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January 9th, 2011
09:39 AM ET

Wounded Arizona congresswoman had strengthened Jewish identity

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

One detail popping up in many of the profiles of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords to appear since she was shot on Saturday is that the congresswoman has increasingly come to define herself as a Jew.

Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, Giffords was the first Jewish woman from Arizona to serve in Congress. The JTA reports that Giffords made her Jewish background part of her House campaign, which saw her win in a traditionally Republican district:

“If you want something done, your best bet is to ask a Jewish woman to do it,” said Giffords, a former state senator, said at the time. “Jewish women - by our tradition and by the way we were raised - have an ability to cut through all the reasons why something should, shouldn’t or can’t be done and pull people together to be successful.”

Giffords had not always identified strongly as a Jew.

According to a 2007 story in the Arizona Daily Star, she was raised in a mixed-religion home, with a Jewish father and a Christian Scientist mother. Her father explained his and his wife's approach to their children’s religious formation: "We were kind of neutral. We let them decide for themselves. That's what Gabby did.”

The Star reported that Giffords’ first visit to Israel came in 2001, on a trip sponsored by the American Jewish Committee while she was serving in the Arizona State Senate:

"It just cemented the fact that I wanted to spend more time with my own personal, spiritual growth. I felt very committed to Judaism," she said. "Religion means different things to different people. It provides me with grounding, a better understanding of who I came from."

Upon returning from Israel, Giffords introduced legislation, which became law, to help protect the claims of Arizonans seeking unpaid benefits under Holocaust-era insurance policies.

Giffords’ grandfather, the son of a Lithuanian rabbi, had changed his name from Akiba Hornstein to Gif Giffords over concerns about anti-Semitism, the Star reported. Gif Giffords had helped to found the Hillel Foundation, a Jewish group, at the University of Arizona.

Gif Giffords’ son married a Christian Scientist, but Rep. Giffords has made increasingly clear that she has come to identify as a Jew.

Her 2010 campaign web site says she is a member of Tucson’s Congregation Chaverim, a reform synagogue, and that she was recently appointed one of five congressional members to serve on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christian Science • Judaism • Politics • Violence

soundoff (262 Responses)
  1. reger minnow

    Jewish and catholic= more votes.

    January 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  2. RW

    The mother would have to be Jewish for her to be Jewish.

    January 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • alabamarama

      . . . according to Judaism's arbitrary rules.

      January 9, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  3. GAMBINO

    WHAT you think you are, is worth as much as your good deeds.

    January 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  4. Hughie

    A Jew, a Catholic, an American, a woman; a congresswoman; a wife and a citizen of Arizona walk into a bar.

    The bartender asks: "Hello Gabrielle, what'll be?"

    January 9, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • ED

      I don't get it. 'Splain your joke to me.

      January 9, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • faye

      NOT a time for jokes >are you a grown up?

      January 9, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • Don

      There's never not a time for jokes. Only the humorless think there isn't.

      January 9, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  5. be nice

    @plestine

    you have your land- its called Jordan

    January 9, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • faye

      correct

      January 9, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  6. Matthew

    God Bless Christians

    January 9, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • alabamarama

      If there were a God, wouldn't he bless everybody?

      January 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  7. alsky

    my prayers are with her and all Americans. The tears dont stop

    January 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
  8. CRH

    Ms. Giffords is right, that when you want something done and done right, have a woman do it and a Jewish woman at that. Also, when she married Mark Kelly, there was a huppa at the site out in the desert and a rabbi as part of the ceremony. Check out:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/fashion/weddings/02vows.html?scp=6&sq=Vows%20Gabrielle%20Giffords&st=cse

    A delightful article about two wonderful people.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:59 pm |
    • Biff Tannen

      She's so "Jewish" that she was raised as "nothing" and never converted. Then she married a Christian guy. How very Jewish.

      She was so insincere with her "Jewish woman" speech. What a fraud.

      January 10, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
  9. fred

    Who cars if she's Jewish??? Why would anyone even write a story about this?

