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. renegade98

    Obama is just fine. It's many posters I would be concerned about. Some are just totally nuts.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  2. NotForEitherRorD

    What I struggle with is that it is not the function of our government, to take from some to give to others. Charity is a personal thing and government cannot enforce "charity" it is repressing one group to the benefit of another.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Primewonk

      I guess this means you have no problem letting 10's of millions of Americans die? Or do you really expect your churches to pony up hundreds of millions to buy food for these folks – since food stamps will have to go. And then how many hundred of millions will folks like you dish out to provide basic housing for these folks. And how many billions will you give to provide medical care to these folks.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • TC

      Actually, national security is the responsibilty of the government, and lots of uneducated starving hordes roaming the landscape is bad for national security.

      Do you want a few hundred starving and desparate citizens at YOUR back door?

      October 23, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  3. Atheist Hunter

    Oh Yeah, Obama is a Muslim.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Troll Alert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
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      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
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      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Lorraine" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
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      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian...Don't feed the TROLL!

      October 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  4. Primewonk

    Over the past couple days on this thread, dozens and dozens of posters have made essentiaally the same post – often word-for-word identicle – that Obama is a Muslim and wears a ring inscribed in Arabic that says "There is no god but allah".

    In all seriousness, I have to ask – just how fucking stupid are you ignorant fundiot nutters? World Nut Daily? The Blaze? Those are your fucking sources? Seriously?

    Do you nutters ever fact check your crap before posting it? It took all of 3 seconds to show it's a lie.

    Do you tea baggers have no shame?

    October 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Primewonk.......you're such an angry little elf. Calm down big fella. Raised by Muslims, name is Barak Hussein Obama, married by a muslim, can't produce a real birth certificate, praise muslims, wear your allah ring, despise jews, most likely a Muslim. You really spend too much time here. Read some real news!

      October 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • WASP

      @AH: you know i love how warm and loving you are to people not of your delusion.........opps i mean faith.
      so much like your jesus, he must be proud of all the love you spread around the world.
      seriously it's love like yours that makes people want to shut you up and your crazy cult driven nutters.
      i can see if there is a hell, you will not be alone. all your bigot friends will be there roasting with you......and if i happen to be there i will volunteer to turn the pike. 🙂

      October 23, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Primewonk

      All righty then – let's pàrse this mother:

      Raised by Muslims- ignorant fucking fundiot tea bagger lie.

      name is Barak Hussein Obama- yes it is. My grandpa's name was Adolf. Does that make him Hitler?

      married by a muslim – ignorant fucking fundiot tea bagger lie.

      can't produce a real birth certificate – ignorant fucking fundiot tea bagger lie.

      praise muslims – I've heard him praise Jews and Christians too. So what is your fucking point?

      wear your allah ring – another ignorant fucking teabagger lie.

      despise jews – yet another fucking ignorant tea bagger lie.

      most likely a Muslim – and one final ignorant fucking fundiot tea bagger lie.

      Your god must be so proud of you – lying like this in his name. If you are an example of living like Christ – no wonder so many of us choose to ignore your god.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Athy

      Way to go, Primewonk. But it will probably just go way over his head.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  5. Atheist Hunter

    Obama has the blood of millions of babies on his vile hands and want's more dead! Some Christian!!! NOT HARDLY!

    October 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • George

      It's stupid posters like this that prove who is supporting Romney, morons.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      No it's moron who support a narcissist that enjoys killing babies and could care less about them. MORON!

      October 23, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Primewonk

      What this ignorant nutter – Atheist Hunter – refuses to comprehend is that his god is the biggest abortinist in the universe. His god claims omnipotence and omniscience. And up to 50% of all pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion, most often in the first week or two, before the woman even knows she is preggers. This cretin's god is personally responsible for each and every one of these.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      Primewonk.........what a moronic response. God is the giver and taker of life, not Obama. Maybe they were going to have a moron parent like you!

      October 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Troll Alert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "The Truth" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Lorraine" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.,

      October 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      OK, let's play your little game.

      Who has killed more "babies"? President Obama, or your buddy Yahweh?

      October 23, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • renegade98

      Get some psychological help dude...

