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Obama and Romney Discuss Faith


Tuesday morning I heard about the interviews both President Obama and Mitt Romney gave to the Washington Cathedral magazine, Cathedral Age. My plan was to locate and read it and pass it on here at the blog yesterday, but you know what they say about best laid plans, aha!  My back has been giving me a fit so it was impossible to sit more then a few minutes at the computer until now. 

Anyway, after finally reading it, I will say its interesting. Portions of both interviews are below along with a link to download the complete interviews at the Washington Cathedral website. 

Washington National Cathedral’s magazine, Cathedral Age, asked President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney an identical set of questions about the presence of faith in their lives and the role of religion in America. Each was given the opportunity to respond freely, and their responses appear as in full.

Please visit the National Cathedral’s website to download the magazine and see all of President Obama and Gov. Romney’s reflections.   

Cathedral Age: How does faith play a role in your life?

President Obama: First and foremost, my Christian faith gives me a perspective and security that I don’t think I would have otherwise: That I am loved. That, at the end of the day, God is in control — and my main responsibility is to love God with all of my heart, soul and mind, and to love my neighbor as myself. Now, I don’t always live up to that standard, but it is a standard I am always pursuing. My faith is also a great source of comfort to me. I’ve said before that my faith has grown as president. This office tends to make a person pray more; and as President Lincoln once said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.” Finally, I try to make sure that my faith informs how I live my life. As a husband, as a father, and as president, my faith helps me to keep my eyes on the prize and focus on what is good and truly important.

Governor Romney: Faith is integral to my life. I have served as a lay pastor in my church. I faithfully follow its precepts. I was taught in my home to honor God and love my neighbor. My father was committed to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s cause of equality, and I saw my parents provide compassionate care to others, in personal ways to people nearby and in leading national volunteer movements. My faith is grounded in the conviction that a consequence of our common humanity is our responsibility to one another — to our fellow Americans foremost, but also to every child of God.

CA: Do you have favorite scriptural passages, prayers or other words of wisdom to which you often turn?

Governor Romney: I am always moved by the Lord’s words in Matthew: “For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me” (Matthew 25:35–36, KJV).

President Obama: I do have a few favorites. Isaiah 40:31 has been a great source of encouragement in my life, and I quote from it often. Psalm 46 is also important to me; I chose to read it on the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Niebuhr’s serenity prayer is a good one as well. I’ve also been blessed to receive a daily devotional from my faith advisor, Joshua duBois, who will send me Scripture or thoughts from people such as C.S. Lewis or Howard Thurman every morning.

CA: How do you view the role of faith in public life?

President Obama: There are many ways to approach this question, but two clear aspects of the role of faith in public life come to mind immediately. First, faith has always provided a moral framework and vocabulary for this country to come to terms with its most pressing challenges. One of the great things about this nation is that it is a place where people from all walks of life can advocate on behalf of their faith and beliefs and be open about what drives and motivates them. From slavery to the suffrage movement to civil rights, faith — and the moral obligations that derive from our faith — have always helped us to navigate some of our greatest moral challenges with a recognition that there’s something bigger than ourselves: We have obligations that extend beyond our own self-interest. We face big challenges in this country, and we’re coming to the point where we will decide if we’re truly in this together or if each individual ought just to fight for what serves them best. For me, and I think for many other Americans, faith tells us that there is something about this world that ties our interest to the welfare of a child who can’t get the health care they need, or a parent who can’t find work after the plant shut down, or a family going hungry. Second, faith motivates people to do incredibly compassionate and good work that helps our nation thrive. Now, I’ve been familiar with this for a long time. One of my first jobs was as a community organizer where I was funded by a Catholic Church grant to help families on the south side of Chicago who were struggling after the local steel plant closed. But I must say this has become even more real to me during my time as president. Through the letters I’ve read from individuals whose faith led them to serve in Joplin or Colorado Springs in the aftermath of a natural disaster, and the work of my faith-based office (which has done incredible work to strengthen partnerships between the federal government and faith-based non-profits to serve those in need), it is more apparent to me now than ever how integral faith is as a motivating factor for so much of what keeps our country moving forward.

Governor Romney: We should acknowledge the Creator, as did the Founders — in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our Constitution rests.

CA: As a country of great religious diversity and divisiveness, how can faith play a role in unifying america?

Governor Romney: I believe that while we are a country with so many differences in creed and theology, we can all meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview.

President Obama: Faith lets us know that there’s something bigger than ourselves, and that requires a certain basic commitment to one another. This country has a rich tradition of seeking to create an environment where people of different beliefs can live together and share common goals. As Americans, I think we understand that — in protecting our ability to advocate for our own positions — we must protect the ability of those who come from different backgrounds and beliefs to do so as well. Faith demands that we see the image of God in one another and respect it. (source)

Related: Christian Post, Obama Praises Bush as ‘Man of Faith’

11 comments on “Obama and Romney Discuss Faith

  1. James 2:14
    What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

  2. Romney: I believe that while we are a country with so many differences in creed and theology, we can all meet in service, in shared moral convictions about our nation stemming from a common worldview.

