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Franklin Graham: IRS targeted ministries
"I do not believe the IRS audits of our two organizations last year is a coincidence," Franklin Graham wrote to the president.
May 15th, 2013
09:50 AM ET

Franklin Graham: IRS targeted ministries

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Editor

(CNN) - Franklin Graham, one of the country's most prominent evangelicals, says the targeting of conservative groups by the Internal Revenue Service included two of his ministries.

"I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us," Graham wrote in a letter Tuesday to President Barack Obama. The evangelical leader is the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham.

Graham said the IRS contacted the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a North Carolina-based ministry, after it ran newspaper ads in that state in April encouraging support for an amendment against same-sex marriage. The group also bought newspaper ads in November encouraging Christians to vote for candidates who oppose same-sex marriage, support Israel and "base their decisions on biblical principles."

Graham said the ads were purchased by funds donated by "friends of our ministry."

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In September, the IRS informed the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, an international aid group, that it would review the groups' records for the tax year ending in 2010, according to Graham. IRS agents conducted the review in October, Graham said.

The organizations, both of which are run by Graham, later received notice that they remain eligible for federal tax exemptions, he said.

"I do not believe the IRS audits of our two organizations last year is a coincidence - or justifiable," Graham said in the letter to Obama.

The IRS did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. The agency has acknowledged that it gave extra scrutiny to tea party groups applying for federal tax exemptions. The Treasury Department's inspector general said in a report that the IRS' use of "inappropriate criteria"  ended in May 2012.

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

Obama said Tuesday that he has directed Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to hold IRS employees accountable for "these failures."

"But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong," Obama said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Billy Graham • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (1,354 Responses)
  1. atheists the NFL is RICH Attack them

    $$

    May 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      The NFL doesn't earn their riches by lying to gullible people.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
    • Hairy Eyeball2u

      I think someone doesn't watch the NFL or remember the referee scandals.

      May 16, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    Franklin Graham gets a bump in donations every time he can cry persecution. He's just making money here.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  3. PauletteB

    Franklin Graham is an embarrassment to his father's (as well as his Father's) legacy. After supporting BGEA for many, many years, I stopped that support last year. As a Christian, I could no longer countenance Franklin's ever-increasing bigotry and hatred.

    May 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      thank you for that PauletteB.

      I hope that there are many more Christians like you. Franklin Graham brings disrepute to your religion.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
  4. His panic

    Hum, I wonder if he is in a state of Panic! Is he losing his faith in Jesus? Because those who really, really trust in God and in Jesus Christ God's only Son will not panic. All others will Panic because after we do really have a Big Brother, yes and his name is Jesus.

    May 16, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
  5. Reality

    The "non-profit" ripoffs – some comparisons:

    -from guidestar.org

    Rev. Franklin Graham/Christian $800,000+/yr.

    Rev. Billy Graham/Christian $400,000/yr

    Rabbi Bradley Hirschfield/Jewish $331,708/yr

    Rev. Susan Brooks Thistlethwaite/ Christian $200,000/yr

    Erica Brown/ Jewish $134,221/yr

    Eboo Patel, Muslim $120,000/yr and his “non-profit’s” investment portfolio of $1.2 million

    Dr. Herb Silverman / atheist,$100,000/yr. ?
    David Silverman/ atheist, $100,000/yr.?

    Imam Rauf and his wife Daisy,/Muslim $400,000/yr/ea estimated

    Susan Jacoby/ atheist ????

    Many "non-profits" are actually investment companies using some cause, religious or non-religious as a front. This way said group pays no taxes on dividends, interest or capital gains.

    There are different opinions as to what a religion really is or what a non-profit is and therefore all non-profits should file Form 990's. At the moment, religious groups are exempt. To be fair therefore, there should be no tax-exemptions for any group and that includes the Democratic and Republican Parties. Faith and community initiative grant monies should also be cancelled and there should also be no tax deductions for contributions made to charities and non-profits.

    May 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • kk

      Mostly agree, but many high profile religious leaders who work hard, have been in their careers for 30+ years, and who could be making millions a year in royalties deserve at least 100 to 200k. Some people feel as if they should work for free, which sounds stupid to me.

      May 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Atheist Hunter

      if they cut it out for religious groups then they need to do the same for all non-profit, liberal ones included.

