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