Obama a ‘Deeply Faithful President,’ Former Adviser Says

Pentecostal minister Joshua DuBois offers a look at the president’s religious life.

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President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk from the White House with their daughters Sasha Obama, second from left, and Malia Obama, right, on their way through Lafayette Park to St. John's Episcopal Church for Easter services, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Washington.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk from the White House with their daughters Sasha Obama, second from left, and Malia Obama, right, on their way through Lafayette Park to St. John's Episcopal Church for Easter services, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Washington.

President Obama's former spiritual adviser is opening a window on the president's religious life, explaining that Obama practices his Christian faith with devotion and vigor.

Joshua DuBois, a Pentecostal minister, said Obama is "a deeply faithful president" who doesn't "need a whole bunch of help cultivating [his] faith." DuBois, 30, told ABC News that during the minister's four years in the White House, Obama began each morning "with a devotional," often one provided by DuBois.

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"He spent a lot of time thinking about the Book of Job and Job overcoming trial," DuBois said, adding: "We also spent a lot of time in the prophets, particularly the prophet Isaiah. But we reflected on some theologians as well, like C.S. Lewis and Howard Thurman."

DuBois said Obama defined his "Christian walk" broadly, to include not only attendance at church but also "spending time with his daughters and tucking them in at night, and reading them a good night story, and being there for his wife as much as possible, and being a mentor and a friend to so many in the White House, and comforting the nation in times of need."

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk from the White House with their daughters Sasha Obama, second from left, and Malia Obama, right, on their way through Lafayette Park to St. John's Episcopal Church for Easter services, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Washington.
President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk from the White House with their daughters Sasha Obama, second from left, and Malia Obama, right, on their way through Lafayette Park to St. John's Episcopal Church for Easter services, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Washington.

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Obama's faith strengthened him during what he has called the lowest point of his presidency: dealing with the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in December.

Describing Obama's visit to Newtown on December 16, DuBois said he would never forget "what it took for the president to be a comforter over and over again to folks that had experienced unimaginable loss. He poured out his heart both in his public speech and behind the scenes in his private conversations."

DuBois resigned in March as the director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He plans to write a book about the president's devotionals, teach and become a consultant to help state and local governments form partnerships with faith-based groups.

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  • Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com, and followed on Facebook and Twitter.