The Gospel according to Obama
President Obama is not just a racial trailblazer, but some say a religious pioneer as well. No president has ever shared his type of Christianity, historians say. Some say he may revive a form of Christianity that once dominated America.
October 21st, 2012
06:59 AM ET

The Gospel according to Obama

By John Blake, CNN

President Barack Obama was sharing a pulpit one day with a conservative Christian leader when a revealing exchange took place.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a conservative Christian who has taken public stands against abortion and same-sex marriage, had joined Obama for an AIDS summit. They were speaking before a conservative megachurch filled with white evangelicals.

When Brownback rose to speak, he joked that he had joined Obama earlier at an NAACP meeting where Obama was treated like Elvis and he was virtually ignored. Turning to Obama, a smiling Brownback said, “Welcome to my house!”

The audience exploded with laughter and applause. Obama rose, walked before the congregation and then declared:

“There is one thing I have to say, Sam. This is my house, too. This is God’s house.”

Historians may remember Obama as the nation’s first black president, but he’s also a religious pioneer. He’s not only changed people’s perception of who can be president, some scholars and pastors say, but he’s also expanding the definition of who can be a Christian by challenging the religious right’s domination of the national stage.

When Obama invoked Jesus to support same-sex marriage, framed health care as a moral imperative to care for “the least of these,’’ and once urged people to read their Bible but just not literally, he was invoking another Christian tradition that once dominated American public life so much that it gave the nation its first megachurches, historians say.

“Barack Obama has referred to his faith more times than most presidents ever have, but for many it’s the wrong kind of faith,” says Jim Wallis, head of Sojourners, an evangelical activist group based in Washington that focuses on poverty and social justice issues.

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“It is not the faith of the religious right. It’s about things that they don’t talk about. It’s about how the Bible is full of God’s clear instruction to care for the poor.”

Some see a 'different' kind of Christian

Obama is a progressive Christian who blends the emotional fire of the African-American church, the ecumenical outlook of contemporary Protestantism, and the activism of the Social Gospel, a late 19th-century movement whose leaders faulted American churches for focusing too much on personal salvation while ignoring the conditions that led to pervasive poverty.

No other president has shared the hybrid faith that Obama displays, says Diana Butler Bass, a historian and author of “Christianity after Religion.”

“The kind of faith that Obama articulates is not the sort of Christianity that’s understood by the media or by a large swath of Christians in the U.S.,” says Bass, a progressive Christian. “He’s a different kind of Christian, and the media and the public awareness needs to reawaken to that fact.”

Some Christians, however, still see Obama as the “other.” He doesn’t act or talk like other Christians, says the Rev. Gary Cass, a conservative Christian president of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission.

“I just don’t see or hear in his accounts the kind of things that I’ve heard as a minister for over 25 years coming from the mouths of people who have genuinely converted to Christianity,” says Cass, pastor of Christ Church in San Diego.

Cass says he’s never heard Obama say he’s “born-again.” There’s no emotional conversion story to hang onto.

Obama talks about his faith and attends church, but Cass says that doesn’t mean he’s a Christian.

“Joining a church doesn’t mean you’re a Christian. “You can put me in the garage, but that doesn’t turn me into a car.”

The origins of Obama’s faith

The suspicion about Obama’s faith may seem odd at first because he’s written and spoken so much about his spiritual evolution in his two autobiographies, “Dreams of my Father” and “The Audacity of Hope.” Other books, like “The Faith of Obama” by Stephen Mansfield, also explore Obama’s beliefs.

The 1925 “Monkey” trial of John Scopes, a high school biology teacher who taught evolution, drove fundamentalists underground, some say.

Mansfield says Obama is the first president who wasn’t raised in a Christian home. Obama’s mother was an atheist and his grandparents were religious skeptics (Obama’s family has challenged the description of his mother as an atheist. Obama called her “the most spiritually awakened” person he’d ever known, and his sister called their mother an agnostic).

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Mansfield called Obama’s boyhood a “religious swirl.  He was exposed to Catholicism, Islam, and strains of Hinduism and Buddhism while growing up in Indonesia during the 1960s.

“In our household, the Bible, the Koran and the Bhagavad Gita sat on the shelf alongside books of Greek and Norse and African mythology,” Obama said in Mansfield’s book. “On Easter or Christmas Day, my mother might drag me to church, just as she dragged me to the Buddhist temple, the Chinese New Year celebration, the Shinto shrine, and ancient Hawaiian burial sites.”

Obama became a Christian while he was a community organizer in Chicago. He joined a predominantly black United Church of Christ. The UCC became the first mainline Protestant denomination to officially support same-sex marriage in 2005.

