My Take: Obama delivers Lincoln's Third Inaugural
Obama took the oath on two Bibles: one used by Lincoln in 1861, the other the “traveling Bible” of Dr. King.
January 21st, 2013
04:32 PM ET

My Take: Obama delivers Lincoln's Third Inaugural

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Equality. That's what today's inauguration was about. And we have Abraham Lincoln and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to thank for it.

President Obama took his oath of office on two Bibles: one used by Lincoln during his 1861 inauguration, the other the “traveling Bible” of Dr. King. And during his second inaugural address, Obama read U.S. history through the words and actions of these two men.

In his Gettysburg Address, Lincoln turned to Jefferson's words in the Declaration of Independence to argue that the United States was “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.” In his "I Have a Dream" speech, King argued that our national commitment to equality demanded that we emancipate ourselves from segregation as well as slavery.

In his second inaugural address, Obama began with an extended quotation from the Declaration of Independence. At least five times he referred to equality as our common "creed." And he repeatedly challenged his fellow Americans to act on that creed - to turn the United States into King's "beloved community" and Lincoln's vision (borrowed from the Constitution) of "a more perfect union."

The emotional heart of Obama's inaugural address came when the president connected the civil rights struggles of our own time back to Lincoln’s efforts to free the slaves and King’s efforts to end racial segregation. And he included among those struggles the movements for women’s rights, civil rights and gay rights:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

In other words, the struggles for women's rights (at Seneca Falls), civil rights (at Selma), and gay rights (at Stonewall) are American struggles, efforts to put into practice our "common creed."

Today's inauguration itself also put that creed into practice, featuring a black president, a white vice-president, a gay poet, a Hispanic female justice, a Cuban-American priest, and the first woman to ever deliver an inaugural prayer: civil rights icon Myrlie Evers-Williams.

The monopoly of the English language was also broken twice, once in the poem by Richard Blanco - which included words in Hebrew, Italian, Sanskrit and Spanish - and again in the benediction by Luis Leon, Episcopal rector at St. John’s Church in Washington, D.C., who asked for God's blessing on the president and vice president in Spanish, then translated it to English. Leon said that, with God's blessing, we can see that all of us - "whether brown, black or white, male or female, first generation immigrant American or Daughter of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor" - are made in God's image.

The 2012 election has been widely (and rightly) hailed as a diversity election in which the votes of blacks, Hispanics and Asian Americans turned the tide. This was the diversity inauguration. But notice how traditional Obama's address was. Yes, it made the case for gay rights, and it channeled Dr. King. But the words of our 44th president were animated throughout by the vision of our 16th. This was Lincoln's Third Inaugural.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Bible • Black issues • Latino issues • Obama • Politics • Race • United States

soundoff (651 Responses)
  1. Atasha

    Terrible article

    January 22, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • Jacob


      January 22, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • chris

      Every time someone writes an article like this comparing Obama to Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. or any other person who actually did something great for our country to make us a better country I have to stop and wonder why? Is the person who writes the article really that ignorant? In this case he is. Awful article, awful writing, awful comparison.

      January 22, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  2. Liberty Quiz

    Someone famous participated in the following argument – can you guess who?

    Who are the Best Keepers of the People's Liberties?

    Republican-[answer to the title] The people themselves. The sacred trust can be no where so safe as in the hands most interested in preserving it.

    Anti-republican–The people are stupid, suspicious, licentious. They cannot safely trust themselves. When they have established government they should think of nothing but obedience, leaving the care of their liberties to their wiser rulers.

    Republican–Although all men are born free, and all nations might be so, yet too true it is, that slavery has been the general lot of the human race. Ignorant–they have been cheated; asleep–they have been surprised; divided–the yoke has been forced upon them. But what is the lesson? That because the people may betray themselves, they ought to give themselves up, blindfold, to those who have an interest in betraying them? Rather conclude that the people ought to be enlightened, to be awakened, to be united, that after establishing a government they should watch over it, as well as obey it.

    Anti-republican–You look at the surface only, where errors float, instead of fathoming the depths where truth lies hid. It is not the government that is disposed to fly off from the people; but the people that are ever ready to fly off from the government. Rather say then, enlighten the government, warn it to be vigilant, enrich it with influence, arm it with force, and to the people never pronounce but two words–Submission and Confidence.

