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. disgustedvet

    Obama is NOT the wrong kind of christian. Obama is not the wrong color. Obama is not anything except the WRONG President. Soon to be ex-President .

    October 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • jessy

      Correct. It is his kind of thinking that is wrong.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  2. Snow

    Sadly, every christian in the world today is a wrong kind of christian. Watching what they say and what they do, I can not help but agree with the quote of M. Gandhi "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ".

    October 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Rose Bowen

      As a lifelong Christian, I have to say that I agree that the (right wing) Christians that get in the news are usually an embarrassment. There is a growing group, as the article point out near the end, that try to do what the Lord told us to do. I think the article should have said that the president is a DIFFERENT type of christian. I know that the religious right believes that they have a monopoly on truth and understanding God. That sounds like the sin of pride to me...

      October 21, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  3. kayintheforest

    Shame Shame on you. This is not NEWS, this is a terrible article. HOW many christians are there? I thought it was all about Jesus,,, you know, Christ. Shame Shame on you for publishing this stupid article.

    October 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • umm..

      time to crack open this other book called "dictionary" and look up the meaning of the words "blog" and "opinion".

      October 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  4. Sonicsnout

    What's with the headline CNN? "Wrong" kind of Christian? Epic, epic fail

    October 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  5. jessy

    Mormon is aligned with Christian values. There is nothing about the religious practices of those like Obama, Jessee, and Al that come anywhere close to what a Christian really is.

    October 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      jessy: Mormons believe that if you worship sincerely you will attain wealth – poor people for the most part "deserve it". That is completely contrary to Christ's teachings.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Snow

      you should learn more about their secret for attaining wealth.. the mark of cain.. about their attainment of heaven.. and ya, about their revelations..

      Did you ever think about how the revelations from god always seem to come when their power is threatened or if they are in the society that threatens its dogmatic beliefs.. and ya, when they are in the verge of attaining more power.. what does that tell you about them?

      October 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • jessy

      I would like someone here to prove that sincere worship does not bring wealth.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      Jesus certainly didn't preach that – he gave examples of poor people who were more virtuous and worthy of heaven than those who are wealthy. He NEVER implied that wealth was a result of belief, rewards were in Heaven, not on earth. He also said that those who are rich have a harder time of getting into Heaven than the poor.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Sane Person

      In that case, simply Pray him into office and pray the debt away then. Dont worry about a thing. I guess you didnt pray the first time he ran huh?

      October 21, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • PRISM 1234

      "Mormons believe that if you worship sincerely you will attain wealth – poor people for the most part "deserve it". That is completely contrary to Christ's teachings."
      Yeah, that's exact;y what moral Republicans and their cronies believe. They parade with signs that say Protect the unborn", but soon the unborn are born, they and their parents are the throwaways of the society, being trashed as outcasts of society if they can't pay the insane insurance premiums to Mafia owned Health care Co's, when they need medical treatments and meds to help them stay alive. The fruit does not fall far from the tree!

      October 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • visitor

      Obama, Jessee and Al. Three black dudes. Of course dear.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  6. neutrondetector

    Answer: yes

    October 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  7. blake

    Obama isn't a Christian. He embraces a secular Marxist worldview. His only reason for occasionally attending a Christian church is a political reason.

    October 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • J4U

      You aren't a Christian since you are trying to keep people out of the kingdom of God.

      Jesus told HIS followers to sell ALL their possessions and give the money to the poor.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Scott

      You are correct, Jesus did call His disciples to a life of service. I missed the part where he said the government should granted power to force people to give up their wealth.

      Forced charity isn't charity at all: it's theft, and falls closely in line with the fact that the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Tolerance

      Come on Robert, get a life.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  8. Romney is a FRAUD !

    It seems that the premise of the article has backfired ! It appears that more people are calling into question Romney's Mormonism , than whether or not President Obama is the ideal christian ! I'm not sure what the author was thinking here ! As soon as he went to religion , people were automatically going to question Romney's religion just for comparison sake ! The cult like nature in Mormonism should give people much concern about Romney !

    October 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • kayintheforest

      totally agree.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • aroomadazda

      I think you are misreading the premise, or as you probably meant it, the purpose of this article. The author is clearly being critical of those who are questioning if President Obama is the 'wrong' kind of Christian, and also dissing on the notion of there being a right or wrong kind anyway. It seems to me that the author is also hoping that the president, and others like him, can revitalize a form of progressive Christianity that has fallen out of favor with the rise of the right-wing, mega-churches.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  9. Gman21

    So Romney's money bought Jesus and made him just a man. I feel sorry for the radical Christians and Catholics-You have sold your souls!!! Now Rev Billy Graham has sold his Jesus also to GOP.

    October 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  10. Biff

    "Jesus was nonviolent....while obama has ramped up attacks."
    By this logic, nearly all presidents are the 'wrong' kind of president. Every single one in the last 50 years.

