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My Take: The religious roots of our political gridlock
December 5th, 2012
08:04 AM ET

My Take: The religious roots of our political gridlock

Editor's Note: Mark Osler is a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.

By Mark Osler, Special to CNN

The divide between Democrats and Republicans that has frozen the mechanisms of American politics has many causes, but one of them is tangled up in the faith differences of our legislators. Faith, for many lawmakers on both sides, is the source of their outlook and principles, and faith has in part created the conditions for the current impasse about the fiscal cliff.

For many (though certainly not all) Republicans, the root of knowledge is a bedrock certainty about the inerrancy of a literal reading of the Bible. This provides them with clear, absolute answers that gay marriage is wrong, that modern science is suspect, and that much of what we see on earth is a struggle between good and evil.

When the 2012 Republican Party platform stated that we should “reaffirm that our rights come from God,” that reflected a sincere and genuine sense of bright-line natural law.

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That kind of certainty in faith, which so often draws good/evil lines on theological issues, very naturally supports a similar outlook on political issues that aren’t directly rooted in the Bible. Faith, after all, if it really is faith, structures the way we view and interact with the world.

It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that some American conservatives tend both to see their opponents as evil and to catastrophize potential political losses.

If the world is locked in a battle between good and evil, and our side is good, that leaves only one possibility for our opponents.

Bending to that other side becomes unthinkable. A loss or even a compromise is something terrible it is a victory for evil. When Rush Limbaugh tells his audience that Democrats “want to ruin America,” he knows how a significant part of his audience will receive that message, through the lens of a faith that offers certainty and bright lines.

Some Democrats, too, suffer from political disabilities that are formed by faith. Few of them have the absolutist outlook describe above, but their own New Testament-focused view of the Bible leads in a different problematic direction.

There, we see a Jesus who is anything but a capitalist. Instead, he urges others to give away all that they have to the poor, and often disparages the wealthy.

To the rich young ruler who has followed all the commandments, Jesus instructs that he must also sell everything he has and give the money to the poor, without regard to the people he will have to fire and the resulting poverty of his own family.

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

Many Democrats have taken this broad lesson of concern for the poor to heart, as we all do with core messages of faith. That quiet wind is always there.

This gets us to gridlock because it puts Democrats in the position of class warriors they favor the poor and disfavor the rich.

This is most clear in framing tax policy, which is at the heart of the gridlock we have seen around how to avoid the fiscal cliff. At times, the Democrats' certainty on these issues is the equal of what we see in Republicans.

So we end up in a deadlock. Now, we hear, that gridlock may be breaking up a bit.

On one side, the certainty is less certain as the “no increase in taxes” pledge is abandoned by some. On the other, there is an openness to cutting government spending.

Some will say this is simply political expediency, but I am more hopeful: This opening may be tinged with a blessed uncertainty, the faint hint that the complexity of politics may be as messy and glorious and private as the complexity of our faiths.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Osler.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (1,027 Responses)
  1. Ellen

    Interesting article. I do agree that, in general, that Republicans want to give to the charities of their choosing, while Democrats do not trust the individual, but trust the govt to control the spreading of charity. This thinking probably does stem from religious convictions. The author should be careful in lumping all Repulicans as Rush Limbaugh followers. I consider myself a Christian conservative, but do not listen to this man. I try very hard to hear all sides. I watch CNN, Fox and MSNBC, and read opinion articles/blogs. .

    December 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • 4JULY1776

      Ellen....excellent point!

      Giving to charity is a wonderful thing! But it should always be a VOLUNTARY activity.

      Instead, the Democratic Party FORCES us to provide for free food, free housing, and now free iphones & free doctor visits to welfare queens & welfare kings (and of course along the way.....billions and billions of dollars are stolen through fraud).

      This is money that honest, hard-working people EARNED through the fruits of their labors.. But the Dems say we can't spend that on our own families.....we must provide for crackheads, pimps, and drug-pushers first and foremost!

