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. JR in TX

    The hateful and unreasonable fundamentalist Christian beliefs of my parents and grandparents are still visible in my generation. Fortunately for America these unyielding creationist beliefs are much less common in my children's generation and even less so in my grandchildren's generation.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Esther Rowe

      I have two observations:
      1. Jesus said,'I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.'
      2. 'His fan is in His hand, and He is thoroughly purging His floor.' The wheat will be gathered into His garner, but the chaff will be burned with unquenchable fire.' I didn't say that He did. It is sifting time. Those who are Christian in name only will not be able to continue to hold on to a facade. Every mans work will be tried by fire to test what sort it is. This is now happening.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • JR in TX

      Ester, I have read your reply several times and for the life of me I can’t see how it relates to what I said.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  2. wjmccartan

    Religion in general has probably started more wars and killed more people, then any disease. We have opened a door to religion so it can see itself, I hold nothing against any religion as long it doesn't hurt anybody. I was raised by the religion that has been responsible for plenty of terror and death. Catholic. Today I believe what ever power over sees mankind didn't write a book though. Those were all written by men. Life still holds plenty of mystery for me though. Like I'm mystified why anyone would vote for the republicans after what they've done, and I mean for the last 30 years.

    Lucid One

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

      If you think religion has caused most wars throughout history, you cannot read, understand, or even fathom history. Most wars have been fought over resources and boundaries. Anyone that reads history and sees religion as the main cause of war is too stupid to own a laptop!

      October 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Fact

      So, that's your religion.

      Obama/Biden/America vs. Romney/Ryan/American Dream 2012

      October 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Catholics tend to be Romney supporters and I am doubtful of your sincerity. Do you mean that you are a secular christian, like Obama? A Catholic who has lost their faith?

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

      Because we can see from nations such as North Korea, China and the old Soviet Union what a utopian secular state looks like.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Fact


      That would actually be:
      Obama/Biden/MARXISM vs. Romney/Ryan/AMERICAN Dream 2012

      October 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • OneTruth

      GC. Crusades? Inquisition? Northern Ireland? various conflicts in Africa?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • austin1

      is...is...is this a joke? Are you being serious right now? This post is simultaneously incredibly misguided and possibly the most arrogant post I've ever read on CNN. To think that religion (of any kind) has started the majority of wars, as opposed to being used as a justification to sway the masses, demonstrates the critical thinking of a tenth grader. I understand I may be responding harshly, but it's almost pathetic that these thoughts were seriously put to pen and paper by someone who claims to be a "lucid one"

      October 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  3. Carol Fairweather

    I agree that the Republicans just want the Black man out of the White House.
    . If Jesus were still walking among us he would be horrified at the far right religious group of Americans.. Shame ..Shame..Shame...


    October 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • David L.

      These racial arguments are really starting to upset and annoy me, and I'm an Obama supporter. The argument is extremely lazy, because it relinquishes any responsibility on behalf of the poster of having to have any intellectual arguments around public policy. The Republicans can come up with as many arugments against Obama (some good, some bad) but the lazy out there are constantly dismissing it all as "racism."

      Stop with the lazy arguments, and do something productive if you want to help reelect Obama.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      Yep, that makes sense, since there isn't a single black in the GOP! What a fool you are!!!! The GOP clearly has a different take on how to grow this economy. Perhaps that is why they don't like Obama......nope it has to be his race. (only completely blind and deaf people could make this statement) What the heck do our schools teach these days?????

      October 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • austin1

      BOOOOO!!!! Just booooo!!! keep the racism accusations off of a good site like CNN's

      October 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  4. TruthSayer

    I would never call Obama a Muslim, and likewise I would never call him a Christian. His devotion to a black separatist church would be a political death knoll for almost anyway else, but he received a free pass. I am personally not religious in the slightest, and do not let anyone's religious persuasion influence my vote, unless they attend a church of hate. In this Obama and former LA State Republican avid Duke share a commonality. The two elected officials (one from each party) whose religion SHOULD HAVE precluded them from ever getting elected.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • TruthSayer


      October 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "death knoll"??? Is that like the "grassy knoll" in Dallas?

      What a boob.

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

      Instead of taking 3 words Wright said out of context, why don't you copypasta his whole sermon onto here so you can see what really said and meant?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Because that would expose the idiot Turd Sayer for what he is. The same as the morons who post the crap about "my Muslim faith" as if it meant anything.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  5. Sunnie71

    This is the largest pile of poo I think I have read in a long time. Fundamental Christianity is now a sub-culture that has infiltrated the political arena? Give me a bleepin break! Read Revelations people. This is the crap we are suppose to watch out for. Keep your faith in the REAL CHRIST, follow his WORD and in the end Jesus wins.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      To the authors of this piece, the Protestant Reformation never occurred. Reading the Bible literally to them just happened last year.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • David L.

