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. Jannae

    Maybe CNN will take this article off...and replace with an article related to Romney and the Mormon faith...let's be fair about this!

    October 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      Perhaps, they changed the name of the article in the past 3 hours. CNN is known for doing weird stuff on their blogs

      October 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • FYI

      Yes, Gaius, yesterday this article was ti'tled: "Is Obama the Wrong Kind of Christian"?

      And, Jannae, there are several articles here about Romney's Mormonism.
      For one: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/21/atheist-billboard-attacks-romneys-faith-but-mormons-say-its-misleading/

      October 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  2. curious

    John 3:16.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • snowboarder

      too many beers at lunch?

      October 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • sybaris

      THAT's my favorite verse because................. it shows how impotent the christian god is.

      Funny how it created the first humans out of dirt but then later had to use some other mans wife to reproduce itself then "sacrifice" itself (some sacrifice, it returned to it's natural form) to itself for a problem it created but should have seen coming in it's omniscience.

      Dumb god

      October 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  3. Lisa

    90% of the so called "Christians" in my life no more lead a life of christ than a cow does. Hypocrisy is the word that comes to mind when I think of Christians. At least Obama reads and interprets the bible in an intellectual, thoughful, and realistic manner.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Tom

      @Lisa: Your mistake is judging Christianity by the deeds of other Christians. You should judge it instead by the one for whom it was named.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • sam stone


      Matthew 7:16

      October 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  4. Beauty

    This article is pure garbage. He spent years in a church that hates white people and only left to run for president. He is no Christian and never will be.He is not even an American. Look at his fake birth certificate, it says African American. That term was not used then. Nothing but a Chicago thug.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Your post is nothing but pure unadulterated tea bagger bullshit. Why don't you post Wright's whole sermon here, so everyone can see the context of how he used the phrase in question? I know you won't, because it will show what a fucking liar you are.

      And please pull up Obama's birth certificate on any of the 10 million websites it's own. Then show us EXACTLY were it says Obama is African American. I'll bet you a billion dollars you won't – again, because you're nothing more than a fucking tea bagger liar. It doesn't list Obama's raace at all. It lists his mother as caucasian and his father as African.

      How the hell do you cretins live with yourselves?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • sam stone

      Beauty: More blah, blah, blah. Go home, boy, and get your shinebox

      October 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  5. SurelyUjest

    Just pointing out how you first call our president a liar. Then someone reports a statement based in some fact that Romney has had an Etch a sketch moment every 2 – 3 yrs on many issues and you call him stupid. I dont feel a lot of love here for any differing opinions.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  6. nb123


    October 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  7. Charles Emery

    It's interesting that the distinction between church and state are being blurred so much in this article. One relies on the generosity of its members to achieve its goals while the other threatens force in the pursuit of its goals. I find it difficult to equate the generosity and kindness that Christ asked his followers to demonstrate to that of the state forcing everyone to give whether they want to or not.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  8. terre haute


    You've conveniently ignored ansering the question.

    Is the bible the literal word of God? Your reference to the new and old "covenants" is actually instructive here. That modern Christians have adopted a more convenient "convenant" (read: interpretation) actually raises more questions, rather than render mine "inaffective". Are these reference the word of God or not? If so, how can they be disregarded by "new convenant" Christians? You're actually skating close to an answer here, but I don't think it's the one you're going to like...

    October 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • KJC

      The problem here is looking at the bible as simply a list of rules to either be accepted or not. On the contrary, the bible is primarily an overarching story of God's redemptive plan for humanity. Much of the old testament is about God setting Israel apart from other nations, and so the moral laws (don't lie, don't kill) still apply as moral teachings, but the ritualistic ones (such as animal sacrifice) are obsolete. It is not that God changed; rather, those rituals were used by God in that time period to point to his ultimate redemptive plan – Jesus – and now that Jesus he has come, we don't need those rituals to point to him – we have him. Reading the bible literally does not mean taking every single word and applying it to every single situation; rather, it means to read each book as the author originally intended. For example, some books of the bible are entirely poetry – to apply each line as if it was an authoratative command is just intellectually dishonest – that's not how adults read. Other books, on the other hand, are clearly not meant to be metaphor. Many are letters written to a specific church to address a specific issue that was arising in that church at the time. To read that book literally is to read it as a letter to that church, asking what that church was dealing with and what message the letter writer was literally intending for that church. Then you can ask how does that apply to the chuch as whole.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
  9. nb123


    October 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
    • Fact

      Facts are facts – same old bull. Change has come only in ways we were not expecting. More government control and less freedom. God save us from 4 more years of this and worse.

