The Faith of Barack Obama

The Faith of Barack Obama

by Stephen Mansfield
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Overview

The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield

Barack Obama. The speculation about his religious life abounds. Is he a closet Muslim? Is he really a Christian? Does his faith have anything to do with his governing? As the picture of President Obama’s faith has emerged over recent years, questions about the foundation of his beliefs continue to ignite debate. In this updated edition of his international bestseller The Faith of Barack Obama, Stephen Mansfield explores the claims of Obama’s detractors and supporters alike, while examining how the challenges of the presidency have shaped Obama’s religious beliefs.

This evenhanded account of the president’s spiritual life provides a closer look at the people and events that have influenced his belief system. Mansfield analyzes Obama’s friendship with the controversial Jeremiah Wright and also profiles the Christian leaders who have offered guidance and support during the president’s challenging term.

Mansfield takes you inside the religious life of Barack Obama, introducing you to the type of preaching the president hears at Camp David and even revealing details such as the content of the daily devotional readings the president receives on his cell phone. This fascinating study explains the faith elements within Obama’s politics, while acknowledging the questions about his beliefs that remain unanswered.

"You must read this perceptive and well written book. Then you will know why Barack Obama has such a passion for justice and equity, such a gift for filling people of different generations with a newfound hope that things can and will change for the better." —ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595554635
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 11/22/2011
Pages: 208
Sales rank: 811,598
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Stephen Mansfield is the New York Times bestselling author of Lincoln's Battle with God, The Faith of Barack Obama, Pope Benedict XVI, Searching for God and Guinness, and Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Beverly.

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The Faith of Barack Obama 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
hobnobs More than 1 year ago
I love to read and I enjoy blogging. So when I ran across Thomas Nelson: Book Reveiw Bloggers I quickly signed up and requested my first book, The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield. As I read the introduction I was quickly intrigued by this gentleman that is now our President-Elect. I quickly learned that he is a man that grew up in an environment that many of us will never experience. His mother was an atheist, his step-father Muslim, he attended Catholic school and at the age of 24, upon attending a worship service at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, found God¿s spirit calling him. It was at this worship service that he dedicated his life to finding the truth in God.

This book gave me insight into this man and his faith. I see his exposure to Islam, atheism, Catholicism, Protestantism as a well rounded insight into just a few of the many faiths that make up this country. We are a country, not of one faith but of many, not only of just beautiful and huge mega-church buildings, but of a faith that comes from living on the street and in the rough and tumble neighborhoods of our cities. It¿s because his well-roundedness that I see Barack Obama as being able to relate to every type of person that God has put on this earth. This book allowed me to see him as a person that may be able to reach out to all people and unite us as a country not only politically but as a country of faithful and believing people. Through him I see hope for our younger generation that may have a very strong belief in God and want to make a difference in the world, but have turned away from the organized church but ¿do faith like jazz¿.

This book takes the reader inside the church where Barack Obama¿s spiritual journey began and gives the you an insight into the congregation of an African-American church and ¿black theology¿. It also gives the reader glimpses of the spiritual journey¿s of Hillary Clinton, George W. Bush, and John McCain, which I found to be very interesting.

I¿m excited that I had a chance to read this book as it truly has given me more insight into this man that is to soon become the leader of our wonderful country! If I had read it before the election it would have cemented my decision even more, but reading it now after the election it has given me the assurance that there may be hope out there for our country and this changing world. If you haven¿t had a chance to read it I would highly recommend that you pick it up.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Interesting that this author claims to have an 'unbias' opinion of Obama and his faith, yet seems to believe that the outrageous anti-American attitude from his former church was in some way understandable. If that were truly the case, Senator Obama wouldn't have denounced it publicly and left the church behind - throwing away 20 years of association. Let's take off our 'politically correct' shaded glasses and call out EVERY form of racism for what it is - unacceptable and misguided.
lookingtolearn More than 1 year ago
During the time leading up to the 2008 election I have to confess that I did not make much effort to learn about Barack Obama. I was actually turned off by the hype and everyone's willingness to elevate him without knowing much about his character. However, now that he is our president, I felt that it would be irresponsible of me to not know anything about our new president. The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield is an excellent read. As an author, who obviously has a political leaning like every other American, does a good job of presenting Barack in a neutral light.

