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Atheist gets her day at the Supreme Court
November 1st, 2013
04:39 PM ET

Atheist gets her day at the Supreme Court

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

(CNN)– Linda Stephens has lived in her upstate New York community for more than three decades and has long been active in civic affairs.

But as an atheist, those views have put her at the center of a personal, political, and legal fight that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

The issue is public prayer at her local town board meetings, another contentious case over the intersection of faith and the civic arena.

The justices on Wednesday will hear arguments over whether Greece, New York, may continue sponsoring what it calls "inclusive" prayers at its open sessions, on government property.

Stephens and co-plaintiff Susan Galloway have challenged the policy, saying virtually all of those invited to offer legislative prayers over the years were Christians.

"It's very divisive when you bring government into religion," Stephens told CNN from her home.

"I don't believe in God, and Susan is Jewish, so to hear these ministers talk about Jesus and even have some of them who personally question our motives, it's just not appropriate."

The town of about 94,000 residents counters that after concerns from the two women and others, it sought diverse voices, including a Wiccan priestess, to offer invocations. Officials say they do not review the content of the remarks, nor censor any language.

"The faith of the prayer giver does not matter at all," said John Auberger, Greece's board supervisor, who began the practice shortly after taking office 1998. "We accept anyone who wants to come in and volunteer to give the prayer to open up our town meetings."

A federal appeals court in New York found the board's policy to be an unconstitutional violation of the Constitution's Establishment Clause, which forbids any government "endorsement" of religion.

Those judges said it had the effect of "affiliating the town with Christianity."

"To the extent that the state cannot make demands regarding the content of legislative prayers," said Judge Guido Calabresi, "municipalities have few means to forestall the prayer-giver who cannot resist the urge to proselytize. These difficulties may well prompt municipalities to pause and think carefully before adopting legislative prayer, but they are not grounds on which to preclude its practice."

Some legal experts say while the high court has allowed public prayers in general, it has not set boundaries on when they might become too sectarian in nature.

"The case involves a test between two different kinds of legal rules," said Thomas Goldstein, SCOTUSblog.com publisher and a leading Washington attorney.

"The Supreme Court has broadly approved legislative prayer without asking too many questions. But in other cases where the government is involved with religion, it has looked at lots of different circumstances. So we just don't know whether this court will be completely approving of legislative prayers in this instance."

The justices are now being asked to offer more firm guidelines over when and if such public prayers are constitutionally acceptable.

Felt marginalized

Galloway and Stephens say the elected board of the community outside Rochester almost always invited Christian clergy to open the meetings, usually with sectarian prayers. And they say they felt "marginalized" by the practice.

"When we tried to speak with the town, we were told basically if we didn't like the prayers, we didn't have to listen," said Stephens, "or could stand out in the hallway while they were going on."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Washington-based group that is representing the two women, cited records showing that between 1999 and 2010, approximately two-thirds of the invocations contained the words "Jesus Christ," Jesus," Holy Spirit," or "Your Son."

And the lawsuit claims that from 1999 through 2007, every meeting had a Christian-only invocation. Following the complaints from the plaintiffs, four other faiths were invited in 2008, including a Baha'i leader and a Jewish lay person.

The plaintiffs say the Christian-only invocations resumed from January 2009 through June 2010. They claim those invited to the monthly meetings were selected by a city employee from a local guide that had no non-Christian faiths listed.

"Politics and religion simply don't mix, and they certainly don't mix in the local context of the Greece town council," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, AUSCS executive director.

"The town seems to take the position that because once or twice over a decade, it hears from someone of a different religion, that somehow is inclusive. It trivializes what's going here - a local government that should be willing and interested in participation of all its citizens, it wants those citizens to participate in an almost inevitably Christian prayer, in order to begin doing their business."

Different rulings

While the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York last year unanimously ruled against Greece's policy, other courts around the country have found such invocations - if inclusive and limited in scope - to be permissible.

Congress regularly opens its sessions with a prayer. Wednesday's invocation by House Chaplain the Rev. Patrick Conroy began: "Eternal God, we give you thanks for giving us another day. Once again, we come to ask wisdom, patience, peace, and understanding for the members of this people's House."

Nearly 120 members of Congress, mostly Republicans, along with several state attorneys general have filed supporting legal briefs backing the city. So has the Obama administration.

"The history of prayers offered in connection with legislative deliberation in this country makes clear that a legislative body need not affirmatively solicit a court-mandated variety of different religious faiths– from inside and outside the borders governed by the legislative body– in order to avoid running afoul of the Establishment Clause," said Justice Department lawyers' in their amicus brief.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal ministry based in Scottsdale, Arizona, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Greece Town Board, saying the Supreme Court has upheld the practice of government bodies "to acknowledge America's religious heritage and invoke divine guidance and blessings upon their work."

"A few people should not be able to extinguish the traditions of our nation merely because they heard something they didn't like," said Brett Harvey, an attorney for the group. "Because the authors of the Constitution invoked God's blessing on public proceedings, this tradition shouldn't suddenly be deemed unconstitutional."

Stephens realizes the stakes are high for her community and for the law as a whole. But on a personal level, this legal fight has been tough.

"I've received something of a backlash, both Susan and me," the retired librarian said. "Threatening letters, some vandalism to my property, things like that. The prayers, and all the controversy, it makes you feel like an outcast, like we don't count in our town."

The case is Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway (12-696). A ruling is expected by early summer.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Church and state • Courts

soundoff (6,237 Responses)
  1. Rebecca

    Why would something come from nothing, especially if that something doesn't even have self-awareness to know that it's coming from nothing?

    November 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • Billy Preston

      Nothin' from nothin' leaves nothin'
      You gotta have somethin' if you want to be with me

      November 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i've asked several christians that same question, "how can god have come from nothing?" they never have an answer...

      November 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
      • Rebecca

        Why isn't matter good enough proof of God's existence?
        How else did matter get here?
        Do you have a better idea?

        November 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Richard Cranium

          God of the gaps. We don't know so goddidit...not logical.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          you have to first explain how matter is in any way proof of a god.

          "do you have a better idea?"
          +++ you illustrate a problem here very clearly. you are suggesting it is better to have an answer, even if it's wrong, than to say, "i don't know." why are christians so afraid of that answer? just because we don't know something, you don't make up an answer. that promotes laziness. why look for the answer when we know in our hearts that 'Goddidit"?

          we don't know exactly how the universe started, but we're starting to figure it out.

