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November 11, 2008

Obama's Fascinating Interview with Cathleen Falsani

The most detailed and fascinating explication of Barack Obama's faith came in a 2004 interview he gave Chicago Sun-Times columnist Cathleen Falsani when he was running for U.S. Senate in Illinois. The column she wrote about the interview has been quoted and misquoted many times over, but she'd never before published the full transcript in a major publication.

Because of how controversial that interview became, Falsani has graciously allowed us to print the full conversation here.

Falsani is one of the most gifted interviewers on matters of faith, and has recently published an outstanding memoir called Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace. To get a free download of the audio book, click here.

* * *

At 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, 2004, when I was the religion reporter (I am now its religion columnist) at the Chicago Sun-Times, I met then-State Sen. Barack Obama at Café Baci, a small coffee joint at 330 S. Michigan Avenue in Chicago, to interview him exclusively about his spirituality. Our conversation took place a few days after he'd clinched the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat that he eventually won. We spoke for more than an hour. He came alone. He answered everything I asked without notes or hesitation. The profile of Obama that grew from the interview at Cafe Baci became the first in a series in the Sun-Times called "The God Factor," that eventually became my first book, The God Factor: Inside the Spiritual Lives of Public People (FSG, March 2006.) Because of the staggering interest in now President-Elect Obama's faith and spiritual predilections, I thought it might be helpful to share that interivew, uncut and in its entirety, here.
--Cathleen Falsani

Interview with State Sen. Barack Obama
3:30 p.m., Saturday March 27, 2004
Café Baci, 330 S. Michigan Avenue

Me: decaf
He: alone, on time, grabs a Naked juice protein shake


FALSANI:
What do you believe?

OBAMA:
I am a Christian.

So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith.

On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences.

I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10.

My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim.

And I'd say, probably, intellectually I've drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith.

(A patron stops and says, "Congratulations," shakes his hand. "Thank you very much. I appreciate that. Thank you.")

So, I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people. That there are values that transcend race or culture, that move us forward, and there's an obligation for all of us individually as well as collectively to take responsibility to make those values lived.

And so, part of my project in life was probably to spend the first 40 years of my life figuring out what I did believe - I'm 42 now - and it's not that I had it all completely worked out, but I'm spending a lot of time now trying to apply what I believe and trying to live up to those values.


FALSANI:
Have you always been a Christian?


OBAMA:
I was raised more by my mother and my mother was Christian.

FALSANI:
Any particular flavor?

OBAMA:
No.

My grandparents who were from small towns in Kansas. My grandmother was Methodist. My grandfather was Baptist. This was at a time when I think the Methodists felt slightly superior to the Baptists. And by the time I was born, they were, I think, my grandparents had joined a Universalist church.

So, my mother, who I think had as much influence on my values as anybody, was not someone who wore her religion on her sleeve. We'd go to church for Easter. She wasn't a church lady.

As I said, we moved to Indonesia. She remarried an Indonesian who wasn't particularly, he wasn't a practicing Muslim. I went to a Catholic school in a Muslim country. So I was studying the Bible and catechisms by day, and at night you'd hear the prayer call.

So I don't think as a child we were, or I had a structured religious education. But my mother was deeply spiritual person, and would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world's religions, and talk to me about them. And I think always, her view always was that underlying these religions were a common set of beliefs about how you treat other people and how you aspire to act, not just for yourself but also for the greater good.

And, so that, I think, was what I carried with me through college. I probably didn't get started getting active in church activities until I moved to Chicago.

The way I came to Chicago in 1985 was that I was interested in community organizing and I was inspired by the Civil Rights movement. And the idea that ordinary people could do extraordinary things. And there was a group of churches out on the South Side of Chicago that had come together to form an organization to try to deal with the devastation of steel plants that had closed. And didn't have much money, but felt that if they formed an organization and hired somebody to organize them to work on issues that affected their community, that it would strengthen the church and also strengthen the community.

So they hired me, for $13,000 a year. The princely sum. And I drove out here and I didn't know anybody and started working with both the ministers and the lay people in these churches on issues like creating job training programs, or afterschool programs for youth, or making sure that city services were fairly allocated to underserved communites.

This would be in Roseland, West Pullman, Altgeld Gardens, far South Side working class and lower income communities.

And it was in those places where I think what had been more of an intellectual view of religion deepened because I'd be spending an enormous amount of time with church ladies, sort of surrogate mothers and fathers and everybody I was working with was 50 or 55 or 60, and here I was a 23-year-old kid running around.

I became much more familiar with the ongoing tradition of the historic black church and it's importance in the community.

And the power of that culture to give people strength in very difficult circumstances, and the power of that church to give people courage against great odds. And it moved me deeply.

So that, one of the churches I met, or one of the churches that I became involved in was Trinity United Church of Christ. And the pastor there, Jeremiah Wright, became a good friend. So I joined that church and committed myself to Christ in that church.

FALSANI:
Did you actually go up for an altar call?

OBAMA:
Yes. Absolutely.

It was a daytime service, during a daytime service. And it was a powerful moment. Because, it was powerful for me because it not only confirmed my faith, it not only gave shape to my faith, but I think, also, allowed me to connect the work I had been pursuing with my faith.

FALSANI:
How long ago?

OBAMA:
16, 17 years ago. 1987 or 88.

FALSANI:
So you got yourself born again?

OBAMA:
Yeah, although I don't, I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up a suspicion of dogma. And I'm not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I've got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.

I'm a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at its best comes with a big dose of doubt. I'm suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding.

I think that, particularly as somebody who's now in the public realm and is a student of what brings people together and what drives them apart, there's an enormous amount of damage done around the world in the name of religion and certainty.

FALSANI:
Do you still attend Trinity?

OBAMA:
Yep. Every week. 11 oclock service.

Ever been there? Good service.

I actually wrote a book called Dreams from My Father, it's kind of a meditation on race. There's a whole chapter on the church in that, and my first visits to Trinity.

FALSANI:
Do you pray often?

OBAMA:
Uh, yeah, I guess I do.

It's not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I'm constantly asking myself questions about what I'm doing, why am I doing it.

One of the interesting things about being in public life is there are constantly these pressures being placed on you from different sides. To be effective, you have to be able to listen to a variety of points of view, synthesize viewpoints. You also have to know when to be just a strong advocate, and push back against certain people or views that you think aren't right or don't serve your constituents.

