home
RSS
My Take: Town prayers need less Jesus, more Krishna
May 21st, 2013
11:35 AM ET

My Take: Town prayers need less Jesus, more Krishna

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

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) — At first glance, it would seem that the town of Greece, New York, has been brazenly violating the First Amendment. For roughly a decade, it invited local Christians — and only Christians — to offer prayers opening its Town Board meetings.

Two non-Christian town residents — Susan Galloway (who is Jewish) and Linda Stephens (who is an atheist) — objected, arguing that this practice violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.”

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, finding that the town’s practice of repeatedly inviting Christians to offer demonstrably Christian prayers amounted to an unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the case.

As Town of Greece v. Galloway made its way through the courts, the town, represented by the Arizona-based (and faith-based) nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, argued that the founders prayed in public, and members of the U.S. Congress continue to do so today. To side with Galloway and Stephens, therefore, is to determine that members of the House and Senate have been violating the constitution for over two centuries.

Ayesha Khan, legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which represents Galloway and Stephens in the lawsuit, said in a statement that “legislative bodies should focus on serving the community and stay out of the business of promoting religion.”

That is unlikely to happen, since there is, as Alliance Defending Freedom has argued, an “unambiguous and unbroken history” of prayer in government bodies in the United States. But there is an equally long history of ensuring that these prayers are, as Americans United has observed, “inclusive and non-sectarian.” And those in Greece were neither.

According to the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, “Christian clergy delivered each and every one of the prayers for the first nine years of the town’s prayer practice, and nearly all of the prayers thereafter.” Moreover, “a substantial majority of the prayers in the record contained uniquely Christian language,” including references to “Jesus Christ” as “our Savior.”

This “steady drumbeat of often specifically sectarian Christian prayers,” the appeals court concluded, left an indelible “impression” that the town was “associated ... with the Christian religion.”

Town of Greece v. Galloway is a vexing case. What makes it vexing is that, when it comes to church/state questions, Americans have traditionally opted for a middle path between a theocratic marriage and Great-Wall-of-China-style separation. As a result, U.S. Supreme Court justices are left in many cases to intuit whether a particular practice leans too far toward either extreme to be acceptable.

Nonetheless, there seems to be a clear path forward here.

As I see it, the U.S. Supreme Court is not going to outlaw prayer in the U.S. Congress or in town board meetings. It made that clear in Marsh v. Chambers (1983), where it upheld a tradition of opening prayers in the Nebraska state legislature.

But neither is the Supreme Court going to permit in these venues a “steady drumbeat of often specifically sectarian Christian prayers."

In other words, the question the Supreme Court decided on Monday to take up is not whether town boards can pray but what sorts of prayer practices are constitutional in governmental settings.

When the founders listened to prayers in the early republic, they never would have allowed any one Christian denomination to enjoy a monopoly over the others. But neither would they have insisted that some be delivered by a Muslim or a Hindu, as is the practice in the U.S. Congress today. Nonetheless, the key principle was established — that such prayers should reflect the religious diversity of the nation at the time.

That diversity is much broader today, of course. At the interfaith prayer services after 9/11 and after the Boston marathon bombings, it was not enough to have a Presbyterian and a Quaker rubbing shoulders with a Congregationalist. Such services are not truly interfaith nowadays unless they include Catholics and Jews, Muslims and Sikhs, and perhaps a secular humanist, too.

In a “friend of the court” brief signed by 49 members of Congress, the Family Research Council argued that 97% of the prayers offered in the U.S. Congress are offered by Christians and the “majority of these prayers include identifiably Christian content.”

If that is true, then that needs to change, lest Americans be given the impression that the U.S. Congress is a Christian missionary organization. Still, it should be noted that the prayer practice in Greece was even more egregiously exclusive and sectarian, with all the prayers over a nine year period being given by Christians.

After Greece’s town board was called out by Galloway and Stephens, it caught a brief whiff of pluralism (and constitutionality) in 2008, when it allowed prayers to be offered by a Wiccan, a Baha’i, and a Jew. Thereafter, however, it returned to the unconstitutional practice of inviting only Christian clergy.

That practice might have been permissible in 1787 or 1812, but it does not pass constitutional muster in 2013, when the United States is, as President Barack Obama acknowledged in his first inaugural address, “a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.”

In discussions about this case, defenders of the town have expressed nostalgia for a time when Christian prayers — and only Christian prayers — would pass constitutional muster. Defenders of Galloway and Stephens have hoped for a future when no prayers would be allowed at such gatherings. The Supreme Court is likely to please neither side, nor should it.

Our tradition is to allow public prayer at public gatherings of this sort, but to insist that such prayers (in the aggregate) be inclusive and non-sectarian. So if the citizens of Greece, New York, want to continue to hear before their town board meetings that Jesus Christ is "our savior," they are going to have to line up some Hindu priests willing to tell them that Krishna is "our Lord." Anything less than that just won't pass constitutional muster, at least not in 2013.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Baha'i • Church and state • Interfaith issues • United States

soundoff (369 Responses)
  1. Reality

    11:35 AM ET

    Close

    "My Take: Town prayers need less Jesus, more Krishna"

    My Take: The world needs less Stevie P, more rational thinking!!!!!!!"

