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December 31st, 2011
10:00 PM ET

Why do Iowa’s evangelicals wield so much political clout?

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – At first blush, it’s just another standard-issue political rally.

Inside Mitt Romney’s Iowa headquarters – a former Blockbuster store on a commercial strip outside downtown – Romney and his wife, Ann, are introduced by former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty and his wife, Mary.

“It is an honor to be supporting Gov. Romney and Ann,” Mary Pawlenty tells the crowd of a couple hundred, a silver cross dangling from her neck. “They are good people, they share our values – these are people that we are delighted to call friends.”

How Mitt Romney's faith shaped him

A few moments later, Mitt Romney mentions his five sons and hands his microphone to 36-year-old Josh, who calls his dad “my hero.”

“He taught me my great love for this country,” Josh says, “and my great love for my family.”

Sounds like typical political posturing, right? Many Americans wouldn’t give such gestures a second thought.

But experts on religion and politics say the message to one particular subculture – evangelical Iowans – is clear: Mitt Romney may be Mormon, but he shares evangelical Christian values, including a rock-solid commitment to family, and counts high-profile evangelicals like the Pawlentys as friends and supporters.

“It’s less an attempt to create a trust among evangelicals and more to defuse a distrust,” says Dennis Goldford, a political science professor at Drake University in Des Moines.

Mark DeMoss, an evangelical PR specialist and Romney campaign adviser, puts a more positive spin on the strategy: “A number of evangelicals are really enthusiastic about him and have endorsed Romney, and for the same reason that I like him – he shares my values.”

Romney’s Mormonism and his past social liberalism have fed doubts about him among some evangelicals. But with the first-in-the nation Iowa caucuses just days away, the former Massachusetts governor is hardly the only candidate honing his message for evangelical Iowans.

Newt Gingrich has met with hundreds of evangelical pastors in the state, talking policy but also about past marital infidelity, which many Christians consider a sin. Rick Perry has given Sunday morning testimonials from the pulpits of Hawkeye State megachurches.

Newt Gingrich's faith narrative

And Rick Santorum, who is riding a late-breaking surge in Iowa polls, and Michele Bachmann have all but staked their candidacies on winning big among evangelical Iowans, claiming to be more conservative than the rest of the Republican field on hot-button issues like abortion and gay marriage.

How did one faith-based demographic come to wield so much power? The answer is basic math – and passion.

“Relatively few people participate in the Iowa caucuses, so it’s ideal for a group of highly committed activists to have a big influence,” says John Green, an expert on religion and politics at the University of Akron.

Unlike conventional primaries, Iowa’s caucuses, scheduled for Tuesday, require voters to attend what are essentially community get-togethers at which participants can speak publicly for candidates. It’s more cumbersome than pulling a lever in a voting both, and a relatively small minority of registered voters attend.

“Evangelical churches and interest groups have been able to generate that kind of activity,” Green says. “They’ve been active in Iowa for a long time, so a tradition has taken hold there.”

Rick Perry's long faith journey culminates in White House run

In 2008, evangelical Christians accounted for 60% of Republican caucus-goers. With just 119,000 Iowans participating in the GOP caucuses that year – high by historical standards – the bloc helped propel Mike Huckabee, a former Baptist preacher, to a first-place finish.

In previous election cycles, evangelicals accounted for a more modest share of the Iowa GOP electorate, but their ranks have nonetheless hovered around 40%.

That makes evangelical Iowans unusually influential even by the standards of the national Republican Party, in which evangelical Christians have constituted the base since Ronald Reagan was elected president.

From Carter to Bush

Despite the modern GOP-evangelical alliance, it was a Democrat who first tapped that power base in Iowa.

Jimmy Carter was the first presidential candidate in modern American politics to call himself a born-again Christian, and he spent long stretches in Iowa during his 1976 campaign. Finishing ahead of every candidate (“uncommitted” took first) there lent early momentum to a candidate who’d been virtually unknown nationally.

Before Carter, says Drake’s Dennis Goldford, “evangelicals didn’t participate in politics because it was seen as this “worldy, corrupting, evil thing, and you stayed away from it.”

