PRESIDENT Obama spoke about his faith last week during a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico. In response to the question “Why are you a Christian?”, he answered “I’m a Christian by choice.” It was one of three “hot topic” questions put to him during an informal meeting with members of the public.
He said that his parents “weren’t folks who went to church every week. And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn’t raise me in the church.
“So I came to my Christian faith later in life, 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.
“And I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings — that we’re sinful and we’re flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God. But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people, and do our best to help them find their own grace.”
The President said that he lived out his faith through daily prayer, and through his office as President. His public service, he said, “is part of that effort to express my Christian faith”.
He praised the religious character of the United States, which was part of the “bedrock strength of this country” because “it embraces people of many faiths and no faith.”
The US, he said, was a country “that is still predominantly Christian, but we have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, [and] Buddhists, and that their own path to grace is one we have to revere and respect as much as our own”.