Obama’s faith showed many of the elements of a liberal Protestant church: an emphasis on the separation of church and state, religious tolerance and the refusal to embrace a literal reading of the Bible.

In a 2006 speech before a Sojourners meeting, Obama talked about his approach to the Bible:

“Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is abomination? How about Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith? Or should we just stick to the Sermon on the Mount – a passage that is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application?”

When many people think of Obama’s religious experience in Chicago, though, they cite his exposure to the angry sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and “black liberation theology,” a movement that emerged in the late 1960s and blended the Social Gospel with the black power movement.

Bass, the church historian, says another black pastor shaped Obama’s theology more: the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

He attended liberal Protestant seminaries where he learned about the Social Gospel’s concern for the entire person, soul and body.

Obama has reached out to evangelical leaders like Rick Warren, seen here praying at Obama’s inauguration, but many still doubt his faith.

King once wrote that “any religion that professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them …is a spiritually moribund religion awaiting burial.”

But King and the black church also fused the Social Gospel with an emotional fervor missing from white Protestant churches, Bass says. Other presidents like Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were influenced by the Social Gospel, but they weren’t shaped by the black church.

“This is the first time we’re hearing the Social Gospel from the perspective of the black church from the Oval Office. It makes it warmer, more emotive, more communal," Bass says. "There is less fear of linking the Social Gospel with the stories of the Bible, especially the stories of Exodus and Jesus’ healings.”

The emphasis on community uplift - not individual attainment - may strike some Americans as socialist. But the emphasis on community is part of King’s “Beloved Community,” Bass says.

King once wrote that all people are caught up in an “inescapable network of mutuality… I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be.”

“When I listen to Obama, I don’t hear communism, I hear the Beloved Community,” Bass says. “But a lot of white Americans don’t hear that because they never sat in those churches and heard it over and over again. It’s the whole theology that motivated MLK and the civil rights movement.”

Obama is not a Christian, some think

For some, Obama’s actions in the Oval Office seem to contradict Christianity.

Jesus was nonviolent. Obama has ramped up drone attacks in Afghanistan that have not only removed terrorists, but killed civilians.

The Bible talks about the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. Obama invoked Jesus when he came out in support of same-sex marriage. “The thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule," Obama told ABC News during his announcement.

Jesus talked about helping the poor. But he never said anything about creating a massive health care law that taxed the rich to help the poor, some Christians argue.

But Wallis of Sojourners says Obama’s push for health care was a supreme example of Christian faith.

A situation where 50 million Americans don’t have health insurance is “a fundamental Christian problem,” Wallis says.

“Health is such a Gospel issue. Jesus was involved in healing all the time, and to have some people excluded from health care because they lack wealth is a fundamental Christian contradiction.”

Wallis has been one of the most persistent defenders of Obama’s faith. But no matter how much Scripture he and others cite, doubts about Obama’s faith have followed him throughout his political career.

Focus on the Family founder James Dobson once said that Obama distorted the traditional understanding of the Bible “to fit his own world, his own confused theology.” The Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, publicly questioned Obama’s faith, then later apologized.

Conservative Christian books and websites are filled with stories of Obama allegedly trying to suppress the nation’s Christian heritage.

The Rev. Steven Andrew, author of “Making a Strong Nation,” says Obama is trying to change the national motto from “In God we Trust” to “Out of Many, One,” and he’s ordered the Pentagon to remove biblical verses from its daily report.

“That’s the most serious thing someone can do to a nation, trying to separate a nation from God,” he says. “He seems to be trying to change the Christian laws our Founding Fathers made.”

Andrew says Obama is actually an enemy of Christianity. In his book, Andrew argues that the Founding Fathers were Christians who created a “covenant Christian nation” and calls for a “national repentance.”

“I think he’s an anti-Christ,” Andrew says.  Cass, of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, says Obama’s emphasis on helping the poor through social justice isn’t Christianity.

Christians who talk about “social justice” are often practicing “warmed-over Marxism,” Cass says.

“Do I believe in caring for the poor and oppressed? Yes. But you don’t do it along the lines of communistic redistributing.”

Obama’s support of same-sex marriage and abortion rights also disqualifies him from being a Christian, Cass says.

“It’s the most pro-abortion administration in the history of America.  On every social issue – the sanctity of life and of marriage between men and women – Obama is on the wrong side of every moral issue,” he says.

He says a progressive Christian is a contradiction.

“No Christian says I believe in Jesus Christ and I reject the Bible,” Cass says. “These progressives who say they’re Christians are liars. They’re using Christianity as a guise to advance their own agenda.”

