In Obama’s first term, an evolving Christian faith and a more evangelical style
President Obama speaking from the pulpit of a Washington church in 2010.
October 27th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

In Obama’s first term, an evolving Christian faith and a more evangelical style

Editor's note: This is the last in a series about the faith lives of the presidential candidates, which includes a profile of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) – President Obama’s prayers for a strong first debate may not have been answered, but that doesn’t mean the prayers weren’t happening.

Before he stepped onto a Colorado stage earlier this month to face off with Mitt Romney for the first time, Obama joined a conference call with a small circle of Christian ministers.

“The focus of that prayer was, ‘Oh, Lord, you know precisely what the president needs to say,'” says Kirbyjon Caldwell, a Methodist megachurch pastor from Texas who helped lead the call. “'You know what this country needs during the next four years.’”

“'And so I would pray that your primary will and words that you want the president to say will fall from his lips,'” Caldwell goes on, recalling his prayer.

Obama, for his part, was mostly silent.

“There’s a profound and genuine humility in the presence of Christ himself,” Caldwell says, describing the president on such calls. “I think he recognizes it as a holy moment.”

It was the second time Caldwell and Obama had prayed by phone in as many months. The two had connected in August on a prayer call Obama has hosted on his birthday every year since coming to the White House.

Welcome to the intense, out-of-the-box and widely misunderstood religious life of President Barack Obama.

Though he famously left his controversial pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the year he was elected to the presidency, a handful of spiritual advisers close to Obama say that his time in office has significantly deepened his faith.

The making of a candidate: Mitt Romney’s faith journey

Stephen Mansfield, a former Christian pastor who wrote the book “The Faith of Barack Obama,” goes so far to say that Obama has experienced a spiritual transformation.

“I think we do have at heart a new man, so to speak,” says Mansfield, who worked closely with the White House and with some Obama religious advisers on his book. “He has undergone a pretty significant personal religious change in his first term.”

Methodist minister Kibyjon Caldwell, right, has grown close to President Obama after serving as a spiritual counselor to President George W. Bush. Here, Caldwell and Bush share a stage in 2003.

Obama’s faith advisers say Mansfield goes a step too far, though they acknowledge that when it comes to his faith, Obama has changed.

“There is a deepening development in his relationship with God,” says Joel Hunter, a Florida-based pastor who has been in touch with Obama nearly every week since he took office. “He chooses to stay faithful in daily habits of study and prayer and consistent times of interchange with spiritual leaders.”

“I am not sure he did that before he came to the presidency.”

Whether or not Obama has been spiritually “reborn” in the evangelical sense, his spiritual counselors say the president’s faith has helped shape his first term in ways that haven’t been appreciated by voters or the news media.

And they say the presidency is bringing Obama to a new place in his faith - building on a system of belief and practice that helped bring him to the White House in the first place.

Talking like Billy Graham

These days, when the president talks about his faith, he sounds like a born-again Christian.

Addressing the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington this year, Obama recalled meeting the nation’s most iconic evangelical Christian, Billy Graham, and described his struggle to find the right words as he prayed aloud with the aging evangelist.

“Like that verse in Romans, the Holy Spirit interceded when I didn’t know quite what to say,” Obama told the gathering, invoking the New Testament.

It was hardly the only part of the speech where Obama was speaking “Christianese” – employing a lexicon familiar to evangelical Christians, who put a premium on quoting Scripture and communing directly with the Holy Spirit.

Understanding Barack Obama’s gospel

At the same breakfast, Obama spoke of spending time every morning in “Scripture and devotion” and dropped the names of “friends like Joel Hunter or T.D. Jakes,” both well-known pastors of evangelical megachurches.

“He was talking like Billy Graham” at the breakfast, says Mansfield, who also wrote an admiring spiritual biography of former President George W. Bush.

Even in the more secular setting of the Democratic National Convention, Obama hinted at an intense White House prayer life, along with his need for God’s grace.

Some say President Obama sounds like an evangelical when he speaks about his religion, echoing the famous evangelist Billy Graham. The two men met at Graham's mountaintop home in North Carolina home in 2010.

