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. zane t.

    Most of the time CNN bashes people of faith, especially Christians. Now, just days before the presidential election Obama's faith hits the neadlines. What a coincidence! It's too late. The "walk" is more important than the "talk".

    October 29, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Reason

      CNN has. Found a way for religion to be useful. Twist it and employ it for Obama.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And you're using CNN's stupidity to trumpet your own.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Michael

      You must not be a true Christian. If you were you would not ignore the word of the Lord in Mathew 25:34-46. Obama hasn't but it is clear by Romney' 47% remarks that Romney has.

      34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

      35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

      36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

      37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

      38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

      39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

      40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

      41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

      42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

      43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

      44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

      45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

      46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • tarura

      His faith has not changed – once a musIim, always a musIim

      OMG (Obama must go) !

      October 29, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Michael

      Zane – Name ONE time when CNN has bashed Romney's Mormonism. I'll save you the effort: it hasn't. But on Obama it has covered his Christian beliefs over and over again. This particular article is one of the few that hasn't had a negative spin on it. So I suggest you get over it and get over your typically Republican victim complex.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  2. Madrep

    CNN, where are the articles publising the Sharpton boys at the polls this year as "monitors"????? This is another attempt to bully voters and should not be allowed. Sharpton, you better be careful. People are getting very tired of your shananigans.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • Truth

      Let me see some of those n1ggers at my polling station.....the worthless chimps will have HELL to pay.
      If they live through the altercation.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Al Sharpton is a boob, but you are an illiterate dolt.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      When I see posts from Truth, I always picture the scrawny little 12-year-old kid who has to hold his pants up with one hand while picking his nose with the other.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Truth

      I have a LOT more money than you do. 🙂

      October 29, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Reason

      Lucky for you, he's a liberal troll trying to make conservatives look bad. He doesn't understand that we are all highly offended by his hate, even if he thinks it's sarcastic nonsense. It's hateful and hurtful. And CNN won't do a thing about it, sadly.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      My dog's bigger than your dog, my dog's bigger than yours....


      October 29, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Huebert


      And we all believe you when you say that. 😉

      October 29, 2012 at 9:36 am |
    • Vic

      Hey Truth. Mitt and Ann Romeny personally gained $15.3 million from the bailout of the auto industry along with a few of Romney's most important Wall Street donars who made more than 4 billion. Can your money compete with that?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  3. Gman

    Obama a Christian? That is yet one more Psyop from this corrupt hybrid leader. I wonder if we will ever wake up from our kosher induced slumber. I send greetings to the few that are awake.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Michael

      So sayeth The Great Deceiver.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:41 am |
  4. blue moon mom

    As a woman, I am opposed to abortion. Yes I have the right to my own body. but when another person is involved – my unborn child – I do not have the right to end her life. That is just basic common sense to me. Once I am pregnant, for nine months, my body is shared by another human being that I do not have the right to kill.
    using jargon like "reproductive rights" does not change the issue.
    I hope Obama is a Christian. I do not understand how his very liberal stance on abortion, more liberal than most Americans who for the most part do favor some limits on abortion, gels with his Christian faith and "doing for the least of us" - who is more least in our society than an unborn child???

    October 29, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Then don't have an abortion. You don't have any business telling someone else what is right for her.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Reason

      Yeah, you don't have any right whatsoever to tell someone else not to murder. None. Nada. Zilch.

      Liberals are so blamed stupid.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Truth

      "As a woman"....well, that's one way to discredit anything you write on the internet pretty quick.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Shove it up your fundament, Raisin. Abortion isn't murder and if you can't figure that out, keep it in your pants and don't reproduce. Anybody you'd impregnate (if you could even get it up) would be terribly unfortunate.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Dan

      If the president said he opposed abortion it wouldn't make any difference the law. That law is pretty much set in stone now, it's been challenged countless times. The only effect that would come from opposing abortion is alienating Democrat voters, which is not something Obama can afford to do.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You are correct. The idiot Republicans haul abortion out of the closet ever 4 years because they know that if they wave that banana, all the fundie monkeys will scream. As soon as the election's over, the issue is gone.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • Reason

      Oh, I guess you weren't real when you were in your Mommy's tommy. As much as I disagree with your opinions and rhetoric, I would have considered it murder had your mother wished to have a partial birth abortion. I do occasionally wonder if we should lock up those who can't seem to figure out what murder is.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:40 am |
    • Primewonk

      You fundiot nutters are being played by your puppetmasters.

