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5 Reasons ‘Teavangelicals’ matter
The cover of the new book "Teavangelicals." by the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody.
June 27th, 2012
04:05 PM ET

5 Reasons ‘Teavangelicals’ matter

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) — It’s a match made in political heaven - evangelical Christians and the Tea Party. Starting in 2010, the two huge conservative flanks started coming together, forming what Christian Broadcasting Network Chief Political correspondent David Brody calls the "Teavangelical" movement.

Sure, the Tea Party was supposed to be all about money matters, its name an acronym for "taxed enough already." The conventional wisdom was that the group didn’t care much about social issues like gay marriage and abortion – those were the province of evangelicals.

But it turns out that the two groups overlap – a lot. That was one of the takeways from a Wednesday National Press Club panel I sat on that was tied the release of Brody’s new book, “The Teavangelicals: The Inside Story of How the Evangelicals and the Tea Party are Taking Back America.”

Here are 5 reasons why should care about "Teavangelicals":

1. Remember 2010?

In the 2010 midterm elections, the Tea Party helped the Republicans take back control of the House of Representatives. And evangelicals made up a big part of that group. According to a September 2010 poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, nearly half of self-identified Tea Partiers in 2010 said they were part of the Religious Right or the conservative Christian movement.

2. They might swing the presidential election for Mitt Romney.

Ralph Reed's group, the Faith and Freedom Coalition, is the prototypical Teavangelical group, working to ensure that the Tea Party and evangelicals play nice together. Reed has long been an evangelical whisper for politicians and Brody writes that he has the cell phone numbers of 13 million evangelical voters. Sounds like a strong ground game.

3. Teavangelicals made the GOP primaries more interesting.

2012 was supposed to be Mitt Romney's year. He’d run once before and the GOP establishment liked him. But he was not an early favorite of the Teavangelicals, who variously rallied around Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. When those politicians talked about the free market and opposing abortion with equal gusto it was music to Teavangelical ears. At the press club panel on Wednesday, National Review columnist Robert Costa said Santorum’s Iowa caucuses win testified to the Teavangelical power.

4. They're planning to stick around for a while.

The Tea Party may have disappeared from national headlines, but they’re active at the grassroots. Brody said that Teavangelicals are winning seats on school boards, city councils, and county commissions. "The Teavangelicals have realized it's nice to get on FOX News and hold up a sign and be on the Sean Hannity show, but that's not going to get it done,” he said. “Ultimately you have to start at the bottom up.” He says small-time local positions are proving grounds for the next generation of GOP leadership.

5. They’ll be a crossword puzzle clue soon.

Brody coined the term Teavangelical the day after the 2010 midterm elections, when we were both at a press conference organized by the Faith and Freedom coalition. Ralph Reed’s involvement means the Teavangelical concept has legs. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes a crossword puzzle clue.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Politics

soundoff (450 Responses)
  1. Nathan Kavanaugh

    Liberals leaving comments to this article are, totally unsurprisingly, demonstrating their utterly intolerant worldview. The Leftist element in America is about as hypocritical and dangerous group as we've ever seen in this country. I don't believe they should be silenced since we're all guaranteed 1st Amendment rights. That makes one of us though, since the Leftists are the arch enemies of freedom in this country. Looks like Americans at the local level are beginning to vote based on the reality that the Left is not their friend.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • solex

      Sorry – but anyone moralizing about how the Christians are being persecuted holds about as much water as a sieve.

      I have been accused of being a devil worshipper, a communist, an immoral sinner doomed to hell, stupid, and evil simply because I tell people that there is no god, and that god did not make man in his own image – it was the other way around.

      Nothing, and I mean NOTHING has caused more death, misery and destruction than Christianity since the beginning of recorded history.

      So you will of course not forgive me when I say that Christians talking about others being intolerant is enough to make me throw up on my shoes.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • lance corporal

      yo nathan, you did not make one single actual comment, nothing but a string of insults

      just so you know the biggest problem the USA has is YOUR team mentality

      when you divide us you harm us, when you demonize those you disagree with you diminish and weaken our country

      June 27, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • BioHzrd

      While I don't agree with them, I tolerate the Tea Party quite easily. As your comment so apply demonstrated, it is they who can't tolerate us.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Nathan Kavanaugh

      I'm happy to tolerate liberal views and legislative efforts. We can argue happily all day about that. But I've never signed up to be on a team with others who oppose someone else's freedom of speech, assembly, religion, etc. When I say "Leftist" I don't mean people who might be opposite me on a given issue. I'm talking about people who want their opponents silenced. "Leftist," "Rightist," I don't care what they're called. If you're anti-liberty, you're anti-American. I'm as anti-Romney as I am anti-Obama precisely because I think they both have the same disease: the historically stupid belief that government should take supremacy over the individual. Don't lump me in with neo-cons, all it does is prove you're a lock-stepper who merely knows mainstream talking points.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Nathan Kavanaugh

      SOLEX, are you kidding me?! That's simply untrue! Christianity hasn't come close to killing the most people whatsoever. Ever heard of Stalinism (AKA "Atheism all grown up") or Naziism (AKA "Statism all grown up"). You're either purposefully lying or you simply aren't very informed.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Soles, "Nothing, and I mean NOTHING has caused more death, misery and destruction than Christianity since the beginning of recorded history."