      October 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • WASP

      @Ass Hole: please tell me you aren't seriously trying to hold obama responcible for christian women having abortions?
      that would be like me trying to hold bush responcible for you being born. lmfao it just doesn't work logically, but then again you never have delved into the logic center of your brain have you extremeist?

      what women choose to do with their bodies is up to them and they have to bear the emotional scars of their choice, but it is their right to choose what is right for them.
      no other human has the right to impose their "beliefs" on another living human. think what you like, sit in the corner and complain but NEVER think you and the religious right can force folks to do as you think is correct because once you are allowed to do that your faction becomes no different than the list of tyrants throughout history.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      AH....still got that bible jammed up your rectum? Perhaps some lube would help

      October 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • sam stone

      AH....don't you mean that Obama couldn't care less about the babies, C word?

      October 23, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Primewonk

      First this ignorant nutter claims Obama has the blood of millions of "babies" on this hands.

      Then this ignorant nutter claims that his version of a god is the giver and taker of life.

      The cognitive dissonance is strong with this nutter.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  6. James Sunduist

    Remember Obama's Second Debate with Romney where he went into overdrive defending Planned Parenthood...probably the most racist/eugenics organizations since the founding of our nation?

    Here is the truth behind this unholy alliance:


    October 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Dave

      Charles is the man. I too check him out all the time. Good to hear you check this little blog also, can't coampre to LGF but always good to hear.Reply

      December 13, 2012 at 9:05 am |
  7. lucy brister


    October 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      lucy brister.........The Bible I have condemns what he stands for and what he has supported while in office. What Romney does is to be seen if he gets elected, however, neither are Christian. I'm curious to know where you go to church to believe such a lie?

      October 23, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      A president can't straighten anything out unless God allows it. God is not behind Obama, that's why he is a failure!

      October 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • WASP

      @Ass Hole:"A president can't straighten anything out unless God allows it."
      seriously? so i'm guessing YOUR WAR-GOD was behind bush jr while he started a war with a LIE.
      no al queda in iraq...............they were in iran
      no weapons of mass destruction.................they are all over the world.
      forced CIA to find him intel that would support his need to invade iraq.

      bush jr lead this country into the ruin it now sits..................but bet your bottom dollar come election year OBAMA WILL BE PRESIDENT AGAIN. he will work hard to get us back on track, just need republicans to STFU and work with the man instead of against him.
      i'm curious what will you think of your god when obama takes the oath of office AGAIN?

      October 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • sam stone

      AH....is god behind you? Do you have your knickers down? Are you coming in the name of the lord?

      October 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  8. Atheist Hunter

    Obama is Muslim!

    October 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • Spencer

      Citation needed

      October 23, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  9. Mike Bratton

    Obama is not a Christian, by his own admission. There is no "Gospel according to Obama," and Obama is in no way changing Christianity. He is deceiving people into thinking he is a Christian when, in a 2004 interview with Cathleen Falsani of the Chicago Sun-Times, he openly declared "I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people."

    There are not many paths to Heaven, many paths to God; as Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the LIfe; no man comes to the Father, but by me." There is no other Gospel but the Gospel of Jesus Christ, thanks. And the only individual Obama actively worships is himself.

    October 23, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Sorry Mike, but that's just more fundiot nutter bullshit.

      Mike thinks he has a super duper double top secret magic decoder ring that lets him decide who is and who isn't a "real" christian. Lots of fundiot nutters have these super duper double top secret magic decoder rings. The problem is that they all havee them on different settings.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
    • mitten

      Perhaps we ought to say there are many paths to Jesus, and yours misses the mark.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  10. synnos

    It was written that the ant christ would come!

    October 23, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • End Religion

      it was written that the unnamed protagonist in Green Eggs & Ham would never eat green eggs & ham, yet he did. By this literary logical undeniable proof, the anti-christ cannot come.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • Spencer

      I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  11. John

    34 reasons why I believe Obama is not Christian.