    January 9, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      http://www.suite101.com/content/was-gabrielle-giffords-shot-because-she-is-jewish-a330133

      Ah, CNN... we always have to dig below the surface of their articles to get their message...

      An "American renaissance – white supremacist" did it. Probably (no evidence intended) because she was Jewish.

      Screw you, CNN. A nut did it – because he was insane.

      January 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  10. stephanie

    My prayers are with you, Gabby!

    January 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  11. Lorrie Soini

    I am not in any position to say whether or not someone was "Jewish" or not. I am only stating what the standards beliefs are for some streams of Judaism. I would say that issue is between her and her Rabbi and where she worships. I am very sad at what has happened and my hope is that, whatever she believes or doesn't believe is irrelevant to the fact that she is fighting for her life and should have never been shot in the first place. My sympathy and warmest thoughts for healing and health are being wished to her and all who were wounded and my condolences to all that died.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  12. Some1

    If that's really what she said, to me she sounded racist.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Susan

      I'm sorry but you are so out of line – you're just trying to inflame because you have nothing of consequence to say. My suggestion – don't say anything.

      January 9, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Zack

      It was. But it's OK for anyone but whites to be "racist." Don't you know anything? Jeez.

      January 9, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Some1

      OK, Susan.
      Now consider this phrase, please:
      “If you want something done, your best bet is to ask an Aryan woman to do it,” said Goebbels, a former state senator, said at the time. “Aryan women – by our tradition and by the way we were raised – have an ability to cut through all the reasons why something should, shouldn’t or can’t be done and pull people together to be successful.”

      January 9, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Dave

      That is just so outrageous. It was clearly said simply as a matter of pride in her community and had not even the slightest racist meaning. If there is a racist at work here it is you. If you find someone who is proud to be Jewish so offensive, perhaps you are the one with a problem.

      January 9, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • Some1

      Pride is one of the seven deadly sins, my friend. To be proud of something is to condemn oneself to the Second Death in Hell...

      January 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • fish192

      Sounds like she played the race card in order to get where she is in the politician world. I could wish her a speedy recovery, but...

      January 9, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Some1: Now consider this phrase, please:
      “If you want something done, your best bet is to ask an Aryan woman to do it,” said Goebbels...

      You will be amazed to discover it but Goebbels and most of his Nazi friends used toilet paper to wipe their butts. I'm sure that YOU will not use toilet paper anymore in order to not become similar to the Nazi leaders, will you?

      January 10, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
  13. Edka

    Jewish, half jewish or not jewish. What does it matter. Whats wrong with America. You all sound like the shooter guy.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • faye

      Thank you!finally some words of wisdom here.

      January 9, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  14. Lorrie Soini

    Rep Giffords would be honored as being Jewish by the Reform movement who recognizes children who have a Jewish father as also being Jewish. There would be other streams of Judaism that would not recognize her as Jewish because she wasn't "born to a Jewish mother". So it would depend on which branch of Judaism you would ask whether or not she would be considered "Jewish". What is scary is that the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf were two of the shooter's favorite books according to his list he put on the internet. This may have made a "Jewish" Congresswoman a target if he was sympathetic to Nazi doctrine.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Descarado

      The assassin also mentioned that he "did not trust in god." (His small g) The secular left might be a little careful before casting stones at conservative opinion.

      January 9, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Descarado

      The "secular left" has nothing to fear as there is no organized body representing those that do not trust in god. Please provide support/evidence for your assertion. I bet you can't come up with anything even remotely close to Sarah "The Idiot" Palin's gun sight doc-ument.

      January 10, 2011 at 12:12 am |
  15. I am YOUR Samurai Cowboy

    She claims to be Jewish, yet shw spend the Holidays in Italy and told a CNN reporter that she was "fortunate enough to be able to go to Midnight Mass at the Vatican". Catholics do not like Jews.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Lorrie Soini

      I am friends with a great many Catholics who love Jewish people. I would think that is a blanket statement that certainly cannot be applied to everyone. Pope John Paul II was best friend with a Jewish man and they enjoyed many years of friendship. As a Jew myself I would love to attend a mass at the Vatican just to see the beauty of the service.