      Well that statement reveals that you have no idea what you are talking about.

      And you obviously don't know what persecution is. Being called a Satan worshipper or other names is not persecution. Being told that you are not allowed to follow your religious beliefs is a form of persecution; though I think it is a stretch to suggest that American Christians are facing real persecution.

      Christians have known persecution ever since its origination, probably most severely in the early church. It's noteworthy that the bulk of Christian martyrdom is in the 20th century (exceeding martyrdom of the previous 1900 years combined) which occurred due to the anti-religious ideology of the communists.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Rick James

      I believe that the Tea Party should have there 1st amendment rights as much as anyone. However, I also have my 1st amendment right to disagree with them as much as I please. As a left-leaning moderate, the left has been instrumental to giving more freedom to minorities and women. Calling them "arch enemies of freedom" has no basis in reality.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • Nathan Kavanaugh

      Well then, Rick James, I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to the insidious legislative efforts of freedom-haters. I'm not talking about people that believe all citizens should have equal rights. I'm not drawing broad brush strokes. I'm saying we can and should have disagreements on the issues of the day, but the ONE issue we can't tolerate is enemies of liberty. I believe there are legitimate threats to our liberty in the public sphere today. Glad you're not one of them, but I believe many of the people we've elected (from both parties) are indeed threats to freedom.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Rick James

      Nathan, I agree wholeheartedly. It isn't so much the people, but the system itself. People who are elected govern, not for the people who elected them, but for the people who got them elected. Plus, people in government don't really represent America- they are just a bunch of lawyers. We need Americans from different walks of life to govern us.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Peter Grenader

      Tell me if I'm wrong, but I think the missing term everyone in the sub-string is trying to come up with is Corporate Interests. The NRA is a perfect example, the abolishment of the EPA another. The Tea Party's followers aren't clamoring to have these things swayed, they are merely effected by the propaganda they bellow which leads them to support the corporations who seek the changes. Religion is just a really effective way of getting everyone glassy eyes and lockstep.

      Am I totally off base here?

      I don't think so....

      June 27, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  2. Seoras

    The Tea Party had its one shot in the last election cycle. Now it has been assimilated into the Republican party and its influence neutralized. And since the national Republican party fully supports the Empire, the Tea Party's call for limited government will sadly go nowhere.

    June 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • rmtaks

      Lugar, one of the best the republicans had to offer, just got picked off by a Tea Party candidate in the primary. They aren't being assimilated into the republican party, they are hijacking the republican party.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  3. lance corporal

    while charting the rise of the teavangelicals I noticed the graph is an exact inverse of the line charting the fall of education

    I suppose that's why repubs don't want to fund education and demonize teachers

    June 27, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      Funny joke and ironic. The real irony is the inverse relationship over time of performance of the education system to its funding. It seems that over time that government has continually increased funding while performance has dropped.

      The underlying assumption is that the education suffers due to a lack of resources. This is clearly not the case, but who cares about the facts right?

      June 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Rick James

      Mike's actually right. Education is not really an algorithm. One can't just throw money at the problem to make it better. The weakening of education is a multi-cause problem. School districts interested in helping students only to pass, but not excel. Teaching just teaching facts and not how to learn. Parents not being involved in their children's education. Children not really caring about their education.

      It's not really a problem than can be solved with just funding.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
  4. Colin

    I have a friend who is on an archeological dig in the Republic of Croatia. He emailed me about how they had found the remains of the earliest ho.mo sapiens outside of Africa, dating to a couple of hundred thousand years ago. There is an entire research team there from Oxford University’s paleontology department, the most respected in the World.

    Fortunately, I have a friend from the Tea Party who informed me that the entire World began only 6,000 years ago with man already totally evolved (and with a talking snake). So, I am going to write to the team and tell them to all fold up their tents and go home and read their Bibles. The answers to the natural history of the human species are all in there.

    Thanks Tea Party, you have made me really smart!

    June 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      "....they had found the remains of the earliest ho.mo sapiens outside of Africa, dating to a couple of hundred thousand years ago." Well, we Catholics are not literalists. In John 6, Jesus said "The flesh is useless. It is the spirit which gives life." Looked at in that way, is a 500,000 year old body any more important that one 6000 years old? Probably, a 500,000 year old body is more likely to prove that God doesn't exist. Like the shape of the earth. Now that we know it's round and not flat, God can't possibly exist. Or something like that.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  5. rmtaks

    This is the worst thing to happen to America since the Civil War.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
  6. Dan Bednarik

    Bunch of self-serving morons.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  7. Seoras