      What kind of mentality do those people have?!

      Why do they always put the needs of lazy losers ahead of honest, hard-working Americans?

      Why do Democrats believe that strangers who have contributed NOTHING to society get first claim on my paycheck before my own children are even fed?

      Somebody please tell me......because I cannont understand that warped mindset!

      December 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Dustin Goldsen

      It's not a matter of Democrats trusting Government with charity. It's a matter of Democrats wanting the charity to go where the need exists. Charities tend to be focused in certain areas and not in others. This may depend on need and it may not. The result, some people might fall through the cracks.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @4July

      Wow talk about pure generalizations. Do you have stats on the amount of so called "welfare queens" and the propensity by state? Talk about a far right sound bite on your end. I find it unbelievable that you can possibly think you have some sort of point.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Informed

      Being a member of any organized society is an implicit form of charity, no matter how you look at it. To function with others, you give up something for the common good.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Dustin Goldsen

      4Jully, you make a bunch of false assumptions, then ask why Democrats believe what you claim we believe. It's like asking someone "Are you going to stop kicking your dog" when they are not kicking their dog. Both "yes" and "no" are the wrong answer. You are wrong, we don't want what you claim we want.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      July41776: The government does not provide free phones – you are a victim of right-wing propoganda. Snopes.com has the real story (which, by the way, is provable).

      December 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @4July
      Did you know that there is not one state in which a person working 40 hours a week at minimum wage can afford to house, let alone feed, a family?
      For example, in Hawaii, the most expensive state, a person would need to work 160 hours a week (out of 168) to afford a 2 bedroom apartment.
      The best state for housing prices is Arizona – and even there, a minumum wage earner has to work 63 hours a week to afford an apartment.
      (source: 2010 Annual Housing Report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition)

      So there are plenty of very hard working parents out there who require assistance in order to feed, clothe and house their family. In fact, I'd wager they work much harder than you do.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • n222s

      Charity...Dems want the charity to go where it is needed. In other words; having a FAITH that bureaucrats will do the MORAL thing and distribute the "charity" properly. Funny how there truly is a faith in the morality of the bureaucrats. Not that I am so deluded to think that there are only moral people involved in religious or other charities. Hardly!

      As for the common good, define common good definitively. And...that is the point. Take one most of us would agree upon. Schools. However, does a belief in the need for public education necessarily mean federal involvement? If my local government(s) don't provide good schools I can move or send my child elsewhere. However, I can't escape the Federal bureaucracy. If THEY screw up, how are they serving the common good? And if I have to give money to them and can't escape them regardless of their performance is that fair?

      Would it better serve the common good if my money for education flowed more locally and I could better hope to effect change? That, my friend, is a conservative position. And you may disagree. But it is NOT religious based and it is not a war on women or hatred for kids. It is simply a diifferent point of view. And if my concern over the royal mess the Feds are making over other things directs my belief in less spending by the Feds, how is that intolerant or misogynist (sorry for earlier spellings) or hatred or imposing my religion? There might be more to my beliefs than the left seems to believe.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Doc

      I make 11 an hour, and I can't afford even a studio because of medical insurance costs for my child.

      December 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Money is god

      If I buy health care, I will need to be treated for malnutrition and exposure, because I won't have food or shelter.

      December 5, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @n222s

      Oh yes because it's sooooo easy to just pick up and move to a new state if you don't like the curriculum in the one you're in now. Get real, a federal standard of education is what is needed to provide equal opportunity to everyone, not to mention equal funding, which is why the "No Child Left Behind" idiocy is such an abomination.

      December 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @4July
      Did you know that there is not one state in which a person working 40 hours a week at minimum wage can afford to house a small family, let alone feed them?
      For example, in Hawaii, the most expensive state, a person would need to work 160 hours a week (out of 168) to afford a 2 bedroom apartment.
      The best state for housing prices is Arizona – and even there, a minumum wage earner has to work 63 hours a week to afford an apartment.
      (source: 2010 Annual Housing Report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition)

      So there are plenty of very hard working parents out there who require assistance in order to feed, clothe and house their family. In fact, I'd wager they work much harder than you do.