      January 9, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Tolerance

      Samurai, that's not true. I'm Catholic.....and as a matter of fact, I'm going over to my Jewish cousin's house for dinner tonight. Shame on you for propogating a falsehood.

      January 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • EmeraldCity

      Yes, because Jews are certainly not allowed to vacation in Italy. Where do you cretins come from?

      January 9, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • larry

      NONSENSE! GROW UP!

      January 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Descarado

      I beg your pardon. Many of this Catholic's best friends are Jewish.

      January 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • mcmarra

      MY SAVIOR IS A JEWISH CARPENTER!

      January 9, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
    • Dave

      I am Jewish and I find your remarks about Catholics offensive and unjustifiable.

      January 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Sandy

      You are both offensive and absurd. I am Catholic who regularly attends mass, and I have never heard anything against Jews. In fact my church regularly celebrates a passover seder with first communion candidates, and church members volunteer baby sitting services on Jewish high holy days so all can celebrate. Perhaps the congresswoman felt privileged to participate in one of the world's great religious traditions as a means to broaden her mind. If only more others would follow her lead.

      January 9, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Ajnabee

      Well She is also a politician

      January 10, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Lucie Ochocki

      I as a former Catholic I am appalled by what you said. Even now, I would consider it a special thing to attend Midnight Mass at the Vatican. I did not grow up hating Jews and I do not now. This shows how vulgar and ignorant you are.

      January 10, 2011 at 3:00 am |
  16. Sean S.

    Mr. Tannen,

    Please be nice to others beliefs. Calling her father an "irreligious fool" is bigoted, and referring to a Christian Scientist as a "wackjob" certainly smacks of prejudice.

    Comments like that give Jews a bad name, particularly those who require a minyan of males before beginning religious services, or those that believe that eating one of the Creator's creatures, like lobster or pork, will result in ostracization from your God.

    January 9, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      But it's ok for you to criticize Bill T for his comments (he was 50% correct – christian scientists are whack jobs, but irreligious folks are not fools, they are on the path to enlightenment), then make fun of the faith you assume he practices? And what's wrong with requiring a certain number of people for some ceremonies? This is much like requiring an agreed to quorum for a non-religious meeting. And lots of religions have dietary customs – I find them silly, but pretty benign compared to say it being ok to marry a 10 year old girl (provided she is "ripe").

      January 9, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Biff Tannen

      Sean S. believes that Jews are being given a "bad name" by Jews who practice actual Judaism. So people who pretend to be Jewish give Jews a "good name?" What a clown.

      "Irreligious" and "fool" were adjectives meant to be read independently. Irreligiosity and foolishness are not related. I believe her father was a fool for marrying a Christian Scientist, and possibly risking the lives of his children.

      January 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Biff Tannen, with apologies for getting your name wrong in previous post...

      Thanks for the clarification – I now agree you were 100% correct in your estimation of her father, but don't know about the congresswoman's formal conversion or knowledge of judaism. I'm sure tha facts will come out, but one would hope that members of the holocaust council would have been vetted by the jewish community, although I suppose that being jewish may not be a requirement.

      January 9, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  17. Reality

    Normal execution is too good for this idiot. Waterboarding, followed by physical cas-tration, followed by staking in the desert, followed by consumption by buzzards while still alive would be punishment fitting the crime with every step on YouTube to deter any future significant stupidity.

    January 9, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Gary

      @ Reality not into torture myself. Torture perpetuates torture through vengance. I am pro-capital punishment. Electric chair or bullet in the head would suit me.

      January 9, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Mott the Hoople

      If you are so into torture, you should be deported back to Iran or Syria or where ever it is you were born.

      January 9, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      Cannot agree more..This should be the fate of anyone who intentionally kills an innocent individual.. Dont care who this terrorist is, white, black, brown, asian, haitian, caucasian, jew, muslim or christian.. The worst possible crime (killing) deserves the worst possible punishment, period!

      January 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Reality

      It is not torture but a multiple step procedure to punishment/execution that fits the crime.

