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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. Reality

    Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/Disease:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

    To wit;

    From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

    "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
    Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

    Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

    Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

    The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

    Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

    "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
    http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

    The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

    Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

    With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

    An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

    p.4

    "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

    p.168. by Ted Peters:

    Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

    So where are the bones"?

    As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

    January 2, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • .........

      hit report abuse do not read reality posts are garbage

      January 2, 2012 at 7:51 am |
  2. smum

    Quoting the Washington Post from several decades ago..."the poor, uneducated, and easy to command". Meet the evangelicals of the GOP. Brainwshed by a bunch of wealthy and educated republican opportunists of the like of Pat Robertson and Ralph Reed, who use them as the fools they are. As a christian, I pray to God to save our country from this plague.

    January 1, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  3. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Hearts, minds and bodies
    Drawn to the Kingdom of God
    By the Truth spoken in love

    January 1, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What has prayer changed? Do tell, dufus.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Prayer has changed the course of human history.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      An inconvenient truth, you have made this claim a number of times without providing any supporting evidence. Please provide factual, independent, verifiable evidence for your claim.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Prayer changed the slave trade, Joan of arc prayed and changed the course of France. Is that the type of reference you demand?

      January 1, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      inconvenient,,,no not a reference we asked for evidence...you cannot prove that prayer changes anything.

      January 1, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Tom

      Really! you believe praying changes anything.
      With as many people that pray everyday and in the past, you think we would live in a Perfect Utopia, Zannadou, etc if all that praying Really helped.
      Unless you believe that only you and your church are saved, and God only hears You. Everyone must be really screwing things up for God to be so angry huh.
      Your Religeon only limits you to science the way they want you to believe it in your church,
      ( eg. Bush W. Was so against stem cell research because it interfered with his contributions... I mean Religion, That he set research back almost a decade here in USA), and to try to understand the beginning of our (manmade) time by some great powerful Oz God. well just depends on what religion your talking about (Scientology). Just look how many differences there are in just the protestant christains, none agree but all claim that they are the TRUE Religion...don't make sense, but a lot of the Bible doesn't make sense either if you actually read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John....some of the stories contridict themselves eg. read about the crusifixion by the different authors, they are different stories ..

      Ask a real scholor of religion his true thoughts and they will differ from many from what they preach from the pulpits

      January 2, 2012 at 12:02 am |
    • Atheism = Realest

      Blind Faith ....So cute!

      January 2, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Larry L

      The fact that your diety requires you to beg for favors is quite enlightening. It's a like a Junior High kid with a magnifying glass burning ants. He is the lord and master and only the ants who gain his favor shall survive. What a ridiculous and totally unsubstantiated concept. People pray constantly and bad thing happen constantly. If some outcome is positive you give God credit. Why? If he/she is really all-powerful a good outcome could happen every time. Why should you need to beg? That is similar to the biggest prayer of all... for "salvation". If the diety placed you on Earth just to face this "trial" and if that diety was willing to condemn you to an eternity of torture for failing to make the cut – it's the junior high kid again. Who would be such a monster?
      lvation".

      January 2, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Lenny Pincus

      Dubya prayed a lot and messed up every single thing he touched. All these winger candidates said they prayed and God told them to run. Stonewall Jackson prayed all the time, right up to getting his arm shattered by a Confederate bullet. Robert E. Lee prayed a lot, and said after the Civil War he wished he had never been in the military. Seems like prayer can work in ways detrimental to the prayer makers. BTW, I pray.

      January 2, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Historical fact or reference is evidence. You require the word evidence in the reply?Unlimited evidences for prayer throughout history. FDR prayed for the nation and with the nation on June 6,1944 for success in the Normandy invasion. George S Patton prayed for favorable weather to enable the relief of Bastogne Belgium December !944. George Muller was known for very specific and personal prayers being answered on a daily basis. John Newton,William Wilberforce, Martin Luther King Jr,Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, Albert Simpson,Ravi Zacharias, Chuck Colson all men of prayer with both recorded prayers and results.
      Or Martin Luther who prayed and changed the entire direction Christianity was going?

      January 2, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Inconvenient's Proof for Knuckleheads

      Pray that a coin comes up heads and you will see that prayer works about 50% of the time! Bwahahaahahaha!