“While I'm proud of what we've achieved together, I'm far more mindful of my own failings,” Obama said in his acceptance speech, “knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, ‘I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.’"

Such pious talk marks a departure from how the president discussed his faith life before his White House years.

Back then, Obama cited his religion more as a basis for social action than for spiritual sustenance. He would temper declarations of belief with affirmations of doubt.

Asked in a 2004 interview whether he prayed often, Obama, then a candidate for U.S. Senate in Illinois, responded: “Uh, yeah, I guess I do.”

In a 2007 interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, Obama voiced skepticism about Scripture.

“There are aspects of the Christian tradition that I’m comfortable with and aspects that I’m not,” he said. “There are passages of the Bible that make perfect sense to me and others that I go ‘Ya know, I’m not sure about that.’”

These days, Obama forgoes such equivocations in favor of a full-throated Christianity.

To Mansfield, the evolution of Obama’s comments on religion bespeak a born-again experience, prompted largely by the president’s break with Wright and his arrival into a circle of spiritual counselors that includes many evangelicals.

The White House declined requests to speak to Obama.

But Hunter, the president’s closest spiritual counselor, says Obama has technically been a born-again Christian for more than 25 years, since accepting Jesus at Wright’s Chicago church in the 1980s.

But it's in the last four years that the president has become more evangelical in his habits.

He now begins each morning reading Christian devotionals on his Blackberry.

And then there’s the circle of pastors Obama has begun praying with before big events like the first presidential debate.

A circle of evangelicals

After landing in Washington following his 2008 election, Obama shopped around for a new church. But he wound up making his spiritual home instead among a circle of far-flung pastors that includes Hunter, Jakes and Caldwell, the minister from Texas.

Conference calls with the group started while Obama was still a presidential candidate, including on the night of his 2008 victory. The president-elect spoke by phone with Hunter and other Christian ministers, rejoicing in victory but also grieving the death of his grandmother, who helped raise him, just a few days earlier.

The migration from Wright – who almost brought down Obama’s campaign with videos that showed him sermonizing about “God damn America” and “the U.S. of KKK A” – to this new group, says Mansfield, has been underappreciated.

“[Obama] went into the Oval Office … questioning the only pastor he’d ever had,” Mansfield says. “Wright left him humiliated.”

“And there were deeper questions about the theology that [Obama] had received,” Mansfield continues. “Some part of Wright’s religious orientation had failed.”

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

Where Wright is a liberal mainline Protestant, emphasizing liberation and social action, Obama’s new circle of pastors includes theologically conservative evangelicals like Hunter and Jakes, who stress God’s grace and personal transformation.

Mansfield notes that the chaplain who has presided for the last few years at Camp David, where Obama spends many Sundays, is also an evangelical.

Some of Obama’s spiritual counselors credit Joshua DuBois, executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, with leading Obama to a more evangelical-flavored Christianity. Caldwell calls him the president’s personal pastor.

A former associate pastor at a Pentecostal church in Boston, DuBois is the one responsible for sending Obama Scriptures and scriptural meditations five days a week; Hunter does it on the other two days.

The evangelical pastor Joel Hunter, center, and White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Executive Director Joshua DuBois, right, are the President’s closest religious counselors. Here they are in February.

DuBois convenes a daily 8:15 a.m. conference call with pastors to pray for the country and the president, who is not on the call. (Lately, those calls have also included prayers for Mitt Romney.)

And it’s DuBois who organized the president’s circle of spiritual advisers. After graduate school at Princeton, DuBois talked his way onto Obama’s staff at the U.S. Senate, repeatedly driving to Washington to make his case after job applications were rejected.

When Obama launched his presidential campaign a few years later, DuBois was plucked as its faith outreach director.

The 30-year-old White House aide plays down his influence on his boss.

“He has always been on a Christian journey,” DuBois says of Obama, “and the challenges of the office, of being leader of the free world, provides a deepening and strengthening of faith, and that’s what you see with the president.”