    1. Obama’s father and step-father were Muslims.
    2. Hussein is a Muslim name reserved only for Muslims by Islamic Creed.
    3. Four years of Indonesian school enrollment records reveal his religion is Islam.
    4. His children get no Christmas gifts – Muslim tradition.
    5. He wears no jewelry during Ramadan – Muslim tradition.
    6. Obama employed several Nation of Islam members in high positions on his Illinois and U.S. Senate campaign and office staffs.
    7. Senator Obama stated that Israel is the cause of all Mideast problems and he is towing the Muslim line that Israel is an apartheid state.
    8. Senator Barack & Michelle Obama have attended several Arab Fundraisers and have had meetings with Palestinian Activist, PLO/Arafat Advisor Edward Said.
    9. Senator Hillary Clinton 2008 campaign staff disclosed details of Obama’s Muslim past and concluded he concealed his prior Muslim faith and education.
    10. Candidate Obama, while running for president, made it clear that he did not support a “right of return” for Palestinian refugees. But now that he’s president, he has reneged on that promise.
    11. President Obama says there is nothing more beautiful than the Muslim Call to prayer in the evening and has quoted it in fluent Arabic with perfect accent.
    12. As President he bows to the Muslim King of Saudi Arabia. The most powerful man in the world bows to no one. But the subservient Muslims bows.
    13. As President he does not bow to the Christian Queen of England.
    14. Obama keeps saying things about Muslim history that is not true. Obama has said we are one of the largest Muslim countries. We are down at number 41 on the list of most Muslims in a country. Obama has said there are 7 million Muslims in America. The most liberal numbers indicate 4 million and conservative estimates are at 2 million.
    15. Obama, not only refused to have a White House celebration of the National Day of Prayer, but instead feasted the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.
    16. Obama, while celebrating the holy month of Ramadan at a White House dinner, stated that he is in favor of building the mosque near Ground Zero.
    17. He says that the United States was not founded as a Christian nation.
    18. Obama orders the Christian monogram “IHS” (Greek symbols for Jesus) to be covered up at the Christian school Georgetown University Gaston Hall, before giving his speech.
    19. In answering the question on whether he believed in a literal heaven or not, Obama retorted: “What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don't presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die." This is the Islamic Muslim view, not Christian.
    20. Barack Obama's response when asked pointedly, "Who's Jesus to you?" "Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he's also a bridge between God and man in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher. And he's also a wonderful teacher.” This again is the Muslim view, not Christian.
    21. President Obama gave a 2009 Cairo speech emphatically stating to the Middle Eastern world that it was "part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear."
    22. When it comes to Christianity, he has actually done just the opposite. Two years after his interview with Chicago Sun Times religion reporter Cathleen Falsani, on June 28, 2006, then Sen. Obama publicly perpetuated negative stereotypes of Christianity and defamed the religion and the words of its founder. From the pulpit of a church, speaking to a live audience about religious
    diversity, Obama sarcastically belittled America's Judeo-Christian heritage and degraded its adherents with trite remarks typical of any atheistic antagonist, saying things like: "Whatever we were, we are no longer a Christian nation," "The Sermon on the Mount is a passage that is so radical that our own defense department wouldn't survive its application" and "To base our policy making upon such commitments as moral absolutes would be a dangerous thing."
    23. If a self-proclaimed non-Muslim president would fight repeatedly for Muslims' religious rights to the degree that our president has, don't you think "a committed Christian" president would at least fight once for any antagonistic oppression of Christian faith and practice, too? Yet, on no occasion since taking office has President Obama stood up publicly for a single Christian individual, group, church, act or event, whom or which was being opposed or oppressed by others.
    24. Why didn't the president stand up for the rights of the North Carolina pastor who was fired from his duties as an honorary chaplain of the state house of representatives after he closed a prayer "in the name of Jesus"?
    25. Why didn't the president stand up for the children from the Christian private school who were "abruptly" ordered by a court police officer to stop praying outside the U.S. Supreme Court building?
    26. Why didn't the president himself stand up for the human rights of the Christian missionaries and medical team in Afghanistan, including six Americans, to practice medicine and their faith, even after they were murdered by Islamic extremists?
    27. Why didn't the president stand up for the rights of the Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of the Rev. Billy Graham, who was disinvited from a Pentagon prayer service on the National Day of Prayer because of his Christian views and values?
    28. Why didn't the president stand up for the rights of the Greek Orthodox Church, the only church that was actually destroyed in the Sept. 11 attacks, as church leaders have been frustrated and fouled by New York officials who have virtually turned their backs on the reconstruction of the church near Ground Zero?
    29. Why didn't the president stand up for the rights of over 70% of Americans opposed to a Ground Zero mosque, but takes the side of Muslims who are attempting to build the Ground Zero mosque?
    30. Obama’s church (Trinity United Church of Christ) does not teach Christianity. The church guiding principles are called the “Black Value System”. Rev. Jeremiah Wright is a former Muslim and friend of Louis Farrakhan, Muslim founder and President of The Nation of Islam. Farrakhan has spoken frequently at Trinity.
    31. Reverend Wright’s “hate” sermons against America and white people are virtually identical as Farrakhan’s-who followed Malcolm X. Wright’s “hate” speeches are a blend of The Nation of Islam and Black Nationalist Liberation Theology into a subversive Christianity, not recognized by most black Christians.
    32. Obama embraced “Christianity” at this church. For 20 years he was a member and good friend to Rev. Wright. Wright married the Obamas. Rev. Wright was his mentor and gave advice until it became public knowledge during the campaign.
    33. During the week of 14-18th of January 2010, on the Nile TV broadcast "Round Table Show", the Egyptian Foreign Minister Abul Gheit said while meeting with Obama, he swore to him that he was a Muslim, the son of a Muslim father and step-son of Muslim step-father, that his half-brothers in Kenya were Muslims, and that he was loyal to the Muslim agenda. He asked that the Muslim world show patience. Obama promised that once he overcame some domestic American problems, that he would show the Muslim world what he would do with Israel.
    34. Obama has been wearing a ring praising Allah since his college years.