    Krishna
    American Heritage Dictionary: Krish·na1Top

    (krĭsh'nə) pronunciation
    n. Hinduism
    "The eighth and principal avatar of Vishnu, often depicted as a handsome young man playing a flute. He appears as a charioteer and advisor of Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita."

    May 21, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
    • Reality

      The SCOTUS should conclude the following thereby ending this continuing waste of tax payers' money by trying these cases in court:

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

      • As far as one knows or can tell, there was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

      • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

      • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

      • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

      • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

      • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated/reborn Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

      • A constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is reached and belief that various beings (angels?, tinkerbells? etc) exist that we, as mortals, cannot comprehend makes for a no on Sikhism.

      Added details available upon written request.

      A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

      e.g. Taoism

      "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

      Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

      (Another large plus by such a ruling is that it would force Stevie P to work for a living.)

      May 21, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • faith

      hi dodo.

      a few problems with anger 2day i c. did u call your doctors?

      May 21, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
      • Duce

        Although he may be using a bit too much sarcasm, I think he actually makes some valid points. If you study your history, you will know that he speaks in fact.

        November 6, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  2. Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

    faith

    jesus wept
    ......................................................................

    Now you are actually seeing Jesus weeping???? Talk about delusional

    May 21, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  3. faith

    jesus wept

    May 21, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  4. Chad Watch

    Gospel of Chad:
    (Updated list derived from history of Chad conversations.)

    Atheism:
    1. All atheists agree with everything Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins say, even if it is unrelated to atheism. Hawking and Dawkins disagree on free will, however, but you should ignore this conflict or any atheist who says they disagree.
    2. All atheists agree with one another on everything even if it has nothing to do with atheism. See #1 for models from which you can derive all their beliefs.
    3. The definition of atheist includes anything that any atheist I disagree with believes or anything I feel like tossing in there. Ignore any definitions in pesky places like dictionaries and philosophical encyclopedias.
    4. If one atheist somewhere on the internet said something, then, since all atheists agree with him/her, I can use that randomly selected example as an argument to address all other atheists.
    5. The definition of atheism includes not just materialism but strict deterministic materialism. Non-believers who might be Buddhists, believe in probabilistic physics, see consciousness as prior to the physical world, believe in, say, witchcraft aren’t really atheists.
    6. No atheist has ever read the bible. I mean, obviously, they’d be Christians if they had, right? OK, so a few have proven to me – OK, multiple times – that they have read the bible. See #11 (just lie).

    Free will:
    7. All people who use the term “free will” really mean the same exact thing by that term, which matches my personal use of the term “free will” (unless backed into a corner, then I just declare all other meanings irrelevant)
    8. Fatalism and determinism are the same thing. It has been pointed out to me that historically these terms have been used with different meanings, but I find it more convenient to make up my own definitions, as with atheism and free will.

    In fact, I brilliantly argued “If a person is a determinist, how in the world does deterrence even come into the picture? Determinists believe in an ever marching set of deterministic outcomes based on an existing set of antecedent conditions. Those conditions march back to the origin of the universe, no way to change the past, so no way to change the future. (On April 17, 2013 at 6:20 pm)

    After reading a bit more about fatalism and determinism I decided to change my tune to a claim that determinism leads to fatalism (and to pretend this was what I was saying all along). I’m sticking to reading easy pop philosophers, though, and selective websites on the topic as anything more complex makes my head hurt. I have read snippets from a couple of websites now so that ought to put me on par with people who’ve read dozens of books on the topic, understand neurobiology and have written on both the philosophical and cultural aspects of free will and people’s belief in the topic. Oh, yeah, I know what I’m talking about!

    9. A determinist cannot believe that humans can change. This would, of course, mean that nothing can change. Which would mean…oh…crud…better put my head back up my ass.
    10. A determinist cannot believe in punishing people for crimes. This is because…well…it doesn’t matter. Just keep repeating it.

    Telling lies:
    11. It is ethical to lie so long as it promotes Christian beliefs.
    12. Speaking of telling lies, a really good way to do this is to rephrase what your opponent says and then keep repeating the misquote in hopes that he or she will get bored and leave your lie as the last statement. Then you win. You can do this either by rewording as a supposed paraphrase or pulling lines out of context and reordering them. God really loves this and gives you extra endurance to sit at the computer all day and keep repeating it.
    13. One way to use this super endurance to your advantage is to keep posting the same questions over and over again even after they’ve been answered 50 times. Just pretend they haven’t been answered and act self-righteous about it. It’s really cool if you can ask this same thing on multiple threads and then claim it was never answered forcing people to waste time on the same thing over and over and over.
    14. In particular don’t forget that whatever someone says you can respond with “What investigation have you done into…”. Especially good is to ask what investigation was done into the truth of the God of Israel. When the non-Christian comes back to ask how much research you did to prove other gods aren’t real answer “I don’t need to do any because I proved the God of Israel is real and that negates all other gods”. When asked how you proved that repeat the words “empty tomb” over and over until divine light shines on the souls of the heathens.
    15. When they refuse to play your game or you don’t like the answer add some sarcasm, but use an emoticon to soften it so they’ll know your snide remarks are all in good fun.
    16. Consider asking completely nonsensical questions that can’t even be understood, let alone answered. Best yet include something the person didn’t say as a premise. For example, you might ask an atheist opponent “You say you like murdering small children on Wednesdays, could you explain how this fits with your beliefs about string theory?” Then when your question is ignored accuse the person of avoidance and make up wild hypotheses as to why they are avoiding you.
    17. Above all else keep asking questions while avoiding answering any yourself.

