The Gospel according to Obama
President Obama is not just a racial trailblazer, but some say a religious pioneer as well. No president has ever shared his type of Christianity, historians say. Some say he may revive a form of Christianity that once dominated America.
October 21st, 2012
06:59 AM ET

The Gospel according to Obama

By John Blake, CNN

President Barack Obama was sharing a pulpit one day with a conservative Christian leader when a revealing exchange took place.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Christian who has taken public stands against abortion and same-sex marriage, had joined Obama for an AIDS summit. They were speaking before a conservative megachurch filled with white evangelicals.

When Brownback rose to speak, he joked that he had joined Obama earlier at an NAACP meeting where Obama was treated like Elvis and he was virtually ignored. Turning to Obama, a smiling Brownback said, “Welcome to my house!”

The audience exploded with laughter and applause. Obama rose, walked before the congregation and then declared:

“There is one thing I have to say, Sam. This is my house, too. This is God’s house.”

Historians may remember Obama as the nation’s first black president, but he’s also a religious pioneer. He’s not only changed people’s perception of who can be president, some scholars and pastors say, but he’s also expanding the definition of who can be a Christian by challenging the religious right’s domination of the national stage.

When Obama invoked Jesus to support same-sex marriage, framed health care as a moral imperative to care for “the least of these,’’ and once urged people to read their Bible but just not literally, he was invoking another Christian tradition that once dominated American public life so much that it gave the nation its first megachurches, historians say.

“Barack Obama has referred to his faith more times than most presidents ever have, but for many it’s the wrong kind of faith,” says Jim Wallis, head of Sojourners, an evangelical activist group based in Washington that focuses on poverty and social justice issues.

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“It is not the faith of the religious right. It’s about things that they don’t talk about. It’s about how the Bible is full of God’s clear instruction to care for the poor.”

Some see a 'different' kind of Christian

Obama is a progressive Christian who blends the emotional fire of the African-American church, the ecumenical outlook of contemporary Protestantism, and the activism of the Social Gospel, a late 19th-century movement whose leaders faulted American churches for focusing too much on personal salvation while ignoring the conditions that led to pervasive poverty.

No other president has shared the hybrid faith that Obama displays, says Diana Butler Bass, a historian and author of “Christianity after Religion.”

“The kind of faith that Obama articulates is not the sort of Christianity that’s understood by the media or by a large swath of Christians in the U.S.,” says Bass, a progressive Christian. “He’s a different kind of Christian, and the media and the public awareness needs to reawaken to that fact.”

Some Christians, however, still see Obama as the “other.” He doesn’t act or talk like other Christians, says the Rev. Gary Cass, a conservative Christian president of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

“I just don’t see or hear in his accounts the kind of things that I’ve heard as a minister for over 25 years coming from the mouths of people who have genuinely converted to Christianity,” says Cass, pastor of Christ Church in San Diego.

Cass says he’s never heard Obama say he’s “born-again.” There’s no emotional conversion story to hang onto.

Obama talks about his faith and attends church, but Cass says that doesn’t mean he’s a Christian.

“Joining a church doesn’t mean you’re a Christian. “You can put me in the garage, but that doesn’t turn me into a car.”

The origins of Obama’s faith

The suspicion about Obama’s faith may seem odd at first because he’s written and spoken so much about his spiritual evolution in his two autobiographies, “Dreams of my Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.” Other books, like “The Faith of Obama” by Stephen Mansfield, also explore Obama’s beliefs.

The 1925 “Monkey” trial of John Scopes, a high school biology teacher who taught evolution, drove fundamentalists underground, some say.

Mansfield says Obama is the first president who wasn’t raised in a Christian home. Obama’s mother was an atheist and his grandparents were religious skeptics (Obama’s family has challenged the description of his mother as an atheist. Obama called her “the most spiritually awakened” person he’d ever known, and his sister called their mother an agnostic).

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

Mansfield called Obama’s boyhood a “religious swirl.  He was exposed to Catholicism, Islam, and strains of Hinduism and Buddhism while growing up in Indonesia during the 1960s.

“In our household, the Bible, the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology,” Obama said in Mansfield’s book. “On Easter or Christmas Day, my mother might drag me to church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites.”

Obama became a Christian while he was a community organizer in Chicago. He joined a predominantly black United Church of Christ. The UCC became the first mainline Protestant denomination to officially support same-sex marriage in 2005.