Modern American evangelicalism emerged in the late 19th century, built around biblical literalism and an emphasis on human sin and redemption. The movement was largely a reaction to Darwin’s theory of evolution and questions that modern science raised about biblical authority.

The 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial, which struck down the teaching of evolution in Tennessee schools, turned the evangelical movement into a national laughingstock and provoked an evangelical retreat from politics.

Carter, a Baptist Sunday School teacher, brought them back together.

But many evangelicals wound up feeling betrayed by Carter’s liberalism, and Reagan’s courtship of first-generation Christian right leaders, as well as his conservative rhetoric on issues like abortion, sent hordes of evangelicals to the GOP.

In 1988, televangelist Pat Robertson finished second in the Iowa caucuses, ahead of then-Vice President George H.W. Bush, putting Iowa evangelical power on the national map. Says Goldford: “They came out of nowhere.”

In the 1990s, with the rise of Robertson’s Christian Coalition, many evangelicals landed positions of power within the Iowa Republican Party. Catholics and other religious believers also became more active in the state GOP, raising the profile of issues like abortion and marriage, but they could not compete in number with the evangelicals.

Since then, Republican presidential hopefuls have tailored their messages to evangelical Iowans. When George W. Bush was asked which political philosopher had most influenced him in a debate before the 2000 Iowa caucus, he responded “Jesus.”

A diluted role?

In this election cycle, all the Republican presidential candidates have spoken deeply about their personal Christian faith while in Iowa, except for Romney and Jon Huntsman, both Mormons.

After spending considerable time in Iowa in 2008, much of it courting evangelicals, Romney placed second, far behind Huckabee. This time around, Romney has spent much less time here, skipping some major evangelical cattle calls and unleashing the ire of some powerful Christian activists.

Huntsman, for his part, has ignored Iowa to focus his efforts on New Hampshire, which votes a week after Iowa.

A CNN/TIME/ORC poll last week found that Romney had the support of 16% of likely evangelical caucus-goers in Iowa, compared to 22% for Santorum, 18% for Ron Paul and 14% for Gingrich, who had much higher evangelical support in earlier Iowa polls.

“Romney’s campaign has a very deliberate plan to snub social conservatives,” says Steve Scheffler, president of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition, a key conservative group in the state.

“If Romney becomes the nominee,” Scheffler says, “95% of his volunteers will need to come from the conservative base. If he’s dissed them through the caucus process, it’s going to be challenging for him to get these people to campaign for him to become president.”

Scheffler is a testament to evangelical influence in the caucuses; his group has hosted caucus trainings in churches across the state in the run-up to January 3.

Most evangelical leaders insist their skepticism of Romney is born of his past social liberalism. But some in-the-pews evangelicals, interviewed at a pair of Iowa evangelical churches on a recent Sunday, admitted to an anti-Mormon bias.

Many believe that Mormons – who, unlike traditional Christians, believe in holy books beyond the Bible and practice customs like posthumous proxy baptism – belong to a cult.

“A growing number of people are afraid to vote for him because they are not sure how his Mormonism will affect his presidency,” says Jonathan Meyer, a pastor at Grace Church in Des Moines. “And because he doesn’t talk about that.”

Other Iowan evangelicals say Romney’s Mormonism isn’t a deal-breaker. “We talked about it in my Bible study,” says Patrick Finnegan, 27, who attended a recent Romney rally wearing a blue “Romney supporter” T-Shirt. “And we said as long as he believes in Jesus Christ, and as long as he’s not an atheist, we support him. I just want someone who shares my belief in a higher power.”

Other Iowa evangelicals echoed that view, calling Romney a Christian.

One complicating factor in the evangelical equation is that the main alternative to Romney as a viable national candidate appears to be Gingrich. The former House speaker has strenuously courted evangelical leaders and aided last year’s successful campaign to unseat three pro-gay marriage Iowa judges but has admitted to personal moral failings, including an affair with his current wife while married to his second wife.

Many Iowa evangelicals say Gingrich has redeemed himself. “I appreciate Newt acknowledging that he needs forgiveness,” says Meyer, who speaks with a Bible tucked under his arm in the Christmas-tree bedecked lobby of Grace Church. “He didn’t have to address that.”

Others are less enthusiastic.

