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My Take: Billy Graham and Ralph Reed are putting politics before God
November 1st, 2012
01:43 PM ET

My Take: Billy Graham and Ralph Reed are putting politics before God

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

(CNN)–Why are evangelicals like Billy Graham and Ralph Reed stumping for Mitt Romney? And why are roughly three-quarters of white evangelicals inclined to vote for him?

Because politics matters more to them than religion.

Last year, in a talk at a conference on Mormonism and Islam at Utah Valley University, I asked my Mormon listeners why they had not rushed to the defense of Muslims in controversies such as the one that raged over the Park51 project near ground zero. After all, they have been the victims of religious prejudice. Their founder, Joseph Smith, was killed by a mob of vigilantes.

Given this history, I expected that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, known as Mormons, would feel the sting of anti-Muslim prejudice and speak out against it. But neither Mitt Romney of the GOP nor Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of the Democratic Party did anything of the sort. In fact, Romney issued a statement opposing the construction of the Islamic center.

Why? Because they were thinking and acting as Republicans or Democrats first and Mormons second.

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I see a parallel story playing out this election season with the religious right.

Until quite recently, many evangelicals saw Mormonism as a dangerous cult spreading false theology and dooming its followers to hell. In fact, only after Romney showed up for a meet and greet with Billy Graham in North Carolina earlier this month did the website of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association erase a reference to Mormonism as a “cult."

Did Mormons all of a sudden change their theology? Did Graham change his definition of a “cult”? Of course not. It just became politically expedient for Graham to declassify Mormonism, given the fact that Romney, a Mormon, was the presidential nominee of his beloved GOP.

Ralph Reed, too, is forsaking his theology for his politics, mobilizing his Atlanta-based Faith and Freedom Coalition to place voter guides in Ohio churches in the run-up to election day.

I am old enough to remember when the main purpose of Reed’s Christian Coalition and other groups on the religious right was to put born-again Christians in the Congress, the White House, and the Supreme Court. And for decades those who were running those groups saw Mormons as non-Christians.

And don't get me started on Mike Huckabee, who in a recent ad says that a vote for Obama is a vote for your own damnation.

Have LDS Church members repudiated the Book of Mormon as “another testament of Jesus Christ” or their view that the Bible is the word of God only “as far as it is correctly translated”? Have they accepted the Trinity? Rejected their teaching that there are many gods?

As Ben Witherington, Albert Mohler, and many other evangelical thinkers continue to insist: no, no, and no.

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

I used to believe that the purpose of the religious right was to infuse American politics with Christian politicians and Christian politics. I no longer believe that. The purpose of the religious right is to use the Christian God for political purposes. Why any Christian, conservative or liberal, can say "Amen" to that is beyond me.

I am perfectly happy to see Reed stump for Romney in Ohio and Graham plump for Romney in an ad in The Wall Street Journal. Just don’t tell me they are doing so as Christians. They are doing so as shills for the GOP.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Billy Graham • Christianity • Church and state • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Politics • Uncategorized • United States

soundoff (2,430 Responses)
  1. Brian P.

    Naive. Stephen, you're not understanding what their faith is and is in.

    November 1, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Meatwad

      I have faith that I will get a popsical every 15 minutes. If you really want something you should get it.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  2. HeavenSent

    Unless you follow the truth of Jesus you are spreading the lies of your father satan. I am going to bake cookies today but I have to find some place else to put the kittens. Quit believing the lies of the talmud and let Jesus in your heart.

    Amen.

    November 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @HeavenSent

      You crazy evangelicals don't know when to quit spouting your drivel, do you ?
      Got your email from your camel – toe. Stop preaching Jesus.
      Either put up or shut up you crazy lunatic.

      Peace...

      November 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      Both of them are hinduism, fabrication of hindu's, deniers of truth absolute God. based not on human equality but hinduism, racism.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Lies lies lies. I am flying with Evil, boo hoo. Jesus Christ's truth are resurrected to heaven. If I need to change the channel I just shift my wait to the other side. Those that believe in Him go with Him to eternity.

      Amen.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • EliminateChistardfaithlesshatredofAmerica, sharialovers, sanduskyisms of hatred and controlisms

      Just read my name ism, sharia ism hatred of america ism, religionism anti american ism, hatred ism of freedomism, showing hatred of Const itutionism among chrsitard faithless hated of America ism, attack ism its inst itutions ism, religionism hatred of America ism. Abortion decided already by scholars, doctors, judges, Const itutionism, why go backward ism except cuz of hatred of America ism. bible work of anti-american ism and support hitler and slavism. please kill yerselves and go to your heavenism if its so greatism what about protecting womenism from all of your undemocratic religionism...?