Obama’s faith showed many of the elements of a liberal Protestant church: an emphasis on the separation of church and state, religious tolerance and the refusal to embrace a literal reading of the Bible.

In a 2006 speech before a Sojourners meeting, Obama talked about his approach to the Bible:

“Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?”

When many people think of Obama’s religious experience in Chicago, though, they cite his exposure to the angry sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and “black liberation theology,” a movement that emerged in the late 1960s and blended the Social Gospel with the black power movement.

Bass, the church historian, says another black pastor shaped Obama’s theology more: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

He attended liberal Protestant seminaries where he learned about the Social Gospel’s concern for the entire person, soul and body.

Obama has reached out to evangelical leaders like Rick Warren, seen here praying at Obama’s inauguration, but many still doubt his faith.

King once wrote that “any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them …is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.”

But King and the black church also fused the Social Gospel with an emotional fervor missing from white Protestant churches, Bass says. Other presidents like Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were influenced by the Social Gospel, but they weren’t shaped by the black church.

“This is the first time we’re hearing the Social Gospel from the perspective of the black church from the Oval Office. It makes it warmer, more emotive, more communal," Bass says. "There is less fear of linking the Social Gospel with the stories of the Bible, especially the stories of Exodus and Jesus’ healings.”

The emphasis on community uplift - not individual attainment - may strike some Americans as socialist. But the emphasis on community is part of King’s “Beloved Community,” Bass says.

King once wrote that all people are caught up in an “inescapable network of mutuality… I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be.”

“When I listen to Obama, I don’t hear communism, I hear the Beloved Community,” Bass says. “But a lot of white Americans don’t hear that because they never sat in those churches and heard it over and over again. It’s the whole theology that motivated MLK and the civil rights movement.”

Obama is not a Christian, some think

For some, Obama’s actions in the Oval Office seem to contradict Christianity.

Jesus was nonviolent. Obama has ramped up drone attacks in Afghanistan that have not only removed terrorists, but killed civilians.

The Bible talks about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. Obama invoked Jesus when he came out in support of same-sex marriage. “The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule," Obama told ABC News during his announcement.

Jesus talked about helping the poor. But he never said anything about creating a massive health care law that taxed the rich to help the poor, some Christians argue.

But Wallis of Sojourners says Obama’s push for health care was a supreme example of Christian faith.

A situation where 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance is “a fundamental Christian problem,” Wallis says.

“Health is such a Gospel issue. Jesus was involved in healing all the time, and to have some people excluded from health care because they lack wealth is a fundamental Christian contradiction.”

Wallis has been one of the most persistent defenders of Obama’s faith. But no matter how much Scripture he and others cite, doubts about Obama’s faith have followed him throughout his political career.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson once said that Obama distorted the traditional understanding of the Bible “to fit his own world, his own confused theology.” The Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, publicly questioned Obama’s faith, then later apologized.

Conservative Christian books and websites are filled with stories of Obama allegedly trying to suppress the nation’s Christian heritage.

The Rev. Steven Andrew, author of “Making a Strong Nation,” says Obama is trying to change the national motto from “In God we Trust” to “Out of Many, One,” and he’s ordered the Pentagon to remove biblical verses from its daily report.

“That’s the most serious thing someone can do to a nation, trying to separate a nation from God,” he says. “He seems to be trying to change the Christian laws our Founding Fathers made.”

Andrew says Obama is actually an enemy of Christianity. In his book, Andrew argues that the Founding Fathers were Christians who created a “covenant Christian nation” and calls for a “national repentance.”

“I think he’s an anti-Christ,” Andrew says.  Cass, of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, says Obama’s emphasis on helping the poor through social justice isn’t Christianity.

Christians who talk about “social justice” are often practicing “warmed-over Marxism,” Cass says.

“Do I believe in caring for the poor and oppressed? Yes. But you don’t do it along the lines of communistic redistributing.”

Obama’s support of same-sex marriage and abortion rights also disqualifies him from being a Christian, Cass says.

“It’s the most pro-abortion administration in the history of America.  On every social issue – the sanctity of life and of marriage between men and women – Obama is on the wrong side of every moral issue,” he says.

He says a progressive Christian is a contradiction.

“No Christian says I believe in Jesus Christ and I reject the Bible,” Cass says. “These progressives who say they’re Christians are liars. They’re using Christianity as a guise to advance their own agenda.”