    Why is the Tea Party hated so much? Because its staunch emphasis of limited government, responsible taxation, and debt reduction is a clear and present danger to the Imperial Nanny State that is slowly strangling what's left of the American Republic to death. The media invented the fiction of 'racism' to avoid any discussion of what the Tea Party really represents: freedom from the overseas Empire and overlording nanny state that Bush and Obama have given us.
    The Tea Party is hated because the American Empire cannot tolerate anything that calls for a return of the Republic.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • rmtaks

      They blacklist any republican who cooperates with a democrat. They are a wedge, and the reason we have no plan right now in congress.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • rmtaks

      And they are union busters. Regardless of your opinion of unions, they serve a purpose of affording some degree of bargaining power to workers and keeping away robber barons. They don't want to replace unions with a better solution, they just want to rip them out and expect everything to be OK.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • torqueflite

      Nanny state? Teabags and the God Squad are all for states' rights unless it's about bodies or bedrooms, then let's bring in the Feds to enforce compliance. Hypocrisy is the defining character trait of evangelical PACs misnamed churches.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
    • lance corporal

      "return of the republic"?????????

      THAT is why the teaparty makes people crazy............. because you just make sh-t up and say like it was some sort of fact that every one knows .......

      June 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • T

      FREEDOM!!!???? You have no idea with freedom is!! What if people don't believe what the tea party believes, are you saying they are not free?? It sounds like the Tea Party wants to control government and this country, just like evangelicals. They want the freedom to tell the rest of the country what to do, how to live, and make you believe that their understanding of the Bible is the right and only way.......and whether you want to believe it or not, there are racial elements within the Tea Party!!!

      June 27, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  8. solex

    Ghandi had the greatest quote about Christians ever:

    "I like your Christ. I do not like christians. Christians are so unlike your Christ".

    Carl Sagan had the greatest quote about "God" ever. When asked if he believed in god, he said:

    "I don't want to believe. I want to know".

    June 27, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
    • lroy

      All we need is the pro-life Catholic organizations, i.e. USCCB, American Life League, EWTN, Boston Catholic, the Holy See-Vatican and we're all set!

      June 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Carl Sagan? Well a different Carl saw things otherwise. When asked whether he believed in God, Carl Jung – father of analytical psychology – answered " I do not believe. I know." But, to give Sagan credit, it is in man's nature to want to know.
      But, only God can prove His/Her own existence. And it's not likely that Sagan or anyone else could understand the proof. Material brains and instruments would be useless in searching for a transcendant Being. As the Anglican mystic Evelyn Underhill observed, "A God small enough to understand is not big enough to be worshipped."

      June 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • kenny

      its baby boomers that grew up during the greatest period of prosperity for white, xtian, men and the women who obey them... getting fat, lazy and stupid, raising fatter, lazier and more stupid kids that despise them and now that they are old and close to death they are bitter and want to not only keep theirs but take as much as they can get from the next few generations while they can even if it destroys this country... and they'll kick in some cash to the religionuts after they get some kind of phony recognition for being charitable figuring it'll buy their way into the delusional fairy tale of eternal paradise that is known as ALL religions...

      June 27, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • solex

      Only God can prove His/Her existence...

      So if you do not even know what s3x god is, how can you "Know" that he/she exists.

      And why do Gods need to be large to be worshipped?

      June 27, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
  9. Johnny John Johnson

    When I was a young we just called them idiots and laughed. Today they have a voice and other idiots follow them. Scares the cr*p out of me.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • lance corporal

      I was going to make a comment but yours said it all succinctly

      June 27, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  10. hmmmm

    I prefer to call them the Tealiban.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  11. mike

    These are NOT a new demographic. They're a demographic that has been around forever...they've just been re-labelled.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Like a G9

      Yeah, if you can call a bunch of people living in insane asylums part of a "demographic", then, yes, they have always been around.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • YBP

      I think of them as the misinformed, the uninformed and the biased.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  12. Michael

    The photo for this story was funny. It looked like those Teavangelicals had their arms stretched out to catch any money that falls out of the sky. That's the alter that they worship...not the one the bible preaches.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  13. buffalo

    Let's stop trying to work the word "tea" into this and just call them what they are: Religious fanatics.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  14. mike

    We used to simply call them "morons".

    June 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Like a G9

      lmao! Good one!

      June 27, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  15. QS

    Some extremely flimsy reasons given here. It will be a crossword puzzle clue soon!? Seriously? If these are the reasons they have come up with as to why this group "matters", they should really rethink the whole premise of this group mattering in the first place.

    2010 can be explained quite easily....conservatives ran on jobs with no actual intention of doing anything about jobs, and enough people were duped that some of those running were able to win. Now even the people who voted for the Tea Party candidates are having buyer's remorse.

    But, in the end, the people that form this group are simply the same old conservative party that has always existed who want everything for them and nothing for everybody else.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  16. MennoKnight

    I am a Born Again Christian from a Mennonite Heritage and I am most definitely NOT part of the Tea Party.

    I believe in separation of church and state. The Tea Party wants to combine them.

    I do not want to live in an Old Testament Theocracy. For all of you who think that you do remember out of all the kings of Israel how many were good and how many were bad. It is almost 2 – 1 in favor of the bad.

