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Mourn on the Fourth of July: Inside the Christian anti-patriot movement
Mark Van Steenwyk leads his Mennonite Worker Community in Minneapolis.
July 5th, 2013
05:40 PM ET

Mourn on the Fourth of July: Inside the Christian anti-patriot movement

By David R. Wheeler, special to CNN

(CNN) - Like many congregations, The Mennonite Worker Community of Minneapolis held a worship service and picnic this Fourth of July - but instead of extolling the virtues of America, they called attention to its faults.

The annual service is “a sort of anti-patriotic holiday,” says Mark Van Steenwyk, whose community focuses on simplicity, prayer and peacemaking. Singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” is out. Reflecting on the contradictions between the gospel and the American Dream are in.

“We thank you, O God, for the good things we enjoy in our lives," reads a prayer the Mennonite community recites each year, "but lament that our abundance has brought destitution to sisters and brothers throughout the Earth.”

Anti-patriots like Van Steenwyk say their movement, which has grown more vocal in recent years, is simply an honest way to read – and live out – Jesus' teachings on nonviolence. But it's hard to look at groups like The Mennonite Community and not see an implicit criticism of God-and-country cheerleading by mainstream Christians and ripples of centuries-old church-state tensions.

Some anti-patriots come from pacifist Anabaptist traditions, such as the Mennonite Church. Others come from evangelical backgrounds but have rejected their counterparts' often unreserved patriotism and embraced liberal-leaning communities like Red Letter Christians and JesusRadicals.com.

They may differ on theological details, but they hold at least one belief in common: You cannot serve both God and country.

A Suspicion of the State

Anabaptists such as Mennonites and the Amish were persecuted by state churches in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, and their descendants bear a lasting suspicion of human authorities.

Many an Amish and Mennonite home keeps a copy of "The Martyr's Mirror," a book thick with testimonies of Anabaptists burned at the stake of orthodoxy. The book's subtitle refers to the martys as "defenseless Christians," a nod to Anabaptists' belief that when Jesus called on Christians to turn the other cheek, he was quite serious.

For that reason, Anabaptists historically do not participate in warfare — or celebrate military victories.

American Anabaptists have been fined or jailed for their pacifist beliefs during wartime. Four Hutterites died from harsh treatment while imprisoned as conscientious objectors during World War I, Bach says. Anabaptists didn’t receive official permission to perform alternative service until World War II.

READ MORE: Bolivia’s isolated Mennonite community

“Some members of Anabaptist groups today are more acculturated and celebrate patriotic holidays just like the rest of the nation,” says Jeff Bach, director of Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. “None of the Anabaptist groups are anti-American. They are typically grateful for the religious freedom permitted in the United States.”

Still, in 2011, Goshen College, a Mennonite school in Indiana, banned the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at sporting events because, according to the college’s president, the lyrics were too violent.

Serving `the King' 

It may be difficult for some Americans to understand why their countrymen would disassociate themselves from patriotism. What’s the harm in celebrating Independence Day, anyway?

But nonpatriotic Christians believe the burden of proof should fall on the other side: Why should peace-loving believers celebrate a bloody revolution? And American history after 1776 isn’t exactly pacifistic either, Van Steenwyk says.

“It is easy to judge Islam for the actions of a relative few militants. Yet when millions of Americans — a vast majority of them claiming the Christian faith — were complicit with slavery, indigenous genocide, and continued economic exploitation, we suddenly see them as separate from our faith,” says Van Steenwyk.

Jesus called his followers to Christian service and humility, which are the opposite of nationalistic rituals performed on the Fourth of July, says David Swartz, author of “Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism.”

“A heightened devotion to the nation can cause a lot of confusion abroad when people see claims of a Christian America alongside a long American history of slavery, economic inequality and overheated Hollywood sexuality and violence,” says Swartz.

Kurt Willems, who runs the progressive Christian blog Pangea, has also joined the rising nonpatriotic chorus. The Anabaptist from Seattle writes an annual post explaining why he no longer celebrates Independence Day.

“Each year I receive comments about how I should leave this country if I ‘hate’ it so much,” he says. “I love Americans, but I’m not willing to compromise my values as a servant of my only King, the nonviolent revolutionary — Jesus.”