“There’s not enough attention being paid to Newt’s fall from grace,” says Beverly McLinden, 55, an Iowa evangelical who works in association management and attended the Des Moines Romney rally. “Romney’s family exemplifies family values, and you can’t discount that just because he’s a Mormon.”

Evangelical angst over Gingrich and Romney has helped fuel Santorum’s surge, with the former Pennsylvania senator receiving 16% support in the most recent CNN poll, putting him in third place, behind Romney and Paul.

No candidate had even 25% of evangelical support in the most recent poll, raising the possibility that Iowa’s evangelical vote will be pretty diluted this week.

“This vote is terribly critical,” says Ralph Reed, who leads the national Faith and Freedom Coalition. “But the irony is that with this many candidates all appealing to this constituency at the same time, the vote is likely to get spread out.”

‘Democrats are trying to strip God out’

If Iowa’s evangelicals disagree on whom to support, interviews with dozens of them reveal a striking consistency in the role their faith plays in shaping that decision.

Even as the economy and jobs consistently rank as top issues in the presidential race, many evangelical Iowans say they’re weighing the personal faith of the candidates and that they still care about social issues and honoring the country’s Judeo-Christian heritage.

“Most of the folks I’ve dealt with in the evangelical community always care about the economy and spending and taxes,” says Santorum, who has spent most of his time as a presidential candidate campaigning in Iowa. “But the priority issues that have always been up front are the moral, cultural issues.”

“They want to make sure that it’s someone who is comfortable in their skin to fight those battles,” says Santorum, a devout Catholic who has nonetheless landed on TIME’s list of America’s 25 most influential evangelicals.

Gail Johnson, a dentist’s assistant who was heading into Grace Church – a megachurch whose sanctuary is hung with giant Christmas wreaths and a back-lit cross – agrees.

“I have no clue who I’m voting for, other than that it will be a Republican,” she says. “Smaller government and no abortion are the two big issues for me.”

Grace Church is the kind of congregation where worshippers take notes during the sermon, which on this Sunday focused on the importance of believing in Jesus’ virgin birth.

Sue Cornelius-Leibrand, an accountant who also attends Grace, says she would prefer “a president who believes in the same things that I do.”
“I know they won’t agree with everything,” says Cornelius-Leibrand, who wears diamond earrings and carries a stylish black bag and a leather-bound bible with a pink strap. “But the main things, like life beginning at conception and marriage between a man and a wife.”

Many evangelicals cite what they see as religion’s shrinking role in the public square as another concern. “This nation was founded on Christian ethics and that’s what made the country great,” says Sue Raibikis, a pharmaceutical sales rep and an evangelical Christian who attended the Romney rally. “Democrats are trying to strip God out of the country.”

Republican candidates are addressing those concerns in different ways. Gingrich talks about stopping a secular war on religion. Perry gives Christian testimony, telling worshippers at Des Moines’ Point of Grace Church on a recent Sunday: “There’s a hole in one’s heart that can only be filled by one thing.”

Santorum and Bachmann are emphasizing their voting records on hot buttons like abortion, saying other candidates just talk about these issues.

The jockeying introduced a major shot of religion to the presidential race from the very start, a contribution that some political experts argue threatens to curtail Iowa’s influence in the nominating process.

“The strength of evangelicals in the Iowa Republican Party could turn into a weakness if they are seen as so strong that Republicans around the nation begin to discount the results of the caucuses,” says Drake University’s Goldford.

“You’re beginning to see some of that – McCain chose not to campaign here last time,” he says. “And Romney hasn’t been here much this time.”

The state’s track record for picking Republican winners is mixed. Huckabee, for instance, won big in Iowa but lost his party’s nomination. But George W. Bush and Bob Dole won Iowa and went on to the GOP nomination.

The Republican primary calendar, if nothing else, will strengthen the influence of Iowa and its evangelicals, argues Green, of the University of Akron.

New Hampshire, with fewer evangelicals, follows Iowa in primary voting. But the next in line is South Carolina, where 60% of voters in the last Republican presidential primary identified as evangelicals.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Iowa • Michele Bachmann • Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Politics • Rick Santorum

soundoff (837 Responses)
  1. Grammar Nazi

    What do CNN have so much copy editing?