    "Jesus..never said anything about creating a massive health care law"
    True, but who is to say he would be against helping the poor? Its all about picking the "Jesus" that you want. Some would have the bible outlaw equal rights to Blacks, or Women. In some parts, the bible defines marriage as ownership of a purchase. Are we going to ignore that now?

    I'm not trying to demean the bible, I think its a general morality tale to treat your fellow man with respect. If you are going to vote next month, I hope people vote with who they think will lead the country in a better direction - not because they aren't christian enough.

    October 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Mike

      I think you'd be better off in the Muslim religion friend.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • J4U

      Jesus didn't come to this earth and try to take over the government.

      He told people that they had to pay their taxes (give to Caeser's what is Caeser's and to God what is God's).

      The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
      because the Lord has anointed me
      to proclaim good news to the poor.
      He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
      to proclaim freedom for the captives
      and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
      2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
      and the day of vengeance of our God,
      to comfort all who mourn,
      3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
      to bestow on them a crown of beauty
      instead of ashes,
      the oil of joy
      instead of mourning,
      and a garment of praise
      instead of a spirit of despair.
      They will be called oaks of righteousness,
      a planting of the Lord
      for the display of his splendor.

      4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
      and restore the places long devastated;
      they will renew the ruined cities
      that have been devastated for generations.
      5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
      foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
      6 And you will be called priests of the Lord,
      you will be named ministers of our God.
      You will feed on the wealth of nations,
      and in their riches you will boast.

      7 Instead of your shame
      you will receive a double portion,
      and instead of disgrace
      you will rejoice in your inheritance.
      And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
      and everlasting joy will be yours.

      8 “For I, the Lord, love justice;
      I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
      In my faithfulness I will reward my people
      and make an everlasting covenant with them.
      9 Their descendants will be known among the nations
      and their offspring among the peoples.
      All who see them will acknowledge
      that they are a people the Lord has blessed.”

      10 I delight greatly in the Lord;
      my soul rejoices in my God.
      For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
      and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
      as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
      and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
      11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
      and a garden causes seeds to grow,
      so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
      and praise spring up before all nations

      October 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • kayintheforest

      Jesus was not elected by the MAJORITY of the people. Didn't you know that part??

      October 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • jessy

      And what if the Bible is right? How do we know God isn't punishing us because we have allowed absolute equality instead of having the courage to follow its teachings?

      October 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  11. Candice De Armon

    This headline is very misleading. What kind of Christian is the "wrong" kind?

    October 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • ron

      Actually I am not sure there is a right kind of christian.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Answer

      The wrong kind of christian is the one that every other christian can place a blame/fault on, and that makes Obama the right christian to be in position of being the president.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Shannon

      The "Wrong" kind of Christian is the conservative Christian. The conservative "Conserves" whilst thee Christian gives freely to those in need. The 2 philosophies are mutually exclusive!

      October 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  12. Deborah Lawrence Hale

    Why do you use the word "wrong" in your headline? President Obama is the RIGHT

    October 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Lila

      Excellent Point!!

      October 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • aroomadazda

      Including quotation marks around the word 'wrong' in the headline should have tipped you off as to the author's feeling on the subject. Clearly he is criticizing those who are questioning his beliefs, not to mention the whole notion of there even being a right or wrong kind of Christianity.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  13. dre

    C'mon, he'll never be the right kind of anything for those who never wanted him to be president anyway. The cool thing is that during the course of the coming history of this great country – individuals from each race and each religion with have the opportunity to reside in the White House – latin, indian, asian, christian, muslim, etc. That's the beauty of a nation of immigrants.

    October 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • jessy

      You are right about the wrong kind of anything. This is why we will not elect him and his kind again.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • marky merlot

      An idealistic view, I'm afraid. If any other minority (color/religion), has accepted Obama's treatment by the foul-mouthed, extreme right, as an example of what to expect, then I doubt whether, many would have the courage, to emulate him.
      Indeed, one wonders if, in hindsight, Obama himself, would have had the nerve to enter, had he known the extreme vitriol, that was to be hurled at him. No doubt, with no prior knowledge of the massive, downward spiral of the worlds economy, that was yet to confront him, it would have taken a brave soul to proceed!

      October 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  14. marky merlot

    It's a shame that one's "faith", has become a prerequisite, for attaining the nation's highest office. This seems to be a uniquely American feature of politics, at least compared to the rest of the developed western world.
    It would be interesting to know, over the history of the USA, how many Presidents, have harbored secretly atheistic/agnostic views, but show a pious side, only to the public at large?