          Goddidit = magic

          don't use magic as an explanation for anything. it's silly and child-like and only serves to keep you from finding the truth.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
        • Jake

          Rebecca, where did your god come from then? By your logic, the existence of your god proves the existence of a superior god which must have been necessary to create him...and an even more superior god to create him and so on. Not only is your "logic" illogical, it also is self-defeating.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Bootyfunk... Who said God came from nothing? God always has existed. Even Christian grade schoolers know that...

        November 4, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • Jake

          Yes, and even non-Christian grade schoolers can see how illogical that argument is. Let's see...there must be a god because otherwise, where would everything have come from? Ok, then where did your god come from? Oh....ummm, he was just here already.

          If that makes sense to you, then it would be equally logical to assume that everything was already here and has been here forever. It's funny how your argument as to why there must be a god can be used just as logically to show why there must be an infinite number of gods.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
      • Paul

        "i've asked several christians that same question, "how can god have come from nothing?" they never have an answer..."

        I've posted this several times already:

        1. Whatever BEGINS to exist has a cause.
        2. The universe began to exist.
        3. The universe has a cause.

        Since God did not begin to exist, He doesn't have a cause.

        November 4, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          How is your premise so, Paul. Why should anyone agree to it?

          November 4, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Your first premise, I mean.

          November 4, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          1. We have no idea if the universe "began" to exist. We do know that it was infinitely small, dense, and hot at one time. Time, as we understand it is part of the expansion of the big bang, so from our perspective there was no "before" our universe.

          2. Even if the universe did begin to exist, there is no reason to think that it must be some being with any feelings or ideas on human beings.

          3. Infinite regress is just as likely as an eternal "ground of being." Our minds can't handle either option.

          4. Because we do not know if our universe came out of another process, we do not know how many possibilities there might be for such a hypothesis, but there is no reason to narrow down that massive number (googolplex?) to one two notions for which neither is there proof: god and nothingness. We have no idea if either god or nothingness is possible, so why claim it must be one of the two. Sounds stupid when there are so many other possibilities...some of which are at least implied by the hardest earned facts about the nature of our reality.

          November 4, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • Alias

      There was never nothing.
      You need to understand that is a religious idea that i do not agree with.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
      • Rebecca

        So all of the eggheads at NASA have it all wrong?

        November 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Alias

          The eggheads at NASA believe in conservation of energy too.
          I don't recall NASA claiming the big bang started from nothing.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          do all of the eggheads at nasa say there came something from nothing? where are you getting your information? please post it, because it sounds like you're making bad assumptions.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Alias... And that is all it is, merely an idea. Lucifer had an idea too. But look where that got him...

        November 4, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
        • Alias

          According to the bible, Lucifer knew god, saw god, spoke to god, knew what god was.
          The very idea that an angel god created would turn against god, and other angels would follow is reason enough for me to doubt that Lucifer exists.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
        • Mowgli

          Shere Khan had an idea too. Look where that got him. So did Professor Moriarty and Captain Cook and Lex Luthor, and a mult'itude of other fictional, imaginary villains... just like your Lucifer character.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Alias... If you don't believe that Lucifer exists, then you have no argument . And your opinion about him don't mean a thing. For how can you have an opinion about that which doesn't exist?...

          November 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Mowgli… You are living proof. Some people know the difference between fantasy and reality – and some people do not. Congratulations…

          November 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
        • Alias

          But I do have an opinion about what your bible says.
          You will tell yourself it doesn't matter if you don't like it.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
        • Check

          Opposing View
          " If you don't believe that Lucifer exists, then you have no argument . And your opinion about him don't mean a thing. For how can you have an opinion about that which doesn't exist?..."

          Entire books have been written with opinions about what Moby Dick symbolized.

          Ideas exist, and they are fair game for discussion.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          God created Lucifer didn't he? Are you saying god made a mistake? Who are you to judge? Oh yeah, it's a fantasy, anyone can say anything about anyone and claim it's true...

          November 4, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
        • Cleetus Allreetus Alrightus

          You are making a claim that lucifer exists.... where is your evidence?

          November 4, 2013 at 2:18 pm |
        • Cleetus Allreetus Alrightus

          Opposing View "Mowgli…Some people know the difference between fantasy and reality – and some people do not. Congratulations"

          Claims of "reality" require evidence. You have nothing but your IMAGINATION. Isn't it funny that YOU are the one that confuses fantasy with reality............ what a joke!

          November 4, 2013 at 2:21 pm |
        • Rynomite

          Lucifer is the hero of the bible stories. Rebels against a vicious, murderous, god & gives man knowledge.

          November 4, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It was Spinoza who asserted that God is substance, presumably without beginning or end. Somehow I doubt if that's what you had in mind, Rebecca.

      November 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
  2. Alias

    The problem is that too many christians live with a mindset that assumes they are right about god.
    They are too sure of themselves to take anyone with different beliefs seriously.
    They are a majority here and they really can't see why they should consider other points of view.

    November 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      exactly.
      atheists are open-minded - christians are not
      atheists are willing to change their mind about god at any time - just show proof of his existence
      but christians gloat their close-mindedness saying "nothing you can say can change my mind about god."
      christians are close-minded.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • lol??

        Guard yer bwain. Yer pals might just suck it out.

        November 4, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
      • Rebecca

        On the contrary. A Christian can ask a good questions, and atheists are the ones who want to IGNORE them, sweeping them under the rug.

        November 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          such as? what good question are you asking that i won't answer? i'm challenging you. mostly because what you're saying is untrue. seriously - what questions do we avoid?

          see, the problem comes when christians make an assertion without proof. we reject that. then you cry that we're being close-minded because we don't just believe something without evidence. that doesn't make us close-minded - it makes us NOT gullible.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • Check

          Rebecca
          "On the contrary. A Christian can ask a good questions, and atheists are the ones who want to IGNORE them, sweeping them under the rug."

          Listen, Rebecca, I have posted this at least 10 times in the past few weeks, and have been roundly IGNORED by Christians including OV, btw). I have had1, count 'em ONE, lame response, of course claiming the old "out of context" fallback answer.