      December 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Whoops! Repeated myself there.

      December 5, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      4July, The other part that you omit is the government spending supported by Republicans – wars, corporate welfare, tax breaks for the wealthy, etc. Those who oppose that type of expenditure get little say in the matter.

      December 5, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      4July. "Why does the government get first bite?" Because a lot of people would spend it all first and then claim insufficient funds.

      December 5, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  2. dieseltdi

    Along time ago, someone said that capitalism with out morality is just as evil as despotism. Capitalism, the way we do it in America today, is morally bankrupt and became that way when the value of a company was no longer based on what it made but rather what the stock market said it was worth (can we say Facebook). Add to this that CEOs began to have their salaries based on stock market valuations and you have set up the perfect Ponzi scheme where ONLY those at the top make money. In fact, they can make even more money by dispensing with those pesky workers that actually make things.

    December 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Saraswati

      I think the US educational system does a poor job in educating students in the social sciences, so that many still grow up thinking that humans are islands rather than deeply interdependent beings. The ignorance is so deep that I think even providing tteachers with the skills to relay this information is hard.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • ME II

      @Saraswati,
      Just curious, what do you see as an indicator this "ignorance"?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  3. Miguel

    If Democrats as a whole are more open to the poor, then why do Republicans as a whole donate more to charity causes? While I think there are religious roots to this conflict, it has more do with what Thomas Sowell pointed out years ago- some men believe people tend to good, so you can trust them with power, thus bigger government, while others believe that people tend toward evil, so you have to protect people from the powerful government.

    December 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • dieseltdi

      Republicans give more through CHURCHES than to secular charities. Most of the money that goes to the churches stays in the churches and never makes an impact on the community outside the church.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      What BULLSPIT. You think Mitt Romney is "donating to charity" when he is really just giving money to his mormon "cult"
      THAT DOG WON'T HUNT.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Miguel,

      I agree with diesel. The problem is that we've granted "charity" status to religions, even when most or all the money doesn't go to anything we would classically call a charity. Secular people are for more likely to be democrats and to accept tax increases on their own wealth to pay for the poor.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Think it would be more accurate to say that there is a lack of comprehensive studies on the topic, since they tend to be based on people who itemize taxes. There is a dramatic split in where people give by income: in CBO testimony it was reported that people making less than $100K gave two-thirds of contributions to religious organizations.

      Religious organizations can't be assumed to be a money sink equivalent to a business, though... they in turn run or donate to conventional charities.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      See there Miguel.e THAT didn't take long for 3 different people to call you on that silly argument. Looks like the LIES of the GOP and the LIES and fear mongering of the oh-so-righteous religious just aren't working anymore. The Dems will win the House in 2014. The GOP as we know it is dead, it has rotted from within, and religion and intolerance are the reason. (Nobody can even hear the good things about the GOP anymore, conservative fiscal policy etc. etc., because people like you keep trying silly arguments like this.)

      December 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • ME II

      @JFCanton,
      "...in CBO testimony it was reported that people making less than $100K gave two-thirds of contributions to religious organizations."
      Might that be because there are just a whole lot more people making less than $100K?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Don't you think that this sort of prognostication (Dems will win the House in 2014) calls into question anything useful you might say? Not when religious conviction might be the primary reason why people DO vote for the GOP.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Two-thirds of THEIR contributions. Not 2/3 overall of what was given to religion.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  4. Daniel Greco

    The rights we have we won by fighting for them not from "god". We want full rights and we will continue to fight for them. And when we fight in a unified effort we always win!

    December 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  5. lol??

    Send me some of your money, err make that a lot of money, and I'll solve ALL yer problems. I'll even divvy some back if you show me you like me.

