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Lutheran pastor apologizes for praying in Newtown vigil
People pray at the interfaith vigil in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
February 7th, 2013
01:34 PM ET

Lutheran pastor apologizes for praying in Newtown vigil

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) - A Lutheran pastor has apologized after being chastised by his denomination's leader for offering a prayer at an interfaith vigil for the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Pastor Rob Morris, who leads the Christ the King Lutheran Church in Newtown, violated the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's rule against taking part in joint worship services, said the synod's president, Pastor Matthew C. Harrison.

Participation could be seen as endorsing "false teaching" because some among the diverse group of religious leaders at the vigil hold beliefs different from those of synod.

The vigil, which was attended by President Barack Obama, was a high-profile part of the healing process for the families of the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14.

One of the victims of the shooting was a young congregant of Morris' church.

In an open letter posted online, Harrison wrote that because of "the presence of prayers and religious readings" and the fact that "other clergy were vested for their participation," the event was a "joint worship with other religions."

"I could draw no conclusion other than that this was a step beyond the bounds of practice allowed by the Scriptures," Harrison wrote. "There is sometimes a real tension between wanting to bear witness to Christ and at the same time avoiding situations which may give the impression that our differences with respect to who God is, who Jesus is, how he deals with us, and how we get to heaven, really don't matter in the end."

Harrison then "asked Pastor Morris to apologize for taking part in the service" because he "violated the limits set by Scripture regarding joint worship" and "gave offense" to the Lutheran leadership.

A day after Harrison's letter was posted, Morris apologized in another open letter.

"To those who believe that I have endorsed false teaching, I assure you that was not my intent, and I give you my unreserved apologies," Morris wrote in a letter to the Lutheran leadership. "I apologize where I have caused offense by pushing Christian freedom too far, and I request you charitably receive my apology."

In the same letter, however, Morris defends his decision to participate, writing that he believed his participation was "not an act of joint worship, but an act of community chaplaincy."

"Those who have followed the news reports are aware that this event is not quite like anything that has happened before," Morris wrote. "I believe (and I fervently pray) that my ministry will never involve a parallel situation to the one that faced my congregation and community that weekend."

According to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, participating in joint worship events, particularly with religions that "reject Jesus," is forbidden and violated the synod's constitution. In his letter, Harrison cited Romans 16:17 as the justification for this rule.

"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned," the passage reads. "Keep away from them."

Morris is not the first Lutheran pastor to be reprimanded for participating in an interfaith event. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011, a New York pastor was suspended for participating in a similar interfaith event memorializing those killed in attack on the World Trade Center.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Faith Now • Lutheran • United States

soundoff (980 Responses)
  1. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    This has happened before. After 911 a LCMS pastor who participated in the ecumenical memorial service was disciplined for unionism and syncretism. Normally this means trying to bring about the unification of disparate beliefs, but to the LCMS it means trying to bring about even temporary unity in worship with Christian denominations they are not in agreement with. In the language they use: denominations they are not in altar and pulpit fellowship with. This lead to a lot of bad feelings within the denomination, which is actually quite diverse and probably ready to splinter.

    February 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Guest

      So, let me get this right. These Lutherans are a splinter group of Christianity that lack apostolic descent for no taking any concecrated bishops with them, & they are about to splinter,. Correct? So that makes them a splinter of a splinter. But they already splintered before when they came to America? Right? That would make them a splinter of a splinter of a splinter. Plus there are other splinters that do not agree on issues? Really? How many of these splinters claim to be the TRUE splinter, hmmm? After all this splintering; who knows, & who cares ;)

      February 7, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
  2. Madtown

    against taking part in joint worship services
    -----–
    Holy absurdity!! Religion: the most divisive force in our world.

    February 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  3. The Truth

    To God each and every one of us is extremely important.

    Regardless of our race, gender, s@xuality, political affiliation, education or wealth, each of us is deeply loved and cherished by God.

    February 7, 2013 at 3:34 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      That's the way men made god to be.

      February 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      And man said....."Let there be god", and so it was, in the beginning, as it will be in the end.

      February 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      And yet young children are murdered on its watch.

      February 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      The Truth (nothing pompous about THAT, is there?)

      God is omniscient. Yes or No?

      God knows from the beginning who will accept his son as a savior and who will not. Yes or No?

      Those who will not will be tortured forever in Hell. Yes or No.