      November 1, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • md22mdrx

      Mithras, Osiris, Odin .....

      There are plenty more than Jesus that pretty much had the same basic story. It's all just oral legends from thousands of years ago. Jesus is just the most popular.

      November 1, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  3. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    FROM ORIGINAL MOHAMMAD A DAR
    Expect nothing better but mayhem among humanity by following of hinduism, denial of truth absolute, Allah, and following of hindu pagan Mithra ism, savior ism, neither commanded, nor allowed in Islam as a religion, but Theen Allah, consti tution of truth absolute. Foundation of American consti tution.
    Shiaism
    hindu Mithra ism, savior ism invented little over 100 years after Sydana Mohammad pbh by tribes of Kujar of north Africa and imposition as Fatmid Khalaphit by force by denial of Hidth and Quran, justified by hindu Judaism, pagan secularism to impose hinduism, racism by hindu, fabricated relationship with Family of Syadana Mohammad pbh to justify existence of hindu criminal Kings, a violation of fundamental commandment, human equality under the LA. truth absolute Allah. Cause of conflict among Muslim's and cause of down fall of Muslim's and Islam in Spain.

    Sunisim, invented by Turk's by corruption of Quran and hidth to justify existence of hindu King's as Khalipha, after death of Ruler Mohammad, but later renamed, Mehmmat, wisdom of spirit of truth by siblings from his Armenian wife, follower of hindu pagan Mithra ism, savior ism in 13th century.

    Christianity, invented by hinduism,. corruption of truth absolute by hindu Pharisees, pagan self centered, follower of hindu filthy pig ism by corrupted Torah, known as Greek Torah, translated and commented by Ben Asheer in 250 AD in Yiddish, secularist, self centered language, also known as Old Testament, part of book of Mithra ism labeled as Bible. A way to justify hindu criminal Kings and self proclaimed Prophets, fortune tellers as god's to rule over humanity.

    JUDAISM, Self center ism, pig ism, or Atheism, invented by hindu's pagan's of Egypt by corruption of truth absolute in Torah to Justify hindu pagan Pharaoh's and their hindu pagan Santans, goons as god's to rule over humanity with impunity.

    HAVE hINDUISM, CORRUPTION OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE, RELIGIONS AND LIVE WITH MAYHEM, AS HAS BEEN THE CASE FROM hIND, DARK AGES TILL TODAY. FOLLOW THEEN ALLAH, CONSTI TUTION OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE, ALLAH , GOD AND THE LORD, FOUNDATION OF CONSTI TUTION OF AMERICA TO HAVE PEACE AMONG HUMANITY. To learn more please visit truthisthelimit.com
    word hindu is based on Latin word hindered, negative, Hun, great, Han, to be in greatness, hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity.
    Visit limitisthetruth.com to learn about hinduism, criminality of hindu's, criminals to impose hinduism, racism on humanity by hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by force.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Huebert

      Please stop.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      Pickle juice is just another name for cuc.u.mber pickle-ism, dill weed ism, sour tart of back yard garden, old cuc.u.mbers with another pickled lid mason jar, feed humanity based on how many jars-ism of pri.ckly beef steak ism 180 tomatoes, okra, tomatoes too absolute american dill pickles in support of American bar food ism.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      Please stop being a hindu, denier of truth absolute, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • EliminateChistardfaithlesshatredofAmerica, sharialovers, isms of hatred and controlisms

      Just read my name ism, sharia ism hatred of america ism, religionism anti american ism, hatred ism of freedomism, showing hatred of Const itutionism among chrsitard faithless hated of America ism, attack ism its inst itutions ism, religionism hatred of America ism. Abortion decided already by scholars, doctors, judges, Const itutionism, why go backward ism except cuz of hatred of America ism. bible work of anti-american ism and support hitler and slavism. AND your posts suck!!!

      November 1, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  4. Salero21

    WOW!!

    Surprise, surprise Mr. Prothero; What took you soo long to figure that one out? Evangelicals, white or black have been putting politics, sports, TV, and whatever else comes down the drain before God for a long, long time. Now they are all ready to go back to Rome, kiss the Pope's ring and worship the Idols. Welcome to Reality!!