      From 2000 to 2006 you guys had the perfect storm. You owned the White House, Senate, House, and Supreme Court. Why wasn't Roe repealled? Because that is how the right-wingnuts control you.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:13 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Raisin Bran, fetuses aren't in someone's "tummy."

      If that's the extent of your knowledge and understanding of human reproduction, go back to 5th grade.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  5. Madrep

    This is an attempt to obtain some more Christian votes and only that. Lib media at it's finest. Why doesn't Obama wear jewelry during Muslim religious holidays? He claims his wedding ring was being repaired!!! This is another Lib attempt. Your boy is going down CNN Turner....One and Done.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • midwest rail

      Foam-at-the-mouth delusions from the fundiot right. Always entertaining.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Madrep

      Hey Midwest Obamalover.....just the facts there Lib, just the facts. See you in November.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • midwest rail

      Laughably delusional. You wouldn't recognize a fact if it slapped you.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You wouldn't know a "fact" if it bit you on your tiny little dick, Madrep.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Michael

      Your so full of it your eyes are probably brown. If the plaing field was leveled MSM wise, there would be just as many storys about Romney's Mormon cult as there is about Obama Christian faith. Frankly there shouldn't be stories about either man's religious beliefs but the Republicans being the hypocrites that they are have made Obama's Christian faith an issue for four years and the MSM has gone along with the Republicans while seemingly to take a position that Romney's Mormon cultish beliefs are out of bounds.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:32 am |
    • Vic

      Hey, Mad rep. Your name says it all. Get a shrink.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:34 am |
  6. sisi


    October 29, 2012 at 9:21 am |
  7. Pro-Ancient

    I'll believe he's a godly man when he accepts all of God's law...not Obama's interpreteation and personal take on the Bible...until then he's just another guy who says they have religion, but not a real faith.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      So until he drags his disobedient child out into the town square to be stoned to death by his neighbours, you won't believe his faith is true?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Michael

      And I'll believe you're a Godly person when you stop using religion for political purposes.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • 1plus1

      Are you REALLY going to pick up a rock and throw it at someone's head until they die because they worked on Sunday? Are you really going to do that???


      October 29, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Monday

      Can you follow all of God's laws? Have you?
      If you pick and choose, why can't others?
      "Ye without sin cast the first stone".
      We all fall short remember that. Whether you are Pro-Life and Anti-Gay Marriage. We all fall short somewhere.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  8. steelerguin

    cite your sources about the 70% of Christians obtaining abortions. Numbers are fun to make up but they don't mean anything without the truth. As far as Benghazi, watch the news or read a newspaper about the White House knowing in real time what was going on and ordering a "stand down" order.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:21 am |
    • Madrep

      As a former member of SOC, they did know is real time and it was put on hold. Now, is it because Obama ran his mouth about terrorists being on the run??? One can only speculate but awful coincidental. Leave No Soldier Behind....and this needs to be investigated and enters the realm of impeachment. Semper Fi

      October 29, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  9. Uripitez

    I'm finding it interesting that so many people are quick to judge Pres. Obama for either being Muslim or for attending a controversial Christian church when such actions are obviously against the tenants of the religions they respectively subscribe to. There are too many two faced Christians hiding behind bibles.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Stephanie

      I'm a Christian. Your statement is so sad and so true. Many people are CINOs. Other than going to church, if that, their lives are anything but Christ-like.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  10. Michael

