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The Obamacare 'scandal' you haven't heard about
Few Bible Belt pastors mention what's in their backyard, millions of poor people trapped in the Obamacare “coverage gap.”
November 8th, 2013
10:01 AM ET

The Obamacare 'scandal' you haven't heard about

By John Blake, CNN

(CNN) - The Rev. Timothy McDonald gripped the pulpit with both hands, locked eyes with the shouting worshippers, and decided to speak the unspeakable.

The bespectacled Baptist minister was not confessing to a scandalous love affair or the theft of church funds. He brought up another taboo: the millions of poor Americans who won’t get health insurance beginning in January because their states refused to accept Obamacare.

McDonald cited a New Testament passage in which Jesus gathered the 5,000 and fed them with five loaves and two fishes. Members of his congregation bolted to their feet and yelled, “C’mon preacher” and “Yessir” as his voice rose in righteous anger.

“What I like about our God is that he doesn’t throw people away,” McDonald told First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta during a recent Sunday service. “There will be health care for every American. Don’t you worry when they try to cast you aside.  Just say I’m a leftover for God and leftovers just taste better the next day!”

McDonald’s congregation cheered, but his is a voice crying in the wilderness. He’s willing to condemn state leaders whose refusal to accept Obamacare has left nearly 5 million poor Americans without health coverage. But few of the most famous pastors in the Bible Belt will join him.

Joel Osteen? Bishop T.D. Jakes, and other prominent pastors throughout the South?

Like McDonald, they preach in states where crosses and church steeples dot the skyline yet the poor can’t get the health insurance they would receive if they lived elsewhere. All declined to comment.

When people talk about the Affordable Care Act, most focus on the troubled launch of its website. But another complication of the law has received less attention: a “coverage gap” that will leave nearly 5 million poor Americans without health care, according to a Kaiser Health Foundation study.

Learn more from Kaiser about the coverage gap in states that refused Obamacare

The coverage gap was created when 25 states refused to accept the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare. The people who fall into this gap make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and not enough to qualify for Obamacare subsidies in their state insurance exchanges. If they lived elsewhere, they would probably get insurance. But because they live in a state that refused the new health care law, they likely will remain among the nation’s uninsured poor after Obamacare coverage kicks in come January.

The coverage gap has been treated as a political issue, but there is a religious irony to the gap that has been ignored.

Most of the people who fall into the coverage gap live in the Bible Belt, a 14-state region in the South stretching from North Carolina to Texas and Florida. The Bible Belt is the most overtly Christian region in the country, filled with megachurches and pastors who are treated like celebrities.  All but two Bible Belt states have refused to accept the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.

Should Bible Belt pastors say anything publicly about the millions of poor people in their communities stranded by the coverage gap? Is it anti-Christian for state leaders to turn down help for the people Jesus called “the least of these"? Or should pastors say nothing publicly about such issues because they are strictly political?

CNN's Sanjay Gupta explains who falls into the coverage gap

Who speaks for the poor in the coverage gap?

When these questions were sent to many of the most popular pastors in the Bible Belt, they hit a wall of silence. Virtually no prominent pastor wanted to talk about the uninsured poor in their midst.

Joel Osteen, pastor of the largest church in the nation, declined to be interviewed about the subject. So did Bishop T.D. Jakes. Their megachurches are both in Texas, the state with the nation’s highest number of people without health insurance.

Max Lucado, the best-selling Christian author who is a minister at a church in Texas, declined to speak; Charles Stanley, the Southern Baptist pastor in Georgia whose In Touch Ministries reaches millions around the globe, declined to speak; Ed Young Sr. and Ed Young Jr., a father and son in Texas who pastor two of the fastest-growing churches in the nation, also declined to speak. 

Bishop T.D. Jakes declined to talk about the millions of poor people stranded in the “coverage gap."

The list goes on.

The silence is not hard to understand. Obamacare is a polarizing political issue in the Bible Belt. A pastor who publicly weighs in on the subject could divide his or her congregation or risk their job. And some prominent pastors like Osteen are popular in part because they  do not alienate fans by taking political stands.

The Rev. Phil Wages, senior pastor Winterville First Baptist Church in Georgia and a blogger, was one of the few Bible Belt ministers willing to speak on the subject.