      May 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      let's just take two off your list

      Samaritan's Purse (Franklin Grahm)
      Revenue 388,184,949
      Program Expenses $277,498,401
      Administrative Expenses $18,110,093
      Fundraising Expenses $54,574,782
      TOTAL FUNCTIONAL EXPENSES $350,183,276

      $421,198 0.12% W. Franklin Graham Board Chair, CEO

      THAT IS 0.12%
      http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4423

      FFRF

      TOTAL REVENUE $2,701,499

      $87,556 5.76% Dan Barker Co-President
      $85,282 5.61% Annie Laurie Gaylor Co-President

      So which is more 0.12% or 5.76%?

      http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=7003

      May 16, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • Science

      Numbers for you VIC

      All rise!

      A standing O to Robert Brown, Atheist Hunter, Mike from CT, Chad, Vic and the like... well done!

      👏

      May 13, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply

      Science

      You know ...................Mom and Dad ...............did DO IT.................everybody should know that !

      Peace

      It was not the red devil and the fairy !

      May 13, 2013 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |

      Science

      Reallity..................Mom and Dad did IT .............it was a good thing ...........se-x that is !!!

      May 13, 2013 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |

      Boot

      Still patting yourself on the back, eh? How pathetic.

      May 13, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |

      Science

      You said what faith...................profound................how many pages. are missing................faith

      Christians Be Nice CNN.............google it.....

      About 75,100,000 results (0.25 seconds)

      May 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |

      Numbers work........................light

      When Christians become a 'hated minority'...........google it.

      About 6,900,000 results (0.22 seconds

      When Christians become a 'hated minority' facebook

      About 4,320,000 results (0.21 seconds

      May 16, 2013 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |

      May 16, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |

      May 16, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/comment-page-106/#comment-2343919

      May 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • His panic

      Actually, nobody no one should be exempt from Taxes.

      Whether individuals, persons, corporations, businesses, industries, organizations etc. Anyone, anybody, everybody and everyone should pay taxes.

      There should be a Minimum Tax for everyone who have a verifiable source of income, whether is salary, investment income, gifts etc

      No more FULL REFUNDS for everybody.

      Therefore your post is very hypocritical in your targeting of only religious non-profits. There are secular, not religious non-profits who who also pay six figures salaries.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      Science, who and what are you trying to reply to?

      May 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Science

      How did feathers evolve? – Carl Zimmer .................. and the red thing the devil ?

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPLgfGX1I5Y&w=640&h=360]

      May 16, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      How did feather's evolved? Evolution.

      "Feathers are gorgeous in their complexity, delicate in their Construction"

      So who created this complex delicate design before they evolved?
      See Evolution is fine, Evolution as origin is absurd.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • LOL!

      "See Evolution is fine, Evolution as origin is absurd."

      See Evolution is fine, a god as the origin is absurd.

      May 16, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
    • Reality

      "http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2009/10/franklin_graham_moves_to_addre.html

      CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Concerns about his rising financial compensation during tough economic times have prompted evangelist Franklin Graham to temporarily give up future contributions to his retirement plans at the two Christian charities he leads.

      As president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, he receives two full-time salaries and two retirement packages. Last year his total compensation from the two Christian ministries was $1.2 million.

      The size of Graham's total 2008 compensation - $535,000 from Samaritan's Purse and $669,000 from Charlotte, N.C.-based BGEA - drew questions from nonprofit experts. They doubted that one person - even the energetic, globe-trotting Graham - can do two full-time jobs when those positions are head of organizations that employ hundreds and spend hundreds of millions around the world.

      As head of the Boone, N.C.-based Samaritan's Purse, Graham earned more last year than any other leader of an international relief agency based in the United States. That includes eight with larger budgets, according to data compiled by Guidestar, a group that monitors non-profits.

      Graham, 57, and his two boards of directors pointed out that most of his 2008 compensation came not from increases in his salaries, which have remained flat in recent years, but from accelerated contributions to his retirement. The boards said they were playing catch-up - Graham received no retirement during his first few years at the two organizations - and were hoping to satisfy his goal of working for free when he reaches age 70.

      In addition, Graham and the boards said, nearly half of what he received last year from BGEA - $300,000 - was deferred retirement money that had been committed and reported over three previous years. Under new IRS rules, which have affected other nonprofit CEOs, the money had to be re-reported as a lump sum in 2008, the year Graham became vested."

