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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
Legislating morality or legislating any pro or con stance to morality will never work. It is a slippery slope that we are almost at the bottom of.
Okay, so what I see here is an argument that the President of the United States is a Social Gospel christian.. And that particular form of Christianity was very popular around the 1880's through the 1960's. That is fine, I believe that is a very good way. By your works you shall be known and frankly it is what I have been saying in the belief blog for several years. So the President and I believe a similar belief in that regard. Where I get off track with him is that I still believe it is individual works that are best and he appears to believe that the government is the best.... What the kicker is is this... he is using the federal government to enforce his brand of Social Gospel works... What happend to the seperation of church and state? What happened to Biden's statement about not forcing religous morals on people that don't want them? What happend to the outrage from Atheists about religion being crammed down their throats???
Just Sayin 😉
what religion is he cramming that atheists should be enraged about?
CHARACTER IS IMPORTANT AND PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND WHY I SHOULD VOTE FOR THIS MAN???
This article is not true. Here is his belief. Semi-Christianinty with Asian and Muslim influences. It is more the religion of the book "The Secret" than anything else. No certaintiy just...everything.
All religions, including the religion of a lack of religion, present a specific standard of beliefs. It is always important to evaluate if we are practicing the beliefs of our religion or if we are practicing the religion of our own beliefs and calling it a religion that it is not. We should be able to discuss the framework and worldview that a person’s values are based on, including our own and our nation’s highest leaders. If we see such questions as wrong, the only alternative is follow without questioning or understanding what their perspective is grounded in.
Fringe elements (like the never-credible Trump) of the Republican Party have spent four years making baseless and offensive assertions that President Obama is somehow 'not an American'.
The charge is ridiculous, and most of the people making it probably know it.
Like the President, Mr. Romney was born on American Soil to an American Citizen – but that is where the similarities end.
Though he marched in SUPPORT of the Vietnam War, Mr. Romney (Like Cheney, and so many other chickenhawks) got a deferment in order to lollygag the days away on the beaches of France while his less well-connected peers died by the thousands in the jungles of Vietnam.
When it was time for Mitt to do his duty, he hid from it.
Later, when his father's loans and connections (just ask Bill Bain) got him started in business, he had another opportunity to contribute. Rather than pay his taxes like every other American Citizen, Mr. Romney created a legendary tax avoidance scheme to hide his profits from the country that made all of his success possible.
When it came time for Mitt to contribute, he didn't.
When bad (for the country) trade agreements made it possible for wealthy Americans to make a little more money shipping the American manufacturing base overseas, Mr. Romney enthusiastically pioneered the tactic. Sure, as an already fabulously wealthy man Mr. Romney could have decided it was more valuable to keep American jobs in America (rather than increase his personal profits by a few percentage points) – but he didn't.
When it came time to stand with the working people of America, Mitt sat down on a plane to China.
Mitt Romney cares about Mitt Romney. Period. He's a vulture capitalist, not a "business leader".
No wonder Mr. Romney has his surrogates out flogging a laughably baseless conspiracy theory. If I were he, my personal record would be the LAST thing I'd want to talk about.
He's a salesman, not a statesman.
Character matters. Character matters more than anything.
Mitt Romney is not fit to be President.
Repeating that atheism is a religion doesn't make it true. Atheism answers 'no' to the one question, "do you believe in any gods?" It is not a set or system of beliefs.
What my brothers and sisters across the miles don't realize, is that when we judge another person, we are judged by God in return (ie; judge not, lest ye be judged). The bible says, regarding someone who was casting out spirits in Jesus name and who wasn't a direct "follower" of His, the disciples tried to stop that man, and Jesus wouldn't let them. He said "Let him be. He who is not "against me" is for me". Now this is what we should do. If Mr Obama speaks favorably about the Lord, says he is a Christian (and he is a good man, married to one woman, and his children behave=all the requirements in the bible for a leader of the church must have) and he declares or asks for Gods blessings over our country, do not judge him or prevent him. ...just like Jesus said "Let him be". The hate and anger about him not following the law of the old testament, is not right. We ALL live under grace. If you do not have grace for his flaws or holes in his beliefs, then God will not have grace for you. Some need to realize they are being used by the enemy to perpetuate the agenda of a political party (republicans), this is so very shameful.