He says he won’t preach about the coverage gap created by the state’s rejection of the Medicaid expansion because he has what he calls theological differences with the thrust of the new health care law.

Wages says the Bible teaches that the care of orphans, widows and the sick are given to the church, not to the government. Early Christians were the first to create hospitals, orphanages and hospices.

“I have an issue with the government coming in to get money through me - through taxes - to take care of people, when my argument is that I should be free to give to charities or to my church in order to take care of the sick and destitute,” he says.

Wages says he has no doubt that lack of health insurance is a monumental problem, and that many people are poor because of circumstances beyond their control. Yet there is no New Testament example of Jesus trying to shape public policy on behalf of the poor.

“I do not see any biblical precedent where Jesus ever went to Herod or Pilate and said you should be taking care of the poor,” Wages says. “Jesus told his disciples to take care of the poor and the apostles said the same thing to the early church.”

Wages’ position is impractical and unbiblical, says Ronald Sider, a longtime advocate for the poor and author of “The Scandal of Evangelical Politics."

Churches and charities don’t have enough resources to take care of an estimated 48 million Americans who don’t have health care. The Bible is filled with examples of God's fury over economic oppression of the poor, which Christians should regard as scandalous, he says.

“If you are not sharing God’s concern for the poor, it raises huge questions about whether you are a Christian at all,” he says about pastors who say nothing about the uninsured poor.

“As God’s spokespersons, you ought to be talking about God’s concern for the poor as much as God. In the richest nation in world history, it’s contradictory to have millions without health insurance.”

“It absolutely stinks”

The coverage gap may inspire a religious debate, but for its victims the issue is raw and personal.

A recent New York Times article about the coverage gap revealed that many of its victims are the working poor: cooks, cashiers, sales clerks and waitresses.

“These are people who are working people but they haven’t been able to afford health insurance or their employers don’t offer it and they’re stuck,” says Andy Miller, editor of Georgia Health News, a nonprofit news organization that covers health news in the state. “A lot of these folks have chronic health conditions.”

They are people like Shelley “Myra” Mitchell, a single mom with four children who makes $9 an hour working at a Chick-fil-A in Georgia. She makes $18,000 a year – too much for Georgia’s existing Medicaid program, but not enough to qualify for subsidies to sign up for Obamacare’s insurance marketplace in Georgia.

Mitchell’s voice grew edgy with frustration when asked to describe her health needs. She rang up about $20,000 in emergency room bills because she has no health insurance. She can’t afford to get pap smears, go to the dentist or get surgery for a two-year-old hernia. She can’t take medication for her depression and anxiety because she can’t afford it.

She thought she could get help under Obamacare but recently learned she can’t because Georgia did not accept the law’s Medicaid expansion.

“It stinks,” she says. “I’ve been dealing with this hernia for two years now, and I can’t get anyone to help me because I don’t have health insurance. It absolutely stinks.”

Why pastors should stay silent about the coverage gap

Mitchell’s plight may stink. But at what point should a pastor go public on such a complex issue, and what could he or she actually say?

Two prominent evangelical pastors openly wrestled with those questions.

Andy Stanley is one of the most popular evangelical pastors in the nation. He is the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, a megachurch with at least 33,000 members. He is also the author of the forthcoming book “How to be Rich,” which urges Christians to be "rich in good deeds" instead of wealth. His church recently announced that it donated $5.2 million to Atlanta charities and provided another 34,000 volunteer hours.

Joel Osteen has the largest church in America. He also declined to speak about the coverage gap.

Stanley says the coverage gap disturbs him. The church cannot handle the needs of millions of uninsured people alone and should quit taking shots at government involvement, he says. But he adds that it’s not anti-Christian for political leaders in states like Georgia to turn down the Medicaid expansion for the poor.

“If you really want to know how concerned someone is for the poor ask them what percentage of their personal money they give to organizations that help the poor,” he says. “Ask them how much time they give to organizations that help the poor.”

Stanley says it would be difficult for any pastor to talk about the Medicaid expansion without addressing the entire law.

“I tried to imagine a scenario where I urged people to write our governor encouraging him to reconsider his decision regarding the expansion of Medicaid for the poor,” he says. “As I imagined that, I got the feeling that by the time I finished explaining the issue, people’s eyes would be glazed over.”