    When someone has committed all of these and more it reveals an “extremely” strong pattern.

    Growing up as a Muslim, Obama learned that according to the Qur’an it is acceptable to lie, deceive and live by a double standard provided in so doing one advances Islamic goals.

    Muslims only pretend to trust and be friends with non-Muslims; in the deepest of their hearts they have been taught that all non-Muslims are infidels.

    I believe that it is one's actions that reveal who they are; not their words.

    October 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Andy

      Means nothing. I'm an atheist but I still put up Xmas trees and lights every year. My wife was Catholic and still wears her St. Christopher's medal. People like to hang onto "traditional" things from their childhood, that's all.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot


      Isn't it one of your big 10 not to lie? Why do you do it then?

      October 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • John

      1. Andy – impressive response. Now give answers for the other 33 reasons.

      2. A Frayed Knot – another impressive response. Prove to us which one of these 34 reasons are lies and please supply your sources.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      ONE reason John's post doesn't matter: I don't care if Obama is a Christian or not.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      In fact, based on my experience with the Christards on this site, I'd count it as a positive if he weren't Christian at all, at least not the kind of Christians people like John, Chard, the Gopher, Mark the Piddler, and Turdy Be a Tool are.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • John

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son;

      Your opinion is fine as an opinion.

      You (like others) fail to understand the threat of Islam. If there was legitimacy within this "religion" then Obama would not be hiding his true form of worship.

      Obama (and wife) religious worship is a combination of Islam and the Black Value system (BVS) taught by Jeremiah Wright.

      Islam and the BVS hate America, Israel, Christians and Jews. In addition, the BVS hates white people.

      This is what Obama has studied for over twenty years.

      October 24, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  12. Paul

    Sorry, the premise that Obama is a new kind of Christian is, in my opinion, just flat wrong. He is a Muslim (He has been seen and there are photos of him wearing a ring with an inscription, "There is no God but Allah".)

    However, that does not mean he hasn't been a positive influence upon Christians. I am hearing more and more professions of faith, witnessing of God's grace and influence in people's lives, willingness to be open to discussion of former "hot button" topics, etc. These (and other Christian activities to numerous to count) are good for the individual Christian and Christianity in general. Openness in the debates of the role of the church and individuals in the social arena has long been lacking.

    October 23, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The gullibility of people like you is confirmation that P.T. Barnum was absolutely right.

      "He has been seen ..... blah, blah, y blah."

      You are so full of crap.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Huebert


      Wrong, try again.


      October 23, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • MCR

      What Obama or any other politician truly believes, you will never know. Anyone who claims they do doesn't understand the dregree to which one has to perfect the ability to lie to get elected. This goes for all parties, and is as much the "fault" of the voter as the candidate; it won't change because the voter simply won't get smarter. All we can know is what church Obama attends and how he tried to educate his children (kids aren't generally good liars). We can also know what religion is was registered as in Indonesia, since there registration with one of 4 allowed religions was required by law. But registration by one's parents is just that, the choice of one's parents...so again, we don't know. Claiming you do is either ignorance or fraud.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • End Religion

      is there no cap on the height of your stupidity?

      October 23, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
  13. Rufus T. Firefly


    Just for the record, absolutely nothing in that comment is in agreement with Rufus T. Firefly. You must have me confused with some deranged fundamentalist.