    Typical CNN. A multiltude of storys about Obama's religion. But hardly a word about Romney's Mormonism. Either religious faith is an acceptable discucussion to have during a Presidential campaign or its not. CNN wants to have it both way by seemingly declaring discussions of Obama's religious faith acceptable but for the most part acting as though disucssion of Romney's religion off limits.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:20 am |
  11. Truth

    Does it matter if it is mulsim or Christian?
    It's a n1gger...that's all anyone needs to ever know.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Huebert

      Obvious troll needs a new hobby.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • MarkM

      Well, I’m done with CNN comments for the day. Have fun with your life, bigot.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • midwest rail

      @ Huebert – indeed, and a new act. This one's boring.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Madrep

      Yea boy...and based on his record, there may not be another for 100 years!!!!

      October 29, 2012 at 9:33 am |
    • Joi Gibson

      And you are a pig!!! I hope you do not have children to teach such ignorant rants too.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  12. Mark L M

    Lets see his college transcripts, birth certificate and passport, and see what religion he checked. He was offered 5 million for any charity of his choice, and he won't release it. Wow.

    Now we know the integrity of Obama. Standing down troops 3 times, when he saw a spontaneous riot, which was really a military attack. He has lied to us, and should be impeached.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • Vic

      Republicans have answers for everything. Wait until they lose the very rights that have been fought for in this country. When you lose all your deductions, s.s., medicare (Under Willard Mitt Romney) you won't be worried about religion,

      October 29, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Ting

      Let's compare your concerns about the current president to the actions of the previous president. How many troops died in Iraq? How many disabled veterans do we have due to fighting in Iraq? How much money was wasted on that war? Do you think W and his administration was honest about the war? So you are concerned about the current president's college transcripts and religious preference? Amazing.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Madrep

      20 Years of Wright "GD America" and NOW he is religious....NOW he wants the best for our Nation....Go away....where is Oswald when you need him?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  13. ReallySuz

    Ahhh, so speaks Miche, another lost soul............................

    October 29, 2012 at 9:07 am |
  14. Mohamiss Shafik-Kaddir

    Barrack Hussain Obama is the Mahdi .
    Obama is a good pious Muslim , and Michelle should cover her shame with a burka .

    October 29, 2012 at 9:06 am |
    • MarkM

      They’re not Muslins. They go to Church.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:09 am |
    • anonymous

      Mohamiss Shafik-Kaddir,
      please educate yourself and STOP being biased. Obama is muslim based on WHAT?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • Truth

      Based on his sh!t-colored skin.
      N1gger, sand n1gger, does it really make a difference? Either way, he is unwanted by all that matter.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Mohamiss Shafik-Kaddir

      Just because they walk into a church does not make them Christiams any more them walking into a shoe store makes them a shoe . Obama's fake Christian faith act is to decieve stupid American voters that Obama identifies with African Americans so they vote for him .The Muslim Brothethood taught him this trick . Dont worry , if a lie achives out goal , it is fine be us .The Muslim Brotherhood will conquer America , and Obama will do that for us .

      October 29, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Reason

      Mr so-called "Truth" is a Iberian troll bent on writing the nastiest hate he can and trying to make it look like a conservative. That's a liberal. They're the true racists. I can't believe CNN allows him to continue in spite of multiple abuse reports. Why do they even have the report abuse option if they pay no attention and allow his extreme hate language. This lessens my opinion of CNN even more.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Huebert


      The poster Truth isn't a liberal or a conservative. He or she is a pathetic bigot, without cause or capability.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Madrep

      Ha...Mooseshell covering her face with a Burka....now that's funny and boy, I wish she would...she is one Ugly Hateful, Racist, Angry wannabe Kennedy. She will need to cover her face in January Inaug. because when Romney makes his acceptance speech, I can't wait to see her facial ugly expressions.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • really???

