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

The Gospel according to Obama

By John Blake, CNN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some see a 'different' kind of Christian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The origins of Obama’s faith

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

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

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

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obama is not a Christian, some think

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He says a progressive Christian is a contradiction.

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

Cass says he doesn’t know what Obama believes.

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

How progressive Christianity lost the public square

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- CNN Writer

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

soundoff (8,626 Responses)
  1. lmeireles

    Atheist People, on behalf of Jesus Christ and his church, i am sorry for hypocritical actions and beliefs of people who call themselves christians today. I am sure that we have contributed to why you guys don't believe in God anymore. I pray that each one of you one day may find the real meaning of the Gospel of Jesus, which is not a Gospel of salvation, prosperity or etc., but reconciliation. Which is to bring us back to our God, as we once were before.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • NoTheism

      contributed, certainly.. There are plenty good reasons not to believe in supernatural beings (of which your god is one of).
      Ask yourself, why do you not believe in unicorns or Santa Claus?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      The blind sheep of Christ's Calvanist brother Ba'al following a Judas Goat to the silence of the lambs, drown out any real discussion by Christians. Reverend Wright is who Mallcolm X warned Blacks about, that black preacher bought off by the white liberals.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      No- Saint Nicolas and unicorns are real. A unicorn is a goat with the horn buds removed and one replanted in the center. It is Evolution as a means to Species and the Big Bang that are not real.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  2. Believer

    Obama is an atheist who makes a false show of being Christian just to secure votes .. this point was proven in DNC where they had to re-insert God into their platform based on a dubious voice vote. Classic example of using God conveniently when you need votes and dumping Him when it comes to making policies ...

    Obama got God re-inserted into DNC platform because he was presented with polls showing God is still important .. not time yet to dump God. Was this a principled stand? NO ... it was based on polls .... Obama is NOT a leader ... he is poll-follower .. who flip-flopped his position on gay marriage solely based on POLLS ... we need a LEADER in WH ... not a POLLSTER ..

    October 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • mlblogssargeanton

      Obama is NOT an atheist. He is a devout muslim and consummate liar. The Koran mandates that he lie if it helps to spread Islam.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  3. Imwebspy

    Notice they would dare not ask this question of Emperor Romney

    October 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  4. Harry From Pa

    The right kind of christian huh? Is it christian that everyone just takes care of their own or themselves? Is it christian when you have to go through someone else to get to heaven and not Jesus Christ? Is it christian to not talk about love and lie all the time? I am Christian but I learned to separate church from faith, because so many just go to church as a chore because their parents taught them that was the "right thing to do." Either way, Faith is between that person and God, no matter what religion, or even if your an atheist, it will always be up to THAT individual. Who are we to judge what someone believes in? Judge lest you be Judged.....

    October 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Ambassador

      Harry from Pa...

      Jesus said, "You will know them by their fruits." We have every right to look at Obama's "fruits", and they do not align with God's Word. A "christian" supporting POST-term abortion? Please...

      October 21, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  5. Romney is a FRAUD !

    Sue Emmett is Mormon royalty. Her great-great-grandfather was Brigham Young, the founder of Salt Lake City, first governor of Utah, and president and prophet of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints (LDS) from 1847 until his death in 1877.But by the time she reached her mid-30s, she began to have doubts. Emmett started questioning the ethics and veracity of the church’s doctrine and its founders, including Young himself, and she grew increasingly concerned with the way, she says, the church treats women.
    Emmett says there is a lot of silent suffering among Mormon women ! She held these questions close to the vest for many years until, in 1999, at the age of 55, she finally made the hard decision to leave the church.
    A direct descendant of Brigham Young, Sue Emmett left the church because of the very values she says make the thought of having Romney as President frightening !

