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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

“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. Adam

    "There was a time when Obama's brand of Christianity would have been understood by millions of Americans"?? Pretty sure millions of Americans are still on the same page. How can these fundies argue against helping the poor? The neocons have them brainwashed. And as for gay marriage, people are born gay. Even the craziest of crazies is inclined to acknowledge that. And people are supposed to deny themselves happiness because a few thousand years ago the crazies weren't inclined to acknowledge it?

    October 21, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  2. Mike Texoma

    I was beginning to think I would never see a story like this. In southwest Oklahoma I am one of a kind. I am a progressive Christian. To some folks I am not a Christian at all. But I have an active, joyful relationship with the Lord and I am committed to the way of Jesus. St. Augustine was a non-literalist, but poor Augustine has been banished to the closet, and progressive Christianity with him. So, I am very, very glad to see this article published.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  3. Luis Wu

    Conservative Christians are not at all like what Jesus taught. They don't care about the poor, the handicapped, orphans or the elderly. All they care about is preaching their arrogant, slanted view of Christianity to the masses and condemning anyone that doesn't think like they do. Jesus was all about the poor. He condemned the rich and praised the poor. The opposite of what conservative Christians do. Good luck at the pearly gates conservative Christians, I don't think you'll make the grade.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Ameri2010

      Jesus never promoted giving handouts to lazy people. In fact, the Bible says if you don't work, you don't eat. When help is needed, it was always meant to be given through the church and community; not the government. Another leftist who misquotes the Bible to make a false assertion, but then spits on the Bible at all other times.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • LiberalismRequiresTyranny

      Your "make the grade" comment demonstrates your utter ignorance of what Christianity is all about.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  4. Puddin

    OMGosh! This is the most judgemental religious piece I have ever had the displeasure to read. If Obama is the "anti–christ," then what do you call Romney? I haven't heard Obama (on tape) say the 47% (the less fortunate) or those who will vote for Obama, can eat dirt if Romney is elected (GOD FORBID) ! I also haven't heard (on tape) Obama telling his CEO friends to tell their workers they will be fired if they don't vote for Romney. In my bible, it essentially says to those claiming to be Christians "actions speak louder than words." It also says "it will be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it will be for a rich person to enter the gates of heaven." However, I don't think we are to believe all those who are wealthy are going to hell; many wealthy do great good on this earth, which is what I think our creator wants, and that includes caring for the less fortunate among us and not taking employees' rights away from them by dictating who they vote for. The far right does not have a lease on religion....eat dirt!

    October 21, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  5. Alger Dave

    Unfortunately, Obama's Christianity ends up being a faith empty of God's power. I'd agree that it does represent a part of the Christian spectrum of beliefs, but again it's one of movement away from relying on God, and toward relying on one's self. While evangelicals certainly have been remiss in dismissing every part of Obama's agenda and plans, and desperately need to embrace some social conscience domestically, Obama too easily shows his hypocracy in support abortion rights. Through abortion, he stops caring for 'the least of these' in the truest sense. So, while his brand of Christianity is nothing new, he is it's current champion. Many others also believe in a God who isn't quite powerful enough to rely on and trust in fully. And their religion is certain to decay over time as they rely more and more fully on those they can really trust – themselves.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  6. brad4nyc

    God is Imaginary and Jesus was a jerk. Here is proof:

    Most Christians have a warm, loving image of Jesus. Jesus is the "Prince of Peace" and the "Lamb of God" in their eyes. Jesus is a perfect, sinless being. But is this image accurate? If you had never heard of Jesus before, and you decided you wanted to learn about him by reading the Bible, what sort of person would you discover?

    The dictionary defines a jerk as a "foolish, rude, or contemptible person" [ref]. Another dictionary throws in the word "fatuous" as well, and then defines fatuous as, "vacuously, smugly, and unconsciously foolish". [ref]

    Given these definitions, can we make the case that Jesus was a jerk? Let's see what we find when we look at God's word.

    A person who is a hypocrite is certainly a jerk. No one likes a hypocrite, because hypocrites are smugly foolish. And Jesus seems to have a problem with hypocrisy. For example, one of Jesus' most famous lines is, "Love your enemies," as he says here in Matthew 5:43:

    "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven."
    He reiterates the message in Luke 6:26:
    "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
    That seems simple enough. And wouldn't you expect Jesus to love his enemies? Yes you would, unless he is a hypocrite. Therefore, what we find in Mark 16:15-16 is surprising. It shows us how Jesus treats his enemies:
    He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned [to hell].
    This is "good" news? Jesus doesn't love his enemies at all. In fact, you don't even need to be an enemy - even those who would rather not "believe in" Jesus are condemned to eternal torture in a lake of fire. This level of hypocrisy is the kind of thing you expect from a jerk. For further examples of hypocrisy and contradiction, try comparing Matthew 5:16 with Matthew 6:1, or John 14:27 with Matthew 10:34, or 2 Kings 2:11 with John 3:13, or Exodus 33:11 with John 1:18, or Mark 9:40 with Luke 11:23.
    In the same way, a person who breaks his promises is a jerk. We can see that Jesus breaks promises by looking at Mark 11:24:

    Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
    In John chapter 14, verses 12 through 14 we find the same thing:
    I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
    When a person says, "ask anything in my name, and I will do it," what does he mean? Presumably, Jesus means that if you ask for anything, he will do it. What else could he possibly mean, unless he is being dishonest? And Jesus does not say it once. He says the same thing over and over again. In Matthew 7:7: "Ask, and it will be given to you." In Matthew 17:20: "Nothing will be impossible for you." In Matthew 21:21: "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." You may have noticed, however, that Jesus is lying. You can pray for all sorts of things and nothing will happen. We all know that. A person who breaks his promises like this is clearly a jerk.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • LiberalismRequiresTyranny

      Your thought process seems to lack reason and logic. I'd be happy to point out some of the many places where I believe you've ignored variables and made huge, illogical presumptions about the text.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  7. travis

    In this day and age, Republicans have become the epitome of hypocrites. In their early days they stood for SEPARATION of Church and State, social progression, and shunned the wealthy. But for the past 8 decades they have welcomed the Hypocritical big businessmen, who profess faith yet stand vehemently against taxation designed to aid the poor, a cornerstone of almost all faiths, and have consistently forced people to LINK Church and State by means of creating policies with subliminal purposes.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Ann

      Obama is a true HYPOCRITE. Anyone that condones abortion and contraceptives is a tool of the devil himself. This is an evil, vile man in sheeps clothing.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • LiberalismRequiresTyranny

      I contend that
      A) Your liberal polices are the ones that have always linked church and state. (You just pretend your church is not a church. You exempt yourself as being above it, which is typical liberal elitism.)
      B) Since you actually do what you falsely charge the other side with doing, you are the hypocrite.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • LiberalismRequiresTyranny

      To Ann,
      Amen. If a person can't get the most basic moral question right, namely...
      Is it ever right and proper to murder a completely innocent baby?
      That person has no moral standing to move on to any of the more complicated moral questions. (Every moral question is more complicated.)

      October 21, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, brother. The two of you don't have 3 brain cells between you.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      The founding fathers knew all about abortion, idiots. It was legal when the Const itution was written. Apparently, you wouldn't have voted for Jefferson or Adams, either.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  8. Polar Bear

    God has done far more good for this country than bad. Those with limited scope and intellect will point out the shortcomings, but they can't erase the good. And that frustrates them. Typical lib mentaility: "Hey, did you hear what that priest did?" And they will use that one example to completely disregard all religion. Liberalism is a mental disorder. To bad they don't have a pill for that.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Steven Tackett

      It must be nice to sum up "liberalism" in the same regard you criticize how liberals think. What a maroon.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Religion is a mind virus. It distorts a person's ability to reason, and your left with idiots that think their Cheetos are a message from an omnipotent being.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Adam

      LOL and talking to imaginary sky people? Sounds sane to me!

      October 21, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • janemutiny

      What, specifically, has God done for this country?

      October 21, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  9. FubarObama

    Cmon..watch 2016 and find out this man's roots..He is a left wing communist Israel hater islamist socialist extremist who should be held for treason when his term ends on Nov 6

    October 21, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Shadows

      I don't turn to a movie or foxnews or Rush to teach me how to think. Only people like you do because you can't think for yourself.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  10. Hipster Slayer

    (Joseph Smith/Reverend Jeremiah Wright) dumb dadumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  11. ksuohioteach

    MAJOR CONCERN: If fundamentalist Christians continue to disparage social Christian values in favor of literal Biblical beliefs, then they cannot possibly promote science and move ahead to create jobs for all! So, in essence, the Tea Party fundamentalists are leading a revolution that leads directly back to the Crusades and a Christian Taliban! OMG! I would be stoned for expressing my thoughts! Is that the path we want to follow for America? The President's beliefs are consistent with democracy as well as justice for all! We are a nation that includes people from every nation on Earth and we traditionally respect multiculturalism. It is a growing danger to allow the Christian Right or Christian Taliban to try to impose fundamentalist beliefs upon everyone else! Let's get SMART, AMERICA! Vote Obama! Dump the Christian Right!

    October 21, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Ameri2010

      Lefties who don't know or understand the Bible always make fools of themselves when they quote text out of context. There are no Christians stoning people; only Muslims and Obama was a practicing Muslim growing up. You obviously got the Bible (love) mixed up with the Koran (hate).

      October 21, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • a reasonable atheist

      How could a text that condones, nay, urges selling your children into slavery and murdering anyone who disagrees with you be equated with love?

      October 21, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  12. JJ

    "“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."