Cass says he doesn’t know what Obama believes.

“He’s conflicted,” Cass says. “He has Muslim sympathies from his upbringing."

How progressive Christianity lost the public square

There was a time when Obama’s brand of Christianity would have been understood by millions of Americans, historians say.

Obama along with first lady Michelle Obama and their daughters Malia and Sasha leave church after attending a Sunday prayer service.

The Social Gospel and progressive Protestantism dominated the American religious square from the end of the 19th century up to the 1960s. At times, the traditions blended together so seamlessly that it was hard to tell the difference.

The Social Gospel rose out of the excesses of the Gilded Age in the 1880s, when urban poverty spread across America as immigrants crammed into filthy slums to work long hours in unsafe conditions.

Walter Rauschenbusch, a Baptist pastor in a New York slum, urged the church to take “social sins” as seriously as they took individual vices. Churches began feeding the poor and fighting against other social ills.

“The notion that religious people should be about feeding the poor and helping the homeless is a carryover of the Social Gospel,” says Charles Kammer, a religion professor at Wooster College in Ohio. The Social Gospel was adopted by many Protestant churches in the late 19th and early 20th century, says Bass, the church historian. Some of the Social Gospel churches grew popular because they provided the poor with everything from English classes to sewing instructions and basketball leagues.

“The first American megachurches were liberal, Social Gospel urban churches,” Bass says.

The Social Gospel, though, sparked a backlash from a group of pastors during World War I. They were called fundamentalists. They published a pamphlet listing the “fundamentals of the faith:” Biblical inerrancy, the virgin birth, Adam and Eve.

But the fundamentalists lost the battle for public opinion during the “Scopes Monkey Trial” in 1925. John Scopes, a high school science teacher, was tried for violating a Tennessee law that prohibited the teaching of evolution.

Though Scopes lost, fundamentalist Christians were mocked in the press as “anti-intellectual rubes,” and a number of states suspended pending legislation that would have made teaching evolution illegal, says David Felten, author of “Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity.”

The trial drove fundamentalists underground where they created a subculture, their own media networks, seminaries and megachurches, he says.

That subculture thrives today, Felten says, and has infiltrated the political arena. It has created an “alternative intellectual universe” that denies science, rational thought – and any beliefs that violate their definition of being a Christian, Felten says.

“They have millions of adherents who believe in a literal six day creation and a literal Adam and Eve – so it’s not a stretch to believe that President Obama is a Kenyan-born secret Muslim bent on destroying the country,” Felten says.

Progressive Christians eventually lost the messaging wars to this fundamentalist subculture, Bass says. Their nuanced view of faith couldn’t compete with the “spiritual triumphalism” of conservatives.

“If you get up and say we’re right and we have the truth, then you have a powerful public message,” she says. “They have a theological advantage in the public discourse. It’s comforting to have things clear, to have things black and white.”

The result today is that the Protestant tradition that shapes much of Obama’s Christianity is fading from public view.

The share of Protestant Christians in the United States has dropped below 50% of the population, according to a recent survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

White mainline Protestants make up only 15% of the nation’s population, the survey revealed. The study also found that the fastest growing "religious group" in the country is people who are not affiliated with any religion.

Another generation of Christians, though, may bring a new version of progressive Christianity back.

The lines between younger conservative Christians and progressives are blurring, says Marcia Pally, author of “The New Evangelicals: Expanding the Vision of the Common Good.”

Pally spent six years traveling across America to interview evangelicals. She says her research revealed that more than 60% of young evangelicals support more governmental programs to aid the needy, as well as more emphasis on economic justice and environmental protection issues.

“What’s interesting is that these values, associated with Obama and the black Protestant tradition are now also the values of a growing number of white evangelicals,” she says.

Her perspective suggests that Obama’s faith may be treated by history in two ways:

He could be seen as the last embodiment of a progressive version of Christianity that went obsolete.

Or he could be seen as a leader who helped resurrect a dying brand of Christianity for a new generation.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: 2012 Election • Atheism • Barack Obama • Belief • Bible • Books • Christianity • Church • Courts • Creationism • Culture & Science • Culture wars • Evolution • evolvution • Faith • Fundamentalism • Gay marriage • Gay rights • God • History • Homosexuality • Interfaith issues • Obama • Protestant • Religious liberty • Same-sex marriage • Schools • Science

soundoff (8,626 Responses)
  1. SD_CA_Paradise

    Really! A discussion three weeks before the election starting wit Obama being the wrong kind of Christian. His opponent is a Morman. Why has that and it's ultra conservatism not being discussed as well