    October 21, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  15. Willyboy

    Religion – Christianity in particular – should have no relevance whatsoever in politics or governance. We have this wonderful thing called the Establishment Clause, frequently referred to as Separation of Church and State. It is goodness in the extreme. Religion is a cankerous sore on our politics and our society. If religion is your thing, fine, but don't look for it in our politics, government or governance – it has no place there.

    October 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Campgirl


      October 21, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  16. mlblogsyankeeblogspot

    What really happened is this, people crying, Obama saying the oceans were going to change, presented himself as the savior to all past problems in our country. saying America would fundamentally change because of him, waging class warefare and limiting free enterprise in our nation. This so called Christian is the first to openly accept gay marriage as a political stance, which if you want to not believe what the bible says about it then fine, but this wasn't his stance when running in Chicago against a conservative black candidate. Anyone who says the affordable care act is Christian isn't familiar with the bible. Did God come down to the earth take the wealth of Rome, or the Jews devide it up, and make equal outcomes. No he said to the rich man give your wealth to the poor, and come follow me. Jesus left the man with choice, and that friends is the distinction. Does anyone argue that God is the highest authority? If God is all powerfull then why hasnt he changed society to even the playing field? the answer is found in the beginning of the bible, man shal bring forth bread by the sweat of his brow, and it shal be for his good. Does God seem like a man that changes with the times ? The answer is obvious, times change by him. He is Alpha, and Omega, the beginning and the end. Hope and change is individualistic in nature, it's self betterment, and comes from God not man. Hope is for God, and the bible says cursed is he that puts his faith in the arm of flesh. Gods spirit tells us when man has done something right, and glory to God alone be given when he does. Pontus Pilot said to Jesus "don't you know I have the power to crucify you", and Jesus said "you would have no power over me were it not given you from above". God gives man liberty, should man take it away ?

    October 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Answer

      In other words.. all your babbling comes down to "I'm an idiot who wants his fairytales to be true.".

      There it's fixed for ya. Stupid moron.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Kevin S

      What about usury and the money lenders? Didn't Jesus drive them from the temple with a bull whip? And the sweat from there brows. Don't cherry pick verses and try to create a backing for your twisted view.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • CNNbeatsFOX

      You don't know anything about the bible if you think that Jesus would be ok with people dying of curable diseases because they couldn't pay for treatment. I bet you think Jesus endorsed capitalism and the wealthy. YOU need a lesson in biblical history, particularly 1st century Judea, which will help you understand the world of the Gospels better. Republican 1st, Christian 2nd I see.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  17. ItSoNlYmE

    The problem with America is that anyone CARES what anyone else's religion is. I don't care if the President worships bushes and trees. As long as he is a wise and compassionate person who seeks to govern for the betterment of all people, that's all that matters. I don't care if he's yellow, white, black, red, green, or purple, and I *surely* don't care how he believes or how he worships. When Americans can stop caring about everyone else's private business and getting on with governing ourselves, we'll all be a lot better off.

    October 21, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Michael B

      Well, I kind of care if he worships bushes and trees...

      October 21, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • marky merlot

      Well, Michael, I really don't care that you care! ItSoNlYmE absolutely nails it, as it only matters if the president cares about the plight of the common man. Then we can call his deeds Christian, if that's how you define someone with a social conscience.
      Mittens, certainly does NOT fit that description!

      October 21, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  18. Joe Clark

    If not knowing whether he is a christian is an indication, then the answer would be yes. No one except his wife knows for sure and she is not talking.

    October 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • anthonerw@msn.com

      I say knowing and not accepting is worse, and that is what the so-called Christian right is doing by continually questioning his religion.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Sane Person

      I don't know if you're an idiot, and your wife hasn't told me. See what I did there?

      October 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain: Mittens' 47% = Veterans, Grandma and the Disabled (you know, Jesus' folks)

    "Congress shall establish no religion." Freedom of religion is also in our First Amendment. Christians have plenty of access to broadcasting (TV, radio, Internet, news outlets); there is no shortage of houses of worship; Christmas is a national holiday.

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! The United States is NOT a theocracy! You want a theocracy, go live in Iran!

    October 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  20. george

    A Challenge to CNN: write an article "Is Romney the 'wrong' kind of Christian"? I don't think CNN has the nerve to do it. Obama is an easy target!

    October 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • oj-simpson

      So, now Obama is an easy target!.. Why?.. Becuz he is blk? you gonna bring that up too!

      October 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Christiana Gaudet

      So true. And given the fact that Mormonism is quite questionable to many Christians, it's a valid question.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Janet

      I'm ready to see the same type of article written about Romney & Mormonism...if you are going to question if a candidate is "the right or wrong" kind of Christian, I believe a great number of the Christian Right would be stunned at some of the practices & beliefs of the Mormon faith. The use of the word "wrong", was wrong in deed. Try that headline w/aRomney article and the GOP would be up in arms.

      October 21, 2012 at 4:51 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.