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My Take: Romney should take reporters to church more often
Mitt Romney and his family attend church last weekend.
August 21st, 2012
09:20 AM ET

My Take: Romney should take reporters to church more often

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Mitt Romney’s team invited reporters to go to church with him last Sunday, and The New York Times is reporting that the upcoming Republican presidential convention will showcase Romney’s faith in an effort to humanize him. So are we finally going to get a Mormon candidate for president?

Romney has been widely criticized for running against his past - against what he did at Bain Capital and as governor of Massachusetts, and against his prior views on abortion and health care. And while he hasn’t flip-flopped on his membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he has been loathe even to mention it in public.

In his 2008 “Faith in America” speech, Romney boldly proclaimed his religious heritage. “I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it,” he said. “My faith is the faith of my fathers - I will be true to them and to my beliefs.”

But in recent years he has been hiding that faith under a basket. In fact, in a much anticipated speech to evangelicals at Liberty University in May, he never used the M-word.

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The concern is there is little to be gained (and much to be lost) by emphasizing his Mormonism.

Latter-day Saints founder Joseph Smith was assassinated during his run for president in 1844, and anti-Mormonism has a long and sordid history in American life. Today many on the secular left and the religious right alike are wary of a Mormon president, and according to a recent Gallup Poll roughly one in six Americans say they would not vote for an otherwise qualified Mormon.

For all these reasons, Romney's campaign strategy so far seems to have been two-fold:

1. Whenever possible, avoid talking about Mormonism.

2. When pressed, speak of the importance of religion in general and emphasize the common moral values shared by Mormons and evangelicals.

3. Emphasize the American heritage of religious liberty.

I have been arguing for months that this strategy is not sustainable. What self-respecting debate moderator wouldn’t jump at the chance to ask Romney about how his Mormonism might affect his policies on taxation or food stamps or war with Iran?

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

And is it really plausible to do the two-step around the religion question all the way to November when the candidate in question may well be the most religious candidate in U.S. history - someone who spent two years as a missionary, followed by decades of church service, first as the Mormon equivalent of a Methodist pastor and then as the Mormon equivalent of an Episcopal priest?

It made sense for John Kennedy to draw a sharp line in 1960 between his private Catholic faith and his public life since he came from a Democratic Party that followed Thomas Jefferson arguing for the strict separation of church and state.

But Romney’s GOP has spent a generation attempting to overthrow the Jefferson/Kennedy consensus by bringing religion ever deeper into U.S. public life. So it just doesn't make sense for this Republican nominee to try to cordon off his private faith from his public policies.

CNN Explains: What’s Mormonism?

For all these reasons, I have argued repeatedly that Romney would be well advised to take the initiative - to define his faith in his own terms rather than awkwardly and defensively fielding (or fumbling) questions about it.

Now it seems like a faith offensive may be in the offing, not least at the upcoming convention.

But how to talk about Mormonism without unearthing all the awkward stuff - the history of polygamy and theocracy, the Mormon underwear?

One way, of course, is to try to emphasize the values similarities between evangelicals and Mormons - on questions like abortion and gay rights. But an even more effective way may be simply to invite reporters to church.

Like any religion, Mormonism has changed over time. And today Mormon services don’t look all that different from Methodist worship. In fact, the common theme coming out of much of the reporting about Romney’s church service Sunday seemed to be how unremarkable it was.

In Buzzfeed, reporter McKay Coppins, who also happens to be a Mormon, referred to that service as an example of “the fundamentally un-exotic Mormon experience.”

Admittedly, they serve bread and water rather than bread and wine, but Latter-day Saints worshippers praise Jesus in song as their “Redeemer” and send prayers up to their “Heavenly Father." And when their worship service is over they march off to Sunday school.

For generations, scholars of religion focused their research almost exclusively on Scriptures and belief. In recent years they have shifted their collective focus to religious practice. Perhaps that is the strategy of the Romney campaign, to shift the focus from the eccentricities of the Book of Mormon and the heterodoxy of Mormon beliefs to the ho-hum of hymns sung at 10 a.m. on a New Hampshire Sunday.

If I have the tune right, the message seems to be that Romney is one of us, and his religion is not so different from whatever yours might be.

Will that message resonate?

It depends. It depends on what Americans know about Mormonism and about their own creeds. However, it also depends on how much they think faith should matter in presidential politics. Ironically, if voters follow the Republican line on that one, Romney might well lose. If they follow Jefferson and Kennedy, he has at least a fighting chance.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church and state • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Opinion • Politics • United States

soundoff (1,105 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Just photo-ops for votes:

    The real nitty-gritty of this election:

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Mitt Romney, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And the irony:

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

    The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

    August 22, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Jesus Christ

      You're a bit of a blow-hard aren't you reality? You seem to think that everyone is sitting on the edge of their seat waiting for your wise (not so) words.