    January 1, 2012 at 4:08 am |
    • rgill

      You would think that with as much spin as they put into headlines, they would have spotted that by now.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  2. Elvis

    It looks like the evangelicals are admitting that Christianity is false and that Mormonism is the true doctrine.

    January 1, 2012 at 4:08 am |
  3. allenwoll

    DANGER ! ! ! . Serious Danger ! ! ! . Theocracy NOT Welcome ! ! !

    January 1, 2012 at 4:07 am |
    • Jesus

      I couldn't even imagine an Ike or Goldwater kowtowing to evangelicals, conducting "hundreds" of meetings with church leaders, and trying to impress church leaders with their morality. These evangelicals didn't play a role in politics at that time. Today they call the shots in the GOP. Well, a staunch beliver (in Bronze Age thinking) loses my vote and hopefully trhe vote of every, gay, atheist, moderate, and independent thinker out there. Christians are 60% of this counrty, but evangelicals are perhaps only 15-20% of all voters. Nonbelievers are 16% (by survey), gays are 11%, and moderates perhaps 35%. Do the math Romney...

      January 1, 2012 at 10:05 am |
  4. JFB

    Ted Haggard

    January 1, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • Jesus

      Romney personifies the sleaze in politics. What deals is he willing to make to satiate the evangelical nutcases?

      January 1, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  5. Greg Powell

    May you and I both have our best year ever of abiding in Jesus, being filled by the Holy Spirit, and resting in Abba's arms. May we love with God's love and patience, battle with God's power and courage, and walk in His ways and will. Since His desire is that every single human on earth be saved and come to a full knowledge of the truth, may we pray and work to that end, trusting in His power, crying out for His grace and mercy. May we be more conformed to His moral likeness and less conformed to the world system than ever. May we bring more pleasure to God, more cause for celebration to the holy angels, and more frustration to the demons than ever. May this be our best year ever because God got so much glory from our broken, humbled, devoted, obedient lives; and because so many hurting, screwed up, sinful image-bearers experienced unmerited, non-judgmental, affectionate, and sacrificially practical love when they let us into their lives; and because we were more zealously focused than ever on the expansion of the Kingdom of Jesus, one heart at a time... starting with our own.

    January 1, 2012 at 3:35 am |
    • Bernard Webb

      Wow, after reading your post I feel like I just spent an hour in some far-out church service. Yuck.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Jesus

      What a zombie!!! Grow a brain, you schmuck!

      January 1, 2012 at 10:11 am |
    • Janine from TX

      Gag me.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  6. George

    If you deny God, you deny the roots of this nation. Evangelicals do not wield "so much" political power. We are just asserting our rights under the Const.itution. Right now, we have less political power than the evil people. Remember it's "one nation under God."

    January 1, 2012 at 2:22 am |
    • wrong

      everyone knows the phrase "one nation under god" was added in 1954 in a response to the "red scare"

      January 1, 2012 at 3:28 am |
    • Bejesus

      Owned, nice work.

      January 1, 2012 at 5:01 am |
    • pat carr

      "everyone knows the phrase "one nation under god" was added in 1954 in a response to the "red scare""

      that's correct. and the "evil people"? those ARE the evangelicals.

      January 1, 2012 at 5:59 am |
    • Bernard Webb

      You sound brainwashed.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Jake

      God didn't write those words..."one nation under God". Man did because...it strikes fear into some people's hearts. Maybe yours.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:50 am |
  7. AGuest9

    Idiots making political decisions. Isn't that how Duhhhh ended up in office, then was elected?

    January 1, 2012 at 1:10 am |
  8. Peppermint Patty

    This has to a joke. Yes indeed. Marriage between a man and his wife should be be important. Are you kidding me ? Duh. Of course the fact that what someone ELSE does, and what they call it, has absolutely no impact on the those two, or the as'sumption that it somehow might, is THE most ridiculous nonsense that non-critical thinkers have spouted in years. Unless she is afraid her husband is going to run off with the neighbor guy. It just all about pe–s envy.

    January 1, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Learning to speak the Truth in Love
    Prayer changes things
    Find peace with God
    Through Jesus Christ in 2012

    December 31, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Talking to yourself changes NOTHING.