    Jesus' kingdom is not of the this earth. Stop trying to make it, and vote for the guy who is most likely to take care of the poor and the oppressed. In this case it is (hold my nose) Obama.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Athiest Bob

      mormon racist?

      June 27, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • YBP

      Good luck recovering from your backward religion and your delusions about the President.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • milpitasguy

      Romney is a rich white guy who has never and will never give a sheeete about the poor, the working class or the middle class – but he will do his darndest best to convince you before November that he does.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      If Mit was looking out for the poor and the oppressed I would vote for him, but he is only looking out the rich like himself.
      I will vote for Obama primarily because of Obamacare and the Immigration issue.

      YBP:
      What are my delusions about the President? That he is man that wants to get elected and will say what ever he can to get re-elected?
      That both him and Mit are nice guys but really all they care about is re-election?
      Please tell me more

      June 27, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      How does a desire to lower taxes equate with converting the government to a theocracy? Looking at it dispassionately (which I know can be difficult for some people) you would have to say that the tea party is calling for a less obtrusive government. One that taxes less, meddles less in the markets (through bailouts, subprime mortgage schemes, carbon taxation, etc)' and who accepts the value systems of the American people, rather than trying to act as the judge and former of what are righteous beliefs.

      One element of this protest (depending on religious/other moral beliefs) is combatting new progressive government initiatives (such as HHS mandate, gay marriage, etc). The protests on grounds of economics and values are not mutually exclusive under the radical agenda of this presidency.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      Mike Blackadder,
      How does a desire to lower taxes equate with converting the government to a theocracy?

      The problem my friend (and really you are my friend) is that he wants only lower taxes on the rich who already have the most money to spend. Why is it fair that the mega rich like Mitt should only pay 18% when the average American pays over 33%?

      And while I disagree with the President about many moral things I have a bigger problem with the fact that Mitt would rather let millions in America die because they do not have health care.

      One element of this protest (depending on religious/other moral beliefs) is combatting new progressive government initiatives (such as HHS mandate, gay marriage, etc).

      But I can say the same thing about to many Republicans too. Chaney holds to all these "new progressive government initiatives (such as HHS mandate, gay marriage, etc)" and is a War Monger to boot.

      The protests on grounds of economics and values are not mutually exclusive under the radical agenda of this presidency.

      Again, these are the same policies that Mitt will support.

      This forces me into the position of holding my nose and voting for Obama because he cares more for the poor and the oppressed and that is the lesser of the two evils.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      MennoKnight,

      I don't agree with your argument that Mitt and Obama (or republicans democrats) are only differentiable on the basis that Obama's policies are more friendly to the poor. I actually think that their economic and social agendas are very different, and don't think that Obama necessarily 'cares' more for the poor or that his policies improve the well being of the poor.

      But even if this were true the tea party movement is not fundamentally partisan. Their protests should apply equally to a republican or democrat government. Note that it wasn't only Democrats who lost their job in congress in 2010.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      Mike Blackadder,
      But even if this were true the tea party movement is not fundamentally partisan. Their protests should apply equally to a republican or democrat government. Note that it wasn't only Democrats who lost their job in congress in 2010.

      My Answer: But the problem is that the tea party is really just a wing of the Republicans. They only vote Republican.

      Here is my problem. Mitt wants to kill healthcare which is a major social justice issue for the poor. He also wants to cut taxes only for the rich. Worse yet, he wants to cut taxes but cut social spending so that he can balance the books but his math does not add up!
      How about raise taxes through a GST, cut spending on the military by half (we currently spend more than the rest of the world COMBINED) and once we balanced the budget then we cut taxes. That is what they did in Germany and Canada 15 years ago and they have balanced budgets and better social programs today.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
  17. sgurdog

    Nothing has changed in the Republican party, every time they need an election victory they call on their Christian soldiers to defeat their "enemy". They've been doing that for decades and will continue doing so until they destroy any moral base they claim to have. This also clearly proves that Christianity is less of a religion than it is a political part.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Athiest Bob

      Thats why snotty uneducated athiests who spew vitriol will always lose! If its your opinion that is superior, then give it, and they will be convinced.... telling them what they believe will only show your desperation for acceptance, ultimately, failure. Give your testimony...not theirs

      June 27, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • chubby rain

      @ Atheist Bob.
      Many Christians have been told by everyone they ever knew that if you don't follow Christian believes you will burn for all eternity. Also, many of their social structures are connected to their church and reject that church's dogma is equal to rejecting many of their friends and family members. Otherwise, there would be no one who believes in a 6,000 year old world.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  18. Jeff in San Diego

    The Tea Party was nothing more than a rebranding of the NeoCon Republicans after the Bush administration ruined the country and gave Republicans a bad name. It was billed as an independent movement from the GOP so rightwingers wouldn't have to hang their heads in shame. They could just say "I'm with the Tea Party now" and move on. Problem is, the Tea party is still just the GOP and unfortunately, there are plenty of idiots who fell for their stunt. Teavangelicals, puhleeze, what a joke.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Athiest Bob

      Thats why snotty uneducated athiests who spew vitriol will always lose! If its your opinion that is superior, then give it, and they will be convinced.... telling them what they believe will only show your desperation for acceptance, ultimately, failure. Give your testimony...not theirs

      June 27, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Jonquil

      I think what we're seeing, here, are many Evangelical Christians and Catholics who are at a moral crossroads and secretly questioning their respective faith and denominations. When times are good, it's easy to preach charity, self-control and compassion. But now that times are challenging, the true colors of many are revealed. There's less discretion and patience when expressing moral disagreement with other citizens, to the point where outright hatred and bitter vile is directed, in sermons, towards those unlike them.

