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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. Fact

    Confused about Obama's religion because:
    1. He supports legalized killing of innocent babies.
    2. He supports gay marriage which is contrary to the Holy Scriptures.
    3. He does not support the nation of Israel (God's chosen people) which is contrary to Christianity. (I won't bother trying to explain that one to the naysayers – do your own search.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      All have been done by God,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      July 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Snc735

      How could we set rules and standards via the "book of contradictions"?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      So,,,Obazo is a real Christian 🙂

      July 27, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • alex

      First, I didn't read the article cause I refuse to let some 'wannabee' journalist raise my pressure with a stupid story. Second, no one person totally agrees with another, that is why God made us all different. Isreal is just as guilty of murder and wrong doing as every other country on this Earth. Last, whether you agree with abortion or not, your not paying the money to care for these unwanted children, you are no where when their being abused and beaten and go hungry, nope you sit behind a computer screen and judge people kinda like priest do when they are molesting some kid and hiding it. My point, who cares, your religion is not what I want deciding if we need jobs or a way to create them or how victims of crime who are uninsured get medical bills paid or using your religion to decide who deserves what time in prison and who gets a slap on teh wrist.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "He does not support the nation of Israel (God's chosen people) which is contrary to Christianity."

      funny how the people that wrote the old testament said they were the chosen people. What an amazing coincidence that was. Lucky for them huh?
      and why would any deity actually have a 'chosen people'?

      July 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Mohammed_Islam

      You guys are confused about 'chosen people' becuase your scripture had been preserved by them... yes i am referring to OT and OT chapters were preserve by the people who we know betrayed during their prophet living with them... and what can u expect the time where there was no prophet, i am talking about the time between 2 prophets... now the term 'chosen people' is referring to at that time there were chosen to be released from the tyrant pherroh... and also the chosen people referring to the true believer on their prophets, messagers and messages and not transform to something else... for example the story of Lot is preserved in the book as a father having a physical relationship with his daughters, do you believe it? how come we Americans do not accepts our president to have a relationship with an intern in the office and we had him impeached.... and when it comes to a prophet we accept it... its a shame... i guess there will be a time coming when they will not use this term "chosen people' and take advantage of it....

      Peace....

      July 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  2. ObamaJoe

    When there is Mitt,,,,,,,,,,,,there is fun 😀 😀 😀 😀

    Mitt Romney / Michael Bachamnn 2012 ~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  3. Cheri

    I believe President Obama believes and says that he is a Christian, but his political policies conflict often with the Bible. Evidently he does not read his Bible enough or he would not have supported gay marriage, abortion etc. If you believe in what is written in the Bible you generally have conservative values not liberal ones. I think he believes more in his own political beliefs than he does in what the Bible teaches.

    Romney on the other hand is a Mormon and does not believe that you are saved by God's Grace. Mormons laugh at Christians who believe we are saved by God's Grace. They also believe in a religion that was written by someone that tried to justify his own adultry and child molestations by writting the book of Mormon. It is difficult to vote for a man (Romney) who believes this type of religion. How smart can he be?

    It is also difficult to vote for a man (Obama) who changes laws that go against what the Bible teaches.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Chelle

      Christ was a liberal, at least by your standards. He did not follow the Bible blindly, but set forth new ideas and interpretations.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      You never read the original bible ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,do you ???

      You read something published by church and believe it's real,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,right ?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Snc735

      Cheri... I laugh and shake my head at people that actually think our country is required to abide by your bible's principles.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • StevenR

      Cheri, you sound like a papist. You probably believe the POPE is a Christian. The EX-NAZI pope that is trying to muzzle nuns because of their social justice stance. THAT POPE. Christian? NOT!

      July 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • patrick

      "If you believe in what is written in the Bible you generally have conservative values not liberal ones." Then why do conservatives want to do away with government programs that help the sick and the poor?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      " laws that go against what the Bible teaches" Right. So, where's the part of the Bible that mentions computers? There's a verse telling us it's okay to eat potatoes, right? Does the Bible mention the President of the United States of America even once? Since you are an expert, how about "Render unto God what is God's and render unto . . ?" Look it up. God doesn't inflict sharia on His people anymore. Laws don't come out of the Bible, or you couldn't wear nylon or eat pork.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Mohammed_Islam

      @ Chelle, Bible was first time written at least 60 years after his leaving this earth... how could u say that he did follow bible? and bible was written by whom – there are lots of opinions by Christian scholars... please do some research...