      If God loved everyone equally, why did he allow those he KNEW would not accept his son (himself) as a savior to be born, if NOT to torture them forever?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Hunter

      Except when we displease the gods. Then they release the Kraken or erupt the volcano or send a flood or unleash a monster blizzard. Those gays sure keep us in trouble.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • Hunter

      Never trust anyone with the nickname The Truth. They're trying to sell you snake oil.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Hunter
      "Never trust anyone with the nickname The Truth."

      Careful... there is another poster on these boards named "The Truth", who is atheist(?) agnostic(?), and who does post a lot of real, factual information. I've cautioned him/her about the name choice, but he/she stays with it.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • The Truth

      The Truth speaks for itself, and the original poster was a long long way from truth. The Truth is that there is no evidence of a creator being and all of the worlds religions are makebelieve. Some can be a very fun fantasy and can make you feel accepted, while most tend to define differences with others to make it feel more exclusive and elite.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      I could start using one of my old handles if it helps...

      February 7, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
  4. woodstockwoody

    Oh wow. I'm an atheist but I sometimes go to church with friends and family out of politeness and bow my head out of politeness when they pray. I better go apologize to them for being polite.

    February 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm |
  5. DD

    NO APOLOGIES FOR COMPASSION

    February 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm |
  6. December

    I think Jesus Christ demonstrated how to love our neighbor better than this denomination's leaders.

    I'll stick with him.

    February 7, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Jesus says, “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace on earth! No, rather a sword lf you love your father, mother, sister, brother, more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. “The real beauty of this verse is that Jesus demands people truly love him more then they love their own family. I ask you how can we love someone that we can not see or interact with? Love is an emotion pertaining to physical existence not to faithful ideologies, yet God threatens you with Death just because your love for your mother maybe stronger than your love for him. Matthew 10:34

      February 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Jesus condemns entire cities to dreadful deaths and to the eternal torment of hell because they didn’t care for his preaching. Matthew 11:20

      Jesus, whose clothes are dipped in blood, has a sharp sword sticking out of his mouth. Thus attired, he treads the winepress of the wrath of God. (The winepress is the actual press that humans shall be put into so that we may be ground up.) Revelations 19:13-15

      The beast and the false prophet are cast alive into a lake of fire. The rest of us the unchosen will be killed with the sword of Jesus. “An all the fowls were filled with their flesh.” Revelations 19:20-21

      February 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • December

      Matthew 22:36-40

      “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

      Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

      Luke 10:25-37

      On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

      “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

      He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

      “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

      But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

      In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

      “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

      The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

      Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

      February 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • December

      I'll stick with Jesus.

      And try to do what he asks of me.

      Not what religious leaders ask of me.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Tommy

      That is my favorite thing about the bible it can be used to justify anything from killing your neighbor to loving your neighbor, and everything in between.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Decembere, but you only "know what jesus wants" because religious leaders have told you via the bible, church direction, and sermons.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @December

      Do you have this strange physical inapability to actually address what people say?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • December

      Hawaii Guest – you want me to copy and paste replies to his copy and pastes?

      OK

      The Christian way of life brings peace to those who live it, so Jesus Christ's comments in Matthew 10:34 seem puzzling at first. He said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword."

      In order to understand what He meant, we need to look at the context in which He said these words. The audience He addressed expected and anticipated the establishment of the Kingdom of God in fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Christ wanted His disciples to understand that it was not yet time for Him to establish the peaceful Kingdom. Instead, He warned that Christians would face hostility for living God's way of life.

      It's not that Christ instigated animosity, but rather that unconverted people resented God's truth by nature. The apostle Paul expressed this in Romans 8:7: "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be." When all people repent and are converted, God's way of life will bring peace to the entire earth (Isaiah 2:2-4; 9:7).

      But, until that time, Christians will encounter conflict and opposition over their beliefs and practices.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • December

      I'm talking about Jesus asking us to love our neighbor.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
    • December

      >> That is my favorite thing about the bible it can be used to justify anything from killing your neighbor to loving your neighbor, and everything in between.

      Yes. It can. I'd make sure I was in a good community.

      >> Decembere, but you only "know what jesus wants" because religious leaders have told you via the bible, church direction, and sermons.

      Ok. Thanks for your statement.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
    • December

      Matthew 11:20

      Jesus spent a good deal of His time preaching in these and other towns, and doing most of His mighty works in this area. The people were glad to listen to Jesus, they were delighted that He healed so many of them, and they were pleased to be fed when He multiplied the food. Biblical scholars often refer to the first year of Jesus in this region of the Galilee as the year of His popularity. The people wanted to make Him king.

