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. us_1776


    Flip, reset, 47%, double down, 100%, spray on tan, spin, retool, -47%, flop.
    Flip, reset, 47%, double down, 100%, spray on tan, spin, retool, -47%, flop.
    Flip, reset, 47%, double down, 100%, spray on tan, spin, retool, -47%, flop.
    Flip, reset, 47%, double down, 100%, spray on tan, spin, retool, -47%, flop.

    This Romney guy is just pathetic.


    October 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • John Geheran

      Maybe so. Have you read the recent article in Newsweek concerning Obama? Or read "Obama's America" by Dinesh D'Sousa? Funny how the most liberal magazine on the planet and a conservative author came to the same conclusion.

      October 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  2. Spinner49

    The idea of fundamental/evangelical, anti-science, anti-evolution Christianity becoming more influential scares the heck out of me. It's a short step from Biblically-based law to sharia. Fundamentalist Christians and fundamentalist Muslims are two sides of the same coin; intolerant, close-minded, and lacking in empathy for anyone who doesn't believe as they do.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • brendonkuhn

      Why should a believer in a Creation beginning, and a relationship with the Creator, be "open-minded?" It's the open-minded Christians who ARE the hypocrits, altering public perception of faith and really removing Christ from the decision making in their lives.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  3. Sidnee Marie

    Are you kidding me CNN? The "wrong kind" of Christian? I'm sick of the news media and their implications that Obama is anything but what he says he is. I purport that the Pat Robertsons and GOPers who procliam to be Christians are the wrong kind–based on their desire to NOT help the poor, to judge others, and some who spread or support the spread of lies about who are president is. Saying you are a Christian is trivial–anyone can say anything. It is how you act and the what you do that shows that you are a Christian. There are many who say they are and don't act like it in the least. Shame on you CNN for stooping to sensational "journalism". You guys must be hurting for ratings because you are coming off lately as FOX News Part 2.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:42 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. And in the end, the author seems to be hoping that the President, and others who believe as he does, can lead a revival of progressive Christianity.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • us_1776

      Sidnee Marie, you hit it exactly !!


      October 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  4. brendonkuhn

    This progressive, emerging movement is incredibly frustrating as a Christian. God has NEVER and will NEVER change, he reamins constant and consistent. Why then, are there these Chrisitian movements? Why are churches changing their values and beliefs? Why is scripture read to fit our lives and wants, instead of reading scripture to form our lives and wants? It's all backwards, I fear for how many people may think they're believers, but truly have zero grasp of the gospel.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Sidnee Marie

      It's all about God's Word. Problem is it is human interpretation. If someone says A and the other says, no it's B, then you see one group separate from the other to practice the "true" form of Christianity they think theirs is. But I argue there is a difference between organized religion and belief in God's word. Organized religion inevitably becomes corrupt in some way as they jump into politics and power struggles. Catholic church and the priest scandal is one example–some "preachers" who collect money from parishioners and spend it on their own personal stuff to become eve wealthier ir is another. THe message hasn't changed–but the way people look at it the further out we go from the original intent–it opens it up to different takes on it–and with no one here to explain what the original intent is–we have to rely on illogical humans to interpret it. And sometimes the message is skewed to sway people to what a certain person believes it truth. That can be dangerous.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • brendank11

      There are still plenty of black and white biblical issues that the church, carnal believer, and politicians alter to fit their own agenda though. This is what is infuriating! Why in the world do so many think they know better than God?! And the grey areas aren't meant to make EVERYTHING okay because it's biblically unclear, the Christian should be taking them to God, judging their personal motives, checking their convictions and praying on them.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  5. MN


    October 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No, he is not a Muslim, dingus.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Sidnee Marie

      If it helps you sleep at night, you keep on telling yourself that.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      That's just silly.

      You say that, but you don't care that Romney doesn't even believe Christ is the Son of God??

      His whole religion is based on a rejection of Christ the Savior, but you want to post something about Obama that everyone knows is a lie? I remember when everyone was mad at the Wright preacher guy... He was a preacher in Obama's church. You might not like Obama, but obviously that was a Christian Church.

      Romney, on the other hand, is a MORMON. Do you not know what that means??

      It means Romney does not believe in Christ. It means he and his religion think Jesus Christ was 'just a nice guy'. A "prophet", but NOT the Son of God and Man's Redeemer!!


      October 21, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  6. imvotingforobama

    He is the "wrong" kind of color to these racist who call upon the name of Christ, but don't live like Christ says to live.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Sidnee Marie

      Thank you. That's what it really comes down to with these kinds of stories. I think the picture of the Romney supporter with the T-shirt that said "Put the white back in White House" says it all right there.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  7. Jacob

    CNN gets its wrong time and time again.....

