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. casey

    As somebody whose family knew obamma (dunham's) family in the 50's and 60's I find part of this story incredulas. A continued rewrite on the presidents personel history.
    His parents did not consider themselves atheists. They attending the Unitarian Church, first in Bellevue in the 50's with their daughter, the presidents mother, and then in hawaii. Alice attended the unitarian church in Hawaii.
    As far as Indonesia is concerned, Obanna was their ages 5-8. This was during the time of the soviet backed Sukarno and religious schools and the like were not tolerated. He returned to Hawaii for the 4th grade and resumed attending the unitarian church with his grandparents. He may have been exposed to different religious cultures, his mother was very Bohemian. And a lot of this exposure would have taken place in Hawaii. However, at that age, how much is learned in those 3 years, vs the 14 years he spent in his grandparents home.
    He is not the first Unitarian in the white house. Lincolns first VP was a unitarian as well.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • What IF


      You have some decent facts there.

      ( If you clean up your poor spelling and grammar it would give your post more credence, though.)

      October 22, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  2. palintwit

    If Sarah Palin was a real christian she would have had her "special needs" baby aborted. Why give birth to a zuchinni if you don't have to?

    October 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Willie12345

      That is a harsh, mean spirited hateful thing to say.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Shall we go ahead and kill all the special needs children? How about the old?

      October 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm |

    "...he’s also expanding the definition of who can be a Christian..." This statement makes me hurt inside. The Bible says, "whosoever believeth on me shall not perish but have eternal life", that is the definition of who can be a Christian (follower of Jesus Christ). Neither President Obama or anyone else can ever change that. I am disappointed in the journalism in our country today-anything to sell a paper I guess!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • zapper

      That's why you're an HVAC instructor.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • terre haute

      The bible says a lot of things, many of which are horrific and abhorrent.

      If you accept that it was written by men and subject to the earthly societal norms of its time, then it can be distilled, in aggregate, into a useful general belief structure for the Christian faith.

      If you cling to the irrational belief that it's the literal word of a diety, and you read it and actually decide you want to follow it, be self-aware enough to understand when rational people question your morality and intelligence.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  4. just sayin'

    shame on you for wasting bandwith on the heap of garbage. B.S.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
  5. Mormon's worship Allah

    Ask Romney to explain why they worship Allah. As someone who was born and raised in Utah, I can tell you Mormonism only appears to be a Christian religion. They believe they will become a God and populate their own worlds with spirt children. Research it.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Ruth

      and who and what do you believe Mr. perfect

      October 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Amhlair

      Not sure about the Allah thing, but you're correct that Mormons teach that they and only they are embryonic gods. Romney believes that, folks. That he is a specially chosen spirit child of God who is on the way to literal godhood because he is LDS. If that doesn't scare the pants off you, you aren't paying attention. Obama is the only sane choice.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Get a grip

      If you knew anything about Islam, you would know that "Allah" is the same god that Christians worship. There are many names for god. Yaweh is actually an ancient name for god. Islam's "Allah" is the way people hear the word "Yaweh" in thier own languages. Mohammed, the prophet of Islam was very clear in his writings that there is only one god, and that god is the same god that Christians and Jews worship. Mormons refer to god by his ancient names. It's all the same god. It's the ignorance and hatefulness that you display that causes so many problems in the world. Open a book once in a while. Learn. It will do you good.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  6. NO CRAP

    People are questioning Obama's plan. What is Romney/Ryan's plan....we don't know exactly because they themselves can't say.....How do you supposedly write a plan and don't have any idea what's in it??????

    Furthermore, Ryan's death check list AKA the Ryan Plan is actually a 28 year projection not the 10 year projection they are using in the discussions....The reason they are using a 10 year projection is because Obama's plan is a 10 year projection that would balance the budget, Romney/Ryan plan is a 28 year projection that would double the deficit in 10 years, and as people die off between years 10 and 28, and we have a theoretical unprecedented growth of the economy it would break even at the end of year 28....Go look it up for yourself...Then

    The republican's arguments are very weak. They are trying to force feed a candidate on us that will tank the economy withing several years, but would be in office long enough to pass laws that would shield his financiers.....