    October 21, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • ameri2010

      This is what happens when the leftist want to avoid Obama's failures. They start criticizing any religion that's not atheism. You all deserve any negative feedback you receive for busting on Christianity, Mormons, Catholics, etc., while at the same time ignoring that Obama's father was a polygamist and had five wives. If you're going to bust on people, be an equal opportunity hater.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • SD_CA_Paradise

      Governor Romney's grandfather was a polygamist as well. Why do think his dad was born in Mexico. I guess it is to much to ask to for the media and the respondents to have a balanced discussion of the candidates religions if its necessary to have that discussion to start with.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  2. Thinkergal

    President Obama is, emphatically, the kind of Christian we should all aspire to be.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • ameri2010

      Huh? All Christians should aspire to sit in a Black Theology Church and scream, "God damn America?"

      October 21, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Kate

      Absolutely! Mr. Obama actually practices Christian values, unlike other so called Christians. When people ask, 'What would Jesus do'? I think Mr. Obama is doing exactly what Jesus would do. Jesus did not exclude people....he cared for all of them.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Dennis

      You have got to be kidding. Mr. Obama is a muslim. He is not saved. No way. This can be proven by the way he acts, talks. He wants socialism.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • Jon

      Thinkergal, thank you.

      I love the comment - in a highly ironic kind of way - that Obama is a Musim and a socialist. Note how any pejorative will do? (Shaking head.) Didn't you hear? Actually Obama is an alien from the Planet Xenu. Oh, and he controls our minds through electric outlets! It's ALL TRUE!

      Hysteria 2012. 😉

      October 21, 2012 at 10:21 am |
  3. Rainer Braendlein

    Obama, the slavedriver, criticises Old Testament slavery – ridiculous!

    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?"

    At first, what about Old Testament slavery? Good or bad?

    Actually God (the God of Israel) had commanded Israel to exterminate some nations (they lived on the territory of today Palestine) because these nations committed unimaginable sins: intercourse in all directions: man with man, woman with woman, father with daughter, mother with son, father and mother with animals, etc.. Furthermore they sacrificed infants to their idols (Moloch and the like). Sometimes it happened that Israel did not kill all war prisoners according to God's command but took them as slaves which was tolerated by God. In that context the slavery was a grace for the concerned people because at least they kept their life. We can imply that the concerned nations had been admonished many times before God started to judge them using Israel as his tool of wrath. These nations were stubborn sinners which had deserved no more grace but only judgement.

    By the way, our modern societies more and more resemble slave markets. Who is responsible for that? Mr. Obama.

    Why does God allow that we more and more become economical slaves (human robots)? Because we don't seek His countenance which is actually the meaning of life. Dear reader, a better life in Jesus waits for you. Get it right now, and start to believe in the one who died and resurrected for you in order to set you free, and be your righteousness.


    October 21, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Galileo Galileo

      One of the most confused twisted posts ever created. Are you really Sarah Palin?

      October 21, 2012 at 11:11 am |
  4. Mike

    You employed lots of words to essentially say that Obama is a moral relativist although you are trying to portray him as some sort of "new" Christian. You, he and moral relativism is simply not correct.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  5. AuntieMEK

    Bush had a whole country hit list in his top drawer of his desk, Remember Iraq any idea where those WMD are yet still looking

    October 21, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  6. Galileo Galileo

    My interpretation of Jesus' teachings is that his attention was focused on working people and poor people. He felt that those folks really needed help and so that is where he directed his healing, preaching and prayers. He saw the the rich as interested more in material possessions, fame, pride and monetary wealth.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  7. DJensen

    Doesn't matter who you are. One day.... EVERY knee WILL bow.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  8. Joe Schmoe

    What a loaded headline, and what a load of baloney! The only one who can say if a man is, or is not, the right kind of Christian will do so after his life is over. Until then, it is just someone's opinion based on their own limited understanding.

    Of course his background will influence his faith and its manifestations in his life – it does so for everyone. To expect otherwise would be to deny the obvious.

    I personally do not support Obama, but it for reasons other than questioning his faith.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  9. Shadows

    The headline should read: For some, CNN is the wrong kind of news agency spewing its nonesense on a gullible people.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  10. Lamar in Dallas, TX

    Obama is exactly the type of Christian that I like. He actually practices Christianity, whereas most others only discuss it.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  11. Maia

    So... what's with all the fascination of a President's religious preference? Aren't we a country separate from religion and state? Let him worship wiccan for all I care. As long as he can run the country.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  12. Cindy

    Being a Christian is more than words it's through actions. God doesn't believe in killing millions of babies because people make mistakes and get pregnant. Under Obama more babies have been killed than ever before. Marriage is between a man and a woman in Gods eyes. Those are the two biggest issues that tell me that Obama is not really a Christian . I really can not believe the writer of this article spent so much time trying to convince his readers that Obama is a Christian when if he truly was no words would have to be spoken or written we would know by his actions.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Your god is the biggest baby killer out there.