    October 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  8. Catherine

    DIFFERENT kind of Christian to the one we are used to hearing about from the fundamentalist minority who are taking up all of the bandwidth. CNN, please change the word "wrong", it is very irresponsible and plays to the entire "not a Christian" offensive meme. Obama is a Social justice Christian. Thanks.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:38 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. And in the end, the author seems to be hoping that the President, and others who believe as he does, can lead a revival of progressive Christianity.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  9. sybaris

    By the responses to this article we are fooling ourselves if we don't think we already live in a christian theocracy.

    There is no requirement to be POTUS that includes a religious affiliation yet to be anything other than of the christian faith is a campaign killer.

    Religion and the worship of god(s) is a filthy perverted disease of the mind

    October 21, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Such makes for rowdy conversations,,, ya think?

      October 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Neal

      Is Obama really a Christian? I suspect he's at least closet Muslim.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Besides, just how many films are made from "fairy-tales" and we eat 'em up?

      October 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      Neal – A "secret" muslim??

      Mitt Romney is an OPEN MORMON!

      People can believe whatever they want, but if I have to choose between a Christian and a person who thinks Jesus Christ Our Savior was 'just a nice prophet' and NOT the Son of God and Mankind's Redeemer then I will choose the Christian every time.

      Neal, you need to find out what Mormonism actually IS. If you think it's some branch of Christianity, you couldn't be more wrong.

      If you have to start a whole religion just to be able to reject Christ, then I'm not sure what to say.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  10. Lisa

    Christ's message often contradicts messages from the Old Testament. The Bible, like any other word written by man will have an element of inaccuracies and messages subject to interpretation. To be a Christian is to be a follower of Christ by word and deed..Love thy neighbor..do not judge, etc. The Old Testament is but a Historical Record. Jesus is who "true" Christians pattern their life after. Taking that into account, President Obama is MY kind of Christian.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  11. Luis Wu

    There is no "right" kind of Christian. They're all dimwits that blindly accept ancient mythology and primitive superst!tions as reality. They're not playing with a full deck.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      You may be right that there is no "right" kind of Christian, but if people are going to have a discussion of this nature in this political climate, then the fact that Romney isn't a Christian at all should be addressed.

      Mormons do not believe Jesus Christ is the son of God. There's no way to spin that... They do not believe in Christ, and therefore are NOT Christians.

      I may not be the biggest Democrat supporter ever born (by a long shot), but I'm definitely not going to vote for a Mormon.

      Sorry if people don't like that but there has to be a line somewhere. If rejecting Christ as the Son of God is one of the main tenets of your faith, then I just don't know what to say... You're not a Christian, and it doesn't matter how many Christian Churches you visit on your campaign trail.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • John Geheran

      Funny how most credible historians credit the Judeo/Christian value system as being a major factor in the foundation and success of modern Europe and the Americas. Compare that with the widespread poverty and backwardness of Islamic countries. Try this: count the number of Nobel prizes awarded to individuals in the West vs Muslim countries. I could go n but I think you get the picture.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • visitor

      John, the Renaissance is what awakened Europe from a long, religious sleep.

      October 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • John Geheran

      Visitor, Jews and Christians drove the Renaissance, nes't pas?

      October 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  12. GOD

    He is a true follower of my son Jesus Christ. He would have never kept the downtrodden and oppressed outside of the heaven. Billy Graham and his son cannot define my Kingdom. Only people do my work and Obama is one among them. My grace is sufficient for you. Don't be afraid of the chariots and horses it won't afflict you. Mitten Romney will be rotten Romany pretty soon.

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

    The bible...which the extreme right-wing likes to tout...was written by the catholic church. they pope and the rest of the catholic powers left out whatever they didn't like. Who can say that it is fact? People need to wake up and understand that religion is the 'opiate of the masses'. The catholic church tried to control everyone and that led to the reformation when people like Martin Luther realize how corrupt the pope and catholic clergy were. The right wing extremists who claim to be christians are no netter than the ancient catholic leaders. They only want you to believe what they think is correct..you are not allowed to question their beliefs. Just like the Scientology.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • us_1776

      The entire Christ story is a myth.