    November 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Who holds together the idolotries' stench? Bigotrous 'manaugomies'? Boisterous analogies? How far does the line drawn in Sandy roam? The stench of a nation wreaks of political meat!

      November 1, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Salero21

      As far as Mr. Billy Graham is concern. I don't believe what is being spread around in the Media and by those around him. His name is being used and he himself is being manipulated by his son Franklin and all of those around him in the BGEA.

      I have no doubt at all that BG at his age, is NOT aware of what is going around him. He probably doesn't know if he is here or there. He can't possibly be in charge of such organization. There is no reliable record of what happened during that visit of Romney. His son Franklin should be ashame of himself for letting others or himself using his father's name like that. But then again; Who really knows?

      November 1, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  5. Faith and Country

    Christians are not Mormons. They believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one separate god. They are monotheists who do not believe in three separate gods. The do not believe that the Father, God, is an exalted man and has a physical body. They believe that the Bible is inerrant, and that salvation comes through faith alone.

    These are not just “minor” differences. Christianity is a separate religion to Mormonism. Back in the early days of the LDS Church, they would have been just another heretic sect.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Who da Man?

      November 1, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Anyone who worships a Trinity and still considers themselves monotheistic is capable of rationalizing any kind of nonsense.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • YoozYerBrain

      Hey F and C, try reading your post as a skeptic and even you might be able to see how those of us who are NOT superst itious think ALL fantasies like yours are the same. Seriously, you say Three people are one (not three), you say a 3.5K year old book is infallible, faith alone "saves" you? I mean, are you friggin kidding me? You sound like a 3 year old making stuff up for fun. Ridiculous all of you. Frankly, the poster with the handle Eliminate Hinduism etc sounds just as reasonable as any of you christians. Try reading your post as a skeptic and you'll see the absurdity. Example;

      News from Eriador;

      What color was the pocket handkerchief Bilbo left behind when he ran out of Bag End? The Greenists say "It's Green" and the Redists say "It's Red, the Greenists are just a cult!" The Greenists then say "Gandalf REVEALED the truth to us, you dumb Reddistas are just using probablilities which is math and therefore Orcish, kill them all" and so thousands have died in Eriador due to the continuing conflict.
      Now a third party has come to the fore -the Blue Frodoists who claim Frodo mentioned Bilbo's favorite color was BLUE and therefore he would only have had BLUE pocket handkerchiefs. But the many-thousands-years-old Akallabeth is unclear on this subject so the Greens and Reds are now united by their hatred of the Blue Frodoists and they are enacting laws in Hobbiton to allow discrimination against the Blue Frodoists due to their obvious heresy. More to come...

      That's how ridiculous you christards look....to a skeptic with a brain anyway.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • CoAvs

      How about Catholicism, is that a part of your definition of Christianity?

      November 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • neverhome

      "one separate god".............
      Huh???

      November 4, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Dwight Rogers

      Mormons believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. Our first Article of Faith states: We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. However “Trinity’ is a word that is not found in the Bible. Nor are the definitions and wording formulations in the extra-Biblical creeds found in the Bible. In 325 AD a council of about 300 (out of 1800 serving) bishops gathered in Nicea at the request of the pagan Emperor Constantine and formulated a creed that tried to reconcile the Biblical statements that there three persons called “God” and yet there was “one” God. They then forced all Christians to accept their solution as “gospel”, with varying results. Theological debates and other councils continued to tweak the concept for centuries which produced additional creeds.

      Mormons are not supposed to be Christian because we have some doctrinal differences with other Christian groups of today. The foundation for the beliefs of these other groups is the creeds of the 4th. 5th, and 6th centuries and so on.

      For example; in the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is a non-Biblical creed, we read that "there is but one God, a most holy spirit, without body, parts or passions," thus denying the resurrected Christ, for if Christ is not risen and we do not believe him when he tells us that he has an immortal body, we can then have no hope of a resurrection (Phil 3:21.)

      Contrary to the creeds, the resurrected Jesus taught: "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 24:39)

      From this passage we know that Jesus had his physical body after the resurrection. We also know that when Christ comes again, he will still have his physical body. (Zech. 14:4; 12:10; 13:6; John 20:24-28, Acts 1:9-11; Rev 1:7; 1 Cor. 15:3-8, 12-20, 35-42; D&C 93:33).