      July 27, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  4. 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 🙂 😀 😀

    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 🙂 🙂 🙂

    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

    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 🙂

    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 1:34 pm |
    • StevenR

      No. Republican means NON-CHRISTIAN. Republican christian means HYPOCRITE. You can't be a Christian and try to take money from the poor so the rich get richer. If that is in YOUR Bible, get a new Bible. Mine has a verse that talks about putting a CAMEL THROUGH THE EYE of a NEEDLE. Read THAT ONE and look at the policies of the GOP. If you still think ANY of them are REALLY CHRISTIANS, you should have your head examined.

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

      Actually Jesus committed the same cardinal sin as religion as soon as he said "believe in me or be cast into the ashes and burned like the branches."

      yeah, created his own dogma, therefore he's invalid as soon as he does such. You can preach a belief in a singular God, but no human has right to hold their own dogma above anyone else. Especially unrelated seaparate geographical cultures.

      PS: "Why I hate religion but love Jesus' along with Xianity is piece of cr-ap with zero regard for any other external cultural belief.

      THINK And get over it.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • nrcc

      I think I know the author of this, you should accredit this!

      July 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Hogan's Goat

      Nice rap, Joe. Let us know when it's on YouTube. Seriously.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  5. joelcannon

    I think the author (and most of the media) misses the point. Muslim and Mormon are just labels that political critics use to disqualify and distance the candidate from voters. Notice how most of the people who think that Obama is a Muslim are not voting for him. It is intended as a slur. And while Romney IS Mormon, it is usually in the context that Mormon = Cult, Both approaches are intended to label the candidate as "them" not "us". In the end, people believe what they want to believe to justify their voter preference.

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

      They don't match the hearts,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,that's why they fail,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      July 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • StevenR

      ...and MUSLIMS are more CHRISTIAN than MORMONS. They BOTH are part of the same SEMITIC RELIGION. BOTH believe in the same God. Mormons on the other hand are just a strange cult that really has roots in a nutcase and the people that follow him.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  6. lorraineleilani

    You wrote a good article, but I think that this one point commits the fallacy of equivocation:

    "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."

    You are using religious in two different senses, and you're using one sense of the term to support your claim that no one knows anything about the history of their own religion or others. But a religious person, on the fact it, does not have to know about their historical traditions, let alone the traditions of other faiths.

    To illuminate the difference, ask "what makes someone religious and what makes someone knowledgeable about religion?" I dont have to be religious to know about other religions. A religious person is one who subscribes to a set of practices and has a sincere belief in God. That doesnt imply they will have knowledge of their own traditions - for one is religious in virtue of what they do. By analogy, I try to be a healthy person, but that doesnt imply I have knowledge of the history of nutrition or other theories of nutrition.

    This is not to undermine your argument that we should seek to understand our own faith traditions and those others, but the fact that we are a very religious nation doesnt mean that we know about religion.

    (Christians like to say they dont believe in religion but have a relationship with God - I guess because religion can be dogmatic and insincere, but, they are religious as in spiritual. Even when I was a Christian, that statement never made sense to me, but looking back, I think it's just imprecise).

    July 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • R_R

      Your argument is ridiculous. If one claims to be "religious" but has no knowledge of what their or any other religion is, then what are they claiming? "I agree with a set of rules and principles, but I have no idea what they are!" One can almost excuse those who claim to be "spiritual but not religious", because to me that statement basically says they have made up their own rules, and so they don't have to learn anyone elses...

      To use your health analogy, if I decide I want to live a healthy lifestyle, but have no knowledge of what healthy is or the history of health science, I could easily come to the conclusion that chocolate cake is very good for me and should be the basis of my diet. After all, it tastes good to me, so it must therefore be good. And I don't need anyone else to educate me about health and history and diets, I'm not concerned! It is the same way for anyone who follows or criticizes a religion without knowing it's teachings and history – a completely unfounded argument, but one that sounds good to them and therefore must be right.

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

      I think you missed the point. Indeed, I was not clear that one must have knowledge of their practices, but its implied in the statement. Of course the religious know the practices they hold.

