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).

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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. Bradley

    Obama is my kind of Christian. Just not my kind of politician.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  2. jon

    What we are doing, debating whether or not Obama is a Christian is not, is no better than the Qur'an saying that if a follower compromises with somebody who is different(Jew, Christian, Atheist, etc.) then they are not a real Muslim. We must rise above this if we are ever going to get past it.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  3. Cesar

    i don't understand how some people can speak about the presidents beliefs and make judgements on his Christianity. 1. everyone has their own perception of God and everyone has their own perception of what God thinks is right. Catholics, Baptists, Evangelicals, seventh day adventists, mormons, ect.... There are so many versions of Christianity. while all these denominations share a common belief in Jesus Christ they also share many differences. Which one is the right one? thats the beauty of America. you are free to believe whatever the hell you want. Mormons believe that Jesus and Satan are brothers, they believe in the majic underware, Seventh day adventists go to church on saturday, Catholics believe in praying to saints and confessing your sins to a priest, evangelicals believe in people that speak in tongues and catching the Holy Ghost . I believe the president to be a god man. do I know this for sure? no I don't. but its no my place to judge. only God can judge whats in his heart. also there is something every bible says quite clearly. Leave to Caesar what is Caesars and to God what is Gods. Thats a clear separation of church and state.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  4. palintwit

    Real christians believe that the Flintstones is an accurate portrayal of early man. Real christians believe that early automobiles really were foot powered.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • phoenix86

      Seems that it is you who is the real twit here.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      You can't argue with moronic comments as you have written. I just hope there is mental illness treatments in that new healthcare law that will prevent me from ever running into someone as ridiculously uneducated as you are!

      October 22, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • OneTruth

      GC. There are christians who claim that dinosaurs were concurrent with humans so from that point-of-view you could say that they think The Flintstones is a documentary. Glad to hear you approve of ACA having done some research.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  5. gtalum06

    I don't doubt that Obama is a Christian. I never really did, but his faith is only part of the equation. It is nice that people can see that just because some so-called Christians are extreme, others exist out there. However, faith aside, separation of church and state was established for a reason. Freedom of religion means that we all have the right to believe what we want (whether we agree with each other or not). As a Christian, I'm sure my perspective is that Christianity being dominant is ideal, but that doesn't mean that it should be law.

    Also, once again, I don't see what Obama's race has to do with any of this. The man is as white as he is black!!! Granted, he is the first president that's not just a white dude. I wish people would shut up about his race already, I mean come on! It's been 4 years... at what point will people quit using him as a black power figure and just get behind him because of his policies (or don't, whatever). The race card is just too played out... stop it already!

    October 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  6. ArthurP

    Funny you do not see any of those Republican candidates that God told to run as the Republican candidate or his running mate.

    Guess God was just having them on ...

    October 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Observer

      Excellent point.

      The day before the last election Palin said that God's will would be done so maybe there is something to that.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Primewonk

      If the christian version of god is real, he must have one hell of a sense of humor. Can you see him sitting around with Ra and Loki, doing belly shots off Mary? I can hear him asking Thor if he can believe he got Bachmann, Perry, and Cain to all believe he wanted them to run!

      October 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  7. PraingforCountry

    I believe the Bible speaks into the hearts of all people regardless of their background, race, creed, or orientation. Obama has done so much to help the poor, the middle class, and the sick, but I agree he could have done, and be doing, more. The Constiution and our Founding Fathers did not set up a nation in which we Impose our beliefs on others through legislation, but a nation of religious freedom, no matter what a person may believe. When we get hung up on imposing our beliefs about abortion and marriage, we loose focus on what really matters–Showing Christ's Love. Government should not impose religous beliefs on anyone, and banning abortion or preventing two people from committing to one another would do this. We should not judge our president, or anyone, and leave that to God, but instead we should show Christ's love to others just because they're human, and he loved us first. It's all about relationships. An individual's relationship with God through the Christ, and and individual's relationship with others. Matthew 22:37-39, and Luke 10:27.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      I think you are confusing Obama with the President. Obama hasn't fed any homeless that has been reported. He hasn't helped the sick either. As the President of the US, he has forced an insurance program using tax dollars and using tax penalties. How do you possibly confuse what Obama has done with what he has done as President. Jesus actually went and healed the sick, while Obama mandates us to do it using our tax dollars and force. This has nothing to do with Christianity or what Jesus did. I can't believe you just wrote that!!!!!