Barack Obama had a very interesting variety of influences as a child and was interesting to see how media had taken bits and pieces of his life and elevated them in various ways. Beyond giving a look into Obama, Mansfield gives an overview of how religion has shaped politics in the past, how the religous-right has suffered over the past years and how the culture is changing. For me this book provided a look at different perspectives that I have never considered when it comes to the religious left and that there can be faith on the "other side of the line".

If you go into this book looking for an answer to the question, "Is Barack Obama really a Christian?" I expect you will be surprised and disappointed. You will be surprised by what you find but should be disappointed because the only one who truly knows that answer is God. All we can do is trust what he says is true, pray for him as our leader and president and as a fellow believer on the faith journey as we all are.
GABixlerReviews More than 1 year ago
I think reading The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield after the 2008 election is over has allowed me to better absorb the wealth of understanding this book provides. Mansfield, who has also written of Churchill, Booker T. Washington, George W. Bush, et. al. has a gift for honing in on, and creating a well-documented text that speaks directly to and clearly presents the defining points of the person about whom he has written.

It is not the first time Mansfield has written about the faith of men. It perhaps, though, is the first time that his book is published immediately before the election of that man as president elect. Obviously, the biography may well become a must-read for all Americans, as we look toward the time of change that Obama has promised. I believe the book covers essentially all of the issues that drove this year¿s election and helps lay a foundation that will guide our understanding of the future.

One of the major highlights of the book was a comprehensive, comparative analysis of the ¿Four Faces of Faith¿ for those individuals who were the primary participants in the 2008 election: George W. Bush as the individual who was leaving the office and then Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain as the leading candidates. Each of these individuals has openly discussed their faith during the election. Reading the comparison however, clearly focuses on how the candidates¿ profession of faith may have been perceived by citizens.

Mansfield begins his book, naturally, with a look at Obama¿s early life. Considering the diversity of influences from his major role models¿his parents, grandparents, and his stepfather¾it is somewhat amazing that he was able to intellectually work through the breadth of his experience and arrive at a point where he chose to follow Christ. Then, as various political campaigns were undertaken, Obama was constantly attacked from a faith standpoint; however, being under fire, actually worked to forge his beliefs into both rhetoric as well as actions that in turn fired his growing numbers of followers.

¿We worship an awesome God in the Blue States,¿ declared Obama at the 2004 Democratic Party Convention speech. Quite willing to claim that democrats were Christians too, Obama has in essence ¿founded¿ a Religious Left that has met the needs of the millions who soundly rejected that only the Religious Right were true Christians. ¿We, too, have faith...Those of us who believe in a woman¿s right to choose an abortion, who defend the rights of gays and who care for the poor... It was a conscious attempt to reclaim the voice of the American political Left.¿

Mansfield clarifies issues regarding Obama¿s early teachings in Islam, and his relationship with Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., as well as a discussion of the black church experience, which historically has provided a method for hearing the news, dealing with issues and planning for the good of the community. His inclusion of a perhaps little-known issue, of the ¿Tuskegee Syphilis Study,¿ lends credibility to his discussion and forces us to better understand the fear and anger of a large part of our population!

Needless to say, I highly recommend The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield!
J-P More than 1 year ago
I had heard a lot of hype about Barack Obama; Fears about him, often unfounded, that distilled down to prejudices based on the actions of leaders at his church, or even how his last name "Obama" sounded like "Osama", the first name of the infamous terrorist leader. When I was given the opportunity through Thomas Nelson Publishers to read and review "The Faith of Barack Obama", I quickly responded. I read this to get factual information, not the mud-slinging that seems inevitable during political campaigns. I did not want to vote for or against a man based on hearsay, rumor, innuendo, or the aforementioned prejudicial fears.