    Science, math and psychology:
    18. If one scientist says something that backs me, then I can assume all scientists agree with that statement.
    19. If atheist scientists say something, even if it is the view of the majority of people in that science, it should be ignored. See #11.
    20. Atheists are ruled by confirmation bias. I am free of it – it’s just great luck that everything I read and all the “data” around me confirm my strong religious convictions. See #19 on ignoring anything else.
    21. Infinity = all finite numbers according to the Chad. Thirty or forty years of constraint is the same as eternal torment.
    22. Rehabilitation and deterrence are the same thing. Yep…convincing a drug addict not to use drugs in case they are shot dead and getting them off the addiction would be the same by my wondrous Chad logic.

    General truths about the CNN belief blog:
    23. All non-believers are, by definition, idiots so you can use illogical arguments and they’ll just fall for it.
    24. If I post a quote that has a few key words in it from our discussion I can claim it backs my point even if it actually says the exact opposite thing from what I’m claiming. Atheists, as mentioned above, are too dumb to notice. Best yet is to post a link or reference a book which actually says the opposite of what I’m saying and just assume no one will look at it.
    25. There is a huge mass of fence sitters out there who are eagerly reading CNN blog comments in order to decide whether or not to believe in God.
    26. I will personally save all those mentioned in # 25 because I, Chad, am super smart. I know this because I get away with all the above mentioned lies and manipulations. Sometimes people think they are pointing these things out but they really aren’t. Or the stupid atheist masses aren’t reading them anyway.
    27. Phrase everything as if it’s a lecture so you look like you know what you’re talking about. See #23 about atheists being idiots and #24 about people not reading anything you post you’ll see that the silly atheists will fall for it every time. In particular they won’t look back to the earlier part of the discussion to see how I’m contradicting myself. This is very well aided by another tactic:
    28. As soon as you make an ass of yourself break the conversation into a new thread. That way all the newcomers (see #25 on how they are waiting to have their souls saved) will not bother to read back and see how ignorant you are.
    29. If someone points out to you that citing Wikipedia is not an adequate source for the discussion at hand you can always find a good undergraduate philosophy paper to cite instead..
    30. Never question another Christian no matter how incorrect or offensive their position.
    31. Just remember that you can define a term any way you want and you are always right!

    May 21, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      christians sure hate facts.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:42 pm |
  5. Jim

    I was at school once during lunchtime and i noticed i forgot my lunch money in the classroom. So I went back and upon entering I noticed a classmate of mine was also there and he was standing in and facing the corner. The first thing that pops out of my mouth was "What are you doing, masturbating?" Then my classmate knelt and bowed chanting something. Then it hit me that he was a muslim. I slowly and quietly backed out of the room. I felt really bad about it.

    May 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • meifumado

      Your a wimp, you should have beat the crap out of him.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • meifumado

      Aww, were you bullied in school by atheists?

      Lord Hanuman would beat the crap out of your illiterate pedophile prophet you call Muhammad if they fought.

      And Monkeys are funny!

      May 21, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
  6. Science

    http://www.ibtimes.com/atheists-fight-gideon-bibles-books-christopher-hitchens-richard-dawkins-georgia-state-parks-1271125

    May 21, 2013 at 1:38 pm |
    • meifumado

      Never heard about this, Very cool, but I bet some wacko fundie destroys all the non-religious books.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
  7. Bootyfunk

    christians cry when we say they can't pray in a courtroom. why can't the religious pray at home? at a park? at church? no one is telling you that you can't pray - you just can't pray in a gov't building during gov't meetings. that's not infringing on your rights - it's keep you from infringing on ours. prayer = promoting religion.

    May 21, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • faith

      "Bootyfunk
      christians cry when we say they can't pray in a courtroom. why can't the religious pray at home?" they don't?

      "at a park? at church?" they don't?

      "no one is telling you that you can't pray" if a xtard wants to pray in a building they paid for, that is a no no? if a nazi, god-hating, fascist loud mouth, like sambo anvil face dodo, enters congress to eliminate all christian influence, which she has stated on public forums time and again she plans on doing, a xtard will be prosecuted if he asks god out loud to have mercy on her as she's shooting all the christian children and adults in the place? "- you just can't pray in a gov't building during gov't meetings." how about silently? by allowing xtards into the building, the government is risking that eventuality. "that's not infringing on your rights – it's keep you from infringing on ours." you have a right to silence people not of your religion in government buildings?

      billy blythe clinton was illegally sworn in when he swore on a bible to tell the truth about not having secksual rela tion s wit dat woman?

      "prayer = promoting religion." a request made publicly to FSM is promoting FSMism? how bout to santa?

      when inmates go to sleep, or to the death chamber, no praying out loud allowed? when she is injected with a lethal dose of chemicals, should all faiths be banned from attending or must all be included?

      if i say "jesus, thanks for a beautiful day" at the public beach, i should be arrested?

      by golly, i think i'm gonna like these new laws

      May 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • derp

      I don't see anywhere in the first amendment that says I'm not allowed to pray in gov't buildings during gov't meetings. That would be inhibiting the free exercise of religion.