      October 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      So, Gaius (or as you seem to think it's spelled, Gauis): Has Mitt been busy feeding the hungry or helping the poor?

      Why shouldn't Obama use what authority he has to get a health care plan passed that will help everyone? Why do you object to assisting those who can't help themselves? Doesn't sound very Christ-like to me.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      Tom Tom, if you think it will help everyone in America, you haven't watched the news or even understand what the plan is about. First, not all America will be covered. Second, many many people will see increases in their healthcare insurance. I am still licensed also in insurance, and I can tell you that Dems and GOP agree with both of those points!

      October 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Which is why we should have a single payer plan and not what Congress forced through, dip wad. Did you learn how to spell yet?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Beloved4ever

      We all need to Remember, the least of these...

      31“ But when the Son of Mand comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32All the nationse will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
      33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

      34“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.
      35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

      37“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

      40 "And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

      October 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • OneTruth

      GC. What's the need for insurance. Surely you just pray.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  8. just passing through

    The true definition of being a christian is not based on your walk here on earth, A christian is a person who trust on Christ a lone upon his finish work at the cross (it is finished) and not on your works on earth (holiness). Example judas was one of the deciples who never went to heaven , he did everything the other diciples did except believe on Jesus (look holy). Their is a big difference between decipleship (works) and trusting in Christ alone for salvation. Works produce rewards and trusting in Christ produce salvation. The world is broken down into these two types of people. The blood of christ is what washes you clean and make a sinner like me and you look spotless in God eyes, the fact is God hates sin and all it takes is on sin to enter into hell. You can not add one works to trusting in Christ for salvation, if you do you will not be saved and the message and saving power becomes voided. The Bible doesn't teach any other way to go to heaven, except the by the way the thief at the cross did. Both thiefs asked to go to heaven, but only one went because he believed on Christ. He did not have time to come down the cross and perform any works to add or seal his way to heaven. I am not voting this year because both candidates are flawed. Romney religion teaches he is a alien from the planet calob, jesus christ and the devil is brothers, blacks are from the satan and whites are from Jesus. The jesus he is presenting to America is not the Jesus of the Holy Bible. It is a counterfeit of the truth, Obama has place policies that contradicts the laws of the old testement. The truth is if Obama trust in Christ he will go to heaven, but will suffer shame for his wron decisions here on earth. First corinthians 5:1, you have a man who is saved but is commiting adultry and braging about it. God allowed satan to kill him, but he was still saved. We must rightfully divide the word of God and don't mix it into a soup pot to confuse people who need to hear the truth.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • david esmay

      The bible is fiction, so is the quran, book of mormon, or any other religious tome. Complete fantasy.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      You have presented some very detailed and specific claims as if they were well-documented facts. How do you presume to know that any of that is true? How is it that you happen to know who God is and what he/she thinks?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Beloved4ever

      Make no mistake – Christians who live in a country that provides them the Freedom to govern through voting or holding political offices have a responsibility to participate. Pray about your decision, Trust in Jesus and believe that the Right candidate will hold the Ofiice of President. You need to know that you do not get what you Pray for but rather, You Receive What You Believe When you Pray (Mark 11:24).
      That's what the enemy wants believers to do- Remove ourselves from the process and thus eliminating God any His influence from society. The church is failing to be Salt in the world. (Matt. 5:13)

      October 22, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  9. interfiend

    This is disgusting. Although I wanted to love Obama, and see him as the lesser of two evils, he can't stick in his so-called "Christian" ideologies into his person or agenda. Its false, repulsive, and misleading.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  10. JJ

    I wonder why any Christian would concern themselves with politics at all. Are you voting for an individual who will most likely and closely enact your beliefs onto the population? Are you voting to punish the other for not believing as you believe?