    October 23, 2012 at 9:08 am |
  14. Rev. Jack Hoffman

    Interesting article but as usual with CNN, factually inaccurate in many ways. If you are going to write an article about fundamental or traditional Christianity you should find what the faith really is and why Obama's version is so skewed. It is not simply because of a difference between social gospel and the traditional and historically, the publication and stand for the "fundamentals of the faith" was not during WW1 nor a result of the social gospel per see. Maybe you should expand your research and include more truly accurate reasons why Obama's brand of "Christianity" is rejected by so many fundamental and evangelical believers.

    October 23, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Rom

      It is because most fundamental and evangelical believers are far removed from what Jesus espoused.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Ting

      They should write a followup article called "Who gives a sh_t?" Religion has no place in government. We are electing a president not a pope. I could not care less what religion the president practices. I would prefer presidents to keep their religions private. I don't want to hear about it.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Your attempt to relate fundamentalist Christianity to traditional Christianity is either misinformed or dishonest, or both. Fundamentalism arose in the early 20th century and was initially resisted by mainstream Christianity. Now fundamentalists attempt to rewrite history and sell their agenda as a "return" to traditional Christian values. The attempts to rewrite textbooks in Texas and to twist the words of our founding fathers (a la David Barton) are not much different than the Taliban blowing up Buddhist shrines in Afghanistan or destroying Hindu tombs in Pakistan. Both are attempts at historical revisionism by religious zealots.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Jackie, dear, no one should write anything on your advice. Even your squib here makes no sense whatsoever. I hope you have someone else compose your "sermons."

      October 23, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • End Religion

      there are likely thousands if not millions of versions of "what the faith really is". Not only isn't your version any better or "true" than anyone else's, the entire religion is a fraud.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  15. Reality

    Putting the final nail in Christianity's coffin in more detail:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

    The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    "Nobody knew what had happened to Jesus' body. ... by Easter morning, those who cared did not know where it was, and those who knew did not care." – JP Crossan

    October 23, 2012 at 7:26 am |
    • Dan

      Warped Reality – Frauds such as you quote have been trying to put the nail in the coffin of Christianity for 2000 years – and have failed. It will survive you and your foolish little "scholars" because Truth triumphs.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • End Religion

      Dan you couldn't be more right that truth will triumph only it will have a small "t".

      October 23, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Reality

      Summarizing with a prayer after 8000+ comments:

      Only for the new members:

      The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      (references used are available upon request)

      October 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  16. Just call me Lucifer

    Selling fear, forgiveness and everlasting life has been an extremely successful business for too long on this planet. Its time to grow up. Its time to take responsibility and not expect divine forgiveness for your transgressions. There are no gods to worship and save you. Try to be a better person and learn to forgive yourself. I'm the devil and I approve this message.

    October 23, 2012 at 5:48 am |
    • Nii

      Funny enough the door to forgiveness does not lie with us so why forgive ourselves for what we do to others. Which is better to forgive ourselves OR to forgive others and allow them to forgive us too. Selfishness is a disease I see killing a lot of folks but what can we do?

      October 23, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • WASP

      @NII: "but what can we do?"
      shut up, sit back and enjoy the ride; that's what we can do.
      the only thing i see killing people is religion, both physically and emotionally. i see bright hopeful children turned into scared, mean spirited meatbags waiting to die.
      me i fought from birth to live and i will still fight until death finally beats me in a fair fight..............................until then the world is stuck with me. lmfao XD

      October 23, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • Andy

      Forgiving others is important, but a lot of people need to get over the hurt they cause others, to forgive themselves. That can't really happen until the person acts to correct the wrongs they've caused others, and be forgiven by them. Too often, the victims are ignored by born agains. All they think they need to do is ask God to forgive them, which is really just reclassifying yourself as forgiven when you haven't gone through the process of actually forgiving yourself. That's a whole lot less healthy, and more selfish than the secular method.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      WASP sayz, '.......the only thing i see killing people is religion,.......' Fall in the ditch with this dude. He's an americano banana republican. You can thank these types of progressives with their unrelenting progress.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Join the new party with hopey changey, the Obsessive Progressives. New bosss, same as old bosss.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • WASP

      @READ: yes you can thank progressives for the wonderful technology you use everyday.
      you can thank progressives for the life saving medicines that save people everyday.
      you can thank progressives for building a secular nation that upholds equality for all regardless or race creed, gender or national origin.
      you can thank progressives for every aspect of your life that is urging you to move forward instead of living in the past as religion is so fond of doing.

      progressives want progress forward, conservatives want to stay in the past.
      to me the past is a nice place to visit but a horrible place to live.