Making Toby Keith Proud

Many Christians trace the latest wave of evangelical interest in pacifism to author and activist Shane Claiborne, who worked with Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta, ministered to Iraqis during the war in Iraq and now leads a Philadelphia community called The Simple Way.

“My philosophy on patriotic things would be: A love for the people of our country is not a bad thing, but why should love stop at the border?” says Claiborne.

There have been some nonpatriotic gatherings in major cities, such as the Los Angeles Catholic Worker’s “Mourn on the Fourth of July” peace march in 2008.

Still the nonpatriot movement remains small, and finding local communities can be challenging, Van Steenwyk says.

“Everyone knows that other folks think like them, but it isn’t like there are a lot of congregations that self-identify as being nonpatriotic.”

That’s especially true for evangelicals, who lead the country in patriotic fervor.

More than 80% of white evangelicals believe that God has granted the United States a "special role" in history, according to a survey released June 27 by the Public Religion Research Institute.

In a stat that would make Toby Keith proud, more than two-thirds of white evangelicals say they are "very proud" to be an American, outstripping every other religious group polled.

So it's not surprising that some conservative Christians find the nonpatriotic alliance of progressive evangelicals and Anabaptists troubling — even dangerous.

“All Christians everywhere are called to love and serve their nations,” says Mark Tooley, a president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy and a United Methodist.

READ MORE: Celebrating the Fourth of July

“The stance of some evangelical elites influenced by neo-Anabaptist beliefs is often one of ingratitude, and whining, while ignoring the teaching of the universal Church, which has always recognized the God-ordained vocation of the state, and the Christian’s calling to serve as responsible citizens,” he says.

Tooley also disagrees with the nonpatriotic Christians on about military force, which he says is required to maintain order worldwide. Nonpatriot Christians are naïve not to consider the ill effects should the United States abdicate military power, he says

“What would the alternatives be if the USA didn’t exist or withdrew from the world stage? Almost certainly a more dangerous, more anarchic, more repressive, less prosperous world with less opportunity for the poor to escape poverty,” Tooley argues.

No Middle Ground? 

Some patriotic pastors argue for a middle way: honoring America without succumbing to chauvinism or ignoring the country's wrongs.

“Do I agree with every major policy of our government? No way,” says Kyle Vanover, pastor of Cyrus Chapel United Methodist Church in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. “But I’m proud to be an American, and I believe God has truly blessed this land.”

Van Steenwyk, however, says there is no middle ground.

Jesus’ identification with the poor, love of enemies, and refusal to take power are incompatible with the “entire political and economic system” of the United States, he says.

“Let’s face it — the Sermon on the Mount makes for lousy foreign or public policy. We can’t have it both ways.”

David R. Wheeler is a journalism professor and freelance writer living in Lexington, Kentucky. You can follow him on Twitter at: @David_R_Wheeler

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Amish • Belief • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Faith • Foreign policy • Mennonite • Military • Politics

soundoff (1,599 Responses)
  1. chris

    When religion becomes political it looses it's higher ground of moral teaching...it's foundation of goodness and kindness, it's basic human kindness. Tainted with politics it no longer serves God but mans interests. Much like the public school system today which has lost it's primary ground of teaching to join political goals over a students need to learn. Just my view folks...christian, but prefer today to practice on the streets where it can count. Anyone else feeling the same way these days?

    July 7, 2013 at 6:45 pm |
    • Dippy

      Its. not it's.

      July 7, 2013 at 6:49 pm |
    • ??

      Loses, not looses.

      July 7, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • Dippy's Aide

      * man's interests
      * student's need

      (we're here to help fix what you missed in school, chris!)

      http://www.grammarbook.com/punctuation/apostro.asp

      July 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
    • Dippy

      I usually let the illiterates slide on the missing apostrophes in possessives as a typo. But misspelled words and "it's" instead of "its" are not typos.

      July 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm |
    • Dippy's Aide

      Yeah, I'm prone to let a lot of things slide, especially since there is no edit function here and it's a very casual forum. I guess I am just in a picky mood at the moment.