      2012 America/Romney/Ryan vs. Obama/Biden/Marxism

      October 22, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  10. midwstrngrl

    even the old testament had landowners leave grain at the edge of their fields for the poor to harvest, let the poor pay less for sacrifices at the alter, forgave debt every seven years...and that is not even considering the Greek scriptures...

    October 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      Which OT verse was it that says the govt should tax people more to give to the rich. I must have glossed over that one! All I've read is the verses that talk about personal responsibility....crap did I say that phrase. Jesse Jackson will sure have my balls for that comment!

      October 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Charles Emery

      thanks for that, I always wondered where the term of seven years for reporting bankruptcy came from...

      October 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  11. Mike

    So now Obama is a "relgious pioneer" as well? GIve me a break. First, you can't really define the whole country's religious beliefs or act arlike they fall into 2 groups. Even if you could, I hardly think Obama has lead this charge of an evolving state of Christianity amongst a VERY large group of people. For instance, the majority of Catholics believe in contraceptives despite the official church policy.

    Can we please start getting back to what Obama has done (although it might be tough) instead of running crap like this to make him out to be the Tim Teabow of politics?

    October 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  12. Lee Oates

    Religion is not the issue with Obama. If the results in the poles don't seem to follow events, it's because noone wants to mentiion the 600 lb gorilla in the room. It's simply because about half of the American population are racist, mostly the Republican half. They want the "blackman" out of the "white" house. Nothing Obama does counts, nothing will convince them to vote for him. They will instead vote for a "whiteman", that is essentially a liar and a theft, and a con-man. Look at what Romney did to Freeport, Illinois, out of greed and a total lack of ethics. Only a self-destructive person would vote for someone who plans to remove the safety net, legislate against women, and whose party has done everything it could to suppress the vote. The election is about white privilege, and fear of minorities.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      You are spot on! Very true and very disturbing that this sentiment still thrives in 2012.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Mike

      Wow- a very convincing argument if you had a SHRED of evidence to support it. A brief history lesson- whenever 2 candidates go against each other in our country, about half vote for one candidate and about half for the other. This occurs amazingly regardless of race! I Republicans should start "promoting the vote" like our Democratic state congressman in Alabama who specifically targetted the black vote by buying them cheap bottles of vodka . He also threw away early votes for the other candidate and kept his own. He said he thought it was wrong but only a little bit because he thought "everyone else was doing it."

      I'd love to have an intelligent conversation with you about our fundamentally different views and why I'm a Republican but don't waste your breath on a blog with wide spread, unfounded claims of racism. Wake up.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • David L.

      Lee, this has to be one of the weakest defenses to Obama I have ever heard, and this is coming from an Obama supporter. Does race have anything to do with this election? Sure, there is likely a small contingent of people who are voting based on racial preconceptions, but this is likely a small percentage of the population. To say that half the country is racist because they don't support Obama is unbelievably fallacious, and harmful to the Obama campaign. If you support Obama, please, knock the racial stuff out, and develop some original thoughts when commenting in these forums.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Fact

      Lee, time you stop playing the victim. If what you say is true then Obama NEVER woukd have been elected in the first place. The fact is his POLICIES are lousy; it has NOTHING to do with his skin color .

      October 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      @David and Mike

      Grow a brain, racism is alive and well and living in Republican wealth and outdated philosophies, like the odor that comes out of penny loafers that old men can barley walk in. Their crippled feet are a mirror of their decrepit conservative gray matter that oozes of inhumanity and degradation. There's no drawing a line here, Republicans ARE Christians, the double whammy of hell fire secular law that they bullied-in only to make way for their real agenda, God's law according to their God.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Primewonk

      In polls from last Spring, almost half of republicans in Mississippi said that interracial marriage should be illegal. In other polls 30-50% of republicans (varies by state) believe Obama is not an American, but was born in Kenya.

      But noooo – republican tea baggers aren't racist.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " The fact is his POLICIES are lousy"

      Which policies? The ones that have doubled the DOW? The ones that have lead to 31 straight months of job growth? The ones that have turned around the housing crisis? The ones that saved the auto industry? The ones that are saving healthcare?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  13. Greg C.

