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February 1st, 2012
09:23 PM ET

Is Obama losing the Catholic vote?

By Eric Marrapodi and Brianna Keilar, CNN

(CNN)–After years of bridge building with the Catholic Church, the Obama administration may have damaged some of the good will it built up with the nation's 70 million Catholics, which could have steep consequences at the polls in November.

Some rank and file Catholics are beginning to express the same frustrations as clergy about a new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy requiring all employers, including religious ones, to pay for FDA-approved contraceptives, such as the birth control pill and Plan B, through health insurance plans. Churches are exempt but hospitals and schools with religious affiliations must comply. The new policy goes into effect August 1, 2012, but religious groups who oppose contraception have been given a yearlong extension to enforce the policy.

"What's offensive is that we're being told, our Catholic institutions which serve this nation well, are being told you who find these things offensive, you should pay for them, in fact you must pay for them," Cardinal Donald Wuerl, the archbishop of Washington, told CNN.

Catholic teaching opposes the use of contraceptives.  Wuerl acknowledged the clergy and the faithful have been at odds over the teachings on contraceptive use. But on this policy he said both are in lockstep over what is being perceived as a violation of religious liberties.

"This time around what people are seeing this isn't a question of one moral teaching or another, it's being able to teach at all. Our freedom, and everyone has a stake in freedom in this country, and I think that's why this resonates across the board," he said.

CNN's Belief Blog – all the faith angles to the day's top stories

Wuerl is calling his congregants to action, asking them to call congress and the White House to express their displeasure.

"We're beginning to say to our people this is what the issue is, it's wrong, we've never experienced this in the history of our country before, this is a violation of the basic rights of conscience and religious liberty. So you need to know that and you need to speak up," he said.

The timing of the administration's announcement has drawn criticism for being tone deaf, coming just three days before tens of thousands of protesters, many of them Catholics who oppose abortion rights, came to Washington for the annual March for Life on the anniversary of Roe vs Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide.

"In my estimation it's a huge misstep politically," said Stephen Schneck a political scientist from Catholic University who has consulted with the administration on Catholic issues. In 2009, Schneck also worked with pro-abortion rights Democrats in Congress on the president’s signature health care reform measure to find language that ensured government funds did not pay for abortions.

"The way in which the narrative is being developed is that the administration is at odds with the Catholic Church fundamentally. What I'm seeing in the pews is something of a waking up, a Catholic solidarity. That I think could very well carry over into their political activities" Schneck said. "There's nothing like having a sense of opposition to you to rally the troops and I suspect that's going to happen here."

Schneck pointed particularly to states with large Catholic populations where this new solidarity could have a far-reaching political impact.

"If you look at where those Catholics are, they're in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado and Florida, which are of course critical states for anyone who wants to become president of the United States," he said.

In 2008, President Obama won 54% of the Catholic vote, according to the Pew Research Center. Early on in his presidency, Obama reached out to Catholics. He appointed prominent Catholics to several cabinet positions and ambassadorships.

In May 2009, the president delivered the commencement speech at the University of Notre Dame, where he spoke of working together on abortion.

"Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women. Those are things we can do," the president said to rousing applause from the crowd in South Bend, Indiana.

In shaping the new Health and Human Services policy, the administration reached out to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who is the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the public policy arm of the church in the United States, and other Catholic leaders in November to seek their input in the process. Many of the same Catholic leaders received a heads up on January 20 several hours before the administration announced the policy.

"This decision was made after very careful consideration, including the important concerns some have raised about religious liberty. I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in the statement about the policy.

On Tuesday in the White House briefing room, Press Secretary Jay Carney again defended the administration's decision when pressed by reporters.

"After very careful consideration the administration believes that this strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious beliefs and increasing access to important preventive services. We will continue to work closely with religious groups during this transitional period to discuss their concern," Carney said.

The administration is extremely concerned this will affect Catholic voters’ support.

As the opposition grew this week, the administration noted to reporters there were Catholics in and out of government who support the measure, as well as interfaith groups.

Late Wednesday night the White House launched the first part of an information campaign to spell out what the policy change does and does not do.

An administration official also pointed to nearly $2 billion in federal grants that have gone to Catholic-related charities since the beginning of the administration as a sign of the willingness to work together.