      So why was Jesus denouncing the people now? Because they would not repent. He had not been doing the miracles to meet their physical needs alone. He had not been teaching them about the kingdom to gain political support. He had been ministering among them to bring them to salvation, and that began with their repentance.

      People like the idea of religion if it gives them what they want, or if it makes them feel comfortable in their lives.

      But, when it calls for repentance . . . .

      February 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @December

      No, I want you to actually address posts! I want you to stop giving examples of exactly what I was saying.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • December

      1. This is a story about a Lutheran group that is against praying with people of other denominations.

      2. I *post* Jesus would want us to love all people. Regardless of what church they go to or what they believe.

      3. You say I don't address the post?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @December

      Do you even really read my posts? I'm talking about people like Badger posting other verses that kind of show Jesus to be somewhat of a self-centered ass, you just ignore it.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Hawaii

      It's no use, December no understand because words hurt his head. Honestly, don't try.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • December

      I wanted God to change his ways.

      I was the one who needed to change my ways.

      People like the idea of religion if it gives them what they want, or if it makes them feel comfortable in their lives. (what **Chuckles** keeps saying he wants from God)

      But, when it calls for repentance...

      February 7, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
    • Chuckles

      "People like the idea of religion if it gives them what they want, or if it makes them feel comfortable in their lives. (what **Chuckles** keeps saying he wants from God)"

      –Isn't that amusing. What exactly do I "want" from god? Are you putting words in my mouth again December? I thought you were against that?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • December

      >> Chuckles:

      You said you would believe in God if He would do what you think God should do:

      and you provided these examples:

      + "god were to appear from the sky"

      + "a person (specifically a devout christian) magically regrowing a severed limb because of prayer and prayer alone"

      I used to think that way.

      But I saw I needed to change. Not God.

      And, also, who is this Hawaiiguest?

      He comes in barking orders like he owns this place. Is he in charge of anything? Or does he just spend too much time here?

      Do I have to argue with another lil' dictator? I can't. No more.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @December

      Interesting, so you think my rhubric for evidence in how I would go from unbeliever to believer is a wish list of what I want god to do? Listen, if god actually existed, then I might actually want god to do these things, but considering he doesn't exist I'm not too worried.

      Also, "dictator"? Why because Hawaii, like myself, askes you to stay on topic and answer questions instead of going off on some tangent? You must have thought all your teachers in school were fascists and those tests you had to take were just suggestions then.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • December

      hawaiiguest

      >> Do you even really read my posts? I'm talking about people like Badger posting other verses
      that kind of show Jesus to be somewhat of a self-centered ass, you just ignore it.

      You've posted 2 things to me.

      I didn't realize that was what Badger was doing...

      ...I don't think those verses show Jesus being a self-centered ass.

      And he didn't even post a question.

      But like Tommy said

      "That is my favorite thing about the bible it can be used to justify anything from killing your neighbor to loving your neighbor, and everything in between."

      You can even make Jesus to be a self-centered ass, if you want to.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • December

      >> Why because Hawaii, like myself, askes you to stay on topic and answer questions instead of going off on some tangent?

      NOBODY asked a question. Badger copied and pasted verses.

      And I copied and pasted verses.

      And Hawaiiguest barked orders.

      I was actually on topic.

      NOBODY asked a question. :)

      du. :)

      February 7, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • crickets

      -chirp- -chirp-

      February 7, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Stupid filter....

      Suffice it to say Santa and Hawaii asked questions, you decided they were orders. But by all means, get all angry, I thought you were trying to take the high road? What happened?

      February 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @December

      Badger asked no questions? Goes to show that you don't actually read what other people post.

      This is from Badgers first post in response to you:
      "I ask you how can we love someone that we can not see or interact with? Love is an emotion pertaining to physical existence not to faithful ideologies, yet God threatens you with Death just because your love for your mother maybe stronger than your love for him."

      Don't try to lie so much December, you're not good at it.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:01 pm |
    • December

      >> Chuckles

      You got to be kidding me? ARE YOU SERIOUS? Dude, really?

      Santa made a statement No questions were asked. No question marks.

      Hawaii asked a question and I tried to answer, but I didn't understand what his point was (or why he was being all Ms. Bossy Pants)

      > I thought you were trying to take the high road? What happened?