      May 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Reality

      Instead of donating to these Christian "non-profits", simply paste the following on the doors of your local churches:

      The Apostles' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

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

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

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

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

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

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      May 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      The size of Graham's total 2008 compensation – $535,000 from Samaritan's Purse

      So he took a paycut?... praise God.

      Way to divert the topic in your last post after you were disproven in your first.

      May 16, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Reality

      $535,000 from Samaritan's Purse and $669,000 from Charlotte, N.C.-based BGEA = $ 1. 2 million/yr. as previously noted.

      May 16, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      @Reality, that is extremely rude. To pull out a statistic from 2008 and not look at the 2013 statistic when it is provided to you

      $421,198 0.12% W. Franklin Graham Board Chair, CEO
      http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4423

      But then you expect people to follow your links to early christian writing and any thing John D says .com

      May 16, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Reality

      Franklin Graham's salaries and benefits: (from guidestar.org and the latest Form 990's)

      Samaritan’s Purse (2011 IRS Form 990) $ 585,051
      Billy Graham Library Endowment Fund (2010 IRS Form 990) 106,801
      BILLY GRAHAM EVANGELISTIC ASSOCIATION (2011 IRS Form 990) 228, 488

      Total $ 920,340

      Then there are the travel expenses paid for by your donations. And then there are the speaking engagement stipends. And we see both Graham's father and son are also on some of these payrolls. .

      Once again, save your money and simply post the following on your church doors:

      The Apostles' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

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

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

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

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

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

      Amen
      (references used are available upon request)

      May 17, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • Mike from CT

      "Samaritan’s Purse (2011 IRS Form 990) $ 585,051"

      So now we when from a 2009 article to a 2011 F-990, where is the one for 2012? Either way are you say that this man did not take a raise for 2 years. Praise God for his restraint.

      May 17, 2013 at 8:32 am |
    • Mike from CT

      And we are down from 1.2Mil to .92 Mil over a 20% decrease, while revenue was going up.

      Again Praise God.

      May 17, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Reality

      From the opening comment:

      The "non-profit" ripoffs – some comparisons:

      -from guidestar.org

      Rev. Franklin Graham/Christian $800,000+/yr.

      Rev. Billy Graham/Christian $400,000/yr

      May 17, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Reality

      The IRS Form 990 for 2012 was not yet available at http://www.guidestar.org.

      May 17, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  6. lottie

    They should target ministries half are bogus anyway. Just another way of stealing peoples money and not having to pay for it. Graham is a repo and will complain about this administration anyway.

    May 16, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Mike from CT

      Source please?

      May 16, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Mike...its an opinion so the source is the writer.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Mike from CT

      "They should target ministries half are bogus anyway"

      That is an assertion they based their opinion on. You would want them to prove that true and ask for the same amount of proof that you ask of Christianity, no?

      May 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
  7. rabbitcommarogerindyreader

    Ministries and tax-exempt religious groups are SUPPOSED to not be political, and they risk their tax-exempt status if they start acting too much like something they're not. A Democrat is President, and OF COURSE there are going to be a lot more reactionary anti- groups popping up (whether genuinely grass-roots or astro-turf) than pro-Dem groups – it's the nature of (especially) the beast. Given those facts, it's as statistically sound a practice for a governing agency to "profile" suspect groups as it is for police to "profile" suspect individuals. (And it hasn't even been thoroughly established that the incidence of close scrutiny for TeaParty groups is really higher than that of others, has it?) Funny how all we hear from the ultra-cons is that they LIKE IT when minorities are profiled – by Sheriff Joe or the NYPD or by lone gun-wielding nut-jobs in Florida. But profile them? Oh H377 no!

    May 16, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • sam

      I like that – grass-roots or astro-turf.

      May 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
  8. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    And in Dubya's administration, they targeted the NAACP, the NEA, the Urban League, AARP, CORE, the UNCF and any other organization that had a more liberal bent, all the while ignoring complaints against the BBB, and other supposedly non-partisan organizations which were actively promoting conservative political agendas.

    May 16, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  9. Thoth

    I'm failing to see the evidence that Graham was 'targeted'. So they were audited. My company (not a non-profit) has been audited 3 times in the past 14 years. His non-profits were not denied anything. They were simply required to do what many companies have to do.

