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How the Bible was used to justify slavery, abolitionism
April 12th, 2011
06:00 AM ET

How the Bible was used to justify slavery, abolitionism

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - How did churchgoing, Bible-worshiping Christians justify holding slaves? It’s a question I’ve long had as a Civil War buff and that has new resonance on Tuesday, which marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.

I’ve read books about politics and generals during the war. But I hadn't read much about the religious dimension to the Civil War until I came across a recent USA Today column.

Henry G. Brinton, a pastor at Fairfax Presbyterian Church in Virginia, writes that the Bible was used a weapon by both the North and the South. Brinton says some contemporary Americans are making the same mistake their Civil War ancestors did by twisting the Bible to support their own battle cries.

Brinton, author of “Balancing Acts: Obligation, Liberation and Contemporary Christian Conflicts,” says both the Union and the Confederacy invoked the Bible to justify their positions on slavery.

Slaveholders justified the practice by citing the Bible, Brinton says.

They asked who could question the Word of God when it said, "slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling" (Ephesians 6:5), or "tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect" (Titus 2:9).

Christian opponents of slavery elevated biblical principles of justice and equality above individual passages that approved exclusion, Brinton says.

He wonders if a new biblical approach is needed today, as people grapple with polarizing issues like gay marriage.

Opponents of gay marriage, Brinton notes, follow a literal approach to the Bible when they cite Old Testament passages that declare, "You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination" (Leviticus 18:22).

He wonders if gay marriage foes are making the same mistake as defenders of slavery:

But perhaps reproduction is no longer the goal of every person and every marriage. Many couples choose not to have children, or marry late in life when they are unable to produce children. The New Testament values of faithfulness, love, sacrifice and promise-based commitment can be practiced by heterosexual couples without children — and by same-sex couples as well. Discussions of gay marriage can focus as much on scriptural equality as on the ability to reproduce.

At the same time, Brinton says liberal Christians may be making their own mistakes with their approach to the Bible:

Liberals also use Scripture for their purposes, citing commandments such as "thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13) whenever a war breaks out or the death penalty is being debated. But the commandment is actually a prohibition against murder, arising out of blood feuds and vengeance killings between ancient clans and families. A literal reading of this verse does not give us the moral and political guidance we need today.

Brinton says Abraham Lincoln offered the most constructive religious perspective during the Civil War. "My concern is not whether God is on our side," he said. "My greatest concern is to be on God's side."

What do you think? Is it fair to invoke the Bible for political causes?

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Culture wars • History

soundoff (449 Responses)
  1. Artist

    Isnt the American Taliban great. God Bless those christians.

    April 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
    • beentheredonethat

      haha

      April 14, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  2. GSA

    All this talk of why and when slavery was abolished from posters on this blog. It's funny how ppl can just turn a blind eye and make themselves beleive anything they want. Slavery is still a huge problem today, even in North America. Farms in the US are using slaves daily and i'm not talking about illegals entering the country and working for cheap wages. American citizens pay good money for ppl to be rounded up illegaly and against their will in Mexico, brought into the US and held against their will working for nothing in harsh conditions. Another problem that authorities are seeing in the US and Canada is women brought in from Africa against their will to work on braiding hair, sounds crazy but it is happening. These women are forced to work 16 hours a day doing hair and in turn get nothing but the threat of being put in jail. Also slaves for se-x trafficking is a huge business worldwide.
    As far as the religion perpetrating this, i'm sure that ppl of all religions have twisted their respective teachings for the allowance of slavery.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      And the evil perverts that do what you wrote will claim themselves to be Christians. All evil doers that go against Jesus' teachings to point their fingers at Christians. All yellow belly cowards that are the offsprings of the devil.

      Amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 5:06 am |
  3. Itsmellslikefish

    HeavenSent...being judgmental and as pious as you are....are both sins. So you are no longer a Christian. Or, in the interim, have you asked Jesus for forgiveness and haven't sinned since you last posted on this site? If so, then I suppose you can claim to be a Christian again. The better label for you is a**hole hypocrite.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Itsmellslikefish, you're conditioned and comfortable to listen and believe the false teachings of man who hide behind Jesus. I write Jesus truth. Your sinful nature despises what I've posted on His truth. Too bad. You own it. Love the sinner, hate the sin is not written in the Bible. It's a man made saying to stroke the egos of the sinners who refuse to give up their sinful natures because they know you don't have the courage nor the desire to stop sinning.

      Amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 5:00 am |
  4. skipper

    I'm still waiting for the anouncement that Arizona is going to secede.

    April 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  5. skipper

    amazing, after 150 years we're still debating if slavery should be legal or not. This is.... only in America.

    April 12, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  6. Bannister

    When will CNN write an article about the Torah and the Talmud and how they were used to justify the international slave trade that was primarily run by Jews?

    April 12, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Bannister, because their agenda is to bash Jesus and the Christians that follow Him.

      Amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:53 am |
  7. Sean

    It's no accident that all the Antichrists are speaking out now because instinctively they know they have but a short time left. The great day of God's wrath is approaching. What will they say on that day?

    April 12, 2011 at 10:24 am |
    • Hory

      I'll say, "Hey! Don't kill your followers for being so stupid! They didn't know any better!" LOL

      April 12, 2011 at 10:46 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Sean
      “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
      —1 John 2:18
      Christians have been waiting on tenterhooks for the Second Coming since the Bible itself was written.
      Many have prophesied the exact time of date of His return and ALL have been wrong.
      George Rapp said it would be September 15th, 1829.
      William Miller predicted October 22, 1844. Jesus’ failure to arrive is known as “The Great Disappointment”. Many of his disillusioned followers went on the found the 7th Day Adventist Church, who are still patiently awaiting His return.
      Charles Russell, 1st President of the Watchtower Society told his fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses that Jesus would be back in 1874.
      Rudolf Steiner maintained that from 1930 onwards, Jesus would grant certain people psychic powers to enable them to witness his presence in the “etheric plane”.
      Herbert Armstrong, Pastor General of the Worldwide Church of God said 1975.
      Bill Maupin managed to convince his followers to sell all of their worldly goods in preparation for Jesus’ return on June 28th, 1981.
      Benjamin Crème stated that on June 21st, 1982 Christ would make a worldwide television announcement.
      Mark Blitz, Pastor of El Shaddai Ministries says it would be September 30th, 2008
      Jerry Falwell said it’d happen between 1999 and 2009.
      Harold Camping is telling everyone that the Rapture will happen May 21, 2011 after failing in his first predicted date of 1994.
      Conversely, many believe He’s all ready come in the form of Sun Myung Moon, Emanuel Swedenborg, Baha u llah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, David Koresh, Hailie Selassie, John Thom, Arnold Potter, William Davies, George roux, Ernest Norman, Krishna Venta, Ahn Sahng-Hong, Jim Jones, Mashall Applewhite, Hulon Mitchell, Wayne Bent, Ariffin Mohammed, Mitsuo Matayoshi, Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, Inri Cristo, Thomas Provenzano, David Icke, Shoko Asahara, Hogan Fukinaga, Marina Tsvigun or Sergei Troop.