James Salt, executive director of Catholics United, which hasn't taken a position on the HHS policy, said there could be a silver lining for both Catholics and the administration on this issue. He said with more women able to access contraceptives there could be a reduction in abortions stemming from unplanned pregnancies as a result of the policy.

"More needs to be done on both sides. It's not just a question for the administration, it's a question for the pro-life community and the pro-choice community to put aside their heated rhetoric and find common ground," Salt said.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Abortion • Barack Obama • Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Politics

soundoff (2,744 Responses)
  1. Mike

    The religious like to kill and now that Obama has ended the wars, the religious right are freaking out. The religious love death and dying, two things Obama is stopping with healthcare and no war.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Windy City Al

      Mike is right. All religions preach the delusion that there is life after death. They're much more excited about their imaginary heavens than about their actual life on earth.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Bruce

      LOL President Obama is stopping war? He's a bigger warmonger than Bush!

      If we aren't at war with Iran by the end of the year I'll eat my hat...

      February 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • boocat

      If that's true, then why don't they just end their lives and leave the rest of us alone with their bull**** pontificating?

      February 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Lloyd in Chi-town

      Ah, the "religious" like to kill? Care to explain those Millions murdered in zany genocides initiated by ATHEIST communists over the last 100 years? rofl

      February 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Joe T.

      Bigger warmonger than Bush? Last I checked Obama ended one war, helped keep one from happening and got rid of Osama. The Iran situation has been going on for a while now.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • Bruce

      Obama ended nothing. The war is still going on. Killing Bin Laden was an act of war against Pakistan the way it was carried out.

      And today the drums of war are being beaten. Keep an eye on what happens between Israel and Iran.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  2. Lloyd in Chi-town

    All of Obamas unhinged cabinent and supporters can't stand Catholics let alone the notion of Christianity. A catholic voting for obama is like a liquor store owner cheering for armed robbery.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • durundal

      do you people breed from any particular cesspool? It boggles the mind to think what it would take to developed such a warped view on the world.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Descarado

      ABO-Anyone BUT Obama!

      February 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Lloyd in Chi-town

      Aww shucks..Big sissy that names himself after a sword talks about breeding in a cesspool or whatever. Nice rhetoric, you just come in from 1938 Berlin?

      February 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Windy City Al

      A working man voting for Romney is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • boocat

      I don't hate catholics but I hate self-righteous, lying, hateful people like you. You so-called christians just don't get it, do you? You are soooooo arrogant....

      February 2, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • QS

      I'm about as anti-religion as they come....but it has absolutely, 100% nothing to do with Obama or any other political figure – it's specifically, and only, about religion itself.

      In other words, religion needs no help from Obama to make itself look as bad as it does.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • tony

      You getting your 10 cents a posting from the KKK OK?

      February 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Lloyd in Chi-town

      "Working man" or lazy union goon?

      February 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Lloyd in Chi-town

      KKK? They hate Catholics slick.Just like Husseins supporters do. Do your homework.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • Lloyd in Chi-town

      This just in bootroll, I could really gives a rats #$% what you think.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Lloyd in Chi-town

      Right on Descardo! People have seen this bozo prez for what he is. One and done my friend.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  3. aTrueCatholic

    To say the least, we again see how the senseless followers have led a group of people into a terrible generalization. The majority of Catholics act the same as other groups of people. They're fairly independent, realistic people. They realize the fact that they're not listening to a man who speaks to God personally, but instead a leader that was appointed by Jesus himself (yes, read The Bible if you don't believe me). Is he infallible? In my opinion, no. Is he considered such? Yes, the Pope is. But regardless, his dedication to religion and Catholicism makes him more of an expert than any person in this room. To say the least, criticizing this man is a bit uncalled for. I thought the ideal of Church and State being separate could be upheld, but it never has been. The way we are allowing things to go shows an inability in the people to respect a system that can ideally function perfectly

    To conclude, leave the generalizations out of it. It's unnecessary and only continues the flame that is "political ignorance."

    February 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Bruce

      The Media is ALWAYS generalizing. They're generalizers! :P

      February 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • J.W

      He wasn't appointed by Jesus.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  4. Jimmy

    Wasn't the Catholic Church invested a company that manufacturers birth control?