      Mohamiss Shafik-Kaddir. Your argument is BASELESS!!!! What proof do you have of your statement?
      Truth – You are just racist and blind by your racist thoughts.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  15. France

    The bottom line is this, the man is who is he is, we as a people, as human beings, African Asian Caucasian Hispanic and Native need to realize and vote to our best interest, and the interest of our children and future of fellow humans. Try to put yourself in the president shoes, is it really that easy?? especially when you do not have the full support of Congress. No matter if the president is Dem or Rep, things may get done and things may not get done, we've seen it in history. Lets just get to the point, vote for what you believe will help the country. We all have a calling, some may distort and allow themselves to fall prey to the hatred of others ( which is very sad let alone unavailing) but most understand the true value of being united and accomplishing one common goal, and that is to succeed as a nation and to prosper. But things must come to pass and we are seeing the beginning of things yet to really happen, I hope we all can wake up.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Reason

      Obama is the Great Divider. You're right. We need a Great Uniter. Obama slams Republicans any time he gets the chance. When his party had control of congress, they rammed through highly one-sided legislation. Romney has worked across the isles and has not been slamming Democrats. Romney is a moderate and Uniter. Our country needs to unite under Romney.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Primewonk

      "Obama is the Great Divider."

      This, of course, is another fucking tea bagger nutter lie. It is the religious right (oxymoron) that met on the night of Obama's inauguration to lay the plans to get rid of him by any means necessary, including destroying the economy in oorder to get rational folks to vote against him.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Reason

      Evangelicals did no such thing. Obama has divided this nation more than any previous president. No Republican can stand him because he always talks bad about us. Romney doesn't do that to Democrats. He is a moderate who will unite us after Obama The Great Divider is finally gone.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Madrep

      Obama told the Republicans when he came in office with all Dems, House and Senate, to "sit in the back and drink your slurpy's"...open mouth there rhetorical speaking, teleprompting, POS. You GOT what you deserved. Now your gone.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • idiophobia

      France that was well written, to bad it will fall on deaf ears. As for me I'm one of the few who care

      October 29, 2012 at 10:28 am |
    • Primewonk

      Of course the fundiot nutters did this Reason. I wonder why your puppetmasters at FAUX News didn't tell you this? It's well docûmented.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  16. MontanaTrace

    Obama has lied to us, wasted our money and apologized for our being world leaders. His religion? Rev. Wright for 20 years of hate and racism? He needs to go.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • MarkM

      But he killed Bin Laden.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Reason

      Seal Team Six killed Bin Laden. Any president would've made that easy call.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • MarkM

      Wasn’t Obama in the minority on carrying out the seal mission? It’s easy for us to say it was an obvious call in hindsight but at the time there were other options. The fact remains, he made the right call.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Reason

      Go read the Foreign Policy journal. That is a myth. Everyone but Biden supported the raid. That's Biden for you. Obama's choice and a heartbeat away from the presidency.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:24 am |
    • Thrace

      Find a tall building. Leap from it.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:30 am |
    • Reason

      Who knows who you're talking to, Thrace, because you weren't bright enough to put down a name. In light of your lack of brightness, I thought I would inform you that jumping from a tall building would kill you. Don't try it any time soon. Only a moron would suggest to others that they kill themselves.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  17. Wes

    This article is like Obama's faith: a whole lot of nothing...

    October 29, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • MarkM

      Obama's been going to church since his 20's.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • MontanaTrace

      Under pressure, he has disavowed his minister. For decades he sat and listened to the doctrines of hate and racism. That's his church!
      Oh, is a good church attending man. He's willfully participated in his own brainwashing.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • MarkM

      That’s not very nice. We’re all sinners.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Reason

      Are you judging, Mark, while pretending to be Jesus?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And what of Romney's Church and its history of hate and racism?
      The Prophet Brigham Young spouted some of the most bigoted, vitriolic things you've ever heard!
      Just read the Journal of Discourses – in volume 10, he calls for the execution of inter-racial couples on sight.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • MarkM

      I aint judging. Why don’t you cut Obama some slack? He’s probably the greatest president of all time.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Reason

      LOL. Obama is The Great Divider and will be a one-termed like Carter. After all, the last time a US ambassador was killed was under Carter. Rather than look bad, Obama covered up the fact that Al Qaeda was responsible on 9/11 and instead chose to blame the killing on the US, the very country he is sworn to protect. He takes swings at Republicans constantly and rammed through completely one-sided legislation. Romney is the only choice to get rid of the worst and most divisive president in US history.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:29 am |
    • Primewonk

      @ Montana – but it's still OK when fundiot nutters sit in their racist and hômophobic churches, right?