I was delighted to read in the introduction that the author, Stephen Mansfield, unapologetically gave this as the purpose for writing the book. He also stated that he was not voting for Barack Obama. This might imply that the book would be skewed against the presidential candidate, but I did not find it so. In many ways, it portrays Barack Obama as a strong man of character, raised in difficult circumstances and dealing with the same issues we all do, and many unique to him. One man can only truly understand another man at the most superficial of levels, but I feel that the book did an excellent job of conveying a great depth and breadth of understanding of Mr. Obama. It shows him in fairly intimate situations, compelling sympathy and feeling for the man. In reading it, I found myself wondering how or if I would have acted differently. I began to find a new respect for Barack Obama for his strength.

To take me beyond the hype to a feeling of intimacy with -and respect for- someone I am unlikely to ever meet, that is a powerful ability. This is a powerful book, written by a masterful author. Read it, even after the elections. Win or lose, Barack Obama will be someone you will want to understand the motivations of.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Democratic National Convention started today in Denver, Colorado, and it is no doubt that the nominee of the party for President will be Senator Barack Obama. With that nomination, and even before, come the questions of who is this man, what does he believe in, and where does he stand? As our nation has struggled through the recent hardships of 9-1-1, the Iraq war, and turmoils in our local communities, we are increasingly looking beyond the superficial appearances of our politicians to their core beliefs and values. We are, as a nation, more and more interested in what drives out leaders and makes them tick. The Faith Of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield seeks to help the reader find some of those answers. The book does not make a judgement call on who Americans should elect as their next president. Instead the author, by explaining Obama¿s upbringing and influences, strives to show what it is that forms Obama¿s beliefs and how that drives his thought process. The book also pulls no punches. On complicated issues such as abortion and the various laws legislating around the issue, Mansfield clearly points out where Obama has logical struggles and at times has mis-stepped his ideals. But again, the strength of this work is that it offers up the facts on those issues and lets the reader form their own opinion. The Faith Of Barack ObamaIn addition to detailing the influences that have gone into the Barack Obama¿s faith, Mansfield also gives attention to three of the other main characters in this election - Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and George W. Bush. Not does this help to give a foot in the door on exploring those dynamic individuals, but it also helps to compare and contrast the cast of players. It is made clear that there are more than years of difference in this election, there are also differences of education, social influence, and how their faith was obtained. Revelation versus inheritance versus personal exploration are depicted as paths that help to form the destination. This book is timely not only in terms of the election and the conventions, but also in terms of where we are currently in US politics. We are seeing, across the board, Republican or Democrat, a renewed interest in values and what goes into a person to form those values. Those values, that faith, is important to the American people and to the world. How our President puts his personal values into action in the world is important to determining how we interact with the world and where this country will be in years to come. Well written, timely, and well researched, this should be considered a must read for anyone on either side of the election interested in learning more about the candidates.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A great book for everyone of faith to read. It paints a true picture of Obama's faith
Guest More than 1 year ago
Author glosses over the extreme views of Obama's church. He paints Jeremiah Wright as a bold liberator of the oppressed, that just tended to over-speak. Tries to claim he was the most respected black preacher in the country. Then goes on to say that 'A mind as fine as Obama's' was less likely to accept the ideas of the church than the typical member. The comments in the synopsis about this 'understandable' spirit of anger from the church are troubling...how is extremism like that understandable? It isn't. And this book is supposed to be unbias? The thing I found very hypocritical was the description of Obama not being inspired by the faith of Hillary. The author resorts to calling her names, and paints Obama as wanting to 'fix' her generation. I'm no fan of Hillary, but such an argument is rather ironic considering how Obama has intentionally brought race into this campaign by playing the victim and flip-flopping on a number of key issues to keep his poll numbers up. There's nothing wrong with a book about the faith and history of a Presidential candidate, but don't boldly claim something to be unbias when it's clearly not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Obama doesnt have faith.... in anyone other than himself. All he has is lust for power-and it shows
CasperW More than 1 year ago
This is a must read. Being a Rev. in 2000 I saw a shift in thinking that was polarizing and I have prayed against the belief that has broken the church into right and left halves. My hope was that both sides would see they are attached to each other. Obama was a God send so was Elizabeth Warren and others. We will regain our balance as a nation soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know God loves him
jandieNY More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed reading this book. I'm tired of all the bashing and half truths and confusion. Mr. Mansfield, I thought, used a reasoned, fact-filled approach that answers the questions being raised about Muslim versus Christian faith and other areas of controversy. He tackles the issues head-on, not apologizing for President Obama's weaknesses but also not condemning him. Also well written in that the book reads easily.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Why is it that anyone who dares talk about the injustices perpetrated by America is labled as anti-american? Perhaps your next book should be a history book if that is how you feel. 'Dissent is the highest form of patriotism'--Thomas Jefferson
Guest More than 1 year ago
How can someone rate this book a 1 without even reading it? Why not read it and see if the 'anger towards white America' comes off as understandable or if the argument is weak. Also, see the part of the synopsis that states that that particular issue is just a small part of the overall make-up of Obama's faith? Why not see what the book has to offer before rating it?
Danieljmjones More than 1 year ago
With the election over, I figure this is the best time if any to review The Faith of Barack Obama by Stephen Mansfield. I think any time an author sets out to write a book about faith and politics it is important to at least know something about the author. It seems as if Stephen Mansfied is writing as more of a journalist point of view, rather then pushing for an agenda in our view of Barack Obama and his faith. As a matter of fact Mansfield has penned a similar book in The Faith of George W Bush.