      July 7, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
  2. IvotedforObama

    It all boils down to them hating a black man in office. If Christians were so concerned with this country they would have stood up to the sheer hatefulness and irresponsibility of the GOP also.

    July 7, 2013 at 6:39 pm |
    • Echo

      10-1 that these anti-American Christians voted huge for the anti-American president Hussein 0bama.

      July 7, 2013 at 6:46 pm |
    • RonFromNM

      Shallow analysis. While for some it may just be racism, for the majority it is that there is a completely different worldview in the proper role of govt in private lives from our President. Too bad you can't see that.

      July 7, 2013 at 6:47 pm |
  3. Observer

    j,

    Since it's highly unlikely that you believe every word of the Bible, why are you so hypocritically telling everyone else to believe every word?

    July 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • j

      You'd be wrong, I do believe every word of the Bible. More so as archaeology and history reveal more amazing evidences and as i study original languages and cultures, i find Gods Holy word more accurate and inspiring.

      July 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
    • Observer

      j,

      Get serious.

      Do you support slavery like the Bible does?
      Do you support discrimination against women like the Bible does?
      Do you support discrimination against the handicapped like God does?
      Do you support people being forced into marriage even if they hate each other like the Bible does?

      Have you actually read a Bible?

      July 7, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
    • Peter

      j
      You do realize that there isn't any archaeology that supports anything in the Bible prior to people claiming to be from the House of David, right? No Genesis, no Flood, no Exodus, no invasion of Canaan, and not even a Saul, David, or Solomon specifically. None of that is supported by archaeology.

      July 7, 2013 at 6:41 pm |
    • sb

      I think this may be the answer.
      When Jesus came into the world, he made a new covenant for us all. So off with the old and the beginning of the new.
      1. No longer there was a stigma attached to the kind of foods you could eat e.g. (kind of animals)
      2. Jesus loved children and women and he healed sick and handicapped people. So he loved them all, enought to help them and heal them and talk to them
      3. No longer was to be any kind of discrimination. All people were equal. Salvation was not reserved for the Jews alone but for everyone that believed
      4. I dont think he said anything about marriage. But he seemed pretty liberal to me when he prophesized to the woman that she had many husbands before and the guy that she was currently wasnt her husband and then went on to ask her to draw water for him, so that he could quench his thirst. In short, he never treated her differently. In fact he offered her salvation too, which proves that he came here to seek out people who needed salvation than those who were already saved.
      5. So if you are a lost sheep, you are very special to him

      July 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
    • j

      I read and study the Bible daily and am constantly learning from God and His word. Biblical slavery is not the inst itution that developed in America as an underlying cause to the civil war. I am a slave to Christ. Women were set free in Christ it is written in Christ there is no longer slave nor free there is no longer male nor female we are all one in Christ, you are mistaken the cultural anomalies you equate with inequality are not there in the original languages. I suspect you are referring to the laws regarding the priesthood, altar and leprosy when you make the charge of discrimination against the disabled? Which of these did Christ not heal in His earthly ministry?Can you illustrate this forced hate marriage, If you are referring to the passage translated in error from what would have been a agreed act before engagement you are again mistaken. In point of fact it appears the common denominator to all your accusations is YOU and your own mistaken interpretation of what the Bible actually says.

      July 7, 2013 at 6:50 pm |
    • j

      @sb
      The change in Christ wasn't a change but rather a clarification of the intent of God from the beginning. The problems Christ addressed were the misinformation and misinterpretations that men had placed over and above the word of God. The Old Testament is a much a Testament of Christ as the New Testament is.

      July 7, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
    • j

      Best recheck your facts peter, archaeology has discovered fragments referencing the house of David and many other evidences you have already denied. Do we have complete historical verification? Not yet, but to date everything that is available points to an incredible accuracy. Kedorlaomer ring a bell?

      July 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • Keeping It Real

      j,

      The Bible has some historical accuracy? So what? That does not mean that the old-timers' supernatural fantasies and supersti'tions are true.

      We have lots of accurate records from ancient Egypt, ancient China, ancient Sumeria, etc. - does that mean that their gods and spirits are real?

      July 7, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Observer

      j,

      "In point of fact it appears the common denominator to all your accusations is YOU and your own mistaken interpretation of what the Bible actually says."