      January 2, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • HotAirAce

      An inconvenient truth, please go research anecdotal evidence, correlation and cause and effect. We are looking for 100% confirmed and repeatable cause and effect. But just for fun, if FDR was able to pray for success at Normandy, why didn't he just pray for the Nazis to surrender and avoid all the bloodshed?

      January 2, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • justin opinion

      Do you actually tell the truth? Just admitting "I don't know" will help you obey your 9th commandment, and not make you all look like a bunch of hypocrites to your own religious beliefs.

      FYI "children and other living things" are neither atheists nor theists, those false labels are created and imposed by adult humans in their desire to be seen as something other than what they are. We are born neither. We are born free, then raised in bondage, enslaved within the ignorance of our ancestors. Stifling the true progress of mankind, through our selfish desires to preserve the self created and cherished beliefs of our ancestors.

      Religion is supposed to help an individual become free from egoistic desires, yet it's all that the staunch religious (and atheists) seem to want. They want to be perceived as right, no matter the cost to others. The "absolute truth" to every "absolute question" is always "I do not know."

      Peace.

      January 2, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Prayer has changed the course of human history, evidence given as to what has been. There is no evidence as to what might have been if. There is no what if, because what if did not happen.

      January 2, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • just sayin

      Jesus said "allow the little children to come to me (Jesus) and do not forbid them, for such (the little children) is the Kingdom of Heaven."

      January 2, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      An, that is the most ridiculous statement I've seen in some time. What kind of idiot thinks that the fact that because one thing happened and another didn't, it's proof that some prayer worked? Don't you think the people who lived in Dresden prayed to God to spare them? Did that work? Don't you think that the folks in the twin towers prayed to God to help them? Don't you think that people in every nation pray to God to "bless" THEIR countries? Didn't the Germans pray they'd conquer the world? Prayer doesn't work simply because you imagine it does. What kind of crazy are you?

      January 2, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  4. marc

    Religious=mentally challenged. Evangelical=retarded

    January 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Mark from Middle of Nowhere=dumber than any of them.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
  5. stormsun

    After 40+ years as a registered Republican, I am through with the party. I can't stomach the party any longer and the reason is illustrated in this story: the GOP has been co-opted by the religious zealots of the extreme right, who want quite simply to force their beliefs on others by codifying them into law, since they cannot convince others to voluntarily join their fundamentalist cults.

    The Democrats, with their delusion of a world made better by socialism, are no better. A pox on both your houses.

    January 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • J.V.Hodgson

      Stoymsun firs paragraph absolutely on the button.
      Second paragraph eqully OFF button. democrats in America = Socialists you need to ,look at France, Germany and UK political votes and systems, then you might understabd the difference between an American Democrat and a real Socialist.
      Regards,
      Hodgson.

      January 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  6. achepotle

    I don't believe in any of that crap, but if I *did*, I would assume that Satan was the head evangelical...evil, hateful, ignorant mofos that they are.

    January 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
  7. JennyTX

    All this because of the far-fetched theory of a virgin birth that took place 2000 years ago??

    January 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  8. cmoore56

    Hahahahaha, the Devangelicals are surely becoming demonized, because that's what they truly are: DEVILS!!!!

    January 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  9. Pedagoguish

    Evangelicals are guilty of the worst-possible sin: they drive souls away from Christ. By politicizing the Gospels, they alienate the majority of people who may be influenced by the word of God, but are driven away by the narrow-minded and ignorant way evangelicals interpret that word. They should separate their political lives from their spiritual lives, both in their churches and in their personal lives. Otherwise they may be mightily surprised when they run into their friends in Hell.

    January 1, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • stormsun

      They have certainly alienated me. I did not vote for their religious "leaders," and I will vote against any of the weak-willed political candidates who allow these self-appointed ayatollahs to dictate policy in the United States.

      Put simply: I don't tell you how to worship God as you see fit; do not tell me how to live my life to force me to comply with YOUR beliefs.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  10. Tom

    I'll tell you why. One Sunday a couple weeks before election day my minister had the ushers to hand out a paper to everyone. While the ushers worked the minister spoke: "If I were to tell you who to vote for, then we could lose our tax-exempt status--But I will say this...This handout lists the candidates in our area on the left side and their record on abortion on the right. You do as the Lord is speaking to your heart". I think THAT had a lot to do with my divorce from established religion. I don't want America to become a theocracy, the world's been there, done that and it wasn't pretty. I just keep my faith private.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Cathy

      So, in a word, "amen" to you. However, good Dog almighty! The more the Rethuglicants try to shove religion and religiosity down my throat, the more I'm going to throw up!!!