    May 16, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • LinCA

      @Thoth

      Graham is an opportunist. He recognized an opportunity to advance a few of his goals and jumped on it. His aim is (at least) trifold.
      – He plays on the "we're persecuted" delusion of his followers. It helps keep the sheeple in fear and in line.
      – He used the IRS controversy to drum up some extra, free advertising for his schemes. He expects, and probably gets, a bump in donations from this.
      – He probably also hopes to use the backlash against the IRS to cause them to back off and give him more freedom to use his non-profits for political speech.

      May 16, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Science

      Auto dealers......................get hit for audtis all the time...............if there is a no change in return the IRS has to wait

      3 years before another i believe that is how it works ?

      May 16, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  10. Brother Maynard

    Chad Asks:
    "what does Christian doctrine say is the purpose of Gods acting in human history?"

    answer
    To invalidate our free will

    May 16, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Science

      Brother Maynard...................is Chad one of those domesday guys the new artcle is talking about ?........................lmao.

      Are you Chad ?

      May 16, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  11. palintwit

    I was glad to hear that the IRS is keeping an eye on the teabillies These baggers are by far the most subversive group in the country today and someone has to keep their thumb on them.

    May 16, 2013 at 9:54 am |
  12. ME II

    @Chad,
    "A. Jesus did not have as His agenda social reform"

    Love thy neighbor as thyself (but you can still own him.)?

    "B. That isnt true in any case, Jesus did in fact support equitable treatment of slaves,...

    1) Read your own statement, treatment of what? Oh, slaves.
    2) Equity is not the same as equal, why are you hedging on the rights of people? Oh, they must be slaves because they deserve to be slaves. That's okay then.

    "Simply look at the human rights records of Christian nations vs Islamic vs Atheist (USSR, North Korea, China, etc..)"

    Are you claiming that the behavior of Christians define Christianity? That would be a switch for you, wouldn't it?

    May 16, 2013 at 9:51 am |
  13. Dyslexic doG

    Please help a very confused person (me) with answers to these questions:

    How do Christians know which passages of the Bible need to be obeyed and which can be ignored?

    What is the % of the Bible that must be obeyed and what % can be ignored?

    Who decides which parts that once were true and the word of God, are now no longer true and the word of God?

    it has to be all or nothing doesn't it? Either obey every line of the bible as God's word, or else admit that some lines can be ignored, and then the entire book is of dubious value. If some lines, in fact MANY LINES can be ignored, then how can people be so sure about the anti-gay references? Seems like many people are just using the bible to justify your own bigotry.

    May 16, 2013 at 9:29 am |
    • Fear

      That is probably true enough in some cases (the anti-gay) stance. Years ago it was no premarital relations at all from the church but people did what they were going to do anyway and then that point went out the window. Now it's something else. Change is slow. If you ask ten different people what the bible means (figurative or literal) you will get ten different answers. I can't understand the bible so I never bothered.

      May 16, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Fear

      In my own perspective I'd say biblical interpretation accross humanity spans from the idea of total nonsense to just parables to complete literality and everywhere in between.

      May 16, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • lol??

      Here is a start and you'll be smarter than a slew of Christians.

      "2Pe 3:16 As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction."

      May 16, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Mike from CT

      How many days in a row are you going to ask the same question even though it was answered over and over again. If you cared about the answer I am sure people would spend the time to explain it, but again and again you do a hit and run and really don't care for the answer.

      so instead of typing it out ... again... one resource that may help others
      http://www.thevillagechurch.net/sermon/christian-responsibility-and-mosaic-law/

      http://www.thevillagechurch.net/sermon/christian-responsibility-and-mosaic-law/

      May 16, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  14. Gay Marriage Watch

    Congrats to Brazil on becoming the third and largest Latin American country to fully legalize same-sex marriage this past Tuesday, the same day that Minnesota legalized gay marriage. Before Tuesday, only some jurisdictions allowed same-sex marriage. In a bold move for the majority Roman Catholic nation, Brazil's National Council of Justice ruled that all Brazilian notary publics must register same-sex civil unions as marriages if the couple requests it. The announcement was explained by the Chief Justice of Brazil's Supreme Federal Court. (Same-sex civil unions were already recognized country-wide in Brazil since 2011.)