“I remember working with him around the Scripture he would use at the memorial service for the miners in West Virginia,” DuBois says, referring to the 2010 tragedy that left 29 dead. “These are obviously moments when one's faith is strengthened.”

The unparalleled trials of the Oval Office have been known to deepen the religiosity of presidents ranging from Abraham Lincoln to Ronald Reagan.

Hunter says the same thing has happened to this president: “His faith has been growing as the challenges of the presidency have become more naturally the main part of his own everyday life.”

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One of Hunter’s first Oval Office encounters with Obama came shortly after the president took office, at a time when the economy was shedding 750,000 jobs a month.

“He acknowledged at that meeting what many may know but few remember: that by the time issues get to the president, there are no simple or clear answers or they would have been solved by others,” Hunter says. “So we prayed.”

A few months later, Hunter was in the Oval Office again, noticing that “the unremitting heaviness of the office was setting in.”

“I saw something that has been consistent ever since: He cannot just pray for himself and his family,” Hunter says by e-mail. “At least I have never seen it. His faith, his heart, always includes those who are being left out through no fault of their own.”

Despite the changes they’ve seen in Obama, both Hunter and DuBois are uncomfortable with the word “transformation” when it comes to Obama’s White House faith life.

“The president doesn’t deal in labels,” says DuBois. “He knows God’s grace is sufficient for him and beyond that doesn’t get into labels, evangelical or mainline. He’s a proud Christian.”

Loving God by loving your neighbor

When the Rev. Sharon Watkins and a group of fellow Protestant ministers sat down with Obama at the White House a couple years into the president’s term, she knew the pastors would get wonky about religion.

“You get a bunch of ministers in the room and we’re all church geeks – it’s theological,” says Watkins, who along with the other pastors had come to talk about poverty. “But the president got every biblical allusion and reference. … He’s just a person who is biblically and theologically literate.”

If Obama’s personal theology has grown more conservative, he is inclined to apply it toward liberal political ends.

“I’d be remiss if my values were limited to personal moments of prayer or private conversations with pastors or friends,” Obama said at the National Prayer Breakfast in February. “So instead, I must try - imperfectly, but I must try - to make sure those values motivate me as one leader of this great nation.”

In signing laws that have increased Wall Street regulations and stopped health insurance companies from rejecting patients with preexisting conditions, Obama said at the breakfast, he wanted to “make the economy stronger for everybody.”

“But I also do it because I know that far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly over the last few years,” he continued. “And I believe in God’s command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’”

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

Obama went on to frame decisions as disparate as ending tax breaks for the wealthy and defending foreign aid as examples of biblical principles in action, quoting Jesus’ teaching that “for unto whom much is given, much shall be required” and invoking the “biblical call to care for the least of these.”

That last biblical reference also loomed large in another 2011 White House meeting between Obama and a group of religious leaders. They’d come to urge the president to protect programs for the poor amid his fight with Congress over raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

The Rev. Jim Wallis, a progressive activist, recalls the meeting:

In pressing Obama to take cuts to those programs off the table, one Roman Catholic bishop told the president that “the text that we are obliged to obey does not say ‘as you have done to the middle class you have done to me.’”

“It says as you’ve done to the least of these, you have done to me,” the bishop said.
“I know that text,” Obama responded. The passage is from the Matthew 25 in the New Testament.

“So there was this very rigorous conversation,” Wallis says, “and we pressed him on applying Matthew 25 to this decision about protecting those who were the least of these.”

Ultimately, the programs that the religious leaders were lobbying for were protected in the debt ceiling deal, though it’s unclear how big a role the religious leaders played.

For liberal Christians, such victories embody the justice of the social gospel, the idea that believers should do God’s work – even aid the Second Coming - by improving society.

“I do notice that sometimes, like on health care, when [Obama] says it’s the right thing to do, it’s him saying you love God by loving your neighbor,” says Watkins, who leads a mainline denomination called Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). “He’s doing the best he can to be guided by God so he can be a faithful follower of Christ.”