Pastors who don't preach one way or the other on Medicaid expansion aren't callous or apathetic, says Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. They may be suspicious of a bigger government and skeptical of whether this move will solve the problem.

“The Bible calls on Christians to answer the cries of the poor,” he says. “All Christians must do that. The question of the Medicaid expansion is a question of how we do that. I don’t hear many people arguing that we shouldn’t care about the plight of the poor when it comes to medical care. The question is a genuine debate about the role of the state.”

Moore says some people have a “utopian view” of what state power can accomplish.

“Government programs sometimes encourage dependency, unintentionally break down family structures, and become unsustainable financially,” Moore says.

Bob Coy, pastor of Calvary Chapel megachurch in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, wondered aloud about what he could, and should, say.

Florida, which has the second highest number of people without health insurance behind Texas, has not accepted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Coy says he hasn’t spoken publicly about poor people missing health coverage in Florida. But he has called the governor to get more information.

“I’m not an activist guy. I don’t tell the government what to do. I am a church guy. I teach the Bible.”

That doesn’t mean he doesn’t care for the poor, though, Coy says. He grew up in a poor family that couldn’t afford to go to the dentist. His church also spends a large percentage of its budget on serving the poor.

Coy says he is suspicious of large-scale programs that are publicly funded because they are often abused.

“One side of our society is saying, 'We need this,' while on the other side is saying, 'This isn’t fair and isn’t going to work.’ So how should a pastor, who has a heart to help people, respond?”

Why pastors should speak out

The Rev. Shane Stanford’s answer to Coy is simple: Talk about justice for the poor like Jesus did.

Stanford is the senior pastor of Christ United Methodist Church in Memphis and author of “Five Stones: Conquering Your Giants.”

He is also HIV-positive. He was born a hemophiliac and contracted the virus when he was 16 during treatment for his illness.

Stanford says he publicly speaks out about the millions of Americans stranded without health coverage because he knows how it feels. Once, after heart surgery, he was getting a transfusion when a nurse came into the room and pulled the needle out of his arm because she said he had maxed out his health insurance coverage.

He says standing up for people in the coverage gap is a matter of justice.

“Sometimes pastors have to tell people what they need to hear, not what they want to hear.”

Stanford ignores fellow pastors who counsel him to be silent about his state and others that refused to accept the Medicaid expansion.

“They say you have to be careful talking about political issues,” he says. “When I look at their lives, part of me thinks they never had that needle yanked out of their arm.”

Conservative pastors who urge their colleagues to avoid politics are hypocrites, says James Cone, a prominent theologian who has spent much of his career writing books condemning white churches for what he says is their indifference to social justice.

“When their own interests are involved, they are very much involved in politics,” Cone says. “Same-sex marriage and abortion – they have no trouble politically opposing them.”

Cone, a professor at Union Theological Seminary in New York, says a nation is defined by how it treats its most vulnerable members. But there is an entrenched hostility to poor people in America that goes unchallenged by some white, conservative Christians, he says.

“When poor people get food stamps, they get mad,” Cone says. “When the rich and corporations get tax breaks and pay no taxes, they don’t say anything.”

McDonald, the pastor who spoke out on behalf of poor people from his Atlanta church, says Jesus provided universal health care. The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus healing marginalized people.

“He did it for free,” McDonald says of Jesus’ healing. “The reason the crowds gathered around Jesus primarily was for healing. People want wholeness.”

Perhaps the gap between Bible Belt pastors who say nothing about the uninsured poor and those who do is also rooted in history. 

Conservative Christians have traditionally emphasized providing charity to the poor - soup kitchens, donations to impoverished people in undeveloped countries - while progressive Christians have blended charity with calls for public policy changes that help the poor.

The distinction between both approaches was distilled by a memorable quote from the late Brazilian Roman Catholic Bishop Dom Helder Camara, who said: "When I feed the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why so many people are poor they call me a communist."

That may be changing as a new generation of evangelicals rise in the Bible Belt and elsewhere. One minister who speaks to them is the Rev. Timothy Keller, a conservative Christian author who pastors a megachurch in New York.