    December 5, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • lol??

      PS, I'll even hire some people that are good at countin'. Promise.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  6. derek

    It is good that we have the conservatives standing up to the Tax and Spend liberals. If the democratic party had its way 25% of us would work so we could pay for the other 75% s bills.

    December 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Could you show me a country with a 75% unemployment rate resulting from tax policy?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      The problem lies in the fact that most of these same 'conservatives' also think they can control the private lives of each citizen, particularly in the bedroom. I don't trust anybody who supports either of the main parties.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      I'm a democrat and I believe that if the US invested 1/2 the money it spends on the military on education – INCLUDING job training for students who aren't heading to college – we'd have far fewer people who can't get jobs.

      Our local school system has 15 kids apply for every vocational educational slot available. There are plenty of students who find themselves pushed into going to college because they don't see a lot of other options to good jobs. If we graduated kids from high school who were at "apprentice level" as plumbers and electricians, they have jobs instead of graduating college with degrees that they can't use.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • common sense

      Try this sanity check for just ten seconds mentally list any person you PERSONALLY know who is living on handouts. I don't know ANY...nada. Republicans this last election just stirred up such nonsense because they were copying Reagan's tactic (because they were desperate) ... remember how he claimed 'welfare queens' were going to ruin the country (same as the 'givers and takers' BS we hear today.) Back then, I was stupid enough to fall for Reagan's claims... much later asked myself how many 'welfare queens' I actually observed firsthand. I had fallen, just like you for dishonest, harmful political propaganda. Back then I was a tool like you are now. Let common sense and the golden rule be your guide to see through politics...

      December 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Great point LivinginVA. There are far too many people going to college simply because we haven't given them another option. I'd much rather spend my money early to get people useful jobs they'll enjoy, and which will earn them the money to help support themselves through any further education they'll want to do. Save univerity dollars for people who really want, and will benefit from, the education.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • The Eternal Satyr

      You mean as opposed to how it is now with 99% of us slaving away to keep the 1% in mansions and yachts? You mean like that?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Derek, How is that better than borrow and spend Republicans? For all their talk of smaller government, can you provide an example of net reduction in government under Reagan and the two Bushes? No you can't because instead of raising revenue via taxes to pay what they wanted, they just borrowed the money.

      December 5, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  7. Nietodarwin

    “What I have a problem with is not so much religion or god, but faith. When you say you believe something in your heart and therefore you can act on it, you have completely justified the 9/11 bombers. You have justified Charlie Manson. If it's true for you, why isn't it true for them? Why are you different? If you say "I believe there's an all-powerful force of love in the universe that connects us all, and I have no evidence of that but I believe it in my heart," then it's perfectly okay to believe in your heart that Sharon Tate deserves to die. It's perfectly okay to believe in your heart that you need to fly planes into buildings for Allah.”
    _ Penn Jillette

    December 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
      Mark Twain
      “Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.”
      _ Thomas Jefferson
      Religion. It`s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.
      Charlie Chaplin
      “The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullspit.”
      _ Richard Pryor
      If god created man in his own image, how come I'm not invisible?”
      _ David Powers

      December 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • bob turner

      I believe in my heart that all things work for the good of the believer . The society we live in has deterateted since
      God has been taken out of society. You can bemoan whats happening but, it will only geat worse until we as a nation
      humble ourselves before the LORD.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • JFCanton

      Says someone who named his child "Moxie Crimefighter."

      This sort of statement is something that belongs in the book of Philosophy for Dummies. Faith is an unavoidable part of the human condition. There is a limit, in ALL inquiries, to what we can logically prove. The gap we bridge with faith. We all have faith in ourselves, at the very least, and in our own senses.

      Of course "faith" is stupid if you have proof that it's false or that it hurts people. You have to have your eyes open. But most "faith," to take the term generally, is not in things that can be proven, and few people want to have faith in something that hurts people... and those that do are likely psychopaths whose faith only in themselves would be exactly as toxic.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " God has been taken out of society"

      You fundiot nutters claim 90% of the Us is Christian.