      January 9, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • Kana

      @Frankly Speaking – This was not a terrorist act. This was a premeditated shooting by an individual that is Anti-government. Fortunately for the shooter there were no armed citizens or law enforcement in the area to return fire in self-defense. Now he'll get to be a guest in a federal prison with room and board for the rest of his life, provided courtesy of the U.S. tax payers.

      January 10, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  18. jay

    The premise MUST be that whoever Ms. Gifford is and whatever she is, the ASSASSIN who shot her and the other victims, must be brought to JUSTICE and EXECUTED.
    As far as Ms. Gifford...
    Her mother is not Jewish.
    She did not CONVERT according to Jewish Law.
    HENCE, she is NOT Jewish.
    She may be a RIGHTEOUS GENTILE, but certainly NOT Jewish... Unless we let everything and everyone decide who is Jewish or not except Jewish Law and Tradition of 3,000 years.
    It would be like letting a microbiologist decide how to better perform orthopedic surgery, a mechanic decide how to run a biology experiment, a painter deciding how to graft a plant rather than a botanist.
    NO ONE who has ever learnt Jewish Law as taught in academies where Jewish Law has always been taught, would ever say that se is Jewish.
    Then, of course, you can always find rabbits who call themselves rabbis...

    January 9, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Gentile from a Jewish community

      Hi Jay,

      I don't believe that religious rant is necessary about the Congresswoman's faith. All you have to say is simply" When your mother is not Jewish legally neither are you"

      thanks,

      Joe the Anglican.

      January 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • B

      I'm sorry, but according to some Conservative rabbis, and all Reform rabbis, one with a Jewish father is in fact Jewish. Reconstrucitonists believe this also. The matrilineal descent is from Ezra and Nehemiah, but before then, it was patrilineal. So in fact, she is Jewish, and she identifies herself as so, maybe not by Orthodox standards.

      January 9, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • Susan

      Jay – your strict construction of who is and who is not a Jew is admirable but flawed. Yes, the orthodox will agree with you but in the Reform movement these days if you identify as a Jew and live as a Jew you are a Jew – no you may not claim to be a citizen of Israel but you are nevertheless Jewish. Regardless of how she identifies herself she did not deserve to be shot – neither did the other people and the 6 who are dead certainly did not deserve that.

      January 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • alex

      to Jay: As a Jew myself, I am beyond disturbed at your perspective on this. If the woman views herself as being a Jew, that's the end of the conversation; She is a Jew. It's called being a secular Jay. If you want to be Orthodox, go on ahead, but leave the rest of us to have our own personal views and interpretations. Thanks

      January 9, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • pty

      I guess 3000 yrs ago before we knew of the sperm and zygote it could be accepted that only true jews come from the mothers womb.
      But due to modern technology, you might say, the dad has something to do with the genetics of a child.
      Shut up.

      January 9, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Lee M Cardholder

      I am a Jew and Jay IS right that she isn't a Jew by Jewish law. All who disagree are just wrong. I know and understand reform Jews might accept her as Jewish but there's a reason they're called Reformed and not traditional or Orthodox. I'm a Conservative Jew who was raised reformed/conservatively, though less conservatively. I don't keep Kosher but I keep the Pesach (Passover). I go to a conservative synagogue and I was Bar Mitzvah'd, but I only go to synagogue on the high holy days. However, I did go to conservative religious elementary school which kept kosher and required male students to wear kippot (yamachas). Also, my parents have worked for somewhat Jewish organizations or with Jews, many who are quite religious, quite frequently for just about their entire lives. If you're wondering why I'm explaining my background, it's because I know what the rules are, I know what I'm talking about, and she technically isn't a Jew unless she converted.

      But besides all that, she defines herself as Jewish wholeheartedly and coming from a full-blooded Jew, I don't mind and think it's great that she's trying to follow in her family's footsteps. I think it's wonderful for people to contribute to the Jewish community. Though we are an extremely small slice of the population pie, it's nice seeing those who are proud of their Jewish ancestry. Ether way all my thoughts and prayers are with her and her family.