      January 1, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • stormsun

      It is ime for thinking people in America to re-assert the right to religious freedom, which begins and ends with maintaining the separation between church and state just as Jefferson, Washington, Paine, and so many others wisely counseled.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
  11. Annette

    Jesus cannot be both created and not created at the same time. Though Mormonism teaches that Jesus is God in flesh, it teaches that he is "a" god in flesh, one of three gods that comprise the office of the Trinity (Articles of Faith, by Talmage, pp. 35-40). These three gods are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This is in direct contradiction of the biblical doctrine that there is only one God (Isaiah 44:6,8; 45:5). See Trinity for a correct discussion of what the Trinity is (see also, false trinity)

    Because Mormonism denies the biblical truth of who God is, who Jesus is, how forgiveness of sins is attained, and what the gospel is, the Mormon is not Christian - in spite of all his claims that he is Christian. Quite simply, the Mormon god doesn't exist.
    PLEASE READ: Is Mormonism Christian by Matt Slick

    January 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Pedagoguish

      Ridiculous theological hairsplitting. What counts is the type of person you are. Most Mormons have excellent family values, are hard working, and moral. I'll take this kind of person as President whether he's a Baptist, a Jew, a Mormon, or an atheist. You right-wing Christian nut cases can crawl back into your holes any time now. Stop your damn moralizing; stop being so judgmental, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS!

      January 1, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • MeganColorado

      Annette–Christians need to be very careful in deciding who is the REAL God. Keep in mind that the last people who decided Jesus couldn't be the real messiah, were the religious leaders and scriptorians of the day. Not only did they get the REAL individual wrong, they killed Him. They of all people should have recognized Him and the truth, yet they didn't, Very sobering thought. How do you know you are not being guilty of the same? If you check out the the history of the trinity concept, you'll discover that it was a group of men 300 years after Christ who determined who the REAL godhead–not very reliable–men are not perfect. Be very careful not to pass on wild rumors about a group of people who are committed to following Jesus as you are. Jesus can choose His own friends. He doesn't need evangelicals to do it for Him.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • MeganColorado

      Until God Himself writes a book that says, "Mormonism is not Christianity," I'm not biting. Who is this author writing books on Mormonism? What authority does he have to lay claim to truth? Why do we care what this MAN has to say? Doesn't the Bible warn individuals about the sin of spreading falsehoods against others? You would do better to commit your life to being a better person than in finding fault with anyone else–you'll look a lot better during judgement day.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
  12. AvdBerg

    Dan Gilgoff wrote:

    “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.”

    Furthermore he wrote:

    “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,”

    The article by Dan Gilgoff was all falsehood.

    The definition of a ‘Christian’ is to be a follower of Christ. Evangelicals do not follow after Jesus Christ but rather an image of a false god and a false Christ (Matthew 24:24).

    The United States was not founded on Christian ethics and Christ’s teachings and as a result the foundations of the country are not only being shaken but are being shattered as the people prefer to follow darkness over light (John 3:19).

    We invite you to read Chapter 23 of the Book of Jeremiah and read about God’s judgment and justice in the earth.

    Revelation 12:9. … which deceiveth the whole world.

    John 12:25. He that loveth his life, shall lose it (Luke 9:24; 17:33).

    2 Timothy 2:4. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life (that includes politics).

    John 17:16. They (the believers) are not of the world.

    Romans 8:5. Human nature and friendship with the world is enmity with God (James 4:4).

    1 John 5:4. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.

    It should be remembered that even Jesus Christ did not pray for this world (John 17:9; 1 John 5:19).

    Yes, Mitt Romney is a Mormon but he does not share the teachings of Christ. In fact he cannot understand them as they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). For a better understanding of the history of the Mormon Church and its secret agenda, we invite you to read the article Mormon Church ~ Cult and Spiritual Harlot, listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    For a better understanding of the above and what it means to be a Christian, we invite you to read the article ‘Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?’ listed on our website.