      You can hold certain religious practices and have some knowledge of your religion in order to live in such a manner. But that doesnt imply that someone has historical knowledge of their religion. For someone to be religious, must they have such knowledge? No. For someone to be religious, must they be able to name the Four Gospels? For someone to be religious, must they know that the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist? No. My point is that those are not requirements to be thought of as religious. Indeed, Americans are deeply religious in this sense. The analogy, indeed, may not be the best, but the point is to show historical knowledge of nutrition is not required.

      And you dont have to be religious in order to know about religion.

      There's a difference between being religious and knowledgeable about religion - that's the point.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  7. flashtrum

    As Obama said himself, you can't put lipstick on a pig. Obama did study the Muslim religion and most likely did practice it as well. Of course any politician running for office after 9/11 knows being a Muslim is a no-no.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • ObamaJoe

      Mitt can put lipstick on GOP,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

      July 27, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • ksocreative

      so based on your view, practicing another religion is a "no no" !?!

      ohhh american values... :-\

      July 27, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  8. TAJ

    You got it all wrong. We're not confused about THEIR faith. We're confused about OBAMA'S faith. He says he's a Christian but everyone knows he's Muslim. He even admitted it before the Clinton hack Stephanopolus corrected him and told him what his faith really was!

    July 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • jimbo913

      Do you really think that a practicing Muslim would go around saying he was Christian? Do you know nothing about that which you fear so much. Maybe you should try to educate yourself a bit, it does wonders in opening your eyes to the light of the world.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Po Boy

      You make the author's point precisely. Despite the fact that you know Obama is a Christian you spout off foolish comments like this, which I'm sure you believe and share with anyone who asks!

      July 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      The weird thing to me is that you can say all this stuff, which you know is a bunch of lies, just in the hope that other people will believe them and vote for the candidate you prefer, and then you will go to church on Sunday without any sense of wrong-doing. Your minister would probably tell you it was okay to lie and to damage someone's reputation, maybe even be the one to set off a crazy like Holmes or Loughner to shoot and kill the president. I'm sure you don't think of yourself as "evil," but I can't see where you get off pretending to believe you are going to be judged and doomed according to your thoughts and deeds. What's a Christian, really, besides someone who claims to be "Christian?" Obama's claim is as good as yours.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  9. CNNH

    I believe this article was written to support Obama and not really make people believe that Obama is a Christian but is to highlight that Romney is a Mormon. Yes, we don't have to say Romney is Mormon if the purpose of the article it to pint out that Obama is Christian. CNN is getting worse on this lately. They have no objections when Obama opposed Gay marriages. Obama is very good in planning such as not spending money and getting unpaid advertisement from CNN. So, he realized that there are a lot more TV anchors and journalist those are gays and he needed their help. So, he came up with Gay marriages. He know how and when to use his race and religion. One of them is gay marriage to get help from several gay journalists from CNN. But we all can understand the politicians. Lately, CNN is joining the Obama campaign.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      I'm sorry if reading all these news articles is turning you gay. Whining about CNN covering both sides makes you sound even nancier, though, so stoppit.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  10. norm

    "And among those troubles is the cynical manipulation of religion for political gain".

    Are we just going to ignore the hypocritical manipulation of politics for religious gain?

    July 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  11. Doug

    Ezekiel 18:5-6
    But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, and hath not...come near to a menstrous woman.

    To all atheists out there, we should ask for permission to approach a religious woman to make sure she is not ragging. If she should call you rude, just remind her that you are trying to be respectful of her laws, its in the book she holds up while bashing gays.

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

      lol

      July 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Snc735

      lol. problem is every christian out there cries that those are thoughts from the old testament and they do not apply now. I usually say well what are your thoughts about genesis? Does Genesis apply today?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • patrick

      They knew about PMS in ancient times?

      July 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      Right, Genesis was part of the Old Testament view and doesn't apply now. You don't have to keep insisting that the world is only six thousand years old . . please stop doing that. It's silly and makes you all look gullible enough to believe a virgin had a baby.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  12. Steve from Chicago

    The confusion regarding Obama's religious preference is simpler than what you suggest. He practices his religion only when it suits him, and only when the cameras are rolling. He's an opportunist in every sense of the word, and without facts to the contrary regarding his beliefs, we'll default to what we know – his Arab name, his Arab father, and largely non-religious upbringing. Despite being a fairly open minded country when it comes to faith, I think we prefer our leaders practice some sort of religion – it gives them (at least the perception of having) a moral compass, and a sense of things greater than themselves. In Barack Obama we see neither of these things.