And so, the biggest challenge, I think, is always maintaining your moral compass. Those are the conversations I'm having internally. I'm measuring my actions against that inner voice that for me at least is audible, is active, it tells me where I think I'm on track and where I think I'm off track.

It's interesting particularly now after this election, comes with it a lot of celebrity. And I always think of politics as having two sides. There's a vanity aspect to politics, and then there's a substantive part of politics. Now you need some sizzle with the steak to be effective, but I think it's easy to get swept up in the vanity side of it, the desire to be liked and recognized and important. It's important for me throughout the day to measure and to take stock and to say, now, am I doing this because I think it's advantageous to me politically, or because I think it's the right thing to do? Am I doing this to get my name in the papers or am I doing this because it's necessary to accomplish my motives.

FALSANI:
Checking for altruism?

OBAMA:
Yeah. I mean, something like it.

Looking for ... It's interesting, the most powerful political moments for me come when I feel like my actions are aligned with a certain truth. I can feel it. When I'm talking to a group and I'm saying something truthful, I can feel a power that comes out of those statements that is different than when I'm just being glib or clever.

FALSANI:
What's that power? Is it the holy spirit? God?

OBAMA:
Well, I think it's the power of the recognition of God, or the recognition of a larger truth that is being shared between me and an audience.

That's something you learn watching ministers, quite a bit. What they call the Holy Spirit. They want the Holy Spirit to come down before they're preaching, right? Not to try to intellectualize it but what I see is there are moments that happen within a sermon where the minister gets out of his ego and is speaking from a deeper source. And it's powerful.

There are also times when you can see the ego getting in the way. Where the minister is performing and clearly straining for applause or an Amen. And those are distinct moments. I think those former moments are sacred.

FALSANI:
Who's Jesus to you?

(He laughs nervously)

OBAMA:
Right.

Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he's also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher.

And he's also a wonderful teacher. I think it's important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history.

FALSANI:
Is Jesus someone who you feel you have a regular connection with now, a personal connection with in your life?

OBAMA:
Yeah. Yes. I think some of the things I talked about earlier are addressed through, are channeled through my Christian faith and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

FALSANI:
Have you read the Bible?

OBAMA:
Absolutely.

I read it not as regularly as I would like. These days I don't have much time for reading or reflection, period.

FALSANI:
Do you try to take some time for whatever, meditation prayer reading?

OBAMA:
I'll be honest with you, I used to all the time, in a fairly disciplined way. But during the course of this campaign, I don't. And I probably need to and would like to, but that's where that internal monologue, or dialogue I think supplants my opportunity to read and reflect in a structured way these days.

It's much more sort of as I'm going through the day trying to take stock and take a moment here and a moment there to take stock, why am I here, how does this connect with a larger sense of purpose.

FALSANI:
Do you have people in your life that you look to for guidance?

OBAMA:
Well, my pastor [Jeremiah Wright] is certainly someone who I have an enormous amount of respect for.

I have a number of friends who are ministers. Reverend Meeks is a close friend and colleague of mine in the state Senate. Father Michael Pfleger is a dear friend, and somebody I interact with closely.

FALSANI:
Those two will keep you on your toes.

OBAMA:
And theyr'e good friends. Because both of them are in the public eye, there are ways we can all reflect on what's happening to each of us in ways that are useful.

I think they can help me, they can appreciate certain specific challenges that I go through as a public figure.

FALSANI:
Jack Ryan [Obama's Republican opponent in the U.S. Senate race at the time] said talking about your faith is frought with peril for a public figure.

OBAMA:
Which is why you generally will not see me spending a lot of time talking about it on the stump.

Alongside my own deep personal faith, I am a follower, as well, of our civic religion. I am a big believer in the separation of church and state. I am a big believer in our constitutional structure. I mean, I'm a law professor at the University of Chicago teaching constitutional law. I am a great admirer of our founding charter, and its resolve to prevent theocracies from forming, and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root ion this country.

As I said before, in my own public policy, I'm very suspicious of religious certainty expressing itself in politics.

Now, that's different from a belief that values have to inform our public policy. I think it's perfectly consistent to say that I want my government to be operating for all faiths and all peoples, including atheists and agnostics, while also insisting that there are values that inform my politics that are appropriate to talk about.

A standard line in my stump speech during this campaign is that my politics are informed by a belief that we're all connected. That if there's a child on the South Side of Chicago that can't read, that makes a difference in my life even if it's not my own child. If there's a senior citizen in downstate Illinois that's struggling to pay for their medicine and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer even if it's not my grandparent. And if there's an Arab American family that's being rounded up by John Ashcroft without the benefit of due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

I can give religious expression to that. I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper, we are all children of God. Or I can express it in secular terms. But the basic premise remains the same. I think sometimes Democrats have made the mistake of shying away from a conversation about values for fear that they sacrifice the important value of tolerance. And I don't think those two things are mutually exclusive.

FALSANI:
Do you think it's wrong for people to want to know about a civic leader's spirituality?

OBAMA:
I don't think it's wrong. I think that political leaders are subject to all sorts of vetting by the public, and this can be a component of that.

I think that I am disturbed by, let me put it this way: I think there is an enormous danger on the part of public figures to rationalize or justify their actions by claiming God's mandate.

I think there is this tendency that I don't think is healthy for public figures to wear religion on their sleeve as a means to insulate themselves from criticism, or dialogue with people who disagree with them.

FALSANI:
The conversation stopper, when you say you're a Christian and leave it at that.

OBAMA:
Where do you move forward with that?

This is something that I'm sure I'd have serious debates with my fellow Christians about. I think that the difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and prostelytize. There's the belief, certainly in some quarters, that people haven't embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior that they're going to hell.

FALSANI:
You don't believe that?

OBAMA:
I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell.

I can't imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity.

That's just not part of my religious makeup.

Part of the reason I think it's always difficult for public figures to talk about this is that the nature of politics is that you want to have everybody like you and project the best possible traits onto you. Oftentimes that's by being as vague as possible, or appealing to the lowest common denominators. The more specific and detailed you are on issues as personal and fundamental as your faith, the more potentially dangerous it is.

FALSANI:
Do you ever have people who know you're a Christian question a particular stance you take on an issue, how can you be a Christian and ...

OBAMA:
Like the right to choose.

I haven't been challenged in those direct ways. And to that extent, I give the public a lot of credit. I'm always struck by how much common sense the American people have. They get confused sometimes, watch FoxNews or listen to talk radio. That's dangerous sometimes. But generally, Americans are tolerant and I think recognize that faith is a personal thing, and they may feel very strongly about an issue like abortion or gay marriage, but if they discuss it with me as an elected official they will discuss it with me in those terms and not, say, as 'you call yourself a Christian.' I cannot recall that ever happening.