Cass says he doesn’t know what Obama believes.

“He’s conflicted,” Cass says. “He has Muslim sympathies from his upbringing."

How progressive Christianity lost the public square

There was a time when Obama’s brand of Christianity would have been understood by millions of Americans, historians say.

Obama along with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha leave church after attending a Sunday prayer service.

The Social Gospel and progressive Protestantism dominated the American religious square from the end of the 19th century up to the 1960s. At times, the traditions blended together so seamlessly that it was hard to tell the difference.

The Social Gospel rose out of the excesses of the Gilded Age in the 1880s, when urban poverty spread across America as immigrants crammed into filthy slums to work long hours in unsafe conditions.

Walter Rauschenbusch, a Baptist pastor in a New York slum, urged the church to take “social sins” as seriously as they took individual vices. Churches began feeding the poor and fighting against other social ills.

“The notion that religious people should be about feeding the poor and helping the homeless is a carryover of the Social Gospel,” says Charles Kammer, a religion professor at Wooster College in Ohio. The Social Gospel was adopted by many Protestant churches in the late 19th and early 20th century, says Bass, the church historian. Some of the Social Gospel churches grew popular because they provided the poor with everything from English classes to sewing instructions and basketball leagues.

“The first American megachurches were liberal, Social Gospel urban churches,” Bass says.

The Social Gospel, though, sparked a backlash from a group of pastors during World War I. They were called fundamentalists. They published a pamphlet listing the “fundamentals of the faith:” Biblical inerrancy, the virgin birth, Adam and Eve.

But the fundamentalists lost the battle for public opinion during the “Scopes Monkey Trial” in 1925. John Scopes, a high school science teacher, was tried for violating a Tennessee law that prohibited the teaching of evolution.

Though Scopes lost, fundamentalist Christians were mocked in the press as “anti-intellectual rubes,” and a number of states suspended pending legislation that would have made teaching evolution illegal, says David Felten, author of “Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity.”

The trial drove fundamentalists underground where they created a subculture, their own media networks, seminaries and megachurches, he says.

That subculture thrives today, Felten says, and has infiltrated the political arena. It has created an “alternative intellectual universe” that denies science, rational thought – and any beliefs that violate their definition of being a Christian, Felten says.

“They have millions of adherents who believe in a literal six day creation and a literal Adam and Eve – so it’s not a stretch to believe that President Obama is a Kenyan-born secret Muslim bent on destroying the country,” Felten says.

Progressive Christians eventually lost the messaging wars to this fundamentalist subculture, Bass says. Their nuanced view of faith couldn’t compete with the “spiritual triumphalism” of conservatives.

“If you get up and say we’re right and we have the truth, then you have a powerful public message,” she says. “They have a theological advantage in the public discourse. It’s comforting to have things clear, to have things black and white.”

The result today is that the Protestant tradition that shapes much of Obama’s Christianity is fading from public view.

The share of Protestant Christians in the United States has dropped below 50% of the population, according to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

White mainline Protestants make up only 15% of the nation’s population, the survey revealed. The study also found that the fastest growing "religious group" in the country is people who are not affiliated with any religion.

Another generation of Christians, though, may bring a new version of progressive Christianity back.

The lines between younger conservative Christians and progressives are blurring, says Marcia Pally, author of “The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good.”

Pally spent six years traveling across America to interview evangelicals. She says her research revealed that more than 60% of young evangelicals support more governmental programs to aid the needy, as well as more emphasis on economic justice and environmental protection issues.

“What’s interesting is that these values, associated with Obama and the black Protestant tradition are now also the values of a growing number of white evangelicals,” she says.

Her perspective suggests that Obama’s faith may be treated by history in two ways:

He could be seen as the last embodiment of a progressive version of Christianity that went obsolete.

Or he could be seen as a leader who helped resurrect a dying brand of Christianity for a new generation.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Barack Obama • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Church • Courts • Creationism • Culture & Science • Culture wars • Evolution • evolvution • Faith • Fundamentalism • Gay marriage • Gay rights • God • History • Homosexuality • Interfaith issues • Obama • Protestant • Religious liberty • Same-sex marriage • Schools • Science

soundoff (8,626 Responses)
  1. CJB

    Last week I asked a group of friends to give even a small amount to a chronically ill children's group. Not one Democrat did. It seems like it is always the Dems that are whining with their hands spread out waiting for their donation to be given to them, but when they have the means, they do nothing. I find in my own life that my Republican friends will give their last dollar to someone in need. The Dems just expect everyone else to pay their way. I think I'll vote Republican – they are more charitable.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Jeff

      You keep tabs on the political affiliations of everyone you know? That's a little weird isn't it?