          Check:

          – You cure leprosy by having a dove killed, dipping a live one in its blood and having it fly around. Also, you have to anoint the toes of the suffer with the blood.–Leviticus 14

          – You discover unfaithful wives when their bellies swell and their thighs rot after they are made to drink some magical water. – Numbers 5

          – Prized striped goats are bred by having the mating parents stare at striped objects. –Genesis 30

          – You may buy, own, sell, and will slaves to your descendants (only foreigners for slaves, though, no Israelis) –Leviticus 25

          - “If two men are fighting, and the wife of one man tries to rescue her husband by grabbing the other man’s private parts, you must cut off her hand. Don’t have any mercy." Deuteronomy 25

          There are several other similar instances of absolute rubbish that this "God" purportedly "spoke", along with a bunch of other rules and laws that are obviously only from the minds of primitive men. How anyone can believe that this stuff came from an omniscient divine being is ludicrous.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
        • Stage Cue

          Act V, Scene 3

          Exit: Rebecca
          (carrying her broom and carefully dragging her rug offstage without lifting it)

          November 4, 2013 at 2:10 pm |
        • Cleetus Allreetus Alrightus

          Rebbeca is a typical post and run christian coward.

          November 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      "They are too sure of themselves to take anyone with different beliefs seriously."

      That is the problem though, their religion demands they have "faith" which is being "too sure of themselves" without evidence. If they had any actual evidence for their faith they wouldn't call it faith, they would call it fact.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Just the Facts… So you're saying that as an atheist "you're NOT sure of yourself" right? If that isn't the case and you are, then you're a hypocrite for criticizing others who are. And if you're NOT sure of yourself as we are, then even being unsure of yourself is not going to save you. Being "sure" or "unsure" means nothing at all if you end up in hell…

        November 4, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
        • Joey

          Hell is probably a lot of fun. Who is in charge of hell anyway?

          November 4, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          I am absolutely not sure of how the universe came to be. I believe there is no reason to claim to know until we have actual evidence. There is no evidence for anything supernatural, therefore I do not believe in the supernatural. I am not ruling it out, i'm just saying there is zero evidence to support it thus there is absolutely no reason to believe in it until some shred of empirical proof is found. If that ever happens I am more than happy to change my opinion, which is why I am not being hypocritical to point out the hypocrisy of others.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Alias… First, why assume anything when we know that we're right? (the bible and Jesus Christ himself backs us up). And secondly, why in God's name should we take the devil seriously? Listening to the devil can send your soul to hell…

      No, the real problem is that delusional atheists like yourself are so certain that we're wrong, yet you haven't a shred of evidence to back it up. And because you have no evidence to support your claims, all you can do is mock or speak evil of that you don't understand…

      November 4, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • Alias

        It is not the parts of the bible I don't understand that make me think it is wrong, it's the parts I do understand.
        I don't have evidence your god doesn't exist, but I do have logic and reason. I do have proof that your bible has flaws.
        You have no proof a god exists. You also have no proof you have picked the right one, even if there are gods at all.

        November 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Alias… The reality is, you don't understand anything at all about the bible, nothing, nada. You only "think" you understand it. And that is why you are deceived. For a dead man understands nothing. And you are dead in trespasses and in sin...

          On top of that you are blind, spiritually blind, and you cannot see the truth even if it was standing right in front of you. All your so-called logic and reason is of the devil. And it comes from the devil. Whereas, my logic and reason comes from God…

          Lastly, there always has been proof that God exists. Only not the kind of proof you atheists are wiling to accept. For example, Jesus Christ himself is all the proof you need. But that proof is not good enough for you. And is precisely why Jesus Christ said this:

          John 8:24 – (Jesus speaking) If you don't believe that I am he, then you shall die in your sins...

          Meaning, he's all the proof you'll ever need. And if you can't accept that, then you can continue on to hell…

          November 4, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          OV- please cite a third source for any proof that this jesus person existed. Something not in the bible, preferably out of archaeology but I'll accept a contemporary account from someone of a neighboring, or even the same, country as long as it's non-abrahamic in origin. Otherwise, we have nothing but the FACT that his existence has never been factually proven, let alone the "magic" he supposedly performed. I'm just asking for what any intelligent adult would ask of any child who came to them with a story about how the cookies came to be missing.

          No insults intended, just extraordinary claims (Jesus existed) demand extraordinary proofs. C'mon man, convert me with your proof.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
        • Alias

          You have exactly the same proof of your god that Muslims have of their god. Ditto for Hindu, and about 100 other religions.
          Reason tells me that is not enough.
          I also know the bible is flawed, and you are too insecure to admit to it.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Opposing View;

          I apologize. I just read the full content of your screed above and now I understand that you think using your god-given brain to learn about the universe is the devil's work. As long as you think intelligence is the homeland of evil there is nowhere to go with this.

          You believe in God so I'll use your language to try to save you:
          God created the brains of humans to be freely creative and to seek out knowledge, if he'd wanted you to be ignorant you wouldn't have the complex brain you have, just the reptile part that keeps your heart beating etc. I'll maintain that IGNORANCE is the realm of your devil, lucifer, satan. So, please use your God's great creation and don't sell it to your devil for ignorance and fear.

          November 4, 2013 at 2:02 pm |
  3. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    This whole issue could be resolved if they just removed the mandatory part of the prayer and moved it to the end of the meeting, so all who wish to stay for a prayer may do so, but everyone else is free to leave. It would save everyones time, even the courts and is the only reasonable solution.

    November 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      No...the reasonable solution is to NOT practice religion on governemt property or using any government time. Make your prayers in your head.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        No government time would be used as it would be post meeting, but the government property would indeed be used but much like a public park or any other public space which can be used for a birthday party or a prayer meeting. I'm trying to be reasonable and not have an overreaching knee jerk reaction to their obvious current abuse of the constltution.