      You own the White House, the Senate, the House, and the Supreme Court.

      You own 50 state governor ships. 50 state legislatures. 50 state Supreme Courts.

      So where, exactly, has your god been taken?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Hey bob turner, pheuck that, I ain't "HUMBLING' myself to anybody, I have logic and reason and science on my side. Why do you stupid people keep mentioning a "lord" and a "god' in which we don't believe. You may as well speak Clingon to me.
      You go get on your ignorant praying knees, keep both hands up for ball fondling, and suck the rock of the lord. WE ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN NATION.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  8. Dan

    @ ME II

    You are correct that usually when one starts with "this is really simple", it's probably not that simple. But the religion in politics argument is interesting and scary. And it really might be that simple. In religion, you can literally make up whatever story you like, then believe it. There are thousands of examples, see every religion ever created. In reality, you can't make things up. Using religion to "inform" your politics isn't the best way to face reality.

    December 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  9. Nietodarwin

    I hate christians because they hate everything. They hate science, (evolution) and keep our student's test scores low. They hate gays. They believe themselves to be the only worthy humans, but they, (and the muslims) are the only humans worthy of my hatred. So sad, about the Taliban parading the beheaded "sorcery" woman's head in the street. Xstians have done the same with witches over the centuries. (She probably suffered less than the millions of women who were drowned or burned at the stake by the "oh so good xstians":

    December 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Barry

      Interesting that you would condemn an entire heterogeneous swath of humanity in the name of progressivism. While there are without question, a good number of extremist, angry, narrow minded ideologues within all the religious traditions, not to mention the atheist / agnostic community, to paint them all with the same broad brush, smacks of the same intolerance you so rightly oppose.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • JFCanton

      If you think that Christianity (or Islam, for that matter) is the foundation of that kind of behavior, you haven't had very thorough history lessons.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Bob Bales

      Christians no not hate science. Christians do not hate gays. It seems that when someone disagrees with Christians (or any other group for that matter), they accuse their opponents of 'hate.' For if your opponent hate, then - sine hate is wrong - they are automatically wrong and you are spared the (harder) task of showing that your position is right and theirs is wrong.

      Also, Christians do not, or at least should not, consider themselves more worthy than others.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " Christians no not hate science. Christians do not hate gays."

      Evolution, the Big Bang, and embryology are lies from the pit of hell. Who said that?

      Gays should be rounded up and put behind a giant fence. If you son seems gay, beat him. Who said those things?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Christians no not hate science." Me no get it. Him talk funny.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Leo

      Primewonk, Wasn't that George Carlin?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  10. RoonyC

    A lot of what he says is true, but there's another perspective: that people with certain dispositions are drawn to corresponding interpretations of religion. In other words, one who is fundamentally intractable, who feels that he or she knows the truth and that any other opinions are misguided, will tend toward those sects of Christianity that are rigid, unchanging, and presume that they have the right interpretation. Others who are perhaps naturally disposed toward generosity and kindness will gravitate toward an interpretation of Christ as the forgiving, loving saviour.

    December 5, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Saraswati

      True, and that can go back as far as genertics, conditions of gestation and early childhood. And some may simply respond to religion with happiness while it goes against the fundamental nature of others. At this point in time, with the current levels of human crowding, we do however need people who accept and understand science, religious or not, and so I, at least, will favor their roles in government.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  11. n222s

    Billy Demuth isn't a tool. He simply can't tolerate those who hold views on religion that are different than his own.

    December 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      I wouldn't even say that; he's just angry and frustrated, and I totally get it. Why must we spend so much time fighting against Christians being so unChristian? Most of the name-calling here is from Christians, along with variations on the theme of "you're going to burn in a big fire and I'll be up in heaven gloating and jeering at you." I don't want anyone to burn or be tortured. Does that make me evil?