      Lets look at the 1st amendment : Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      wiki~ The Establishment Clause is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, stating,
      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion. . . .
      The Establishment Clause is immediately followed by the Free Exercise Clause, which states, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". These two clauses make up what are called the "Religion Clauses" of the First Amendment.[1]
      The Establishment Clause has generally been interpreted to prohibit 1) the establishment of a national religion by Congress, or 2) the preference by the U.S. government of one religion over another. The first approach is called the "separation" or "no aid" interpretation, while the second approach is called the "non-preferential" or "accommodation" interpretation. The accommodation interpretation prohibits Congress from preferring one religion over another, but does not prohibit the government's entry into religious domain to make accommodations in order to achieve the purposes of the Free Exercise Clause.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      atheists paid for that building too, as did buddhists, taoist, muslims, jews, etc. religious service is NOT the purpose of a gov't building. and you admit you want christian influence. yes, i DO want to eliminate any christian influence. or any other religion's influence. how about we follow reason, logic and compassion? we don't need religion for that, as much as you'd like to think so. an no, silently doesn't work. it's a sneaky way to allow prayer in court. pray before or after - but that's not good enough for you. you want to pray during. you want christianity to be the law of the land. keep religion out of the courts.

      and as for your moronic questions...
      "if i say "jesus, thanks for a beautiful day" at the public beach, i should be arrested?"
      you ask this, yet i suggested praying in a park. ALL of your questions show you want to ignore the issue - don't pray in gov't. that's the issue, but you want to make it more. cry louder. you can pray at the beach or a park if you want - just not in a courtroom. see the difference? you can't promote your religion in gov't. that's it. no one is telling you not to pray, you simpleton.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Hypatia

      They get all upset because they are like Madonna in"Truth or Dare": nothing counts unless it is on camera.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:47 am |
  8. G to the T

    This is why the only truly fair way to handle these is to have NO prayer as part of government. If you can't make everyone happy, make everyone the least miserable you can get away with.

    May 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
    • faith

      makes sense.

      how do we ban jesus from talking to us anywhere he'd like to? will he be banned?

      May 21, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • G to the T

      Faith – you are welcome to listen to him anytime you want. The governement however, is not allowed to take sides (i.e. promote one religion over another) so the only reasonable option I can think of is to eliminate it from the sphere of politics completely.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
  9. HeavenSent

    Carnal atheists, always hoping to by mini-Gods themselves because they are jealous of Jesus' full package. Your pride will lead only to more medication. My 12-year-old daughter is getting married as soon as her divorce is final. Start your walk with Jesus or find your sandals on the wrong side of His gravel road.

    Amen.

    May 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • meifumado

      And camel-toes for all!

      May 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Ezekiel 9:6 "Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women"

      May 21, 2013 at 5:15 pm |
  10. Bootyfunk

    "At first glance, it would seem that the town of Greece, New York, has been brazenly violating the First Amendment. For roughly a decade, it invited local Christians — and only Christians — to offer prayers opening its Town Board meetings."

    at first glance? when thoroughly examined, it is a blatant violation of the first amendment. the only people that wouldn't be able to see that are christians and for obvious reasons. pray at home, pray in a park, pray at your prayer club - but keep prayer OUT of gov't. your invisible sky fairy has no place in our courtrooms or council chambers.

    a better article would have been: Town Prayers Need Less Jesus and Krishna, More Time Spent Solving Issues

    May 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  11. Colin

    Religious pluralism is, in a real way, the first healthy step up toward atheism. Once a person or body politic accepts the broad equivalence of all supernatural beliefs, they stand but a sobering realization away from seeing them all as absurd, including their own.

    It takes a particularly obstinate and closed mind to think, “I believe that the creator of the Universe impregnated a Greco-Roman virgin with himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to forgive the original sin of a couple we now all know never existed, but aren’t those Hindus weird.”

    This is why it is only a matter of time before open atheists are boy scouts.

    It is also why the Bible cuddlers resent Prothero.

    May 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • derp

      "It takes a particularly obstinate and closed mind to think, “I believe that the creator of the Universe impregnated a Greco-Roman virgin with himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to forgive the original sin of a couple we now all know never existed, but aren’t those Hindus weird.”

      Actually, all it takes is a christian.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • fred

      Colin
      Why do you continue to fall into the same trap over and over? God tells you straight up in the Bible that things are not as they appear. God tells you His ways are not our ways yet you continue attempting to force God into your box. The Apostles asked Jesus why he does not speak so all could understand and Jesus said the words of God are for those who can hear and see them............yet you continue your attack on talking serpents, big boats stuffed with animals finally resting on a virgin birth. One of us is very dense as we cannot both be right.

      The living Word of God has again proven you to be unable or unwilling to see the truth that has been passed down for countless generations. 98% of the world cannot be wrong in their sense that purpose is greater than organic matter reacting to chemical stimuli. In your field of study your observation would point to fact this sense does indeed exist regardless of your interpretation of cause. Being in the 2% lacing a common trait you are most likely aware this renders you bias regardless of your self illusion of scientific methodology.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:08 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      god doesn't exist. you're living a lie. grow up and think for yourself.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • fred

      Bootyfunk
      ok, so you also lack a sense common to 98% of the current population. That makes you more mature?

      May 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm |
    • ME II

      @fred,
      "98% of the world cannot be wrong in their sense that purpose is greater than organic matter reacting to chemical stimuli."