        November 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          it's an inappropriate setting, even after the meeting. they could take it somewhere else, if they really cared about prayer.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I realize you are trying to be reasonable and compromise which normally is a good direction. But if you think that that compromise would be good enough for them you are very mistaken. They want their display of faith and religion on record and as much a part of the show as they can make it and they will cry foul on anything that they would percieve to minimize that cause.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          The fact is they would still scream and yell about my modest proposals. I personally look forward to the day when all of the vile stain of religion is washed off our secular society, I guess i'm just looking for some short term gains to that eventual end and am willing to take small steps to achieve that goal. Often, especially when we know we are right, we want to go straight to the end result we are seeking, but without taking the small steps the whole goal may be lost.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I personally would be fine with a prayer "after party" off the record...I just don't think it would actually solve anything.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      The whole issue could be resolved by people understanding that prayers and religious displays of affection have no place in a gov't function....no good can come from it.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      no. that would still be prayer in a gov't building. it would still put pressure on people to stay or be pointed out as a non-christian.

      how about this answer? how about the christians stop being lazy? why not gather at one of their houses before work and pray together there? or at a church? or in a park? that's right, they'd have to wake up a 1/2 hour earlier. I wouldn't think that would be a problem for anyone devoted to their god. but of course this whole thing is just an excuse to push their religion down other people's throats. gathering before work in an appropriate setting is too much to ask for these "devout" christians.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
      • Just the Facts Ma'am...

        Again, I am all for the complete removal of religion from government. However, I do understand where we are now (10 commandments on courthouses, placing your hand on a bible for swearing in, under God in the pledge and on our money, intelligent design being introduced into Texas schools and elsewhere, prayer before House & Senate sessions, along with the rampant local governments praying before their meetings and even interjecting local religious festivites into their agendas every year) so stopping it all cold turkey would be great but seems unrealistic. A more measured approach would be to shift their already practiced (and unconstltutional) religious agends into the private sector one step at a time.

        November 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          a good first step would be banning religious rituals at gov't meetings.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
        • Science Works

          Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Well the Texas publishers for New text books for 2014 said NO to creationism/ID and text books last about ten years.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Here’s the relevant section of Texas HB00285:

          Sec.A51.979.A A PROHIBITION OF DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RESEARCH RELATED TO INTELLIGENT DESIGN.

          An instltution of higher education may not discriminate against or penalize in any manner, especially with regard to employment or academic support, a faculty member or student based on the faculty member ’s or student ’s conduct of research relating to the theory of intelligent design or other alternate theories of the origination and development of organisms.

          Whether the testbooks include it or not, Texas teachers have been given the go ahead to inject their personal opinions and theories on public school children.

          November 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm |
        • Which God?

          JtFM posted: Sec.A51.979.A A PROHIBITION OF DISCRIMINATION BASED ON RESEARCH RELATED TO INTELLIGENT DESIGN.

          Oh, jeebus khrist! This is so dumb. Texas, land of the Hucklebees/berries.

          November 4, 2013 at 3:06 pm |
  4. Rebecca

    What if hypocrisy were a sin? Then atheists would be pointing out sins all the time.

    November 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      you mean, what if there was such a thing as 'sin'?

      sounds like you delight at the thought of eternal torture for people outside your faith. stay classy!

      November 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
      • Rebecca

        Where did you ever get that idea?

        November 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          from your posts.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
        • Rebecca

          Then let me congratulate you on how adept you are at drawing false conclusions. Kudos!

          November 4, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Rebecca;
          BootyFunk, Yoozyerbrain, BLessed, JustTheFacts, et al find it easy to infer from the writings of you and Opposing View and other christians that you delight in the thought of non believers burning in agony in your version of an afterlife. You almost ooze smarmy self-righteousness all over the pages here.

          But don't forget Pascal's Wager- there are and have been numerous gods in the history of mankind, all of them believed in as fervently as you believe in yours, how do you know you got the right one? And if you're just covering your as s, doesn't god know that too? There's no winning Pascal's Wager fyi, that's the point. Jesus and Mithra are the same person from different cultures, so why isn't Mithra the real god now? And how do you know it's not Thor as #1. You have a lot of backtracking and catching up to do if you're wrong.

          Contrasting- if you're right, you're ridiculous god knows what a good person I am and the good works I do and the lack of evil that I cast about so I'm ok, who wouldn't want a guy like me in their heaven? I'm fun, happy, reverent and caring and don't believe in the need for a supernatural boogy man to make me stay this way. I think god would love to have me around. I also think your god would not enjoy your self-righteous judgemental company.

          Where does that leave us? You'll cite your single-source proof and threaten me with hellfire and damnation, and I'll just keep learning, using my brain, and being a good, non-judgemental person to everyone. wwjd?

          November 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      Hypocrisy is not a sin, but it sure makes a person unpopular, so please, keep it up Christians.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
      • Rebecca

        Like clockwork.

        November 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Yes, Christians display their hypocrisy like clockwork. I'm glad you agree with me.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
        • Rebecca

          Accusations of hypocrisy are made like clockwork.
          It's what they do.
          Like a pigeons poop on cars.
          It's what they do. They can't help it.
          They can't not choose not to do it.
          It's how they've been trained.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          you've described christians like yourself to a T

          November 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • Just the Facts Ma'am...

          Well all those cars were asking for it...

          November 4, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  5. Rebecca

    That there is matter at all is rather extraordinary, if not miraculous.

    November 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      extraordinary, yes
      miraculous, no

      November 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      That people use this argument from ignorance as if it was reasonable to come to a supernatural explanation of existence is rather extraordinary, if not absurd.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:50 pm |
      • Rebecca

        Where did all the matter in the Big Bang come from?

        November 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          the singularity.

          where did god come from? something so complex as a deity must surely have a creator.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
        • Rebecca

          Where did the singularity come from?

          November 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          we don't know.

          now maybe you can answer my question:
          where did god come from? who created god?

          November 4, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I don't know Rebecca and neither do you or anyone else, and to assert that because we don't know, therefore it is reasonable to conclude that a supernatural being is responsible for everything is an argument from ignorance and is a fallacy.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Seriously? The universe has matter all over the place. How can something so ubiquitous be "miraculous?" Could air be miraculous?

      November 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  6. Bootyfunk

    so the christian members want to waste valuable time by praying instead of doing what they got hired to do - work. add up the 5-10 minutes before every meeting and that's time that could have been used to discuss legislature. do you jobs. no praying while you're supposed to be working please.

    November 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Opposing View

      You mean like people like you could be working and getting things done, rather than wasting time on this forum bashing the Christians? You're right about that. LOL. If you've got time to do this, then we've got time to do that. Go figure…

      November 4, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
  7. Honey Badger Don't Care

    Opposing View

    "You're absolutely right. God does not hear a sinner. Since you're a sinner, I guess no one should know that better than you…"

    I'm not a sinner. Since I dont believein the tennets of your religion then I dont believe in sin. Since I dont believe in sin then I can not have committed one, unlike Jesus who was an obvious sinner.