    October 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  6. Josh

    I am amazed if the lack of introspection and hypocrisy of th right wing evangelical believers who interpret the scriptures to reinforce not only their scary but self serving point of view. The denial of science and facts, the cherry picking of what they choose to believe and ignore, their desire to force their religion on all of us and the history of just plain evil acts they have committed ignoring their own strict beliefs when convenient ( look up the Mariana islands and Ralph Reed for 1 example) make them more dangerous than the myths they have created about Obama ...the picture of Romney in a group holding up dollar bills actually says it all

    October 21, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  7. tony

    With out comparing Romney's faith as well, this article is pure disguised "hate" speech.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Joe

      I couldn't agree more! Will there ever be a followup article with the same splashy headline about Mitt Romney?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  8. Vijaya Sundaram

    It is absolutely IRRESPONSIBLE and downright divisive to have such a headline. Please change it to something more apt - such as, "Obama: A Different Kind of Christian." He's certainly NOT the Republican kind - those who pander to wealth, status and privilege. When I last checked, Christ stood for humanity and the downtrodden. Obama certainly does more for the middle class, for women and for the downtrodden than ANY of the Republican party.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  9. Rainer Braendlein

    Don't let us focus too much on Obama, the man of confusion, but on the things which really matter because if we clarify the basic misconceptions concerning the Christian faith, we will proceed, and understand everything of the current course of time.

    Recently I have occupied myself a little with Frederic the Great, King of Pruzzia, and Benjamin Frankiln which were both leaders of positive Englightenment and hence belong to the Fathers of the modern Western World. They spoke out very much in favour of virtue (which even actually means manhood in Greek or Latin language). They said everybody should aspire for a life of virtue.

    I extremly appreciate Frederic and Benjamin for their promotion of righteousness and virtue, it is only that they neglected a little (at least I got the impression) to explain completely the way to virtue. One reading scriptures of Frederic or Benjamin could conclude that he could become virtuous just by some special training.

    Of course, training as described in Franklin's Autobiography is very important but the absolute foundation for an improving life is the faith in Jesus and the sacramental baptism.

    The great issue is that our "grandfather" Adam once forsake God, the Life, the Light, the Peace and the Community. Everything which awakens in us the associaton of joy is in God, God himself is the Joy. Hence, when Adam forsook God, he forsook all which could make him happy. Adam was once made in the image of God but regretably Adam voluntarily and without any reason left that marvellous and glorious state, subordinated himself to the powers of death and degenerated. Hence, we have biologically inherited the degenerated nature of Adam.

    God gave the commanments or the law of the Torah. With that he expresses that he is not pleased with much of our behaviour. Now, if we would be perfect by birth, we had never broken any divine law. Yet, the reality is that we break the divine laws nearly every moment because or core essence is corrupted. Of course, we still resemble God in some respect because he at first made us in his image but we also have an evil germ in us which wants to prevail more and more, and can destroy our life, if we don't start to suppress it.

    The basic requirement to dampen this evil germ in us is the faith in Jesus' death and resurrection which convinces us again of God's love towards us. Through faith in the gospel we return into the confident community of the eternal God, the Life. Yet, Jesus Christ died for us not only in order to gain forgiveness for us but also redemption. It seems according to the Epistle to the Romans by St. Paul that everybody easily undestands the we can have forgiveness through Christ's sacrifice when we regard it as an atonement for our sins but only a few people or actually nobody understands that it is also a work of redemption.

    This problem is solved by the Holy Sacramental Baptism of the Christian Church, insti-tuted by Christ himself. There we get metaphysically connected with Christ's death and resurrection. Through baptism we die for the sin and "enter" Christ because we have resurrected with him through the marvelous baptism. After baptism we are in Christ who is then our righteousness. It is only that the biological body remains sinful in itself, and we have to fight against it/him our whole life. Our life improves when it becomes a habit for us to overcome our body daily by the power of Jesus' death and resurrection.

    Having that divine knowledge of releasing baptism we can also apply the special method of Benjamin Franklin which begins with a reduction of food intake which was also recommended by Jesus and the Apostel, and also Martin Luther.


    October 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Josh

      Lets kill t he myth that our founding fathers were deeply committed to any religion....read their quotes and as 1 voice they feared and declared that blind religious faith was one of the most dangerous threats to our ne democracy...

      October 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  10. Romney is a FRAUD !