      You underestimate humanity.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • Joey

      Of course the bible makes those claims, that is what you have to do in order to get people to believe in something for which there is no proof whatsoever.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • Joey

      I prefer to think that being in that 2% makes us more evolved than the rest of you.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:22 pm |
    • fred

      Joey
      Lacking a common sense would lead to extinction. Back when atheists were burned to death you would have been eliminated.
      Perhaps that why atheism is called nonsense?

      May 21, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Colin

      fred – I hope for your sake you're at least 75.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • fred

      Colin
      Dementia does not lead one into an understanding that the Living Word of God is contained between the lines written by man.
      As Yoda might say; certain are you that the virgin birth was a physical event. Every wonder why you must hold everything up to a measuring stick that is limited the objects it is designed to measure in the first place? Time to think outside of that 2% box of naturalism if for no other reason other than you actually know that what is outside of the box is greater than what is known within the limits of a self imposed box.

      May 21, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
    • Joey

      fred if I thought someone was going to burn me to death I would lie my azz off and claim to believe in god, problem solved.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  12. fred

    Susan Galloway (who is Jewish) and Linda Stephens (who is an atheist) are examples of the godless who continue to crucify Christ. Both reveal their true hearts that reflect a hate for Christ using the constitution only as an excuse to drive another nail into the hands that offered a better way. Personally I understand the core of the Jewish personality that is rooted in pride and still lashing out at Christ who history proved would be a stumbling block to them just as he said. The atheist however is puzzling in their targeting of Christ. Even if we eliminate atheists that have sexual desires labeled as abominations in the Bible why do the remaining atheists cringe and the name off Jesus? How about if we remove atheists that have a satanic root which understandably revolt against Christ and shiver at the call of Jesus.
    What is the real issue with the remaining atheists that find it necessary to end prayer of all sorts?

    May 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Bob

      fred, prayer has never, ever been proven to have any effect other than wasting time and energy. Furthermore, you keep promoting your silly Jesus scam. Seriously, the whole "Jesus died to save us" thing is a complete scam concocted by priests. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla? And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers? Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • sam stone

      continue to crucify christ? what a maroon

      May 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      we do not "cringe at the name of jesus", we are just tired of pompous fvcktards such as yourself.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
    • sam stone

      while we are at it, fred, who is suggesting "ending prayer of all sorts"?

      May 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      "What is the real issue with the remaining atheists that find it necessary to end prayer of all sorts?"

      Well I can't speak for all atheists, but as for me I don't really care if you pray, as long as the rest of us are not inconvenienced by your nonsense.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      remember to shoot for the head when zombie jesus comes for you!

      May 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      better question: why do christians feel it necessary to shove their religion down everyone's throats? why not pray at home? at a park? on your break in your office? at the prayer meeting 1/2 hour before the council begins?

      the short answer is, because you want to promote christianity, pure and simple.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • fred

      Sam Stone
      No, I have yet to see an atheist go after all the special prayer rooms and times set up for Muslims across this nation inside large corporate buildings to bow to the east in prayer. In the Muslim townships no one tries to stop that horrid prayer call but they sure filed suite over church bells.
      You are afraid of Christ but know His loving nature will allow you all the rope you need to hang yourself yet you fear for your present life when it comes to attacking Allah

      May 21, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • fred

      Bootyfunk
      Let me understand this. You think you can push materialistic, self centered hedonism in every public square and every possible media device yet Christians need to confine their beliefs to the closet?

      May 21, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Poe's Law: it's impossible to distinguish a sufficiently advanced troll from a truly ignorant twit

      May 21, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • fred

      Ungodly Discipline
      In the event God is as we know him to be it is very likely you are living in a better way simply because the vast majority believe and blessings are spilling over. We don't just pray for ourselves we pray for those who do not want or think they need our prayer. If nothing else it reminds us to be thankful and love others.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • derp

      "why do the remaining atheists cringe and the name off Jesus"

      Because we fear for the future of our country.

      On a per capita basis....

      Atheists have lower rates of crime, drug use, children out of wedlock, divorce, alcoholism and incarceration than christards do.

      Atheists have higher IQ's, earnings, college graduation rates, standard of living, and tax contribution rates than christards do.

      By and large Atheists work hard, obey the law, are well educated, pay their taxes and prosper in America.

      The welfare rolls and prisons, are chock full of christards.

      By and large Christards are morally challenged, poorly educated dimwits who have no respect for family or the law.

      The bible belt states lead the nation in crime rates, divorce, unwed mothers, welfare collection, obesity, alcoholism and drug use.

      Nice job christians, I guess you have to be good at something.

      Atheists are better Americans than christians. Christians are morally bankrupt, and are pushing the nation to financial bankruptcy.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Joey

      fred, if you get to pray to god before every meeting then it is only fair that all meeting close with a prayer to Satan. If you are not o.k. with this then there should be no prayers to anyone.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      @fred

      I don't really care fred but thanks.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      fred wrote:
      Let me understand this. You think you can push materialistic, self centered hedonism in every public square and every possible media device yet Christians need to confine their beliefs to the closet?

      and when did i say i wanted any of that? i believe gov't is there to work for the public good, not "self-centered hedonism." don't put words in my mouth. i'm saying no prayer, that's it. no wasting time promoting your religion in gov't.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • sam stone

      fred: i am not afraid of christ, i am not afraid of allah. i believe them both to be mythological beings

      who is stopping you from praying?