    November 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • *

      *tenets

      November 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      there's no such thing as 'sin'. it's a disgusting concept developed by the church to guilt and fear people into obeying.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Coming from someone who IS in sin, that's a pretty big statement. LOL. It only shows the rest of us how ignorant and blind you are...

        2 Corinthians 4:4 – In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not . . .

        November 4, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Honey Badger... You also don't know what "sin" is. Imagine that...

      2 Corinthians 4:4 – In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not . . .

      November 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
      • Joey

        When you can prove anything you believe without having to quote from the Bible get back to us.

        November 4, 2013 at 3:12 pm |
      • CharlesP

        So, kinda like living in 1940s USSR and not believing in Stalin would have been a "sin" against Stalin? You're describing God as every bit as much a tyrant who can't abide his underlings exercising their freedom.

        November 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
  8. Bootyfunk

    no prayer in the courtroom
    no prayer in the schools
    pray at home, pray at a church, pray at a park
    you don't get to pray in a gov't building during a gov't meeting
    that's promoting your religion through the gov't
    pray before you get to work

    November 4, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  9. Rebecca

    Yes, it is hypocritical for atheists to call Christians hypocrites for doing things that don't conform to the atheistic interpretation of Christianity, when atheists don't exactly practice it themselves.

    November 4, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      ;-)

      November 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      example?

      November 4, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • yoozyerbrain

      Sounds judgemental to me. What do you know of atheism? You, a supersti tionista, operate out of fear pure and simple. Non- and Anti-theists operate from a position of "extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof", you claim a sky-fairy and that said sky-fairy should have a "hand" in the laws of this land. Those of us who live in reality disagree and don't want yours or any other fantasy sky-fairy to have a say in the government of the best country in the history of the world.

      Of course if you have some kind of PROOF of your ridiculous claims, let's see it....

      November 4, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Yoozyer… We know that atheism is of the devil. And that is all we need to know…

        And speaking of "proof"… hey wasn't you that guy who recently stated "there is no god"?. By jolly I think you are! So please provide PROOF to back up your ridiculous claim. We'd love to see it. LOL…

        November 4, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          again, YOU are making the claim there is a god - YOU have to show proof.

          by your logic, do you have any proof that my left nut isn't god? no? well, i guess you should bow down to my left nut then. since you can't disprove it, my left nut must be god. see how stupid your line of "logic" is?

          November 4, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Bootyfunk...

          The Atheist Rule #2: Changing the topic or evading the issue is your second line of defense. Use this when you're cornered with no way out…

          November 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          ...sigh...the scream of the ignorant.

          Once again OP, willful ignorance in un-American. It is a learned trait however so I forgive you.

          In science one doesn't "prove" a non. I'll prove your stupid vision of god doesn't exist when you prove that the 500 foot pink pine tree in a purple pot next to my feet doesn't exist. I see it plain as day.

          Try logic and science, it's what really makes America great, not supersti tion.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          opposing view,
          are you an atheist then?
          because that's what you're doing - changing the subject when you encounter a point you disagree with.
          i was exactly on point with the discussion - proof of god.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Bootyfunk… I see you're changing the subject to avoid admitting you're changing the subject. That's not new. It's just more of the same…

          November 4, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
        • corridorwatcher

          Why should anyone have to provide proof that something is NOT there?

          November 4, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • yoozyerbrain

      And one other thing Rebecca- notice at the end of the article that the plaintiffs point out that they've been subject to vandalism and other attacks just bcs they want to participate in their secular government? Who's doing that? Christians probably right? Isn't that hypocritical religious behavior? Unless of course terrorizing anyone of opposing viewpoiint a tenet of christianity/religion? Pretty un-American I'd say...pretty hypocritical also. Wwjd? Burn a cross? Pound a lefty? Kick a poor woman while she's down? Vandalize her mailbox.

      Yeah, talk to me about hypocrisy.

      Points out the divisiveness of the fantasy-world of religion doesn't it?

      November 4, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Yoozyerbrain… You mean like you're terrorizing people and calling them names who don't agree with your twisted viewpoint? Talk about being hypocritical. Perhaps you should look in the mirror….

        November 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          or perhaps you should...

          November 4, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          If my logic and love of secularly great USA terrorizes you, then we need either a new definition of the word terrorize, or you should look a little deeper into your fear of this argument.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Yoozyerbrain... I never knew that terrorizing people by calling them names, and hating them because they believe differently than you, was being so "love an secular". Thank you for pointing that out. With people like you, who needs the devil…

          November 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Opposing View has absolutely lost her mind! I keep using straight up English to speak logically to try to engage in a real dialog but wow! Name calling is all OV has because of that fear she has that I might be right I guess. Can't argue with someone who doesn't want to engage as an adult. Good luck in high school OV, hopefully they'll get through to you cuz your elementary school seems to have failed.

          Notice how I'm NOT calling you names. Please, provide proof that your impression of a god should have a say in the secular govt of this great country. And use literature from any source on earth that's not abrahamic in its genesis to make your point.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
      • Rebecca

        Maybe, if he was having a really bad day, or if he just felt like being ironic. Irony can be funny.

        November 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • CharlesP

      Rebecca
      Atheists assume that Christianity ought to make sense, and be internally consistent because those are the kinds of systems that they logically think ought to be worthy of being followed. By pointing out the hypocrisy, atheists are pointing out why Christianity isn't worthy, see?

      November 4, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  10. yoozyerbrain

    Again, there is no god. So the foundation of your argument is built of fantasy. How bout throwing that away in this age of education and reason? You can if you want, but you are more into your fantasy than into the USA. And again, extraordinary claims (there is a god) demand extraordinary proof. You have no proof and therefore base your view of reality on a fantasy. Dangerous.

    November 4, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • yoozyerbrain

      oops, meant as a reply to Opposing View below...

      November 4, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • lol??

      Bloom, from the Frankfurt School, is proud of you.

      November 4, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Opposing View

      Yoozyerbrain... Big words and not a shred of evidence to back it up. What you say don't mean a thing. Now I know why they call you "yoozyerbrain"...

      November 4, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        YOU claim there is a god - YOU have to produce evidence.
        or perhaps you can explain to the world how one can disprove the existence of something...?