    Obama: Faith demands that we see the image of God in one another and respect it.

    Both of those articulate an unbiblical view of Christianity. To coexist without a passion for evangelism for the sake of “common ground” or religious pluralism is antithetical to the Great Commission and the gospel message.

  3. I didn’t want to make any comment until downloading and reading the entire interview. Finally got to do that this evening.

    There are a few other interesting questions the magazine asked both candidates. Below is one:

    CA, some people have questioned the sincerity of your faith and your Christianity. How do you respond to those questions?

    President Obama – i spoke about this a bit at the National Prayer Breakfast last year. You know, there’s not much i can do about it. i have a job to do as president, and that does not involve convincing folks that my faith in Jesus is legitimate and real. i do my best to live out my faith, and to stay in the Word, and to make my life look more like His. i’m not perfect. What i can do is just keep on following Him, and serve others—trying to make folks’ lives a little better using this humbling position that i hold.

    Governor Romney – i am often asked about my faith and my beliefs about Jesus Christ. i believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the savior of mankind. every religion has its own unique doctrines and history. These should not be bases for criticism but rather a test of our tolerance. religious tolerance would be a shallow principle indeed if it were reserved only for faiths with which we agree.

  4. They both have the churchianity lingo down pat don’t they

  5. The problem with both those quotes, PJ, is there is some truth in each one of them.

    At the end of the day, if I could use the poker percentage, we have a 50/50 chance of being wrong and right.

    Once I am born again, though, it is one hundred percent Christ and Him crucified and the struggles never cease and never cease to amaze me the longer I walk with Him!

    For the current President, there is one added benefit. He’s President and we have the Word of God that tells us to pray for him regardless of his beliefs or ours.

    God can anyone to accomplish His task in the world.

    Just consider how the book of Ezra opens up and by it uncovers “Who” is calling the shots and changing things to meet His objective?

    Today, evangelism seems to me to be one of those frontiers we are not and are lacking in depending on how we see it.

    There is a finality to this verse and yet by the Sovereign Grace of God, He will determine it’s completion and when to pull the plug not our evangelism programs:

    Mat 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

    Here’s a verse one could major on for a temporal lifetime and should:

    Psa 135:5 For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.
    Psa 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.
    Psa 135:7 He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.

    As before, after this next election, I will be praying according to this Word:

    1Ti 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
    1Ti 2:2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
    1Ti 2:3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,
    1Ti 2:4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    • The problem with both those quotes, PJ, is there is some truth in each one of them.

      At the end of the day, if I could use the poker percentage, we have a 50/50 chance of being wrong and right.

      Amen, you’re right Michael. Its why i’d just rather leave it to God.

      For the current President, there is one added benefit. He’s President and we have the Word of God that tells us to pray for him regardless of his beliefs or ours.

      Yes thats the one thing we can be 100% sure of.

  6. correction “God can use anyone to accomplish His task in the world.”

  7. Romney is silent on his Mormon faith. Whereas Obama talks of his Christian faith Romney does not mention his Mormon faith. He says he was a lay preacher which is language used in Christian circles to describe someone who stands in for a preacher or who goes from church to church preaching but in fact Romney was a presiding high priest (a Bishop) of the Mormon church. Considering that a requirement of the mormon religion is to go overseas to evangalise he is very quiet about his beliefs. I wonder if that were to change if he were elected.

    • Jan, i’ve wondered the same thing.

      Some months back when it was evident Romney was going to be the Republican nominee, i pondered here at the blog how long it would take American Evangelicals to jump on board the Romney train. It didn’t take long. So i won’t be surprised, if he’s elected president, to see many of these same Evangelicals accepting Mormonism (and the doctrines of the Church of Latter Day Saints) as biblical before long.

  8. PJ,

    I’m not so sure. I just considered the fact that since Romney is an “outsider”, to retain the power of the religious right he will have to grovel. Every time he steps “out of line”, they’ll yank on the chain with a “Well, you are a Mormon. I don’t think Mormons are real “christians”…”.

    I guarantee as you see military spending and a social conservative agenda increase, they will laud his “faithfulness”. However, as soon as he slips or goes against their wishes, it will be “Mormons aren’t real “christians””.

    If he wants to be free of them, he’ll have to pull a Reagan: use them to get elected and dump them for a wider net of support. We’ll have to see if he attempts this or if he is successful. The Religious Right still have the wounds, but perhaps their arrogance from having “one of their own” in GW Bush will blind them and the same thing will happen again.

    The whole thing is dastardly and twisted. They are nothing but snakes and the name of Christ is nothing more than a moralistic tool. It’s all very sad.

    • You may prove to be right Cal. Romney has proven he will twist himself (and his beliefs) into a pretzel to stay in favor with the far-right. Guess we should expect anything.

      The whole thing is dastardly and twisted. They are nothing but snakes and the name of Christ is nothing more than a moralistic tool. It’s all very sad.

      Amen brother, amen.

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