      November 5, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      It is claimed that Mormons are wrong because they believe in extra-Biblical revelation and scripture. Yet much of Christianity believes in extra-Biblical creeds and councils formulated centuries after the time of Christ and the Apostles. Most of the wording formulations in these creeds cannot be found in the Bible. This is often the excuse used to exclude members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) from being Christian. It is well known to historians that Christian doctrine changed over time and across different Christian groups.

      The Bible is then viewed through the lens of these creeds causing certain interpretations to be favored and other biblical teachings to be minimized or ignored. Interestingly, if you look at the doctrines of the early church fathers before the creeds, they are very Mormon-like. In a number of doctrinal areas the early Christians were good Mormons and would be rejected as non-Christian by many Christians of today.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      We should be careful to believe what the scripture says about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and not add non-scriptural definitions.

      At Jesus’s baptism He is in the water. The voice of the Father comes from heaven, and the Holy Ghost descends upon Jesus. Was Jesus was a magician and a ventriloquist, who was trying to confuse and deceive the people? (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21,22)

      In Matthew 17:5 the Father speaks from heaven and the Son is on the earth. Was Jesus just a ventriloquist or did the Father really speak from heaven to the Son on earth?

      Christ was begotten by the Father. Did Jesus beget himself?

      The Father sent Jesus into the world. (John 3:16-17; John 8:18) Did Christ beget himself and is he his own Father?

      Jesus prayed to the Father. (Matthew 26:39; Luke 23:46) Was the Lord praying to Himself?

      The Father is greater than Jesus. (John 14:12,28). What? – Is Jesus greater than Himself?

      After his resurrection, Jesus says that he had not yet ascended to his Father (John 20:17).

      Jesus is on the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55-56; 1 Peter 3:22) Is this a trick with mirrors or should we believe the Bible for what it says?

      The Father does not judge. The Son will judge (John 5:22).

      We should believe in the honesty of the Lord and accept his teachings. We should accept the Biblical record of events concerning the Lords life and teachings. If the scriptures say that Jesus was on the earth, and that he prayed to the Father, who was in heaven, then we should accept this. This is the word of the Lord to us. It is recorded in the Holy Bible. Jesus was not praying to himself. The Bible says He was praying to the Father. This is easy to understand and accept. We should accept it.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  6. Peg

    Ralph Reed has always been a politics first guy. But Billy Graham? He refused to join the Moral Majority, and regretted his earlier flirtations with poltics. I think this is Franklin's doing, and until Billy gives an interview to the press (something Billy says isn't going to happen) I'm going to continue to think Franklin and other members of the Billy Graham organization are lying about their 93 year old-late stage Parkinson's dad, and using his name. Shamefully. Disgustingly.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Peg,

      yes, you are spot on there. Franklin Graham is a GOP stooge.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Salero21

      Agree to the letter!! It is shameful on the part of Franklyn and all of those around him in the BGEA.

      November 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  7. Ben

    It's not just politics, Stephen. The Grahams and Reed are also in bed with big business, especially the kind that prefers to deny the science that points to it's role in climate change. God has become the same kind of spokesman for corporate America that Santa Claus became over 80 years ago. Like Santa, God can be made to endorse anything at all ... anything at all!

    November 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Godly rationalisms do bequeath people's coffin libraries Ben. The shysters of all modalities in societal synnergisms send chills thru my spinal chord.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  8. BB

    "Until quite recently, many evangelicals saw Mormonism as a dangerous cult spreading false theology and dooming its followers to hell."

    isnt that how every version of a religion views other versions and other religions ?

    All the time and energy spent on proving who's fairy tale is right the world would be a better place if that energy was expended on real things.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      "Expendatures" of energies are tenuously chaotic in naturalisms leveraged to apologetic synergisms.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Ben

      Fairy tales are fine things for children to believe in, but when such a sizeable population of adults believe in them then we have a crisis. For example, the idea that some superhero Jesus will swoop down any minute to save us from all the garbage we're polluting the planet with, all our wars, economic problems, and everything else, is a fairy tale, but millions of adults actually believe it and expect to start floating up into the sky at any moment. I doubt that you could get every child to swallow such a story, but many of our leaders believe it wholeheartedly, and choose to do nothing to actually try fixing many of our problems. If you are not terrified by this then what would do the trick?

      November 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Ben,

      Majoral is not ours for we are a nation of 'symbologies'. We see as 'mult.i.tudinal' variabilities.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  9. Chad

    My Take:

    Your picture is creepy, and makes children cry.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Always amazed

      I know this is a really complicated concept for you to understand, Chad, but his name isn't "Your Take."