      January 1, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • Mark Taylor

      For all those atheists that somehow believe science is on their side. From Freeman Dyson, one of the greatest physicists of the 20th century:

      Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but they look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect. Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction, when either religious or scientific dogma claims to be infallible. Religious creationists and scientific materialists are equally dogmatic and insensitive. By their arrogance they bring both science and religion into disrepute. The media exaggerate their numbers and importance. The media rarely mention the fact that the great majority of religious people belong to moderate denominations that treat science with respect, or the fact that the great majority of scientists treat religion with respect so long as religion does not claim jurisdiction over scientific questions.

      Being an atheist seems like a pop culture choice these days. So many people tout and spout a belief and put down faith even though they have not really taken the time to study both sides of this question. It's the biggest question in each life. I read so much about Cosmology and String Theory, Neuroscience and of course Faith. The more I read on the Science side of things, the more it strengthens my sense of wonder and faith. If the early universe had not expanded at EXACTLY the right rate, hydrogen would never have formed from subatomic particles. No hydrogen, no stars. No stars, no supernovae. No supernovae, no heavier elements from which life can arise, stand up, think and contemplate "how did we get here?"

      January 1, 2012 at 7:24 am |
  10. Iqbal Khan

    Happy new Year to ALL!
    May this New Year bring the best for all of us,
    May there be no more wars
    May we don't start another War
    No matter what
    Lets end all Wars big or small
    Lets end the occupation,subjucation and undue restrictions on all
    May we Live, Love and let Live all,
    We save the seals,the whales,the Tigers and the Forests we worry for the one inthe wombs
    Yet we kill innocent, women,childern,old and young and we call colletral,pre-emptive terror -ist or for peace
    May God give us some sense to understand our actions before we do wrong!
    Peace

    December 31, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
  11. ???????

    Atheists + Lemmings on death march

    December 31, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • ?

      Can we spare the lemmings? They're just cute little rodents you know.

      December 31, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

      Lemmings follow their leaders blindly – atheists do not have leaders, but religious people do. And they definitely are blindly following – no critical thought or questioning allowed.

      Atheists are not obsessed with death – they are in search of the fullest possible life. It's is religious people who are obsessed with death, and happily marching towards it, expecting a magical wonderland for them and the most delicious torture chamber for everyone who does not agree with them. It is very sick to believe in such an afterlife that will hurt all those you want hurt. And it has utterly NO supporting evidence for its existence.

      Sick, sick sick. Religious people are deluded and sick.

      December 31, 2011 at 11:34 pm |
    • Time to repudiate more Christian vomit

      Why would a god create nice little furry animals like that, and then make them kill themselves?

      Why would a god make cancer or birth defects?

      God is very weird.

      December 31, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
    • Neil Young

      WHEN GOD MADE ME

      Was he thinking about my country,
      or the colour of my skin?
      Was he thinking about my religion,
      and the way I worshipped him?
      Did he create just me in his image,
      or every living thing?

      When God made me.
      When God made me.

      Was he planning only for believers,
      or for those who just had faith?
      Did he envision all wars
      that were fought in his name?
      Did he say there was only one way
      to be close to him?

      When God made me.
      When God made me.

      Did he give me the gift of love
      to say who I could choose?

      When God made me.
      When God made me.
      When God made me.

      Did he give me the gift of voice
      so some could silence me?
      Did he give me the gift of vision
      not knowing what I might see?
      Did he give me the gift of compassion
      to help my fellow man?

      When God made me.
      When God made me.
      When God made me.

      December 31, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
    • Mark Taylor

      Freeman Dyson (Wikipedia him, you'll be very surprised):

      Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but they look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect. Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction, when either religious or scientific dogma claims to be infallible. Religious creationists and scientific materialists are equally dogmatic and insensitive. By their arrogance they bring both science and religion into disrepute. The media exaggerate their numbers and importance. The media rarely mention the fact that the great majority of religious people belong to moderate denominations that treat science with respect, or the fact that the great majority of scientists treat religion with respect so long as religion does not claim jurisdiction over scientific questions."

      January 1, 2012 at 7:28 am |
  12. Joseph

    When I was a child, it was my understanding that the President was to protect the interest of all Americans , and not to impose his or her belief on others.

    I do not like Obama , but , with the exception of Ron Paul, no other person has made it clear they really want a smaller Fed and less interference in how individuals live their lives.