    February 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  5. CalBM1

    Obama has my vote in protest to the church that is going backwards instead of going foward. Church , purge thyself before you judge others.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  6. sdanderson

    I don't want to be the arbiter, but it is a slippery slope that we seem to have gone a long way down. From consumer protection, to individual land owner rights, to numerous other areas, the government is more and more decidiing what we can and can't, or more precisly must or must not do. There is a line, maybe it is fuzzy, but I for one feel that the line was crossed a long time ago and our rights are being trampled on a daily basis in the name of doing what's best for us.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Windy City Al

      I suppose you'd rather have the Catholic church tell you what you can and can't do.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • chris

      windyal..one can stop going to Church, if they don't think its true. And there aren't many repercussions. The state, however, can imprison or detain you for disagreeing with it.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  7. Leslie

    I am totally against any religion inflicting their belief in my personal life. Birth control is a very personal matter. We have a law about separation of church and state. If the church wants to get into politics let them pay taxes then they can get involved in politics. Taxes from religion would decrease the deficit.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  8. Formerly A Democrat Catholic-this did it

    The ammount of biggoted anti Catholic commentary on here in support of the President is striking. As a Catholic who voted for Obama in 2008, I am shocked at how hateful my fellow (formerly fellow) democrats have been! I thought democrats were supposed to be tolerant! The underlying story to all of this is that Catholics have been betrayed by their fellow democrats and Obama. And aparently no one cares about the 1st amendment either.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • CalBM1

      As a x catholic I must remind you the church wont honor your ammendment rights.non of them

      February 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Lloyd in Chi-town

      Surprise ! Don't criticize their obama-fuhrer and you might not get hurt.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • BRC

      I care about the First Amendment very much, but I also understand it. This rule has nothing to do with it.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • StuckInTX

      Where does the 1st Amendment come into this?. What betrayal? What brings you to that conclusion.
      It's been stated many times in these comments that the mandate does make/force ANY Catholic to us BC (which the do anyway BTW) or get an abortion. It's about the Church being an EMPLOYER, and as an employer they must follow Federal Health Care Guidelines and provide the same coverage as any other EMPLOYER. There's no 1st Amendment issue in that, nor betrayal.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Still a democrat catholic

      While I appreciate everyones personal convictions, I've yet to see anything saying people with qualms have to take birth control. I was taught tolerance and if many female non-catholic employees get access to contraception why should any of us care? Every other insurence provider covers it so why should religious employers be exempt? Unless our faith is so shaken by the very idea that making it available would lead to use by the faithful... And that's a sad statement about american catholics if true...

      February 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Still Catholic

      I used to be Democrat too. There is no tolerance for Christians in that group at all, especially Catholic. It is astounding. However, my Republican, Catholic friends are actively volunteering for various charitable things, donating money, helping rebuild homes lost in Katrina, etc. My Democrat friends that reside in a big East Coast city? Not so much. Conservatives are painted with a brush that has been dipped in stale old paint.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  9. tluv00

    Churches are exempt. I have no problem with that. But the business that use religion to escape rules that traditional businesses follow is BS. Schools and hospitals hire and service non Catholics. They also accept federal money. You do that, you follow the rules like everyone else.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  10. tony

    Catholicism is losing Catholics faster that just about any religion out there. Can't imagine why.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  11. Mike in Minneapolis

    The Catholic Church is hypocritical. Here in Minnesota they are the largest financial donor of the anti-marriage bill coming up for vote this year. Personally any religious organization that gets involved in politics should have its tax-exempt status revoked. As for the contraception issue, Catholic hospitals are a business turning a profit and that requires an entirely different set of rules than the Church. But if all the devoutly religious Catholics are anti-abortion and anti-birth control (kind of stupid considering there'd be far fewer abortions if poor people had access to birth control), why are there are not more righteous Catholics lining up by the thousands to adopt all of the unwanted children in the world?

    Hmmm ...

    February 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Descarado

      Marriage is one of the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church.
      Marriage is between a man and a woman.
      Catholics do not want the Obama regime to demand that the church perform gaymarriage ceremonies in the same fashion the Obama regime is trying to force the contraception issue against our beliefs.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Descarado

      Catholics are warily looking down the road.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Stevie7

      Nearly half of all American Catholics support gay marriage. The church is well out of step with it's followers on MANY different areas.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Descarado

      @ Stevie7 LOL! Link please????