      This is at odds with the spiritual core of these respective religions. Those who disagree with the arrogant lack of generosity towards their fellow man, displayed by power-fixated Church leaders and the loudest voices in their communities, will be forced to recognize the toxicity of oppressing a public based on religious beliefs, as opposed to patiently trying to find ways to connect with them through respectful dialogue.

      Religious-based dominance and dictatorship will not win people's hearts. Particularly in America, where many Americans would rather die fighting, than allow themselves to be oppressed by it. The Tea Party is marching us down a road to a battle that will determine whether Anarchy or Theocracy will replace our Democracy. If you are supporting The Tea Party, that is what you are supporting; you want either Anarchy or a Theocracy.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  19. Colin

    10 Signs You Are a Teavangical.

    1. You honestly believe, despite everything we have been taught by cosmology, astronomy, geology, biology, history, paleontology and archeology, that the World began about 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a magic talking snake. You have no evidence to support you, but your unmatched ability to ignore inconvenient facts and bury your head allows you to maintain this silly mythology into the 21st Century.

    2. You think that, despite Jesus getting it wrong, despite the apostles getting it wrong and despite every single time it was said to be “about to happen” over the last 2,000 years being wrong, the Second Coming is imminent. You fail to see that believing that the “end is nigh” is generally recognized by psychologists as a basic human reaction to one perceiving themselves as a failure in life.

    3. You accept the “leap of faith” as a valid basis for believing in god in the absence of evidence, but fail to see that this makes you a pantheist, because you have to accept that the same leap can be made to any god with equal validity.

    4. You consider simple thoughts like lust and mast.urbation a sin, but have no issue with the disgusting, degenerate way your Bible treats women and $ex and, even today, admire people like Michele Bachmann who consider women second class citizens to men.

    5. You likely deny global warming for no other reason than it makes you uncomfortable and hold science to the impossibly high standard of having to explain every conceivable mystery about the natural World before you will accept it, but some moron rolling around a floor speaking in tongues is enough to convince you he is channeling a spirit.

    6. You will regularly be ripped off and cheated by charismatic “preachers” who are obviously crooks to everybody but you. Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, Eddie Long, and the other dozen or so who have ripped you off are not enough to convince you that you are a mindless sheep that is regularly being fleeced.

    7. You spout off about the importance of charity and generosity as Biblical principles, but support movements like the tea party that promote the evisceration of social policies.

    8. You fail to see that, given your personality, the only reason you are not a fundamentalist Jew, Hindu or Muslim is an accident of where you were born. Had you been born in Iran, you would be one of those bearded half-wits that burns American flags.

    9. You will defend the Bible, an Iron Age collection of Middle Eastern mythology, despite it being indisputably wrong and literally infested with outdated morality, contradictions and barbaric cruelty.

    10. You believe that anybody who does not accept your silly faith will burn in hell. You don’t have to kill, you don’t have to rob, hell, you don’t even have to litter. All you have to do is reject a belief in the Christian god and he will inflict a punishment upon you an infinite times worse than the death penalty….and he loves you. You see no contradiction in using the same sky-fairy as both the carrot and the stick.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Rick James

      Nice Colin

      June 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Jeff in San Diego

      Yep, that about sums it up.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      You mean nice cut and paste? Come on and think for yourself.
      From an Evangelical Mennonite who is holding his nose and voting for Obama because he understands social justice better than the other guy.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Like a G9

      Is that a new one, Colin? Nice. Too long for these kindergartners, but nice just all the same.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Athiest Bob

      see above....

      June 27, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • andrew.peter

      hmmm ... and where are your facts for your claims. Post them here and I may consider your argument. However, it appears to me to be nothing more than perceptive slander and hearsay.
      I can call you an idiot too, but that won't really get us anywhere, now will it?

      June 27, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • OTOH

      MennoKnight
      "You mean nice cut and paste? Come on and think for yourself."

      Be sure and tell that to your cohorts who post Bible quotes "ad nauseam".

      *btw, Colin composed that piece himself.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • chubby rain

      @andrew.peter

      you are new here, right?