      The common factor is that you appear to know very little about the Bible.

      God stated that he didn't want disfigured people or men with crushed testicles in his church.
      The New Testament says that women should not instruct men.
      The New Testament supports slavery.
      God even says that if you beat a female slave with a rod, there's no penalty if she doesn't die in a day or so.
      God said marriage should be forced on men whose brothers died leaving a widow.

      Do you have a reading comprehension problem?

      July 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm |
    • Keeping It Real

      j,

      Do you have any idea how many millions (billions?) of ancient Egyptians went to their graves with perhaps little clay Ra disks clutched to their chests, and confessions of their sins and declarations of their righteousness buried with them? They were every bit as convinced as you are that they had the Truth (capitalizing makes it so much more true, eh?).

      July 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Keeping It Real

      * how'd that happen? The post from "j" about Egypt that I was responding to just disappeared?

      July 7, 2013 at 7:34 pm |
  4. bibleverse1

    America is the greatest nation on earth. I disagree with their beliefs but will continue to fight for their rights even though they wont.

    July 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
    • Lisa

      What makes America "the greatest"? Be specific....

      July 7, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
  5. Peter Beck

    It is possible to be an American patriot and a good Christian at the same time. Merriam-Webster defines patriotism simply as "love for or devotion to one's country." It does not say you must be a card-carrying Republican member of the Tea Party, and by extension a foaming-at-the-mouth Christian Zionist who can't wait for our next proxy war with Iran. The definition of Christianity has also been dumbed down. Many Christian fundamentalists falsely believe a "good Christian" must reject science, specifically evolution. Those who understand Christianity know that it is a lifelong struggle to follow in the footsteps of Christ. Those who understand real patriotism know you can be a good Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu or none of the above.

    July 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
  6. Cpt. Obvious

    Just for j

    God is invisible and undetectable; therefore, he is irrelevant.

    July 7, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • j

      God is evidenced in His creation God is personal and present. God is more than relevant . God IS.

      July 7, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • Peter

      j It's just so "obvious" when you're talking about your god, but not to the Hindus, Muslims, and pretty much everyone else who believes in a god different that Jesus. For them, it's their god(s) who is "obvious", and not yours.

      July 7, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
    • j

      peter i do not have a god, a god is an idol i know God. God IS

      July 7, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      j: God IS imaginary, a creation of man created to fool the gullible. The christian god IS a murderer; a rapist; a child abuser; a woman hater.

      July 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm |
  7. Terri

    Amish country would be a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. They do have a knack for getting people to appreciate the simple things in life. When life gets complicated, they can be a refuge. On the flip side, lots of people think it's o.k. to make fun of them on the internet because they don't have computers and would never know. Some people get really vicious when it comes to politics and they slander people in the name of God. That doesn't earn them any followers.

    July 7, 2013 at 6:03 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I don't care for the Amish because they are some of the worst puppy mill operators in the country. I don't care how people live their own lives, but it does bother me when people abuse animals for profit.

      July 7, 2013 at 7:11 pm |
  8. bostontola

    I wonder why the vast majority of adopted children have the same religion as the adoptive parents. Why is religious truth a completely learned thing? If there was an absolute truth created intentionally by god(s), why would it be withheld from an innocent baby that gets adopted by the wrong parents? Is it possible that all these gods and religions are created by the fertile mind of man rather than all gods but 1 (yours)?

    July 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  9. Just Call Me Lucifer

    I gotta say, them mennonites are hard working dudes. Saw them jack up an entire building ten feet. Jesus was supposed to help on that job, but as usual he was a no-show.

    July 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Neo Atheist.

      Jesus has always been a no show. I've waited for him for over twenty five years. Never did he show up. Which is why I am an atheist.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  10. popeye1128

    In the Old Testament it is kind of hard to tell the difference between God and the Devil. Both seem to derive their power through fear.

    July 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • Just Call Me Lucifer

      Uh oh... this guy is starting to figure it out. Me and Jesus are the SAME GOD! Congratulations... you've won a years supply of Eskimo Pies!