FALSANI:
Do you get questions about your faith?

OBAMA:
Obviously as an African American politician rooted in the African American community, I spend a lot of time in the black church. I have no qualms in those settings in participating fully in those services and celebrating my God in that wonderful community that is the black church.

(he pauses)
But I also try to be . . . Rarely in those settings do people come up to me and say, "What are your beliefs?" They are going to presume, and rightly so. Although they may presume a set of doctrines that I subscribe to that I don't necessarily subscribe to.

But I don't think that's unique to me. I think that each of us, when we walk into our church or mosque or synagogue, are interpreting that experience in different ways, are reading scriptures in different ways and are arriving at our own understanding at different ways and in different phases.

I don't know a healthy congregation or an effective minister who doesn't recognize that.

If all it took was someone proclaiming, "I believe Jesus Christ and that he died for my sins," and that was all there was to it, people wouldn't have to keep coming to church, would they?

FALSANI:
Do you believe in heaven?

OBAMA:
Do I believe in the harps and clouds and wings?

FALSANI:
A place spiritually you go to after you die?

OBAMA:
What I believe in is that if I live my life as well as I can, that I will be rewarded. I don't presume to have knowledge of what happens after I die. But I feel very strongly that whether the reward is in the here and now or in the hereafter, the aligning myself to my faith and my values is a good thing.

When I tuck in my daughters at night and I feel like I've been a good father to them, and I see in them that I am transferring values that I got from my mother and that they're kind people and that they're honest people, and they're curious people, that's a little piece of heaven.

FALSANI:
Do you believe in sin?

OBAMA:
Yes.

FALSANI:
What is sin?

OBAMA:
Being out of alignment with my values.

FALSANI:
What happens if you have sin in your life?

OBAMA:
I think it's the same thing as the question about heaven. In the same way that if I'm true to myself and my faith that that is its own reward, when I'm not true to it, it's its own punishment.

FALSANI:
Where do you find spiritual inspiration? Music, nature, literature, people, a conduit you plug into?

OBAMA:
There are so many.

Nothing is more powerful than the black church experience. A good choir and a good sermon in the black church, it's pretty hard not to be moved and be transported.

I can be transported by watching a good performance of Hamlet, or reading Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, or listening to Miles Davis.

FALSANI:
Is there something that you go back to as a touchstone, a book, a particular piece of music, a place ...

OBAMA:
As I said before, in my own sort of mental library, the Civil Rights movement has a powerful hold on me. It's a point in time where I think heaven and earth meet. Because it's a moment in which a collective faith transforms everything. So when I read Gandhi or I read King or I read certain passages of Abraham Lincoln and I think about those times where people's values are tested, I think those inspire me.

FALSANI:
What are you doing when you feel the most centered, the most aligned spiritually?

OBAMA:
I think I already described it. It's when I'm being true to myself. And that can happen in me making a speech or it can happen in me playing with my kids, or it can happen in a small interaction with a security guard in a building when I'm recognizing them and exchanging a good word.

FALSANI:
Is there someone you would look to as an example of how not to do it?

OBAMA:
Bin Laden.

(grins broadly)

FALSANI:
... An example of a role model, who combined everything you said you want to do in your life, and your faith?

OBAMA:
I think Gandhi is a great example of a profoundly spiritual man who acted and risked everything on behalf of those values but never slipped into intolerance or dogma. He seemed to always maintain an air of doubt about him.

I think Dr. King, and Lincoln. Those three are good examples for me of people who applied their faith to a larger canvas without allowing that faith to metastasize into something that is hurtful.

FALSANI:
Can we go back to that morning service in 1987 or 88 -- when you have a moment that you can go back to that as an epiphany...

OBAMA:
It wasn't an epiphany.

It was much more of a gradual process for me. I know there are some people who fall out. Which is wonderful. God bless them. For me it was probably because there is a certain self-consciousness that I possess as somebody with probably too much book learning, and also a very polyglot background.

FALSANI:
It wasn't like a moment where you finally got it? It was a symbol of that decision?

OBAMA:
Exactly. I think it was just a moment to certify or publicly affirm a growing faith in me.

-END-


Cathleen Falsani is author of Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace. To get a free download of the audio book, click here.

(Originally posted at Steve Waldman's blog at Beliefnet.)

Comments

If Obama is a Christian, then so is 'Bishop' Spong!!

He is a radical liberal which is completely anti thetical to the Biblical beliefs!!

Now, should we be praying that Obama and his family become regenerate Christians? YES...by all means WE have to be praying for Obama and his family...

BUT please, CT, quit trying to propagandize for this false messiah!

If people want to understand Obama's faith, point them to this interview.

Thank you for reprinting this very informative interview. It supports the argument against politicians speaking out on their religious beliefs. Then again, being a Christian in name only hasn't worked against Mr. Obama.

Christianity Today - Why would you put such a thing on your website!!! This has got to stop!! Are still playing the game of division, fearmongering or hatemongering! I am so sick of stuff like this!! I am a Christian and the only one I am accountable to is God for what I believe!! Do you print your interviews from everyone like?! What is the purpose of this except to cause more continual FEAR and DISCONTENT with this man!! Can you please allow us to PRAY FOR HIM and pray for him SINCERELY!! No, I did not vote for him, but he is the President elect and God wants me to pray that his heart is changed to fulfill his God assigned purpose in this position!!! Can we please just stop this!!! Please!!! I'm amazed more and more that this is a Christian website!!! Please stop this! Let us examine our own heart first! I'm so tired of continual promotion of division and fear!!

Fascinating interview of Obama. Makes for an interesting discussion of what a Christian world view really is.

The title promised a "fascinating" interview. What is so fascinating about it? I know plenty of people who share Obama's philosophy that no one, not even Christ, has a monopoly on truth. These people will go so far as to give up chocolate for Lent. And then, just before tax time, a generous donation to Planned Parenthood. They all voted for Obama.

I am not at all fascinated. This type of Christian is plentiful, and boring.

Sounds a little more like Oprah Winfrey's 'New Religion' or more 'New Aged' ideals then it does Christianity. Christianity is a solid faith based off of a solid truth that is not compromised even for politics.

Being true to myself and to my values is very troubling.

But oh so current with moral relativism.

