Obama nurtures faith away from spotlight

President reads devotional every morning, has annual conference call to receive prayers from group of pastors
Associated Press
Oct 19, 2013

President Barack Obama is not an overtly religious man. He and his family rarely attend church, and he almost never elaborates in public about his own relationship to his Christian faith.

But away from the public eye, advisers say, the president has carefully nurtured a sense of spirituality that has served as a grounding mechanism during turbulent times, when the obstacles to governing a deeply divided nation seem nearly insurmountable.

Every year on Aug. 4, the president's birthday, Obama convenes a group of pastors by phone to receive their prayers for him for the year to come. During the most challenging of times, prayer circles are organized with prominent religious figures such as megachurch pastor Joel Hunter, Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Rev. Joseph Lowery, a civil rights activist.

Each morning for the past five years, before most of his aides even arrive at the White House, Obama has read a devotional written for him and sent to his BlackBerry, weaving together Scripture with reflections from literary figures such as Maya Angelou and C.S. Lewis.

"I've certainly seen the president's faith grow in his time in office," said Joshua DuBois, an informal spiritual adviser to Obama who writes the devotionals and ran Obama's faith-based office until earlier this year. "When you cultivate your faith, it grows."

Obama is particularly moved by theories that draw connections between biblical themes and the personal journeys of historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr., DuBois said.

He added that the president's spiritual strength is his belief that God will carry him through to see another day even in times of crisis.

"Because of these grounding aspects of his life, he doesn't let the day-to-day challenges really shake him," said DuBois, a former associate pastor at a Pentecostal church.

The image of Obama as someone who draws heavily on faith to guide his daily life contrasts with his public persona.

An intensely private person, Obama has shied away from all but the most general descriptions of his spiritual life.

Obama had to distance himself from his longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, when his anti-American rantings threatened Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

Persistent and false claims that Obama is secretly a Muslim have followed him even into his second term.

"Sometimes I search Scripture to determine how best to balance life as a president and as a husband and as a father," Obama said in February at the National Prayer Breakfast. "I often search for Scripture to figure out how I can be a better man as well as a better president."

The best clues to which texts fortify Obama's spiritual consumption may come from the daily devotionals that DuBois started sending Obama, then a U.S. senator from Illinois, in 2008.

DuBois ran religious outreach for Obama's presidential campaign that year, and his digital benedictions for Obama have been compiled in a forthcoming book, "The President's Devotional."

"A snippet of Scripture for me to reflect on," Obama has said. "And it has meant the world to me."

At pivotal moments in Obama's presidency, DuBois sometimes selects texts that offer lessons appropriate to the challenges at hand.

Before one State of the Union address, it was the words of Isaiah, in an appeal for clarity of speech: "So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth, it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose."

Others are intended as an oasis from the conflicts Obama confronts on any given day.

"We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not in despair," reads a verse from 2 Corinthians that DuBois sent Obama one November, followed with his own meditation: "Dear God, give us a resilient spirit, a spirit that returns to face this day even in the shadow of yesterday's challenges. Help us, today, to bounce back."

In his final years in office, Obama plans to continue with the morning meditations, the birthday call with pastors and ad hoc prayer circles, said a senior administration official, who wasn't authorized to comment by name on Obama's spiritual life and requested anonymity.

In times of crisis, from hurricanes to school shootings, many Americans look to their president as a source of strength and comfort.

"This office tends to make a person pray more," Obama said last year in an interview with Cathedral Age magazine. "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.'"



Kottage Kat

Do not cast your pearls before swine.

John Harville

"Never let religion get in the way of your faith" - Clemens paraphrase.


Boy the liberal media is really trying hard to make him look like he fits in with everyone else. Not buyin' it sorry!

Darwin's choice

Classic liberal media...polishing a turd.

The Big Dog's back

How many times does it take to call the "media" Liberal for it to be true?


No ,what you cite are people who bought the lies from the Republican propaganda machine.
The Republicans are good at lying.


LOL, I inserted a link yesterday about how MSNBC Rachel Madcow ratings just keep going south. People are waking up and see the left viewpoint being driven by main stream media!


Show the link so that I can LOL too.

One of the Republican's propaganda strategy is to convince people that the media is all liberal.

Republicans are basically liars.


Irregardless of what the polls say ,the high level of intelligence and common sense displayed on MSNBC makes FOX look like a bunch of cavemen.