      July 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • One one

      God kills a lot more people. That's how you can tell the difference. Also, sometimes the devil is disguised as a talking snake with legs.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
  11. One one

    I find it funny that the greatest "sin" of all is not for an act, or what is spoken or written, but rather, a belief, or lack thereof.

    Four of the 10 commandments are devoted to keeping the faith. The most severe punishment is for those who do not believe.

    I suspect those commandments were written by religious leaders and clergy.

    July 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • j

      there is but one penalty for sin and it is the same penalty for all sin

      July 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Yeah, god is stupid like that. Instead of rewarding you for not killing a person you are angry at, god just goes ahead and punishes you as if you did kill that person. So if you think about doing something, according to god, you might as well do it. No sense in restraining yourself and being a responsible individual.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • One one

      "there is but one penalty for sin and it is the same penalty for all sin"

      Does that include working on the sabbath ?

      July 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • j

      yes ALL sin means ALL sin. the wages of sin is death, always was always will be.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Observer

      j

      "there is but one penalty for sin and it is the same penalty for all sin"

      So God can't see any difference between a mass-killer and someone who gets a tattoo?

      Get serious.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • One one

      "yes ALL sin means ALL sin. the wages of sin is death, always was always will be."

      Did you have a gleam in your eye when you wrote this ?

      July 7, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
    • j

      No just a knowledge of God and His truth. Sin has no penalty over those who have accepted the redemptive work of Christ.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:50 pm |
    • j

      By the way getting a tattoo is not a sin, the sin is tattooing yourself for the dead. Try reading the book

      July 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm |
    • Observer

      j,

      You are making God look really stupid for giving the same penalty to someone who lusts for another person and a mass-murderer.

      You're not looking too logical either.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:56 pm |
    • j

      God doesn't have to answer to you.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Doesn't change the question, though, does it, J? If it's a sinful tattoo on an otherwise innocent person, that person is judged the same as a person who has murdered and tortured every other person in existence. The two sins are equal before your god, correct?

      July 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • j

      I don't have a god, god is an idol. I have God. All sin is equal before the righteous judge and outside of Christ ALL are guilty. The wages of sin is death there are no degrees, there is no distinction. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

      July 7, 2013 at 6:05 pm |
    • Observer

      j

      "Thank God for His righteous judgement the guilty were instantly punished, the righteous spared."

      Drowning is not instantaneous, but torturous.

      What sin did every child, baby and fetus on the face of the earth commit? lol.

      July 7, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
  12. One one

    It's funny how there are so many different views about what is "gods word"

    You don't see 35,000 different schools of thought about the basic characteristics of the sun. But that's what we have with Christianity, not to mention the other religions.

    You would think that being all powerful and perfect, god could have communicated his message in a less confused way.

    July 7, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Yep. It was thinking on this matter that started me on my search for "the truth" in the bible as a Christian minister many years ago. About four years after I began that search, I finally became an atheist. It's a glaring flaw in the "logic" of Christianity.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:17 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Indeed! One of the great stand-up jokes of all time makes exactly this point:

      I was walking across a bridge one day, and I saw a man standing on the edge, about to jump off. So I ran over and said "Stop! Don't do it!"
      "Why shouldn't I?" he said.
      I said, "Well, there's so much to live for!"
      He said, "Like what?"
      I said, "Well...are you religious or atheist?"
      He said, "Religious."
      I said, "Me too! Are you Christian or Buddhist?"
      He said, "Christian."
      I said, "Me too! Are you Catholic or Protestant?"
      He said, "Protestant."
      I said, "Me too! Are you Ep¡scopalian or Baptist?"
      He said, "Baptist!"
      I said, "Wow! Me too! Are you Baptist Church of God or Baptist Church of the Lord?"
      He said, "Baptist Church of God!"
      I said, "Me too! Are you Original Baptist Church of God, or are you Reformed Baptist Church of God?"
      He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God!"
      I said, "Me too! Are you Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879, or Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915?"
      He said, "Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915!"
      I said, "Die, heretic scµm!" and pushed him off.

      —Emo Philips, comedian

      July 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Alexander Vigil

      If you are confused and they are confused then you and them are equals (peas in a pod). It is horrible that you would hate your equal, I am hot hopeless like you and them so that means I am superior but I don't hate you. You are confused because you have no faith in God and you do not know what true affection is (you are a descendant of the original ten kingdoms that made up the original Babylon when it's capital was called Ur).

