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. Jeff Brought

    A Christian is a follower of Christ and he is known by his fruits. When the Holy Spirit dwells in you He effects who you are, not simply what you believe. What is in you comes out. You either have or you don't. We can not make up what it is to be a Christian, you don't change who God is. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and there is only one true God. The Bible is real clear on what we must do to be saved and to have a hope in Christ, I pray often for our President and our nation. We are in a death spiral because we turned our back on God.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Well said!

      October 21, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  2. Peter

    Every Catholic knows that the one true Church is the Catholic Church. All those who have strayed from Catholicism - especially those so-called Protestants - are condemned to burn in Hell for all eternity.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • visitor

      I was talking to a woman last week who was telling me she would have a hard time dating this guy because he is a "Catholic, and I am a Christian".

      I decided not to correct her.

      It's one thing when Catholics claim to be the one true church, at least they got 2000 years of history behind them. It's another when habitues of American Superchurches that grow in the suburbs like mushrooms claim they have the franchise on salvation.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      You have caught your self i n a snare. The Word of God and the Spirit of God are the Ones who determine what is the true Christianity and what is the true church. If you adhered to the Scriptures then you would see and understand that the truth is quite different than RCC feeds you.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      In a large field there is wheat and there are weeds. God said, leave them to grow, lest by pulling weeds the wheat will be pulled up also. But God knows who is who, He knows His own. But the time of purging is COMMING, and all that is not of Him will burn up and not remain standing. Just because RCC is (few centuries short of) 2000 years old, it does not mean it is the true church. True church is SPIRITUAL BODY of believers. It is not earthly organization. The outsiders(those who do not belong to the Kingdom of God) don't understand that. They interpret everything in natural terms. That's where your mistake lies.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • arosebyanyother

      You do know that the Catholic church was not the first Christian church, right?

      October 21, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      Catholics ar told that it is, and that they are the ones having keeys of heaven and hell.

      October 21, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  3. Theen Allah Fat Mullah (the original hinduism source.....)®

    “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.”

    Fear -Or nightmares of goons, denier of truth absolute GOD, Churches have too many used outdated junk cars.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  4. Nicholas


    October 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  5. OneGodOneBrotherhood

    Even though I had a hard time agreeing with the author, I really enjoyed this article. I didn't agree with Cass on his beliefs about Christianity; but I do agree that it is extremely difficult to know about Pres. Obama's true faith. I think maybe the president is Unitarian Universalist in faith/ideology. I don't mind the label Social Christianity. I guess that describes me. But, I don't like organizations (labor movement, socialism, marxism) to co-op Social Christianity and bring people into their fold in wolf-in-sheep's-cothing fashion. I hope President Obama is being true to his beliefs, but he is a complete enigma to me – a chameleon perhaps. Maybe a better way to look at what the president believes it to plot out the First Lady's beliefs. With Obama's diverse upbringing, it is quite possible that he has been mostly influenced not by his Mother or Grandparents, but by Michelle.

    Bottom line, for me, while I pretty much walk down the middle of the road (leaning right), I believe the churches' most important role is in the community helping with the social issues on a grass roots level. I also believe the most important thing in the bible is The Sermon on the Mount – which, to me, is the blueprint for Social Christian living.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  6. God's Oldest Dreamer

    Dividing up Christians thru word-plays is what detracts from the religiously devoted followers of Godliness.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  7. lawgrace

    I never understood why, even prior to his being elected, President Obama’s religious affiliation was a big deal. And all this time, after his repeated declaration that he is a Christian, some people are still debating the president’s being a Muslim. I didn’t concern myself too much about their religion because I was too busy paying attention to what I could learn about their lifestyles.

    Religious denominations, organizations, or groups provide little insight about convictions, predilections, or even our doctrines. Especially since religions now have variations of other religions, without careful, lengthy observation, it’s not easy to identify someone’s religion. But even then, we sometimes fall short of short of our beliefs due to our fallen natures. Consequently, it speaks volumes about people’s religion, when they communicate or they labor to improve the lives of other people.

    What’s refreshing is hearing about people’s performances that make the world a better place. And while I highly esteem, applaud, and appreciate the labor of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, it blesses my heart to know about people ‘in high places’ who consider and do things for the “lesser people.”