      October 29, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care


      You're being unreasonable.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  18. scot pederson

    Obama's faith in God? Which God? Strange that the bible with Jesus does not promote Gay marriage, Abortion, turning your backs on Israel just to name a few important matters. I guess you can call it Cafeteria Christianity or a Revised Christianity to twist what the words in the Bible say to make them fit your agenda and that makes you humble?

    October 29, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Jesus never mentioned computers or cars, either. So what?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Damocles

      I'd wager the bible doesn't say anything about a poster that goes by the name scot pederson, either, so sorry man, you are out.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Jesus

      Or, you know, you could base your decisions on common sense and not a silly little book?

      But hey, who knows more about Obama's faith than a news organization who has also run stories on how Obama is actually a Muslim.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • Stephanie

      @ scott – What do you say of Romney's faith? Christianity teaches that Mormonism is a cult. It's doctrines are very much anti-Christ. I'd think Evangelicals would be more afraid of Romney than President Obama concerning matters of faith and values.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:45 am |
  19. Sane Person

    17% of americans believe he is a muslim. Almost half of americans do not believe in evolution. Nearly 80% of americans believe the bible is fact.

    Damn... Americans are dumb.

    October 29, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Reason

      Actually, a lot of Americans have a sarcastic sense of humor. Barack Hussein Obama is a dadgum Muslim.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:13 am |
  20. steelerguin

    Words mean little. Actions give more insight into a person's beliefs. Given his stand on abortion, marriage, and especially what's come to light in Benghazi, I have a difficult time believing Obama is a Christian. I have never seen such a morally bereft president. He makes Nixon look good. A least no one was killed at Watergate unlike Benghazi.

    October 29, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Miche

      The only controversial issue there is abortion. It all depends on whether you believe aborted babies are sent to hell, or if they never had souls to begin with. Either way a Christian shouldn't support abortion. Marriage equality is a legal issue rather than a religious one. With regard to the Libya attack, a Christian is supposed to turn the other cheek.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Wrong again. Abortion is most certainly a legal issue, and if so many Christians are opposed to it, then why are 70% of abortions obtained by Christians?

      Women have rights and those rights include the right to control their reproductive lives. This issue was decided by the SCOTUS. Women have the same right to bodily integrity that men do. They have the right to choose.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • kelly51

      I suppose the 4 dead Americans that were denied help by our Military did in fact turn the other cheek as you say.
      As Noah Webster wrote "All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” This is Americas biggest failure. To remove God as our nations guide to happiness.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Prove they were "denied" protection by Obama.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      kelly, your god is yours. I don't believe in him; millions don't believe in your version of him. This is not a theocracy and your bible is not law.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Every president since WWII has ordered the assassination of foreign leaders.
      The Reaganauts hit-list included:
      1980-1986 – Muammar Qaddafi, leader of Libya, several plots and attempts upon his life
      1982 – Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of Iran
      1983 – Gen. Ahmed Dlimi, Moroccan Army commander
      1983 – Miguel d'Escoto, Foreign Minister of Nicaragua
      1984 – The nine comandantes of the Sandinista National Directorate
      1985 – Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanese Shiite leader (80 people killed in the attempt)
      1991 – Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq
      1993 – Mohamed Farah Aideed, prominent clan leader of Somalia
      2002 – Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Afghan Islamic leader and warlord
      2003 – Saddam Hussein and his two sons

      October 29, 2012 at 9:35 am |
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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.