      February 2, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Stevie7

      http://www.pewforum.org/Gay-Marriage-and-Hom ose xuality/Support-For-Same-Se x-Marriage-Edges-Upward.aspx

      You'll have to fix the link by removing the empty spaces

      Do you also want data showing that Catholics overwhelmingly support contraception? Or how about data showing that nearly half of Catholics are pro-choice?

      February 2, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  12. catholic

    i tried to be catholic because my grandma was and i sort of buy into the this is my body part (consecration). but its impossible for me to buy into the male dominance thing so i can't do it. i buy a lot of the christian part, but can't get into the church part.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • catholic

      i think it would be pretty hard for anyone to get into what they catholic church comes up with. so...nobody would be shocked if modern people can't get behind it. (don't they make laws or lobby to make it harder to prosecute pedophiles and such also?) the catholic church has lost a lot of good people in its day.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  13. Big George in Big D

    VOTE GOP TO SAVE THIS COUNTRY FROM FOUR MORE YEARS OF PURE HELL!

    February 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Jimmy

      That's the smell of sulphur lingering from gwb's handi-work

      February 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • boocat

      I will....WHEN THE HELL YOU IDIOTS BELIEVE IN FREEZES OVER!!!

      February 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
    • fred

      Jimmy
      Were you bought and paid for by the democrats? Blacks walk in lockstep with democrats because they have been brainwashed to think republicans are rich and democrats are poor. That is a lie as the wealthiest top politicians are democrats not republicans. But, once you start the lie as Clinton said just repeat the lie long enough and people will buy it.

      Gays are 98% democrats because democrats told them the lie over and over again that Republicans are controlled by evangelicals. Well that is bunk as 50% of evangelicals did not even vote and of those that did the younger populations does not even follow fundamental beliefs. Biggest lie is that gays blame republicans for their condition. I am not speaking about the orientation one is born with I am speaking about the choices one makes with their orientation. Republicans are not responsible for the choices gays make in life any more than they are responsible for the choices straights make. Time to take personal responsibility.

      Government employees are 86% democrat because they are on the take. Not one of this group is capable of understanding that the hand outs they get for their vote is a bribe and is money taken from someone else. The rest are just morally corrupt and think they deserve outrageous wages, pensions and lifetime healthcare. They always find lots of ways to justify their corruption. Bottom line a bunch of thieves that think somebody else does not deserve equal pay, pensions and healthcare that they have.

      The vast majority of women who have had abortions are democrats. Republicans are not responsible for your abortion. You killed your own flesh and blood for whatever reason sounded good at the time. There are better ways to get over your guilt than push the blame on Republicans.

      Men and women with pants full of lust democrat. Democrats have been behind the anti abstinence and "safe $ex" promotions for 40 years now. Bringing $ex down to the level of just plain fun then brainwashing the youth with a false message that it is safe and everyone does it is immoral. Truth is it is not safe and is no longer special. Democrats now must force all girls to take HPV shots, pay for STD testing, abortions, and birth control because their "safe $ex" promotion has been so successful. A big round of applause to Bill Clinton having redefined what $ex "is" for the young people.
      OH, don't forget to give a black eye to republicans because they believe in responsibility.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • StuckInTX

      @Fred – WOW !! Where to begin? Have you seen your therapist lately? No? Don't have one? I would advise getting one quickly (they can be found in the Yellow Pages), or check yourself into a nearby rehab facility.
      You REALLY are in DESPERATE need of some help!

      February 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • fred

      StucklnTX
      Just so I am sure to see the right therapist please let me know if you agree with all my suggestions or is there one you have some facts on that is wrong?