      October 22, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • sally

      ha ha ha ha. don't give up your day job for comedy. I don't think many even understood your joke.. nice try though..lol

      October 22, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • cedar rapids

      so you are prepared to stoop to lying to try to make a point huh cjb? real moral of you.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • visitor

      If I was one of your "friends" and knew you kept tabs on my voting record and charitable record, I wouldn't give you a dime for whatever charity you rep either.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Ivy

      What was the group called? "The House of Children who Need to Have the Devil Whipped out of Them because they Refuse to Conform to my Ultra-Conservative Views"? Or was it "Save the Children...except for the Muslims, the Jews, the Budhists, the Atheists, etc."?

      October 22, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  2. David

    There is no way that I could ever vote for Obama due to his beliefs that are totally different than mine!

    October 22, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  3. NoTags

    The Gospel, i.e. 'Good News' is the fact that Jesus Christ sacrificed his blood on the cross, that through his blood sinners (all of us) were washed clean of our sins. If anyone accepts in their heart that Jesus died for their sins, then they are Christians, no if's, and's or but's. The belief in Jesus Christ and his sacrifice is the ONLY road to salvation.

    The Apostle Paul made this crystal clear in his epistle to the Church at Ephesus when he wrote; "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

    If Barack Obama believes in his heart what was stated in paragraph one, then he is a Christian, no if's, and's or but's.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • kimbatchelor

      Interesting that you don't quote Jesus but proof-text Paul. Jesus was about more than dying, he lived and taught, specifically denouncing greed, serving wealth, and blessing those who are poor. Unfortunately, that doesn't really fit into modern-day christianity (with a small 'c') that's too predominant nowadays and illustrated beautifully by your comments.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  4. Dietlind

    Don't hold your breath for the CNN article on the Gospel according to Romney, highlighting how God is an extraterrestrial from a planet near a star called Kolob, and Jesus will reign from western Missouri when he returns.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • visitor

      and how non Mormon Christians will serve the celestial "couples" in heaven.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  5. kimbatchelor

    Cass is the one who has it wrong. The language of Christianity on the right is the furthest I can think of in terms of lifting up the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Why don't those who elevate the BIble talk about the TWO creation stories in Genesis, both of which can never be taken literally because they contradict each other? Why, when confronted with the overwhelming mandate in the Bible about caring for the poor (more than 2000 verses), try to get out of any obligation by believing that government has no role in making sure that everyone is fed, cared for and welcomed? Why do they twist Jesus' words to reject justice and ignore the weightier matters of the law, limiting care for the poor to 'churches,' which Jesus only mentioned once? Jesus spoke to the NATIONS/peoples as a group in Matthew 25:31-45 when he separated the blessed and the accursed by whether or not the hungry are fed, the sick cared for, the stranger/alien welcomed. It appears that the Christian right, who rarely quote Jesus, are the ones ignoring the Bible, not those of us wanting to progress toward the reign of God "on earth as it is in heaven."

    October 22, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Annie

      Personally, I will not vote for a candidate based on his religion, but the way Christianity is portrayed in this article saddens me. Sure, there are some Christians that care more about defending a 6-day literal creation than taking care of the poor (it seems Cass is one of these), and there are also Christians that do not take much of the Bible literally. But there are also so many Christians that fall in between somewhere. While believing that the Bible is God's Word, that Jesus truly is the Son of God, and that Jesus literally died and rose again, you can also believe that Jesus spent most of His time caring for the sick, the poor, and the hungry and commanded his followers to do the same. This is what fuels my work with the homeless and poor in my community.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  6. Seeker of Truth

    This article speaks volumes about why religion and politics should not mix, though any spiritual person would want our nation to follow ethicical guidelines and those common to many religions. "Do unto others as you would have them to unto you is basically the common theme". I, and many other Christians, are supportive of President Obama because he sees all the issues, as Jesus did (if you read the New Testament) One statement I heard recently is: "I wish I had met Jesus before meeting the Christians". Christians have often ruined Jesus' teachings by their divisions and expanding on the simplicity of his message.
    We cannot return to all the prejudices and controlling beliefs of the past. Women, for sure, should be concerned about having their bodies under governmental control.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Jeff