Skeptics might write off Obama’s Bible talk as sanctimonious window dressing, aimed at no higher purpose than connecting with churchgoers in the purple and red states. But translating the Good Book into progressive politics has always been a mainstay of Obama’s political biography.

‘An awesome God in the blue states’

When Obama landed on Chicago’s South Side in 1985 as an idealistic 23-year-old, eager to start work as a community organizer, he was already a political liberal.

He was also a man without a religion, the son of a spiritual-but-not-religious mother whom he would later describe as “a lonely witness for secular humanism” and an estranged African father who was born a Muslim but died an atheist.

Obama’s work in Chicago, built around causes like tenants’ rights and job training for laid-off workers, was steeped in religion.

His salary was paid by a coalition of churches. And the job took him into many black churches, among the most influential institutions in the neighborhood he was organizing, including Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ.

After a lifelong struggle to fit in, set in motion by his mixed-race parents, Trinity felt like home.

“I came to realize that without a vessel for beliefs, without an unequivocal commitment to a particular community of faith,” he wrote later, “I would be consigned at some level to always remain apart.”

The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who brought Obama to Christianity, ignited controversy that almost brought down Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

The changes that Wright’s church wrought weren’t just personal. Baptism and active membership there equipped Obama with an ability to connect with churchgoers he was trying to organize – and, years later, with religious voters he was trying to win over – in a deeper way.

Wright, who did not respond to interview requests for this story, gave Obama a moral framework for his liberal politics. The pastor espoused a black liberation theology that equates Jesus’ life and death with the plight of those who Wright saw as disenfranchised, from African-Americans to Palestinians.

“Wright is the religious version of almost everything Obama already believed without religion,” says Mansfield, who spent time at Trinity for his book. “It’s a support of oppressed people anywhere in the world.”

When Obama emerged on the national stage, his comfortable religiosity and sensitivity to the concerns of churchgoing Americans helped distinguish him as a Democrat.

“We worship an awesome God in the blue states,” he declared to huge applause in his keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, catching the attention of young Christians like Joshua DuBois.

But at that same convention, Obama’s party nominated John Kerry, a candidate who eschewed God talk and who lost his own Catholic demographic on Election Day.

Four years later, Obama hired religious outreach staffers like DuBois for his presidential campaign and made a point of meeting with Christian Right leaders who’d never before heard from a Democratic presidential nominee.

Obama went on to win in places like Indiana and North Carolina, evangelical-heavy states that a Democratic presidential nominee hadn’t taken in decades.

If the Rev. Wright had almost brought down his presidential campaign, the controversial minister had also long ago laid the groundwork for Obama to connect with the churchgoing voters who had turned their backs on Kerry.

The politics of confusion

As president, the line between Obama’s personal convictions and his political prowess on religious matters can sometimes be hard to discern.

Obama invited the conservative evangelical megapastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at his 2009 inauguration, ruffling liberal feathers. He introduced an annual Easter prayer breakfast as a new White House tradition. He gives shout-outs to young evangelical leaders in major speeches.

Obama asked evangelical pastor Rick Warren to pray at his inauguration, riling some of the president's liberal supporters.

All can be seen as genuine reflections of Obama’s faith and his appreciation for the role of religious leaders in public life. And in a nation where more people believe in angels than in evolution - a fact that the president himself has publicly noted - all promise political benefits.

The same could be said for Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, and for presidents as diverse as Jimmy Carter and Reagan: All had deep spiritual streaks that enabled the political art of courting religious Americans, especially evangelicals.

The irony, in Obama’s case, is that despite his orthodox utterances - there’s “something about the resurrection of our savior, Jesus Christ, that puts everything else in perspective,” he said at this year's Easter breakfast - polls continue to show widespread confusion about his faith.

Only half the country can correctly identify Obama as Christian, according to one recent Pew poll, while 17% falsely believe he is a Muslim.

“He’s a Christian and he professes his Christian faith - I don’t know what else this man has to do to get that into folks’ ears,” says Caldwell, who was also close to George W. Bush.