    Brazil, host of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics, is one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world with an average annual GDP growth rate of over 5 percent. (GDP – $2.2 trillion USD in 2013). It is currently the second largest economy in the western hemisphere. The South American country has a total area slightly larger than the continental United States, and is home to ~200 million people (roughly eight times the population of the next most populous predominantly Portuguese-speaking nation). It is also the most bio-diverse country on the planet. You may have seen televised coverage in recent weeks of the 2013 X Games, held at Iguazu Falls, which lies on Brazil's border with Argentina:
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bURthT5Xl6c&w=640&h=360]

    May 16, 2013 at 7:08 am |
  15. Gay Marriage Watch

    Same-se-x marriage in the U.S.:

    Done deal: Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington & the District of Columbia.

    Who's next?
    Illinois: Gov. Pat Quinn called on the Illinois House to send him legislation to legalize gay marriage, saying lawmakers had plenty of time to make up their mind on the issue. The state Senate passed the measure on Valentine's Day, and the governor has said he's ready to sign it.

    New Jersey: Gov. Christie doesn't seem to be against gay marriage coming from a ballot measure, but has stated in the past he would veto such a change from legislators. This was his stance before the President changed his views. If Christie reconsiders, NJ could be sooner than expected.

    California: It seems gay marriage will be in CA soon one way or the other. This is because polls show a much larger support for gay marriage than when Prop 8 was passed. So even if the upcoming SCOTUS case were to fail, it would likely be put to voters there very soon again.

    Hawaii: Already has some good laws on the books evidently, and although things have been put on hold until after 2013, legislators there are attempting to speed up the process.

    Virginia: A new Washington Post poll reported Tuesday, 5/14/13 shows, for the question,

    "Do you think it should be legal or illegal for gay couples to get married?",

    56% of Virginians answered legal – an increase of ten percent on the same question and answer from the same poll two years ago.

    The state, birthplace to eight U.S. presidents is adjacent to Maryland and the District of Columbia where same-se-x marriage is already legal.

    Arizona: A new Rocky Mountain poll shows 55% of Arizona residents now support gay marriage.
    ==========================
    Let's see around the globe:

    Done deal: Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Uruguay, & portions of Brazil.

    In the works:

    France: Has already passed same-se-x marriage bill in both houses; president intends to sign; right-wing party plans to challenge in the Consti tutional Council to try to force a delay on enactment.

    Germany: On 22 March 2013 the Bundesrat passed an initiative to open marriage to same-se-x couples, which now moves onto the Bundestag for approval.

    Ireland: On 14 April 2013 as part of the Consti tutional Convention a measure voted in favour of same-se-x marriage by a margin of 79 percent.

    UK: On 5 February 2013, the House of Commons debated the Marriage (Same Se-x Couples) Bill and approved it in a 400–175 vote at the second reading. (Third reading to be scheduled.)

    Finland: 03-19-2013: The citizens' initiative overrides the committee's decision, and thus the bill must now be considered by the Parliament.

    Luxembourg: On 6 February 2013, the Chamber's justice committee agreed to approve the measure opening marriage for same-se-x couples. On 20 February, the committee initially backed the right to simple adoption for same-se-x couples. On 6 March 2013, the committee confirmed that position.

    Australia: lower house MP will seek to have his Marriage Equality Amendment Bill brought for an immediate vote in the House on June 6.

    Mexico (UPDATE): Gay marriage is already legal in Mexico City, however, the Miami Herald reported today that "A unanimous ruling by the Mexican Supreme Court overturning a state law against same-se-x marriage has opened the way for the eventual legalization of gay marriage across Mexico, legal experts say. The court ruled unconsti-tutional a law in southern Oaxaca state that defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman."

    Vietnam: Last July, the Justice Ministry in Vietnam said it would consider a provision for same-se-x marriage rights in an amendment to the country's marriage laws.

    Taiwan: Last year, a same-se-x Buddhist couple married in Taiwan, where a legalization bill has been pending since 2003. Taipei is also home to Asia's largest annual gay pride parade, according to organizers. Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice are currently examining whether to change their civil code to accept same-se-x marriage or to legislate for civil partnerships. Taiwan could very well be the first Asian country to legalize gay marriage.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ULdaSrYGLQ&w=640&h=360]

    May 16, 2013 at 7:07 am |
  16. Ann

    These organizations rake in money for charities–all the while they pay the leaders really big bucks. Franklin Graham is paid around 2 million a year. I am sure that is not all he receives. I say they should be scrutinized even more than individuals. That is an outrageous salary ..