    Wow...I just gained a new respect for Obama that his mother realized it's all mythology and taught him accordingly.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:24 am |
  13. johnnie2

    I find it very telling when one compares the religious rhetoric of Obama with the behaviors of Romney. Obama is mainly flowery language and repeated assertions that " I am Christian" yet look at Romney's past behaviors of how much he gives of his wealth to those in need, and the continuing discovery of his acts of charity to those in need – and his time that he has given to his church service and service in public office, all given without asking for a salary.

    Bottom-line: I would rather see someone living a sermon than someone eloquently speaking a sermon.

    These past few months, Romney has been revealed and what I have seen of the "man himself" is very impressive. I believe he truly is living his life by true christian principles. We need god fearing righteous people in our public leadership roles. I am know convinced that Romney is the better man for the WH.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Lew

      After 36 yrs in Mormon church, its very clear now to see the problems in it, from the very start of it to now, leaders from Joseph Smith not much different than Warren Jeffs, to leaders today from SLC warning those in the church stay away from the internet because people will lie about church history, when in fact its the other way around, very sad, I am so glad I have my life back which was gone from 1975 to 2011, I am sliver again and I am A EX MORMON

      October 21, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • kousa

      Surely you jest! Romney give to the poor? He gives to the Mormon church. Mormon are not christians. If anyone is a hypocrit it's Romney. He's a liar. He's also greedy. He has no concern for all those folks who lost their jobs to China because of outsourcing. He will do and say anything to be the next president. He even brought Billy Graham's endorsement!

      October 21, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Shadows

      And then you woke up from your dream. What a joke. Romney giving? As if he gave so much to help those in need. Give me a break. What about all the money he sheltered from the US treasury? Or the way he ripped apart companies that laid off hundreds of workers so he could make a pretty profit? But somehow this Romney is almost a saint and Obama is some wild devil. Give me a break!

      October 21, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  14. Tyrone

    I think it's truly amazing that everyone is focused on the Presidents relationship with God, but no one has published or challenge Romney belief as a Mormon which is a cult. Mormons just started talking to African Americans 1978. Look in there book where it speaks of racism and there views on African American. But once again this is the trick of the devil and we are trying to put the devil in the White House. I do understand it's the white house, but it's any colors house. People who are christian are so guick to pull down other christian and miss the devil that's right in front of you. Now I know this may not get posted but I leave it all in God's hands. SHAME OF YOU BRETHREN FOR MISSING THE POINT. BE BLESSED

    October 21, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • kousa

      Say it again!

      October 21, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  15. rt

    I find most christains to be ignorant. My athiest friends know more about christianity than my christian friends do. And anyway, with over 6,000 sects of christianity , how do you guys think you know which one is 'the right one?' No, you don't. Those who think they 'know', don't. Those who 'know they know', know the least of all. I'd love to see the look on your face when you die and go to the 'pearly gates,' Saint Peter says to you, 'sorry buddy, turn around..., it was the mormans who were right... "Next!'

    October 21, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  16. Gimme-A-Break

    What sort of a loaded headline question is that? "Is Obama the 'wrong' kind of Christian?" That's the main story on your website - worded that way? Is CNN The 'RIGHT' Type of News Organization?" "Can CNN Be TRUSTED?" "Does CNN Know the 'REAL' Meaning of Integrity?" Your headline tries to answer itself saving the reader the trouble.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:23 am |
  17. Marty in MA

    enough with religion. Let it go already

    October 21, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  18. Hbmckinn

    To Rev. Gary L. Cass your comments that “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" have no bearing on whether or not Obama is a Christian or not. I have heard those words from people like Jim Baker, Oral Roberts and Ted Haggard just to name a few. God is the ultimate judge on who is Christian and the heart. Not you or anyone else can make that call. There are many who know what to say and what they say doesn't hold water.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  19. Mike

    How can.odumbo be a "christian" when he is satan incarnate?

    October 21, 2012 at 9:22 am |
  20. Polar Bear

    Obama's disingenuous about God and religion. Like most "enlightened" libs, he really isn't a believer. Just political expedience to get elected.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • In Reason I Trust

      Your right, we are enlightened.

      Your stuck in the dark ages believing in magic babies and magic gardens with magic apples. You belive in Disney movies lol.

      It's called reality, it's beautiful and interesting, and its powering every gadget in your house while your bible serves as a nice paperweight.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • JPo

      You really believe that Republicans are True Christians and that Democrats are the ones faking it? Boy, are you an easy mark. I have a bunch of Nigerian investments, some prime real estate in inland Florida, and a bridge to sell you.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Hbmckinn

      Based on your comments seems to me it is safe to assume people who score low on I.Q. tests in childhood are more likely to develop prejudiced beliefs and socially conservative politics in adulthood. Basically, people of low intelligence gravitate toward socially conservative (Christian) ideologies, which stress resistance to change and, in turn, prejudice.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:35 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177
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.