      You thought wrong. I NEVER said that.

      I tried being respectful and reasonable to you.

      But I'm getting tired of your nonsense.

      :)

      You don't know what a question is, apparently. Ugh. I'm done.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:11 pm |
    • Chuckles

      You keep saying that but I don't think you know what that means.

      Also, please see Hawaii's post.

      You're dumb.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • December

      hawaiiguest

      Badger *copied and pasted* that from a different website.

      http://www.evilbible.com/what_would_jesus_do.htm

      It didn't seem like an honest or sincere question.

      That is not a lie.

      You haven't answered my questions, so you are just as big of a liar.

      And a Ms Bossy Pants.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • December

      If you guys could offer the same courtesy and answer my questions, your accusations would be fair.

      Instead, you sound like hypocrites.

      Why do you care if I don't answer a question in an obviously copied from a different website and posted onto a comment I made about an article?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
    • December

      Chuckles

      You said Santa asked me a question.

      But he didn't.

      And I'm dumb?

      What does that make you?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @december

      I'm confused, what are your questions?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @December

      So by your logic, whenever you cut and paste any bible verse, we should infer that you're not serious and don't really believe it.
      Here's the point. Just because you didn't think it was honest or sincere doesn't mean it wasn't. You're personal offense to it wasn't justified, and merely makes you look even worse. If that's what you're trying to go for, then by all means continue. But don't come here thinking you won't be challenged.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:24 pm |
    • December

      bossypants

      >> So by your logic, whenever you cut and paste any bible verse, we should infer that you're not serious and don't really believe it.

      Yes. I generally think doing that is rude. Unless I'm posting something to a fellow believer who I think would appreciate it.

      > Just because you didn't think it was honest or sincere doesn't mean it wasn't.

      It wasnt' a sincere question.

      He never responded again.

      But you did.

      Did he send you to respond for him?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • December

      So if somebody copies and pastes questions, you will answer.

      Because that is what you expect from me.

      So it is fair you would do the same.

      And you still haven't answered this:

      "And, also, who is this Hawaiiguest?

      He comes in barking orders like he owns this place. Is he in charge of anything? Or does he just spend too much time here?"

      If you are in charge, and don't have to answer questions, but only point out when others don't, then don't worry about answering these:

      1.What caused the universe to exist?

      2.What explains the fine tuning of the universe?

      3.Why is the universe rational?

      4.How did DNA and amino acids arise?

      5.Where did the genetic code come from?

      6.How do irreducibly complex enzyme chains evolve?

      7.How do we account for the origin of 116 distinct language families?

      8.Why did cities suddenly appear all over the world between 3,000 and 1,000BC?

      9.How is independent thought possible in a world ruled by chance and necessity?

      10.How do we account for self-awareness?

      11.How is free will possible in a material universe?

      12.How do we account for conscience?

      13.On what basis can we make moral judgements?

      14.Why does suffering matter?

      15.Why do human beings matter?

      16.Why care about justice?

      17.How do we account for the almost universal belief in the supernatural?

      18.How do we know the supernatural does not exist?

      19.How can we know if there is conscious existence after death?

      20.What accounts for the empty tomb, resurrection appearances and growth of the church?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @December

      Did you ever think he didn't come back because you didn't answer the question?
      Also, I don't know the poster. You're just making yourself look worse and worse.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • December

      >> Did you ever think he didn't come back because you didn't answer the question?

      No. He just copied and pasted crap from a different website and bolted.

      I don't fell like I need to respond to crap like that. But I did. And you seem to ignore that fact.

      I think somebody who calls me out for not responding to a "copy and paste" is being a Ms Bossy Pants and should mind her own business.

      Worry about yourself, dude.

      >> Also, I don't know the poster. You're just making yourself look worse and worse.

      So why did you even care?

      >> So why did you even care? (This is a sincere question.)

      February 7, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • December

      >> Hawaiiguest

      And who are you????

      Are you a member of Christ the King Lutheran Church and are just upset about what I said?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
    • December

      Do YOU have this strange physical inapability to actually address what people say?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @December

      1) You didn't answer it at all.
      2) Saying you aren't going to answer cut and pasted things, then claiming you answered it is a contradiction, and once again shows your dishonesty.
      3) Calling you out on not addressing points isn't bossy, it's exposing you for what you are, which is a continuing theme with this entire thread.
      4) Because self-righteous "ooh look at my faith, everyone should accept Jesus" tools like you need to be exposed for the insequre frauds that you are.
      5) I'm an atheist, and proud of it.
      6) Do you really want me to answer those questions you posted?