    Republican–The centrifugal tendency then is in the people, not in the government, and the secret art lies in restraining the tendency, by augmenting the attractive principle of the government with all the weight that can be added to it. What a perversion of the natural order of things! To make power the primary and central object of the social system, and Liberty but its satellite.

    Anti-republican-The science of the stars can never instruct you in the mysteries of government. Wonderful as it may seem, the more you increase the attractive force of power, the more you enlarge the sphere of liberty; the more you make government independent and hostile towards the people, the better security you provide for their rights and interests. Hence the wisdom of the theory, which, after limiting the share of the people to a third of the government ... establishes two grand hereditary orders ... inveterately hostile to the rights and interests of the people, yet by a mysterious operation all combining to fortify the people in both.

    Republican–Mysterious indeed! But mysteries belong to religion, not to government; to the ways of the Almighty, not to the works of man. And in religion itself there is nothing mysterious to its author; the mystery lies in the dimness of the human sight. So in the institutions of man let there be no mystery, unless for those inferior beings endowed with a ray perhaps of the twilight vouchsafed to the first order of terrestrial creation.

    Anti-republican–You are destitute, I perceive, of every quality of a good citizen, or rather of a good subject. You have neither the light of faith nor the spirit of obedience. I denounce you to the government as an accomplice of atheism and anarchy.

    Republican–And I forbear to denounce you to the people, though a blasphemer of their rights and an idolater of tyranny. Liberty disdains to persecute.

    January 22, 2013 at 10:23 am |
  3. wolfpackbob

    Obama and Lincoln? Is this the 2nd coming of the Messiah? More CNN twaddle. The media is President Obama's fan club. Journalism is dead and Americans now receive propaganda rather than objective reporting. Sadly for many, that relieves them from having to think for themselves.

    January 22, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • myweightinwords

      This is an opinion piece, not an impartial re-play of events.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Scott

      Who said Obama was the Messiah? Oh, that's right, you did. Funny, I never actually hear anyone in the media say such a thing.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  4. rhino

    OBAMA WORSHIP MUCH? sickenikng. try being a real journalist for once. wow... this whole website, and all media in general, is really crazy about obama.... although a large portion of the american public cannot stand him right now. no criticism at all? really? just all fluff and warm fuzzies huh? everybody must love him right? 50 million people on food stamps, up 150% since he took office. i love paying for people who dont work to eat. its great.

    January 22, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Allison

      Do you understand the words "Opinion" or "My Take" that are stamped across the top of this article? This is the opinion of one person, not a factual one. There have been plenty of opinion pieces on CNN that criticize Obama and his policies. Please, take your ridiculous criticisms somewhere else.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Have you ever been on food stamps? Do you know what it takes to qualify for ANY aid, let alone enough to live on?

      I have. My parents divorced when I was 13. The child support awarded by the court was $25 per week per child. Alimony was $100 per week. That was $150 per week for a family of three to live on. My mother would lose the alimony if she went to work, and she couldn't find anything but minimum wage, part time jobs that wouldn't even pay her the $100 because she hadn't worked in 13 years.

      The hoops we had to jump through to get food stamps were degrading and even then, it wasn't enough. Every month we had to choose whether we were paying the rent or the utilities. And my mother worked. She raised two kids. She babysat other peoples kids so they could work. She cleaned houses for extra cash. She made costumes and repaired clothing.

      Get off your high horse. Most of the people on food stamps today are there because BUSH broke our economy with his warmongering...and I'm willing to bet 95% of them would rather be working.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  5. MNfree

    That's great and all, but if we do nothing about the debt we won't have a country. Civil rights were not what he got elected on. This is a tangent to not address the more difficult issues. Lincoln and King pushed against the grain and tried to unite people. Obama is only trying to unite HIS people in order to push HIS agenda. The vast amount of conservatives believe in civil rights and have for years. You can point at the small outliers and say they don't in order to make yourself feel better, but you are wrong. They only care for the economic stability of the country more because it is the bigger topic. The wheel of change is turning for LGBT and everyone else you think conservatives are supposedly suppressing. Everyone sees that, and it's a good thing. Yesterday however, was just a big victory lap while our very foundation is cracking from under us. GET ON TOPIC!