    Also, to give people a better understanding of the principalities and destructive forces (Eph. 6:12) behind the Media, US Politics and the issues that divide this world, we invite you to read the article ‘CNN Belief Blog ~ Sign of the Times’.

    All of the other pages and articles will explain how and by whom this world has been deceived as confirmed by the Word of God in Revelation 12:9 and they will also explain what mankind must do to be reunited with God and to be able to understand the Bible.

    He that is spiritual judgeth (discerneth) all things, yet he himself is judged of no man (1 Cor. 2:15; 14:37; Proverbs 28:5; Gal. 6:1; Col. 1:9; John 3:8; 5:30; 8:15; 16:8-11).

    Seek, and ye will find (Matthew 7:7).

    January 1, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Catca

      When you ask others to respect your religious faith, you should extend the same courtesy of respect towards their faith.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • MeganColorado

      Seriously? "For a better understanding of Christ... check out our website." Who are you? What justifies you to have the direct path to God? Unless you are Christ Himself, you have no business condemning anyone, or any other group who seek after Him.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Avd is posting from the group home where he was committed by his family. He's completely mental.

      January 1, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  13. woman

    What right do these religious fanatics have to decide which direction our country should go? They surely don't speak for me or any other real Christians – you know the ones who want to help the poor and downtrodden, just as Jesus did. Don't we have the separation of church and state? What gives them the right to foist their beliefs and opinions on others. I say live and let live, and stop trying to bully others with your very unchristian like notions.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  14. Independent Mind

    Don't turn your religion and your morality into my laws! For example, if I want to buy a nice bottle of wine on Sunday to go with my meal, I should be able to.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  15. Thomas

    Fox apologizes to Jews for poll on who murdered Jesus !

    January 1, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • Catherine

      The Jews nor the Romans killed Jesus Christ...he laid down his OWN life for the remission of sins for those who believe on him ALONE!

      January 2, 2012 at 2:49 am |
  16. Cindy

    I just wish the evangelicals would work on themselves as "sinners" and keep their nose out of everyone else's business. They need to read the Bible more. They don't seem to recognize there own sin.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Annette

      This is not about sin DUMBO! This is about whether Mormon is Christian or not. AND they are not Christian. Stay on topic!

      January 1, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Cathy

      This is to Annette, NOT Cindy: Hey, Annette: do you remember that Jesus said to turn the other cheek? And that he who is without sin to cast the first stone? Do you? You're pathetic. And, NO, I'm NOT a follower of the myth.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  17. tobias

    there are 2 kinds of evangelical, insane and completely insane

    January 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Vman

      You are correct.

      January 1, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • BinMesa

      Yes, agree. Evangelicals scare me. I see no goodness in them at all. Just getting into power so that they can force their beliefs onto everyone. Their BS is easy to see thru.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • CarolSong

      The two kinds are brainwashed and fear driven. We don't want the devil to get us is so gosh darn childlike I just can't believe it's still being taught. Oops. guess the devil got me

      January 1, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  18. anagram_kid

    The evangelical hold is fading. The more about nature and our lives we understand and control the less we will need religion to explain. There will always be holdouts that need some mystical authority to excuse their horrible behavior, but Atheism is on the rise. Be a good person, because that is the right thing to do.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • JennyTX

      To anagram_kid: Well said, thank you.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • stormsun

      I had a revelation that your words were truth incarnate. Therefore, go unto the world and preach the doctrine of rationality and logic unto the sons and daughters of the lost ones.

      January 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  19. morpunkt

    There are two factions of Evangelicals. Those who truly care about following Christ, and those who work for the preacher lobbyists who don't want competing religions to have a candidate, like Mitt Romney.
    What would Jesus do? Vote for the best candidate who would uphold His values, and for the former faction, that goodness it's Mitt.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
  20. Chrisnot

    As soon as this presidential carnival moves away from Iowa, South Carolina, Florida (isn't this mostly Catholic, now?), and other so called "bastions of evangelical thought", these people will have to find other issues to talk about. Granted, this is all great fun to talk about and is guaranteed to really stir the pot, but, in the end, it is full of sound and fury signifying nothing. My apologies to Shakespeare.

    January 1, 2012 at 8:08 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.