President Obama at the 2011 White House Easter prayer breakfast, an annual tradition that he started.

But Obama’s public piety has helped him bond with young evangelical leaders, who are less tied to the GOP than their parents’ generation.

“I was struck by the specificity of what he described in terms of theology and what it means to him,” says Gabe Lyons, one such leader, describing a White House Easter breakfast he attended. “His message is very specific and very orthodox.”

Where exactly that new orthodoxy comes from – the pressures of the White House, a new circle of religious advisers or, to a certain degree, from political calculation – may become clearer after Obama's presidency, if he opens up about such matters.

Until then, the president is likely to keep speaking "Christianese" - and resisting Christian labels.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Politics

soundoff (4,988 Responses)
  1. PETE

    The bible should not be Peddled for Political gain. May the one that god chooses win. Whomever god chooses is best for American. God dont compromise for sin. The Republicans dont compromise for what is a sin... they call a sin a sin. Romney is a christian minister which I think would be good for America.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • snowboarder

      just so long as he realizes that he represents the entire nation and does not attempt to use his position to foist his beliefs upon the nation.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race. 1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      The heads of all the Gods of humanity know not God's Kingdoms. Not Obama and certainly not Romney! They be god-heads!

      October 28, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Another Fact

      @Snowboarder: You mean the way the progressive liberals have hijacked the nation with their "politically correct" policies?

      October 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Jesse Christo

      Yes Pete, may the one god chooses win. If it's Obama, I trust you will bend to the Will of God.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • mama k

      Another fact wrote: "@Snowboarder: You mean the way the progressive liberals have hijacked the nation with their "politically correct" policies?"

      I think it's pretty clear snowboarder is speaking about separation of church and state. No what exactly are you talking about?

      October 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  2. Pedro Gonzalez

    Looks like even Obama can find Jeezus when he wants to win a few votes.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
  3. PETE

    The bible should not be Peddled for Political gain. May the one that god chooses win. Whomever god chooses is best for American. Equal rights for everyone but lets keep the old fashion christian values and call a sin just what it is – a sin. God dont compromise for sin. The Republicans dont compromise for what is a sin... they call a sin a sin. Romney is a christian minister which I think would be good for America.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Dan

      Is polygamy a sin? What about racism? As a Mormon, Romney knows all about those

      October 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  4. Chris

    The only person Obama serves is himself. He professes to serve God and country only when it benefits him politically.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  5. Detroit Lover

    Thats why Benghazi attack was prevented successfully, when those Americans were denied help a couple days before the attack.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  6. Dennis

    Obama has no problem with supporting the brutal practices of partial birth abortion and live birth abortion..In fact,he voted in favor of them 3 times..What a fake....

    October 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  7. tibs

    Hes an atheist, just like Romney.

    It'll be nice when they can all just admit and we can be happy instead of horrified.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Jesse Christo

      Amen. This religion thing is wholly inappropriate. Where do people get off thinking it's OK to talk about their fantasies in a public forum?

      October 28, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
  8. Georgia GOPer

    America is like a healthy body and its resistance is threefold: its patriotism, its morality and its spiritual life. If we can undermine these three areas, America will collapse from within.

    -Josef Stalin

    October 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • Another Fact

      First, of all I noticed someone else is using my screen name "Fact" so I just changed it to "Another Fact".

      Second, all three that Stalin mentioned have been successfully undermined and our only hope lies in repentance and turning back to God who made this nation great. We, as a nation, have thumbed our nose at Him. We will not remain free if we do not repent...and it needs to begin with His people. Mark these words.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Scott

      I always have referred to Maobama as a commie ... among other vile things.


      October 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race. 1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      Come what may will never change,
      No matter how you dare to re-arrange.
      Time is stamped by every clock,
      Hickory dickory dock
      Swing to the left & then to the right,
      Let all of God's ways show you the light.

      Lettuce Love,

      1. Luke 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you."

      2. 1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building."