    January 22, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • george

      Mr Prez....just remember...U AIN"T NO ABRAHAM LINCOLN....by a long shot...Only in your wildest DREAMS

      January 22, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • George

      Well, the alot of the country including democrat's think there should be reasonable spending reductions. But who has done that in recent modern history. Can anyone tell me when the last time republicans reduced spending.. or anyone in federal gov?

      January 22, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Primewonk

      "The vast amount of conservatives believe in civil rights and have for years"

      In North Carolina an overwhelming majority of "conservatives" voted for Amendment 1, which enshrined in their constîtution that not only can gay folks not get married, they can't even have a civil union.

      In Texas, an overwhelming majority of "conservatives" voted to amend their state constîtution to also prohibit gzy folks from even having a civil union.

      In Mississippi 46% of "conservatives" said that interracial marriage should still be illegal.

      In Alabama "conservatives" are fighting removing unenforceable laws making being gay a crime.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:36 am |
  6. Sue

    Unfortunate that there are so many ill-informed and ignorant people in our country. Although I am a Democrat, I have many good friends on the right, and we never try and push politics on each other or slur the other one's party. Yet, what mostly I see here is a bunch of angry, partisan, racist individuals who are angry their party lost the election.

    January 22, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Zanna

      LOL! By racist right, do you mean Jesse Jackson? Al Sharpton?

      January 22, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Jim

      How quickly we forget Sue. We had years of nasty hatred and false accusations from your "Informed and enlightened" friends on the left when Mr. Bush was re-elected. Mr Obama is so dishonest and insincere, it's an insult to compare him to Pres. Lincoln. He has successfully expanded the welfare state to a point where it will take generations to fix...but since all the free-loaders vote for Democrats, it's OK. Mr Obama and the Democrats have sold this country down the river to stay in power. we will all pay the price for this eventually.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Bob

      " Mr Obama and the Democrats have sold this country down the river"

      No, Obama was handed a country in ruin by the Bush years. George W was handed a country that had a balanced budget and he destroyed it. Not to mention he lied to the country, George W was one of our worse presidents.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Will S

      What slander against Bush? That he went AWOL from his Guard unit? That his Bush Sr. pulled strings to get him through college? And then into a cushy Air Guard unit instead of the active military? That he was a coke addict? An alcoholic? That his administration outed covert intel officers? That his wife ran a stop sign, killed someone, and escaped any sort of punishment? That he started a war on false pretenses? Took the most vacation of any President? It isn't slander if it is true.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:41 am |
  7. Lindsey

    i never fail to laugh out loud when I hear conservatives whine about how "Biblical marriage" is being compromised if gays can legally marry. I seriously doubt if any one of them would agree with "Biblical marriage" the way God allegedly decreed. Or do they perhaps have multiple spouses too?


    January 22, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Paul

      God DECREED multiple wives? Chapter and verse, please?

      January 22, 2013 at 11:31 am |
  8. Austin Lamon

    Terrible inaugural speech. The world is on the brink of financial collapse and this President wants to banter on about social issues that the federal government has no control over. Gay marriage, while a noble cause, is in the hands of state governments. His rant about healthcare is a last ditch effort to make Americans optimistic about a program that is going to cost taxpayers billions of dollars, bankrupt state governments, and increase our deficit at an alarming rate. We need solutions to our economic problems and a foreign policy vision to show our allies the direction we intend to go in the next four years. This is suppose to be a message to the American people and the world, identifying the problems with government, in the world, with our economy... instead he chose to rehash a bunch of meaningless social jargon that you can hear at a middle school diversity assembly. Republican or democrat, it does not matter. We have to unite to solve the serious issues we have in this country. This speech addressed none of those issues. Extremely disappointed. I have no doubt that he is a smart man and a great person, but we already know that...we voted for him already. This is not the campaign, we need solutions, not ego stroking rhetoric. Tell us what you are going to do, and then get your ass back in that office and go do it.

    January 22, 2013 at 9:25 am |
    • Pete

      " Gay marriage, while a noble cause, is in the hands of state governments"

      It's going to the Supreme Court so it's not in the hands of state gov'ts.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • Douglas

      "Republican or democrat, it does not matter. We have to unite to solve the serious issues we have in this country. "

      You must have missed this part in the speech. "For we have always understood that when times change, so must we, that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges, that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. "

      January 22, 2013 at 9:38 am |
  9. tv22

    More senseless fawning by CNN.