      January 9, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Liora

      Jay is correct that Conservative and Orthodox will not consider her Jewish. However, consider that becoming a Jew today is much, much different than it was for the first converts. Judaism hasn't been the same for "3,000 years." Those who convert today have umpteen hoops to jump through, which was not the case 2,000-3,000 years ago.

      Lee, it's "Reform" Judaism, not "Reformed." That's a common error. And all who disagree are all who disagree, not "wrong." They would probably consider you wrong as well. Your beliefs and opinions aren't synonymous with fact.

      All of you who smugly pronounce someone else not Jewish, unless you can trace your lineage back a couple thousand years, the legitimacy of your Jewish ancestry is also in question. Think about that next time you start dictating who is a Jew and who isn't.

      January 9, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Genius

      There's a bad rugelach in every batch. That's you Jay. You're a bad rugelach.

      January 9, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Elizabeth

      She attends a Synagogue. The article was not about what she has done to join, if you notice. I would hope that everybody is praying for her recovery, no matter what religion she is, or they are. Lord, bless her, and give her a full recovery.
      The perpetrator talked about money, which is evil in three ways. 1. Those who acquire money, as in the Old Testament (chapter 5 of II Kings) Gehazi given leprosy; 2. Those who return to seeking money after taking a vow of poverty, as in Judas Iscariot; and 3. Those who offer a gift of money that is less than they promised, such as the Book of Acts (chapter 5) Ananias and Saphira. Judas is called "the lover of money." Those who worship the "Almighty Dollar" often put themselves into spiritual danger.

      January 9, 2011 at 7:48 pm |
    • Karin

      She follows the faith that she belives in, and has done quite a bit to help Jewish causes. She does not need someone like you saying she is not Jewish, she is battling for her life right now. There are more important things at hand than whether or not she passes your litmus test for Judiasm.

      January 9, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
    • Miriam

      Seriously- I'm an orthodox Jew and I say...
      Who the hell cares whether or not she is or isn't a *real* Jew? Is this really important right now?

      January 9, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • Jeff S

      Jay, it could be that she doesn't care a lick about yours or any other interpretation of her God's will, but she does care about her faith.

      January 9, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • Jeff S

      Truthsquid – wow! Very anti-American of you! I'm assuming you're not from the U.S., or you would understand why and that we don't tax religions here, but its kinda at the very core of what this nation was founded on. Also, to say that tax-dodging and war are the only things religions are for spits in the face of billions of people in this world who are proof positive that it is for much more. I haven't yet used my religion for dodging taxes, or for war, but yet I've been practicing my faith since I was a child, and it has brought many things to my life, none of which have been tax benefits or war. I know there are billions of people on this planet who can say the same.

      January 9, 2011 at 10:32 pm |
    • HS

      Reform Judaism aceepts patrilineal descent – and has so for decades.

      January 10, 2011 at 12:06 am |
    • Jan

      Apparently, you've never been to a Reform Congregation. If her father is Jewish and she chooses to be Jewish, she is (and doesn't need to convert).

      January 10, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Jimmy

      Jay-

      thanks for a lesson on your little religious book that has many interpretations. The fact is Giffords was one of the few people who support your ancient belief system. How about you act a little nicer?

      January 10, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • Jimmy

      @ Jeff S. Squid man is actually right. There is no reason religions should get away without paying taxes. Just because you believe in Apollo doesn't mean you shouldn't pay taxes

      January 10, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • jim

      Ummm being Jewish is NOT just about a religion but also a nationality...

      January 10, 2011 at 5:53 am |
    • Thinker23

      Let me make it VERY CLEAR: Mr. Gifford is not an Orthodox Jew nor did she or anyone else claimed she was. This being said, however, the Orthdox Jews do not have the monopoly to decide for ALL Jews who is and who is not a Jew.

      January 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
  19. Anglican

    The Lord bless her and keep her. Peace.

    January 9, 2011 at 10:04 am |
    • may

      @ Immy, there is NO modern science, without Our Lord ! Just for the record.