      November 1, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  10. Ben

    Mormons are not Christians. They believe that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three separate gods. They are polytheists who do not believe in the Trinity of one God. They believe that the Father, God, is just an exalted man and has a physical body. They do not believe that the Bible is inerrant, or that salvation comes trough faith alone.

    These are not just "minor" differences, Mormonism is a separate religion to Christianity. Back in the early days of the Church they would have been just another heretic sect.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Biffers

      Hello... Then why is it called the Church of "Jesus Christ"?

      November 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      For safety reasons. They believe in a God called elohim also. And that you get your own planet when you die. And their God lives on planet kolob.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      Biffers

      Hello... Then why is it called the Church of "Jesus Christ"?
      .
      In an attempt to be "accepted" by Christians. However their Jesus and God is a different one. Mormons are not Christians...they are Mormons. Joseph Smith created the rituals etc around the Masonic ways. Mormonism is a great sci fi story...Joseph picked from different religions and practices to create his cult. He was also a con artist and criminal.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Ben

      Biffers
      For PR reasons. Does Scientology have any real connection with science, or Heaven’s Gate with any real Heaven?

      November 1, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      Mormons believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost. Our first Article of Faith states: We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost. However “Trinity’ is a word that is not found in the Bible. Nor are the definitions and wording formulations in the extra-Biblical creeds found in the Bible. In 325 AD a council of about 300 (out of 1800 serving) bishops gathered in Nicea at the request of the pagan Emperor Constantine and formulated a creed that tried to reconcile the Biblical statements that there three persons called “God” and yet there was “one” God. They then forced all Christians to accept their solution as “gospel”, with varying results. Theological debates and other councils continued to tweak the concept for centuries which produced additional creeds.

      Mormons are not supposed to be Christian because we have some doctrinal differences with other Christian groups of today. The foundation for the beliefs of these other groups is the creeds of the 4th. 5th, and 6th centuries and so on.

      For example; in the Westminster Confession of Faith, which is a non-Biblical creed, we read that "there is but one God, a most holy spirit, without body, parts or passions," thus denying the resurrected Christ, for if Christ is not risen and we do not believe him when he tells us that he has an immortal body, we can then have no hope of a resurrection (Phil 3:21.)

      Contrary to the creeds, the resurrected Jesus taught: "Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have." (Luke 24:39)

      From this passage we know that Jesus had his physical body after the resurrection. We also know that when Christ comes again, he will still have his physical body. (Zech. 14:4; 12:10; 13:6; John 20:24-28, Acts 1:9-11; Rev 1:7; 1 Cor. 15:3-8, 12-20, 35-42; D&C 93:33).

      November 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      It is claimed that Mormons are wrong because they believe in extra-Biblical revelation and scripture. Yet much of Christianity believes in extra-Biblical creeds and councils formulated centuries after the time of Christ and the Apostles. Most of the wording formulations in these creeds cannot be found in the Bible. This is often the excuse used to exclude members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) from being Christian. It is well known to historians that Christian doctrine changed over time and across different Christian groups.

      The Bible is then viewed through the lens of these creeds causing certain interpretations to be favored and other biblical teachings to be minimized or ignored. Interestingly, if you look at the doctrines of the early church fathers before the creeds, they are very Mormon-like. In a number of doctrinal areas the early Christians were good Mormons and would be rejected as non-Christian by many Christians of today.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Dwight Rogers

      We should be careful to believe what the scripture says about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, and not add non-scriptural definitions.

      At Jesus’s baptism He is in the water. The voice of the Father comes from heaven, and the Holy Ghost descends upon Jesus. Was Jesus was a magician and a ventriloquist, who was trying to confuse and deceive the people? (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21,22)

      In Matthew 17:5 the Father speaks from heaven and the Son is on the earth. Was Jesus just a ventriloquist or did the Father really speak from heaven to the Son on earth?

      Christ was begotten by the Father. Did Jesus beget himself?

      The Father sent Jesus into the world. (John 3:16-17; John 8:18) Did Christ beget himself and is he his own Father?

      Jesus prayed to the Father. (Matthew 26:39; Luke 23:46) Was the Lord praying to Himself?

      The Father is greater than Jesus. (John 14:12,28). What? – Is Jesus greater than Himself?

      After his resurrection, Jesus says that he had not yet ascended to his Father (John 20:17).