His thoughts here are very consistent with his elsewhere expressed opinion about constitutional jurisprudence that judges must look to what they think the law should be, not what it is, in making decisions.

In other words, his words make clear that he is a law unto himself.

Obama called himself “a committed Christian” in his campaign brochure in Southern states, yet his version of Christianity isn’t Biblically based. In this newspaper interview, Obama said basically he doesn’t believe in eternal judgment. If there were no eternal judgment for sin, Jesus Christ wouldn’t have had to come down to earth to die on a cross for our sins. Barack Obama says he questions himself. He has an internal discourse but this is not prayer to the Lord. Obama doesn’t know if he’s going to heaven.

At the beginning of the interview, Obama says, “So, I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place.” With this statement alone, Obama takes issue with Jesus’ words in John 14:6 where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.”

Last year the highly esteemed Rev. D. James Kennedy closed his sermon on John 14:1-7 with this: “And let me add this. If you go out of here saying you don’t like that text (John 14:6), that is your privilege. But do not call yourself a Christian. You are calling Christ a liar.”

That Barack Obama has missed the basics of Christianity is evident in his voting record. He openly defies God in the matters of his being, as he said, “the most pro-homosexual presidential candidate ever” and being so pro-abortion that he has voted for partial-birth abortion and allowing that baby to die who miraculously survives that heinous procedure.

Obama called himself “a committed Christian” in his campaign brochure in Southern states, yet his version of Christianity isn’t Biblically based. In this newspaper interview, Obama said basically he doesn’t believe in eternal judgment. If there were no eternal judgment for sin, Jesus Christ wouldn’t have had to come down to earth to die on a cross for our sins. Barack Obama says he questions himself. He has an internal discourse but this is not prayer to the Lord. Obama doesn’t know if he’s going to heaven.

At the beginning of the interview, Obama says, “So, I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place.” With this statement alone, Obama takes issue with Jesus’ words in John 14:6 where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.”

Last year the highly esteemed Rev. D. James Kennedy closed his sermon on John 14:1-7 with this: “And let me add this. If you go out of here saying you don’t like that text (John 14:6), that is your privilege. But do not call yourself a Christian. You are calling Christ a liar.”

That Barack Obama has missed the basics of Christianity is evident in his voting record. He openly defies God in the matters of his being, as he said, “the most pro-homosexual presidential candidate ever” and being so pro-abortion that he has voted for partial-birth abortion and allowing that baby to die who miraculously survives that heinous procedure.


Obama called himself “a committed Christian” in his campaign brochure in Southern states, yet his version of Christianity isn’t Biblically based. In this newspaper interview, Obama said basically he doesn’t believe in eternal judgment. If there were no eternal judgment for sin, Jesus Christ wouldn’t have had to come down to earth to die on a cross for our sins. Barack Obama says he questions himself. He has an internal discourse but this is not prayer to the Lord. Obama doesn’t know if he’s going to heaven.

At the beginning of the interview, Obama says, “So, I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place.” With this statement alone, Obama takes issue with Jesus’ words in John 14:6 where Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.”

Last year the highly esteemed Rev. D. James Kennedy closed his sermon on John 14:1-7 with this: “And let me add this. If you go out of here saying you don’t like that text (John 14:6), that is your privilege. But do not call yourself a Christian. You are calling Christ a liar.”

That Barack Obama has missed the basics of Christianity is evident in his voting record. He openly defies God in the matters of his being, as he said, “the most pro-homosexual presidential candidate ever” and being so pro-abortion that he has voted for partial-birth abortion and allowing that baby to die who miraculously survives that heinous procedure.

Thanks to CT for publishing this lengthy and informative interview. Clearly Pres-Elect Obama has a well-thought-out theology, which even if it's not "evangelical," is clearly well within the Christian tradition. So much for those who think he's a Muslim (which wouldn't be a problem either) or the Antichrist.

I think calling this interview "fascinating" is an understatement...

WOW - despite apparently sitting through hundreds of church services and being an intellectual to boot shows an almost total misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christian. Good example of II Cor 4:4 - a man who's heard the gospel preached but who's mind has been blinded by the god of this age. Just his understanding of sin and how you get to heaven are enough to show the depth of his misunderstanding. Plus there are some other parts of the interview that are downright scary for a guy who is our next president-elect. Especially this: "its (the constitution's) resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root in this country."
This interview scares me!

Appreciate the interview. It is enlightening. President-elect Barack Obama has a view of religious faith that is tolerant and open minded. It does not comport with some fundamentalist approaches to Christianity for which I am sure he will be condemned, but it is a modern view of faith that appeals to people struggling with dogmatic preachers and believers. Many will be afraid of his tolerant views because they do not make them feel secure in their beliefs. However, his is a faith that approaches all religious and secular faiths with open arms and tries to find Christ in all people. I think the values he expresses are also consistent with the role models he chooses, IE Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Lincoln. Here we have models that everyone can celebrate. Real people who struggled with faith and lived faithfully. I am very happy to have read this interview. Thanks. THH

“I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.”

You know that also says that it is up to Christ to allow those to come to the Father...not us. It seems that Obama is being very thoughtful about this...much in the same way that George Macdonald and CS Lewis were thoughtful and careful about condemning anyone to eternal damnation. That's not our purpose. Our purpose is to be the salt of the earth, to be light in the darkness, to show the world Christ within us...not to stand in judgement of those around us. I'm always struck by the very last chapter in The Narnia tales where a non-Narnian (and presumably allegorically non-Christian) enters the new Narnia. As I say its God's decision, not ours.

Sounds like the newly elected President doesn't have a very clear understanding of the Gospel.

I see you are carefully picking and choosing what responses to print. My response to your column was totally different than those above. A different view. Your columns are becoming more and more of a "secular gossip column"!! I'm at a point that I don't know who or what to believe when it comes to media news anymore. Unfortunately, Christian media is at the top of the list! As I stated in a previous blog, all this does is stir up again, DIVISION and FEAR of this man! Hard to believe this is a Christian website. Best thing to do when I get to this point is to tune out completely and just stand fast in prayer and reading the bible about a God of love who is unrelentless in showing mercy and grace towards those that are imperfect everyday! Blessings,

Seems that Fundamentalist Evangelicals get "scared" easily when someone's personal relationship with God and Christ is not exactly like their own. Seems intolerant and judgemental to me. Does not seem to me what Jesus had in mind. Sad. For those who want a religous, Fundamentalist government - may I suggest you go to Iraq or Afghanistan and see how it works for you? A Taliban in America does not sound appealing to me. I wandered on to this site thinking I would find love, as Jesus teaches. Instead I found fear and intolerance. Now I am scared too - for the dogmatic, twisted view of Christianity I see in some of these posts.

