February 5th, 2009
12:00 PM ET
9 years ago

Obama speaks out about religious transformation

 Obama discussed his own religious transformation.

Obama discussed his own religious transformation.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama spoke out Thursday about his religious transformation. The President's comments came at the National Prayer Breakfast.

Here's what Obama said, according to the prepared remarks.

"I was not raised in a particularly religious household. I had a father who was born a Muslim but became an atheist, grandparents who were non-practicing Methodists and Baptists, and a mother who was skeptical of organized religion, even as she was the kindest, most spiritual person I’ve ever known. She was the one who taught me as a child to love, and to understand, and to do unto others as I would want done.

I didn’t become a Christian until many years later, when I moved to the South Side of Chicago after college. It happened not because of indoctrination or a sudden revelation, but because I spent month after month working with church folks who simply wanted to help neighbors who were down on their luck – no matter what they looked like, or where they came from, or who they prayed to. It was on those streets, in those neighborhoods, that I first heard God’s spirit beckon me. It was there that I felt called to a higher purpose – His purpose. "

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. jay

    Ilike the fact he is not trying to convert but rather speaking of his own transformation. I as an atheist respect his beliefs as he does mine.

    February 5, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  2. Mike

    You know President Obama earned even more points today.... I truly believe he found God and hope his walk with him is joyful, soulful and respectful.. PRAY FOR OUR PRESIDENT AMERICA!! He needs our prayers.. He needs to be delivered from those who will persecute him because "their guy" lost. TO ANYONE THAT WOULD TRY TO NEGATE THE PRESIDENT'S SPIRITUAL JOURNEY: S H A ME O N Y O U!! You do not know the inner struggles that have plagued our President.... An old indian saying, "Don't judge a man till you have walked a mile in his moccasins (sp)" surely applies.. RESPECT him and in all things.. PRAY FOR HIM !!! ... If there was ever a time for Christians to come together.. IT IS NOW... Hit your knees brothers and sisters and PRAY FOR AMERICA.. AND PRAY FOR OUR PRESIDENT.... He is going to make mistakes.. But, at least he has the humility to ADMIT HE MADE AND WILL MAKE MISTAKES.. He showed us this the other day when he admitted, "He screwed up!" WOW!! WHAT A CONCEPT AN HONEST AND TRANSPARENT PRESIDENT!! Go to whitehouse.gov and see how transparent your President is and shall continue... PRAY

    February 5, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  3. Darlene S.

    How sad that no matter what Pres. Obama says or does, there are so many just waiting to criticize and mock him. Give the man a chance. We've been thru eight years of lies and deception. We finally have someone who wants a better life for all of us. Either work with him or keep quiet and get out of the way! He's only been in office for 2 weeks.

    February 5, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. Lori

    This is why I voted for Presient Obama. For once, we have a President who doesn't stuff his religious ideologies down everyone's throat but respects that their are diverse religious views in America. Just another reason why I will never vote Republican again (that and the fact I believe they are praying for another terrorist attack in America to throw in the Democrats faces but I digress...). Great job, PO.

    February 5, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. not a little sad, actually quite happy

    @Tracy February 5th, 2009 9:54 am ET

    "A nut is a nut and does not need any particular viewpoint to be one. They were already a nut before they picked a cause."


    Very astute observation.

    February 5, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  6. Mongo the Dancing Bear

    Yeah, he states that he is "religious", but not born again through Jesus Christ. "Religion" is an invention of mankind – it is not a relationship with God. "Religion" is a set of practices and a long "to do list" that "must be completed so we can earn our way to heaven". Salvation, on the other hand, is the free gift of God, comes only from God, through faith, so that no man can boast ("My good deeds are better than your good deeds!)

    It's apparent that obama's religious practices did not teach him that he should not lie, should not go back on his word – his religious practices and choice of place to worship for 20 years did teach him to embrace the hatred of his anglo neighbors and to embrace socilism. It is apparent in what we see him doing now.

    Impeach Obama – save the USA

    February 5, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. Mccain Who?

    Randy – you too will answer to God for your hate against President Obama

    February 5, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. the dude of truth

    religion is for the weak minded sheep

    February 5, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  9. Pro-life Dem

    Religious is not anti-intellectualism. Some of the smartest, most intelectual people that I know are religious.

    February 5, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  10. Sniffit

    GOPers trying to discredit this and get in a jab in about abortion 3..2..1...

    February 5, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. Chill out

    Randy, the moron and looser. What did you suceed at but being hate full and stupid.

    February 5, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  12. Ray Fisher, Albuquerque, NM

    As I am only 3 months younger than the President, I can understand his religious conundrum as our generation was raised in an era of asking questions particularly on long standing beliefs and practices. Religious questions are paramount among other issues since religion has been manipulated and slanted to match those who practice its worship. Before our generation people simply accepted our parents teachings yet our generation asked questions such as what is the best religion? Why are there so many? Which religion is the right religion? etc... Mankind will debate religion along with abortion till the end of time yet William Shakespeare's words remain the only truth, To Thine Own Self Be True!!!

    February 5, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. obama all the way

    you are a BEAUTIFUL person President Obama.

    February 5, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  14. Kim

    Fully agree with Randy!!! You can't be for God and for killing babies at the same time! The two completely don't go together. And on top of that, Obama is not giving stimulus money to schools who have any religious activities on campus!

    February 5, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  15. Peace!!!!

    Phil Haselton – I see from your comment that you don’t know who Christ is.

    February 5, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. Kitchen Police

    Randy you're full of hate not solutions.

    February 5, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. Sheryl

    God Bless and keep you and your family out of harm's way, President Obama sir I do believe god has his hands on you and will help you lead us out of this ditch!!!! Thank you!!!

    February 5, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. champ

    Lets give the guy a break!!!

    February 5, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. Deletedid




    February 5, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. Bill

    Awesome. That's how it should be.
    As someone once said, "Go spread the gospel. Use words if necessary."
    In the early years of the church, before it became the religion of Imperial Rome, it was the kindness and generosity of believers that brought in new believers. What happened in this man's life is a modern example of that. And now he has been given great authority and the opportunity to speak about faith in this way. Just awesome.

    February 5, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  21. FreeNLovIt

    Honey, you bet God has a purpose for you. If you dont make it to the rapture, do NOT take the mark of the beast, 666.

    February 5, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. Christ

    Matt – you need to grow up and figure out what you want out of life. Or, do wish to gain the world and lose your soul.

    February 5, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. Georgie Washintong

    ask your Congress if each has paid their Taxes. that way it would all be done before they are appointed cabinet. sort of funny how they wate till then to pay their taxes.

    February 5, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  24. Dave C - NJ

    Hey Phil, you heard 2 clips from his old church. Big deal. Get a life.

    ALL religion is a waste of time. It's an archaic means of governing and helping people deal with their mortality. I'm shocked and amazed it's still around. If you like it and it helps you, fine. My opinion is my own.

    I love Obama, but could care less what religion he is. Religion is NOT the word of God. No one knows anything about God...certainly not the primative scrubs 2000 years ago that today would be locked up in looney bins.

    February 5, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  25. Bafun

    @ Matt

    unfortunately in the Christian Republic of America you have to as President!
    I am happy to be from the "Old Europe" where the separation of State and Church is reality.
    Nobody knows Sarkozy's or Merkel' religion. Only their work is important and it is good so.

    February 5, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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