    January 22, 2013 at 9:22 am |
  10. hemuda

    Wondering about the intellect of tea party people. Obama was calling for people to come together, accept one another, and work for the nation. Yet they are calling him divisive. When was the last time any tea party leader talked about uniting? When did GOP leader do?

    January 22, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • Vatsi

      What he means by uniting is "Everyone needs to agree with me". Tea party people realize, no one is ever going to agree with everyone. Sorry, 47 percent of the country isn't going to unite under New America. 47% will wait till we can get the United States of America back, one way or another.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • Chuck

      True collective action requires bargaining and negotiation, haven't really seen evidenct that the administration is going to meet the conservatives in the middle. Conservatives requested spending cuts to match revenue increases and the administration and Senate reply with only cuts for defense and other programs that conservatives are staunch opponents of. When will Dems honestly meet in the middle – ramrodding a the Health Care Act (all 2700 unread pages) is not the model of cooperation that has been only given lip service thus far. If the administration wants to demonstrate leadership, they can do so by taking the first step to meet in middle – demanding their way or the highway is bullying not leading.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • Billy

      Vatsi – "till we can get the United States of America back"

      If you think this country will ever go backward, then good luck. There are just too many factors (even outside of basic differences about government) that have changed. You just have to look at each issue and vote. Stop screaming about something that will never exist again. We don't have a time machine.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • myweightinwords


      What he means by uniting is "Everyone needs to agree with me". Tea party people realize, no one is ever going to agree with everyone. Sorry, 47 percent of the country isn't going to unite under New America. 47% will wait till we can get the United States of America back, one way or another.

      And that attitude right there is the reason we can not get anything done in this country.

      Put aside your petty hurt feelings and the fracking politics and work to find a solution that will work. THAT is the only way we're going to solve the problems. We need to come together, but instead all I seem to see on BOTH sides is everyone taking their ball and going home to pout about how the other side is all mean and evil and wrong.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:26 am |
    • Seola

      Cute and all, but his whole speech was filled with backhanded divisiveness. It was a brilliant masterpiece in an exercise of how to make it look like you are talking about unification while simultaneously offering insults. Sort of like the "With all due respect, you're (something mean)".

      January 22, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Seola


      Put aside your petty hurt feelings and the fracking politics and work to find a solution that will work. THAT is the only way we're going to solve the problems. We need to come together, but instead all I seem to see on BOTH sides is everyone taking their ball and going home to pout about how the other side is all mean and evil and wrong.

      Actually, you've pinpointed the problem and don't even realize it. The problem is that when a person refuses to negotiate, the "47%" get fed up and stop being willing to compromise. When they are willing and DO compromise and are still painted as the bad guys, that is the problem.

      Just as Obama blamed the GOP for not passing three free trade agreements in a speech and press conference, those very bills were sitting on HIS desk for weeks. He's also avoided signing much of any landmark legislation in the Rose Garden, even canceling a few that were scheduled, so that he was not pictured with the Speaker coming together, to continue the photo stories as if the Republicans aren't doing "anything". The problem is, Obama specifically goes out of his way to continue a narrative that the GOP is not helping, always saying no, etc. etc. The reality is, far more bills and items have been passed than have not. Obama himself even blasted the GOP for not passing his budget proposal at the beginning of 2012 (you can find that speech and presser online) when it garnered ZERO votes in either party. It was unanimously voted nay – and yet, Obama still blamed the GOP.

      So again, what's the point of "uniting", if you are always made to be the bad guy and always made as if you are holding up everything. In fact, in an election year, Harry Reid held over 120 bills on his desk, refusing to allow them to be brought for a vote, including a bipartisan bill that repealed the medical device tax. The comments were such, that the Democrats admitted they had no idea that was in the ACA. Reid did not want this conversation to come out on the floor so he held onto it. Even the most blue of Liberals have signed onto this repeal.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  11. Mike

    This president will go down as the Great divider. He will also go down as a Worse than Bush President and possibly one of the worst ever at actually doing his job. His foreign policy sucks, his domestic policy is worse and he is pushing people to the edge. Anyone who disagrees has drank the kool-aid and is probably suckling off the system. Or they are just dumb deaf and blind!