    May 16, 2013 at 7:01 am |
    • Charities

      I have found a majority of charities religious and otherwise do nothing to help like they say they will. See the ASPCA as an example. The "little" charities are the better ones.

      May 16, 2013 at 7:50 am |
    • J rowland

      if they are tax exempt why waste time and the tax payers' money auditing them? do they go in looking to see if they are illegally paying taxes?

      May 16, 2013 at 7:52 am |
    • Mark A. Griffin

      Your wrong. He does not make 2 Million a year. Quit spreading lies.

      May 16, 2013 at 8:15 am |
    • midwest rail

      Mark, he gets 2 full time salaries and 2 pensions – care to guess what those are worth ?

      May 16, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • sam stone

      http://www.cleveland.com/nation/index.ssf/2009/10/franklin_graham_moves_to_addre.html

      he makes $1.2 million a year

      May 16, 2013 at 8:33 am |
  17. Is this it or is there more?

    Is the whole reason there is a red and blue team so that government can get more money from what was tax exempt churches? Is that why the push for no dieties?
    Marriage equality is a good step in the right direction but I guarantee you that's a side issue, and not what the people in charge care about it's always about money in the long run.

    May 15, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • LeChatdeMort

      Oh, you can be sure that most of anything done by our wonderful corporate leaders is about greed – greed for power, money, xex or whatever.
      But the push on atheism is by individuals like me who are just sick and tired of being sick and tired of all the BS that ruins so many lives in so many ways.
      Our methods may not be great, but we are in extreme earnest that things need to change for the better instead of the usual downward spiral. It is not a conspiracy. This is regular people getting fed up and marching on the internet.
      Just be glad we aren't coming down the street with torches and pitchforks. This has been amazingly non-violent so far.

      May 15, 2013 at 11:11 pm |
    • Is this it or is there more?

      I hope it stays non violent but I'm glad you are using words and not actions. I know a boat load of "skeptics" but we don't call ourselves "atheists" you know, we've been holding the banner of "that's all you.." for so long. I guess in your eyes indifference was a poison but in ours it served a purpose.

      May 16, 2013 at 6:50 am |
    • Ak-Haru Kenaustin Ardenol

      Apathy is always a poison to progress. Progress breaks from tradition, which is worshiped by foolish people.

      May 16, 2013 at 8:25 am |
  18. Gertrude

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

    May 15, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • mama k

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

      May 15, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Alas,Colin, and everyone who is confused about Christian theology, the one true God is a special needs God, able to create, but unable to perfect, or even predict, the outcome of it's creation. It relies on believers to fill in where it has come short. The outcome of its patch job, the Crucifixion and Resurrection of as much of itself as it was willing to risk, was not what it might have hoped. Most of us thought that a rather artless dodge of the predictable results of creating willful creatures that were a bit more than it could handle. But we made it into a beautiful story with which to distract, comfort, or amuse people who are, well, easily distracted, comforted, or amused. Or course it doesn't stand up to close inspection. Why would you ever expect it to?

    May 15, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Colin

      Thanks Tom, that was well expressed.

      May 15, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

      Hey everyone ism....taste the expresso....hee hee hee

      May 15, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • doe john

      Oh, Tom, Tom ... I see you're still peddling your empty and meaningless rhetoric – searching any faith post possible to spew your ignorance and hate. Someone within the 'church' must have really frigged you up at some point. You know, you could take a page from the Bible and learn a little something about forgiveness and healing ... could save your life.

      May 15, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Bob

      Unfortunately, doe john, your advice is poor, and dangerous to follow. Pages from the bible include horrid instructions from the nasty Christian sky fairy like this sampling from both NT and OT:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 15, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • doe john

      Bob, you apparently have little to no understanding or appreciation for context. Perhaps you should try to read the Bible as a whole sometime .... you know, for yourself ... instead of copying and pasting other people's comments? There is is also something called progressive revelation that perhaps you look up.

      May 15, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Bob

      doe john, I've read the bible in detail. I suspect that I know it much better than you do. My comment already addresses your "context" inanity. Read this excerpt again. Try to understand it this time, before you reply again:

      "And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created."

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 15, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Tom, Tom, the Other One,
      God is perfect and so is creation. Things created to do specific things do those things without fail. You fault God for creating intelligent thoughtful beings that can choose what to do. Would you rather the human family was more like robots?