      +1 to this

      October 22, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  7. Beavis

    What's with this wacko CNN propaganda? And who cares what religion Obama is.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • John P. Tarver

      CNN is trying to sell the notion tht Obama is a Christian.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • cedar rapids

      "And who cares what religion Obama is."

      well considering how many are condemning him for his christianity or claiming he is a muslim, i would say most people on the right seem to care.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • taffylinden

      It's not an article, silly. It's a BLOG. See where it says "Belief BLOG" at the top of the page? It's not supposed to be objective. I know this gets confusing because networks like Fox AND MSNBC consistently air beliefs as if they were facts, but try to keep this straight.

      As for Gary Cass, not all Christians believe in being "born again." Catholics, the original Christians, don't. Maybe such narrow definitions ("You're only Christian if you look, act, and sound like I do." is part of the reason Senator Brownbeck's church is so white.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  8. cgs

    If you are stupid enough to use religion as a voting criteria, here are your choices: a guy who committed to one religion and has been living it; or a guy who went to muslim schools, sat in Reverend Wright's Marxist church for 20 years and then dumped both traditions when it was politically expedient. And CNN calls Obama a religious pioneer? Hahahaha

    October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • kimbatchelor

      There is no evidence that Mitt Romney has done anything to prioritize what Jesus taught in the Gospels. The rest of this is nonsense.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • cedar rapids

      "or a guy who went to muslim schools, sat in Reverend Wright's Marxist church for 20 years and then dumped both traditions when it was politically expedient. "

      a christian marxist huh? how does that work then?
      and you are blaming him for going to a school that had mainly islamic students when he was a child? and how did he then 'dump' that to be politically expedient? or how convenient that you also left out that he also went to a catholic school for a couple of years too.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  9. Ridunkulous

    This week he's a Disciple. Next week, he'll be Jesus Christ himself. You go CNN, you go.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  10. khagaraj Sommu

    Mysterious are the ways of God.Barack Obama could be the latest incarnation of the Almighty.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  11. milopup09

    And from the born again, right-wing Bible:

    Genesis: "And on the 8th day, God created Bain Capital. And saw that this was good. And then he took Adam's thumb and created Mitt Romney who was perfect in every way. And the Lord said, Some day I will call you to do battle with the evil one, the communist of the Garden of Eden, the mayor of Sodom and Gamorah: Barack Obama. And Mitt said, thou is a great God and I shall use Bain Capital to spread your work Lord."

    October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Odyssey

      Now lets turn to the mormon religion and mitts core beliefs!

      October 22, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  12. Goodness

    Matthew 16- 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.

    The gospel of Jesus comes with a price, it's not for the cowardly and unbelieving and for those who care more about man's opinions than Gods!

    October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • kimbatchelor

      “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled…But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” (Luke 6:20-21, 24)

      “No one can serve two masters…You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:12)

      October 22, 2012 at 11:35 am |
  13. John

    There are so many who profess Christianity but are not acording to Christ himself, he warns that there will be many in that day who say Lord, Lord did we not do many good things in your name (paraphrased) and he will say depart from me you workers of iniquity, I never knew you. What about Romney's brand of christianism selling itself as another gospel of Jesus.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Mr. N.

      Romney is a mormon. I guess that Jesus forgot to mention that there will be many who don't know what they're talking about, right?

      October 22, 2012 at 11:34 am |
  14. Publius Novus

    There is a church that exemplifies President Obama's views of Christianity. It is a main-line church that straddles the divide between the Roman Catholics and the liberal Protestants. It is called the Episcopal Church. President Obama would be very happy in the Episcopal Church. Welcome, President Obama! St. John's is just a short walk across Lafayette Square.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  15. David Mitchell

    One question for the those that question the Presidents faith is God the God of even the non-believer simply put yes; He loved me when I was far from him and his love drew me to him. Is the president the president of those that might oppose his views? He certainly is and he must govern for those peolpe as well.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  16. jfk1971

    Been rejected with this twice-we'll see if this goes.