      August 22, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • Reality

      More words of wisdom and thank you for asking:

      The Apostles' Creed 2012: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven??

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, a bodily resurrection
      and ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      August 22, 2012 at 11:55 am |
  2. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    What does conversion to Christianity have to do with intrinsic morality?

    I don't presuppose an origin of morality other than to say it exists. It is fluid and since it clearly differs from culture to culture and with time it is not absolute.

    Even Christianity has a fluid definition of morality. Contemporary Christians would agree that slavery is 'wrong'. But slavery is clearly condoned in the bible. What changed? The bible didn't change. The moral interpretation of a society that happened to be predominantly Christian changed.

    Christian morality therefore is not immutable or absolute. There is no objective 'God-given' standard.

    August 21, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It's really hard to remember 'reply' at the bottom of the page!

      Reposted on p12!

      August 21, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  3. Reality

    ONLY FOR THE NEWCOMERS:

    Bottom line: Romney is Mormon because he was born Mormon. Should we hold this against him? After all, BO also believes in "pretty/ugly wingie thingies, bodily resurrections and atonement mumbo jumbo. (Ditto for Ryan and Biden.)

    One should be voting based on rational thinking. Believing in angels, satans, bodily resurrections, atonement, and heavens of all kinds is irrational.

    Apparently, BO, JB, MR and PR have been severely brainwashed in their theologically and historically flawed Christianity and they are too weak to escape its felonious grip.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    August 21, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  4. Jack

    Hello folks. Everyone is cordially invited to visit – thestarofkaduri.com

    August 21, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  5. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    @fred,

    I think that the teachings ascribed to Jesus* in the Gospels are indeed excellent words to live by. I also think that the Buddha and Lao Tsu have very worthwhile things to say too.

    * Except for the references to the 'kingdom' etc. I don't find them as relevant.

    Disbelief in God doesn't mean I think that everything written in the bible is garbage. I just don't believe it is the 'word of God'.

    You say this: "It is pure speculation that this construct of good just happened for social purposes across almost all cultures."

    I disagree here. It is not speculation at all. It is empirically observable. The study of anthropology could provide us with many examples of cultures defining a moral code without ever hearing a burning bush or seeing graven tablets. They are all able to figure out that killing, stealing and lying are 'wrong' in their communities.

    August 21, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      oops – posted in the wrong spot.

      I reposted the original back on p12.

      August 21, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • No Truth, Just Claims

      Jesus had good teachings and some not so good. He did not have a single original philosophical teaching. The son of the creator of the universe should have done better.

      August 21, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    August 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs

      August 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  7. Iqbal Khan

    Wake up folks check this out...

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article32244.htm

    August 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
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    August 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
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    August 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
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    August 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
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    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE

    August 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  12. .

    ..LOVE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE

    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    ..LOVE
    ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE

    August 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  13. .

    ..LOVE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE

    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    ..LOVE
    ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE

    August 21, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Jerry

      Man, this person has to be the biggest idiot that has ever posted on these blogs. However, what I really can't believe is that CNN will not accept "clean" postings critical of Mr. Obamboozzeler; but will accept moronic postings like this one!

      Oh well... Go figure...

      August 21, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  14. .

    ..LOVE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE

    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    ..LOVE
    ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .

    August 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  15. .

    ..LOVE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE

    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    ..LOVE
    ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE
    .........LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ............................LOVE
    .....................LOVE
    ...............LOVE
    .........LOVE
    .. ..PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ............................PEACE
    .....................PEACE
    ...............PEACE
    .........PEACE
    ..PEACE

    August 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • .

      Some loser certainly went to a lot of trouble to steal my handle and waste our time!

      August 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  16. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV
    ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 ...666 .........666 ...............666 .....................666 ............................666 .....................666 ...............666 .........666 ...666 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    August 21, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      How quaint.

      I have my very own Poe: Mr: "Who invited me".

      I've always wanted one!

      August 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Let's see if we hit 'report abuse' enough something can't be done about this nonsense.

      August 21, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • *

      We know it's not you, @I'm not a GOPer... and the fake @who invited me? is hideous too. You guys must've really pwned him at one time or another!

      It's some moron who probably thinks (that's a real s-t-r-e-t-c-h) that he'll get regular posters (with whom he can't carry on an intelligent convo) banned, or is trying to marginalize their other posts. Guess what, punk... screen names are attached to email addresses and those in charge of TOS will have YOURS and not those who you are trying to malign.

      August 21, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • I prayed this morning you would stop this crap.

      Woo. That made me dizzy.

      August 21, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
  17. GodFreeNow

    This is something I can't wrap my brain around. The consti.tution says there should be no religious test, but we all know that's BS because there IS a religious test in this country. You must be christian or you will not get elected.