      3. Mathew 7:23 "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

      October 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  9. Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race. 1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

    Only God could create a man,
    For evolution was God's Masterplan.
    Our living above and the Godly living inside,
    Aborting one of God's buildings is for woman to soley decide.
    One God and His Family to each building called Man,
    Life everlasting as only for God and His klan!

    Therefore you buildings created by God, the evolutionary creator of things,
    Look then into your built bodies and see the Truths that God brings.
    The smallest of Life's bio-machines need operators to guide them here and to there,
    For the Godly of God will always one day soon give us our share.
    Our Life's Liberties and Laws of the lands,
    Social Treasures on Living in simplest of bands.

    Lettuce Love

    October 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Jesse Christo

      Worms will get you.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race. 1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      I just loved watching "Dune"!

      October 28, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  10. Penny Wright

    If you want to privatize Social Security and Medicare, lower taxes for the rich, outlaw abortion, and start a new war with Iran, vote Republican.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Chancho

      Your original comment has swayed the nation

      October 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Arlen

      Amusing. The Supreme Court has been conservative for years; no change in abortion. The presidency has been GOP for 28 of the last 40 years; no change in abortion. You lose that argument. Abortion will ALWAYS be the law of the land REGARDLESS of who fills the presidency.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Pastor Troy Keaton

      Penny, sorry you are so misled. Do you really believe that Republican's want a war with Iran? My brother is at Walter Reed from injuries in Iraq. Trust me he and most other military don't want another war. The military is overwhelmingly supporting Romney.
      Also science is hard on the pro-abortion element. It is a life, it is a heart, there are fingers and toes. What is hateful about wanting to protect an innocent child? If republicans are anti-women, does that make democrats anti-children? Let's have a serious and legitimate discussion and stop building straw men.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Don

      Thank you. I think I will.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • The Truth

      "Do you really believe that Republican's want a war with Iran?" Yes, they do, and you are a moron if you believe anything else. The Christian right which is the base of the republican party NEEDS a war in the middle east to keep fighting or else their false prophecy of Armageddon won't be self fulfilled. They KNOW they are the righteous and KNOW they are doing God's will and will take all of humanity to the brink of destruction before they admit they are wrong.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  11. Gary

    I don't accept the morman belief nor do I accept the muslim belief. I do however believe in the Biblical belief. The Koran is false and so is the book of morman, pearl of great price and the doctrines and covenants. Just stick with the truth and that is the ONLY wise God and our saviour the Lord Jesus Christ found in the Apostles doctrine recorded in the Holy Bible.

    I still will vote for Romney because he is the best out of the two men we have to vote on.

    October 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Surely you realize that Mormons and Muslims believe exactly the same thing you just said, with only the name of the book changed.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Chancho

      Exactly Rufus. Just like chocolate and vanilla taste the same.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • The God of the bible is merciful

      Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'"
      1 Sam 15:3

      "Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished." (Isaiah 13:15-16)
      "And we took all his cities at that time, and utterly destroyed the men, and the women, and the little ones, of every city, we left none to remain." (Duteronomy 2:34)
      "And we utterly destroyed them, as we did unto Sihon king of Hesbon, utterly destroying the men, women, and children, of every city. But all the cattle, and the spoil of the cities we took for a prey to ourselves." (Duteronomy 3:6-7)

      October 28, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
    • Jesse Christo

      I don't accept the christain belief nor do I accept the muslim belief. I do however believe the biblical belief is a pile of steaming cow pucky. The koran is false and so is the book of ethyl merman, pearl of great price and the doctrines and covenants and all that mumbo jumbo shiq. Just stick with the truth and that is the ONLY wise Thor and our saviour Odin found in the chronicles of sphincterism doctrine recorded in the holey hole.
      Keep your stinking religion to yourself, butt wipe. Hail CROM!

      October 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Another Fact

      The God of the Bible is merciful....and just. I guess you don't know much about the Amelikites do you?

      "17 “Remember what Amalek did to you on the way as you came out of Egypt, 18 how he attacked you on the way when you were faint and weary, and cut off your tail, those who were lagging behind you, and he did not fear God. 19 Therefore when the Lord your God has given you rest from all your enemies around you, in the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget."