    Daughter of LDS Bishop Warns Against Mormonism and Romney Presidency :

    “However, what is never talked about is that Romney has his own goals for the Mormon Church [and] The Mormon Plan for America, and while he is cunning , he lacks the judgment to discern that he will not become a ‘god’ in his next life and receive his own planet.” “While he attempts to portray Mormonism as just another Christian religion, Mitt Romney counts on his skills to shift our attention away from what he truly believes,” she wrote in her book Can Mitt Romney Serve Two Masters? The Mormon Church Versus the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America.
    “It’s like our eyes are glazed over when it comes to the religion of Mitt Romney,” Erickson told talk show host Thomas Hartmann in further discussing the matter. “If you just knew what Mitt Romney believed, you would run far away from this candidate.
    ” Erickson states that she grew up in a devout Mormon household, and was even married in the LDS temple according to mandated rituals. However, she laments many things that she observed and was subjected to : “It was horrific,” she told WND. “There I was standing naked [at my wedding]. They brought this bowl of water and started washing my body down, and whispering prayers over my body. They stopped over the right and left breast, the navel and knees and prayed specific prayers.”
    Erickson stated that because Mitt Romney is a dedicated Mormon, he espouses beliefs that are very concerning, including that Jesus was not born of a virgin, that Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers, and that Romney will one day become one of many deities.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Josh

      Imagine if Obama was Mormon ..oh my god the right wing would have had a field day warning us how he was determined to undermine theUSA with his cult beliefs...but they are so desperate to have lower taxes they will accept Romney who's religious beliefs would have made them vomit in another alternative reality.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  11. advocatusdiaboli

    Talk about bitterly clinging to religion, progressive Christians like Obama are the epitome of that behavior. The Christian religion teaches that the Testaments, Old and New, are the immutable world of their god. Period. A true Christian does not selectively believe and adhere to only the portions of their god's word they like, cafeteria style. It is all or nothing. Anything else is not true religion, but hypocritical belief in a false man-made belief and, like true addicts, they make excuses for their weak and cowardly inability to sacrifice they selfish desires to stay true to their faith. Either adhere strictly to it all or throw it all out—to waffle in the middle is cowardly and wallowing in self-denial. It's the ludicrous and childish behavior of the weak willed.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Josh

      Are you talking about Obama or the the right wing evangelicals who pick and choose their own interpretations ?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  12. PS

    So now that those of you on the extreme right are realizing the rest of us don't believe your claims that Obama's a Muslim, you're going to go the atheist route? You just proved to everyone that you'll grasp at any straws you can reach to whip yourselves into a frenzy so as to justify hating our President simply because he's black and a Democrat, especially as this is the only thing many of you come up with as your reason for not liking him, and especially since you no longer have anything to go on since they've long proven the economy has recovered and unemployment continues to fall... and what hypocrites are you to then turn around and support a man who belongs to a cult that believes Jesus and Satan are brothers, tout "magic underwear," and think they'll each get their own planet when they die? Look at the plank in your own eyes first!

    October 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  13. cindy

    this is called the belief blog???
    Sunday morning hitt job on President Obamas christianity
    Two weeks before the election...
    makes me question my faith..
    shame on u CNN

    October 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  14. Jack

    Who wrote this attack piece??!! The Robnme campaign????
    "The wrong kind of Christian"??? Lol!!!! Romney's the one who's the "wrong kind of Christian"!
    The guy not only belongs to a CULT, dang it all, He's A Priest!!!

    There's no way in h e l l that I'll ever vote for a blasphemer and a satanist like Romney!!
    This nutjob thinks that he's gonna be God! And he thinks Satan is OUR BROTHER!!! (If ya'all don't believe it, read up on it!!!)

    October 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • mlblogssargeanton

      They're both the wrong kind of "Christian" ...but at least Romney isn't a muslim amd Jew hater.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  15. ob@ma 2012

    Obama is the wrong kind of Christian because he is black. For whites, no matter what he does, he will always be wrong, unless he is a puppet like michael steele.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • BYRON

      Let US guess... YOU are BLACK, and you'd VOTE for HITLER as long as HE was BLACK. Nice!

      October 21, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Jack

      This white male farmer from Alabama is voting for the ONLY Christian candidate running for President!!
      My family and I are proudly voting for Barack Obama!!!!!!!! And we're praying that Romney not only loses, but that God will strike him and his wicked 'church' down with unbridled wrath!!! Mormons are unamerican!! (Read your history!!) And Mormons are worshipping SATAN!!!
      I don't trust Robnmey or ANY damned Mormon!!!

      October 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  16. Steve in DC

    This hedline is completely inappropriate!