        November 4, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
        • Opposing View

          The Atheist Rule #2: Change the topic or evading the issue is your second line of defense. Use this when you're cornered with no way out…

          November 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          haha.
          i'm right on topic.
          you don't have an answer for what i said so you make up an excuse not to have to think
          good one....

          November 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Bootyfunk… You're a liar, and never was on topic. The topic was that I stated Yoozerbrain had said big words and didn't have a shred of evidence to back it up. Which was a suggestion he then show proof. You then tried to change the topic by asking ME to show some proof. It's an evasive tactic commonly used by atheists. Don't think I'm too dumb to know the difference…

          November 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
      • Translator

        Opposing View,

        Just for you, the hard-of-thinking, what yooz is saying is "put up or shut up" or "your dog don't hunt".

        November 4, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Thanks Translator...I'll try to use smaller words.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
  11. lol??

    Jim Jones, Hitler, and FUSA were all suicidal. Oh, and don't forget Nebuchadnezzar II. Ladies, yer not off the hook either. Every time you sue yer hubby for divorce you just cut off yer head. Abortion is the same when the father has no say or rights in the matter. 60,000,000 families caput, capietain of yer fates.

    Gen 12:3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

    November 4, 2013 at 11:36 am |
    • Opposing View

      There is nothing more suicidal than an atheist who don't believe in God. They're flirting around with death and they're too ignorant to even know it…

      November 4, 2013 at 11:45 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        ;-)

        November 4, 2013 at 11:47 am |
        • Bobbie Jo Justice

          so, the "loving and caring" sky daddy is going to murder everyone who doesn't kiss his rear end?

          November 4, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
      • Ergo

        Must be "God's" will, OV. Don't fight it.

        November 4, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • Bootyfunk

        or atheists are right and chrsitians are wasting their lives worshiping a non-existent deity....

        November 4, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • Opposing View

          The Atheist Rule #1: Denial is the first line of defense of any atheist. Deny anything you don't want to accept…

          November 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          hahaha. you're guilty of exactly what you're accusing me of.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
      • Bobbie Jo Justice

        I don't believe in imaginary sky fairies.

        your god taking a dump on 9/11 or was that his day off?

        November 4, 2013 at 1:08 pm |
    • Jeff Rome NY

      Just completely dismiss the fact the men divorce women all the time. Okay. And completely dismiss that the women who get abortions are over 80% Christian. Okay. And that many of the men pay and/or drive the women TO get an abortion. Okay.
      Move. Please. You want a theocracy. There are two gov't that are theocratic: Vatican and Iran. Go. Bye bye.

      November 4, 2013 at 11:49 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Don't forget Saudi Arabia, where female drivers cause earthquakes.

        November 4, 2013 at 11:52 am |
      • Opposing View

        Jeff… And God had nothing to do with any of it. Just shows you what a world without God would be like. For a perfect example of that, look no further than hell...

        November 4, 2013 at 11:55 am |
        • Jeff Rome NY

          I'm glad you agree that the OP doesn't have a point.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Jeff... No point means anything if you end up in hell...

          November 4, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
        • corridorwatcher

          hell does not exist.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:16 pm |
      • lol??

        Making graves and refugees must be in the pwogwessives' const*itution.

        November 4, 2013 at 11:58 am |
  12. lol??

    The stake in the heart of the USA was the 17th amendment pushed by the pwogwessives. Enjoy yer poverty in the FUSA (former).

    November 4, 2013 at 11:22 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      16th for me.

      November 4, 2013 at 11:29 am |
    • Jeff Rome NY

      It is better to go back to 1913 in your Wayback machine. Stay there.
      Actually, it was in 2000 when the SCOTUS handed an undeserved victory to a completely inept warmongerer.

      November 4, 2013 at 11:36 am |
      • lol??

        You might want to take a peek at the National Security Act of 1947.

        November 4, 2013 at 11:53 am |
        • Jeff Rome NY

          Yep, so that enabled the SCOTUS to hand a undeserved presidency to a baby looking to gain daddy's approval? We just went through 2 major wars.
          And none of this has to do with the 17th Amendment. Do you have a point, or didn't you take your Ritalin today? Your comments are all over the place.
          And NONE of this has anything to do with God, who, given your comments, you really don't have a relationship with, anyhow.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Akira

      Can you explain why you think having the people of each state vote for their Senate representative in DC is a bad idea, lol?? I'm interested in your reasoning.

      November 4, 2013 at 11:56 am |
      • lol??

        Joe six-pack cannot possibly know the needs of state business.The state gubmints had their rights of representation stripped away from them.

        November 4, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  13. Opposing View

    Science is good but only up to a point. The moment it starts tempting you to disbelieve in God, then there's a problem with science…

    November 4, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      ;-)

      November 4, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Cal

      Matthew 5:22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

      November 4, 2013 at 11:20 am |
      • Opposing View

        Cal... Strange. I don't see one person on this forum who's my "brother". Do you?...

        November 4, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • Get Real

          OV,

          "Brother" in this sense means fellow human. Get real.

          November 4, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • Opposing View

          Get Real... It does not and never did...

          November 4, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • yoozyerbrain

      Once again proving that religion, all religion, is ANTI- American....and all the supersti tionistas who think they are good Americans are ANTI- American. They prefer their unsupported, unsupportable, fantasy over the greatest country in the history of the world. A country founded by our Enlightenment-era Founding Fathers who rejected religion in government in their own time, and who would be horrified at the ignorance still put forward by the same ilk they fought against! And here we are hundreds of years later still fighting against the pernicious fantasy of religion. Sad.

      Up with the Free Humanistic Secular USA, Down with the tali bani/abrahamic mind-destroying theocracy demanded by the supersti tionistas!! Flu ck your stupid useless lying prayers.

      November 4, 2013 at 11:31 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        You are making some broad generalizations about theists there my friend.

        November 4, 2013 at 11:33 am |
        • yoozyerbrain

          That's because I am a secular American anti-theist, who believes undemocratic anti-American lying traditions of supersti tion hurt this country with divisiveness and a lack of accounta bility. So it's easy to generaliize. Let me give you an example of what I see as evil;

          Ask a supersti tionista what's more important, the laws of the US or the bible (so-called "laws of god"). America will not come first, fantasy will come first. That's evil, and those who promulgate it are anti-American and pro-fantasy. See? Easy.