It's amazing the widespread hold universalist doctrine has among the contemporary politically correct religionists. I guess it's fine to be a Christian as long as it has the core message of the fall of man and God's work to bring us back to him removed. If all we have to do is be true to our own private set of values, we've got it made!

And so does bin Laden, by that standard.

Rich
BlogRodent

Why is it that if someone suggests that you can "live as well as you can" and get to heaven (even though there is apparently no hell) and that sin has nothing to do with God, but is when one is out of alignment with their own values, they're considered open-minded, broad and tolerant by evangelicals? Simultaneously, if someone says that you have to cut your hair, stop drinking and smoking and quit movies and dancing to get to heaven, they're considered intolerant and benighted by evangelicals. Weird.

It is not up to me to judge Mr. Obama, whether or not he is saved.

From his answers, it would appear that his "roots" in the Christian faith are really poorly planted. His confusion about heaven and prayer and lack of memory of his salvation experience are very revealing.

God is in control of leaders and nations, I can only trust in Him, not Mr. Obama.

Interesting, to say the least. First, this interview is four years old. I have changed in my faith in the last four years, and I imagine that Pres-Elect Obama has as well.
Also, when I came away from reading this, my first throught was "a young, unformed and uninformed faith." There is room to grow.
Finally, many of us have seen that just because one is a faithful Christian doesn't qualify them to be presidential leaders (see J. Carter and G.W. Bush--both self-professing Christians, both fairly ineffective presidents.) I prefer an effective president to a religious president.

I disagree with Obama's interpretation of Christianity, but I wasn't voting for a pastor-or minister- or rabbi- or mullah-in-chief, I was voting for president of the United States. He will be the president to people of many faiths, and in some instances no faith. The most important thing he can do is identify the good morals and values all religions share and find common ground we can all walk on. Like every one of us, President elect Obama will stand in front of God someday to account for his personal choices and beliefs. But for now, his walk on earth as leader of the free world will be far more productive if people of all faiths earnestly pray for the leader of our country and do all we can to work together for the good of all. I do not think Jesus would have objected to that! Respectfully, Erika Collins

One more time. Obama's mother was an Atheist, proving that Obama will say anything to get elected. Obama states in his book that his mother was not only an Atheist but a Marxist. Why did people vote for Obama? I don't get it.

One more time. Obama's mother was an Atheist, proving that Obama will say anything to get elected. Obama states in his book that his mother was not only an Atheist but a Marxist. Why did people vote for Obama? I don't get it.

What a very sad commentary on our future President! Obviously, he does not use the Word of God as his principle foundation of truth! Human secularism is his foundational truth! Oh nation, we must heed the Word of God, 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." Spoken by Solomon, King of Israel, son of David to his people after hearing from God! We must pray that our President be more like David, where he prayed, Psalm 51:10-11, "Create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence and take not thy Holy Spirit from me." Please forward copies of this article to your Christian (Jesus is the only truth and through Him only do we trust our faith and hope of eternal salvation) friends and ask their prayers!

Interesting interview. While I don't find Obama's beliefs revealed here as comforting (specifically, his revealed theology) I don't get the impression he's sinister either. As a professional politician Obama seems to be staking out a "spiritual" position palatable to many Americans that claim Christianity. In Mark 9:40 Jesus reminds us that whoever is not against us [his Church] is for us [his Church], and I think this interview at least reveals that Obama is not against us [the Church]. As always, we must trust THE LORD who establishes authorities for his purpose and for the good of those who love him (see Romans 8:28, chapter 13, and elsewhere).

Jesus said to pray in this way, "Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we also have forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen"
The comforting thing for me is that God is, was and will always be on the throne. His character has not and will not change, no matter who is running our country. And even though I didn't vote for Obama, I still must respect him as God's choice for our country. I pray that all Christians will have a heart of compassion and focus on the eternal perspective, which is to do what God has commanded us and "go and preach the gospel."
The harvest is ripe.

Now I know that he is the type that believes 'just in case' Jesus IS trully God and Heaven DOES exist. Good man, but still unsure far too deceived in the world system.

I find myself a little concerned by the fact that this interview is more than 4 years old. My own faith has grown and deepened in some ways in the last 4 years and in other ways, I find myself with more questions as I try to continue growing in my faith. I can't help but wonder if that isn't also true for President-elect Obama. I think the "fascinating" interview would be to revisit this set of questions now and learn if or how his faith may have grown and deepened over these years.

This man has a rather odd view of Christianity. If he had read the Bible, then he should be aware that Heaven exists. Hell exists. And Jesus is the ONLY way to God.

Although I do not like him, I beg all of you to pray for him. Most Christians have a personal "experience" with God, where God grows them in their faith, where they learn something, maybe when a particular verse in the Bible stands out and speaks to them. I beg you, brothers and sisters, to pray that President Elect Obama has one of those experiences, so that he sees the truth.

Yours Truly,
Bar

Ezekiel 36

typical of the church today...

everyone wants to say the man isn't a Christian, or he's Muslim or the Anti-Christ. Hr does an interview like this, laying it all out there for people.


And now what? because his viewpoints are different from theirs, they still want to say he's not Christian.

I think it says somewhere in the Bible about he who is without sin to cast the first stone?

Alot of people have said alot of things about this interview so I will make it short... Thank you for publishing this! This needed to be made public. i will pass it on. It really helps me to understand what exactly Obama really believes. I think it's sad that he thinks he's a Christian and that he believes if he does the "right" thing he'll be ok. I pray that he may find the truth and realize he was wrong. For his sake and ours. -Erin

I find it hard to think of people as christians that don't think Jesus meant what he said.

This interview reveals that President elect Obama is not a Christian. He denies the exclusivity of Jesus as the way, the truth and the life. There is no salvation apart from Jesus. Even more dangerous is that "sin" is defined as violated one's personal values, not God's Commandments. I hope this Liberal interpretation of Christianity gains widespread support. Unfortunately, I think it will with our new President.

http://whyimnotademocrat.blogspot.com/2008/11/obama-denies-jesus-is-only-way.html

Having now read this interview after Obama's being elected president, it only confirms what I have learned of this man. He is not a Christian at all! If you have no love of Christ, meaning you do not see Him as your personal saviour who has redeemed you from your sin, you are no Christian. The next 4 years are going to be a scary time in America and the World. This world leader needs our prayers. He needs to be on his knees seeking the Lord to aid him in his administration. He needs to be born again. I'm just thankful that God is ultimately in control and not Obama. Put not your confidence in princes.