      "About 105 billion people have ever been born, and of those born only 50% were able to live past childhood. The other 50% of all the humans ever born died in childhood, before reaching maturity.
      The number of conceptions that never made it to birth is closer to half a trillion.
      Seeing as Christians think that the soul enters the body at the moment of conception, these deaths could be seen as equal to murder. If there is a god then he will have caused these billions of deaths, robbing them of their lives before maturity."

      October 21, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  13. Carrie

    The Bible is not up to "interpretation" by CNN... New kind of Christian? How about another way that Society tries to mold Christianity to fit the current group of "Faith but not God" believers. Or - maybe because Obama is behind and Rev. Billy Graham has called all Christians to vote for those of God and Faith... hummmmm.... now he is a Man of God. Conveniently interesting. Bias, Bias, Bias. These "News Journalists" should be ashamed of themselves and do what they are obviously called to do – write an opinion column. Shame on CNN and shame on anyone who looks to justify not going to church by saying they are of the New Christian Religion.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • Pam

      I could not agree more with your comments! It is a sad day in America when truth is so distorted by the media.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  14. ironage

    Well....i guess Obama and Romney are both the "wrong" kind of Christian.....aren't they? As far as Obama goes....i suspect he is an Atheist or Agnostic at heart....but like any good politician....he goes to church for political reasons......to fool the voters.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:46 am |

    HE IS A MUSLIM!!!!

    October 21, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Kate

      And you are either a fool ... or a liar.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Patrick: Ignorance is bliss!

      October 21, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Janice

      I agree with you Patrick, Mr. Obama is not a Christian; he is a Muslim and has stated as such in comments "on camera".
      There is footage out there where he admits to being a Muslin. A few other mispoken blunders also confirm it as well. It's out of his mouth.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • dnick47

      Patrick, ou are an example of what is wrong with the Christian right> They fire off from the hip spouting the angry, hate filled statements they heard without giving one minute of prayful consideration to them. You and your buddies are driving people out of the Church or blunting the truth so they stay away.... You drove me away and I may nev er return: if ou're right then Jesus and the Bible are lying; but if they are right then you and our right-wing christian movement are liars and anti–Christ.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Hbmckinn

      And all of a sudden like Billy Graham you believe the Mormon is a Christian and not a cult.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  16. shiststone

    I have nothing against christians, If I ever meet one, I'll probably like him or her.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:46 am |
  17. Bob

    If he's a Christian he sure is giving it a new definition.... http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=tCAffMSWSzY#t=28

    October 21, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You and your sort are the ones who are creating a new definition, Bob. There are millions of denominations of Christianity and fundamentalists are not the ideal.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  18. Wade

    Obama is not a Christian in the true sense of the word.He may call himself that but he certainly does not act like that. It is like Biden and Nancy calling themselves Catholic but violating all the teaching of the faith. You either are or you are not you do not get to make up your version of the faith and say you are it. No you are not you are what ever you decided to be. If you do not follow the rules or the teaching then you are not part of that faith.l It is like saying I am atheist but I go to church and pray every day. You see Romney is a Mormon a religion highly misunderstood and not well accepted but he does not hide from it he embraces it he is proud of it. Obama seems to be ashamed he is what ever he is and confused as to what that is,. He was raised a Muslim by his father in his book, he attended an anti white anti America church under pastor wright for 20 years but never knew how the pastor felt . He is a player nothing more. If you are a christian you do not attack the religion or try to remove the rights they have as a religion. Obama is a fraud.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What "rights" is Obama trying to remove? What "rights" have you lost under his administration?

      October 21, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  19. Rational Libertarian

    He's the wrong kind of president, that's for sure. Still though, I'd rather have Obama than Romney (I've finally made up my mind who's worse: it's Romney).

    October 21, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  20. Greg

    Anyone who uses religion to get votes will not get mine.

    October 21, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • MIchele

      So you WON"T be voting Republican then.

      October 21, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • Janice

      How about someone who keeps the military from voting by holding back the absentee ballots? 66% (Polled) of the military favor Romney. When Mr. Obama made his visit to the last military installation, a lot of the service men took pases to avoid being in the crowd. The majority of the ones there were ORDERED to be there. It's the office not the person....look at the oath they take.

      October 21, 2012 at 10:05 am |
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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.