    This pretty much sums it up!!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • GAW

      The Plan??? To get elected to office and power everything after that is up for grabs.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  7. Bowdowntocats

    Oh the intricate web of deceit we weave....

    "The study also found that the fastest growing "religious group" in the country is people who are not
    affiliated with any religion."

    Can I get a tax break because I worship cats? HMMMMMMMM........

    October 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  8. jp

    "And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns, or religion, or antipathy to people who aren’t like them, or anti-immigrant sentiment, or anti-trade sentiments as a way to explain their frustrations"

    – Barack Obama

    October 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • zapper

      He sure got that one right. Obama speaks the truth, even if unpopular, while Mitt says whatever he thinks will make people like him. BIG DIFFERENCE!

      October 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  9. Joseph

    It's funny how so many people are willing to quote the bible but fail to hede or practice it's teachings. So many religions distort and rehash the word of God to fit their own adgendas. Even the bible explains the walk with God, and Christ is a relationship vice an ideology. Yet so many are willing to tout though shall not kill, when the bible says that if one wished death or harm to another he has just killed him or her. I'd hope that people will stop looking for a reason to discredit the president. If religion is the new way to discredit him then Rommney is in for a hurting, because his faith is based on the premise that Jesus dying on the Cross was not good enough. That God had to go back to the drawing board. Mormons believe that Jehova close the gates of heaven because the blood of Christ was not enough to pay for our sins. That some man who no one can prove ever existed as there are more than 3 billion joseph smith's was met by angels and given the location of tablets that mysteriously made its way from the middle east all the way to New yourk city. Again if Obama is introuble regarding his faith Mitt Rommney better be prepared for the clubbing that would come his way as well.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Romney has been under a continueous assallt over his Religion since before he was the nominee. Obama can not afford to have Reverend Wright on every TV this late in the cycle andyour threat is meaningless. The video is ready to roll, should the left play the fool.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  10. Jannae

    Romney is the Anti-Christ...look it up! I dare you!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Bowdowntocats

      Did you read that article? There several references to Obama's behavior in that short article that the "Anti-Christ" phrase was intended for.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Sloppy J

      WOW!! I took that audacious dare and googled the question "Is Romney the anti-Christ?" And you're right!!! There is some random web site run by some random guy who says Romney IS the anti-Christ! If that's not enough to get my buy-in, nothing will be. The random guy, according to the front page of his site, is a little strapped for cash and is soliciting donations. How much have you donated, Jannae?

      October 22, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Amhlair

      For sure the LDS church is anti-Christ. Mitt Romney is a member and leader of a cult that believes: "After the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints was organized, there were only two churches upon the earth. They were known respectively as the Church of the Lamb of God and Babylon. The various organizations which are called churches throughout Christiandom [sic], though differing in their creeds and organizations, have one common origin. They belong to Babylon." LDS ‘apostle’ George Q. Cannon.

      President Romney, Christians?

      October 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  11. Amhlair

    Mitt Romney is a member and leader of a cult that believes this: "What does the Christian world know about God? Nothing...Why so far as the things of God are concerned, they are the veriest fools; they know neither God nor the things of God." This from their third 'prophet' John Taylor. He also said, "What! Are Christians ignorant? Yes, as ignorant of the things of God as the brute beast."

    Do we Christians want a president who believes this about us?

    October 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • KEKC

      The only difference between a cult and a religion is the number of members. We want an atheist for a president, but since no one is available at the moment, choose who is not a fraud. Which pretty much means elect Romney.

      October 22, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • K from AZ

      Better that than a Muslim masquerading as a Christian!