      December 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  12. lionlylamb

    It all boils down to "Rich Man-Poor Man" progressives unchallenged in these trying times of the civilly rested and the welfare status quo.

    December 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  13. Martin

    Those driven by faith tend to deify what they like and demonize what they dislike. For them, capitalism is a gift from god, there can be nothing wrong with it, and any deviation is the work of satan. So they are blind to the inherent limitations of capitalism that anyone who has studied comparative economics knows.

    December 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Martin,

      Deifying should not be an allotment of governance orientations as the founders did so emphatically foresee but many have now forgotten in our stumbling along the way. I follow an individual lifestyle of my own godly pleasures and do seldom twine together religious views upon my philosophies of tenacious governance. Sometimes though I become unsettled in social issues. In sweeping the mind clear on occasional forsaking, I find that sometimes an overlooked addendum needs more thought.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Jim

      Wow! Martin, Demuth....geez, you guys are so hateful and incorrect, you make the KKK look like pre-school teachers. I'm certainly not very religious, I think the Bible is a guide, not to be taken so literally, but this writer (uh huh...a law school teacher no less, and not a very smart one at that), thinking that the divide we have here has to do with religious beliefs obviously knows nothing about what's going on. The vast, vast majority of us don't believe in a man marrying a man because, for one thing, it goes against anything and everything nature does (you atheists believe in nature, right?). It has nothing to do with "rights" of any kind. To say that the rift re: the fiscal cliff has a lot to do with religion is simply a cop-out. It has to do with so much more than that (for example, Obama's very skewed, lop-sided view of economics).

      December 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • lol??

      While they be teachin' Capitalism, they be violatin' yer property rights. GM bonds, anyone?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Jim, What do you mean by "Obama's lop-sided view of economics"?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Saraswati

      "The vast, vast majority of us don't believe in a man marrying a man because, for one thing, it goes against anything and everything nature does (you atheists believe in nature, right?)."

      The problem is that you folks never define nature but just throw it about like you have. I could just as well say your use of undefined words goes against common sense, but that would be another cop out term people use to defend their own beliefs without argument or fact.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " The vast, vast majority of us don't believe in a man marrying a man because, for one thing, it goes against anything and everything nature does"

      If you are referring to marriage, you're right – because no other animal gets married. If you are talking about being born gay, you are incredibly ignorant, because their are 1500+ species of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and insects that exhibit hômosèxuality. If it occurs across nature, it is by default natural.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Leo

      Primewonk, Your point that "1500+ species of mammals, fish, birds, reptiles, and insects that exhibit hômosèxuality". Simply points out that they are animals..

      Name a single animal that practices Sod-omy, Just one!!

      December 5, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Leo
      Bison, giraffes and skunks, to name a few.

      December 5, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
    • JFCanton

      What exactly the practice is isn't important. The problem with analogies from animal behavior to human behavior is that their "gay" orientation is very rarely exclusive, while a key assumption of our attempts at policy on this issue is that we ARE exclusive, at least in practice. The theoretical injustice is that people who find themselves on the gay side *can't* get things people on the straight side get. If we were functioning as animals (and some people do), the injustice could be relieved by switching to the "natural" team in due course (and some people do).

      December 5, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Name a single animal that practices Sod-omy, Just one!!" My neighbor's dogs. We call them Sod om and Gomorrah.

      December 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "it goes against anything and everything nature does (you atheists believe in nature, right?)." By Nature, you mean the goddess Mother Nature, right? Nope, and we don't believe in Gaia either. I believe that the planet's biosphere interlocks in mysterious ways and that migrations and cyclic plagues may be necessary evils, but I don't think they are overseen by a kindly old lady who makes sure the baboons copulate in season. Where in your Nature are the married animals that we are to emulate?