      February 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  14. Chris

    Racism has grown enormously, American culture has declined at a shockingly fast and steep level, there are more people not working than I have ever seen in my life, there is a crisis with this country at every corner now and it has all developed in a short period of time under Obama's watch. There is no reasonable or intelligent incentive at all to vote for this guy again.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Descarado

      53% of Americas pay federal income tax. 47% file federal tax forms, but pay nothing for their government cheese. Some voters are wondering why they have to carry their own weight, as well as, the weight of one of Obama's freeloaders.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  15. catholic

    oh well...catholics are lost anyway. (j/k) they've been in the dark ages following men around for years. i wouldn't be shocked if jesus was gay. he didn't seem to have much of an attraction to women or children. or families. he was quite forgiving. the gay people probably don't understand that he was probably on their side.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  16. Melissa

    The question isn't about whether contraceptives are bad or good, it's about the right to freedom of religion and whether or not this is endangering our rights. Personally, I don't think contraceptives are a bad thing, I actually take them myself. But I also think it's the church's right to say "No, we're opposed to this, we have religious beliefs against it that we've clearly stated, and we're not going to support it." I don't care if you take contraceptives or not – women have the right to contraceptives, but church's have the right to be opposed to contraceptives. Forcing Catholic hospitals and universities to provide contraceptives is like forcing a gay right's activist to endorse and pay for an anti-gay marriage movement. It's just not right.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Descarado

      The indelible signature of EVERY oppressive dictatorship throughout history is the unconditional demand that the citizen disavow its conscience in favor of the state.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • wcl

      If they accept government money (like medicaid/medicare reimbursements, etc...) then thy are not allowed to descriminate. I believe they can make that choice, correct?

      February 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • boocat

      The indelible signature of EVERY religion is the unconditional demand to obey only the rules of that said religion....RIGHT BACK AT YA, Descarado.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • spm

      Melissa you said it very well!! I think this is a slippery slope for all religions, IMHO.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • BRC

      The Church run hosptials don't have to perform abortions or provide contraceptives, they merely have to pay for insurance for their employees that will allow them to get those services elsewhere.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  17. rpduke

    This is the correct, gutsy decision by the administration. But in the end it was pretty obvious. An employer is an employer, and all need to follow the same rules. There are plenty of employees at Catholic run hospitals and schools who are not Catholic.

    What's been missed is that by requiring a politically oriented letter, that mentions a candidate by name, to be read at all Catholic services, the archbishop may have violated the agreement by religious non-profits to stay out of politics.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Big George in Big D

      Oh BS. What lengths people go to in order to make excuses for this horrible administration!

      February 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  18. Colin

    Ten signs you are a Catholic.

    1. You believe that the pope has personal conversations with God (that nobody else ever hears) and is infallible when he elects to speak “from the chair” on matters of Church doctrine. You then wistfully ignore the fact that Church doctrine changes and that former popes therefore could not possibly have been “infallible”. Limbo, for example, was touted by pope after pope as a place where un-baptized babies who die go, until Pope Benedict XVI just eradicated it (or, more accurately, so watered it down as effectively eradicate it in a face saving way). Seems all those earlier “infallible” Popes were wrong – as they were on Adam and Eve v. evolution, heliocentricity v. geocentricity, immaculate conception, and a host of other issues that required an amendment of official Church doctrine. You also ignore the innumerable murders, rampant corruption and other crimes committed over the centuries by your “infallible”, god-conversing popes.

    2. You reject the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. You are blissfully (or intentionally) blind to the fact, that had you been born in another part of the World, you would be defending the local god(s) and heralding the incorrectness of Catholic beliefs.

    3. You begrudgingly accept evolution (about a century after Darwin proved it and after accepting Genesis as literally true for about 2,000 years) and that Adam and Eve was totally made up, but then conveniently ignore that fact that your justification for Jesus dying on the cross (to save us from Original Sin) has therefore been eviscerated. Official Church literature still dictates a belief in this nonsense.

    4. You disdain native beliefs as “polytheist” and somehow “inferior” but cannot explain (i) why being polytheistic is any sillier than being monotheistic. Once you make the quantum leap into Wonderland by believing in sky-fairies, what difference does it make if you believe in one or many?; nor (ii) why Christians believe they are monotheistic, given that they believe in god, the devil, guardian angels, the holy spirit, Jesus, many demons in hell, the Virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel, thousands of saints, all of whom apparently make Earthly appearances periodically, and all of whom inhabit their various life-after-death lands (limbo, purgatory, heaven, hell) with magic-sacred powers of some kind.

    5. You bemoan the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don`t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees or the 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf (or the dozen or so other slaughters condoned by the bible). You also like to look to god to for guidance in raising your children, ignoring the fact that he drowned his own – according to your own Iron Age mythology.