      Yes, he is merciful AND just.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • Brad

      Actually Rufus is somewhat correct, as Mormonism and Islam incorporate the Christian Bible and most of its contents into their teachings. People should not respond to things like that out of ignorance, or with extreme rudeness as is displayed in Jesse's comment.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Jesse Christo

      Rudeness: Pushing your religious beliefs whenever and wherever unrestricted.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Another Fact

      The God of the bible isn't. Period. End of story. He is as real as unicorns, elves and Santa Claus. Anyone who believes differently is deluding themselves and would rather have their ears tickled than to accept plain and simple facts.

      October 28, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  12. Are you kidding

    You are right we are not a christian country. Once we were, however. The increase in violence is a clear indication were we are going.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Except that violence has actually decreased in recent history. Nice try, though.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  13. Jodi Frank

    These stories about Obama's "evolving" faith and as "a different type of Christian" are such b.s. Please, CNN, can we get onto the real issues of the day?

    October 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  14. Penny Wright

    The Republican Party...come for the misogyny, stay for the racism.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  15. holly

    who cares if he is a christian or not! this is not a religious issue! AND THIS IS NOT A CHRISTIAN COUNTRY!

    October 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
  16. Elliot Carlin

    If your spiritual leader is Jeremiah Wright, chances are you never heard the Gospel in the first place.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you're looking for a spiritual leader in a church, you are lost.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Elliot Carlin

      Get it out Tom...where do we find it?

      October 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you need one, you're already lost.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      All I'm looking for is a ride to my favorite gay bar. Most cabs won't let a 380 pounder like me ride without charging for freight.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • allen

      Elliot.. it would be wise for you to exercise humility when judging the the faith of your brother. Remember that Jesus died for Obama's sins too.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  17. Are you kidding

    Thank you for a great country we live in . For the freedom we cherish for the quality of life we have in America. For the land of plenty. For the rule of law, our children go to bed without fear. the list goes on. We take a lot for granted.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • snowboarder

      we certainly have our veterans and countryment to thank for all those things.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Elliot Carlin

      snow job: I guess veterans and countrymen was longer than In God we trust

      October 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • snowboarder

      carlin – considering the only actions which brought about any of those things were by men, who else would we logically thank?

      October 28, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Elliot Carlin

      Uh, I think its safe to say public opinion has turned on its head for all things military since Vietnam. everyone is a hero today. Can you find a moment to thank the Lord as our Pilgrim forefathers did? we do have Thanksgiving coming up. Who will you be thanking?

      October 28, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • snowboarder

      carlin – i don't subscribe to religious mythology.

      with all the deities, religions and doctrines today and throughout history, one absolute fact is that men are very adept at creating god.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  18. Muslims for Obama

    We are proud that our Muslim brother is leading the charge again for President. We overlook CNN's sad attempt to pull in uncertain Christian voters by saying Obama is a Christian. He is following out tactic of Taqiyya, so he is not persecuted by the Christian voters.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • tc4012


      October 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • snowboarder

      muslim – you get a B – for troll creativity.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
    • Are you kidding

      The God we all beleive is against abortion(the killing of the unborn) and gay marriage. The Koran and the Christian Bible is clear about this sin. In the final analysis God has the final vote.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • snowboarder

      you kidding – there are literally as many interpretations of scripture as there are readers.

      October 28, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Come on GOPers, you need to come up with something more controversial.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  19. Are you kidding

    I wonder what the good Lord would say about our great leader

    October 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  20. Are you kidding

    He is suddenly a christian, abortion on demand, gay marriage. In the four years as president i never heard a thank you Lord.

    October 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      A "thank you" for what, exactly?

      October 28, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • allen

      He said it when you were ignoring him like a good sheeple.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • JOHNchristianity

      Yes.... apparently it is reelection time again. This false prophet will be all things to all men til he wins the election. Then he'll continue to sell this country out to humanism, socialism and the Antichrist whenever he comes into play.

      October 28, 2012 at 9:35 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.