My favorite quotation was this one:

FALSANI:
Do you pray often?

OBAMA:
Uh, yeah, I guess I do.

It's not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I'm constantly asking myself questions about what I'm doing, why am I doing it.


So...he's praying to God, but he's talking to HIMSELF? Is he getting the two confused?

Where is the "love" that Jesus offered in most of these comments from Christians? Do you think that McCain or any other candidate for that matter, would have your exact religious beliefs? I believe in a God that taught with his actions - faith, love, and caring about those in need and those different than us. Why do we, as Christians, distort it with fear and judgement? I appreciate his honesty and candor in answering the questions instead of the canned responses you normally hear from politicians...

I have read the interview, and my conclusion is, Why do you print an interview what is taken in 2004, and print it now in 2008 after Obama has been elected for president???, wouldn't it be better to pray for this man who has such a very difficult task to fullfill. and pray that he might be an example for our youth, whom don't have any rolemodels. so please keep Praying that the Lord may give him wisdom and understanding for the people whom he has to govern, thank you Art

i dont go church every sunday ,i dont speak to the lord every night like i should but i will tell you what i do belive jeuse died for our sins and he loves all of us very much . i dont think obama has our best interest at heart . i dont belive he is of the christian faith ,i have a small fear that he may be the beast (if you dontwhat i am talking about read Revelation 13) .

Christianity is a relationship with God through Christ Jesus-- Spirit to spirit. It is not an intellectual pursuit. We cannot come to know God through the mind. It is only through faith in the finished work of Christ. Salvation is for ALL, not just the intellectually elite. The smallest child or the greatest philosopher can know God alike, the poorest or the richest man. Mr. Obama does not understand Christianity and defines it to his own liking instead of by the only standard--the Bible, the Word of God. We cannot try to fit God into our mold, or define Him in our own terms; Christianity doesn't leave us in our comfort zones! We would then become our own god and excuse ourselves from accountability to God.

Life lived knowing God and the freedom He brings to life is so amazing and fulfilling. It takes humbling ourselves to choose His Way instead of insisting on our own way, however. Only recognition of our great need and His abundant supply can bring us to this point. It is my fervent prayer for our Pres. Elect that he find this "new life in Christ Jesus" and truly know all that God created him to be. It is far more than being President of the United States! Christians know the end of the story, "...every knee shall bow.... and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." No matter how we choose to think, that doesn't change Truth. God has the final say. Jesus, the "great teacher," is, after all, the Son of God and the ONLY Way!

It’s pretty obvious that Barack has picked up some of the Christian terminology, but doesn’t have a clue what the criterion for becoming a Christian is.

It’s almost like saying, “I take baseball very seriously. I am a student of baseball and take my baseball very personally.”

Then someone questions: “What is the infield fly rule?”
Answer: “I’m not sure anyone knows that answer.”

“Okay, well then, do you believe that when someone gets three strikes, they are disqualified from the batters box?”
Answer: “I can’t imagine any umpire punishing a player in such a cruel way. I just cannot accept an umpire like that.”

“Who are Babe Ruth and Sandy Koufax?”
Answer: “Is that a trick question?”

‘What is an ERA and how do you calculate it?”
Answer: “ERA is different for different people and it’s up to each person to calculate it according to his own internal standard in the context of the larger picture.”

“How can you consider yourself a serious baseball fan, when it’s patently clear you do not understand the history or basic rules of the game?”
Answer: “Look, my mother transferred her love of the game to me and I’m trying to inculcate it into the lives of my children. I’ve been associated with and influenced by many big baseball fans. Just because your interpretation of being a baseball fan is different than mine doesn’t have to mean that one of us is wrong and one of us is right. This is a deeply personal issue. We have to learn to be a lot more tolerant of each other and allow each person determine these things by their own internal standards.”

The more I learn of Barack’s core beliefs, the angrier I get at Rick Warren for allowing Obama to slide on his claim to being a Christian at the Saddleback Presidential Forum without any probing whatsoever. Had John MacArthur been moderating that meeting, he would have confronted Barack about his unregenerate state and encouraged him to accept the claims of Christ. I’m sorry, but I think Rick Warren is a dufus. How is the world did his church ever get that big?

Anyway, thanks for sharing the article. Quite insightful.

JediCaptain

Read through the entire interview and here are my thoughts: while Obama does not seem to embrace the particularities of orthodox Christian faith, he is very much in line with the "theology" and practice of many of our earliest founding fathers and intellectuals. What I found most interesting was a strand of Emersonian "belief in oneself and doing right" that's become prevalent today in more liberal mainline Christian denominations--grounding oneself in private experience rather than the foundations of tradition, Scripture, etc.

But I actually don't think this should disqualify him in the slightest from being an effective American president; unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your viewpoint), exclusivists will never make good presidents because they alienate too much of the American population. I'll take a well-read individual committed to looking out for the disenfranchised and marginalized in our society over a rigid dogmatist any day. Like it or not, America is a democracy, not a theocracy, and we didn't elect Obama to serve as Pastor-in-Chief. Obama seems solidly rooted in those Enlightenment ideals that brought America into existence in the first place.

Definitely fascinating.
It is clear to me that Obama believes that if he lives a 'good life' that he will be OK.
I wonder where his stance on abortion leaves him.

As the former writer notes, the "Enlightenment ideals that brought America into existence," is exactly why we are in the mess we are in. The vision of self promotion or self fulfillment has brought us to a point in time where most civilizations collapsed. If you examine history and the mentality of self preservation and the good of one's financial status, it put too much strain on governments and governors to prevent greed and demands upon the government to meet all the demands of the people. Enlightenment? It was not to bright because it denies the accountability of man to God. Enlightenment was not to satisfying because now we find ourselves incapable of owning up to our faults for it is always the other person's. I don't take comfort in an educated man in an Enlightened mindset leading me further away from the integrity of truth. Sorry.

Cómo parece que algunos en la iglesia tiene la idea equivocada de que Obama sea evangelica te mano el siguiente articulo. Si tienes tiempo quizá lo quieras traducir.