    January 22, 2013 at 8:58 am |
    • Terri

      "Worse than Bush President "

      Oh, please. George W lied to the American public and got us into a war because of it. There is no way Obama will even come close to that. Remember the budget was balanced before Bush came into office and he's the one that started the issues with the national debt.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:11 am |
    • knucklecheese

      Are you kidding? Obama is hands down the single most prolific liar ever to inhabit the White House. Besides, Bush didn't get us into that war, both he AND Congress did! That's how it works in case you were wondering. Sure the President can initiate military action, but it up to Congress to approve (and FUND) said action into the long term. Grow up.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:15 am |
    • Douglas

      "Besides, Bush didn't get us into that war, both he AND Congress did! "

      You're an idiot. The Bush administration had drawn up plans to use military force to overthrow the regime of Saddam Hussein long before the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. September 11 was seized on as a pretext for stampeding public opinion to accept US military intervention.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:20 am |
    • Billy

      Well of course Bush hoodwinked Congress with faulty information, that's not the issue, Doogie. They and their faulty intelligence screwed things up for millions.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Primewonk

      knucklecheese wrote, "Obama is hands down the single most prolific liar ever to inhabit the White House."

      You know, folks like you have posted this thousands of times on threads all over the interwebz. Yet, every ti e we have asked you nutters to post the evidence that supports this accusation, you folks have refused.

      It's almost like you're just making this crap up.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  12. 10101010

    Most of what the President said is correct. Gays should have some equivalent rights, but they should not marry because marriage is a biblical term that implies the union of a man and a woman. What is absolutely wrong is his attempts at dismantling the right of people to own guns. I will no longer vote Democrat, and I hope that Republicans take the house, the senate, and the presidency next voting round!

    January 22, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Brent

      The term “traditional marriage” is a term employed by anti-gay religious groups and individuals to promote bigotry, prejudice, hostility and discrimination toward gay and lesbian citizens.

      The term is used to justify a social injustice both in terms of denying gay and lesbian individuals equal treatment guaranteed by our Constitution and also denying them human dignity. The use of the term is an action that promotes constitutional unfairness and human indignity and therefore one which is morally wrong.

      If a person of faith agrees that a practice that promotes looking upon a segment of society as inferior, unworthy and undeserving of that which we find as good in our lives, the use of the term “traditional marriage” therefore also must be sinful.

      Regardless of their particular faith, the person would be hard-pressed to say that love, compassion and wanting what is best in our lives for others around us are not the core principles of most religions. When a person of faith stands opposed to those principles, their attitude and actions stand opposed to the principles which they strive to uphold in the everyday interactions with those around them.

      There is also deceit involved in the use of the term “traditional marriage” because those who employ the term attempt to perpetrate an untruth and ulterior motives of hostility and prejudice.

      The untruth comes when “traditional marriage” is offered up as a term that defines a religious concept of a God-blessed union of a young man and woman who fall in love, get married with no prior sexual experience, have children and remain together into old age. They are implying that this is how God ordains marriage.

      If it is, it took him until just 50 years ago to arrive at that conclusion.

      The tradition of marriage in Old Testament times meant the man and his wife could have the same father.

      In the Bible, the patriarch of the Hebrew people, Abraham, and his wife, Sarah, couldn’t have children so Sarah put forth her slave Hagar for Abraham to have children by.

      In Old Testament times, it was normal, sometimes even required for a man to take multiple wives. A man having multiple wives was accepted by the church as late as the 5th Century, 500 years after the teachings set forth in the New Testament. The church for a very long time apparently did not interpret biblical teaching as an edict for one-man, one-woman marriage.

      The tradition of marital unions in the 1700s and 1800s in America doesn’t seem to measure up to God-ordained – especially from the female perspective.

      One third of brides were pregnant at the altar in Concord, Massachusetts during the 20 years prior to the American Revolution.

      In this quote from a wedding couple in 1855, we see that the church had no problem blessing a legal marriage that was considered by many – including this couple – as a violation of the woman’s dignity and civil rights:

      “We believe that personal independence and equal human rights can never be forfeited, except for crime; that marriage should be an equal and permanent partnership, and so recognized by law; that until it is so recognized, married partners should provide against the radical injustice of present laws, by every means in their power…”

      So we can look back and see that religious teachings which uphold the ideals of love, dignity, compassion and respect for each person within marital unions throughout history has taken a back seat.

      In other words, the definition of a God-ordained tradition of marriage has never been constant rather it has evolved.