      Jesus is on the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55-56; 1 Peter 3:22) Is this a trick with mirrors or should we believe the Bible for what it says?

      The Father does not judge. The Son will judge (John 5:22).

      We should believe in the honesty of the Lord and accept his teachings. We should accept the Biblical record of events concerning the Lords life and teachings. If the scriptures say that Jesus was on the earth, and that he prayed to the Father, who was in heaven, then we should accept this. This is the word of the Lord to us. It is recorded in the Holy Bible. Jesus was not praying to himself. The Bible says He was praying to the Father. This is easy to understand and accept. We should accept it.

      November 5, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  11. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    @Stephen Prothero,

    I'm with you 100% on this topic, though I'm surprised you lay the blame for the BGEA sellout to the GOP at Billy Graham's feet rather than at Franklin Graham, whose editoral in the USA Today made it very clear that he has renounced everything his farther stood for and is merely a shrill shill for the GOP.

    MIke Huckabee as a GOP politician/pundit/preacher and his work with ValueVoters USA / CC2W illustrates the conflation of fundamentalism with right wing politics like none other.

    Yesterday's discussion here on the "We are no longer a Christian nation" mailer from Focus on the Family / CitizenLink is entirely consistent with your narrative. It would have lent even more weight to your piece had you referenced this.

    While the Moral Majority may be no more, the American Taliban is gaining strength and monetary power. I suspect that the SCOTUS Citizens United decision is influcencing this.

    SuperPACs on the right have more money than there are television spots to buy. Investing this money in Christian 'brands' like the BGEA, Value Voters, Focus On the Family / CitizenLink is just another way to pervert the election of the President of the United States into the 'preacher in chief' of 'God's country'.

    Politics that deny science in climatology, astrophysics, geology and biology so people like the Koch Brothers can pollute, poison and kill with impunity is a medieval mindset.

    This is not progress.. This is regression to the dark ages.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Beaming eyes are so 'multivicarious'. You need a 3rd eye.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I should have included Ralph Reed and his 'Faith and Freedom Coalition' – and IRS Section 501(c)(4) organization.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @GOPer

      Good post. People need to understand what's at play here.

      Wake the fvck up !!!

      Peace...

      November 1, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ I'm not a GOPer –

      I don't know you from Adam. I don't know if you're a man, a woman, or a goat. I don't know if you're straight, gay, or a vegan.

      But I gotta tell you, I just got a serious little man crush on you.

      If I could, I'd have your post printed on a T-shirt – but idiots would have to get too close to read it.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  12. Val

    He'll soon "rediscover" that they're a cult once Mittens loses next week and whatever political advantage he's dreaming about evaporates. Then he'll meet with the president and "reaffirm" his confidence in him.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  13. God's Oldest Dreamer

    Whether weather does weather the whithering heights depends on weathering conditions?

    Well I'll be damned!
    Ain't that some tin?

    November 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  14. therealpeace2all

    FROM THE ARTICLE:

    " I used to believe that the purpose of the religious right was to infuse American politics with Christian politicians and Christian politics. I no longer believe that. The purpose of the religious right is to use the Christian God for political purposes. Why any Christian, conservative or liberal, can say "Amen" to that is beyond me.

    I am perfectly happy to see Reed stump for Romney in Ohio and Graham plump for Romney in an ad in The Wall Street Journal. Just don’t tell me they are doing so as Christians. They are doing so as shills for the GOP. "

    ____________________________________________________________________

    Well, no sh!t !!! I like the article... a lot. And, I would however add that I disagree with Professor Prothero where he said: " I used to believe that the purpose of the religious right was to infuse American politics with Christian politicians and Christian politics. I no longer believe that. "

    It's not one or the other... the *religious right* are doing *both*... in that they are shills for the GOP, and... also, and maybe most importantly to them, they are definitely trying (and succeeding in some cases) in getting their evangelical christian representatives into politics to create a 'christian nation' built on 'christian values' etc...

    All we have to do is look at the recent lunatics from Akin, to the guy in Georgia – "evolution is Satanic" or some sh!t like that, to a multi tude of others that are in top positions trying to change the laws of the land to fit their myopic 'christian only' views.

    If you keep electing these idiots... say goodbye to: a woman's right to choose, stem cell research, same-s e x marriage, and hello to creationism as a 'science' ? Among many, many other changes.

    This article is merely reflecting the depths at which the christian right will stoop to get their way.

    Disgusting.

    Peace...