      February 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • December

      HIGUEST
      >> Also, I don't know the poster. You're just making yourself look worse and worse.

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/12/27/hobby-lobby-faces-millions-in-fines-for-bucking-obamacare/comment-page-58/

      Here is a post from a couple months where you make a response in a post started by "badger"

      that took about 1 minute to find on google.

      Turns out I'm not the only liar.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @December

      This is how you answer questions

      1.What caused the universe to exist?
      A singularity that rapidly expanded about 14 billion years ago.

      2.What explains the fine tuning of the universe?
      Explain fine tuning? 99.99% of the universe is uninhabitable so please explain how this would lead me to believe the universe is even sort of "fine -tuned)

      3.Why is the universe rational?
      -Again, what do you mean? Many irrational things happen in the universe that are tough or near impossible to explain. Just the other day we found trillions upon trillions of rasberry rum floating in space, why is there rasberry rum in space?

      4.How did DNA and amino acids arise?
      Are you asking how DNA came into existance? We don't really know, not yet at any rate because we have no evidence of it yet. Do you?

      5.Where did the genetic code come from?
      DNA

      6.How do irreducibly complex enzyme chains evolve?
      Mutation

      7.How do we account for the origin of 116 distinct language families?
      Because human beings didn't all stay in one place. They were nomadic and traveled to different parts of the globe. Since there was no communication between tribes, languages evolved on their own and so today we have many different languages. These makes more sense than the tower of bable story which seems it could have been easily solved by everyone learning each others languages by pointing and saying the word assoicated with items.

      8.Why did cities suddenly appear all over the world between 3,000 and 1,000BC?
      The advent of irrigation and the ability to stay in one place and still grow food not to mention the ability to protect yourself by digging in.

      9.How is independent thought possible in a world ruled by chance and necessity?
      Weird question... are you wondering how human brains grew to adapt the trait to think quickly regardless of their environments? Ever heard of survival of the fittest?

      10.How do we account for self-awareness?
      We adapted hyper intelligent brains in order to make up for our shortcomings of no claws, meager strength, fur, etc..., self-awareness is a by-product. Also, possible aliens (probably not)

      11.How is free will possible in a material universe?
      Also a weird question, you're as.suming free will hinges on the universe being "material" whatever that means. There's free will because humans did not adapt to be a hive mind.

      12.How do we account for conscience?
      Same thing as self awareness. See question 10.

      13.On what basis can we make moral judgements?
      Are you asking how we can deem something "good" or "bad"? If so, it's by societal laws and pressures in order for us to live amongst one another and not descend into complete anarchy, that's why "good" and "bad" change depending on culture.

      14.Why does suffering matter?
      I'm a selfish creature, my suffering matters because I say it matters.

      15.Why do human beings matter?
      Matter to whom? The universe at large? We don't. To ourselves? We matter because we say we do, it's that simple.

      16.Why care about justice?
      Justice is a fancy way of saying we want peace within our communities to live and become strong, we want justice so that when people do bad things we know there are consequences.

      17.How do we account for the almost universal belief in the supernatural?
      Another by-product of our brains is that we have a sense of past, present and future, we can also devise senarios that have not or will not happen. the "supernatural" is just a product of the mind that we can make up things that aren't there. Now, if supernatural events occured, were recorded, repeated and certified as happening outside of natural laws, there might a real question here somewhere.

      18.How do we know the supernatural does not exist?
      Are you saying the supernatural exists because we don't know it hasn't happened? That's the weakest arguement ever. To specifically answer the question though, I have yet to see a supernatural event occur that wasn't explainable by natural phenonoma making it not supernatural.

      19.How can we know if there is conscious existence after death?
      We don't, how do you know there is? The brain, which holds the consiciousness, doesn't go anywhere after death, it detriorates and rots away. There have been extensive studies searching for a soul, but that has yet to be found so as far as we know the only place that carries the consciousness doesn't work after death.

      20.What accounts for the empty tomb, resurrection appearances and growth of the church?
      Hearsay. We have no idea this story is real or happened exactly as recounted in the bible and the growth of the church is a by product of gullibility, same question can be asked of islam, buddhism, hinduism, et al, growth of a religion proves nothing.