      January 9, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Anglican

      Immy. Yes there is; and yes, there is modern medicine and science and geology and microbiology and physics and ............

      January 9, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • Adrianna

      And the modern gun put her at that state... and the modern bullet...

      January 9, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Let Us Prey

      @ Adrianna

      Only in the hand of a man. Five hundred years ago it was poison. A thousand years earlier, a sword. Know what they all had in common? The route of administration.

      The hand of man.

      January 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  20. Anglican

    The Lord bless her and keep her.

    January 9, 2011 at 10:01 am |
    • Ber

      It wouldn't have mattered if she was Martian. This guy and any terrorist needs to be tried and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, no excuses allowed. Innocents died due to a rant on the government. This is true for ANYONE, American or non that attacks innocent people or outside the legally established routes. This means from 911 to Rep Gifford, to shooting up a military base, school, or neighborhood. Everyone is equal in this country and everyone should be held to the same standard.

      As far as the Rep Gifford being Jewish, she is by blood line and faith. Now would Orthodox Jews accept her as Jewish, probably not. The majority of Jews in this country are not orthodox but Conservative and Reform, which is what she was in practice. I will tell you she, by this article alone, understood what being a Jewish woman meant. You don't claim to be Jewish lightly in this country or any other. So she claimed her Jewish lineage, lived as a Jew, and I will honor her desire as one Jewish woman to another, Refuah Sh’lema.

      January 9, 2011 at 2:20 pm |
    • Ptwiggy

      I would have gadly gotten shot in her place or the judge by her side. They were both employees of the gov't participating in a protest against our gov't. CNN reported that she was outspoken in her beliefs about both Democrats and Republicans in policies. So, she felt so strong about her beliefs and she could not find satisfaction in Washingtion, D.C., so, she took to the streets at an organized protest and was shot for her actions. The shooting was designed to scare people away from protest and organizing against gov't.

      We do agree that Democrat and Republicans are GOVERNMENT. Their policies shape the changes made in our country. And she as a gov. employee and elected official could not find satisfaction in her government so, she went to the streets to protest with the common people. She sided with the common man and should be applauded and supported as a hero!

      Instead of being scared of protest we should follow her example and organize more protest her and other shot including a sitting judges memory. She was willing to risk her life regardless of her position in life for common people and fight for the cause of good. We shouldn't let her shooting go down in VAIN! We should use her life as an example as we used Dr. Martin Luther king as a war cry for freedom against oppression of people and Freedom of speech.

      January 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • tony

      @Lettuce . God didn't create guns. men of science did. If God had wanted just one of our few weak bodied and weak minded to be be able to slaughter so many of our good and righteous and strong, in large numbers, he would have made us that way. Even his lions and tigers and sharks cannot and do not destroy their own or others in such a manner. To try to link God to the possession of such cowardly weapons is blasphemy of the highest order.

      January 9, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • jim

      @Glen
      Which of the world's countries that owe their freedom to the U.S. are you pontificating from?

      January 9, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • Don

      Glen, if guns caused the murders, then the knife caused the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson. STOP BLAMING THE INANIMATE OBJECT!

      January 9, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • David Sewall

      With all due respect, how do you get from Hornstein to Giffords?

      January 9, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Bunt

      Great point Glen! Easy access to guns and supplying guns to other countries is becoming a significant problem. If it was harder to get guns – this would not have occured but with the powerful gun lobby I dont think this will ever happen. Some day guns will be so powerful that a single lunatic can fire into a crowd and kill hundreds and all we will be working on is increasing security with patdowns and searches!

      January 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • EvoDevo

      Agreed, all the best to her for speedy recovery. This BELIEF blog is medieval in tone (no surprise). What does her being jewish or not have to do with this tragedy?

      January 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • TruthSquid

      Cheesus, what on earth is Ptwiggy talking about? Could she be the shooter's alternate universe opposite sister?

