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President Obama 'a Christian by choice'

world Updated: Sep 29, 2010 16:49 IST

PTI
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US President Barack Obama has said that he is "a Christian by choice", who was drawn to the religion by the precepts of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of salvation.

Obama told a group of Albuquerque residents that he made the "conscious" decision after growing up in a family
that didn't practice its religion.

"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 I
would want to lead," the Fox News quoted Obama as saying.

The President added: "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. And so that's what I strive to do. That's what I pray to do every day. I think my public service is part of
that effort to express my Christian faith."

Though he made clear he is a Christian, the President emphasised his appreciation for tolerance of all religious
beliefs. "I'm also somebody who deeply believes that part of the bedrock strength of this country is that it embraces
people of many faiths and of no faith.

"This is a country that is still predominantly Christian. But we have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists and that their path to grace is one that we have to revere and respect as much as our own," he said.

Obama's comments came days after a poll found that one in five Americans think he's a Muslim.