    October 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  17. Chzwiz

    BO is an opportunistic christian. He doesn't believe in anything. This article is a bunch of bs.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      BO believes in delivering the slab pork to his political supporters.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Josh

      Romney who has not held a belief for more than a few minutes....but Obama is an opportunist! So when you hear facts do you just put your fingers in your ears?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Jack

      I believe President Obama believes in America!! Unlike Robnmey!!!
      Robnmey's family comes from Mexico!! Why?? 'Cos his grandfather cowardly ran there with all his wives to escape American laws!! Robnmey's family, like traitors, turned their backs on America!!!

      And, get this!!! Robnmey is a high priest in a 'church' that preaches that Satan is "the Son of God"!!!!!!!!!
      So!!!!! Who's the "right kind of Christian"?????? The nutjob who worships Joe Smith and Satan, or the guy who believes in Christ our Lord???

      Before voting for Robnmey, I'd think real hard about all of this America!!

      October 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  18. annieL

    This all so sad and so dangerous for our country. Our fate is truly in God's hands now, to change hearts and minds to love.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • NoTheism

      which god is that?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • brad4nyc

      How evil a monster your mythical "God" is. Thank god God is imaginary, for the story of God is a story of a cruel mass murderer. If god is all powerful and all knowing and perfectly good, he would not bring people into the world knowing that they would go to hell and be tortured forever- a perfectly good being would never do such a thing.

      If god is all powerful and all knowing and perfectly EVIL, then god would create people knowing in advance they were going to burn in hell forever. Therefore God is pure EVIL, so fortunatley he imaginary too. For proof God Is Imaginary go to http://godisimaginary.com

      October 21, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Jack

      It won't be in God's hands anymore if Romney wins!!!!! God will surely abandon this great nation if it is ruled by a satan worshipping Mormon!!!

      October 21, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • brad4nyc

      Hail the mythical Satan! Ruler of the universe and slayer of the mythical god of Abraham.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  19. John P. Tarver

    The first lesson of Christianity is the poverty of Christian Socialism in Jerusalem. Obama is a stranger to the history of Christianity and therefore repeats the mistakes of others misunderstanding Christ's message. God hates the works of the fake christian.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • J2

      You mean like Dinesh D'Souza (the guy who put out 2016 and had to resign this week)?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      J2-yes,Obama should resign in disgrace, like that fellow Dinesh D'Souza.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Jack

      If Obama is a fake Christian, what does THAT make Romney??!!!!!
      Mormon's are NOT CHRISTIANS!! No way, No how!!!
      A Mormon High Priest in the White House will be a disaster!!! Romney will damn us all!!!

      Look at the last four years!! President Obama has consistently been on the side of the poor and the less fortunate!!
      President Obama has done all he can to help those that Christ would help!! Romney on the other hand has been anything but consistent!! Like Satan he is full of lies and deception!!! And he obviously only cares about the wealthiest of Americans!! He only cares about those who worship MONEY and SATAN!!!

      October 21, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • celietz

      Christ and God the father commanded us not to Judge others including our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. God the father and Jesus also said that they hate SIN and not the sinner and even told us to do the same. They also said that we should pray for people and ask for God to work within them, even our enemies. It is not for us to judge them or rebuke them, but to pray and let God handle the situation. I am praying for you just as I pray for Obama, his family and our country.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  20. Mary Ann

    If by "the worng kind of Christian" you mean by giving millions people access to healthcare that other wise would have been left to suffer and possibly die, then he's my kind of Christian. You know the kind that cares for others and not just the worship of money.
    Wasn't there something about beware of false prophets as well in the bible. Obama is more of a Christian inline with my belief than Romney. I do care about the least among us, and I want my tax dollars spent HELPING others not more war,bombs,military,drones,and death.

    October 21, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • J2


      October 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Ambassador

      Mary Ann...

      Jesus said to reach into your own pocket and give of your own free will. He did not say to reach into some other guy's pocket, against his free will, to force him to fund your favored causes.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • NoTheism

      @Ambassador, nobody is forcing you to do anything.. You are free to not acquire insurance and pay the fines.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • annieL

      Agree, Mary Ann. The earliest Christian congregations attracted converts because they formed communal groups that shared their wealth and possessions, the wealthy with the slave, and considered themselves equals. In those days, even women were considered the equals of men in Christ, which was a radical notion in both the Jewish and Roman cultures.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • John P. Tarver

      Obamacare as a tax fails to exist after 2015 and creates total healthcare chaos.