Avoiding going into his whole biography, I would rather refer you to here for his bio. I think you will find that he seems to not having an agenda in any direction with his writings, but rather he seems to have a high interest in religion and its role in politics.

Now as far as this book is concerned, I feel that people will read this book for a couple reasons. Some of the reasons might include:

1) An attempt to "prove" the legitimacy of Barack Obama's faith.

2) To find reasons to be "concerned" about Barack Obama's faith.

I feel that if one comes from one of these positions, both individuals will leave satisfied, and at the same time, not learning much more then what was previously acknowledged. Right off the bat, one will pick up this book and realize it is fairly short. It comes in at about 190 pages with large font, allowing for a fairly quick read. One also may wonder with grand topics as faith and politics, if this 192 pages can sum up in completion the task at hand. But I think a more important question may be if ANYONE can sum up someones' faith and political aspirations with any length of book. I think that it may be difficult, and in all honestly, I do not think that is what Mansfield is trying to do. It does seem however, that Mansfield sets out to introduce you to the man Barack Obama, and to sum up his public life in politics and religion as well. If you are looking for an in depth look at the personal relationship of Barack Obama with any God, disappointment will sure to follow. I believe that Mansfield's web site best sums up the goal of this book best;

"...intended as an objective look at Obama¿s religious life and the controversies that have surrounded it. Stephen believes that just as the archetypical American story of faith five years ago belonged to George W. Bush, now it is Obama¿s religious journey that captures many of the religious trends shaping American culture."

With that lens going in, I believe the book to be very informative, and not pushy. I very much found the content in be interesting enough to spark a curiosity to see how Barack Obama's faith will shape his politics. Mansfield divides the book up into 6 different sections:

1. To Walk Between Two Worlds:
2. My House Too
3. Faith Fit For the Age
4. The Alters of the State
5. Four Faces of Faith
6. A Time to Heal

All in all, I certainly found this book to be informing about the faith of Barack Obama. The length of the book was somewhat disappointing, and some of the points left me asking more questions. However, I feel that this book is a nice introduction in discussions of the faith of Barack Obama, who is controversial with both the left and the right. The left finds Obama too open with his faith, and the right finds him too vague on what he believes. I think both sides should start here with learning who Barack Obama is and how is his faith going to dictate his policies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I know all I need to know about this community organizer and all the lies he told. How is that hope and change working for us?