member was elected a President of Egypt in honest, democratic elections.

      July 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  19. hyalineblue

    Maybe so many people are "confused" about what religion our political candidates profess because, despite their claims to be Christian or Mormon or whatever, they sure don't act like it. From what I know from observation about Obama's faith, for instance, I would never say he was a Christian believer. He's, perhaps, at "best," a cultural Christian, an Easter and Christmas Christian. If I'm wrong, and being perceived as Christian is important to Barack, he needs to start acting like a Christian. And I don't see Mitt upholding the tenets of the Mormon faith in his everyday dealings, either. Had I answered this survey, I would never have said "Obama is a Christian" or "Romney is a Mormon" despite KNOWING that they CLAIM to be so.

    Let's just accept that for the most part our politicians worship money and power, not any particular God, and move on.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • mktNYC

      Seriously? What in the world makes you think you're in any position to determine whether President Obama is a "real" Christian or Mitt Romney a "real" Mormon? Are you witness to their private moments? Have you bugged their homes to see if they pray? Given that you aren't following one of the tenants of Christianity – Judge not lest ye be judged – I guess that means by your rules that you're not a Christian, either. Of course, I would never say that about you because I was taught in my church that we're all sinners and that it's belief, and not perfect behavior, that determines whether one is a Christian.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • DeansCO

      Well said.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • DeansCO

      Really mktNYC? You just said the equivalent of I think you're probably a jerk, but I wouldn't ever dare to say so because that'd be rude.

      I think the larger point was that we'll know a Christian believer by his or her fruits, and hyalineblue doesn't appear to have seen any such fruits. As far as I'm concerned, fair enough.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      Not a bad attempt at clarity, my friend.
      I understand the "born again" experience as being a strict criterion, and my cousin seems to have that "one-on-one" personal relation with Christ. The rest of us proclaiming to be Christian just accept the salvation by grace alone formula, and all of us "fall short of the glory of God."
      So, you cannot accurately say who "really is" and who ain't by deeds alone.
      Clearly, Mr. Romney has been immersed in his faith tradition since birth, and is fully vested and in his mind destined to rule in a celestial kingdom as a god. If that isn't enough for you, what is? And that faith goes far beyond the wealth used primarily to build the church rather than find cures for disease or feed the poor.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  20. TheMagusNYC

    Two factors influencing uptick in GOP claim; it's just a convenient lie to label our president thusly, and, for those subject to persuasion, there is a video out with clips of our president saying nice things about Muslims.
    The author avoids entirely the mutual exclusivity of trinitarian Christianity and unitarian Mormonism.

    July 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • ME II

      Who says Christians must believe in a trinity?

      July 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
    • TheMagusNYC

      "Unitarian Christianity" is an oxymoron. Those who deny the eternally Divine nature of Christ might belong to the near universal "Jesus Christ Fan Club," but they are not, by definition, Christian.
      True enough, Mormons claim some form of "salvation" through Jesus Christ, but since it was not a Divine sacrifice, it could not redeem all of mankind, the foundational belief of the Christian faith.
      Note distinction between Christian concept of grace, and all the rest requiring that we earn some or all of our salvation, as in temple duties and missionary work.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • ME II

      @TheMagusNYC,
      "Unitarian Christianity" is an oxymoron. Those who deny the eternally Divine nature of Christ..."
      Who said anything about denying "the eternally Divine nature of Christ"?
      Who says that someone can't believe in one and only one god, Jesus Christ?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:18 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.