    Lets be real okay , because there is a difference between the Fed and States telling churches how they can run their internal affairs and the churches using their political power to impose their beliefs on others.

    The issue I have had with the Republican party since the Reagan is that they actually want a larger Fed that allows them to impose their morals on others.

    December 31, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Steve

      Look at the list of bills that Ron Paul has sponsored/co-sponsored. He's all about forcing his beliefs on others.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  13. supreme

    why so many butthurt atheists?

    December 31, 2011 at 11:27 pm |
    • Bernard Webb

      Why such an asinine remark?

      January 1, 2012 at 8:22 am |
    • Jesus

      Why so many NONthinking Christian zombies?

      January 1, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Janine from TX

      Probably because people have found education for the past several hundred years and have progressed past the Dark Ages.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    To speak with God is the breath of life

    December 31, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Feenum

      When God speaks to you, you are legally insane.

      December 31, 2011 at 11:28 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Love is the voice of God

      December 31, 2011 at 11:32 pm |
    • Feenum

      Gas and lesbians feel love too. Therefore God is also gay and lesbian.

      December 31, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
  15. Bob

    Break the chains. Ask some questions. Be free of religion and other supersti-tions in 2012.
    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

    December 31, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • Mark Taylor

      Freeman Dyson (look him up) Enough of Big Science vs Self Righteous Religion:

      Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but they look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect. Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction, when either religious or scientific dogma claims to be infallible. Religious creationists and scientific materialists are equally dogmatic and insensitive. By their arrogance they bring both science and religion into disrepute. The media exaggerate their numbers and importance. The media rarely mention the fact that the great majority of religious people belong to moderate denominations that treat science with respect, or the fact that the great majority of scientists treat religion with respect so long as religion does not claim jurisdiction over scientific questions.

      January 1, 2012 at 7:39 am |
  16. observation

    Religion...blah blah blah zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    December 31, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Bernard Webb

      Amen.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:22 am |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    There is power behind prayer
    Power of the Kingdom of God
    Power of an Eternal Kingdom
    Kingdom people wield Kingdom power

    December 31, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Prove any one of your claims.

      December 31, 2011 at 10:40 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Come on, ya bum. Hurry up. Just one will do. Be sure you can cite your source of proof other than the "bibble".

      December 31, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      To know Jesus is to know Truth
      Pray without ceasing in 2012
      Salvation for the nation in 2012

      December 31, 2011 at 11:05 pm |
    • Bob

      Break the chains. See past the rhetoric. Ask some questions. Be free of religion and other supersti-tions in 2012.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      December 31, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Teach Evolution in Church

      Is that what voices in your head tell you to say?

      January 1, 2012 at 4:32 am |
    • Steve

      Want to know the power of prayer?

      Whenever someone asks you for something, tell them that you'll pray for them instead.

      "Hey, you've got a truck, can you help me move?"
      "No, but I'll pray for you."

      "Hey, I'm a little short this week, can I borrow $20?"
      "No, but I'll pray for you."

      "Mommy, what did I get for my birthday?"
      "Nothing, but I'll pray for you."

      I guarantee you'll see the power of prayer then.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer is not a vehicle
      Designed to omit personal responsibility
      Prayer is communication with God
      Pray without ceasing in 2012

      January 1, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • George Marshall

      Abject nonsense!

      January 1, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  18. Keith

    Sure would be nice if foreign enti-ties would keep their noses out of our domestic electoral processes. I think it's called the Iowa caucus-not the Flin Flon flap.

    December 31, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why is it such a threat to you, dimwit? You have a hard time figuring out that not everyone who thinks you're a dolt is from Canada.

      December 31, 2011 at 10:26 pm |
    • Bob

      Yep. Keith is a dolt.

      Break the chains. Ask some questions. Be free of religion and other supersti-tions in 2012.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      and Keith, get a life.

      December 31, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Twisty Turny

      Now Tom and Bob, that was a really horrible thing to say. You should both be ashamed of yourselves for insulting dolts by comparing them to Keith.

      December 31, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
  19. :(

    /thread

    December 31, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  20. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Why do they? Because people are idiots.

    December 31, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
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About this blog

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.