      July 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • AE

      @ Captain Obvious

      When you were a minister, how did you daily seek Jesus' direction? And can you list any sacrifices you made in your life based on Jesus' will?

      I've met a lot of ministers who simply labeled themselves as Christian, but couldn't explain how they truly followed the One we identify ourselves with.

      A lot of Christians find it is a lot easier to wear a cross, than carry one. So they give up.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • j

      No one who belongs to Christ can ever be taken from Christ. Conclusion this cpt was never a Christian although it may have lied its way into ministry to attempt to ply its evil intent, it never knew God.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      AE, I will not discuss those matters on a public forum. I will say that my deconversion was a very long and hard process brought on by my own unwillingness to "let go" of issues that I thought a resolution was necessary. I studied the bible very diligently for a very long time, and in the end I realized that it made perfect sense as what it actually is, but I recognize that most individuals cannot put in the thousands and thousands of hours of time to discover what the bible really is, so logical arguments work better. My method was not the way to go but it was the way it worked out in my case.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      AE, your comment about "wearing the cross" being difficult.

      I completely disagree. At this time and in this culture it is much, much, much easier to be a Christian and "wear the cross" than not. If I were not an honest person with integrity, and I just wanted to get ahead in my part of the country and in my profession, I would be a very outspoken Christian and networking with all the other outspoken Christians. Instead, I find that I must follow my convictions courageously and not live a lie and pretend to be a Christian, even though it would be much more advantageous for my own life and the lives of my children. My unwillingness to lie and pretend to be a Christian has probably cost me a hundred thousand or more and will continue to cost me.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  13. sherri32118

    Why not say Mennonite anti-patriot movement instead of Christian anti-patriot movement? That's like saying all dogs have long droopy ears when you only mean basset hounds have long droopy ears.

    July 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • Natrldiver

      Because that would be the correct thing to do. Instead, CNN is all about labeling anything that is christian or conservative as against the main stream and wrong. Again CNN has failed to put out a correct article. Their reporting of news is about as truthful as the national Enquirer. Next weeks headlines "Bat boy comes out of hiding. Claims Obama is his brother."

      July 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Mark Cole

      All Christians have small droopy brains.

      July 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm |
    • Who's your daddy now?

      Hi sherri32118,

      I'm new here. I am at a loss to understand what you're writing on. Could you please elaborate for me? Thanks !

      July 7, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • yamnnjr

      Because CNN is "neutrally" biased leftist media, and the left needs to have stories from time to time in order to maintain the portrait that the left tries to display those on the right as being.

      Note the contradiction I used. Liberals actually believe stories like this are neutrally biased. They're so brainwashed that they can't even see it when a story is blatantly biased.

      July 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  14. Who's your daddy now?

    Who's who here?

    July 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • I'm a Realist

      jesus the pe-nis monster

      July 7, 2013 at 4:24 pm |
    • Who's your daddy now?

      Huh?

      July 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  15. Cpt. Obvious

    test

    July 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
  16. Akira

    I wonder where MennonKnight is? His input would be helpful.

    July 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  17. Matt

    The Zionists News Channel CNN continue to block my replies to this article due to certain keywords I have. All of my other posts, like this one, appear right away, but every time I post my original reply, they block it and never show it. Note that there is no obscene language at all in my post that is being blocked, just simply a normal post that criticizes Christianity, Judaism, and Israel.

    July 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm |
    • AE

      This blog is powered by WordPress. There are words like circ.umstances and const.itution that won't post.

      It is not because you are criticizing religion.

      July 7, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      "Zionest News Channel???" Really? Are you stupid?