    October 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Beloved4ever

      The Government merely reflects what the citizens believe in their hearts; it does nothing to form those beliefs.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Primewonk

      The heart is not an organ that stores memories or emotions. It pumps blood. Perhaps, if more peoiple used their actual brains, we wouldn't have all these religious nutters arguing over which candidate can "out Jesus" the other.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  11. Rufus T. Firefly

    "Obama is a Muslim plain and simple. He wears a ring that says in Arabic "There is no god but Allah" and with his own mouth has stated "The most beautiful sound I have ever heard is the Muslim call to prayer" NO Christian would EVER say such a statement because it BRAKES number one in God's top ten... "I am the LORD thy God"

    One of the scary things about reading posts from people like this is the realization that their vote counts the same as a rational, informed citizen.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Observer

      Rightwingers like to avoid FACTS and research.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Uh...Hello?

      You do realize that both Christians and Muslims worship the same God? And that it's the Jewish God originally? Technically speaking Allah just means God in Arabic, and if you're a Christian you also believe in Allah. The fundamental differences between Islam and Christianity are the beliefs that for Christianity Christ was the savior and for Islam he was just a prophet and that Mohammed is God's last prophet.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Uh...Hello?

      Oh, and FYI, "I am the lord thy God" comes from the Old Testament, which was originally known as (and still is to many) the Torah, which in case you're too uneducated to know (which wouldn't surprise me) is the holy book of Judaism.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  12. Pro-Ancient

    Taking religion non-literally is nothing more than pandering to some dudes interpretation...that's not believing in anything but oneself...True Christianity does need to believe the literal truth of the Bible otherwise God's Word comes with the added benefit of anything goes according to me! What a bunch of selfish drivel this blog is and the Presidents take for that matter.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  13. Joel

    “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.” Jim Wallis

    October 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  14. Pamela

    It looks like Obama and his supporters, like CNN, MSNBC, ABC, The Huff, etc, don't know what else to print to push for Obama. Even if their guy has shown to be a very inept individual. OK, we admit it, the guy fooled us 4 years ago, but that doesn't mean we have to become masochists and take it for 4 more years, right? I don't see why support someone who's proven to us that he does not know anything about the economy, and that the people he surrounded himself with are just as clueless.. Maybe they should hire Stacey Dash to help them get a clue!

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


      If Obama is "inept" there aren't words bad enough to describe the total incompetence of the last Republican president. You know, that's the guy who didn't care about the person responsible for 9/11 and he's also the guy who started a $1,000,000,000,000 war for false reasons.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • david esmay

      Yeah, we're on the wrong path because manufacturing is up, unemployment down, and we've had continuous growth for 42 months after the worst economic disaster since the great depression and a group of recalcitrant GOP congressmen obstructing anything that would benefit the country's growth.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What david said. If twits like Pamela think that the economy is in worse shape now than it was when Obama took office, they're in a coma.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • fred

      TOM TOM
      While you were in coma and Obama was in office the national debt went up 5.6 trillion as of today.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • sam stone

      right, fred: it had nothing to do with shrub's war, or shrub's tax cuts

      October 22, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • fred

      It has to do with the 47% of people on the take in America. Not to worry the Bible says foreigners will enjoy the fruits of this land when we abandon God. Everything is moveing as planned.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Fred, I long ago stopped worrying about your opinion. You're dumb as a box of hair.

      October 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Fred – the overwhelming majority of those folks would love to psy income tax. Sadly, their jobs pay to little for them to qualify. They do however, pay payroll taxes supporting SS and Medicare, along with sales taxes and gas taxes.

      Perhaps if the ignorant tea baggers hadn't wasted the last 3 years blocking the recovery, these folks would be paying income taxes.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      Yes, you are particularly bothered with what God has said which trickles down to what believers say. Clearly you know well the simple contrasts painted in the language of the Bible. You also know that there is not a lot of difference between the probability we are here by accident or by design. The passage in Luke 23:39-43 sums up the simplicity of contrasts between destiny of those in the light and those who are not. I am thankful that the purpose of God was evident enough that even a box of hair gets it.

      October 22, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • fred

      Amazing how you have bought into the CNN MSNB ABC NBC picture of democracy in action. You make statements based on what you were told by someone with an agenda. Oh my, I havd done the same thing. Now when we go to the polls we will vote based on our misinformation.
      Here is what we know; democrats and republicans have both had their shot and both pull the same garbage. You may want to blame republicans for holding up recovery but the Democrats had a supermajority in congress and a democrat president. Now, think about who has failed.