    Now that that's out of the way, we're talking about the difference between a man who believes in a sky fairy who magically created the earth and has reserved a magical fairy land in the sky after you die, and a man who believes magical underwear protects you and you get a magical planet when you die.

    I really don't see a huge distinction in sanity here.

    August 21, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I have two observations on this article.

      1. As G.F.N, says above, why are we doing this at all?? There should be no religious test – either materially (which there isn't) or by proxy in the media and in the minds of many voters (which there is).

      2. What is Mr. Prothero suggesting in this piece?.

      In the headline he says:
      Romney should take reporters to church more often

      then in conclusion he says:
      Ironically, if voters follow the Republican line on that one, Romney might well lose. If they follow Jefferson and Kennedy*, he has at least a fighting chance.

      * ie: the doctrine of separation

      So my question to Mr. Prothero is: 'which is it?' His article is unclear. I guess there are three choices:

      1. Pretend Mormonism is the same as Protestantism (which it isn't, at least as far as evangelical Protestants are concerned)

      2. Show Mormonism for what it means in daily life (except for the secret temple stuff and the underpants and Kolob and populating planets and historical at'ttude to African Americans, and baptizing dead Jews and the whole lost tribe stuff and the magical translators and ...)

      3. Say it's none of anyone's damn business (which is precisely what the Const'tution says)

      August 21, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @GOPer –

      It's everyone's damned business when those with authority use anything less than reason for making decisions. No?

      August 21, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Really O,

      do you really think that as President, these "I'll say anything to get elected" politcians will use the specific "rules" of their faith to make principled decisions?

      Jimmy Carter probably did – and look where it got him.
      Did Romney act like a Mormon with regard to his executive position in Bain Capital?
      Did Ryan act like a Catholic with his budget proposal? The Catholic church disagreed with him, vehemently. Clearly he wasn't listening to them!
      Did Nixon act like a QUAKER?? when he ordered the carpet bombing of Cambodia????

      The issue is that religion is being used as a political tool by the right as it has in several election cycles. The premise is: "I'm religious like you, vote for me, I will represent your values" when nothing like that is true.

      Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, not what robes the man who threw water on them as infants was wearing.

      August 21, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @GOPer –

      I completely agree. My point is simply that all assertions of faith by those running for office should be questioned...loud and clear.

      August 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @GOPer-

      Interesting that you included Carter in your post. I often assert (and believe) that President Carter was one of the most decent and sincere men ever to hold the office. He may also have been one of the most ineffective Presidents in the history of the office. Interesting.

      ...and, although I still respect him as a man, I view his religious beliefs as nutty and having no place in the White House.

      August 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Really-O,

      By any definition, Jimmy Carter is a good man. He is clearly a man of principles and lives by them. I respect people who have faith and live in accordance with that faith, without hypocrisy. The ability to do this is something that few politicians can claim.

      I won't judge people by their denomination. The notion that all Mormons are bad, or all Catholics are bad, or all Muslims are bad or even, (pause for effect) all evangelical Protestants are bad, is clearly wrong. We have to look at what these people have said and more importantly how they have acted to predict their behavior as elected officials.

      We won't get to vote for a self-professed atheist* in this election so we should vote for the one who will do his best to represent the people of the United States – based on his past actions.

      * Some here say Obama is a secret atheist, others of course say he is a Muslim, and he calls himself Christian. One day, long after his Presidency ends, he might even tell us what he really thinks, long after his multiculturalism ceases to be an electoral liability with perhaps 45% of Americans.

      August 21, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @GOPer –

      In general, we're on the same page. We do, however, diverge on a couple of points...
      –I respect all believers rights to hold their beliefs. I do not, however, necessarily respect those beliefs. I respect reason.
      –I don't accept that anyone "should" vote. In my younger, libertarian days, I believed this because I was morally opposed to government (and, therefore, voting). Now, I simply clearly understand that, mathematically, no individual's vote matters and, therefore, time spent voting is wasted.

      ...I do share your doubt with regard to our current President's faith, and that's a mixed-bag – I'm happy if he truly is a non-believer, but that also means he's dishonest. Oh, well...politicians.

      August 21, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Really-O,

      Strictly speaking, this statement is incorrect:
      Now, I simply clearly understand that, mathematically, no individual's vote matters and, therefore, time spent voting is wasted.

      It matters where you live and unfortunately, some votes carry much more weight than other votes. Brian Williams recently made an observation that in the science of Federal electioneering this Presidential election will come down to a handful of counties.

      These counties will likely be in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

      But cynicism aside, it presumes the voting behavior of others. If almost everyone took the position that voting didn't matter, the handful of people who turned up would drive the result.