      June 27, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Colin

      Thank you OTOH. In point of fact, I did write it myself.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      OTOH,
      Then why have I seen this EXACT post on Atheist websites that I Troll?
      Did I say I troll?
      Ops I did.
      Sorry man but that is plagiarism

      June 27, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Mac

      I would really be interested in sources for #2. Not arguing with it, but I did a quick google search and didn't see it. I am genuinely interested in the premise.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Colin

      MennoKnight – I doubt you have, but if so, it is because I have posted it before and it has been copied. Any regular blogger here will tell you that.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • jents71

      Colin, Your simple wisdom has now made my desktop in a file I call Colins Wisdom that will be printed and posted on my fridge. Well Put...

      June 27, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • The Guy

      @MennoKnight – "think for yourself"

      Really? Really? Calling yourself a christian and then saying think for yourself? Kind of gave us all a lay-up.

      @andrew.peter – i'd love to see the facts to the bible's claims. why don't you inundate us with the vast proof of god that only you seem to have.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Colin

      Thanks jents, that is kind of you to say.

      MAc, I cannot cite a study, but I can give you its origins. The "end is nigh" nonsense is actually the Jewish answer to the failure of their covenant belief. This quintessential Jewish doctrine held that held that god had chosen the Jews as his favorite people and would look after them if they kept his law – circu.mcising boys, not working on the Sabbath etc. After a few hundred years of keeping the law, but being overrun by everybody except the Australian Aboriginals, the Jews naturally started to question where their god was and why he wasn’t keeping his end of the deal.

      By about 200 BC, two schools had developed to explain why they were experiencing exactly what one would expect if there were no god. First, the “we’re being punished for our sins” school arose, that taught that the Jews were not living according to their sky-god’s law and that the sky-god was punishing them. This worked for a while, until they started to realize that those who TOTALLY ignored his law (i.e. gentiles) were doing much better than the Jews.

      So, once again they had to explain why they were experiencing exactly what one would expect if there were no god. Shazam, the apocalyptic school was born. This school taught that, while the gentiles were doing better NOW, the day would come when they would get their comeuppance. The Jews were suffering because of Satan (invented for this purpose and appearing nowhere in earlier Jewish literature) but God would return and defeat Satan in an epic battle. THEN the Jews would get their just rewards and the evil would be punished.

      This view was perfect, because you never had to deliver. You could just keep putting off the issue by answering any skeptic with the “any day now” response. It was (and is) perfect to explain why they were experiencing exactly what one would expect if there were no god.

      The Palestinians do the same thing with Allah, claiming the Jews will get their comeuppance “one day…one day, you mark my words”. So do Christians, in a sense, with the “he’ll burn in hell for that” response they proffer when they feel somebody has gotten away with something they don’t like. So do the Chicago Cubs. -:)

      Jesus himself believed this as did St. Paul. They expected the second coming in their lifetime. They were wrong, as has every apocalyptic prophet since then to and including Koresh, Camping, the idiot Christian Evangelicals and the 21 December 2012 nuts.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
    • OTOH

      MennoKnight,

      Colin has written several similar pieces, which he generously allows anyone to share. I sometimes wish that they would credit him, but he doesn't mind if they don't.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Mac

      Colin, thanks for the reply; I understand your reasoning behind #2 now. I did find some interesting articles in Pyschology today about how people coped with the failure of the world to end when they expected. Thanks again for the back story, and I think I will look more into it.

      June 27, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      1. You honestly believe, despite everything we have been taught by cosmology, astronomy, geology, biology, history, paleontology and archeology, that the World began about 6,000 years ago with one man, one woman and a magic talking snake. You have no evidence to support you, but your unmatched ability to ignore inconvenient facts and bury your head allows you to maintain this silly mythology into the 21st Century.

      Answer: Bunk: You have NO idea what the majority of Christian scholars believe. You are simply setting up a straw man of the 1% of believers who are uneducated. 99% of theologians in College and Seminary say that Genesis 1-12 are Aligory to explain why and how we got here. Don't believe me? God to Fuller, Dallas, TED's, Trinity, ACTS, Regent or any other of the major Seminaries in North America and ask them.

      2. You think that, despite Jesus getting it wrong, despite the apostles getting it wrong and despite every single time it was said to be “about to happen” over the last 2,000 years being wrong, the Second Coming is imminent. You fail to see that believing that the “end is nigh” is generally recognized by psychologists as a basic human reaction to one perceiving themselves as a failure in life.

      Answer: You are again using the 1% that go directly against the teaching of Jesus who said himself: Nobody knows that day or the hour, not even me, but only the Father.

      3. You accept the “leap of faith” as a valid basis for believing in god in the absence of evidence, but fail to see that this makes you a pantheist, because you have to accept that the same leap can be made to any god with equal validity.

      Answer: The Christian's faith is based on the historic reality of Jesus Nazareth who is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to have existed. From a Secular Perspective: Roman Historians
      1. Thallus (52AD)
      2. Pliny the Younger (61-113AD)
      3. Suetonius (69-140AD)
      4. Tacitus (56-120AD)
      5. Mara Bar-Serapion (70AD)
      And the Jewish Historian: Josephus (37-101AD)

      4. You consider simple thoughts like lust and mast.urbation a sin, but have no issue with the disgusting, degenerate way your Bible treats women and $ex and, even today, admire people like Michele Bachmann who consider women second class citizens to men.
      Answer: The majority of evangelical pastors and professors do not consider mast.urbation a sin. The majority of evangelical churches allow women to be pastors and teachers and hold any position in the church. Again check out any of the major Seminaries in North America and you will see that this is not true. Also you are mixing up Old Testament Theology with New Testament Theology, which many people like you do when you are looking for a Straw Man.