      October 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • mama k

      who has failed the most are the Republicans. Recovering from the mess of the expense of unnecessary war while while ignoring a looming collapse in the economy is something that will continue to be painfully slow to recover from. This is not entirely, but in a large way, imho, Bush#2's fault along with most of his administration.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • fred

      mama k
      Really, we have a 16 trillion debt not to mention hidden obligation to pay pensions to millions of government employees that are not on the books . We know that 84 trillion is not shown but payable. So, tell me just how Bush managed to do that or republicans are responsible? These massive obligations are the result of a system that does not hold our politicians responsible not democrats or republicans.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ferdy, what do you THINK? He got us into two wars we shouldn't have fought, you stupid git.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • OneTruth

      fred. Bush started two unfunded wars. Bush gave unfunded tax cuts. Bush left the economy in tatters the cost of which includes bailout, ongoing unemployment, ongoing housing crisis. Some of the debt was added under Obama but mainly to keep the country going. Cheney said debt was not a problem, funny how the GOP have flip-flopped on that.

      October 22, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      One Truth
      Sorry you need to get real with yourselves. The whole list you put up against Bush does not put a dent into 84 trillion in unfunded obligations and the 16 trillion dollars in National Debt. This is stuff that happened while you were alive and you cannot see. That would explain why when you look at the wonders of creation your mind and heart see nothing or at best something you like to call the unknown.
      Sorry guys that 84 trillion goes way back to the start of politicians paying for votes with the blood of children. You Boo Hoo Nike for making slaves out of poor children in other countries then applaud democrats and republicans at home for putting our kids into slavery.

      October 22, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The person who needs to get real is you, ferry turdy. You've presented no facts at all to back up your claims, just more baloney about the wonders of creation. There is no reason to conclude that complexity proves a god exists. None.

      I am rather close friends with a very knowledgeable economist. He says you're also wrong about the economic woes of this nation–we are in a WORLD-WIDE RECESSION, fred. This isn't something Obama "did", you nincompoop. The economic cycle is not something the president can control. Obama isn't at fault for the faltering economy. This economic debacle began over a decade ago and was made worse by the lack of regulation of the banks and lenders and by our involvement in wars we had no business fighting. If you think Romney has the solution, Turdy, by all means, vote for him. I don't. And nothing you've said does anything but reinforce my convictions.

      October 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • fred

      Tom Tom
      I said both republicans and democrats are responsible for the 16 trillion in national debt and the 84 trillion in unfunded government guarantees. These are simple facts.
      The good news is we print in God we trust on our money because we know we can’t trust the political parties.
      Tom Tom
      I said both republicans and democrats are responsible for the 16 trillion in national debt and the 84 trillion in unfunded government guarantees. These are simple facts.
      The good news is we print in God we trust on our money because we know we can’t trust the political parties.

      I say vote for Mitt provided he sell the Gold plates Smith left behind and pay down the debt.

      October 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • fred

      ok I will vote for whoever give me a new phone that does not double post.
      oh, provided it has a little fish in the bottom right hand corner..............no feet please

      October 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      We didn't print "In God We Trust" until long after the sane founders of this country were mouldering in the grave, you idiot. You are just more of the same sort of morons who decided that we needed to inject a sky-fairy into the public square when we needed nothing of the sort.

      Get bent, Turdy. You are an imbecile.

      October 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  15. teej

    I'd say this is where the rubber is beginning to meet the road, and Christians MUST be praying without pride about what Christianity means.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • ArthurP

      I am sorry but God is busy right now but your prayer is important to us so please hold the line and God will get to you as soon as he is free. You are currently 2,345,678,534 in line.

      (angels singing ..... )

      I am sorry but God is busy right now but your prayer is important to us so please hold the line and God will get to you as soon as he is free. You are currently 2,345,678,530 in line.

      (angels singing ..... )

      I am sorry but God is busy right now but your prayer is important to us so please hold the line and God will get to you as soon as he is free. You are currently 2,345,678,519 in line.

      (angels singing ..... )


      October 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hahahaha, Arthur. I'm on hold with an insurance company right now and the "angel" that keeps "singing" has a Noo Yawk accent!