      Jesus wasn’t a patch job. He is the key to God’s perfect plan for the human family. God in his infinite wisdom knew his created intelligences would do things they shouldn’t do. He provided them with leaders, teachers, prophets, preachers, and most importantly a savior. He knew what we would need before he made us.

      May 15, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • doe john

      Again Bob, you didn't read my comment so I suspect you haven't really 'read' the Bible .... please don't be ignorant and look up and try to understand both context and progressive revelation. I also do not think you have a healthy appreciation for the evilness of humankind and the many many ways that God has tried to get people's attention. Oh, He did also show up in human form – performed miracles and taught on and demonstrated agape love ... how did humanity respond to this form of communication? That's right, they killed him. How are you responding to Him dying for you. That's right you're mocking Him.

      May 15, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Bob,

      The verses you chose show how little of the bible you have read. I could post pages of verses that are rougher than the one’s you are using. If you’re going for maximum shock effect you should pull out some real brutal stuff.

      May 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
    • Science

      Recent shearch ....................chadie !!!

      http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/5/5/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority#

      http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/05/05/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority/comment-page-88/?replytocom=2329733#respond

      May 15, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • Bob

      Robert Brown, good for you for finally admitting that stuff is in there. One more step away from your nasty delusion for you. Well done.

      Cheers,
      Bob

      May 15, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • Billy

      RB: "God is perfect and so is creation. Things created to do specific things do those things without fail."

      If God were real, I'd tell him to take a hike for giving crocodiles a better immune system than us.

      May 15, 2013 at 10:30 pm |
    • Science

      Recent search Chadie and faith

      http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/5/5/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority#

      Front page there too billie and chadie

      Have not search for twitter ...........yet chadie

      May 15, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • LinCA

      @Billy

      You said, "If God were real, I'd tell him to take a hike for giving crocodiles a better immune system than us."
      What Robert Brown is implying that in the Grand Scheme it is all perfect. We are simply not capable of understanding it. His god lets millions of people die horrible and violent deaths every year so that it can add them to its collection, or something vile like that.

      You see, its creation is perfect, because his god is perfect. If you start with the assertion that this creature is perfect, everything falls into place.

      If you start with that, you'll see that even all these fucked up christians are part of its perfect creation.

      May 15, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • lol??

      What else do you do while waiting for your judgment??

      May 15, 2013 at 10:46 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Of course we are perfectly imperfect creations. We must be so so that God, sufficiently perfect that it can stand in for us, can bring about the perfect end to a perfect story.

      May 15, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • Bob

      doe john or whatever your latest nom-de-deception is, no, the whole Jesus sacrifice thing is hogwash. Any "god" worth the name could just pop up a new son anytime it wanted. No loss, no sacrifice.The basis of your whole religion is cr@p.

      Now, again, read what I said about context in the following. Read it until you get it.

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Leviticus 25
      44 “‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves.
      45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property.
      46 You can bequeath them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement.
      Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      May 15, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • lol??

      Jesus doesn't think His bride is a joke.

      May 15, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
    • Science

      lol??.............no joke !

      Recent search Chadie and faith

      http://www.richarddawkins.net/news_articles/2013/5/5/when-christians-become-a-hated-minority#

      Front page there too billie and chadie

      And twitter results..............
      Page 2 of about 4,310,000 results (0.20 seconds)

      May 16, 2013 at 5:41 am |
    • Science

      And the oldest of old for the RCC is the BedVrooooom.and the red thing...the devil.!

      May 16, 2013 at 7:04 am |
    • J rowland

      Tell me Tom – deep down in your mind at its very basic core beliefs – which do you believe came first in your line of evolved thinking – the heart or the intestines in the development of the human anatomy?

      May 16, 2013 at 8:02 am |
    • lol??

      tomy tommy sayz,
      ".............but unable to perfect,................."
      Will you settle for the past tense??

      "Luk 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third [day] I shall be perfected."

      May 16, 2013 at 11:37 am |
  20. "A conversation with: A conversation"

    god good believe him live in sky amen but I not retard I to stupid believe anything like snake talk talk. thanks.

    May 15, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • talking backwards

      Weren't you in "The Na ked Lunch?"

      May 15, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • William S. Burroughs

      The best drug in the world is...silence.

      May 15, 2013 at 8:13 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.