      May 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • fred

      Bob
      "fred, prayer has never, ever been proven to have any effect other than wasting time and energy."
      =>actually there have not been any valid studies because prayer is communication with God which is not subject to measurement. It is only a waste of time and energy when the prayer is out of the wrong heart or attitude.

      "the whole "Jesus died to save us" thing is a complete scam concocted by priests."
      =>God is not mocked so even it is a scam the pathway between man and God is open as a result of devotion to God. Perhaps we got the details wrong but the Sprit of God has entered my heart which is a game changer.

      "How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla?"
      =>it once was very silly as far as I was concerned till the way was open. Jesus said I am the way. Is it a miracle that when one follows that way he or she finds God every time without fail? God says it is by faith and he will confound the ways of the wise with the things that appear foolish.
      =>the Jesus saving bit is consistent with a God who is spirit and acts through His creation. Man, Gods creation is who Jesus was the full reflection of the Glory of God was on Jesus. Some today reflect a degree of that radiance.

      ".And how was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time"
      =>did you miss the part where Jesus said "my God my God why hast thou forsaken me"? Jesus never experienced life without God (as with Adam) and suddenly Christ experienced separation from God (that is what sin causes) taking on the full consequence of sin. That is different than simply a make believe sacrifice.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
    • sam

      How exactly is a Jewish person 'godless', you weirdo?

      May 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • fred

      derp

      "Atheists have lower rates of crime, drug use, children out of wedlock, divorce, alcoholism and incarceration than christards do."
      =>Stats simply reflect the higher income levels thus better education and socio economic status of this group.

      Atheists have higher IQ's, earnings, college graduation rates, standard of living, and tax contribution rates than christards do.

      By and large Atheists work hard, obey the law, are well educated, pay their taxes and prosper in America.

      The welfare rolls and prisons, are chock full of christards.

      By and large Christards are morally challenged, poorly educated dimwits who have no respect for family or the law.

      The bible belt states lead the nation in crime rates, divorce, unwed mothers, welfare collection, obesity, alcoholism and drug use.

      Nice job christians, I guess you have to be good at something.

      Atheists are better Americans than christians. Christians are morally bankrupt, and are pushing the nation to financial bankruptcy.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • fred

      derp

      "Atheists have lower rates of crime, drug use, children out of wedlock, divorce, alcoholism and incarceration than christards do."
      =>Stats simply reflect the higher income levels thus better education and socio economic status of this group.

      Atheists have higher IQ's, earnings, college graduation rates, standard of living, and tax contribution rates than christards do."
      =>again stats simply reflect removal of poor socio economic populations.

      "The welfare rolls and prisons, are chock full of christards."
      =>result of liberal policies and again children without stable traditional families.

      "Christards are morally challenged, poorly educated dimwits who have no respect for family or the law."
      =>Stats are skewed due to exclusion of poverty populations.

      "The bible belt states lead the nation in crime rates, divorce, unwed mothers, welfare collection, obesity, alcoholism and drug use."
      =>money and education is the root

      "Atheists are better Americans than christians. Christians are morally bankrupt, and are pushing the nation to financial bankruptcy."
      =>no, that would be the liberal socialist agenda which is the hall mark of communist leaning atheists. God gets in the way of the power hungry Marxists.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • fred

      Sam Stone
      It was the atheist that took prayer out of the public schools and began to teach a secular world view. That was the beginning of down fall of America. Up until that time we were Americans with 95% believing in a living God that holds us accountable.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      fred

      Sam Stone
      It was the atheist that took prayer out of the public schools and began to teach a secular world view. That was the beginning of down fall of America. Up until that time we were Americans with 95% believing in a living God that holds us accountable.
      ..
      Typical Christian....scapegoating the few for what is caused by the majority

      May 21, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • fred

      sam
      The godless Jewish population I was speaking of are those who are filled with pride and hate towards Christians. They are godless because hate and pride are the hallmarks of non believers and those who reject God/Christ as well as anything or entity that would dare suggest they bow to any other than self.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
    • sam

      A+ for 'crazy bastard spouting nonsense' of the day.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Bob

      fred, no, grow some courage and answer the questions directly. You claim to, but you didn't actually answer. The questions again:

      1. How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla?

      2. How was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers?

      Pretty pathetic "god" that you've made for yourself there.

      May 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      Fred your persecution complex is coming on strong today. Time to up your meds
      .
      A persecution complex is a term given to an array of psychologically complex behaviours, that specifically deals with the perception of being persecuted, for various possible reasons, imagined or real.