      January 9, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • tdk24

      So i saw a website that Palin has with crosshairs from a scope or something on different US cities, one being where these people were shot. They quickly took it off the website after the shooting. Does this mean she is now a leader of a terrorist organization? I mean, i already knew she was freaking crazy. It sure seems like a connection could be drawn between her and the shooter if he is a follower of hers.

      January 9, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Curiousity

      Okay so... if she chose to be Jewish, and was shot in the head and survived wouldn't that make her religion more popular? Just saying, it seems as though "God" is on her side.

      January 10, 2011 at 5:58 am |
    • The Rev. Canon Dr. Patrick P. Augustine

      January 9, 2010
      Dear His Grace the Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak,

      Greetings to you from Christ Church, La Crosse, Wisconsin. We have been keeping vigil and praying for a peaceful referendum and God’s blessings on the people of Sudan. As I look back on my own involvement from 1994 onward with the Province of the Church of Sudan, it started in 1992 when I read an article in the YES magazine of CMS with a picture of Bishop Nathaniel Garang on the cover. From that time I have committed my efforts and voice to speak for the persecuted church in Sudan. We have been praying for this day for God to set the people of Southern Sudan free from the oppression of the Northern Sudanese government. Finally, God has brought this moment, a day for the people of Sudan to decide their future and enter into the Promised Land.

      I am your brother who has stood in solidarity with the suffering people of Sudan. God opened doors for me to be the voice of the people of Sudan in the USA, at the Lambeth Conference 1998 “Hear My People’s Cry”, around the Anglican Communion, before the US Congressional Hearing on the Capital Hill in Washington D.C. and to President George Bush. It has been a great honor for me to serve as the chair of the Link committee in the Episcopal Church in the USA to ECS and Canon and Commissary to the Archbishop of Sudan. With deep humility, I give thanks to God for allowing me to be a servant of Christ to serve my people in Sudan.

      This morning I join many around the world on my knees in prayer and fasting for a peaceful separation between North and South. Tomorrow will be a new day when we shall celebrate your freedom on the Altar of Christ Episcopal Church as we celebrate the Feast of Epiphany. For this truly is a new Epiphany that, once again, God has set His people free from the tyranny of Pharaoh to let His people go free. We give thanks to the risen Christ who has suffered with his people in Sudan, and now in the power of resurrection we are about to celebrate new life. ALLELUIA!

      Even yet, a free Southern Sudan shall present many challenges. Although President Salva Kiir Mayardit in a speech last January said, “This is the final part of our journey,” in reality tomorrow morning you begin a new journey in the family of the world community. It shall now be your responsibility to turn the page from decades of civil war to learn to walk on the road toward being a peaceful community. In just a few hours we shall find Southern Sudan as the world’s newest country on the map with new challenges to build, to heal and to establish law and order in an area recovering from the longest war of Africa. New challenges can also be opportunities for your people to work together with the world community to build a prosperous and peaceful Southern Sudan as they cannot do it alone. Our world is in desperate need of such models. The world community needs to stand in solidarity with you, so I pledge to continue to work for peace and stability for my people in Sudan. Please let me know if a celebration for freedom service is organized at All Saints in Juba. I would like to join you in celebration to give thanks to God. I continually pray for God’s blessings on your ministry and the people of Sudan.

      Salaam, Shanti, Shalom!

      Your brother in Christ,

      The Rev. Canon Dr. Patrick P. Augustine, Honorary Canon, All Saints Cathedral Juba
      Rector
      Christ Episcopal Church
      111 N. 9th St, La Crosse, WI 54601

      January 10, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • David

      As an orthodox Jew, I can say 2 things. #1 – her statement is racist. There is nothing "magical" about Jewish women – that they can somehow accomplish special things that others cannot. This statement is also anti-ethical to Judaism, which teaches that each human being has unique challenges to overcome. Every one of us is a child of God. #2 – she is not Jewish. Jewish law (and the law of the state of Israel) defines a Jew by the mother's blood. Her mother was not Jewish, her father was. She is no more Jewish than Sammy Davis Junior. That being said – I hope she has a full and speedy recovery. I am simply posting this to clear up a very obvious error in her alleged statement.

      January 10, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.