      October 22, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  12. Lainie11

    The way Obama was raised (no religion perse) goes to show that if you don't raise your children in what your beliefs are, the result is a "meatloaf" type of religion which is basically nothing at all. Parents can do no better than to instill the religious beliefs of their own in their children. The outcome otherwise, is nothing. Every dictator which includes Stalin, Hitler, Lenin, etc.... held no particular religious belief, but instead looked upon religion as the "opiate of the people". Obama's "meatloaf" religion is the same basically as other dictators who would wish to destroy any Christianity in America.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • KEKC

      What a bunch of bull... Only atheists can hold true moral values, as they are not based on the fear of punishment from gods.
      Yes, atheists can be also evil as Lenin, but so can religious people.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • What IF


      I'll bet that you think that YOUR flavor of religion is the only right one, eh?

      Ah, those who proclaim themselves to be wise....

      October 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  13. Jannae

    Romney believes in the suppression of women! Think about that when you go to vote! Pretty soon we'll have to dress like the women in the Middle East!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • K from AZ

      Yep, and for mentally challenged women like you, the right to vote should be rescinded also!

      October 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Amhlair

      Yawn, another embarrassing poster from Arizona. Too bad we can't just give that mess back to Mexico.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • pjzach

      good one. like thats ever going to happen. call me at 402 923 183. then we can talk

      October 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Sloppy J

      How 'bout some type of intelligence test to determine if you get a vote or not? I'm all for supressing the submorons of the world. Jannae, are you in a leadership positions of SMOA (Submorons of America), or are you just an enthusiastic member?

      October 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Mike

      What a brilliant statement, so Mormon women dress like women in Iran? you are ridiculous

      October 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  14. WIlly

    Is he a Christian? I do not know his heart but the things he promotes are contradictory to many teachings in the bible. A Christian knows the voice of his master and that is the controlling force in their lives. Christians have to constantly ask themselves "does this please God?" instead of "will this get me the most votes?". Is he doing that? I do not know. Is it right to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves? You can win the bet that this is a Christian principle. But is it right to forcibly take from one to give to another? I do not think so. Charity is a good thing and the church and some of its members have failed at times but when the government provides for the need instead of the church then the appreciation is gone from the receiver. Now the Government owes it to them. The gift and giver are divorced from each other.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  15. terre haute

    Read the Bible. REALLY read it, cover to cover, and then try to suggest that every word of it should be taken as literal fact and guidance on how to live our lives. It's truly a frightening idea. Forget the spiritual aspects. The morality, ethics, and ideas contained in the Bible are abhorrent and contradictory. If this were truly a "Christian nation", we'd be a Marxist dictatorship full of rapists, slavers, and serial killers. Anyone who seriously believes that our leaders should be guided by the principles of the Bible isn't fit to hold office. If that's the word of God, then God is bat-crap crazy.

    At least that part is even possible. The spiritual and historical aspects are just insanely ridiculous. They're not physically possible, and are increasingly being proven false, often ridiculously so, which is why the fundamentalists are now so militant about attacking science and rational thought. If you actually read the Bible, you can't help but find it to be the silliest fairy tale you've ever read.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm |

      There are alot of angry people here. I would love for someone in this group to back up their statements with facts, other than "look it up"

      October 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  16. dd

    Christians don't kill babies indiscriminately; that is the work of Satan. Obama is a Satanist!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Leigh mahaney

      You are an uneducated, confused person!
      Please inform yourself before you write.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Leigh mahaney

      You are an uneducated, confused person!
      Please inform yourself before you write.This article lowers the bar for CNN way below its reputation!

      October 22, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • terre haute

      Change "Christian" to "Muslim" and re-read these posts. The same people who are posting them would be violently replying with attacks on "Islamo-fascism".

      Change "Mormon" to "Christian" and re-read these posts. The same people who are posting them would be violently defending their embattled Christian faith and screaming about religious freedom.

      The reality is, religious beliefs have no place in public policy-making, and posts like these are precisely why. The 1st Amendment guarantees the free practice of religion. ALL religion, not just that of the majority. The irony of a country full of descendants of Pilgrims, Quakers, Catholics, etc trying to declare this a "Christian nation" is just awesome...