      The only way we'll know that The Great Day of God's Wrath is nigh is when the gates of hell open and a swarm of armour clad locusts with tiny crowns, the face of a man, the hair of a woman, the mouth of a lion and the tail of a scorpion comes forth, as prophesied in Revelation.

      When you can show me one of those Satanic grasshoppers, I'll worry about what to say.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • McDowell

      "Christians have been waiting on tenterhooks for the Second Coming since the Bible itself was written.
      Many have prophesied the exact time of date of His return and ALL have been wrong."

      Read Matthew 24:36-44

      Nobody knows the hour or the day...

      April 12, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Sean

      @Doc Vestibule

      The Bible is a spiritual book. The language is symbolic and parabolic. The things you mentioned in Revelation are not literal. For example, it talks about the Dragon (satan) and the fasle prophet (false Gospel). So if you are waiting to see a literal dragon, serpeant or whatever, you are in error.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @McDowell
      I repeat the passage I opened with:
      “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.”
      —1 John 2:18
      Jesus said very clearly to his disciples that THEY would live to see the End Times.
      "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.'
      – Matthew 24:34
      "Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done.'
      – Mark 13:30
      "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled.'
      – Luke 21:32

      April 12, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Sean
      Maybe your sect sees the bible as allegorical, but many believe it to be literal truth.
      So if the locusts and seven headed dragons etc. are all symbolic, could not the rest of the fantastical portions of book – like the parting of the Red Sea, Christ's resurrection, Noah's flood, Jonah and the whale, etc. – also be interpreted that way?

      April 12, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Sean
      By the by, "parabolic" refers to something that resembles a plane curve formed by the intersection of a right circular cone with a plan parallel to a generator of the cone.
      Geometry, not theology.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Sean

      @Doc Vestibule
      You are in error again.

      parabolic, parabolical
      adj

      (Christian Religious Writings / Bible) of or resembling a parable
      parabolically adv

      April 12, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Sean
      Actually, neither of us is wrong!
      Definition of PARABOLIC
      1 expressed by or being a parable : allegorical
      2 of, having the form of, or relating to a parabola

      Though I am curious as to your "again" qualifier.
      Where was I wrong the first time?

      April 12, 2011 at 11:59 am |
    • Sean

      @Doc Vestibule

      And I'm not commenting to argue or convince anyone to believe in God and choose life–I have no authority. Only God can open your eyes to the truth if it's his will to do so. But be assured that the truth shall prevail and it will be known throughout the world in this generation.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Sean
      Given the long list of others who have made the same assertion, I hope you can realize why I'm skeptical, but I am truly and honestly curious as to the source of your conviction that this generation is the last one.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • McDowell

      @Doc –

      Define generation. While you're at it, define replenish, cool, gay.... My point is, to you those words mean one thing (according to a 2011 dictionary). To the writer of these verses, they could mean something completely different. It's like people wonder why the word 'dinosaur' isn't used in the bible. Well, dinosaur wasn't a word until 1842.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @McDowell
      The time suggested in the Olivet Discourse is 70 or 80 years.

      26 Psalms 90:10
      "The years of our lives are 70; and if by reason of strength they be 80 years, yet most of them are labor and sorrow; for life is soon cut off and we fly away."
      41 Matthew 1:17
      "Therefore all the generations from Abraham down to David are 14 generations; and from David down to the Babylonian captivity are 14 generations; and from the Babylonian captivity down to messiah, are 14 generations."
      Matthew is using the Psalm 90 definitions of Generation in order to tell a specific chronological time story.

      Ergo, the definition of a "generation" in the bible is 70-80 years.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • McDowell

      Doc Vestibule –

      apparently someone is using my name as well...

      In response:

      The key to understanding what Jesus means is understanding the context; that is, understanding the verses that are surrounding verse 34, but especially the verses prior to verse 34. In Matthew 24:4-31, Jesus is speaking of events that have not yet happened. The generation of people living when those events occur is the generation that Jesus speaks of "not passing" until He returns. Jesus had already told those living during His first time on earth that the kingdom had been taken from them (Matthew 21:43). Therefore, it is imperative that Matthew 24-25 be seen as speaking of a future time and that the word generation is referring to the people alive when the events of Matthew 24-25 are occurring.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @McDowell
      That is a far more rational explanation than your digital doppleganger's.
      May I take it that you haven't marked Judgement Day on your calendar, like some other folk have?

      April 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • McDowell

      Doc Vestibule –

      Some interpreters look at all the warfare, famine, earthquakes, etc and delcare the end is here (Matthew 24). I don't have a strong conviction in that. Yes, there has been an increase in many things prophesied, but I think we are far from Judgement Day (and I hope for that, too). It may take us by surprise tomorrow, or it may come milleniums from now. I am prepared, so no sleep is lost on me.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Sean

      @McDowell

      You said you're prepared for whenever judgment day arrives. Do you think you are saved? And if yes, how do you know?

      April 12, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
    • Sean

      @McDowell

      And you are correct that disasters (earthquakes, war, famine, etc.) have nothing to do with how close the world is to judgment day. However certain events, such as Israel becoming a nation, that are prophesized are important signs. And of course the massive quake spoken of in the book of revelation. And when that occurs the world will know without a doubt that judgment day has arrived.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Doc, you haven't a clue that a day in the Lord is 1000 years for man. Also, you don't believe and hence, do not understand that we have 2 bodies. The physical body that our souls reside in while living on earth and the spiritual body we had from the beginning to eternity for those that love and follow Jesus. Therefore, all of us will see the end of this earth age. It's those that don't love and follow Jesus after the day of the Lord will not dwell with Him for eternity. Blotted out as you desire(d).

      Amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:50 am |
  8. Jcork

    The bible (or Koran or any ancient holy book) should never be mixed with politics.

    There is no invisible man in the sky. Your prayers are a waste of your time. And god is not all good. What say we get over this nonsense and move on with reality?

    April 12, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Jcork, God is all loving and good to those that love and follow Him. We don't have a problem with His teachings. But, you folks that insist on sinning shake in your boots over all the actions of the unrighteous in the Bible. I shake my head back and forth over the scriptures you folks copy and paste because you know it's directed at YOU.

      Amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:38 am |
  9. Luke

    To actually answer the question proposed by the author, "What do you think? Is it fair to invoke the Bible for political causes?"

    Sure, it's fair. That's how war and politics are won. The better question is if it's just or correct to do so. And to that, I say absolutely not. Since the bible proposes an ideology and we know that ideologies eventually fail, it is completely wrong to justify political causes based on bibical references. Politics should be, and in some cases, should be based on pragmatism.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Another one that fishes out of the left side of the boat.

      Amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:34 am |
  10. Dmoney

    the absolute word of God...lol. to all you Religous people think about this...what if the Bible is written by Satan to trick you into your wars, bigotry,slavery, racism and intolerence to others, and God is going to smithe you all who believe in this false book???? I will be saved!

    April 12, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • I figure there's almost 150 thousand of us

      Hey! Me too! High Five! Down low! Too slow...!

      April 12, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Dmoney, practicing Christians which means those of us that actually read, comprehend and apply His truth (the Bible) to our lives don't get bogged down with the scriptures you non-believers so despise. Why? Because we are not the evil (unrighteous) in said scriptures that Jesus teaches. We are the righteous that follow His truth and have no fear, no regret, no hatred towards His teachings. We have respect and are in Awe of our Lord, Jesus Christ for teaching us His wisdom.

      Amen.

      Amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:17 am |
    • Frespech

      The same arguement was said about jesus-read the account then make an intelligent informed comment.

      April 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  11. God

    I do love it when my followers go to war in my name. They do it a lot.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  12. Melinda

    Being a largely stupid and barely functioning illiterate nation, I am not surprised that the bible is used as a political tool. OF COURSE the word of God, as written by a bunch of hairy, smelly, sandled Neanderthals is relevant to today's highly modern society! Take your antiquated book, and get the h ell away from me. Religions – ALL organized religions – are an insult to intelligence and rationality.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:04 am |
    • Grunt

      I'm largely stupid and barely funtioning but I am literate as you can see.
      I'm hairy and smelly and I wear sandals, but I am no Neanderthal.
      I have one redeeming characteristic: I agree with you. 😉

      April 12, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Now I understand the fight for oil. We've got too many of you dry bones that are in desperate need of a oil change.

      Amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:31 am |
  13. CW

    @ the HeavenSent Troll,

    I just read your post...I say the same thing come on. You can do better than that can't you?

    Anyway back to the issues I realize that back during the days of sl-'avery many christians used the good book to justify it. The only thing though is that they forgot to remember that sl-'avery back in biblical time DID include a time when the sl-a've was freed. Unlike the plantation owners of the day that never let their sl-a'ves go. In addition it also stated in the Bible that everyone who had a sl-a've was to treat them with compassion. This wasn't the case during the times when plantations owners had sl-a'ves.

    Now on the pastors so called "misinterpretation" of the bible when it comes to "g-ay marriage". First off there isn't any question what God thinks of this. If you examine the scriptures it clearly states that those that live in this way and don't repent won't "inherit the kingdom of God"....See 1 Corintians 6:9. I also see that he is taking the "marriages that don't have kids" and try to apply it here to a same-s-'e-'x union....they don't match by the way. God DID mean for people to marry and multiply but he never made it a mandate on all people that get married.

    April 12, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @CW
      The rules for freeing slaves (treating them as indentured servants) applied only to other Jews.
      "If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom."
      Exodus 21:2
      Gentiles were not granted the same luxury.
      "However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way." Leviticus 25:44-46

      April 12, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • CW

      @ Doc,

      Okay....good post. I had forgot that point..anyway in the Bible though sl-'aves were not treated the same as those from the plantation days.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:42 am |
    • NL

      I think CW is right to a certain degree in that American slavery was racially defined whereas the biblical variety appears not to be. I think anyone, of any race, could easily have found their fortunes turned and find themselves being made into slaves in ancient times, right?

      April 12, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • David Johnson

      @CW

      Do you believe slavery is wrong? Why do you believe this?

      Curious in Arizona

      April 12, 2011 at 10:02 am |
    • HeavenSent

      If you are the real CW, you'd know that was the phony heavensent. I only came on this article to see if the yellow coward was using my handle.

      You should know by now that this worm steals handles. First mine, then others so it looked like he/she wasn't singling me out. CNN blog is bogus. Bunch of Kenites running this site.

      Amen.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Dave, you practice slavery today. You are a slave to obnoxiousness and stupidity.

      Got to go. In case the phony heavensent wants to come on and take my place.

      Amen.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • CW

      @ HeavenSent, (The real one)

      Yes I knew that the Troll posing as you wasn't you. That was the reason I pandered back with them.

      @ David Johnson,

      In this day and age no we as humans don't think that the so called "owning" of a human is right due to the sa-va-'ge-'ness of our past. However I do believe if sl-'avery had adhered to the Biblical ways of sl-'avery(compassion, good treatment) then I do believe it would still be around. You have to remember that back during the plantation days there were a very few sl-'ave owners that treated their sl-'aves with compassion. Hence back during those times there were sl-'aves that refused to leave their owners and stayed even after the ci-val w-ar was over.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • CW

      @ David Johnson,

      Let me expand on my point. What I ment by saying that sl-'avery would still be around was this....No I don't think it would still be around..but..I do think that people wouldn't have been so against it. I further believe if sl-'avery were still around that if it was in the way that the Bible wanted it then of co-'ar-'se no one would stay in it due to the ec-'ono-'mic ad-'vances of our day such as being able to get an ed-'uca-'tion....etc. With this being said of no so called "owner" would stop them BUT would do what God wants...helping them.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Nonimus

      @CW,
      Yes, they were treated better, they had a whole 2 day window in which death would be blamed on the owner. The plantation slaves had no such window.