    6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that God impregnated Mary with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to “forgive” an ”Original Sin” that we now all know never happened.

    7. You criticize gays as sinners, but have no problem when Lot got drunk and committed father-daughter in.cest (twice) or offered his daughters to a mob to be gang ra.ped, or when Abraham, time and again, offered his wife up for the “pleasures” of kings to save his own skin.

    8. You believe that your god will cause anyone who does not accept your Iron Age stories to suffer a penalty an infinite times worse than the death penalty (burning forever in excruciating torture) simply because of their healthy skepticism, yet maintain that god “loves them”.

    9. You will totally reject any scientific breakthrough that is inconsistent with your established doctrine, unless and until it is so generally accepted as to back you into a corner. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you of the deep inanity of your silly faith, some priest doing magic hand signals over grocery store bread and wine is enough to convince you it is thereby transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus, because of the priest’s magic powers (or “sacred powers” if you prefer the more euphemistic term).

    10. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to Lourdes, Fátima and other magic places and prayers in general. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. The remaining 99.99% failure was simply “god moving in mysterious ways”. The fact that, if you ask for something repeatedly, over and over, year after year, sooner or later that thing is bound to happen anyway, has not even occurred to you. A stopped clock is right twice a day.

    11. You accept the stories in the Bible without question, despite not having the slightest idea of who actually wrote them, how credible these people were or how long the stories were written after the alleged events they record occurred. For example, it is impossible for Moses to have written the first five books of the Old Testament, as Catholics believe. For one, they record his death and events after his death. In fact, the chance of the Bible being historically accurate in any but the broadest terms is vanishingly small.

    Heavens, I could not fit them into ten.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Faith-Isn't-A-Preacher

      Which Supremacist Group do you belong to?

      February 2, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • George R

      I agree with Colin, and would just like to say sorry to all the atheists I've argued with in the past. I've been terribly misguided, but now I see the truth, and it's not found in the bible.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • streetsmt

      If children under the age of 7 could be exposed to (and made to understand) your points above on at least an equal footing with the indoctrination their parents and religious communities give them, religion would not have a chance. It would go away in 1 or 2 generations.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • GuerillaToro

      Taking a wild guess here, but I guess you don't like Catholics for some reason. I was going to read your whitty remarks, but honestly its nothing original there. Same blah blah and blah.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • GuerillaToro

      Oh, and too much generalization from the lines that I did read. Catholics are not a hive mind contrary to what many believe.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Guest1m

      @Colin. Amen to that. But we all know that when peoples' worldviews get challenged, they grip onto them tighter in spite. *eyes roll*

      Maybe I'll invent a new religion tomorrow and see how many ppl I can convert. That's what faith is right? Belief with not a shred of evidence...

      February 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Faith-Isn't-A-Preacher

      streetsmt – Religion will never go away as long as people have a cause that they pursue with religious zeal. Even the so called secularist are pushing Social Doctrines to be part of our Laws and Regulatory policies. Not all religions are defined by cathedrals or ministerial hierarchy.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • streetsmt

      Faith-Isn't-A-Preacher
      You can't honestly be equating public policy with beliefs in supernatural beings, are you? We are talking about the things Colin laid out above. Come on. Get on the same page here.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Faith-Isn't-A-Preacher

      streetsmt – This President believes by virtue of his office that he has a 'supernatural' ability to dictate or control others. His Oligarch is even writing its doctrine into our Laws. Although being 'God' and having an ego and influence as a Greek God, they are not the same, but the results are. Even Pharaohs were revered as Gods of supernatural influence.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • Doug

      Colin, your knowledge of the Catholic faith is woefully lacking. Your arguments against the Faith are nothing new and have been answered ad nauseum by great philosophers for the last 2000 years. While no one can prove that God exists, no one can prove with certainty that God doesn't exist. The great mathematician Blaise Pascal made a great argument for why it is quite reasonable for Man to believe in God if you'd care to research "Pascal's Wager." You can also read C.S. Lewis if you'd like a well-reasoned explanation of how an atheist can find Christianity. And if you'd like to know why Catholics believe what they do, I recommend you start with anything by Peter Kreeft, a professor of philosophy at Boston College, who writes in a style that communicates profound ideas in a way that is easy to understand. Good luck and may God go with you.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Colin

      Doug, I get general comments like yours all the time. What I never get is a specific example of what I got wrong.