      October 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  17. kerry

    the right are the first to condem him for twenty years of jeremiah wright and also the first to deny he is a christian. you cant have it both you on the right. no wonder you are getting left behind, the world has changed.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      There is no left behind, Christ interupted the Jews oblation offering at midweek, the final week of his Natural life, just as Daniel prophesized. "Those little seeds" were the source of Peace for Jerusalem and we are all aware of what has happened since. No seven years to repent, just that moment of arrival and then the end.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  18. Jannae

    I'm assuming all of you in support for Romney have an income of $250,000 and above? Those are the only people who will benefit from Romney in the White House!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Mike

      It REALLY is time for you to stop posting

      October 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  19. Morty

    If you don't like Obama's beliefs then don't vote for him, but keep your own beliefs to yourself. We intelligent people who don't believe in some invisible space god have no need for your idiocy. I've read the bible; it is a mediocre novel.

    October 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • 1ofTheFallen

      Which part did you read Morty? I read it as well over many years cover to cover along with much research. I started out as a non-believer in a space god as you are. I soon realized after reading much of the science and research (I am a Computer Science Grad) that science theorizes and tries to disprove god but very intelligent people know that science does not disprove god and that evolution has lots of unanswered questions as well as the big bang. You can choose to believe in the Giant Dirt

      October 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • 1ofTheFallen

      Follow Up – You to believe in the Giant Dirt Ball in the Sky (Big Bang ) which nobody has an answer Giant Dirt Ball got or how the Gor there in the first place given that our Universe is still excelerating apart instead of slowing down like science said it was 30 years ago. At least the Christian God in the sky tells people to love one another and treat people they way you would like to be treated. The Giant Dirt Ball just gets you muddy and says grab all the goods for yourself before you die much like Islam.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • What IF

      1of theFallen,
      "science theorizes and tries to disprove god"

      Science does no such thing. Science looks for answers.

      If you had any real science background you would know that the default stance for any hypothesis (yes, god is an hypothesis) where there is no verified evidence for it is to withhold belief until proven.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • humanbeing

      So what do you believe in then? Evolution theory? Big bang theory? Multi-verse theory? Whatever "theories" the scientists come up with? You'd believe anything these "smart people" say that they may as well be your gods. If you did some research, you'd know that even scientists believe in something they cannot prove. Look up Multi-verse, a theory, which BY DEFINITION cannot be proven, yet widely adopted by top scientists, even Steven Hawkings himself.

      It's sad seeing all these people believing something to be the truth without doing their research. See it for yourself, and this goes for both religion and science.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Rob

      I disagree. The Bible is an excellent anthology of truly enthralling stories. Way ahead of its time, as far as works of fiction go.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • What IF


      You obviously do not know the definition of "Scientific Theory".


      October 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • humanbeing

      What IF,

      I'm not the one who hasn't heard of the term "Scientific Theory"; everyone else is – all those people who simply believe in "Big Bang" or even the origin of our universe without even doing their homework on the topic. They simply believe science to be the truth, without knowing that the fundamentals of science is that it's always improving, which implies that at any given point it, will never be the "absolute truth."

      October 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  20. Imwebspy

    Now think about this a Mormon running for President says:

    "I will bring Religion back to the White House, and I am of the same view as my Church, Separation of Church and State not necessarily a good thing"

    Romney would like The United States to be more like Libya, Iran, and The Middle East!

    You cant run America like a business at a certain point "The Workers" have to mean more then the bottom line, or China will be the model of our future, a form of marshal law "Life Credits for eating well, working well, and precedent of making $2.00 per hour!

    October 22, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • js03

      Like the tyrants of Islam?

      You gotta be joking. You also forget that the Ten Commandments adorn the halls of the Supreme Court, that Congress employs a Pastor who bless's it every time it goes into session, and that the White House itself was used for Christian Services as far back as Thomas Jefferson. No, it might be easy today to lie to the people about what this nations roots are, but when we seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, we find our fathers and see how much they believed in God.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:10 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.