      "Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property." Exodus 21:20

      April 12, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Nonimus

      @CW,
      Or, perhaps this is what you meant by compassion?

      "An owner who hits a male or female slave in the eye and destroys it must let the slave go free to compensate for the eye. 27 And an owner who knocks out the tooth of a male or female slave must let the slave go free to compensate for the tooth."
      Exodus 21:26

      April 12, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • CW

      @ Nonimus,

      Its well known what you think of the Bible. You have eyes that are blind and a heart that is of stone. Make and poke fun as you will...but...hopefully you'll have a da-'masc-'us road experience that will bring you that relationship with the only ONE TRUE GOD....the one of the BIble. Anyway I wish you well....peace.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @CW,
      I guess the sarcasm was a bit much, but I think they are valid examples/questions of what was "truly" meant by slavery in the Bible. I see fine, although reading glasses aren't too far away, and my heart is of muscle; I am willing to look at and consider new evidence and change my mind (heart) about something if reason so demands.

      namaste

      April 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Thank you CW. I was just checking in with you. I know Christians know the phony heavensent and the non-believers love to write their babble to the yellow belly. Dry bones will be dry bones.

      Amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:28 am |
  14. Charles Strong

    Throughout history religion has always been used to justify war and slavery. Even the back in King arthur days during the "christian crusades". Hell in the 1940's people were taught that lynching blacks was the way to free the demons within them. Sad really.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:50 am |
    • McDowell

      What many fail to understand is that slavery in biblical times was very different from the slavery that was practiced in the past few centuries in many parts of the world. The slavery in the Bible was not based exclusively on race. People were not enslaved because of their nationality or the color of their skin. In Bible times, slavery was more a matter of social status. People sold themselves as slaves when they could not pay their debts or provide for their families. In New Testament times, sometimes doctors, lawyers, and even politicians were slaves of someone else. Some people actually chose to be slaves so as to have all their needs provided for by their masters.

      The Bible most definitely does condemn race-based slavery. Consider the slavery the Hebrews experienced when they were in Egypt. The Hebrews were slaves, not by choice, but because they were Hebrews (Exodus 13:14). The plagues God poured out on Egypt demonstrate how God feels about racial slavery (Exodus 7-11). So, yes, the Bible does condemn some forms of slavery. At the same time, the Bible does seem to allow for other forms. The key issue is that the slavery the Bible allowed for in no way resembled the racial slavery that plagued our world in the past few centuries.

      In addition, both the Old and New Testaments condemn the practice of “man-stealing” which is what happened in Africa in the 19th century. Africans were rounded up by slave-hunters, who sold them to slave-traders, who brought them to the New World to work on plantations and farms. This practice is abhorrent to God. In fact, the penalty for such a crime in the Mosaic Law was death: “Anyone who kidnaps another and either sells him or still has him when he is caught must be put to death” (Exodus 21:16).

      Similarly, in the New Testament, slave-traders are listed among those who are “ungodly and sinful” and are in the same category as those who kill their fathers or mothers, murderers, adulterers and perverts, and liars and perjurers (1 Timothy 1:8-10).

      April 12, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • Nonimus

      @McDowell,
      IANAT (I am not a theologian) but is there a distinction between a person and a slave, because 4 verses after your Exodus 21:16 reference it states that slaves are property.
      "Anyone who beats their male or female slave with a rod must be punished if the slave dies as a direct result, 21 but they are not to be punished if the slave recovers after a day or two, since the slave is their property."
      So, while it may be a 'sin' to steal "men," slaves are property, so it's not a 'sin'.

      Also, I thought the OT wasn't relevant since Christ showed up.

      April 12, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Observer

      @McDowell,
      It's always fascinating to hear someone make excuses for the Bible by insisting that words don't mean what we know them to mean. So "slavery" was just another word for having a job back then?

      Guess you missed this: – Exodus 21:20-21 “If a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod and he dies at his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his property"

      April 12, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • NL

      McDowell-
      You quote some fine pas.sages against slavery from the Bible, but the question then comes around to why Christians ever thought it acceptable to have slaves in the first place, right?

      Lets take that all the way up to the Founding Fathers, many of whom were slave owners. Were they also “ungodly and sinful”, and if they were then in what way can it then be claimed that the US was founded by 'Christians'? Would these men be welcomed as Christians in today's churches, or would they be expected to reform their views first?

      Cut to the acceptance of gays that Christian churches will likely take in the years to come. Will a future majority of Christians who have become gay-accepting view today's Christians as having followed the Bible, or as having been morally flawed and using the Bible to justify that flaw?

      I think that the only fair view is that every society matches it's reading of the Bible to it's needs, and not on some transcendent, eternal 'truth' that every generation claims to have, but the next still searches for.

      April 12, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • McDowell

      NL –

      God permits slavery, but that doesn't mean slavery is God-ordained. Slavery in an invention of a fallen world. God allowed it to exist, as He allows murder, theft, gossip, etc... That doesn't mean it's 'from' God. God works within the system of fallen man and makes allowances for the freedom and failures of mankind within that system. We see this, for example, in Jesus saying that God allowed divorce because of the hardness of peoples' hearts (Matt. 19:8).

      Gays are welcome in my church now. So are liars, thieves, and cheats. It's not the acceptance of the person that causes friction, it's the acceptance of the sin. As you've read in the bible, Jesus didn't spend his time in the church, but amongst the sinners. Did he condemn the sin? Yes. Did he love the sinner? Even more so.

      To say this Country couldn't have been founded on believers because they had sin is a bit dramatic.

      April 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • NL

      McDowell-
      God allows sin. Slavery was and is a sin. Ah, but did the Founding Fathers all regard it as a sin? If they did, then they were unrepentant because there was no talk of abolishing the industry, or even of ridding themselves of their own personal slaves. They read their Bibles yet happily continued to be slave owners and, one as.sumes, they did so finding no sin in it at all, right?Would they be considered Christians today?

      April 12, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Thank you McDowell for trying to open some eyes and ears of the dry bones on this post.

      Amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:59 am |
    • NL

      HeavenSent-
      Having trouble sleeping, I see. I use to have that problem. I'd tell you how I got over it, but I think you can probably guess. 😉

      April 13, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  15. theoldadam

    The Bible wa used to ABOLISH slavery, also.

    Christians were the ones responsible for the anti- slavery movements, because they were freed by Christ and wanted all people to be free.

    I do think there are some history books out there that still have it right.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:25 am |
    • The Bobinator

      So it was Christians who were wanting to keep slaves and it was Christians who didn't want there to be slavery.

      What does that say about overall potential interpretations of the bible if two groups can hold totally opposite positions.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:38 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Theoldadam
      But that is the point, sir – both sides picked and chose those biblical passages that supported their arguments.
      The thing about citing God as an authority is that you can prove anything you want to.
      For example, I can use scripture to prove to you that left handed people are evil.
      "A wise man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left."
      – Ecclesiastes 10:2
      "The right hand of the lord doeth valiantly, the right hand of the lord is exalted."
      – Psalm 118 vv15,16
      So I guess all those lefties better switch dominant hands before Judgement day!

      Or what if I say that polygamy is divinely sanctioned?
      Genesis 4:19, Deuteronomy 21:15, Exodus 21:10, 1 Samuel 25:43, 1 Samuel 25:43, 2 Samuel 5:13, 2 Samuel 12:8, Genesis 32:32 and 2 Chronicles 11:21 would all back me up.
      As Robert Heinlein said, "The Bible is such a gargantuan collection of conflicting values that anyone can prove anything from it."

      April 12, 2011 at 8:39 am |
    • NL

      Point is, the at.itude of these Christians changed first, and then they looked to their Bibles and found what they wanted to support this new conviction. The Bible is very plastic this way, which is why it has survived for so long in the many changing societies we've had since Jesus.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:40 am |
    • David Johnson

      @The Bobinator

      You said, "What does that say about overall potential interpretations of the bible if two groups can hold totally opposite positions."

      There are ~38,000 different denominations of Christianity. What does this say about the overall potential interpretations?

      If there was an all powerful, all knowing, all good god, wouldn't you think He would provide a bible that was not ambiguous?

      Cheers!

      April 12, 2011 at 9:56 am |
    • NL

      David Johnson-
      "If there was an all powerful, all knowing, all good god, wouldn't you think He would provide a bible that was not ambiguous?"
      There is similar debate about the 'true' interpretation of the US Consti.tution, and it's authors were being careful not to be ambiguous. I think the problem ultimately always falls on the human compulsion to read personal bias into everything.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • CRAIG

      The word of God might might have told slaves how to act , but it never, to my knowledge condoned slavery.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @NL

      You said, "There is similar debate about the 'true' interpretation of the US Consti.tution, and it's authors were being careful not to be ambiguous. I think the problem ultimately always falls on the human compulsion to read personal bias into everything."

      The authors of the Consti_tution, were without question good and intelligent men. However,the men were not omniscient, omnipotent, and omnibenevolent (Actually even a god cannot be all 3 of these at the same time).

      1. If the Christian god exists, He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity.
      People attempt to discover and comprehend god's wants, by reading the bible.

      2. The bible god provided, is ambiguous.
      This fact is evidenced by there being 38,000 different denominations of Christianity.

      3. Therefore, the Christian god does not exist.

      Cheers!

      April 12, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
    • Franklin

      "1. If the Christian god exists, He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity.
      People attempt to discover and comprehend god's wants, by reading the bible."

      I don't see the ambiguity of God wanting us to accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior.

      "2. The bible god provided, is ambiguous.
      This fact is evidenced by there being 38,000 different denominations of Christianity."

      Splitting hairs is not ambiguity. Some doctrines believe in baptism at birth. Some believe in baptism after salvation. No Christian church argues that the way to heaven is through Jesus Christ.

      3. Therefore, the Christian god does not exist.

      as.sumptions 1&2 don't make 3 fact.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Is the glass half full or is it half empty? LOL.

      Amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:49 am |
    • HeavenSent

      I know this is difficult for you Doc Vestibule, but try to figure out what Right and Left means. LOL.

      amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 4:24 am |
    • NL

      Franklin and David-
      "1. If the Christian god exists, He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity.
      People attempt to discover and comprehend god's wants, by reading the bible."

      I don't see the ambiguity of God wanting us to accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior.

      –I have always wondered, in what sense can Jesus be a 'personal' savior when every Christian claims him as such, eh? That's like claiming as commonly used as Central Park as your own personal, private property. This would make him everyone's common public savior, not anyone's 'personal' savior, right?

      "2. The bible god provided, is ambiguous.
      This fact is evidenced by there being 38,000 different denominations of Christianity."

      Splitting hairs is not ambiguity. Some doctrines believe in baptism at birth. Some believe in baptism after salvation. No Christian church argues that the way to heaven is through Jesus Christ.

      –No, there are actually quite a few major contradictions in the Bible, more than enough to use the book to justify pretty much anything your heart desires, and plenty to indicate also that it's just the product of multiple authors who were only inspired by their own personal views of God. A partial list is posted at this link:

      http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jim_meritt/bible-contradictions.html

      3. Therefore, the Christian god does not exist.

      as.sumptions 1&2 don't make 3 fact.

      –There are levels of possibility with this, I think. The simple mountain deity of Moses is still pretty outlandish, but is far more likely to be real than the creator god of Genesis who, in turn, is far more believable than the Trinitarian god of Christians. Basically, the more convoluted you make this god the more it becomes apparent that Christians have been just making this stuff up on the fly, theologizing themselves into a corner, as it were. What the average Christian believes about God and how it all works really doesn't make sense whatsoever, so doesn't this simply tell you that it's just the product of human minds, and not some super-intelligent being?

      April 13, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Franklin

      "1. If the Christian god exists, He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity.
      People attempt to discover and comprehend god's wants, by reading the bible."

      You said: "I don't see the ambiguity of God wanting us to accept Jesus Christ as our personal savior."

      My reply: The different denominations hold different beliefs about the nature of Jesus, God, the second coming, Heaven, Hell, the rapture, what's necessary for salvation, glossolalia, the atonement, what happens to humans after death etc.

      The different denominations have a variety of conflicting beliefs about abortion, equal rights for gays, the death penalty, physician assisted suicide, origins of the universe and life on earth etc.