      Does that answer your rediculous questions?

      February 7, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • December

      1) You didn't answer it at all.
      >> I copied and pasted answers to copied and pasted questions.

      2) Saying you aren't going to answer cut and pasted things, then claiming you answered it is a contradiction, and once again shows your dishonesty.
      >> I was showing the absurdity of copying and pasting when trying to discuss.

      3) Calling you out on not addressing points isn't bossy, it's exposing you for what you are, which is a continuing theme with this entire thread.
      >> We are a lot alike, actually.

      4) Because self-righteous "ooh look at my faith, everyone should accept Jesus" tools like you need to be exposed for the insequre frauds that you are.

      5) I'm an atheist, and proud of it.

      >> "ooh look at my belief, everyone should be an athiest"

      6) Do you really want me to answer those questions you posted?

      >> I don't expect you to. Unless you want to prove you can practice what you preach.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @December

      And how exactly was I a liar? Did you even actually read all the posts?

      February 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • December

      Thanks Chuckles.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • .

      December = Logic

      February 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • December

      Hawaiiguest

      You don't lie?

      February 7, 2013 at 7:08 pm |
    • Nope

      December = Lycidas = Uncouth Swain = Thinker23 = EndBeginnings

      February 7, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Nope

      Nope.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • So

      December do you lie?

      February 7, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @December

      Jeez you really love to just jump around don't you.

      1) I never said I don't lie, I asked how was I a liar on the thread that you linked to. Do you not know the difference?
      2) Point me to any post that I've made, ever, that I said everyone should be atheist.
      3) If you want me to answer those posts in detail, then you'll have to wait. I'm going to copy the list and make posts on my blog. This is to insure that I will have the space and time necessary to answer them to my own satisfaction.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Daryl

      why did dawkins in the video "expelled" say amino acids probably must have come here on an asteroid?

      February 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • December

      I try not to. But I do.

      So, yea, I am a liar.

      A couple years ago I never would of admitted that (I was a proud atheist). :)

      February 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      My last 3) should be
      If you really want me to answer that list.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Daryl

      If I had to take a stab at it, I'd say because Dawkins believes that.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
    • December

      >>>4) Because self-righteous "ooh look at my faith, everyone should accept Jesus" tools like you need to be exposed for the insequre frauds that you are.

      1) Point me to any post that I've made, ever, that I said everyone should be a Christian.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:17 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @December

      What does being an atheist have to do with you not being able to admit your own shortcomings? I swear sometimes it sounds like you became the atheist as described from a christian tract on what an atheist is instead of actually doing the research and understanding what atheism means.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:18 pm |
    • So

      You don't have to be an atheist or a Christian to admit to lying and you most certainly don't need a god for that either. Having integrity and honesty has nothing to do with religion.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:19 pm |
    • So

      Hey look December is practicing to become a parrot.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • December

      1) I never said I don't lie, I asked how was I a liar on the thread that you linked to. Do you not know the difference?

      I didn't reply to a 'copy and paste' confusing post and you say:
      "Don't try to lie so much December, you're not good at it."

      So I was saying we both lie.

      2) Point me to any post that I've made, ever, that I said everyone should be atheist.

      No.

      3) If you want me to answer those posts in detail, then you'll have to wait. I'm going to copy the list and make posts on my blog. This is to insure that I will have the space and time necessary to answer them to my own satisfaction. can practice what you preach.

      I really don't care what you think.

      When somebody acting like a big ol' tool calls me a 'tool' – I like to show that we are just the same.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @December

      Did you post those questions because you thought no one would answer them? How insencere is THAT?!

      February 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
    • December

      I'm insincere sometimes. Yes.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • December

      But I am interested in reading them, Hawaiiguest.

      And I do appreciate you taking the time to answer, Chuckle. Thank you.

      Although I did just copy and paste them from a website, they are good questions for all people.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @December

      "When somebody acting like a big ol' tool calls me a 'tool' – I like to show that we are just the same"
      And how's that going? You've done nothing but jump around all over the place, quote mine, and even post a link that supports absolutely nothing you say.

      As for your list, I'll answer #6 now.
      Irreducible complexity is unscientific crap. Take a look at the Dover trial for a nice little show on how Behe (the chief proponent of IC) got his ass handed to him on it left, right, and back to front.