Beautifully said. Candidates are not stupid. They know that the Christian Right has become a powerful voting block. Of course they will pander to them and do a lot of pretending in order to get elected. Poor Romney has flipped so many times, I am surprised his back isn't out of joint. The whole thing is sad and shameful, really.
@watchman: what you don't understand is there is no god or judgement after death. The bible is a known fraud. We live under no god's grace. And you certainly are no position to preach to anyone else how he should live.
Please please please please please write a blog on "The Gospel according to Romney". I would love to read it. Why hasn't Romney's faith come up very much during this election?!!?! I find it baffling that it hasn't. Or am I missing the coverage? Someone post some links. Why do all of the conservative Christian Republicans support a guy whose religion was made up in America in the 1800s? If religion is so important to them, this makes no sense to me at all.
Great article. I just want to say, since when does the President of the USA have to be a born again Christian? If you look back how many of them have been? Many grew up in church or had Christian parents but their adult lifestyles did not necessarily measure up to Biblical standards. There is such hypocrisy from some right wing evangelicals and NO LOVE that is palpable. They seem to forget that it is by God's mercy that they are called Children of God. that "welcome to my house comment" speaks such self-righteousness. Romney is a Mormon. That does not exclude him from being president either. We need to vote in qualified moral individuals that aspire to the presidency. Once they are in, wether it is our choice or not, Christians are called to pray for them, not to be hostile and mean spirited.
The Gospel According to Obama?
Two words – Jeremiah Wright
PS–Great to read about the Beloved Community. I hadn't known about it and hadn't known that Obama's ideas and emotions about mutuality were rooted in it. Will research it further. Thank you.
Good article. I am waiting to read what you will write about Romney's Mormon belief, hopefully before the election. We have prosecuted President Obama's religion for four plus years now, yet choose to continue to do more of the same still. Let's now hear about what you can say about Governor Romney and how he fits with rest of Christianity's definitions.
Mormon belief vs Jeremiah Wright...I'll take Mormon, thank you.
Prayer changes things .
Rarely do I take the time to post a comment. When I do, it's because I have been stirred at a deep level and the response is often longer than "tech" media would like it to be. I was longing to be able to begin this post with something like..."Yes, Virginia,there is a Christianity that's not fundamentalist and thank God someone is finally mentioning it."
You see I'm a white lifelong UCC christian myself who is bereft that in my area such churches are so few I make do with worshiping at another mainline protestant church. But that's OK because I know,like Obama, that any christian church is my church ,if it is indeed God's church. So here I sit quite disappointed that no attempt at all was made to explain the origins or main tenets of that denomination. While I realize that few or no one is likely to read this since it's length will keep people away ,I shall give it a whirl.
I called my self a lifetime member and that's true as much as it can be for someone my age since the denomination came into being about 1959 but is much older than that. It was formed from the joining of the Congregationalist and German Evangelical and Reformed Churches.Both of which seem to be the type of churches involved in the "social gospel"referred to above long before the dates you give--the Congregationalist were strong supporters of abolition and the German E&R churches were the church of Reinhold Neibuhr and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. The motto is "That they may all be one". It is ONLY one religion CHRISTIANITY .All important theology is the same and it is only man made choices and emphases that spun off all the denominations so in an ideal world they would all be united with each group continuing to practice their faith in the manner they choose. This denomination was actively involved in the civil rights movement.
By now you may see that Obama may not have been raised in this church but by the statements he makes,the causes he embraces,and the way he lives his life he has chosen a faith that fits him like a glove. While Jeremiah Wright may have scared the ignorant, I rejoiced to learn that Obama belonged to my church. Remember"Never put a period where God has put a comma,.......God is still speaking" UCC.org try it you may like it.
Interesting. Thanks for your insight.
Given Obamas statements regarding the bible and somehow trying to justify sinful behavior by invoking Jesus name ...if he is the face of "progressive christianity" then it is no wonder their numbers are down. They are no different then the secularist...why would anyone want to attend such a church that teaches obviously wrong ideas about the Christian faith? Why believe at all if you are not going to adhere to the clear teaching of the bible? It is not fundamentalism that has harmed "progressive" denominations...it is the progressive ideas.