      History shows us it’s the marital union that should be uplifted…not the evolving traditions of a social institution. In other words, it’s not about how we come together but why.

      Rev. Mark Gallagher, a Unitarian minister, in 2004 asked “what about a marriage could have that quality of spiritual beauty? What makes for sacredness in a marriage?” He names four things.

      “First and foremost, mutual love. A feeling of heightened affection, respect, concern, and appreciation between marital partners. It gives a certain sparkle to the time spent together, and potentially to the entire experience of life. The presence of love makes a marriage sacred.

      “Fidelity contributes to the sacredness of a marriage. Commitments fulfilled. Coming through. Hanging in. Placing the integrity of the relationship over personal preference and convenience. It builds a powerful trust. Fidelity makes a marriage sacred.

      “Intimacy brings sacredness in a marriage. When two people reveal themselves to one another over time, they cannot help but gain acquaintance with the deep regions of the human experience. They get to know one another, of course. But more importantly, they get to know themselves.

      Through relating intimately over time, deeper honesty and authenticity become possible. This is the spiritual journey to know and be known, behind the public charade, however subtle or crude that may be.

      “And forgiveness generates sacredness in a marriage. We all make mistakes and need forgiveness. Our spiritual liberation requires that we become masters of forgiveness letting go of resentment for slights and injuries. The prolonged togetherness of marriage will present myriad opportunities for the practice of forgiveness. When forgiveness flows freely, there is a palpable quality of gentleness and compassion.”

      Does the heterosexual couple uniting in marriage today lift up the union as characterized by love, fidelity, intimacy and forgiveness. We expect they do and we suspect those characteristics as Gallagher concluded in his sermon are what exude sacredness.

      We also know that gay and lesbian couples uphold those same characteristics for their unions. Why would they not? Why would a parent of a gay son or daughter not want their child to enjoy the happiness derived from a lifelong devotion to those characteristics? Why would a brother or sister with a gay sibling not want their brother or sister to enjoy the happiness derived from a lifelong devotion to those characteristics?

      Why would a person of faith not want the gay or lesbian individual to enjoy the happiness derived from the pursuit of marriage sanctity?

      Why would we as Americans not want our government and its laws to recognize that same marriage sanctity for gay and lesbian individuals in their pursuit of liberty and happiness?

      There can be only one reason and that is because many of us have been conditioned by years of misguided church teaching to look upon gay and lesbian individuals as morally inferior, unworthy and therefore undeserving of that which we uphold as good and sanctified in our lives.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:12 am |
    • Billy

      As long as there are civil rights differences between gay and straight couples still both termed under "marriage", then there will be a justified civil rights issue fought for equality. Churches can turn there backs if they want to, but you're not going to keep a civil rights cause down and it should be fought.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:14 am |
    • reddog

      Given that you write "I will no longer vote Democrat," somehow I doubt that you ever have. Or perhaps you never studied grammar, or maybe you just listen to too much Rush & Co.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:17 am |
    • Primewonk

      "they should not marry because marriage is a biblical term that implies the union of a man and a woman. What is absolutely wrong is his attempts at dismantling the right of people to own guns"

      Yout god was cobbled together from various minor deities worshipped by various tribes 6000 years ago. Marriage predates his origin. Also, marriage is a civil right, and a civil contract.

      Obama hasn't said anything about banning all guns.

      Why do you fundiot nutters lie? Do you think it is pleasing to your god?

      January 22, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • SR

      Lol. Marriage existed long before Christianity or the Bible, so I don't quite see how many Christians can claim it as their own.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • myweightinwords

      Marriage is a term that implies the joining of two lives together. It has existed in some form or another since long before the bible was written and in cultures that never knew this bible or its god. Furthermore, unless you are going to also deny Muslims, Buddhists, Atheists, Pagans, Sikhs, etc the term "marriage" you do not have a leg to stand on.

      Marriage is a basic civil right, as decided by the Supreme Court. It belongs to everyone. Even the ones you don't like.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • LinCA


      You said, "Gays should have some equivalent rights"
      Common decency would force any rational person to advocate for equal, not equivalent, rights. Advocating for anything else makes you a less than decent and rational person.

      Also, in the US it is the US Constitution that is the law of the land. Nothing supersedes it. The Constitution provides for equal, not equivalent, rights. Advocating for anything else makes you a less than law-abiding person.