      5. You likely deny global warming for no other reason than it makes you uncomfortable and hold science to the impossibly high standard of having to explain every conceivable mystery about the natural World before you will accept it, but some moron rolling around a floor speaking in tongues is enough to convince you he is channeling a spirit.
      Answer: Denying Global warming: Please check out any of our Seminaries or Colleges and that is simply not the case. I personally have seen it on my parents farm, we have a longer growing season for the corn. We plant earlier and harvest earlier. The debate is NOT that there is global warming but what are all the causes. NOBODY is saying that humans have Nothing to do with it.
      Again a straw man.

      6. You will regularly be ripped off and cheated by charismatic “preachers” who are obviously crooks to everybody but you. Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, Eddie Long, and the other dozen or so who have ripped you off are not enough to convince you that you are a mindless sheep that is regularly being fleeced.
      Answer: Yes, there is truth to that. But for every Ted, Jimmy, or Eddie there are Billy Graham, Chuck Swindoll, James Dobson, Eugene Peterson, Chuck Colson, CS Lewis, LI Packer, Timothy Keller, Rick Warren... They outnumber the frauds 99 – 1.

      7. You spout off about the importance of charity and generosity as Biblical principles, but support movements like the tea party that promote the evisceration of social policies.
      Answer: Yes, some of us do that. I am pretty ashamed of that one. Sorry man.

      8. You fail to see that, given your personality, the only reason you are not a fundamentalist Jew, Hindu or Muslim is an accident of where you were born. Had you been born in Iran, you would be one of those bearded half-wits that burns American flags.
      Answer: Christianity is not a White Man's religion. There are many more born again Christians in China than there are in America today. I am a born again Christian because after I reviewed the other options I chose to be a Born Again Christian.

      9. You will defend the Bible, an Iron Age collection of Middle Eastern mythology, despite it being indisputably wrong and literally infested with outdated morality, contradictions and barbaric cruelty.
      Answer: You are correct, it is an Iron Age collection and not bronze age! You are one of the few to get that terminology correct. But once again you are mixing the New Testament up with the Old Testament. The New Testament is the guild-line to Christian living. It is historically accurate. Luke/Acts is about the 30 years of Jesus and the 30 years after Jesus. I challenge you to check out the historical accuracy of Luke/Acts. What you will find will sock you. Check out Sir William Ramsay

      10. You believe that anybody who does not accept your silly faith will burn in hell. You don’t have to kill, you don’t have to rob, hell, you don’t even have to litter. All you have to do is reject a belief in the Christian god and he will inflict a punishment upon you an infinite times worse than the death penalty….and he loves you. You see no contradiction in using the same sky-fairy as both the carrot and the stick.
      Answer: You are partially correct. But the idea of burring in Hell is a figurative one. It is more accurate to describe Hell as eternal separation from God. That is eternal loneliness. But that is much worse than torment in fire which is a terminology from the dark ages.
      The point is everyone will have the opportunity where the facts will be laid out to make the decision to follow God or not.

      And you are correct. It is your original idea. I saw the cut and past earlier and assumed you copied from somebody else. It was from you. Sorry, I was wrong and you were right.

      June 27, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply

      June 27, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Colin

      MennonKnight. thank you for the thorough and thoughtful reply. A few counterpoints.

      1. Two points. I was referring to Teavangelists – about 75% of them ebelieve this, as do about 40% of Chrisitans USA wide. Frightening, disappointing, but true. Second ,it is only after science proved it to be garbage that Christians changed their tune on this. Up until about 150 years ago it WAS supposedly true. You can't seriously deny that.

      2. Not so, according to the Bible, Jesus thought it would happen in his lifetime. In Mark he is quoted as saying, to the effect," there are those standing here who will still be alive when the Son of Man returns." Theactual day was uncertain, but he (and St. Paul) thought it was imminent.

      3. Josephus and Pliny the Younger are the earliest non-Biblcal references we have to Jesus, but they are talking more about Christians and mention JC himself only obliquely. He may well have lived, but so what, so did Mohanmmed, Mahavira, The Buddah, Zoroaster, LAu Tzu, Mani etc. This does not mean they were magic.

      9. Actally Bronze Age and Iron Age, depending on the book one is speaking of.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • Mennoknight

      Colin

      Good comments, I will reply in a few hours as I am off to take my kids to swimming lessons.

      June 27, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • MennoKnight

      Colin
      MennonKnight. thank you for the thorough and thoughtful reply. A few counterpoints.

      1. Two points. I was referring to Teavangelists – about 75% of them ebelieve this, as do about 40% of Chrisitans USA wide. Frightening, disappointing, but true.
      My Answer: Unfortunately, while I think you are overestimating the numbers, you are to close to being correct.