      October 22, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  16. Just call me Lucifer


    "Your not very bright"

    No, you're not very bright, and prove yourself to be part of the illiteratti of the dumb-ass right wing. Congratulations.

    October 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • GauisCaesar

      With a name like that, I don't think I need to comment back to you with anything important.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • phoenix86

      I don't think you're Lucifer, you're just a moron who thinks otherwise.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  17. Thomas Chia

    Why are we waiting so much time discussing about Obama's religion? Aren't a President's character and
    integrity, and commitment to serve the people and the nation are important?

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

      Because, a person's beliefs inform their actions.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  18. We are not stupid

    Obama is a Muslim plain and simple. He wears a ring that says in Arabic "There is no god but Allah" and with his own mouth has stated "The most beautiful sound I have ever heard is the Muslim call to prayer" NO Christian would EVER say such a statement because it BRAKES number one in God's top ten... "I am the LORD thy God
    Thou shalt have no other gods" Allah is Satan. The Koran states "Allah is the great deceiver" and demands the only way to his paradise is to murder people and commit suicide. The Bible states...that liars and murders go to Hell " Jesus said that the devil "was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44).

    October 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      @We are not stupid: Your comment didn't do a very good job of convincing me that you're not....

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

      What a load of crap!

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

      Speaking of being plain and simple, there is ZERO proof that Obama has attended any religious Muslim services in the last thirty years and the ring story has been disproved.


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

      It is easy to spot a Christian just look for the lies.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Archivedd



      October 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      Your supposed "god" is a murderer. Its in that book of lies you call the "word of god". I guess that means "he" is in hell. Oh, and by the way, it's "breaks" not "BRAKES", you dolt. Another defender of myth as fact proves himself to be a thoughtless sheep. Congratulations.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Public Phil

      1. I am a Christian.
      2. Very little of what you just said is factual.
      3. I served in Iraq, and as a Christian, I can tell you that the Muslim call to prayer at a large mosque is one of the most beautiful, inspiring things I've ever seen/heard. Just because I disagree with their beliefs doesn't mean it's not aesthetically pleasing. Get out and live a little, man 🙂

      October 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  19. Sam

    As my pastor said yesterday, anyone hoping to see the type of change that Jesus fought for is putting their eggs in the wrong basket if they think anyone in the political system can bring about hope and healing for our country. Whatever your religious affiliation, perhaps even in spite of it, don't pin your hopes on either of these guys. Instead, go buy a cup of coffee for the homeless guy on the corner, and spend a few minutes getting to know him on a more personal level. Then, you'll start to see real change. #Noneoftheabovein2012

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

      But that is not tax deductible....

      October 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Just call me Lucifer

      I don't have any homeless in my town. The banks (who sold them mortgages they couldn't afford) foreclosed on them and they left for Florida. However, I will take time out of my day to urinate on a churches lawn. Its what I do. Did you know that I work for Jesus and his dad (who is really Jesus)? Its true. I'm the devil, and I approve this message.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • KJC

      I agree that changing a nation takes people investing personally in people. Not throwing religious rhetoric, not throwing money, not clinging to one party or another. But personally me and you taking responsibility for loving the people we see every day.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  20. JustAGuy

    "Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer, reciting them with a first-rate accent. In a remark that seemed delightfully uncalculated (it’ll give Alabama voters heart attacks), Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.”" – NY Times

    October 22, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Your point is?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Archivedd

      When I was in school I could recite the first ten lines of the Iliad in Greek. Does that mean I'm a Hellenic pagan? I didn't realize being knowledgeable and literate in different languages and cultures was "jus' the devil spinnin' lies" these days.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • cyberactor

      Have you ever heard the Arabic call to prayer? It really is quite beautiful. And I'm a Catholic.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • David L.

      Ok, so let's make the GIANT assumption and say that Obama is a Muslim. So what? Is that bad?

      October 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • phoenix86

      Even prettier will be Obama's concession speech.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      "I didn't realize being knowledgeable and literate in different languages and cultures was "jus' the devil spinnin' lies" these days."

      You didn't? For a conservative Christian, ignorance is a virtue. Anything intellectual is to be despised.

      October 22, 2012 at 2:35 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.