      December 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  14. gggg

    If your religion is your sole and uncompromising guide to good and evil or wrong and right, then you are either a moron or lazy or both. Believing is science and it's associated facts is quite difficult. You need knowledge that is work to acquire. Believing that religion provides all the answers allows you to be lazy. You only need "faith". Faith also allows you to eliminate those pesky grey areas that knowledge tends to introduce. I'm not saying having faith is inherently bad. Many people believe in God, have faith, and yet still work to understand and gain knowledge so the can better place themselves in the world. But a rather large number are simply using faith as a crutch to avoid difficult choices in life and living. That group really needs to get out of politics. Forever. And go find themselves a nice commune of like minded idiots so they can stop imposing their false values on those of us who understand through knowledge and thought that there are very few absolutes in the world.

    December 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • MrHanson

      I suggest you read history and see what happened in Russia in Stalin. If you want to live in an atheist Utopia, perhaps you should move to China or North Korea. Also I suggest you to watch "The Magicians Twin" on youtube.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Thoth

      @Mr Hansen – just FYI, while you are making reading suggestions you might want to do some yourself. N Korea considers their long dead leader as a God, along with his son, and now grandson (the current living god there).

      December 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @MrHanson, I've lived in China (when they were far more communist than today), and while there were problems on many fronts, they had little to do with the religious beliefs of the citizenry. Note that the people of France are every bit as secular as those in China...is that another country you find a horrible model? Because by most measures they're doing quite well.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      MrHanson. Are you equating science with totalitarian rule?

      December 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  15. sammieb51

    If this is Christianity at work, maybe it is time to try something different .... I saw a post on FB recently - "I'll put Christ back in Christmas when you put Christ back in religion". This knee-jerk evangelical crap we have floating around this country has nothing to do with God or Christ or even religion; it is more cult than cults and is based on little more than the Pastor Said So. It is Authoritarian Crap that belongs in a Communist country, if they allowed religions!

    December 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • MrHanson

      Well thats the atheist way. Take something that has great meening to a lot of people and make it meaningless including human life itself.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  16. abbydelabbey

    The Republicans may posture and pontificate about their "Godliness" and their adherence to Christianity, but they sure seem to have missed His messages - you know the ones about compassion, forgiveness, sharing, LOVE....

    Anyone can claim to be a Christian, but if their acts do not match their words they are merely hypocrites.

    Personally, I think that Republicans are the Pharisees of our day. And, if Jesus was on earth today as He once was, they would be handing the authorities the wood and nails....

    December 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  17. n222s

    Where is the tolerance for dissent from leftist views? If you are pro-life (they can't even tolerate that term) you are mysoginistic. If you believe in secure borders you are racist. If you believe in fiscal responsibility? I've even heard that is racist.

    It is so easy to dismiss dissent from the left's orthodoxy if you marginalize conservative thinking in these simplistic terms. The truth is, 99.9% of the leftist posters here have never attempted to ask a single conservative why they have come to their point of views. Your so-called intellectual approach to life precludes any search for alternative points of view. I come here, MSNBC, read Mother Jones, etc. to look for alternative points of view. They will either strengthen my views or force me to change them (as I have done so in no longer supporting executions). You on the left not only will turn a blind eye to the right you will ridicule it as not having any merit at all.

    How tolerant! You troglodytes.

    December 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Nonesense

      I am left, and I am not Pro Choice, I am Pro Abortion.

      People we have, and we already don't feed or educate them.

      When we get more uneducated religiously indoctrinated unwanted kids, we end up with more adult republicans.

      Better to kill em in the womb.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • noefqa

      William Demuth

      u ar such a backwards fool full of hatred and single minded views. I pray you open your heart.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Akira

      LOL.
      You realize you have just done the precise thing you accuse the left of being, right?
      It's the *motivation* behind those issues; trying to legislate faith into civil law.
      Tell me, what is the motivation to trying to prevent gays from being wed?