    July 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Snc735

      I'd rather my president and political leaders have no religion or keep their religion private.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Nope

      "He practices his religion only when it suits him"

      Couldn't be further from the truth – think back to 2008 and all the flack he took in 2008 over Jeremiah Wright's sermon's.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • sleepytime

      The fact that you don't even know what the word "arab" means pretty much undermines everything you are trying to say.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "his Arab name, his Arab father"

      which have what to do with what exactly?
      names specify what religion you have to follow now?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • patrick

      "He practices his religion only when it suits him" – that descibes every one, except maybe Jesus.

      July 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      ' He practices his religion only when it suits him, and only when the cameras are rolling. ' You know this for sure? Sure enough to swear in your church that a man you never met and know mostly from media reports by people who hate him is actually a hypocrite? You intend to look Saint Peter in the eye and say you weren't trying to do the man some harm? Believers are funny people.

      July 27, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  13. PAUL

    I HATE PLAYING DEVIL'S ADVOCATE!!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dliYX-DHntg

    July 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  14. Outsider

    Your article is exactly why the separation of church and state was put into place.

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

      THANKS!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lThuhz45pDI

      July 27, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  15. Jeff

    I'm going to play Devil's Advocate here:
    If Obama is a Muslim, he's a terrible one. He doesn't go to prayers, he eats pork and doesn't observe any of their traditions. So if he is (and I in no way think he is) a non-practicing Muslim, who cares?
    I find it very odd that in this conversation about Obama's possible religion, it is automatically assumed that being a Muslim is bad. Are we really so prejudiced in this nation that if Obama was as Muslim as John Stewart is Jewish, that he would be immediately be disqualified from holding public office? That's pretty F'ed up.
    (PS: before you start flaming me about the "cancer of Islam", please crack open a history book about Europe during the Dark Ages.)

    July 27, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • adam l

      Thats just it jeff, The Dark ages were in... THE DARK AGES!, that was also Catholicism not Christianity. And Islam was the Dark ages, and NOW! who cares about what happened in the DA, its now we care about.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • sleepytime

      Adam, buddy, Catholicism is the largest Christian denomination in the world. It's not separate from Christianity.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Chelle

      Please see the article re lack of knowledge of a person's religion. Without the Roman Catholic church most other denominations would not exist. Out of Roman Catholicism comes the Reformation (hense the name!!!). Protestant churches (as in PROTEST) emerged from the Reformation. To say that Roman Catholics are not Christian is ludicrous.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Jeff

      Sorry Adam, but that doesn't wash. As recently as the late 1600 Protestants were killing "Witches" in our country. All through out the 1800s the genocide of the Native Americans was deemed acceptable to fulfill our "Manifest Destiny." Even now there are people that get together in giant sports stadiums to pray for our economy to be better. You may be willing to see a few centuries as an eternity, but to real history students its the blink of an eye. The Cross has just as much blood on it as the Star of David or the Star and Crescent.
      Trying to split hairs about who's society or culture is more murderous is like trying to decide which wolf in a pack that has surrounded you is the "bad" one that is going to attack you first.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • patrick

      Jeff – let me guess, you must be an American- anglo-saxon.

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

      Patrick- Yes, I am an American of Western European heritage. What was your first clue? The name "Jeff"? ;P

      July 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Hugh Jass

      A Muslim who openly denies his faith is to be killed according to sharia law, so if Obama was ever a Muslim, he is under a death sentence as an infidel now. Does that help?

      July 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  16. Snc735

    Who cares if Obama is a Christian or a Muslim. Both are basically the same thing.

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

      No.

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

      WHY IS THIS REALLY IMPORTANT??

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWkS7pf9hKE

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

      "CNN"- Christianity, Judaism and Islam all believe in the covenant of Abraham and share nearly all of the same "Old Testament" stuff. So yes, Islam does bare a resemblance to Jewish and Christian faith as practiced a few centuries ago.
      (Please see the comment by the author of this article about religious illiteracy.)