      But even if you are not a decent, rational, law-abiding person, that doesn't remove the fact that gays are equal in every aspect, they are entitled to equal rights.

      You said, "but they should not marry because marriage is a biblical term that implies the union of a man and a woman."
      Whatever you think your book of fairy tales tells you, applies only to you. You are free to remain blissfully ignorant about the real world and continue to live in your fantasy. You have no right to force that delusion on sane people.

      You said, "What is absolutely wrong is his attempts at dismantling the right of people to own guns."
      These is a crucial part of the 2nd amendment that is routinely overlooked by "gun rights" advocates. Here is the full text: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." (emphasis mine).

      So, unless you belong to a well regulated militia, you have no right to own guns.

      You said, "I will no longer vote Democrat, and I hope that Republicans take the house, the senate, and the presidency next voting round!"
      The easiest way to convince the ignorant part of the population is to keep it short, keep it simple and keep it scary. So, as long as there are dimwits like you, they will have a chance. They've got the message of fear down to an art, and it is always easy to convince those not capable of rational evaluation, with a message of fear.

      January 22, 2013 at 11:07 am |
  13. retired Jarhead

    Listen to the garbage being strewn here by the tea party and racist folks.. unbelievable.

    January 22, 2013 at 8:53 am |
    • 10101010

      Being Gay is not the same as being Black and please stop trying to make the comparison!

      January 22, 2013 at 9:03 am |
    • midwest rail

      So – we aren't all created equal, is that what you're saying binary code ?

      January 22, 2013 at 9:05 am |
    • 2Cents

      "Being Gay is not the same as being Black "

      The NAACP has passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage as a civil right, putting it stamp on an issue that has divided the black community.

      The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's board voted at a leadership retreat in Miami on Saturday to back a resolution supporting marriage equality, calling the position consistent with the equal protection provision of the US constitution.

      "The mission of the NAACP has always been to ensure political, social and economic equality of all people," board chairwoman Roslyn M Brock said in a statement. "We have and will oppose efforts to codify discrimination into law."

      Same-sex marriage is legal in six states and the District of Columbia, but 31 states have passed amendments to ban it.

      The NAACP vote came about two weeks after President Barack Obama announced his support for gay marriage, setting off a flurry of political activity in a number of states. Obama's announcement followed vice-president Joe Biden's declaration in a television interview that he was "absolutely comfortable" with gay couples marrying.

      "Civil marriage is a civil right and a matter of civil law. The NAACP's support for marriage equality is deeply rooted in the fourteenth amendment of the United States constitution and equal protection of all people" said NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous, a strong backer of gay rights.

      Gay marriage has divided the black community, with many religious leaders opposing it. In California, exit polls showed about 70% of black people opposed same-sex marriage in 2008. In Maryland, black religious leaders helped derail a gay marriage bill last year. But state lawmakers passed a gay marriage bill this year.

      Pew Research Center polls have found that African Americans have become more supportive of same-sex marriage in recent years, but remain less supportive than other groups. A poll conducted in April showed 39% of African-Americans favor gay marriage, compared with 47% of white people. The poll showed 49% of black people and 43% of white people are opposed.

      The Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay rights advocacy group, applauded the NAACP's step.

      "We could not be more pleased with the NAACP's history-making vote – which is yet another example of the traction marriage equality continues to gain in every community," HRC president Joe Solmonese said in a statement.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:08 am |
    • Primewonk

      10101010 wrote, "Being Gay is not the same as being Black and please stop trying to make the comparison!"

      Black folks are born black. Gay folks are born gay.
      Black folks are discriminated against beause they are black. Gay folks are discriminated against because they are gay.

      What am I missing?

      January 22, 2013 at 9:36 am |
    • Jason

      what you are missing is anything resembleing a factual argument. There is little to no research to say that people are born either gay or straight. That is a fact and no amount of crazy accusations of bigotry will change it. Research might... or might not.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  14. tron

    With his disarm the people so we can "redistribute" the wealth he is more like Stalin than Lincoln.

    January 22, 2013 at 8:39 am |
    • midwest rail

      " disarm the people....." Nonsense.