      July 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      HOW TO EVADE THE CNN NANNYBOT

      Posted as a public service

      http://richardsrussell.livejournal%5Bdot%5Dcom/133379.html
      http://richardsrussell.blogspot%5Bdot%5Dcom/2013/07/evading-cnncom-nannybot.html

      July 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  18. Reality

    Dear Mennonite Workers,

    You obviously suffer from the Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in your religion. Added details:

    “John Hick, a noted British philosopher of religion, estimates that 95 percent of the people of the world owe their religious affiliation to an accident (the randomness) of birth. The faith of the vast majority of believers depends upon where they were born and when. Those born in Saudi Arabia will almost certainly be Moslems, and those born and raised in India will for the most part be Hindus. Nevertheless, the religion of millions of people can sometimes change abruptly in the face of major political and social upheavals. In the middle of the sixth century ce, virtually all the people of the Near East and Northern Africa, including Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt were Christian. By the end of the following century, the people in these lands were largely Moslem, as a result of the militant spread of Islam.

    The Situation Today
    Barring military conquest, conversion to a faith other than that of one’s birth is rare. Some Jews, Moslems, and Hindus do convert to Christianity, but not often. Similarly, it is not common for Christians to become Moslems or Jews. Most people are satisfied that their own faith is the true one or at least good enough to satisfy their religious and emotional needs. Had St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas been born in Mecca at the start of the present century, the chances are that they would not have been Christians but loyal followers of the prophet Mohammed. “ J. Somerville

    It is very disturbing that your religious narrow- mindedness, intolerance, violence and hatred continues unabated due to randomness of birth.

    July 7, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • !3Directors

      I think you're missing their point altogether. They are not preaching against any one religion but the against the violence that religious groups support in the name if their faiths. I'm not religious one iota, but even I get that whether fictionalized or not, Jesus taught non-violence always, even until his death.

      July 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm |
    • Reality

      Last time I checked, your Jesus was crucified because of his violence at the Jewish Temple. ( Mark 11:15–19, 11:27–33, Matthew 21:12–17, 21:23–27 and Luke 19:45–48, 20:1–8) and near the start in the Gospel of John (at John 2:13–16).

      July 8, 2013 at 7:33 am |
  19. I'm a Realist

    To those with difficulty understanding evolution.. Intelligence is hereditary. That's right. And it depends on your family roots, evolution. Why a god would create people of varying intelligence, is mean. In fact expecting everyone to behave the same while some not as capable in comprehending things as well as others, is just wrong.

    If you believe someone is intelligent because of a school they graduated from or their grades, you're wrong again. Strong scholastic abilities simply imply that you are highly trainable. yes, dogs are trainable too. This doesn't mean that truly intelligent people didn't achieve high scores as well.

    In the end, many understand that some people can't fathom evolution. As a means to offer simplicity, gods and jesus became that fill. Much like some create stories to tell children their father is gone because of work and not because he simply left the home for good.

    July 7, 2013 at 3:14 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      mb: What truth would that be?

      July 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      mb: Now all you need to do is provide the peer-reviewed evidence that shows your jesus and god exist(ed) and you might have a valid point, until then you are simply gullible like every other fool who thinks the buybull holds the answers.

      July 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      I'm a Realist,

      I suppose you mean God & Jesus are the fill for evolution currently

      July 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • I'm a Realist

      no,, god and jesus are stories to pacify the simple,, as we do with children

      July 7, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • Who's your daddy now?

      Intelligence is a learned trait "I'm a Realist" brought about by one constantly learning

      July 7, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      I'm a Realist,

      A complex intelligent individual could never believe something so simple.

      July 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Simple people believe simple things like "big invisible sky wizard did it by chanting magic spells." Yes, it far too simple a concept for complex, thinking beings to understand, but sometimes complex, thinking beings have ideas get lodged in their brains in a space that the brain does not allow to be altered. Rather than deal cognitive dissonance that would come about from examining this simple idea, the individual puts the idea "above reproach" and refuses to do any "figuring" when it comes to that "idea idol."

      The believer's CONCEPT of god is exactly like his god: beyond the reach of reason. For the believer, god is past logic because that is where the believer has placed him within his mind.

      July 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • janey33

      Cpt. Obvious...What are you babbling about??? You have no concept of God, so you cannot relate. A Christian does not believe God exists...they KNOW He exists because they have a personal relationship with Him. Since you cannot comprehend this, you poke fun out of Christians and put them down. All that shows is that you have only intolerance and hatred for those who do not believe as you do. Very sad.