      The groups all base beliefs on their interpretation of the Bible.
      Each can show biblical verses that support their beliefs.

      If the Christian god exists, He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity.

      Companies desire employees to know their wants. Companies create employee handbooks, which give instructions to the employee on matters such as behavior that will cause their discharge, benefits, problem resolution, etc. The companies strive mightily to make their wants as clear and precise as possible.
      The ones I have seen, accomplish this. The bible fails on this. The employee handbooks are written by fallible humans. The bible, by an all powerful, all knowing, all good god. Hmm...

      "2. The bible god provided, is ambiguous.
      This fact is evidenced by there being 38,000 different denominations of Christianity."

      You said: "Splitting hairs is not ambiguity. Some doctrines believe in baptism at birth. Some believe in baptism after salvation. No Christian church argues that the way to heaven is through Jesus Christ."

      My reply: Christians believe Christ is the answer to their salvation. That's why it's called Christianity.

      If God's purpose, in creating the Bible, is to reveal to humans a knowledge of Him and to instruct them in leading lives that He approves of, Christians must be certain of the bible 's meaning.
      If Christians cannot be certain of the bible's meaning, then the belief that the bible is inerrant, falls apart. Christians cannot be certain of their god's wants.

      The bible is ambiguous. Evidenced by there being 38,000 different opinions on its interpretation. How can you deny this?

      "3. Therefore, the Christian god does not exist."

      You said: "as.sumptions 1&2 don't make 3 fact."

      My reply: The Christian god is omnibenevolent – So He would want everyone to know His wants exactly, to avoid strife and confusion.

      The Christian god is omniscient – So, He would know what would be necessary, to make each one of us understand His will exactly.

      The Christian god is omnipotent – So, He would be able to do whatever was necessary to make each one of us understand His will exactly.

      Yet, there are ~38,000 different denominations of Christianity. Each group comprised of good people, who honestly believe their interpretations of god's will is correct. Some, believing only their members will be saved.

      Therefore, the Christian god does not exist.

      Cheers!

      April 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Lycidas

      He would want everyone to know His wants, without ambiguity."

      How important is the spiritual journey to achieve truth and faith?

      April 15, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "Therefore, the Christian god does not exist."

      What is funny is that you painstakingly go through showing how many different versions of Christianity there is only to condemn all those groups with a gernal comment. Rather foolish on your part.

      God exists.

      Cheers!

      April 15, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  16. Reality

    "What do you think? Is it fair to invoke the Bible for political causes? Actually, it is not fair to invoke the bible for any cause or purpose. Why?

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity by the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" will converge these religions into some simple rules of life i.e. Do No Harm. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:11 am |
    • Free

      "Do no harm" – What if I want to get a tattoo or smoke a cigarette?
      Would you make a slave of me to control me? Fascist.
      You just want to control people, don't you?
      That's why you keep repeating yourself, isn't it?
      You want control and you think repeating your mantra is going to give you control, but it won't.
      You have no control over yourself, so why should I listen to you?
      Fascist.

      April 12, 2011 at 9:11 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Kenite!

      April 12, 2011 at 10:17 am |
  17. Sorahl

    I don't think it's right to invoke the Bible when we have a Constltution that is held as the Supreme Law of these United States of America.

    The Bible is just one of hundreds, if not thousands, of different religious texts used to justify every monstrous crime known to human kind.
    To rely upon it in the legal sense is to deny that same opportunity to all other religions. You would be denying those others what you think is a right or a freedom for you but not for them.
    This is one reason why we keep religion out of government. Any interpretation can be put on any text for any reason, and that is pretty unreliable from a legal standpoint.
    Your Bible does not trump the freedoms and rights we all enjoy.
    Those freedoms are what allow us to live in peace. Isn't it bad enough we have people running for President who believe in magic underwear?
    Is that why we should support slavery? Because of nonsensical thinking?

    Slavery is a crime against humanity. To justify it using vicious and disgusting texts written in the bad old days is more than just a little ridiculous and revolting.
    The Civil War was ALL about slavery and nothing else. Free slave labor is amazingly profitable, dontchano.

    April 12, 2011 at 8:05 am |
    • McDowell

      "The Bible is just one of hundreds, if not thousands, of different religious texts used to justify every monstrous crime known to human kind."

      I don't understand. When the Edomites, the Phillistines, the Sodomites, etc would perform such horrible acts as burning their own children, it was the believers who stepped up and fought against this.... Yet, it's also the believers that get the bad rap for being heinous. People claim Christians used the "follow us or be killed" philosophy, but wasn't it the Christians being slaughtered? Matthew suffered martyrdom in Ethiopia, killed by a sword wound. John faced martyrdom when he was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome. King Herod had James “put to death with the sword,” likely a reference to beheading... All apostles of Jesus. It seems like a lot of people here have been terribly misinformed.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:05 am |
    • HeavenSent

      My life, as I knew it was purposely destroyed by non-believers with big egos. But, you won't put that on the news.

      Amen.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Kyle

      HeavenSent you need so help dear child. Ever heard of the word forgiveness? You need to forgive those that trespassed on your soul only then can Christ heal your broken heart.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Kyle

      oops that was suppose to be some not so. If my life depended on typing skills I'd be dead. 😉

      April 12, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • grist

      McDowell: According to the Bible, the Israelites commited multiple genocides when they conquered land that they said their god told them was theirs to take. Are you really saying that the Israelites were better in some way than the other peoples around at the time?

      April 12, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • Kelly

      Mcdowell, were you there to witness Matthew suffered martydom in Ethiopai and John boiling in basin of water..lol....these is foolishness beyond belief!

      April 12, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Maybe

      HeavenSent,

      I (and my job) was once sabotaged by a Christian woman with a threatened ego. So what?

      April 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • NL

      McDowell-
      Perhaps it's a case of the oppressed outdoing what their oppressors did to them once the tables were turned? The Hebrews after Egyptian slavery became slave owners themselves, and employed military brutishness that surpa.ssed that of their former masters. Christians are martyred for their beliefs and then, centuries later when they have the power, they take their revenge out on the remaining pagans and any they find heretical. It seems that the lessons of the Bible can only be applied after old scores have been first settled. The same goes for the roles of hated groups, it seems. Some Christians love to cite Jesus' injunctions against the Pharisees without seeing how they comfortably slipped into that role themselves.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • McDowell

      NL-

      I agree. Now, if Christians would act more like Christ (as we are called to do) there would be much less of an uproar.