          November 4, 2013 at 11:41 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I know theists who put American law above Biblical law and who wouldn't support the codification of Biblical law.

          November 4, 2013 at 11:44 am |
        • yoozyerbrain

          I'm Sorry- that may be true, but how theist are they then and aren't they possibly closet-atheists who are afraid to come out, cuz according to the leading supersti tionistas, it's god or hell, America doesn't figure in.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
      • Opposing View

        yoozyerbrain… If all religion is ANTI-American. Then all Americans are not of God. I find that very hard to believe. Especially in light of the fact that I AM American, that I AM a saint, and I AM of God. Your really are a "yoozyerbrain" aren't you…

        November 4, 2013 at 11:51 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          ;-)

          November 4, 2013 at 11:52 am |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Again, there is no god. So the foundation of your argument is built of fantasy. How bout throwing that away in this age of education and reason? You can if you want, but you are more into your fantasy than into the USA. And again, extraordinary claims (there is a god) demand extraordinary proof. You have no proof and therefore base your view of reality on a fantasy. Dangerous.

          November 4, 2013 at 11:58 am |
        • Opposing View

          Yoozyerbrain...

          The Atheist Rule #1: Denial is the first line of defense of any atheist. Deny anything you don't want to accept…

          November 4, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • yoozyerbrain

      WHY???

      November 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • corridorwatcher

      that makes no sense

      November 4, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
      • yoozyerbrain

        Sorry Corridor, it was supposed to be a reply to....

        "Opposing View
        Science is good but only up to a point. The moment it starts tempting you to disbelieve in God, then there's a problem with science…"

        To which I replied WHY??

        November 4, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  14. Opposing View

    Why do atheists say stupid stuff? Answer: That's easy. It's because they're stupid and have nothing better to say…

    November 4, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nXz-fOtKBU8&w=640&h=390]

      November 4, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • Cal

      Matthew 5:22 ESV But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.

      November 4, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • yoozyerbrain

      Here you call me "stupid". Down below you claim someone has "no wisdom or understanding" and imply they are a "fool" with your Proverbs quote, so it looks to me like you name-call and stoop to scatalogical statements rather than see your viewpoint challenged. Hypocrite. The worst I do is call you "willfully ignorant" which I then explain is a behaviour that was taught to you and I forgive you for it as not being totally your fault. Your name calling is your fault.

      Try to use your brain, see?

      November 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
      • Opposing View

        Name calling and speaking the truth are two different things. I speak the truth...

        November 4, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          Op View,
          Ok I get it- if you call me "stupid" you speak the "truth"
          If I call you "willfully ignorant" it's name-calling.

          Divisive wouldn't you say?

          Without you calling me stupid, and without me labelling you as "willfully ignorant" please explain why ANYONE'S fantasy of something unproveable should have a place in a secular government meeting, or any other public arena? Forget whatever label you have for me or anyone that might disagree with you, I just want you to explain why a fantasy should have any power over a secular govt?

          If god isn't a fantasy, please show the extraordinary proof that you have and I'll accept it, kay?

          November 4, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
    • corridorwatcher

      Saying something stupid about another group, doesn't make your argument true, or you smart.

      November 4, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • corridorwatcher

      How often are you allowed to say the say thing?

      November 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • CharlesP

      OP
      Ah, ad hominem attacks, the lowest form of "answer" anyone can give here. Why do you find atheist arguments "stupid"?

      November 4, 2013 at 4:47 pm |
  15. o susie q

    God began 3 weeks ago in my backyard. That is y he is called god.

    November 4, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • pee wee herman

      Atheists think they r slick. They r in fact liars, phonies and lovers of Sam stone. They pretend not to no how god is defined.

      November 4, 2013 at 11:03 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        ;-)

        November 4, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • Opposing View

      o susie q... That is your "dog" stupid, and not God...

      November 4, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  16. tom tom tom tom tom tom murdock

    Dear god, I look forward to the day these nitwits depart for the fiery pit. Thanks that u never began and will never end.

    November 4, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • pee wee herman

      Dittoes

      November 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
      • pammy

        Double that!

        November 4, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
        • bootyfunk

          Three!

          November 4, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
      • bootyfunk

        How bout four

        November 4, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Make it five

          November 4, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • divine insight

          S E X

          November 4, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • drturi

        Please Google "Halloween Suicide Girls Born Witches Dr. Turi" and have a blast! Pass it on if you like it! Check also – Google "Anarchy Coming To America? dr.turi"

        November 5, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
    • fyi

      Try seven

      November 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
      • HeavenSent

        What about me? Eight!

        November 4, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
        • laststonecarver

          Nine my friend. 9

          November 4, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
        • MAX

          Can u spell 11?

          November 4, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
      • no religion

        Hey, u forgot me! Ten my friend!

        November 4, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • no religion

      Dear god, torture observer.

      November 5, 2013 at 4:19 am |
  17. Rebecca

    Why do atheists try to manipulate and control Christians with accusations of hyprocrisy?
    If they don't like Christianity, why do they always expect Christians to practice it?

    November 4, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      ;-)

      November 4, 2013 at 10:46 am |
    • Opposing View

      Rebecca… Answer: Because atheists are hypocrites themselves. For that is what a hypocrite is, someone who accuses someone else of doing something while they're doing the very same thing…

      November 4, 2013 at 11:06 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        ;-)

        November 4, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • tallulah13

        So you are saying that atheists are being hypocritical for expecting christians to follow the laws of their faith? Oooooookaaay.

        November 4, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  18. Rebecca

    You can't ban all people from doing something just because one of them doesn't do it.

    November 4, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      most obvious troll ever. troll harder.

      November 4, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Nope, but you can legally enforce the First Amendment.

      November 4, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 went up for vote, 93% of Southern Democrats and 100% of Southern Republicans voted against ending segregation in both the House. In the Senate, only a single Republican (Ralph Yarborough of Texas) voted in favor.
      I guess you can't stop insti/tutionalized racism just becuase one person disagrees with it.

      November 4, 2013 at 10:49 am |
    • Jim

      Mob mentality at its finest.

      November 4, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  19. rhaj

    I am atheist. When attending meetings where those prayers are said, I am kind of.. ok: if that makes the people around the table serene, I can tolerate. For me, it is like if the little kid needs his imaginary friend to calm down... so be it.