      October 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  14. Mary

    If you are truly christian then you know, Only god will decide who IS or is NOT the right kind of christian.
    I can say that What I have seen, by all outside appearances and by the things Obama has done publically.. He IS the right kind of christian.
    We have what many believe is a caring and compassionate man as president.. One who tries to do the right thing for the people of the country, and conducts himself honorably..
    the shame of todays world is, Given all this man has done.. Many continue to make up reasons to despise him.
    Those people are looking for a dishonorable man, one that they can sway to do things their way..
    Wanting a man who can be swayed by greed .

    We will see that reflected in the votes for Romney/Ryan in Nov.
    Because the things Obama has not done to their satisfaction is stop guys like romney from taking jobs to china.. Or convince congress to vote FOR the people rather than for the wealthy.
    And his "incessant ( irritating ) concern for the poor, the old and the sick"~!!

    Obama is standing in their way.. They need one of their own as president.. And I hope they don't get it..
    Romeny will be a disaster for this country..

    October 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  15. mama k

    "Wrong kind of Christian" is probably a phrase that was being used a lot when the country was founded. Differing Christian sects were feuding and persecuting each other in several states (or soon-to-be states). Because this feuding annoyed our founders so greatly, it should be no surprise that the key founders had an immediate need for the separation of church and state (and to make it Amendment #1). This is also reflected in what some of the key founders had to say on the matter:

    James Madison (our 4th President, was the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    (A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the Virginia General Assembly, 1785)

    and then ten years later:

    Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other sects?

    (A Memorial and Remonstrance, addressed to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of VA, 1795)

    Thomas Jefferson (our 3rd President, was the key author of the Declaration of Independence)

    Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. State churches that use government power to support themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of the church tends to make the clergy unresponsive to the people and leads to corruption within religion. Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society.

    (Letter (as POTUS) to the Virginia Baptists (1808))

    and then of course we have clarifying moments in history such as:

    President John Adams and the U.S. Senate on behalf of the U.S.

    As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion;

    (from Article 11 of the U.S. treaty ratified with Tripoli in 1797)

    Senator John F Kennedy said on Sept. 12, 1960, just prior to his winning the Presidential election:

    I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Tara

      Great points made Mama K

      October 21, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
  16. David

    This is absurd. CNN, get back to the real news.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  17. g2-e1bbebdacd2a42851a79a06e1df11c9c

    If Kim Kardashian started declaring "I'm Meryl Streep!" everyone would think she has lost her marbles. Yet someone like Pat Robertson who doesn't have a shred of the peace, joy & hope that is the requirement of Christianity says that he is, no one questions him. President Obama has shown us time and again that he cares and will help those in need; I do not question his Christianity one ounce.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  18. Loathstheright

    You have got to be kidding us? REALLY, the wrong kind of Christian? The only wrong kind of Christian are Conservative Republican ones that worship the Jesus of War and Death.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  19. Bill Bixler

    That is a very misleading headline. Considering the content of the article, why would you use "wrong"? I would hope there isn't some kind of agenda going on here because it's hard to see it any other way. Do the right thing and chang "wrong" to different or genuine.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  20. frannie schafer

    Obama is a Christian. Period. Romney is a moneychanger.

    October 21, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Honest Citizen

      Islam is NOT Chritianity

      October 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • us_1776



      October 21, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • us_1776

      Obama is a good Christian.

      And Romney is a sleazeball, ShapeShifter, that has no backbone whatsoever.


      October 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • nope.avi

      While I suppose a person can be both these things, your sentence structure indicates that by having been lucky enough to have been born into privilege Romney isn't capable of being a good Christian, or heck a Christian at all. I don't want to get into the specifics of it but the basic definition is that you believe that Jesus Christ as an aspect or the literal son of God. Therefore it doesn't matter what else he believes – if Romney believes in Christ, he's Christian. Seeing as he's Mormons and Mormons do indeed believe in Christ then yes, he is Christian. I'm not sure about Obama's beliefs as categorized into a named religion, but if the president believes in Christ, yes he's a Christian.

      Mostly I'm saying that you can't act like being a Christian requires you to be an essentially good person. It's a word with a clear definition.

      October 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • John Geheran

      Maybe so. But one could easily get the impression that his purported Christianity is "milk toast" listening to his "Cairo speech" and remarks at his annual Iftar (Ramadan) speeches in the WH.

      October 21, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Michael Compton

      nope.avi – That is NOT TRUE.

      Mormons do NOT believe that Christ is the Son of God. They believe Jesus Christ was just a "prophet"

      Believing Jesus Christ existed is not AT ALL the same as recognizing that He is the Son of God and Mankind's Redeemer!!

      Romney is MORMON... That is NOT a branch of Christianity by DEFINITION.

      October 21, 2012 at 6:16 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.