      Second ,it is only after science proved it to be garbage that Christians changed their tune on this. Up until about 150 years ago it WAS supposedly true. You can't seriously deny that.
      My Answer: Actually yes I can deny it. Have you ever heard of Galileo, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasture? You did know that they were very strong believers in the God of the Bible? And before them was Bacon who was a Catholic Monk who was the most brilliant scientist of the 12th Century. Remember the Scopes Monkey trial was Not a reflection of Historic Christian thinking but rather a Fundamentalist moment birthed out of the 1850's.

      2. Not so, according to the Bible, Jesus thought it would happen in his lifetime. In Mark he is quoted as saying, to the effect," there are those standing here who will still be alive when the Son of Man returns." Theactual day was uncertain, but he (and St. Paul) thought it was imminent.
      My Answer: I don't understand your first part of the question, that Jesus thought he would return in his own lifetime. He died then rose again. Please restate.
      The second half, yup, you are correct, Paul did seem to think it would happen in their lifetimes, but I think you are overstating the significance of this. I take from this that I personally life like I am ready to meet my maker at any time. For instance don't carry grudges and I try to be in right relationships with people at all times.
      But that said, that is a good point and a harder one to give a satisfactory answer to.

      3. Josephus and Pliny the Younger are the earliest non-Biblcal references we have to Jesus, but they are talking more about Christians and mention JC himself only obliquely. He may well have lived, but so what, so did Mohanmmed, Mahavira, The Buddah, Zoroaster, LAu Tzu, Mani etc. This does not mean they were magic.

      4. Actally Bronze Age and Iron Age, depending on the book one is speaking of.
      My answer: You are right, this is purely an academic point.

      June 27, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Colin

      My Answer: Actually yes I can deny it. Have you ever heard of Galileo, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasture? You did know that they were very strong believers in the God of the Bible? And before them was Bacon who was a Catholic Monk who was the most brilliant scientist of the 12th Century. Remember the Scopes Monkey trial was Not a reflection of Historic Christian thinking but rather a Fundamentalist moment birthed out of the 1850's.

      This has nothing to do with my point, which was that Christians insisted the Bible story of creation was true until science proved it was not. The fact that previously ists were believers in Christianity (and asrtology and alchemy etc) is totally consistent with this. Until about 1900, virtually everybody believed in the supernatura. in one form or another. TW, no scientist made a breakthrough by simply believing, they did so by employing the sicentific method, which, if turned on religion, shows it to be bunk.

      Jesus thought the second coming would occur in the lifetime of his apostles. whether he thought that was him or god the father, I obviously don't know, but the author of Mark is pretty clear on the point, if he is to be belived.

      June 28, 2012 at 4:10 am |
    • SPA Knight

      MennoKnight – Unfortunately you won't find social justice coming out of a government program because their motivation is not to really help anyone but themselves. They use social issues only to advance their own power and control. Social justice is driven by people of compassion that are allowed through their God given freedoms to perform charitable acts without government telling them it's okay. With Obama, keep holding your nose but hang on to your wallet as well!

      June 28, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • MennoKnight

      This has nothing to do with my point, which was that Christians insisted the Bible story of creation was true until science proved it was not. The fact that previously ists were believers in Christianity (and asrtology and alchemy etc) is totally consistent with this. Until about 1900, virtually everybody believed in the supernatura. in one form or another. TW, no scientist made a breakthrough by simply believing, they did so by employing the sicentific method, which, if turned on religion, shows it to be bunk.

      There are many great scientist today, Francis Collins is the best example, that point out that their belief in a creator and a designer pointed them to the great scientific achievements that they discovered.
      You are confusing Theism with ignorance of scientific method. The scientific method is not at odds with Christian Theism when we are studying the natural world.
      But the scientific method does not answer the why questions of why are we here having this wonderful discussion. How did we get here. What purpose do we have. I believe that Christian Theism answers these questions best.

      That said, I thank you, we have had a wonderful discussion, without name calling and sharing points of view without insult. I suggest reading great Christian writers such as Timothy Keller and CS Lewis if you want a more accurate Christian view point.
      Blessings.

      June 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  20. Rick James

    Yeah, they are taking back America all right, back in time to the 1800's. They believe that forcing their ideas on you is good, but complain when they don't always get their way. They make me miss conservatives like Eisenhower who believed in the free market system but also realized that government can do some good as well (Interstate Highway System, helping wages rise, defending the New Deal).
    The Tea Party is no more than the "Moral Majority in three corner hats". They speak about cutting the deficit, but have no problem starting unnecessary wars and helping the income inequality to be third-world like. They believe government is bad, but then they ask the government to its hands off their Medicare. They don't believe that the government can do anything good, yet want to control it and break it down to pieces, which causes many more problems than it attempts to solve. They has spread the notion that anti-intellectualism is a virtue, when it is in fact a clear and present danger.

    June 27, 2012 at 5:11 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.