      As to your comment "While no one can prove that God exists, no one can prove with certainty that God doesn't exist." The same is true of reincarnation, fairies and Leprechauns, but just because one cannot disprove something, doesn't mean there is a reason to believe it.

      Tthirdly the logic of Pascal's wager is fundamentally flawed. Just becaus we create a huuge downside for not believing in something, does not make it true.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
    • Still Catholic

      I feel sorry for you. Someone needs to make a list of ten reasons why you should not be posting.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
    • Colin

      Still Catholic. Perhaps I can help. He re's one, – Because Catholics SO fear death and SO want to believe that they wil llive happily ever after they die that they get very, very uneasy when the fundamental flaws in their infintile faith are exposed.

      February 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • fred

      Colin
      Point 9 is wrong as Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître at catholic university is credited with getting the Big Bang off the ground. Prior to that everyone was happy with a universe that always was.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • fred

      Colin
      Point 8 is wrong as even you can get in the pearly gates. It is that last breath that counts not your lifetime of attempting to defend atheism with scientific methods that scientists know cannot measure or speak to areas of faith. If you look to the two criminals on the cross all you need to do with your last breath is say Jesus help me with a sincere heart. In short you are wrong in that healthy skepticism will bring you to see the truth of God. It is unhealthy skepticism that congers up strange denials of God.
      Catholics further do not believe one that is incapable of or under the age of accountability will go to hell. There is a small minority of people that cannot make a decision for or against God due to circu-mstances outside their control
      .

      February 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Colin
      :D

      Peace...

      February 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • fred

      Colin
      Point 7 is wrong as the church does not approve the acts of Lot or his daughters. That verse was a historic reference for the beginnings of the tribes that came out of that incest. Both the Moabites and Amalekites continued to bring disease and trouble for the Hebrews. Stories in the Bible are there for reason. In this case we see what happens when a parent (Lot) brings his family to an ungodly culture and through tolerance accepts that lifestyle which opposes God. The daughters no longer had a moral compass of right and wrong and did this foolish thing. There are generational consequences for immorality and tolerance of immorality.
      Abraham was corrected for this wrong and the story is included to show the weakness of man even one chosen like Abraham. The story further show God knows mans folly and makes provision to protect as he so chooses. In this case Sarah was used by God and never abused by Kings as you suggest. Nice try at twisting the Bible to fit your world views.

      February 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • fred

      Colin
      Point 6 "so he could sacrifice himself to himself to “forgive” an ”Original Sin” that we now all know never happened"
      =>I suspect you know the logic flaw in that statement
      =>The sacraifice was not to himself. The shedding of blood was to pay the penality of sin which was death. You miss out on so much when you reject the truth. How sad to go through life without at least a taste of what cannot be seen through the eyes of a materialist. You are correct in one observation, if there is no sin then there is no need for Jesus

      February 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • ________________________________________________________

      "You are correct in one observation, if there is no sin then there is no need for Jesus"

      There is no God is even better, therefore there is no sin and Jesus is not the son of a God, but simply a delusional child conceived out of wedlock.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • fred

      Colin
      Point 5 the shortest verse in the Bible. "Jesus wept"
      You are wrong to say Catholics or Christians do not flinch when reading of death anywhere including the Bible. Biblical accounts you refer to of death are; historic, figurative, allegory or metaphor. Overall the theme is judgment is harsh when God is rejected and judgment will come. Judgment comes upon the enemies of God. Children are not enemies as we know God has a special heart for them. Children who die as a consequence of the sin of the parent do not pay the cost as that judgment will fall upon the responsible adult. "I will wipe away every tear" is who God is and that love will certainly fall upon the innocent child. If you want to use the Bible use it honestly

      February 2, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Toha

      Collin great post, Christians will make up their interpretations to counter it but that is all it is their made up arguments. Their fear makes the delusional into thinking their God is a loving God, when in fact the Bible clearly shows and angry, vengeful, cruel deity. There are people that stay with an abusive spouse because they feel they have no way out and continue to stay out of fear, no matter how you try to reason with them they are in an abusive relationship their fragile mentality makes them stay. The same can be said of Christians.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • fred

