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Obama Discusses His Faith: 'I'm a Christian By Choice'

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President Obama took the issue of his faith head on Tuesday, telling residents in New Mexico that he is a "Christian by choice" who came to religion later in life after being inspired by the teachings of Jesus Christ.

During a stop at the home of an Albuquerque school teacher and her husband, a disabled veteran, the president spoke about the economy, education, abortion, the upcoming elections, and why he believes the Republican agenda would set the country back on the wrong path.

But it was a question about religion that garnered one of Obama's longest responses. "Why are you a Christian?," he was asked.

The president said while his mother was very spiritual, he wasn't raised as a churchgoer. It was only as an adult did he embrace Christianity.

"And it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead -- being my brothers' and sisters' keeper, treating others as they would treat me," Obama said, adding that his public service is "part of that effort to express my Christian faith."

Obama said that as president he's "also somebody who deeply believes that part of the bedrock strength of this country is that it embraces people of many faiths and of no faith." He said while the country "is still predominantly Christian... we have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, and... their own path to grace is one that we have to revere and respect as much as our own."

The president has faced criticism from some on the right who have questioned his Christianity and even accused him of being a Muslim.

Tuesday's stop was part of a four-state campaign swing as he tries to rally Democrats to get out the vote in November's election.

Watch video of his response on religion, courtesy the Christian Broadcast Network:

Filed Under: Religion, Barack Obama

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I'll take him at his word i.e. Christian but he does have strange actions for being one. He had the Georgetown Christian Icon covered up during his speech, nixed the Day of prayer and then went to a meeting for ramadan, didn't want the creche during Christmas, twice during two speeches on the declaration of independence...he left out Creator...said America was not a christian nation despite being founded by Christians and majority of Americans saying that is their faith...

September 29 2010 at 1:21 PM

I've seen people of other faiths, doing good. Jesus disciples were disturbed when they saw this, too. Others who were not in their group, who were healing. Jesus said to let them alone, that they were doing good. It is more important to act in faith, than merely to talk and profess it. The President has spoken, and acted, with wisdom. Let him be.

September 29 2010 at 1:19 PM

Since Article VI of the United States Constitution declares that the Constitution is the supreme law in the United States, and also plainly states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States," Americans should not judge the value of public service on religious grounds. Apparently many of the people who have posted comments to this article don't know this or they don't respect it.

September 29 2010 at 1:18 PM

John 3:16 through John 3:16, Jesus says that whosoever believes on Jesus shall be saved. He didn't say it depended on your opinion of abortion, tobacco, or The National Rifle Association.

September 29 2010 at 1:17 PM

I guess he missed the part about turn the other cheek....

September 29 2010 at 1:16 PM

I really do not care what religion our President practices. He has been asked many times. So why now is it important that after being in office so long, he feels the need to respond. Election time, maybe.

September 29 2010 at 1:15 PM

Christians do not refer to the Koran as "The Holy Koran". Then only holy book for Christians is the Holy Bible.

September 29 2010 at 1:15 PM

What he said was We all have our own path to grace, and We must learn to respect each others path. Unless We the people of this entire planet realize this Im afraid we are all doomed. What about his comments about striving to serve other men and treat others as we should be treated. Far cry from the President(s) in recent years. Love and tolerance is the only thing that will save this planet. Judging from the comments We the people have a long way to go

September 29 2010 at 1:14 PM

Christianity is the definite system of religious belief and practice which was taught by Jesus Christ. Being a Christian means you follow those beliefs and practice them in your daily lives. Stating "Jesus is my savior" does not make you a Christian if you are not following his teachings. Going to church on Sunday does not make you a Christian if you treat someone like crap the moment you walk out that door. Same goes for spouting Bible verses. Those wizards of Wall Street even go to church, but what do you think Jesus would say about them? Catholics practice differently than Protestants. Baptists practice different than Lutherans. Yet, they are all still Christians if they are following his teachings which are found NOT in the Old Testament, but in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The way one practices their Christian religion is up to that individual and, to me, a very personal's between me and God. And only he can judge me, you and even President Obama. Jesus said so. BTW, Jesus never commented on homosexuality, but I have a feeling he would have had no problem with it given that God the Father created homosexuals. Being gay is not a lifestyle choice. They were born gay just like others were born heterosexual.

September 29 2010 at 1:06 PM

A real President giving an honest answer to a very divisive and personal question. Of course, the idiots will not accept his answer, nor will the legions of racists and bigots. I am proud he is my President. I am proud to have a thoughtful and intelligent President. I am glad to have a real leader. We are a better country now than we were 5 years ago or 2 years ago. Americans have a chance to keep it that way or send it back into the dark ages of the status-quo. Whatever we do, we can only blame ourselves.

September 29 2010 at 1:04 PM

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