      December 5, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Thoth

      How generalized your assumptions are.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @n222s, Your summary of the left's position is every bit as simplistic and extreme as the position you depict. Really, what % of people on the "Left" actually use the word misogynist? I doubt most folks right or left even know what it means. I disagree with the pro-life position, and dislkie both the terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice", but I don't think people on either side are out to get anyone and neither do most of the people I have read or know personally. Sure you can pick extreme examples from any position, but they aren't typical.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • LivinginVA

      The same place the tolerance for the left views are: those who are pro-choice are labeled "baby killers".

      Fortunately, most folks in the middle aren't the ones using those loaded terms – it's the loud folks on the fringes. Most folks I know – left and right – are willing to listen and discuss opposing points of view.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • derek

      Great argument. Liberals really need to ask conservatives why they favor being fiscally conservative.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
  18. William Demuth

    In other words the Republican party is a religious cult, dedicated to force feeding absurdities to an unwilling populace.

    Their days in the sun are drawing to a close because the theologic choke hold is being broken.

    Literal use of the Bible??/ That is tanamount to basing one's phiosophy on comic books or Star Trek.

    We need more reality in this country and less fables like Christianity

    December 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • noefqa

      Christianity is not a fable, sorry, but you are wrong.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • n222s

      Willie, what absurdities are you willing to swallow? That we can continue to monetize the debt with no consequence. That raising taxes to generate 80 billion a year will resolve a yearly deficit of 1 trillion a year. That the Fort Hood shooting was an act of workplace violence. And on and on and on. Willie, you will swallow anything fed to you by the left. You never ask questions of them, do you? How is your blind loyalty to that faith any different than blind loyalty to a religion?

      Anthony Weiner told you any number of lies and you were willing to absolve him of any sin. Bill Clinton? He was unfaithful but that was never a concern about national security. David Petraeus? Well, THAT was a matter of national security. The difference? Your clergy on CNN and MSNBC said there was a difference. You have sacraments and clergy that are JUST as rigid as any religion. You just fail to see it.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  19. Rahul G.

    Thank God that S/he gave us The Buddha to show a compassionate Middle Way out of the confusion Christianity has caused.

    December 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • noefqa

      I thought Budhists didnt belive in God? Your statement is full of errors.

      Mankind has caused great evil to one another using any vehicle (politics, money, and yes religion). Christianity is peace and anyone who professes evil in its name is not a Christian. Period!!!!

      December 5, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • ME II

      @noefqa,
      "Christianity is peace and anyone who professes evil in its name is not a Christian. Period!!!!"

      Convenient why to define "Christian" and "evil" at the same time. Anyone who disagrees with you is automatically non-Christian and evil.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @noefqa, some Buddhists believe in gods, others do not.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • Deanbo

      Buddhists don't believe in a god, but we are allowed to use a commonly turned phrase, such as "thank god". It is not a literal thank you to a god..............

      December 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Deanbo, I think you're simplifying the diversity of Buddhist positions as well as the definition of gods. While there is rarely a "creator" god in the Christian sense, many forms of Buddhism include devas which are essentially the same as what we call gods in other religions. Also in some sects Buddha's receive prayers and are believed to have the powers of lesser (non-absolute) gods. These views are just less common in the US where Buddhism is limited laregely to the more educated.

      December 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  20. sjajr

    What about he rest of us? You have "conservatives and you have "liberals. What about the rest of us? People have become overly simplistic in lumping everything together and putting a label on it. They even have labels for people who fall into neither category. Not everyone fits into your little boxes. You hear people ranitng about liebrals progressives conservatives (all theses words are abstratcs that really require a definition), and when you want specifics from these peole on what defines these labels, they have no viable answers. So I will call myself the rest of us. One who does not fit or feel a need to put people into a category.

    December 5, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "You have "conservatives and you have "liberals. What about the rest of us? " Most of us are moderates. But the crazies keep driving these huge trucks down the middle of the road and forcing us to jump to one side or the other. Someone needs to take their keys.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:58 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.