      ___________________________________
      "simply a delusional child conceived out of wedlock."
      =>Agreed, If Jesus was not God then that is the only logical explanation. The proof we have that the accounts of Jesus are false is very shaky at best. The proof that Jesus was who He said he was using the same standards would be equally shaky. This leaves me with only what I know for certain. Jesus came into my life and saved me just as promised. Jesus turned my life around 180 degrees. Jesus gives me specific guidance and answers prayer on a regular basis. Best of all a side of life was opened up to me that I did not previously know existed. My world view went from materialist / atheist to a Christian world view with Gods persective rather than my own.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • ___________________________________________________

      "Jesus came into my life and saved me just as promised. "

      LOL spoken like a true delusional human being. It's scary that this type of delusional mentality still exists.

      February 2, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • fred

      Point3
      Regardless if the story of Adam and Eve is literal, figurative or an allegory it stands the test of time. The story passed through generations and Moses putting it to writing such it is clearly understood for all time brings to light the Divine nature of the Genesis. The peoples of Moses day could only grasp the literal telling of this story. The use of a serpent with known qualities fit perfect in their time and place. The sin / rejection of God was clear on all fronts as was death and required atonement through blood sacrifice. Another 3,400 years went by before people could grasp what Jesus was saying in context with the spiritual and intellectual growth that occurred over time. Today we see the complete story unfolded with the people and the times folding into the final days as it was written. The two trees from the Garden of Eden are still before each and every man. Choose the one Adam chose and you have been deceived by the serpent (symbol of deception) filled with pride and love of self rejecting God. Choose the tree of life and you will love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus has made full atonement for any that followed the serpent as His finished work on the Cross. Anyone that wants the tree of life need only ask Jesus for help and follow the simple guide Jesus provides. God is bigger than religion and bigger than we can comprehend. God will deliver every heart that is inclined towards the love of God. God’s reach goes well beyond Catholics.

      Colin, to say original sin is not with us could not be furter from the truth, it is all over us, look around.

      February 2, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Copy/Paste Award Goes to...

      Colin for; Ten signs you are a Catholic.

      February 2, 2012 at 6:15 pm |

    • "God is bigger than religion and bigger than we can comprehend. "

      Yet you keep talking for your God and based on your 3rd grade posts your claiming to comprehend it just fine. Then we go round and round in a circle.

      February 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • fred


      Very astute! It is a complete circle and that is how God sees it except he sees it all at once.
      Oh, my 3rd grade teacher corrected your post and put a red circle around your before she told me you’re very astute.

      February 2, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • ─▪┐◊┌▪─

      "It is a complete circle and that is how God sees it except he sees it all at once."

      You keep talking for a God that people aren't suppose to comprehend. LOL!

      February 2, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
    • fred

      ─▪┐☻┌▪─

      Oh, my 3rd grade teacher did not get that either. Now she says you're a real as tute. I asked her what that ment and she said you would know.

      February 2, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • fred

      Whew !
      \\\\\I/////
      \\\I///
      ─▪┐☻┌▪─

      February 2, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • ─▪┐◊┌▪─

      "Oh, my 3rd grade teacher did not get that either. Now she says you're a real as tute. I asked her what that ment and she said you would know."

      Lying is a sin.

      February 2, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Toha

      "Lying is a sin."

      LOL! Guess he couldn't even comprehend some of the basics of the Bible and he's speaking for his god. LOL!

      February 2, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • fred

      ─▪┐◊┌▪─
      Depends on whom your lying with.

      February 2, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  19. Jimmy

    The church has mostly been on the side of ignorance and oppression. From the Inquisition, to supporting the Nazis during WWII to the pedophile scandal that won't go away. Why do intelligent people buy into their cult?

    February 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Actually it was a policy of non-involvment in WWII, at least officially.

      February 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  20. CarrotCakeMan

    The reporters here have fallen for the snow job of a bishop. We know all the Catholic bishops are promoting the GOP, but lay Catholics won't be fooled by this nonsense the bishops are dishing out, and they will agree that lay, secular employees of hospitals and universities SHOULD have the same access to contraceptives that all other Americans have. Catholics use birth control at the same rate as all other Americans, and are NOT going to vote against their own best interest and instead vote to deny other Americans equal access to birth control.

    February 2, 2012 at 2:40 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.