      I actually thought the "sub-culture that has infiltrated the political landscape" comment was right on. The religious right, most recently through the extremely dangerous "Tea Party," have hi-jacked what SHOULD be logical public discourse or social programs, and turned them in to a Bible fight by claiming, incorrectly, that this is a Christian nation, and that we should be legislating the Bible.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  6. Carol Fairweather

    Jannae I am a Canadian and I too see that the Republicans just want the Black man out of the White house. If Jesus was still walking around our earth he would be horrified at the far right in America. Shame Shame...


    October 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • TruthSayer

      Ahhh, the race card. When your ideas are dead, and your mental capacity is maxed by simple arithmetic, then pull the race card. You are another brainless liberal stooge in Canada...quite a few of them there, so at least you keep similar company I am sure.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • sam stone

      "When your ideas are dead, and your mental capacity is maxed by simple arithmetic, then pull the race card."

      When youre ideas are dead and our mental capacity is maxed by simple arithmetic, then pull out the christian proxy threat card

      October 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  7. Sivick

    1) Obama is very christian, his social justice is right in line with what the catholic church preaches. (that other stuff they preach most catholics ignore) 2) This nation was never ment to be a christian nation, it's supposed to be a secular one. The founding fathers feared this and wrote the seperation of church and state and the freedom of religion to make sure it wouldn't happen.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • MPLH89


      October 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • ryanwin

      Forcing equal possessions is not part of the gospel. Jesus always gave people the freedom to make choices for themselves. When you force government run charity, it actually hinders the poor instead of helping them, in many cases. What people need are opportunities to work. When you expect to get something for free, you won't work for it.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  8. Liza baker

    Judge not for that is the right of God alone. You may have a personal relationship with God, but you cannot comment on someone elses relationship with him. As for abortion, you are right, the bible does not mention it, but other books of the time and before do, so don't assume that it wasn't around. I am happy that you are happy in your faith, but it is unkind to say someone else's faith is not true according to your interpataion. You are right the Bible does instruct us to care for one another, but it does not give us instructions on how to do it, again you can not put your interpatation on it. I am just happy that the world is full of people of faith and I try not to judge. I am happy that we are starting to take care of the less fortunate and I don't mind how its done, just that it is. Zach please try to find joy in your faith and please do not think of it as another way to judge what God wants or doesn't want from others. Concentrate on you and your faith and relationship with God.

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

      Liz, you are wise. We are not to judge someones salvation. Only God knows the heart. But we will know them by their fruit. I am not comfortable trying to Judge what the President believes. I only can look to God's word for the answers.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  9. Wc

    Why has this suddenly become an issue a few days before election ? It is very disappointing that you, CNN, are behind this kind of race bating. I for one will stop watching anything you have to say in the future. It is obvious to me and my family you are no better than Fox news and the garbage that they put out. It is a disgrace that more mention regarding the disrespect President Obama, and First Lady Michelle, as well as this office has received has not been given the same amount of journalistic scrutiny. The world is a better place then when he took office and we pray that he and his family will be able to withstand the lies and untruths that are being issued daily.

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

      I couldn't agree more! You (CNN) wouldn't dare make an issue of Romney's religion – why are you trying to make one re: President Obama???

      October 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  10. palintwit

    We arrive in rusty 1964 motorhomes.
    We bring our bibles and carry loaded assault weapons.
    We wear ridiculous costumes and hang teabags from our earlobes.
    We carry misspelled racist signs as we stomp all over the White House lawn.
    We are the "real Americans" Sarah Palin spoke of.
    We love the baby jesus, but we love to boink our cousins even more.
    We believe that nascar is a real sport, and that Dale Earnhardt was a great American athlete.
    We are the baggers and birthers.
    We are christians and republicans.
    We are morons and we are proud !

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

      Oh, you must be one of those "inclusive" liberals that always talk about how much GOP and Christians are discriminatory....as you discriminate yourself. In my world, you are a mere hypocrite.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  11. Jannae

    Romney is the anti-Christ...look it up...

    October 22, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • ziba

      Come on, you guys call everyone anti Christ. Since before JFK, every president has been called anti Christ, Pope has been called anti-Christ, leaders of most countries have been called anti-Christ. So, who is it? you always have evidence why you call them anti-Christ, and you are always ridiculous.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  12. zippy

    Giving to the poor and helping those in need are basic Christian principals.
    That being said, charity needs to be a personal act of giving and kindness.
    Government mandated charity removes the individual's ability to demonstrate compassion.

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

      NONSENSE! Government "charity" supplements personal charity and provides where personal, church-based and other charities do not fill the need. Government is the people of the US, and as such, is ALL OF US helping our less-fortunate neighbors. You need to sit quietly and pray about this, because you clearly do not know what it is in your heart..."faith, hope, charity...above all the greatest of these is charity".

      October 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • zippy

      Now you think you know what's in my heart?
      Get a grip

      October 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • iminim

      Religion aside, more healthy citizens means more productive citizens who don't wind up on disability. Help someone with diabetes have access to medication and health care & they are much less likely to go on disability due to stroke, amputations, or heart attack. Health care is much more than a religious debate.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  13. cgs

    CNN, you forgot to photoshop in the halo for Obama!