    November 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @threalpeace2all

      did you look at the ad Huckabee did for Value Voters USA?

      With the motif of "LIFE, MARRIAGE, FREEDOM" Huckabee says:

      "Many issues are at stake, but some issues are not negotiable: The right to life from conception to natural death. Marriage should be reinforced, not redefined. It is an egregious violation of our cherished principle of religious liberty for the government to force the Church to buy the kind of insurance that leads to the taking of innocent human life."

      "Your vote will affect the future and be recorded in eternity. Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? This is Mike Huckabee asking you to join me November 6th and vote based on values that will stand the test of fire."

      Couple this to the Focus on the Family mailer discussed yesterday:
      Anti-Obama mail piece: ‘We are no longer a Christian nation’

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/31/anti-obama-mail-piece-we-are-no-longer-a-christian-nation/

      This is not accidental. It is all part of a strategy. Mark DeMoss' strategy.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @GOPer

      Yeah... I saw it. I'm so pis sed off at these insanely crazy evangelical nut-jobs that I didn't even bother to get all of the names and the crazy things they have said or done or are doing to get their agenda furthered. I wrote my post very quickly.

      And, yes... of course it's 'no accident.'

      That's the whole point of Prothero's article and mine... and yours above.

      The American Taliban is slowly or quickly depending on who and where and what, is working it's way into our lives and laws.

      It is absolutely mortifying.

      Peace...

      November 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Primewonk

      I fully expect that within my lifetime, these nutters will make a formal attempt to turn us into a theocracy. I see this as a response to an increase in the number of Muslims, and a decrease in the number of 'good old fashioned white Christian 'mericans'.

      I hope these nutters do not expect folks like me to go quietly. I hope they are ready for a bloodbath.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Primewonk,

      "these nutters will make a formal attempt to turn us into a theocracy"

      Not at first. The danger I see a subtle transformation of the Republic into defacto fascism, using religion to 'justify' government policies. This could easily take place with enough of an electoral shift.

      We have already seen propagation of the idea that "dissent is unpatriotic" in the Bush adminstration. All it takes is forcibly silence of dissenters under an expanded Patriot Act and we are there. The targets will be the usual ones: critical thinkers (intellectuals, scientists and atheists) and Muslims. Without declaring a national religion, Christian fundamentalism rules nevertheless.

      There are an amazing number of quotes on the theme of the disintegration of a society based on capitalism into fascism.

      "Fascism is capitalism in decay." – Vladimir Lenin
      "Fascism is capitalism with the gloves off" – Harold Laski (unverified as the source)
      "Fascism is capitalism plus murder." – Upton Sinclair
      "When and if fascism comes to America it will not be labeled "made in Germany"; it will not be marked with a swastika; it will not even be called fascism; it will be called, of course, "Americanism." – Rev. Halford E. Lucc0ck

      The most famous of these (and perhaps the most appropriate) is:
      “When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross”

      Sadly this is not authentic. It is misattributed to Sinclair Lewis.

      As a variation on this theme I've seen versions like:

      When Fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carry a cross and arise in the heartland.

      This is what is so terrifying about the American Taliban.

      November 1, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @therealpeace2all,

      Prof. Prothero did not provide a link to Ralph Reed and his Faith and Freedom Coalition's doings. If you are interested, here is one:

      Ralph Reed group mailer asks if Obama is worse than the Nazis, Communists or U.S. Civil War

      http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/09/25/ralph-reed-group-mailer-asks-if-obama-is-worse-than-the-nazis-communists-or-u-s-civil-war/

      In it, recipients are asked the following question:

      “How much danger do you think liberty is in right now as a result of President Obama’s policies, actions and agenda for America’s failure?” (mark as many as you think appropriate)

      O – More serious than the threats we faced in World War II from Nazi Germany and the Jâpanese because the attack on liberty is from our own government
      O – More serious than the threat we faced from the Soviet Union during the Cold War
      O – More serious than the American Civil War
      O – All of the above
      O – Serious, but not as serious as the threats to liberty listed above
      O – President Obama is not an enemy of liberty
      O – Undecided
      O – Other

      November 1, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      This is a 'must watch' on Ralph Reed.

      http://billmoyers.com/segment/ralph-reed-from-purgatory-to-power/

      November 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And Jon Stewart asks Mike Huckabee about his ad to vote anti-gay anti-abortion on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on 11/12/12.

      http://www.thedailyshow.com/extended-interviews/421165/playlist_tds_extended_mike_huckabee_11122012/421151?xrs=share_copy

      November 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  15. niknak

    Really?
    Religious scammers putting politics before god?
    Who would have thunk it?