      October 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Ambassador

      No Theism...

      Obviously if I have to pay a fine then "I'm not 'free to not acquire insurance'"... not to mention that the law requires us to pay for abortion coverage, which is a violation of our rights to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. Why can Muslims refrain from participating in the health care law, but not Christians?

      October 21, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • NoTheism

      @Ambassador, I am not familiar with your last claim
      Anyway, you are free to do whatever you want, but freedom has consequences, or do you mean freedom without consequences (I don't know of any such thing).

      October 21, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Jack

      Amen, Mary Ann!!!

      @Ambassador: your username says it ALL!! You are a disgraceful and vile person!!
      How dare you abuse our slain Ambassador like this!!! You must be another Money/Satan worshipping Mor[m]on!!!!
      Your accusations about being made to pay for someone elses insurance is ridiculous!!! Who Do You Think Pays For The Uninsured Who Show Up At The Hospital!!!! You Do!!!! But!!! If They're Uninsured, It'll Cost You And I A Hell Of A Lot More!! It Won't Cost The Rich A Dime!! But! You And I Most Certainly Will!!!!!!
      Lose the HATE and use your HEAD!!!!! You are falling for Satan's LIES!!!!

      October 21, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Mary Ann

      Ambassador...... Aren't they "forcing" me and others to pay for wars we do not believe in, aren't THEY reaching into OUR pocket and taking OUR money for that.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • celietz

      Mr. Ambassador, the Affordable Care Act does not reach into your pocket, steal your money and give it to someone else. If you have insurance, which most people do it costs you nothing and actually saves you money in the long run. If you don't have health insurance than yes, you can be penalized for it. Why? Because part of the problem right now is that people without health insurance whether because they feel they don't need it or they feel they can not afford it or they actually can not afford it, eventually end up needing it and when they can not afford the hospital bill they rely on the hospital or the government to pick up the tab which in the end raises health care costs and spends taxpayer money. Do you realize that the United States of America is the only country in the whole world that ties health care to employment? Do you realize that every other country on the planet that has a health care system uses a socialized health care plan? Why? Because it is the only system which works. Right now our healthcare system is becoming so expensive that most companies are cutting health care benefits or they are going to catastrophic care plans. I watched as my company cut and cut and cut benefits and then it moved to cut benefits and charge me more for those benefits. The system was unsustainable. So there were only 3 options available to the President. 1. Have the government take over the whole system. 2. Put in place a government mandate to equalize the system and spread the cost. 3. Do nothing. Well, we have been doing nothing since the issue first arose in the early 50's and it was pretty damn obvious where that plan was heading. I mean come on people, when insurance companies start sending people to foreign countries for procedures it should tell you something. I needed a procedure and my insurance company asked me if I would be willing to fly to India for 2 to 3 weeks and then come back and that they would pay for everything since it saved them thousands of dollars. The current system was headed for complete melt down. In some ways I wish that we had time machines, because we could do nothing and let people watch what would happen and then turn back the clock and fix the problem, but unfortunately we don't. I have also watched people go around insisting how this is going to hurt small and big business a like. Well I don't see how, but then again I have worked for two companies in my past which said they had health care plans and which I was paying for a sizable portion myself out of my salary, only to go in to the hospital and find out that my coverage had lapsed because the company couldn't afford the payments. I have seen first hand where the current system was headed without change. Mitt Romney and most Republicans say how evil Obama care is and yet they also insist that something needs to be done to the current system. It's the same old story, tell everyone that something needs done and yet do nothing. The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but at least someone did something. So, if people don't like it then tweak it, fix it, adjust it, but don't toss the whole thing. If you want to toss the whole thing then come up with a better plan first. Don't tell me how bad the current plan is and don't offer me an alternate plan, because it just isn't going to work.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • J

      And another amen to that! It's also ironic that this article picks on Obama's understanding of Christianity and yet it leaves Romney's choice to practice as a Mormon alone. If you're going to discriminate, at least do it equally. Not that religion has any place in politics, anyways.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.