    This week he's a Disciple. Next week he'll be Jesus Christ reincarnated. You go CNN, you go.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  17. Arissa

    -Obamas faith is beautiful, everyone is different. Why can't we recognize people for the simple good things. Rather than bashing them, interrogating them on topics like faith. Show love, not hate!

    October 22, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  18. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:


    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney)

    "Latter-day Saints like M. Romney also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

    Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

    Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family)(As do Biden and Ryan)

    The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

    Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie/horn-blowing thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • cedar rapids

      "Joe Smith had his Moroni"

      i reckon moroni is just used as the plural for moron. it would have to be if you look at the mormon faith.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Reality

      "The Angel Moroni ( /mɒˈroʊnaɪ/) is, in Mormonism, an angel that visited Joseph Smith, Jr. on numerous occasions, beginning on September 21, 1823. According to Smith, the angel was the guardian of the golden plates, which Latter Day Saints believe were the source material for the Book of Mormon, buried in a hill near Smith's home in western New York. Moroni is an important figure in the theology of the Latter Day Saint movement, and is featured prominently in Mormon architecture and art. Three Witnesses besides Joseph Smith also reported that they saw Moroni in visions in 1829, as did several other witnesses who each said they had their own vision."

      October 22, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  19. John P. Tarver

    I had high hopes that America's first Black President would be the besr President ever, but he failed. I was disapointed that America's first black president was not a Republican, as that is the Republican mandate.

    October 22, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  20. slk

    for all those that are standing to condem Obama.............like Jesus said........"he who is without sin cast the first stone."
    or........."as yea have done to the least of these,so you have also done unto me."
    or.........Jesus said," it is harder for a rich man to inter the kingdom of God,than to go through the eye of a needle".
    If one only looks to the Old testement and not the New.......then that person is still under the old law.....and has no regard
    for Jesus or his teachings. So that person , under the Old law will be judge by it. The person under the New will be judged by the New. Not to mention......................only God is The Judge.....................are you ready?

    October 22, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Mr. N.

      I will cast the first stone.

      You need to understand what you read. Jesus was speaking about hypocrisy, about condemning someone for doing the same thing you do. There is no hypocrisy on condemning Obama regarding some of his policies if those doing the condemning don't support or partake in them.

      The president is our employee. He's a civil servant, and as such, he should most definitely be judged on his performance. If you aren't ready for that, then shame on you for forsaking your civil duty!! Are YOU ready?

      October 22, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Reality

      Matt 25: 40, "“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

      Said passage has been thoroughly analyzed by many contemporary NT scholars and many of them have found the passage to be historically nil. i.e. a single attestation found no where else in scripture and obviously a creation of Matthew.

      To wit:

      Professor Gerd Luedemann
      Luedemann [Jesus, 236f]:

      "This concluding text of Jesus' eschatological discourse fits Matthaean theology seamlessly. After the paraenesis in 24.32-25.30 the judgment by the Son of Man is depicted in a great painting. The judgment is of all human beings, but Matthew has his community in particular in view: cf. 13.37-43,49-50. In view of this similarity we must seriously consider whether the whole passage should be regarded as a Matthaean construction."

      Professor John P. Meier – Notre Dame

      When commenting on the use of phylake (prison) in Matt 11:2, Meier [Marginal Jew II,198] notes that "the whole passage depicting the last judgment is either a Matthean creation or heavily redacted by Matthew."

      October 22, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • cedar rapids

      "You need to understand what you read. Jesus was speaking about hypocrisy, about condemning someone for doing the same thing you do. There is no hypocrisy on condemning Obama regarding some of his policies if those doing the condemning don't support or partake in them."

      if you condemn for policy then that is one thing but if you condemn as a christian for what you believe to be non-christian acts then there is most certainly a hypocrisy in that act.

      October 22, 2012 at 11:46 am |
    • Mr. N.

      cedar rapids,

      Yours is a straw man, and a non-sequitur to boot. First, it is a straw-man because it's not the president's job to be christian. It's to lead. Your point is trying to distract away from that.

      Secondly, it's a non-sequitur. Condemning a christian for what you consider to be non-christian is not hypocrisy. Again, hypocrisy is condemning someone for something you yourself do. If you don't engage in some behavior because you consider it non-christian, there is nothing hypocritical about pointing that out on someone else. Please don't try to twist and change the meaning of the word "hypocrisy" to try to make up a point that logically, cannot be supported.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:08 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.