      January 22, 2013 at 8:54 am |
    • knucklecheese

      It's actually not nonsense at all. When we ignore the 2nd Amendment and allow the Federal Government to dictate to us what KINDS of firearms we can have, we have for all intents and purposes been disarmed. What good is a 19th century technology turnbolt hunting rifle against a semiautomatic 21st century battle rifle or carbine? The answer: none, and that is exactly the point. Keep in mind what the 2nd Amendment is all about. In case you were wondering, it has nothing to do with hunting or artificially manufactured, politically motivated arbitrary terms like "sporting purposes". It has to do with the American People maintaining the ability to fight for themselves against ANY aggressor. You can't sing enough verses of Kumbaya to negate that fact. It's time to be grownups and deal with these issues in sensible fashion.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:24 am |
    • Primewonk

      knucklecheese – SCOTUS has already ruled that the 2nd is not an absolute right. You have no right to own any weapons you want.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • midwest rail

      It is nonsense. Private gun ownership in this country is at an all time high. Estimates range from 190 million to 300 million guns in the hands of private citizens. Equating any response to Sandy Hook as "disarming the people" is at best disingenuous.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Jason

      It is the first step of an incremental process. You are either blind or dishonest if you can't see that.

      January 22, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  15. Jonsie

    Wow, Thank God you didn't say it was the second coming! Did you have chills all up and down your spine?

    January 22, 2013 at 8:32 am |
  16. Richard

    Lincoln brought a divided nation together and Obama is tearing one apart with his rhetoric and divisiveness. Horrible and insulting comparison.

    January 22, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • Kita

      Indeed. I'm quite sure that speaking of equality and pushing for us all to accept one another socially and politically is truly the divisive work of Faschisocialcommunism.

      January 22, 2013 at 8:37 am |
    • 10101010

      No, not really. I can assure you that what Lincoln said and did was considered divisive in his time. Please think before you write.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • knucklecheese

      What a man says and what a man does are often two different things. This man has been talking peace while actively baiting race and class war for four years now. Get real. While you're at it, get the hook out of your mouth. It's starting to rust.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:12 am |
  17. livewire

    Lincoln became great by pulling a broken country together. This President has done more to divide the country than any other. His first term ignored ALL major issues such as the budget and deficit spending while making priorities to get him votes. James Buchanan (one of the causes of the civil war) would be a more appropriate comparison.

    January 22, 2013 at 8:31 am |
    • 10101010


      January 22, 2013 at 9:07 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      The only ones responsible for dividing your country are the religious right who believe the president should follow the bible to the the literal meaning. They are the ones who don't comprehend that at the time the 2nd Amendment was written Military Assault rifles were not available and that is the major part of what Obama is fighting against, not your right to own weapons but your right to own certain types. They are the ones who fight against a woman's right to do with her body as she wishes...Obama respects women. They are the ones fighting over gays having equal rights (what the bible says about this has no pertinence in a Secular nation). In the end the president is sworn to uphold the constitution, not the bible and so he stands for equal rights for all. If you want to reside in a theocracy the USA might not be the place for you.
      You people tend to forget that Obama walked in to a mess but yet managed to save the auto industry. You always see the bad from him, while forgetting what stops him or maybe you're too blinded by FOX news to comprehend the reality. While he may not be perfect, he at least stands for everyone and not just a select few.

      January 22, 2013 at 9:31 am |
  18. iski

    The next law lets abandon term limits for presidents. Truly we have FDR, Lincoln, Reagan, Elvis, Luke Skywalker incarnate. The only place for obama after this will be on American idol.

    January 22, 2013 at 8:29 am |
    • Kita

      Dancing With the Stars is better.

      January 22, 2013 at 8:38 am |
    • 10101010

      I smell a Bigot!

      January 22, 2013 at 9:08 am |
  19. Johnny 5

    Obama is no Lincoln by any means. Lincoln also quoted "The Bible is not my book and Christianity is not my religion".

    January 22, 2013 at 8:24 am |
  20. Gonzodon

    How disgusting to compare this pap to Lincoln.

    Lincoln dealt with reality. Obama totally ignored the tremendous impacts his crushing sociialist policies have had on this nation, and that he continues to force down our throats.

    Sieg Heil, comrades!

    We will be lucky to survive as a nation with this complete moron in office.

    January 22, 2013 at 8:18 am |

      Sorry, Obama is no way shape, form, like Lincoln. My pit pull is more like President Lincoln.

      January 22, 2013 at 8:29 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.