      July 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • janey33

      My understanding of evolution is far superior to your understanding of Christianity. I have taken several science courses and they are very compatible with Christianity. The only difference is how the universe was formed. You cannot tolerate anyone who believes differently from your beliefs. How sad you are.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Janey, I was a believer for a long time-maybe longer than your whole life or perhaps two your lives. Don't presume, and please realize that your appeal about having special knowledge is exactly what believers of other religions do. You have no proof, and you know it. I don't claim to know why the universe is here, and I admit it. If it makes life simpler for simple people to believe that a big invisible sky wizard did it by chanting magic spells, then all the better for the simple people.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Cpt. Obvious
      Apparently Janey has a different definition of the word " know" than anyone else.
      Apparently she hasn't realized that if she knew, there would be no need to have faith.
      Janey doesn't seem to get it...the difference between belief and knowledge. So she will continue to lie because she doesn't BELIEVE she is lying, because she misinterprets her belief as KNOWLEDGE.

      Do you see the difference there janey? Stop lying.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      It depends on how literally you take some scriptures. Much of the bible is at odds with known science. For example, the order of "things created" is horribly wrong in the bible. You can disbelieve the bible or science, but you can't believe both. And there are many other portions of scripture that require the same decision.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  20. NorthVanCan

    Which one is actually free.
    The Patriot, the Christian or the Atheist?

    July 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm |
    • Colin

      The Christian

      July 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Free of what? Free of sense? I think Colin covered that one.
       
      Or free to make one's own decisions without having to follow dogma imposed (or at least expected) by others?

      July 7, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • Ricky

      The Atheist!

      July 7, 2013 at 3:28 pm |
    • Colin

      In Christianity is the only True freedom, an atheist is a slave to it's sins and evil in it's every thought while a patriot is merely a follower of a political ideal. Those that Christ has set free are free indeed.

      July 7, 2013 at 3:30 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      The fake Colin is trying hard to make the real one look crazy...pathetic that one would have such low standards that they'd need to act so infantile.

      July 7, 2013 at 3:35 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      "free" is too broad a term. You do not provide enough context to answer the question in a meaningful way. The Christian may be "free" in certain ways that the atheist is not, and the atheist may be "free" in certain ways that the Christian is not. A Christian certainly may be free from following the law if he considers that his god wants him to do something that is illegal. An atheist may be free from following some religious rule if he considers that he is not a part of that code since he is not of that belief.

      July 7, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Akira

      Troll must be bored.

      July 7, 2013 at 3:40 pm |
    • Jason Roberts

      None of the above. 🙂

      July 7, 2013 at 3:47 pm |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      CA: Did you miss the fact that I responded on another Canadian's post or are you too stupid to clue in??? CNN hires Canadian's...are you sure you want to be on a site that does that and that supports equal rights and is INTERNATIONAL???

      July 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Akira

      Trollis VERY bored.

      July 7, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • MikeF

      Colin
      It's the Christian who's a slave to the man-made concept of "sin", forcing him to go against his common sense and condemn behavior that he knows in his heart isn't really wrong. Since giving up Christianity I'm free to think for myself.

      July 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • AE

      It is easier to deny our sins, than deny ourselves.

      July 7, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Biological fact keeps sane people from "denying themselves." "Sin" is invisible and undetectable and cannot be shown to exist.

      July 7, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Peter

      AE
      There are things that people everywhere and everytime, regardless of what gods they either believed in or not, have agreed were wrong, murder, theft, lying and the like. "Sin" are just those things that some people have found personally offensive but, since not everyone would agree that they were bad based on their common sense, they had to be sold by saying that some powerful, invisible, bully god would get upset if anyone did them. That's all sin really is.

      July 7, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • AE

      To me, that is not what sin really is.

      Sin can exist exclusively in our hearts, visible to no one but God and us. God is concerned about our hearts – that is, our thoughts, intentions and desires.

      Jesus was constantly critical of 1st century religious leaders because many pretended to honor God externally, but deep within their hearts were filled with greed.

      July 7, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
    • AM in NM

      In this country all of them. You're free to be patriotic or not, your free to follow Christianity or not. If your talking about a deeper sense of the word freedom....well unless you are living on some remote uninhabited island with only your own rules...ALL of us have limitations on freedom.

      July 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.