    November 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  16. Roger Ramjet

    Notice how often when people think they are talking about God, they are actually talking about politics?

    God is nothing but a way to manipulate your vote.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  17. Bootyfunk

    evangelists are rip off artists, plain and simple. these "men of god" are always dressed in 3k italian suits with a gold ring on every finger. these men are disgusting.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Well ain't that some tin?

      November 1, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Lamb of Dog

      They deserve that for loving Jesus.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  18. WARNING

    This hurricane was a sign from god. It's a warning of what's to come if we elect a blasphemous Mormon into the white house.

    November 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      then your god is disgusting and evil.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Gee. I thought it was God saying "You people better not cut FEMA!"

      November 1, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  19. JAy.

    I am a Christian, and I am planning to vote Republican in the upcoming Presidential election. However, I do not call on all Christians to vote Republican, but to vote their conscience. And, personally, I have decided that religion is not a reason to vote for any individual. Vote for whom you think will lead the country where it needs to go. Vote for whom you think will protect American civil liberties for all, not just one group.

    After all, we are electing a President, not a church elder, a preacher, a bishop, or a god.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Lamb of dog

      But your voting for someone who only cares about half the country.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      Vote for a leader living by truth absolute, GOD, and consti tution of USA, for a leader, not a waiter, out please customer for a haft tip without a commitment, Both of them have no quality of a leader but working hard for a tip from citizens.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • BurntOffering

      Well Jay according to Rev. 6:5-9 your vote for Mitt will bring the Pale Horse as well as Hell and Death...Good Luck Wit Dat

      November 1, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • fred

      You've been horribly misled if you think Mitt will "protect American civil liberties for all, not just one group." as you put it.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @JAy

      " Vote for whom you think will protect American civil liberties for all, not just one group."

      Well, -Jay... curious as to how you are framing this one for Romney ?

      " After all, we are electing a President, not a church elder, a preacher, a bishop, or a god. "

      This... we agree on.

      Peace...

      November 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Christianity and Islam is a mental disease- FACT

      "After all, we are electing a President, not a church elder, a preacher, a bishop, or a god."
      .
      Actually if you vote Romney you will be.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " Vote for whom you think will protect American civil liberties for all"

      Cool. When did Mittens flip flop again and come out (sorry) in favor of protecting civil rights for gay US citizens? Please give us the citation to the speech where he said this.

      November 1, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Rob-Texas

      I see, so if your a christian and you vote for Romney, your a racist. You couldn't possibly vote for someone that is not a Christian because that would be considering serperation of church and state, what non Christians clammer for all the time. Suprise, Christians do believe in seperation of church and state. We all have different levels that we like or are comfertable with but just the same. If Romney is elected it will not bring on the end of the world and the resurection.

      November 1, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • md22mdrx

      JAy-

      If you're voting for the reasons you say you are .....

      How could you POSSIBLY vote republican?

      November 1, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • whatever

      BurntOffering
      Hmmmm. I don't see any causation in that passage (seals opened by the Lamb). When the Lord intervenes, it is in His time and usually for our benefit. It could be next week or it could be next millenium.

      I would hope we are all looking forward to His return.

      November 4, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  20. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    Expect nothing better from hindu's deniers of truth absolute GOD, they profess obedience to truth absolute God in public, but confess to their hinduism, bigamy , infidelity to truth absolute GOD in deeds, way of hindu Magi's, criminal trickster to hind, fool humanity.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      word fondu is based on Latin word dippity doo, hot gooey, chips, great, chip dip, to be in greatness, pita chip, to be creamy to both of them, fondu, a noun in yummy, fonduism, way of yumminess.

      Visit dippingisfun.com to learn about fonduism, deliciousnessity of fondu's, deliciousness to impose fonduism, veggie dipping on humanity by fonduism, cheese skin of truth absolute by dipper. Be a dipper, not a fondu, lactose intolerant like a fondu, double dipper.

      November 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Meatwad

      I can't even eat at one of those fondu places, people keep sticking me with toothpicks and that ain't cool.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

      hinduism absurdity of a hindu, copy cat.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Dude, you really gotta stop doing "whippits" before posting. All that nitrous is rotting your three remaining brain cells.

      November 1, 2012 at 2:33 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.