Can you enumerate, specifically, any "sinful" behaviors Obama has "tried to justify, invoking Jesus's name?" Do so. Now.
Why would anyone want to attend a church, period. It's the most shameful waste of time I could imagine. Spend that time in a library instead and learn something useful.
if you got god, who needs churches?
and, who appointed you authority on what is "obvious" about the right and wrong faith?
Well, looks like the godless crowd is all that's left on this blog. Having fun in the pig pan, eh? Enjoy the smell!
Gotta move on... Worthless crap here, nothing else!
Nope! is false
The "pig pan"?
How sad that you can't even get a 3-letter, one-syllable word right, herbie.
Guess it must be because you're butt-hurt by all the rejection here.
Leave herbie alone, he's gone to bed, you smelly nightcrawler!
Oh, you mean he crawled into a hole? Good.
I thought you said you were leaving, you little pos. Why are you still here? Guess you find the scent comforting. Is it your momma's "perfume"?
Yeah right, PrayerTroll nope is leaving. Sure. All those lame brainless PrayerLie posts are going to vanish, and all the many obvious aka's of just saying et al are just going to stop posting.
Then again, nopetroll has a long history of lying, so we are sure to see more of our departing PrayerFop
Fvck all you dumb honkees. Tom Tom is the worlds biggest butthole licking faqqot since Liberace. You can all lick my ebony bean bag.
Aww, you poor little thing. You couldn't get a girl, could you? Poor herbie.
On second thought, I'm touched, really. It's so sweet of you to praise me with faint damnation, sweet boy!
I know, Tom. Why is it every time herbie's sister rejects him, he takes it out in these comments??
Oh, I doubt it's just his sister. His dog won't even walk with him.
There is no herbie
I see no evidence supporting the existence of Herbie.
You need to reevaluate your life. I will remember to ignore your comments from here on out.
Who're you talking to, Sara? You need to master the reply function.
Disgusting comment. Everyone on this blog needs to unite against this Tom, Tom the Piper's Son. I will be reporting this to CNN immediately and encourage others to join me. This is a blog for civilized discourse, not immature garbage.
If they cared, which they don't, they would hardly need to look at the IP address records to see it was you who posted under Tom's name.
I love getting gang banged while watching old holcaust footage, that is when I'm not on this blog spewing ignorant trash only capable of coming from such a piece of filth as myself.
What is your deal?
Wow. Please leave this blog and never come back. My children are on here. You make me sick!
For me the screen name TomTom needs to be removed.
Awww. I'm really feelin' the love of the sock puppets. Poor little whiner.
@above posters: that isn't the real TOM TOM. trust me the real one isn't that nasty or vulgar.
As the old saying goes there's no atheist in foxholes. Life threatening experiences: What is said? God!
Not in my experience. Too bad you don't speak for anyone but yourself, honey.
How do you know this? Do you have some special talent that allows you to wire tap foxholes during a battle? Please explain.
Just keep repeating what you hear instead of learning...
In defense of atheists in foxholes: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/12/hitchens-theocracy-200912?printable=true
"Life threatening experiences: What is said? God!"
Yes, but sometimes it's "Holy Cow!" Is that evidence that cows are holy?
I guess there are no non-Hindus in foxholes.
Hey, there, Rufus! How do you like my homies up above? Betcha you don't have such a fan club! 😉
While imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, sock puppeting is but a clear indication of insecurity.
@bib: you know you sound strangely like another troll ive argued with about this very subject.
so let's begin.
i served 8 proud years in the UNITED STATES ARMY AS AN ATHEIST.
my MOS was 13 bravo 20 when i left. for your ignorant ass that means i left a sergent E-5 in field artillery.
i served two tours in iraq, inwhich multiple times i came close to either being blown up or shot, not once did i cry out to your neglectful father figure in the sky.
so to set the record straight you and "your president bush jr" can kiss my white furry ass.
i am atheist, i served as an atheist and i will die an atheist because until your neglectful sky fairy father figure decides to show up he is nothing more than a quaint little bed time story for all the childish minded people like you.
sorry to disappoint, but I've been there done that... No deities were called upon then or afterwards.
I think we should be careful to point out that there are definitely foxholes in atheists. Proven. Amen.