      July 27, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • CNN

      Not the same thing.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Snc735

      that's why "basically" is the key word in my statement CNN...

      July 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Nope

      Not to mention, on top of the Old Testament stuff, Mohammad meets Jesus and references him as one of the greatest prophets in the Quran

      July 27, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  17. OFC Old Fashion Christian

    "And among those troubles is the cynical manipulation of religion for political gain – the use of God as a pawn in our political projects." I have been saying this to everyone I know for years. OFC's like myself, have always believed that it was the job of Christians to promote God. Politicians, mainly Republicans have joined the 21st christans of today who use God to promote themselves and to judge who is and who isn't a Christian. Look at Joel Osteen's comment that Romney is a Christian because Romney told him that he believes that Jesus is the son of God and the salvation of all. Well so does Satan! I guess Joel Osteen will come out and say that Satan is a Christian now. Which of course would validate my belief that Satan is a Republican. Religious beliefs need to be kept out of politics.

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

      I agree wholeheartedly.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Serpent Handler

      old fashoned??? well that makes yo a Quaker ! LOL 🙂

      that is old fashoned...

      I'm the original thing... ACTs chapter TWO ...wouldn't leave home without it...

      the Holy Spirit in manifestation to me so that I might Know for sure that I belong to Jesus as the scripturs require... we muct belong to Jesus and the only way to truely confirme that is by the Lord Himserlf doing so ... 🙂
      without that we might be doing all kinds of things tryin g to win his approval... I already have his approval ... that's when you recive the Holy Spirit ...the Holy Spirit is Christs approval his seal of redemption .. God himsefl ...this is so that you rmight follow Christ himself and not to please MEN ....you can well see today tha among religious conserfvatives ther is the great need to please them.. LOL 🙂 🙂 they have made thmselves judges of us all ... and it is time for them to be judged so that they might repent before the great judgment when there is no repentance... This I would be glad to do ... but for the finances required... 🙂 🙂

      July 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • the voice of reason

      I'm just trying to find out where it says in the bible that serpents have to be poisonous. Handle all the nonvenomous ones you want, but only a fool would read that scripture and handle a rattler.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Rouser1

      Mormons are not Christians because they have a completely different view of God than the Christian Bible. They believe there is more than one God. Their doctrine supports the belief in many gods, literally thousands, that originated from man. The original god is allegedly from Adam. Each man has the ability through his good works and obedience to Mormon doctrine to become a god with dominion over and earthlike planet. Jesus is not a part of the Holy Trinity and the one and only God as Christians believe. From the Christian viewpoint, they have a warped sense of Jesus and thus he is not the same as the Bible teaches. You may be surprised at some of the Mormon beliefs with closer examination.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  18. Sy2502

    Censoring my comments, CNN?

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

      Yes.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Bill from GA

      They seem to do that a lot.

      Makes you wonder what their agenda is.

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

      Bill, our agenda is to keep right wing nutjobs in check.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Sy2502

      Article VI, paragraph 3. Why can't I post that, CNN?

      July 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Serpent Handler

      thn you cannot be CNN them.. 🙂

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

      Probably can't post it if it's got titties in it.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Const.tution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

      The auto word filter will not allow the word "t. i. t." unless you break it up. Similarly, you must break up the letters in "circ.umstance." Nobody's censoring anything because of its political viewpoint or lack thereof.

      July 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Hogan's Goat

      Either you are being reported as abuse, or more likely you used a blocked word. Google "CLBUTTIC" and you may get an idea of what I mean. They buttbuttinated your comment.

      July 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    July 27, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Snc735

      lol that's a good one!

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

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!|

      July 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  20. Orville

    People are confused abut the religious persuasion of these two men because people are confused about religion itself. If you take all the noise and emotion out of it, no one person can offer an evaluation or analysis to any degree of certainty as to the validity or invalidity of the beliefs of these two men or anyone else. If you boil it down, people should be more concerned about the inability of these two men to be effective to any degree because neither will rule by decree. They will have the same dysfunctional government organization beneath them that is not able to agree on anything, and are more concerned about their re-election than the good of the people. So interjecting the notion that their religious beliefs will have anything to do with how they "lead the nation" is nonsense, except as to how they would be affected by the religious influences of those groups they profess to be a part of. Why is America so preoccupied with this nonsense?

    July 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
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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.