Un beso,

María

Wow, he sounds just like anybody else out there. I guess I was wrong and everybody on my block, everybody I work with, everybody blogging online--guess they're all Christians. 'Cuz if you say you're a Christian, gee you must be.
"I am a great admirer of our founding charter, and its resolve to prevent theocracies from forming, and its resolve to prevent disruptive strains of fundamentalism from taking root ion this country." Guess us bitter gun-totin' talk radio listening FoxNews watching fundamentalists are in big trouble.
"I think Dr. King, and Lincoln. Those three are good examples for me of people who applied their faith to a larger canvas without allowing that faith to metastasize into something that is hurtful." Like the Civil War?
"[Sin is] Being out of alignment with my values." Guess I'm a sinner, Obama. Watcha gonna do about this sinner?


I still have reservations. Not so much on his claimed faith, but on his character. He goes on for paragraphs selling us on his basic beliefs. But when the question is asked about Jesus, he answers in very short sentences. When asked about heaven, he doesn't answer the question directly. But when asked about sin, it is done directly. He mentions just a few things about Jesus. An historical figure and a teacher. Most other people would mention Jesus as our Savior. I still don't trust the man.

God help us all.

Well, sounds to me that when he passes from this world that he will find out there is a literal hell.
Too bad.

The comments here are a terrible reflection of Jesus Christ. People call their relationship with Jesus "personal." Maybe it really is personal.

I remember reading something once that was interesting: Judge not lest you be judged.

Christianity is not a "thing" you can take and make your own rules with. It is based on TRUTH and truth can not be changed. Obama clearly does not understand what Christianity is. He says he is Christian because he wants the Christian vote and he knows that we are many. But at the same time he wants to please those who are non-believers. Typical BHO... playing both sides always! That is a sign of weakness. And yes, he is part of Oprah's Church... and Oprah does not believe in Christ.

The transcript contains a number of spelling errors. If this were for print in a major publication, would that be true? Is this a "working" copy, something prior to publication, thus prior to spelling correction? Small point but you can't be too careful these days.

Two comments. I'll keep it brief. First, I think it's interesting how evangelicals feel like they get to decide who is Christian and who is not.

Second, are the beliefs and values he articulates in this interview at odds with the teachings of Christ? Are they not compassionate and pro-active and meant to make our country better?

Thank God, there is a Christian in America. As an evangelical Christian I've never understood why some Christians are willing to lie that you can't pray in a public school or public place like a courthouse. I can. Like Obama, I don't have to kneel and clasp my hands, I don't have to ring bells, chant, dance, face Mecca, wear a prayer shawl or kneel on a prayer rug. I can carry on a conversation with God anywhere. Christians may be the only ones who can pray in public schools and court houses.

I don't understand why Christians believe the government can do a better job teaching religion to their children than they can or their church can.

I don't understand why some Christians were angry with Rev. Jeremiah Wright for being a prophet and putting God before party or country, maybe the only prophet in America to do so.

I don't understand Christians condemning Islam for terrorism when we are the only country ever found guilty of international terrorism by the International Criminal Court. Reagan had to veto a resolution by the UN Security Council calling on all countries to obey international law.

I don't understand Christians who believe we are better than others because we live in the US. Like Jeremiah Wright, I am a former Marine volunteer, willing to die for my country but not to lie for it.

Obama is a very intelligent, thoughtful, charismatic, and influential man who has not yet met the Savior of those whom the Father has given as a reward. When one meets this savior, their is no concern for Satan's claims of exclusivisim. Satan knows just how exclusive it is and he wants to rob us of our joy by keeping us from being singularly committed to the King of eternity. Obama is sincere, but I fear he is still not bearing the fruit of one whose name was written in the Lamb's Book of Life before the foundations of the World were laid. My prayer is that will change, as it is for all who equivocate concerning the role of Jesus Christ in all creation.

I also remember somthing about testing the spirits. It is necessary to require that those who would come in the name of the rightful Prince of the Universe must give their bona fides before we place the most precious thing we have as americans into their hands...our trust.our trust that they really realize who Christ is. Not someone to be watered down, compromised, made less than the focus of all creation. Anything less than pure adoration of: Who Christ is, What Christ did, and what it means to those of us who have been redeemed by his work alone; is simply distraction and interference from God's plan of redemption being played out in front of our faces. The real question to everyone is what is the point of all this that goes on in reality? To seek worldy peace and tranquility or to complete the mission God gives to all those who have realized God is reality and he is known only through the only mediator between God and Man, our servant/redeemer.

To those saying "Judge Not, Lest ye be judged," I have this to say: we are definitely not told to be condemners, obviously we are all sinners "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23), but God set down HIS code for who a Christian is, and who is not. We SHOULD always be searching for truth, but a person cannot call themselves a Christian if they do not believe in the God of the Bible. God is the judge. He told us how He is going to judge us, and "evangelicals" are not all close-minded condemners. For president, you want a man who will respect all religion, but not one who doesn't have a solid worldview. Obama is mixing postmodernism and cosmic humanism together when he implies there is no real truth, except the truth we find in our own selves. I liked the question too: FALSANI:
Do you pray often?

OBAMA:
Uh, yeah, I guess I do.

It's not formal, me getting on my knees. I think I have an ongoing conversation with God. I think throughout the day, I'm constantly asking myself questions about what I'm doing, why am I doing it.

We CAN pray without getting on our knees, but that does not mean we can simply search for answers within our own mind- that is NOT praying.

Clearly, Obama's so called Christianity was a marketing ploy and not based on even a "Dummies Guide to the Bible". His responses read like they were written by Oprah! Since the Christians in the country didn't fall for his claims of possessing a Christian faith, I look for him to drop the pretense as time goes on. The real question in my mind is whether he is really as ignorant of what the Gospel and the Bible really say as he presents himself to be or he simply does not believe. A christian who doesn't believe that Christ is the Son of God and the only way to heaven, doesn't believe in God's judgment, heaven or hell? A christian who defines sin as whatever he decides it is? Does he really believe these things or does he really think everyone else is stupid and as arrogant and prideful as he is? I didn't vote for him (Yeah, I know--shocking)but reading this interview just makes me sick that he duped so many people.