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

      Oh, they did that. Look at the homepage. It is on the top corner. Obama with a halo!! These guys are going to do everything to get Obama re-elected.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • David L.

      Whenever I hear someone claiming that CNN is wildly unbiased in Obama's favor, I can't help but think that that is the perfect example of what has happened to the political right over the last 30 years. They have shifted so far from center, that any organization (in this case, CNN) that is not actively standing AGAINST Obama, MUST be FOR Obama.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  14. Tom

    Obama's so-called Christian faith is nothing more than a box he checked off on his way to public office. It was a means to an end. His time at Rev. Wright's church was nothing more than an opportunity to rub elbows with wealthin and influential blacks. A genuine Christian would have headed to the door after one of Wright's hate-filled rants, not go back week after week for more of the same.

    Obama can speak Christian-ese fluently, but is afraid of appearing to be Christian. If one takes his word that he considers himself a Christian, then he is the epitome of a secular Christian.

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

      "Obama can speak Christian-ese fluently"

      Actually he can't. He just thinks he can like most liberals. From the perspective of the authentic Christian he sounds really silly to our ears. Its the unbeliever who can't hear.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Traveler

      If you have a problem swallowing that Obama's a christian, believe me, you will have even more trouble than the rich man entering the kingdom of heaven swallowing Romney being anything remotely "christian". By the way...Mormons do NOT believe that any of the other christian faiths in the world are truly Christian...not to mention what they think of the Buddhists, Muslims, Taoists, Hindus, Jains, Sihks, etc. I KNOW, I was born into Mormonism and finally got out!

      October 22, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  15. Jannae

    Sadly, many people who are voting for Romney just want Obama "out". They don't really feel that strongly about Romney as their Republican candidate. Very sad, too, that many of them want him out simply because they don't like black people. I'm white, and I can see very clearly the racism that is going on. Very sad...my vote is for Obama...he's a true leader!

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

      Your not very bright. Obviously it is his color, it can't be about his ridiculous policies that haven't worked, his ultra-leftist stance on everything, and his failure to do most of what he promised. But, yeah it has to be about his color. Again,you are not very bright!

      October 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Tom

      @Jannae: Congratulations on pulling out the race card. Apparently you haven't learned that the first one to toss the racist label loses the argument. Just your liberal white guilt talking.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • kiki

      @Gaius "Your (sic) not very bright". Quoth the genius who doesn't know the proper form of "you're".

      October 22, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      OR the proper spelling of "Gaius."

      October 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  16. Lainie11

    Please print my post. You removed the last one. Obama's "religion" is called Meatloaf. He really believes in nothing but himself. All the world's dictators detested the Christian religion and some called it the opiate of the people. Americans, better take note of this.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What utter manure. Both times.

      October 22, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • What IF


      Sounds like you think that your flavor of hash is just right though, eh?

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

      October 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • sam stone

      lanie: so, you know what other people believe without asking them? how incredibly god like. bravo....

      October 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  17. Lainie11

    Obama's "religion" is called Meatloaf. He really believes in nothing but himself. All the world's dictators detested the Christian religion and some called it the opiate of the people. Americans, better take note of this.

    October 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  18. Pshrnk

    Where would you say Jimmy Carter fits in this discussion?

    October 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • iminim

      Tradtional Southern Baptist background with strong social justice leanings.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  19. SurelyUjest

    Whats worse Tebow or Joseph Smith? seriously....I dont know what is.

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

      @midwest rail,

      "People who pretend to know the mind of God are delusional."

      Perhaps you should read a bible before you post:

      1Co 2:12 And we have received God's Spirit (not the world's spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us.
      1Co 2:13 When we tell you these things, we do not use words that come from human wisdom. Instead, we speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths.
      1Co 2:14 But people who aren't spiritual can't receive these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them and they can't understand it, for only those who are spiritual can understand what the Spirit means.
      1Co 2:15 Those who are spiritual can evaluate all things, but they themselves cannot be evaluated by others.
      1Co 2:16 For, "Who can know the LORD's thoughts? Who knows enough to teach Him?" But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You don't have a mind at all, nottoobright, much less the mind of Christ. What arrogance.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  20. What!!?

    Hey, right wing "Christians", what would Jesus do?

    October 22, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      It is obvious to any Aware Christian that God hates Obama's Nicolaitan works.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's obvious you're mentally unbalanced, Tarder.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • midwest rail

      People who pretend to know the mind of God are delusional.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Romnesia

      John, Enough with the "no true scotsman" fallacy.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • sam stone

      midwest: now, be fair....they could just be corrupt

      October 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      The cross burner christians do often cancel out the defection of Catholic voters from the democrats, but I doubt the Klans will vote for Obama. Tarver is pictish, the little ones that were later welsh archers, but my ancestors sold their Scotticsh rights for southern virginia and the Carolinas; nice land grant.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Beauty

      Good one

      October 22, 2012 at 4:42 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.