      April 12, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • elkly

      @kelly..were you there when T-rex made your chimpz ancestors for a snack?

      April 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Kyle, I did work on forgiveness. Forgiveness has nothing to do with asking for a lobotomy. I remember every detail. If you want history to repeat itself, tune others out. It must be nice never to have complete destruction happen in your life. Hopefully, our situations help you and others in your careers. Hey, someone had to do it and it obviously wasn't YOU.

      Amen.

      April 13, 2011 at 3:42 am |
    • NL

      McDowell-
      Problem is, many already do act like Christ, at least the way they see Christ: as a Rambo-like character who is all judgmental and more than willing solve his problems with superior violence at the end of days. I think that the world would be better off if Christians acted more like Jesus, a completely separate character.

      April 13, 2011 at 8:20 am |
    • McDowell

      NL –

      Jesus was who I was referencing. I used Christ as in "Christ"ian.

      April 13, 2011 at 8:59 am |
    • NL

      McDowell-
      My point was that there is very little of Jesus to see in the figure of Christ, at least how some Christians imagine him returning a la Revelation. There is a clear difference between the two characters, and I can't see how people can reconcile the two.

      April 13, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  18. Doc Vestibule

    When the American south was forced to rescind the Jim Crow laws and accept racial integration, it was Baptists who most strongly opposed equality.
    Wallie Criswell, an extremely popular and influential Southern Baptist Minister famously said "Let them integrate! Let them sit up there in their dirty shirts and make all their fine speeches. But they are all a bunch of infidels, dying from the neck up."
    Scarcely half a century later, the zeitgeist has shifted so radically that such open racism is considered abhorrent to the very same Christian sect that spouted scripture to justify insti.tutionalized bigotry.
    I fervently hope that the prevailing Baptist condemnation of ho.mose.xuality will soon be viewed with the same sense of shame that the memory of segregation elicits.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • HeavenSent

      So Doc. You were there and you know this from personal experience? You'll do anything to bash Christians. Why not write about all the Christians who helped folks out. Oh, yes, that's right. It's not on your evil agenda. You are worse than those folks you write about.

      Amen.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @HeavenSent
      Back at you, buddy.
      Is praising atheists who do good on your agenda?
      The Southern Baptist position regarding integration/abolition is historical fact.
      Criswell, who I quoted above, was president of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1968 to 1970.
      Ed Crowther's study “Southern Protestants, Slavery and Secession: A Study in Religious Ideology, 1830-1861”, concludes that the Baptist denomination significantly influenced the culture and society of the South in terms of championing slavery and embracing secession.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • LTIUAFO

      Being MALE (or FEMALE) is a question of BIRTH,

      Being a MAN (or WOMAN) is a question of CHOICE!

      Don't tell me "I was born this way." That is a pure and simple LIE! Choosing a lifestyle that is abhorent to God and attempts to redefine the FUNDAMENTAL BUILDING BLOCK OF SOCIETY (MARRIAGE!) can only lead to the distruction of said society as HISTORY CLEARLY TEACHES!!!

      WAKE UP! "Those who do not learn the lesson of history are CONDEMNED to repeat it!" Take another lap around the Sinai!

      April 13, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  19. Luke

    So the religious zealots tore apart the country. Got it.

    April 12, 2011 at 7:05 am |
    • Hory

      That was my take, too. Seems pretty clear to me.

      April 12, 2011 at 10:43 am |
    • Thor

      Atheists, for the most part, don't bother to read the Bible. Neither do Christians. They look at excerpts, hand-picked to support the view of the person making the argument. There's a project that will telll the stories of the Bible – – and not just the "feel good" parts - in a novel that has Jesus and the Apostles fighting zombies. In context.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Roy

      It is a proven fact that atheists analyze the Bible in a much more scrupulous manner than Christians. How do you think they found a reason to leave their faith? And don't say the Devil, because that's just silly.

      April 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • ScottK

      @Thor – "Atheists, for the most part, don't bother to read the Bible. Neither do Christians."

      Only half true, most atheists were Christians who only read the excerpts, then they decided to do some critical thinking and read the rest of the bible and said "Wait a minute, this cannot all be true, you can't have Jesus praying to himself and turning the other cheek in meekness and be the same guy as the God of the hebrews who was a jealous and violent God who punished his own people time and time again, stoned children and sent them into slavery to the Babylonians." Then, they start doing some research outside the bible and find out that neither the earth nor mankind are only 6000 years old but much much older, so much so that it throws the Genesis account out the window, along with the mountain of fosil evidence as well as DNA evidence to show that we and the animals are not so far different and share common ancestors. Then they become at least agnostic for a while, then some go all the way and say "I will not accept the possibility of God's existence until it is proven."

      April 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Rick

      @ScottK

      I'd say there is a fair amount of evidence to support either theory. The tipping point is presupposed beliefs. There is no trump card on either side because it would be considered fact, and nobody argues facts. Your same argument can be said for those that were taught evolution and an old earth in school, then did their research to find the possibility of a young earth based on scientific evidence.

      Sorry for the double post, it went to the wrong section.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • NL

      Thor-
      I have to agree with what Scott and Roy are saying. Any apparent cherry picking that atheists do is usually from the areas of the Bible that believers tend to avoid, and we do it in hopes of giving a more well-rounded portrayal of the Bible, warts and all. If we left all scripture quoting to the believers these troublesome pas.sages would never be cited.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:29 pm |
    • Luke

      Thor

      For what it's worth, it took reading the bible (and many versions of it) to push me over the edge to full blown atheism.

      April 12, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  20. Ikkstans

    The Bible, no matter what, will always be used for political purposes even though, I am a strong believer that it shouldn't be. Just like this article states: gay marriage may change, slavery may change, everything may change but there will always be that one person that still quotes those old verses and says, "no marriage for gays" and maybe even, "slavery!" Religious doctrine has always been an excuse for atrocities even though most of the time it is not meant for that. I have nothing against religion but religion and politics do not mix because Religious topics usually want peace and enlightenment, two things that politics finds not that important. Although times of peace are important and awesome (duh), it seems that if you bring religious dogma into the game, somebody somewhere is going to disagree with their entire being.