      February 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
  7. Primewonk

    I don't think most folks understand just how fucking right-wing reactionary full-on wack-job nutter the LCMS really is. Southern Baptists got nothing on these clowns. I grew up LCMS. Even went to an LCMS school from 4th to 8th grade.

    In 1966 my aunt's alcoholic abusive husband tried to choke her to death. My grandpa walked in and literally threw this creep through the window. The pastor went to visit my aunt in the hospital and told her that she HAD to repent, apologize, and take her husband back and submit to him. She refused. He kicked her out of the church.

    In 1986 my wife and I married. She comes from a large Catholic family, but we were living 400 miles away. The Catholic church wanted us to drive back every weekend for 7 weeks before they would decide if they would marry us. Instead we went to the Lutheran church in town – NOT LCMS. They said sure, they'd love to marry us. My grandparents refused to attend because my wife's family was Catholic.

    A couple years later a lifelong friend – who went to the same LCMS school finally settled down and was going to marry a wonderful girl from Taos. She was Catholic and the service would be in the historic 400 year old church there. My buddy found out that our 5th grade teacher from that school had gone on and become a LCMS minister, and lived just a few miles from the town. He asked him if he would help officiate the wedding and that there would be 5 of us former students who would love to see him again. He replied by saying he would rather die than set foot in a Catholic church, told him we would all rot in hell, and hung up.

    February 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • End Religion

      What's the right word for something that is sad and hilarious at the same time?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Atheism

      February 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm |
    • sam stone

      catholicism

      priest gets out of prison, looks around, says "i feel like a young man"

      February 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • End Religion

      Thanks Bill and Sam but I think I found a better word: "tragicomedy".
      "Bittersweet" is another but not quite as fitting as tragicomic.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  8. rabidatheist

    Ahhhh it's heartwarming to see religion bringing people together by causing division. I agree with End of Religion, keep it up, you guys make more of us every day.

    February 7, 2013 at 2:47 pm |
  9. Honey Badger Dont Care

    If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kiII him. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)

    February 7, 2013 at 2:38 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      So if I ask my daughter what is the name of the 4th planet from the sun, and she replies Mars. I should kill her for having another god....right? And religions think they have some kind of "moral" compass.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
    • niknak

      There is a lot of killing in the babble, or any other "non-violent" religion.
      And one can kill much easier with an automatic weapon equiped with a high capacity mag.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  10. What a bunch

    of tools and they are all going to want to be packing heat soon. Well christian on christian hatred is just fine with me LOL.

    February 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  11. Deb

    "...how we get to heaven, really don't matter in the end." That's exactly correct – they really don't matter in the end. What matters is how we treat and love each other now. If I belonged to LC-MS I would seriously reconsidered who I was "following" – the leaders of that denomination or Jesus?

    February 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
  12. Honey Badger Dont Care

    Suppose you hear in one of the towns the LORD your God is giving you that some worthless rabble among you have led their fellow citizens astray by encouraging them to worship foreign gods. In such cases, you must examine the facts carefully. If you find it is true and can prove that such a detestable act has occurred among you, you must attack that town and completely destroy all its inhabitants, as well as all the livestock. (Deuteronomy 13:13-19 NLT)

    Why is Newtown still standing?

    February 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
  13. HotAirAce

    And I'm almost breathless waiting for the brilliant jesus apologists (Chad, Austin, Topher, Billy D, Bad Bob, etc.) to explain this one.

    February 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bet

      *passes the popcorn to HotAirAce and settles in*

      This should be interesting.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
    • sam

      We might need a bible quote drinking game for this.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm |
    • captain america

      Continue to wait...in fact go to hell and wait. This is our country not yours. You are neither needed or wanted here. There's your sign

      February 7, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • Akira

      Captain, you are an extremely creepy human bveing. Look in the mirror; there's your sign.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Akira

      CA is some sort of being, but I'd say troglodyte is probably closer.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm |
    • just wondering

      Whats a human bveing?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • End Religion

      "this is our country"

      lol... the separation clause is a kick in the pants to you folks. There's your "sign." The founders were being as nice and inclusive as they could while simultaneously recognizing the raving lunatics among you are not satisfied without theocracy. Hint, hint.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I think it's called freedom of association.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
  14. Nancy Morkert

    I am a life-long LCMS Lutheran, but when I read remarks such as those written by President Harrison of our Synod, I am very sad. Yes, purity of doctrine is important, but lets not risk pushing away those that need God's love and comfort at a time when they are badly hurting. Arrogance is also admonished in Scripture, and an open admonishment of this sort sends a negative message of exclusion to the very people Christ would have us reach. Remember how Jesus reprimanded the Pharisees? Let's not let pride and arrogance be our witness, but rather humility, kindness and love...where it's needed most.