      It is also commonly displayed by people or groups whose beliefs actually are comparatively widespread, such as fundamentalist Christians.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
    • faith

      "Bob
      fred, prayer has never, ever been proven to have any effect other than wasting time and energy"

      r u sure? my tests prove otherwise.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      fred: it wasn't atheists who initally got prayer out of public schools, it was religious minorities. but, don't let facts interfere with your persecution complex rant

      May 21, 2013 at 2:12 pm |
    • Chad Watch

      faith

      "Bob
      fred, prayer has never, ever been proven to have any effect other than wasting time and energy"

      r u sure? my tests prove otherwise.
      ......
      And so do other believers in "other" gods.... your single perception only serves to support your delusion

      May 21, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • sam stone

      "God is not mocked"

      Your god is a vindictive petty pr1ck. Mock, mock, mock

      May 21, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Fred
      your religion has no place being taught in WE the peoples schools. Why would you think you should be teaching the children of atheists, hindu, etc, etc, etc, your beliefs. Feel free to teach them in the churches, but if you cannot see how inappropriate it is you are a fool.
      We haven't taken any gods out of schools...if there are any gods, they are still there...just not being taught about.
      Teaching that is tantamount to state sponsored religion, with is unconst!tutional...feel free to disagree, but your are flat out wrong.
      Now we need to get that lie off our money and give the pledge of allegiance back to WE the people.
      You try to blame this "removal" of god as a blame for some sort of societal decay, which is only your weak opinion. You have nothing to back it up.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
    • Science

      Richard Cranium.................Agree.................the big one.................. on the money !

      fred you might enjoy this ?

      http://www.ibtimes.com/atheists-fight-gideon-bibles-books-christopher-hitchens-richard-dawkins-georgia-state-parks-1271125

      May 21, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • fred

      Bob
      " How is it again that your omnipotent being couldn't do his saving bit without the whole silly Jesus hoopla?"
      =>God actually does the saving bit to begin with just as you suggest. It is God that allows circumstances in your life which opens the door to seek God. You have the choice to seek or not to seek. Look around you at the vast diversity of thought and expression which is the outflow of creation. You have been given life to grow into the purpose of creation which is the expression of Gods goodness. The result of that growth is a soul destined for eternal unity with God..
      It is a weeding out process much like only a few salmon make it up the right stream to keep their species going. What you are saying in why didn't God simply snap his finger and allow those few chosen in and forget the process. Well that is what happens as the process is meaningless in relative terms (thousands of years relative to eternal time is not even noticeable).
      Now, we are of much greater cognitive function which allows for unlimited expression of beauty and feelings moving forward towards a greater goodness. What is amazing is that creation appears well designed to produce such infinite wonder which is itself the description of eternal life in Christ.

      "How was Jesus' death a "sacrifice", when an omnipotent being could just pop up a replacement son any time with less than a snap of his fingers?"
      =>again Jesus actually experienced death (absence of God). That is a sacrifice especially given the loving nature of Jesus who was always with the Father in all things. The fact God could just pop up a replacement is not the same thing as going through the pain and emotion of complete absence of God while immersed in sin. In short winning a superbowl is very different that playing fantasy football.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:36 pm |
    • fred

      Richard Cranium
      Back it up? I simply glad you feel as secure as you did 20 years ago. Property crime rates are up 50% since 1960

      May 21, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Science
      Fight fire with fire....Lets start putting up quotes from famous atheists in court rooms now.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      fred
      Please now show your direct cause and effect relationship. What studies have been done showing the direct correlation of passing laws preventing religious teachings in schools and the effect you cited?
      Perhaps it is because we allow women to vote...or any of a hundred other possibilities...where is your evidence?

      May 21, 2013 at 2:55 pm |
    • fred

      Richard Cranium
      Impossible to establish a control group so I doubt any study could site cause for increased crime.
      I think it is self evident when a nation is united under the same authority there is a certain commonality. When that authority (absolute right and wrong) of God is devalued we scattered into smaller communities of relative morality. Most people speed and no one cares as the only thing that matters is getting caught. That is a very different thought from an eternal accountability to God based on absolute morality.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      fred
      YOU think it is self evident...opinion.
      You think that god has some authority...many of WE the people disagree.

      May 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • fred

      Richard Cranium
      God has authority in fact. Consider atheist Stalin who had to eliminate any who gave authority to God.
      Last I heard congress has not revoked our motto "one nation under God"
      Our declaration of independence was unanimously signed after request for Gods blessing.
      Most still put their hand on the Bible when sworn into high office.
      54% of the world submits to the authority of God

      May 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      fred
      Correction: God has authority in your opinion...you would need proof for it to be fact. 2000+ years of looking and no one can provide it. Not for any of the thousands of gods men have created.
      Your god just wiped out an entire town, killing how many fred?

      May 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      fred
      no matter how many people believe...does not lend any credibility to the belief. Why do you not get that?

      May 21, 2013 at 4:53 pm |
    • derp

      "Property crime rates are up 50% since 1960"

      And most of those crimes are committed by christians.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • fred

      Richard Cranium
      If God has authority in and over 52%+ of the worlds population it is still authority regardless of your feelings about that. Catholics believe God has granted authority to the Pope over their religion and that authority stands regardless of what you or I may feel or think about it. Authority is granted to place speed limits on various roads and I ignore speed limits that is authority without affect (or perhaps effect if I am lucky). Either way the authority of God is fact even if God turns out to be an illusion.

      God is not a respecter of man including the children who died yesterday. To think that God is a respecter of man would be to confuse the ways of God with the ways of man and this world. Let us put this in perspective. Gods ways are not our ways and Gods kingdom is not our world. God has set creation in motion the purpose of which is a reflection of Gods goodness and love that opens up a never ending wonder where all life folds into worship and adoration in the presence of that eternal love. The death or thought of death to children who died does not exist in the construct of the New Heaven and the New Earth as put forth in the Bible. The reality of that construct is a different discussion because we are speaking about God as revealed in the Bible.