    Going to bring up gay marriage because it seems to be the hot one right now. And even better, I'm gay so this hits me directly. I'm also a Christian. How does this work eh? (Carefully, that's how it works). There will always be some conservative telling the nation that gay marriage will ruin the family and yet many of them have probably never even met a gay person in their entire life. That's my issue. Religious doctrine creates an instant stereotype against people that happen to be "sinners" or "not of this book" or whatever it may be. What are we to do at this point? There is no arguing with someone that claims "this is the Word of God that cannot be changed." it could say "stone the children" (which the Bible does say, but I won't get into that :P) and they would do it because...it's the Word of God. People seem to fall for anything if you put that label on things which is absolutely ridiculous.

    Even more terrifying is when those sorts of things are put over a populace that does not follow that certain dogma. This was seen during the time of the Crusades and the Catholic Church's European Campaigns to recruit. Pope Urban's tour of France sparked a lot of pilgrimages but also a lot of hate. Not just against the Muslim nations that most of those people knew NOTHING about but the neighboring Jewish communities. Rarely do people speak of the massacres that happened to the Jews at the time, but it happened a lot. Although Pope Urban did not specifically tell people to do this (as far as we know) it happened, and why? Many times it was political, the money and "bootey" that would be gained from the killing of the Jews but how many times was that clouded in religious things? Pope Urban gave out crosses and told people to "pick up their crosses and follow Christ" (as the Bible commands). Pick up their cross literally and walk across the Holy Land as Jesus did. But wait! there's an issue..it's taken by Muslims. Gotta kill them first then we can walk across the land and do as Christ commanded.

    Corruption. That's the only thing that can come from religion and politics being put together. The United States has (as I personally believe) done a decent job at this. Though there are some obvious things that need to be fixed, like gay marriage, but that's a work in progress. Tennessee wants to pass a Creationism Bill for Schools. Is anyone surprised? As the state that so famously hosted the Monkey Trials, nobody is surprised. If it passes then I"ll take back what I said about the US doing a decent job at keeping religion and politics separate.

    Guess we'll see what happens eh? xD

    April 12, 2011 at 6:25 am |
    • BG

      @ Ikkstans

      Public axe grinding via va gue and unsupported editorial. Very distasteful. Even if you're gay. Without applicable fact, no one even cares. Imagine, all that work just to vent. Maybe it's healthy. Do you feel better? I'm sorry they won't let you get married, but please don't be so short sighted as to blame the bible. The poor bible is just a simple scapegoat.

      The real reason is money. You -do- realize this, right?

      April 12, 2011 at 7:16 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > The poor bible is just a simple scapegoat.

      No, it's not. The bible is a source of morality for people who believe in it. The point is that when you accept something without critically examining it, you're going to potentially adpot ideas that are wrong.

      April 12, 2011 at 8:36 am |
    • jr

      its impossible to be gay and christian. Here me and repent

      April 12, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • ScottK

      Wng Jr...Theres more than one way to accept Christ...

      April 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Rick

      @ScottK

      I'd say there is a fair amount of evidence to support either theory. The tipping point is presupposed beliefs. There is no trump card on either side because it would be considered fact, and nobody argues facts. Your same argument can be said for those that were taught evolution and an old earth in school, then did their research to find the possibility of a young earth based on scientific evidence.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • ScottK

      @Rick – Was going for a bit of a double entendre

      JR was attempting to say its impossible to be g ay and christian, not because there have not been LOTS of christians who turned out to be g ay, but that those weren't real christians by his definition, and he's ent itled to his opinion. The research done by those with a lot more education than Jr or I suggests that being g ay is not a choice but a combination of several factors such as epigenetics, chromosomes, environment and/or social interactions at very young ages. I think most Christians think that its some dirty nasty choice made in peoples teens where they decide "Oh, I'm so h o r n y and un-christlike i'm gonna go get me some luvin no matter who it is!" though the facts do not support this view.

      April 12, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Rick

      @ScottK

      I would have to respectfully disagree. I believe being gay is a choice. I think some men might be more feminine by trait (or women/masculine), but the act of being gay is their choice. If we used your standards, we could say that murderers and rocket scientists are born, too. That's not the case. People may be born with a high susceptibility of anger, but they aren't murderers until they kill someone. Same with rocket scientists... they aren't born. Geniuses are, who then go to school for aeronautical engineering to become rocket scientists. It was their choice to follow that path, but many geniuses decide to do nothing with their intelligence. Just like many feminine males, who even might have an attraction to men, choose to be with women.

      April 12, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Dr. Steve

      lkkstans...

      So much can be said about your post. I have a question for you. Where do we draw the line with marriage? Say we allow gays to marry. Later, it becomes a trend for men to say "I love my daughter. I want to marry her." Would you approve of that? If not, why not? Isn't that what you are asking for... to marry someone you love? Then if you agree that he should be able to, and another trend comes around that women want to marry their dogs? They love their dogs, and all they want to do is marry the ones they love. You may say, but dogs and women can't procreate. Unfortunately, neither can men and men, or women and women, so that argument has to be thrown out. But if we are to say that men can't marry their daughters, and women can't marry their dogs we would be oppressing them. Again, where do we draw the line?

      Secondly, the idea of separation of church and state wasn't initially created to keep doctrine out of legislation, but to keep legislation from telling us as a nation how and what to worship (think modern day Sharia). It was meant that we should be free to worship whomever we want without government interference, as referenced in its original context in Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptists.

      April 12, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • ScottK

      @Rick – "I think some men might be more feminine by trait (or women/masculine), but the act of being gay is their choice." I would have to disagree with that myself, unless you believe that falling in love is a "choice" and not something that can just happen to people. You did not choose to be attracted to women, though I will admit, the case could be made that you made a choice to give in to those instinctual urges. The definition of h o m o s e xual is "1. a person who is s e xually attracted to members of the same s e x" World English Dictionary. By that definition being g ay is not a choice, and has nothing to do with the "act" that so many bible thumpers object to.

      April 12, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • really?

      @ jr
      Its the ignorant ones that are always against you... no one can "hear" you jr

      its impossible to be gay and christian. "Here" me and repent

      April 13, 2011 at 4:24 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.