    I’ve heard televised interviews, particularly with Michelle Obama, that have been enriching for me to know that her husband sometimes reads people’s letters late into the a.m. It blesses me to hear her say that her children ask their father, our President about social conditions such as unemployment, and what can he do to resolve this or that. Indeed, she could be just saying that for television, but it’s still heartwarming to hear about good things, rather than hear about bad things.

    Also, statements like Mrs. Obama’s can motivate people to have similar discussions at their dinner tables! It’s not so much whether she was truthful –which I believe her, but the seeds sown were wholesome. They were thoughts that can cause people to recognize how to think and what to think as it pertains to people OTHER than themselves.

    Additionally, Vice President Joe Biden’s wife is yet a public teacher; and their son, Beau Biden’s confronts mortgage fraud. In addition to those things, the merciful and much needed outreach that Michelle Obama and Jill Biden have been bestowing upon Military families is widely known. Military family needs are exponential. This administration models for America what values and convictions –in a word, “religion” ought to resemble!

    I see evidence of the Robinsons (Michelle’s family), the President’s immediate family, and the Biden family engaged in social justice and outreach to people like you and me –people who can never return the favor. I do not see that, all the time they are wining & dining diplomats; nor do I see news reports of the Obamas always having meets & greets with the rich & famous. Nope. I hear and read about them blending in with the average people –including the recent event when that Florida Pizza Owner picked up President Obama in a bear hug. Also, I even see that –after knock-down, drag out election contentions involving Hillary Clinton, our President had the good sense to see the qualities Hillary possessed, and make her part of his administration.

    Arguably, there have been disappointments as it pertains to what was hoped that our President would do to bring about changes that we desperately need in our nation. But only someone devoid of ability to reason would blame President Obama –in light of the foolish proclamation of Republican Congressmen who vowed they would ensure our President’s failure. Only someone who intends to ignore the insurmountable odds that President Obama withstood –and yet remained resolved, courageous, and hopeful (of which very few of us would have even done!) would find cause to fault him. The salient fact, is that because President Barack Obama dares to face down such incredible opposition, he DESERVES to be our President –again! Moreover, President Barack Obama deserves endorsement from all Americans because he remains willing to do good to people who like him and those who don’t –by the way, true religion.

    Wherefore, rather than asking: ‘What is the President’s religion?’ Automatically, this question ought to first come to questioners’ minds: ‘What do the deeds of the Obama Administration –inclusive of their offspring, in comparison to my own, portray?

    *rearrangement from "Religion And The Obama-Biden Administration"

    October 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • NoTheism

      didn't even finish reading the first line

      October 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Ben 10

      Obama is a form of the anti christ Romney is a form of the anti christ Stand up and Wake up

      October 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  8. Archive_Alicorn

    Pointless internet arguments

    October 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  9. Jonah

    An article like this serves only to emphasis exactly how dangerous the Talibangelicals are to America. These radical "Christians" are no better than the Islamists who want the laws of their countries to be based on the Koran, except the Talibangelicals want the laws of America to be based on the Christian bible.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  10. Charles

    To those who would question the veracity of anyone's claim to being a Christian:

    Judge not, lest you be judged. For the same measure that you use to judge others, the Father will use to judge you.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • NoTheism

      I guess your god is a relativist, eh

      October 21, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      We are to judge with a righteous judgment. That means judging according to the Word of God, yet not condemning. But most of the time when people quote those scriptures about judging, they mean to say: shut your eyes, say nothing, and stick your head in the sand. No way!

      October 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • NoTheism

      @PRISM 1234, what you just said is very scary.. worthy of a character in a horror movie–one where he gets away with murder because he lives in a theocracy where the majority has gone insane
      When you have god on your side, you are capable of justifying anything (that's not a good thing...)

      October 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      N-t, you are just paranoid. You must have been filling your mind with prime trash spewed by Un-Hollywood. it does chisel on your psychological make-up!

      October 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  11. Margaret

    Interesting how different people look at it. My mother had me Christened and believed I was a Christian. That was considered good enough for most people when I was little. Now unless you cry, weep, wail and shout that you are Born Again, you are Not a Christian. The Rev. Steven Andrew says that Obama is the Anti-Christ, but my husband said that both Bush's were the Anti-Christ.