Its from Huffpo so you know they aren't lying. You listen to opinions thinking they are the truth But all you get is rehashed admin talking points. My opinion is just as good as theirs, That's a fact.


No , I think you've misunderstood what the article is saying - it's no big thing.

It's not: " My opinion is just as good as theirs ..." or it's not about opinion versus truth ( that WOULD be Fox News anyway).
It's about TV format - how the news is presented.
There is less breaking news , weather reports , etc. and more talking - is what that means.



"It's about TV format - how the news is presented."

Now from the article you linked to. I assume you stand behind the research you bring forth?

"Even so, CNN is the only one of the three big cable news channels to produce more straight reporting than commentary over all. At the other end of that spectrum lies MSNBC, where opinion fills a full 85% of the channel’s airtime."


The vast majority of "reporting" by MSNBC is simply opinion and speculation. Which makes your statement below just the product of you swallowing the opinions you hear on your prefered mostly non "news" network.

It explains why you spue what you do. It is mainly someone else's opinion, not fact. That is why you almost never supply links, opinions are not the same as fact.


"Irregardless of what the polls say ,the high level of intelligence and common sense displayed on MSNBC makes FOX look like a bunch of cavemen."

Just for your information "Irregardless" is not considered a word. Sad it was used in a sentence that also contains the phrase "high level of intelligence and common sense". But then consider the source.

I am surprised that your other main news source wasn't in your link... the Comedy Channel and John Stuart.


mR bUMPY ,

It's obvious that your intelligence and reading comprehension don't serve you very well.
You are very much like Contango -- and that's no compliment.

Here's a link -- try to sue me.


"Here's a link -- try to sue me."

From your own link about "irregaardless "

"The most frequently repeated remark about it is that “there is no such word.” There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead."


I guess you don't know what "Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead", actually means, especially when you sit in your darkened basement with you hands over your eyes, editing what is in the dictionary... or do you think we are using speech to communicate instead of prose?

Don't agree? Try typing irregardless and running it thru spellcheck... for another check on its general acceptance.


You're kind of a nit-picky old woman, aren't you ?

Do you drink a lot like Contango ?


"You're kind of a nit-picky old woman, aren't you ?"

Nope just accurate when I state FACTS. Unlike some people who try to squirm around the facts they wish were different. Plus I actually understand what I read, it is called comprehension., something you obviously have trouble with.




So ? It just proves that there are more ignorant Fox News sheeple .


Your link shows that 85% of time spent on MSNBC air is opinion and speculation programs... not reporting, thus few facts can be found. It is what we expect from you... opinions instead of facts, and not even your own informed opinions, opinions of others that you simply mouth, and you don't know the basis they were formed from.


No ,You're wrong.

Gee , your reading comprehension sucks.




"No ,You're wrong."

. At the other end of that spectrum lies MSNBC, where opinion fills a full 85% of the channel’s airtime.1

That is the last sentence from the 4th paragraph from the link you first provided, Thanks for the help proving you're wrong... again. Comprehension is something you REALLY need to work on.


Sad , it's all about TV program format and you don't get it.
Your comprehension fails you ; and your fat ego makes you a fool.


Yep 85% of MSNBC's airtime and content is opinion and speculation. It is not set up to be a NEWS channel, it is set up to be opinion and speculation.


Quote from the above wiki link... the same percentage as the link you provided... only dumbed down even further so hopefully even you can understand it.

"In the Pew Research Center's 2013 "State of the News Media" report, MSNBC was found to be the most opinionated news network, with 85% of the content being commentary or opinions, and only 15% of the content being factual reporting."

Suggest you look into a remedial reading and comprehension class, it may not be too late... but I wouldn't hold my breath...


Yep , you don't know what you're arguing about.


MSNBC, 15% factual reporting... 85% opinions, speculation, and comments...AKA propaganda.

From the wiki:
"In October 2010, MSNBC began using the tagline "Lean Forward", which was described by some media outlets, including msnbc.com, as the network embracing its politically progressive identity.[42][65][66][67]" AKA propaganda.


Fox News AKA storefront for the Republican propaganda machine.


Hey, 4Shizzle, not to be rude, but you are using a word (irregardless) when you really mean "regardless", correct? Now who looks like a caveman? Ha Ha! All in good fun, man!