    But if they start to say, "because of Jesus" we are going to do such and such, I have to stand up and oppose.

    November 4, 2013 at 9:57 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Ahhh but that is where it starts, they have always been a "give an inch, take a mile" group.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  20. Rebecca

    Separation of church and state

    November 4, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • Rebecca

      is unrealistic considering that many taxpayers who financially support the state are religious.

      November 4, 2013 at 9:43 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Elaborate please.

        November 4, 2013 at 9:47 am |
        • Rebecca

          The government governs with the consent of the governed, and most of the people who are governed by the government are religious.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:54 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Again, nice tongue twister.

          The Const.itution is designed to prevent a 'tyranny of the majority'. The US is a secular nation. If you take that away, we'll just take another step towards becoming a authoritarian theocracy.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:57 am |
        • Igaftr

          Most people that are governed are white...should we do things just because they are white?

          Ridiculous standpoint.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:58 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          An

          November 4, 2013 at 9:58 am |
        • Charm Quark

          It would seem that the religious majority are warmongers and support the military industrial complex with money and prayer. Did I get that wrong in any way?

          November 4, 2013 at 10:02 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        In the 21st century we have numerous examples of irreligious governments running successful societies, like Ja/pan, Switzerland and Canada.
        Some elected officials may be religious, but they are expeced to act as Humanists, not religionists.
        Sociological evolution is leading us away from religion. Not because Christianity, Islam, Hinduism etc are negative in and of themselves, but becuase they are necessarily tribalistic and divisive.

        November 4, 2013 at 9:50 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          The US government is (officially) irreligious.

          November 4, 2013 at 9:52 am |
        • CharlesP

          The difference is that politicians in those other countries do not pander to religious interest groups.

          November 4, 2013 at 10:30 am |
      • ReligionIsBS

        Rebecca wants her children to pray to Muhammed in school.

        November 4, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Rebecca

      Like in a corporation, those who pay the piper call the tune. That is, those who invest the most money get to call the most shots.

      November 4, 2013 at 9:58 am |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Even a conservative like myself would be wary to compare a government to a corporation.

        November 4, 2013 at 10:03 am |
        • Alias

          The government is being controlled by the corporations. Big difference.

          November 4, 2013 at 10:42 am |
        • lol??

          "................... common assertion made by those who are unhappy with the declining state of freedom in America is that this can be traced to an 1871 act of Congress that established Washington DC and, at the same time, converted the United States from a const*itutional republic to a corporation. Secondary claims attached to this hypothesis are that this is the reason the official wording was changed from Const*itution for The United States of America to Const*itution of The United States of America and also why all capital letters are used in the name instead of upper and lower case letters........."

          http://www.freedomforceinternational.org/freedomcontent.cfm?fuseaction=US_corporation

          November 4, 2013 at 11:14 am |
      • tallulah13

        The majority often gets away with doing as they chose in this country, until the courts are asked to weigh in on the question of Constitutionality. Official prayer at government-sanctioned event clearly violates the law, therefore an honest court must rule for the athiest. It remains to be seen if the court is honest.

        November 4, 2013 at 10:07 am |
      • Charm Quark

        Except often the majority of the shareholders the little guys do not have a say in what the directors and executives get away with. There have been many reports of shareholders revolting against the greed of the executives by way of proxy fights and they often do not win because of apathy, same situation applies to government.

        November 4, 2013 at 10:13 am |
      • BRC

        Rebecca,
        I have to say, in just two comments you've managed to show a stunning lack of understanding of how our government and nation were designed to work. The ideas you've espoused are two things that our Consttution was specifically designed to prevent. One, being the tyranny of the majority (and someone has already corrected you on that one). And the other, being creation of a wealth based ruling clas, who gets what they want because they pay for it. Now it's sad that we all know that this really does happen, and the lobbies/corporations with the most money to throw at elected officials do get what they want, but it's not supposed to, and here's why. You make the point that the religious are paying most of the bills (completely ignoring the fact that those people have many different religions and want different things), but what if that weren't the case. What if Bill Gates offered to give his entire personal fortune, and 90% of all future income (a HUGE purse of money) to the government, in return for restrictions on practices of faith, not just from the public sector, but from the private sector, placing regulations on office buildings and shopping malls. You'd be outraged right? And you should be, fortunately, the Consttution exists to stop that from happening, just like it stops those who do follow religion from forcing it into functions that involve people of all faiths, or a lack thereof.

        November 4, 2013 at 10:18 am |
        • Rebecca

          Then I would get a bunch of pilgrims together, buy a rocket ship, and colonize Mars.

          November 4, 2013 at 10:21 am |
        • Ted

          Happy travels, Rebecca. Be gone soon.

          And what does your bible say about Mars?

          November 4, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Opposing View

      Rebecca... How about a separation of God and the devil, of good from bad, of atheists from believers. That's solve any problem, and there's is no problem it can't solve. In fact, that's exactly why God has prepared a lake of fire and brimstone to separate all evil people from those who go to heaven...

      November 4, 2013 at 11:10 am |
      • Jim

        Or...how about keeping religion out of government, like the FF intended. Freaking simple.

        November 4, 2013 at 11:16 am |
        • Opposing View

          There is no religion in hell. You'll feel right at home there...

          November 4, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • yoozyerbrain

        There is no god, there is no devil. Only the divisiveness religion creates and that you seem to crave.

        Unless of course you've come up with the extraordinary proof that there IS a god and therefore a devil? Extraordinary claims (there is a god) demand extraordinary proof. Prove it, or you are choosing fantasy over the USA and are therefore just like the talibani, you hate the real America, and the reason it exists.

        November 4, 2013 at 11:51 am |
        • Opposing View

          The Atheist Rule #1: Denial is the first line of defense of any atheist. Deny anything you don't want to accept…

          November 4, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
        • yoozyerbrain

          OP you are the one name-calling and not engaging in the dialectic here. I keep asking you to back up your argument that a sky-fairy should have a hand in the laws of this great land. Engage please, quit name-calling and back up your argument.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Yoozyerbrain...

          The Atheist Rule #2: Change the topic or evading the issue is your second line of defense. Use this when you're cornered with no way out…

          November 4, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
        • CharlesP

          What's wrong with not accepting things that aren't supported by any evidence?

          November 4, 2013 at 4:40 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.