    If Obama is a Muslim he is a terrible one. In any Muslim country they would put him into jail for allowing his wife to wear clothes showing so much skin, for educating his daughters, for his attacks on people like Osama bin Ladin. He would be put to death for denying that he was a Muslim, and for going to church, for being baptized, for having a Bible.

    It should not really matter what religious affiliation you have. There are Christian groups that don't believe that Catholics are Christian, or most Protestant groups. Who do you believe. I believe that if someone tells me they are Christian, then I will believe them. I believe that feeding the poor, taking care of the sick, making sure people have a place to sleep is what religions should be doing. I believe that Obama truly cares. And I believe his family brought him up to Think. People who Think frighten the literal believers in the Bible. Many religions do not want their members to question.

    I want a President, not a pastor, priest , rabbi, or religious leader, and if I do I will go to the religious place of My choice. We are electing a President, not a religious leader.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • winnie

      Amen, Margaret.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • visitor

      "Now unless you cry, weep, wail and shout that you are Born Again, you are Not a Christian. "

      You are right on so many levels. We all know "born again" people who are the MOST OBNOXIOUS people in the country. However, even if Obama did all of those they would not accept him as a Christian. He is their political enemy. That is what this is all about.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  12. george

    Will CNN has the courage to have the next article as " Is Romney the Right Christian?"

    October 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • george

      "have the courage"

      October 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • aroomadazda

      The fact that there are quotation marks around "wrong" in the headline tells me that CNN is being critical of those who are questioning President Obama's Christianity. They are also, it seems, wondering how the self-aggrandizing fundamentalist mega-churches took over as the "right" kind of Christianity.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  13. Blane

    You cannot be a Christian and vote democratic.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • NoTheism

      but if you are a Christian extremist, chances are that you're leaning Republican

      October 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Jonah

      You cannot be a Christian and vote Republican.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • dc

      Why is that?

      October 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Jack

      I am a Christian. I just voted a straight Democratic ticket in Oregon.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • arosebyanyother

      I am a Christian. I am a liberal. I anticipate I will vote for the Democratic presidential candidate in this campaign. The philosophies of the Democratic party most closely align with the tenets of Christianity.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • visitor

      There you have it. Democracy is the lapdog of the Preachers.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      You can not be a Christian and support ungodly republican hypocrites either!

      October 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  14. WachetAuf

    Ignorance is bliss.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  15. Mitch

    A nicely done article is discraced with a horribly misleading headline that looks like a hate ad in Newsmax. 90% of site visitors will see that smear. 5%. Will read article. No wonder people have stopped looking to CNN for news from both left and right side.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • aroomadazda

      I don't find the headline misleading at all. The inclusion of quotation marks around the word "wrong" makes it clear that they are questioning those who are questioning President Obama's Christianity.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  16. larper2

    Full quote coming: "It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

    October 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Answer

      White people are going extinct. They fear this.. and it shows.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  17. audra

    You people don't read your Bible... I mean your Koran lol.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  18. Jane Paul

    "Warmed over Marxism" – try reading Acts 4 32-35. And if you want to know what God thinks of liars and welshers, keep reading through Acts 5 11.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  19. BurntOutBaptistinSaginaw


    What some people call the POTUS like: Anti-Christ, etc.; well, they have the right to free speech but the Bible is clear about JUDGING others. Whether we believe Obama is our kind of Christian is not for US to determine, that is between him and his Saviour- not even The Rev. Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham has the ordained right to judge "Obama's kind of Christianity". If he says he a Christian, we have no right to take that away- that is for the Lord to determine- ALL Christians have done and said things unChristianly. Here's something to ponder, when I was a little boy in the 60s and 70s Christianity used to mean "Love Thy Neighbors" (poor, black, brown, gay, other religions; essentially- Love NOT Judge). Now Christianity mostly segregates themselves and blames eveything IN the world ON OTHERS instead of taking responsibiIity and stepping up. Too many, even if 1- too many examples of Christians using others, blaming minorities, poor and calling eveyone evil...well why not be an example- you'd deffinately lead more to Christ that way!
    Shame on all of us-who call ourselves Christian!

    October 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  20. Lisa Lynn

    Wow. Reading comprehension in this country is obviously at an all time low.

    October 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Margaret

      I believe you, I can't believe we all read the same article.

      October 21, 2012 at 2:46 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.