    February 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Either you believe the precepts of your religion or you don’t. You are just another cafeteria xtian.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Dennis T

      You are absolutely right. I listened during the memorial service and was touched by the Pastor's prayer, which in my opinion was very sincere. I hope those who lost a loved one felt comforted by God during his prayer.

      Yes, Christians ought to be vigilant and not compromise the truth that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no man comes to father but by him

      February 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm |
  15. HotAirAce

    I might look at religion again if the current proponents would simply figure out who has the real story. . .

    February 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • fred

      Not that complicated. There is only one God possible (assuming the attributes of God as given). In AA many start out simply getting to a place where they finally understand there is something greater than themselves out there.
      If there is a God and you truly are seeking God then the ball is out of your court. God will present Himself.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I have truly seeked and no presentation therefore no god. Thanks for confirming.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      OR, there is no god.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
    • fred

      I will admit there are many a day when I question is there God or am I deluded. Why God appears to hide or does not present evidence is very clear to me. I have faith issues when faced with the pain in people’s lives that appears senseless.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      because there is no god.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
  16. Honey Badger Dont Care

    My god is the only true god because he says so.

    February 7, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  17. paultmccain

    Our church body believes it gives a public false witness when and if a representative of the Christian faith shares the platform and stage where representatives of other religions are given "equal time" and in which all religions are treated as equally valid expressions of truth. This has been the historic understanding and practice of the Christian religion for millennia and it would only come as a "shock" to a person who has become tolerant of the view that "every path leads to heaven." I applaud our Synod's president, Rev. Matthew Harrison, for discharging faithfully the duties of his office and working in a very pastoral manner with Pastor Morris. I also thank Pr. Morris for his keen sensitivity to the offense that his actions causes within our church body. If people are interested in reading the actual letter Pastors Harrison and Morris wrote they can follow this link:

    http://wmltblog.org/2013/02/letter-from-president-harrison-on-newt own-ct/

    February 7, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • End Religion

      Thanks for helping us create more atheists with your absurdity!

      February 7, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      Actually if you are a true christian you are supposed to kiII people who proselytize for other faiths.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:19 pm |
    • sam

      The biggest offense here is the idiot ideology that causes fundies to be this petty after a school shooting.

      Oh, and $10 says the nearest catholic will come in and yell that lutherans aren't even real christians anyway.

      Harrison is a disgrace of a human being.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Akira

      You church certainly leads in insensitivity. When giving a prayer for slain children leads to an admonishment for said prayer....no thanks.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm |
    • Rob in OC

      My Jesus can beat up your Jesus, Pastor Harrison.

      February 7, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Brogan

      Dude, you guys suck. I really wish you would change your name to something else because you give us compassionate ELCA LUTHERANS a bad name, dude. Its real easy to change your name. Muslim or maybe Mormon sounds more up you guys alley. You could always join them, bro.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:50 pm |
    • rsewill

      I was a long time member of the LCMS and this is an example of the backwardness and craziness that caused me to leave the church.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
    • bobk52

      Troll or a POE ? Maybe tbt is back! I thought I caused it to self de-struck earlier 2 day.

      February 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
  18. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    You're kidding me right?

    The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod is so opposed to ecvmenicalism that they chastise one of their pastors for participating in a community vigil to mourn the slaughter of innocent children?

    I am incredulous.

    Another red letter day for organized religion and the intolerance of Protestantism in particular.

    February 7, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Pat

      I wonder if Pastor Matthew C. Harrison reports to Alois Bell...?

      February 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm |
    • sam

      I didn't think I could still be surprised by a religious 'leader'. There just aren't enough faces or palms for this one.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm |
    • Akira

      I am in complete agreement with you, GOPer...I am stunned by this blatant show of insensitivity.

      February 7, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
  19. Bootyfunk

    my made up deity is real!
    no mine is!
    mine is the true god!
    no, it's mine!

    LOL.

    February 7, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  20. End Religion

    Love it when the nutters fight over whose "one true thing" is the right thing. Keep it up, you crazy bastards. You help make more atheists every day.
    http://www.salon.com/2012/10/06/atheisms_growing_pains/

    February 7, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.