      The tornado, pain, death and suffering experienced yesterday is an experience encountered by and through our existence outside of the will of God. Our interaction with this existence reveals our true nature and character. As the Bible says some of us are being refined like fine gold through the fires and trials of life. Most do not know to what extent God is working through such a fallen world in each soul but we have faith that gives hope in the promise all things work to the good of those who believe in Christ.

      In the end the plan is that those who truly desire an eternal unity with God will experience the hope and promise expressed from Abel, Noah etc through to Jesus.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:20 pm |
    • Hypatia

      You do remember that Jesus was a Jew? No. Didn't think so, you hypocritical windbag.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:49 am |
  13. Alias

    Do we really have to keep wasting the court's time on these cases?
    This is almost as stupid as people blaming god every time a child dies.

    May 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      which is almost as stupid as thinking there's an invisible sky fairy living in a magic cloud kingdom that we all get to visit when we die.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      but if God is omnipotent as Christians believe, then isn't it his fault every time anyone dies?

      May 21, 2013 at 1:02 pm |
    • derp

      "blaming god every time a child dies"

      Who else's fault would it be?

      May 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • faith

      "Bootyfunk
      which is almost as stupid as thinking there's an invisible sky fairy living in a magic cloud kingdom that we all get to visit when we die."

      prove that

      May 21, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Chad Watch

      faith

      "Bootyfunk
      which is almost as stupid as thinking there's an invisible sky fairy living in a magic cloud kingdom that we all get to visit when we die."

      prove that
      ...............

      The lack of proof is the starting benchmark. If you claim there is a sky wizard, prove it. Prove that fairies do not exist.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • faith

      Chad Watch
      faith

      "Bootyfunk
      which is almost as stupid as thinking there's an invisible sky fairy living in a magic cloud kingdom that we all get to visit when we die."

      prove that
      ...............

      The lack of proof is the starting benchmark. If you claim there is a sky wizard, prove it. Prove that fairies do not exist.

      prove it

      May 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm |
    • Ted Jones the crusader not for khrist

      faith

      Chad Watch
      faith

      "Bootyfunk
      which is almost as stupid as thinking there's an invisible sky fairy living in a magic cloud kingdom that we all get to visit when we die."

      prove that
      ...............

      The lack of proof is the starting benchmark. If you claim there is a sky wizard, prove it. Prove that fairies do not exist.

      prove it
      ---------

      Sorry Faith....ball has always been in your court. Have a nice day and get back to the world when you have something. Or just keep acting like a parrot.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • faith

      "Chad Watch

      The lack of proof is the starting benchmark."

      prove the lack of proof is the starting benchmark. we'll wait, my love. take your time. you never have. but, we remain open minded.

      lol

      May 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  14. Warren Moon

    "Less Jesus" sounds good but it is hard to have "less" of something that doesn't exist to begin with. Less prayer would be a good thing though, since prayer solves nothing.

    One pair of hands working productively for human benefit does more good than one million pairs of hands clasped in prayer.

    May 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • faith

      without repeatable, peer reviewed scientific proof, u can't make this claim,

      Warren Moon
      "Less Jesus" sounds good but it is hard to have "less" of something that doesn't exist to begin with. Less prayer would be a good thing though, since prayer solves nothing.

      One pair of hands working productively for human benefit does more good than one million pairs of hands clasped in prayer.

      May 21, 2013 at 2:15 pm |
    • fintastic

      He's not making a "claim", you are...... you are claiming god is real, you have to provide the evidence...

      Try and wrap your tiny brain around that.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
  15. HeavenSent

    God told us He would send itchy teacher ears to Satan's bowling alley. Stephen Prothero wants to drive Jesus from His home with believers of His Truth. It was stuck but came loose when I fell down. Keep your reprobate minds on the eye of the storm sinner.

    Amen.

    May 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • Observer

      "God told us He would send itchy teacher ears to Satan's bowling alley"

      Exact Bible quote, please.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Bender Rodriguez

      The Truth is often stupid.

      Now, bite my shiny metal @ss.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      It is 100% proven that the Bible is almost true. Studies have shown believers to have higher IQs than carnal atheists. Camel-toe therapy is apparently not covered by my Medicaid. It is time for you to start riding the swings with Jesus to catch Him when He falls in the sand.

      Amen.

      May 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • derp

      "It is 100% proven that the Bible is almost true"

      "60% of the time, it works every time"

      May 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Leviticus 20:9 "For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death . . . "

      May 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
  16. Colin

    " Town prayers need less Jesus, more Krishna". He's half right.

    May 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  17. IslandAtheist

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster could easily decide this case.

    May 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  18. HeavenSent's Toxic Camel-Toe Dance Party

    Hi Whisky honey. Thanks for last night... *blush*

    May 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  19. Meatwad

    Town prayers need more dancin' ya'll! Why ain't you dancin'?

    May 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  20. More Beelzebub

    Prother will do anything to hail Beelzebub!

    May 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • In all fairness..

      It is only fair that, when you invoke God you also appease the devil in prayers. The wiccans, the satanists and the like... Did we leave out anyone else?

      May 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Anointing

      Stephen Prothero is anointed! except of a different kind ;)

      May 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
1 2 3 4 5
Advertisement
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.