      October 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      Now it's time for the Progressives to pick up the check.

      October 23, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  17. C. J Mills

    God said, "Judgment is Mine," yet the Reverends Crass. Graham, and Andrew dare to speak as if they were God. These ministers represent the kind of Christian that makes me reluctant to say to people I don't know that I'm a Christian and the kind of speakers for the faith that drove all my children out of churches because they would not put up with such judgmentalism, cruelty, and, too often, drive for power and money. I recommend these men read the Gospels some more, especially the passages about helping the poor.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • Atheists: Helping Christians Understand The Bible

      "Judgement is mine" is not in the Bible. The correct phrase is "Vengeance is mine" (Romans 12:19). If you read the rest, you will get to savor God's wrath and his love of revenge.

      I don't care for revenge myself; it too often starts cycles of violence, and the one seeking revenge is usually reduced to animal behavior.

      But that's my cursed secular human decency again.

      October 23, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Anybody know how to read?

      To: 'Atheists: Helping Christians Understand The Bible', Well, dude, looks like it all depends on who is sitting in your temple.

      October 23, 2012 at 4:43 am |
    • WASP

      @read: and whom is in your temple? odin? ra? zues? seriously your god is weak compared to them.
      sh it you christians couldn't even think of what to name your "god" you just capitalized the word god. well i guess the founders of your faith wanted to keep it simple for the followers. lmfao.

      October 23, 2012 at 7:50 am |
    • Nii

      Thanks for knowing that half a verse says vengeance is mine and I will repay. The passage tells humans to not pursue revenge just as you claim you do not pursue revenge too. Why twist the passage to use a verse. If you use verses to know the Bible you will sooner than later end up as an Atheist of sorts. Passages are the key to understanding it,

      October 23, 2012 at 8:17 am |
    • Andy

      Why would God need vengence?

      October 23, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • melissa

      True Andy – which makes it so stupid. Revenge is stupid, therefore God is stupid. Too much stupidity in that Bible. It's not worth taking seriously. Just some stories that people had to tell since they didn't have air conditioning.

      October 23, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  18. "Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly. Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.

    "Dreams From My Real Father" is now available on Netflix to watch instantly. Watch it, then make your mind up for yourself.
    Evidence supporting Obama was likely fathered by Frank Marshall Davis, a communist union organizer in Hawaii. Very detailed. Very disturbing. Identifies all of Obama's influential people through the years, including connections with the CIA (his mother's father), a fraudulent parental relationship, the weather underground and his activities in socialist community organizing (agitating) in the years leading up to this presidency.

    Watch it for yourself. Decide for yourself. I have and did. Over 3 million sent to people in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Watch instantly on Netflix.

    October 23, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • WASP

      @dreams: yeah i listen to that "doc-umentary" from an ohioian on NPR. she said it was the biggest steaming pile of CRAP she had ever watched.
      seriously how fracking dense are you? the christian taliban that declared war against an american president has as much to do with reality as people hunting the lochness monster.
      if you believe whatever some extremeist sends you in the mail give me your address i have a video about how in a few years there will be ocean front property in arizona so send me money now to invest. 🙂

      October 23, 2012 at 7:47 am |
  19. End Religion

    Transcendental dice!


    October 23, 2012 at 12:30 am |
    • terry

      Transcendental dice just want to be blown on just like regular dice. "Roll over for daddy you little cuties!"

      October 23, 2012 at 1:26 am |
    • /o\

      @ Terrry. No, they just want to get 'blown", by her.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  20. Da King

    Obama will loose because he is against the bible on the babies and marriage.

    October 23, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • End Religion

      What will he loose: the kraken?
      I think it is safe to assume most of us are against bibles on babies.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      You mean because he is against killing first-born babies and forcing women to marry their rapists? Yup, I'm against the bible on those things, too.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Dippy

      It's "lose", dummy, not "loose". The rest of your post doesn't make much more sense.

      October 23, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • LivinginVA

      Then how did he win the first time?

      October 23, 2012 at 6:31 am |
    • Da King

      LivinginVA, That was then, this is now.

      October 23, 2012 at 9:21 am |
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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.