    I refuse to read the article based on the premise of the subject line and especially given divisive nature of how CNN is/has been conducting itself as the so-called purveyor of truth especially int he field of religion which it knows nothing about but instead, chooses to try to sway readers' opinions based on a very secularist or antagonistic approach. I am not an Obama supporter but I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate the connotation to being an equal to Jesus Christ nor do I think the relevance Mitt's Mormon faith, Obama's Islamic or Christian affiliations matter. What matters is their job performance on issues that matter today; the economy and foreign policy are top of the heap; social issues are last on my list.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • David L.

      I guess it's hard for me to call you out on commenting on an article, when it is clear you haven't read it, because you admitted to not reading it. However, that said, not reading the article has put you at a sever disadvantage in any discourse here, because you have no idea what you're talking about.

      They did not compare Obama to Jesus.

      They did not discuss Romney's Mormonism.

      The fact that you even hint to "Obama's Islamic affiliations" highlights you as the type of person they were discussing in the article.

      You are the problem. Not because you're ignorant, but because you're stubbornly ignorant. You refuse to even entertain the idea that someone might have an intelliectual argument that conflicts yours, so you just ignore it.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  14. Fisher

    Dear Terminator Jesus. Obama did not do anything in the last 4 years to protect us from china (two years were devoted to care, no jobs), we owe more than 6 trillions to china now. i am sick in my stomack everything is from china, china is living from america and we owe money to them. keep blaming republicans. "Obama is the president now, and keep blaming republicans for his 4 years failure" The mess start with Clinton and the american dream and most american tryng to have a house and spend great proportion of salary,

    October 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • midwstrngrl

      just in case you didnt know....the China thing has been going on for well over 20 years..

      October 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • visitor

      republicans filibustered a bill that would stop granting tax breaks for moving jobs overseas.

      talk to the republicans.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Tea Party sheeple keep buying cheap Chinese made crap at Walmart. Perhaps your problem is with them?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  15. Lee Oates

    If the results in the poles don't seem to follow events, it's because noone wants to mentiion the 600 lb gorilla in the room. It's simply because about half of the American population are racist, mostly the Republican half. They want the "blackman" out of the "white" house. Nothing Obama does counts, nothing will convince them to vote for him. They will instead vote for a "whiteman", that is essentially a liar and a theft, and a con-man. Look at what Romney did to Freeport, Illinois, out of greed and a total lack of ethics. Only a self-destructive person would vote for someone who plans to remove the safety net, legislate against women, and whose party has done everything it could to suppress the vote. The election is about white privilege, and fear of minorities.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      It is ignorance like this that keeps racism alive. Anyone that thinks Obama's race is the primary reason Americans are voting against him in droves is too stupid to even read the news or just plain doesn't understand politics. Either way, stupidity is rampant in your comment. Perhaps it might be because he is more leftist than any other president in history. But nope, I bet his race is what they don't like.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • kiki

      @Gauis Can you provide any examples that prove that Obama is the most leftist president in history? As for racism, while it is not the motivating factor in all people's dislike it doesn't take much of a search to see that it is the reason that a great many revile him and cannot stand that he is president.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • visitor

      Not everyone who hates Obama is a racist.

      But the ones that advance or believe stupidity like he is a secret Muslim, or a Muslim, or was born in Kenya, or is a Marxist or Communist, is a racist. Because only racism would explain why they are so willing to believe such tripe without a shred of evidence other than cartoons fed to them by smarter people. My Mom lives in the South. She gave up a couple of years ago and decided there was no other explanation (also some are openly, racist, not just coded racists). Obama cannot do any right whatsoever, even when he does downright right wing things. They just hate him because he is him, and believe lies because he is black. Period.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  16. Jesus...

    Thankfully, our nations inception was due to people trying to escape religious persecution (aka, the church & the king forcing their ideals on everyone). I think I will vote for the person that has EVERYONE's best interest in mind, not just some of the people, regardless of their personal beliefs. I mean, ain't this America?
    If you want to be a leader of a religion, go lead a CHURCH. If you want to be president, be a leader of the PEOPLE.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      Your comment doesn't directly label Obama the candidate you are referring to in your "everyone' response. I'm sure those that make over $250K per year wouldn't consider themselves as "everyone."

      October 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  17. Jim Jones

    “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.”