This is how a person who understands his public office should answer spiritual questions, he is not answering these questions as a pastor, he is answering these questions a s a u.s senator. When you look wisely at his answers, most of them are accurate, even with scripture. For example, yes Jesus is the way the truth and the life, but will he condemn a kid who never heard of the gospel and send them to hell, for not hearing the gospel when you and i refused to go to india and preach because we wanted to feed our families...no. So please leave mr. Obama alone, he needs our prayers for his feet to be planted securely on solid ground, and not our condemnation. Prayfortheguy.com

This United States of America was founded on Christian principles by men who were committed first of all to God, and made no bones about it [even though there has been much effort to erase that truth from our public school history books]. God and His word doesn't change and neither can the definition of what it means to have a true relationship with Him. Obama's statements were very telling in this interview and also in the interview at Saddleback Church. They don't line up with the Word of God, and neither do his actions. His association spiritually with a 'black church' is blantantly racist. If anyone would qualify their Christianity as being alligned with the 'white church'it would be equally obvious. His stance against natural and pure family values and for promoting perverted sex and killing the innocent unborn and even those babies that make it through a botched abortion are ungodly, unChristian and inhumane. That half the country got hoodwinked into believing such convictions are unimportant, and that the country will not suffer dire consequences as a result is a sad commentary on the gullibility of the American voter. God is our only hope! He always has been, but it's blatantly obvious now!

Well, unless he is a better deciever than I give him credit for I am somewhat relieved that some of the worst of the accusations of the Christian community against him are true (ie: the Anti-christ, Muslim in disguise, Anti-christian) Though I fundamentally disagree with many of his beliefs I understand and can empathize with his point of view, since I questioned and considered many of the same principles that he adheres to as a young adult growing in faith. I am still struggling with finding the truth in some instances and have resigned myself to the fact that I am human and can't know it all in others, but cannot rationalize the idea that Christianity is not a necessity for salvation. I know many people that I would say are Christians profess this belief, but it is illogical to believe it. To say that there are many ways to the father is to say that Jesus was an uneccesary sacrifice. He didn't die to give us an option that is culturally palatable our society and send Buddah and Mohammed for everyone else. Heck, in that case, no one could adhere to Christianity and all choose another path and it would be a completely meaningless sacrifice.
His view is a view that is common among many of society's intellectuals (as a college grad and educator myself I'm not calling intellectuals a bad thing... I would hope we all could call ourselves that at some points). Obama certainly has had a little too much "book learning." Even he acknowledges that the culture in our colleges view christians and christianity as intoleralnt, foolish, and irrational and he had to swallow a little bit of pride to make the trip down the aisle that Sunday. What the "intellectuals" don't know is that there is just as much scholarship, intelligence, logic, and truth found in Christian apoligetics as in any other discipline. When competent Chrstians have been put head to head in academic debate with agnostics/athiests they have held their own (if not won!)

Just as many above have commented, this man did not speak the words of someone who had a 'heart transplant'.
Yes, it definitely sounds like New Age mentality mixed with some Christian flavoring. I don't know where his heart is now, but if nothing has improved since this interview, he still has a dangerously skewed understanding of Christianity. His explanation of sin, Heaven and Hell are dangerously overshadowed by an empty
hope in good works rather than in Jesus Christ's saving grace. It's truly a hard thing for me to do, but I must pray for this man as President-Elect until his inauguration day, then as President until the lawsuits show his Kenyan citizenship.

My favorite line:
FALSANI:
What is sin?
OBAMA:
Being out of alignment with my values.

I guess he really does think he is God.

Forgive me Obama, for I have sinned...because my values are way out of alignment with your's...

So.. this interview shows that Obama WAS influenced by Jeremiah Wright and did find him inspirational... So God DAMN AmeriKKKA eh? That's nice... And he so readily threw Pastor Wright under the bus when he became a liability.. Shameful!

This is a fascinating read. The most extreme version of tolerance - intolerance of intolerance - is probably most dangerous to evangelical Christianity. Will there come a day when "John 14:6" Christians are viewed in the same light as Muslim extremists because they indeed believe they have a "monopoly on the truth"?

When asked about prayer, if he prays?, he says he has an ongoing daily conversation with GOD, but is asking himself if he is doing the right thing, or why is he doing something......

When I pray, I ask for God's guidance to do the right thing for the right reason and to honor him. I dont ask myself. That is not to say I dont have my own voice that questions what I do and why...But when I pray, I ask GOD, not myself.

Yes, I definitely sense a new age sense of dependence on self and good acts will earn reward. My savior died on a cross and bore my sin....that is how I will get to heaven because I believe in Jesus and profess that I am a sinner (even to you all reading this) and that my Jesus paid the ultimate price with his life but he is coming back to take me home!! AMEN

Obama is a honest man and he will be a great President. We can pray for his spiritual growth in the faith. God is in charge; there is still hope for the U.S.A.

It's really interesting reading many of the comments. I get this sense that the angry people who concerned about Obama's faith looking more inclusive and less exclusive are probably upset that (1) he won and (2) God didn't smite him.

It's too bad the American Evangelical Church still isn't ready to face the conversation that the close alignment it has with the Republican Party is killing off both entities. Judging from this board, there are still a lot of people who really believe that being a Christian means being a Republican, and vice-versa. Too bad abortion is only covered in less than 10 verses in the entire Bible. Too bad Hell is explicitly mentioned for less than 20 verses (NIV).

But no matter--the Republican Party has done a great job co-opting the American Evangelical Church in order to win the vast majority of the Presidential elections in the last 40 years (7 out of the last 11). White Evangelical Republican Christians are dying off, as divorce is forcing people to confront reality, and hate and fear no longer hold the same lustful force of argument to your children that they did back in the Age of Reagan. My wish for the Church is to please hang on just a little longer to Ronald Reagan as your Lord and Savior (at least for another 30 years) until you are ready to actually deal with the fact that God's Own Party has no authentic interest in the Evangelium and never has, and never will.

Please hang on to your hate and fear a little longer, so that all of God's children here, on Earth, NOW, can have the time necessary to repair the damage you have wreaked. Granted, we have let you do this, but still, just let us restore the Earth in peace.

Obama is full of it. There is only one path and that is Jesus Christ. Anyone & everyone who does not believe into Jesus WILL BE THROWN INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE. Jesus has nothing to do with religion. The religious Pharisees were the people who wanted Jesus killed.The letter kills. but the spirit gives life. He was crucified not only for forgiveness of sins, but also to impart Himself into our spirit.Jesus isn't some historical figure, He is our Savior. He is the Living-God.Now, tell Obama that one=)

My professor at Asbury Seminary put me onto this interview. Thanks Dr. Wood.

And well done President Obama for so eloquently articulating your faith. You have my continued support and prayers.

It would be interesting to have such an interview for Ronald Reagan,(remarried divorcee), Nixon,Ford, Clinton and Bush I and II for perspective on these matters. I would love to compare response to each of them.