      "Winner takes all" electoral college votes should be abolished. I'd favor eliminating the electoral college entirely and everyone's vote would then be equally valid. A simpler solution is to pro-rate the electoral college vote instead of winner takes all.

      August 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      Perhaps something we can all agree on... eliminate the electoral college.

      August 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @GodFreeNow,

      it's my first choice for the 28th amendment. That and an overhaul of the 2nd.

      Article II, Section I is already one of the most heavily amended bits. It is the one section of the Const'tution that needs periodic maintenance as technology changes.

      August 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @GOPer – regarding: "Strictly speaking, this statement is incorrect"

      Sorry, but you're incorrect. Regardless of whether were speaking of the popular vote or the electoral college, unless an election is decided by one vote, no individual vote decided the election and, therefore, each individual vote was a waste of time. It's simple mathematics. I know you may never have been presented with this argument before so it is hard to accept, but is a simple fact. Get out pen and paper and run through as many scenarios as you wish – unless and election is decided by one vote (e.g. 1-to-2, 100-to-101, 100-million – to – 100-million +1), no individual vote decided the election and, therefore, the time spent casting each individual vote was a waste of time. It is a simple mathematical fact.

      August 21, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Really-O

      you know that argument is specious, overly cynical or perhaps both.

      I would agree with it in principle if say you lived in Wyoming and wanted to vote Democratic, or Boston and wanted to vote Republican, but I won't argue with you.

      Your vote may have been the one counted that put the winner ahead. Does it matter then?

      August 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...in anticipation of misunderstanding, please realize that the electoral college is based on, and decided by, popular vote. Therefore, once again, unless an election is decided by one vote, each individual vote was meaningless and the time spent casting that vote was wasted (unless, of course, one likes going to the polls).

      August 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @GOPer –

      It is not specious, any more than 1 +1 = 2 is specious. Both are mathematical facts. You need to take of the blinders you've been given by the "Rock the Vote" and "Every Vote Counts" ad campaigns and face up to the math. If the election wasn't decided by one vote, no individual vote (which is all any of us have) decided the election. It's a fact.

      August 21, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @GOPer – "Your vote may have been the one counted that put the winner ahead. Does it matter then?"

      Read my post and think. The answer to your question is, emphatically, no...no vote matters in terms of deciding an election, unless the election was decided by one vote. It doesn't matter if you live in Rhode Island or California. Simple math.

      August 21, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  18. TUVIA

    B"H

    IT IS TIME FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO MAKE THEIR DECISION ON THIS SPEECH
    WAKE UP AMERICAN PEOPLE, TIME TO STOP SLEEPING

    CLICK ON LINK FOR VIDEO BELOWl

    Barack Obama vs the People of Israel

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=360]

    --------------

    B"H

    LET MY PEOPLE GO – FREE JONATHAN POLLARD NOW

    -----------------------
    -----------------------

    August 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  19. To Stephen Prothero

    I would think that you would care enough about your blog to use your connections with CNN to have those "666" spam posts on this page, as well as on page 9, and also elsewhere on these blogs, removed (along with the poster). We all know that "Report abuse" doesn't work, but perhaps you have some pull...

    August 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
    • *

      * refers to page 12

      August 21, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • J.W

      The report abuse button used to work. It used to be if 5 people pushed report abuse the post would disappear. I dunno what happened to that.

      August 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • ME II

      I would imagine that the Report Abuse button itself got abused. Wish there was a way to block some of the more horrendous posts, though.

      August 21, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • *

      J.W

      5 is way too few complaints to have a post removed (folks could just report abuse on posts that they disagree with), but it really should be hooked up to *something* for review. I know that it's the Wild West here, and I certainly can ignore a lot; but having to scroll past whole pages full of pure spam is ridiculous.

      August 21, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      It can't hurt for lots of people to hit 'report abuse'.

      Presumably someone gets an email at some point.

      August 21, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • ME II

      @!GOPer,
      I'm guessing that it isn't even hooked up to anything anymore.

      August 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @ME II,

      since it returns a '0' when you press it, instead of a count value, you may well be correct.

      August 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  20. TUVIA

    IT IS TIME FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO MAKE THEIR DECISION ON THIS SPEECH
    WAKE UP AMERICAN PEOPLE, TIME TO STOP SLEEPING

    CLICK ON LINK FOR VIDEO BELOWl

    Barack Obama vs the People of Israel

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=360]

    August 21, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Iconoclast

      Are you friends with the other poster "mkriley"? You guys should get together and swap all of these "incriminating" videos. I don't suppose anybody has been able to convince you the Earth is round as well? Really, you guys would hit off I'm sure.

      August 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • midwest rail

      This twit is spamming every story on the blog with this nonsense.

      August 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.