    This is true, but it means people who are unable to take care of themselves, not people unwilling to take care of themselves. Poor has suddenly become an acceptable term for people who do not want to do anything. This is the problem. There are 82 million people in this country who do not or will not search for a job. 60% is elders and youth under 25. The elders are fine, but this leaves probably more than 40 million people who do not work and do not care to work. People who do not even try to work but speak of being poor are not in the category this writer is referring too. These people are lazy, period. It is not the poor that are supposed to be supported because they are unable to support themselves. In the words of Biden, Mr. Blake, this is malarkey.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • David L.

      "There are 82 million people in this country who do not or will not search for a job. 60% is elders and youth under 25. The elders are fine, but this leaves probably more than 40 million people who do not work and do not care to work."

      Please cite your sources, because this all sounds made up.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Sherri

      It is certainly kind of you to permit elders to retire (not work). I know quite a few elders (not just 60 year olds either) who are still working even though they may be in terrible health. I also know quite a few people have serious, disabling health issues who are not elderly – who are on disability, live with family members and suffer daily. Perhaps you need to "walk in another's shoes" before you decide you have to right to determine who is lazy.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Jim Jones

      David, here are your sources as requested...



      Thanks for the tiresome “walk in their shoes” speech. We are all very aware of the difficulties people with disabilities have. Some of the disabled people even keep a job and pay taxes, go figure. Oh, and as far as the elders go, I am the last person to decide when someone retires. Many of them work well over 70, 80, or 90 years old. It also makes sense that a person should retire after having actually worked? How about that, someone paying into a system that they use! What a great idea.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  18. Gregory L. Faith

    Start thinking about converting to Islam as Europe is now dealing with the growth of Islam law being pushing into each country. It has started here and will not stop. Once this gains momentum, you had better convert or you will die a christian, jew, etc. There will eventually be a religious war in the US. Which side do you want to be on? Islam is not going away , it is growing. (Muslims believe Jesus was a prophet and not the son of God.)

    October 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Sounds like you got yourself a nice start to a fantasy novel there, you should run with it. Because surely you don't ACTUALLY think Sharia law and a religious war are coming to the united states. Surely you don't. Because that would be insane. Go check yourself into some nuthouse.

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

    I was raised a Catholic in the 50's & 60's and believe it or not the predominant message was a summary of the commandments. Love God above all else and Love thy neighbor as thyself. That means not castigating your neighbor because their beliefs do not match your own. That means love and acceptance of all. The Budest greating namastay means pretty muich "I bow to the light within you" and we all have the light of creating within ourselves and we all have the free will to express that light as we determine. President Kennedy laid out the separation of church and state in the same way as Jesus himself did in the Bible b y separating what is Caesar's kingdom and what is the heavenly father's kingdom. Fundamentalists somehow cannot understand these differences and the country is the worse off for it. One need only look to the Middle East to see where absolutism can lead. I never want to see America go down that path.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • ruth

      Why are people falling for this man..he has duped the Americans and is in the White House laughing at all of America....watch him ....his smile is the Trojan Horse and when all of this is over watch the movie "Dreams from my Real Father" and all Americans will be sorry if he gets in as President again.....I cried after watching this movie NOT for obama but for America.......

      October 22, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • nottolate

      "Love thy neighbor as thyself. That means not castigating your neighbor because their beliefs do not match your own."

      See, that's why you're Catholic and not Christian. It don't mean that at all. For it is written,

      Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

      By your reckoning you'd see your friends and neighbors in Hell rather than correct them when they are in error.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  20. a palled

    I am disguested with this CNN writer in turning religion into a political issue. Why attach President Obama on being a Christian? You have to analyze what category of Christian he is. Why? Talk about him developing a Christian family with a true love of God. That is Christian!! I will not forgive you CNN for this obsurdity. You have lowered politics even lower than it has become. You have placed this inflamatory article on "front page" and it is totally out-of-line and untruthful. We should be focusing our selection of President of the United States based on the skills of the two contenders. Which skills can be used and how many can be used to successfully lead America to greater prosterity and world peace without distroying human beings along the way. Amen! Being a Christian has much to do with it but being a certain subcategory of Christian (as suggested in this article) has nothing to do with it. Being a leader of men and respected world leader has everyting to do with it. BE CHRISTIAN – BE OBJECTIVE – BE A GOOD HUMAN BEING. Don't lie or make faulty assumptions mainly to lead our readers away fromo TRUTH. .......

    October 22, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • David L.

      The article never mentions the election in any way. I thought this article was very poignant, because it highlights the stranglehold the evangelical, religious right, has had on public policy over the last 75 years.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:47 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.