Keller is the author of “Generous Justice: How God’s Grace Makes Us Just,” a popular book that argues that evangelicals should do more than preach personal salvation; they must “speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.” He is a role model for many younger evangelicals.

“God loves and defends those with the least economic and social power, and so should we. That is what it means to ‘do justice.’ ’’

CNN.com recently contacted Keller to see if he would talk about "Generous Justice" and how it might apply to health care and the poor. Did he think pastors in Bible Belt states should say anything publicly on behalf of poor people being denied basic medical insurance? His publicist said she would contact Keller with the request.

Several days later, she returned with Keller’s answer.

He had no comment. 

- CNN Writer

Filed under: Baptist • Barack Obama • Belief • Bible • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Courts • Culture wars • Ethics • evangelicals • Fundamentalism • Politics • Poverty

soundoff (3,619 Responses)
  1. (T)ruth

    2 words: Natural Selection- if you are dumb enough not to use your God given brain to think logical for yourself and instead let some half wit self proclaimed biased preacher do the thinking for you , you deserve to be on the short end of the stick. Believes are not about whom you follow but whom you become yourself and how you act accordingly. Any braindead follower will be naturally selected to be deleted: it is only natural. Christianity is a joke in the Bible Belt.

    November 11, 2013 at 3:47 am |
  2. Jeremy

    To whom this may concern: Listen, this life will be over soon and that destiny cannot be changed by anyone. The poor are going to be taken care of by God Himself. This is the answer to the poor problem on the earth! Deuteronomy 15:10-11 (Message Bible) will change your life. God said,"Give freely and spontaneously. Don't have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God's blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors. Therefore, you have my permission to share this word with whoever you want. Thanks and have a successful day!

    November 11, 2013 at 3:16 am |
  3. Dave

    The point raised by one of those interviewed in the article concerning exactly how much personal money and time someone spends helping people is a very valid one. Many are willing to say the government or this or that organization should do something about these problems, but talk is cheap, and they seem to think that the money to support any program just appears out of thin air. An ABC news report stated that more than two thirds of USA households gave an average charitable contribution of $2047 in 2004. While when not being scrutinized by the press, then VP Al Gore only gave $353 in 1997 and VP Biden gave an average of only $369 per year over the decade prior to 2004. Government spending is not intrinsically evil, but just remember to put your money where you mouth is, and not try to spend everyone's money but your own.

    November 11, 2013 at 3:09 am |
  4. kendal

    Why. Why are the pastors turning away from us..

    November 11, 2013 at 1:37 am |
  5. jack

    These Mega churches are nothing but a money making scam and their followers are complete suckers. Why are these Mega churches costing millions of dollars with fancy and expensive designs, excessive luxury, all tax free while the pastor lives like a king? Your mega 100+ ft tall cross that costed hundreds of thousands of dollars could have fed the poor in your community for years. You should all be ashamed of yourselves..........

    November 11, 2013 at 1:07 am |
    • andy

      so, what does this have to do with obamacare?

      November 11, 2013 at 1:29 am |
      • Reality # 2

        In order to pay down our $16 trillion debt, we need to redirect money used to support religions especially the christian and islamic cons and put it towards paying off our obligations..

        To wit:

        Redirecting our funds and saving a lot of "souls":
        Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
        There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror LIKE 9/11.

        – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

        – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

        – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

        Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
        There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

        – The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.
        – the faith-based federal projects supported by both Bush and Obama will be eliminated saving $385 million/yr and another $2 billion/yr in grants.

        Giving to religious groups in 2010, totaled $95.8 billion,

        – Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
        Abraham and Moses never existed.

        – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

        – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

        Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

        BOTTOM LINE: SAID MONEY WOULD HELP PAY FOR HEALTH CARE !!!!

        November 11, 2013 at 6:46 am |
        • lol??

          The help you need doesn't come from the Diverse Beast.

          November 11, 2013 at 6:54 am |
        • Reality # 2

          The idea door on how to reduce/eliminate our $16 trillion dollar debt is always open.

          November 11, 2013 at 8:32 am |
  6. Adam Larkin

    I cannot read the litany of comments posted here, but will say this much.....as a Christian, A follower of Christ ( Yahshua Messiah), I pray for the leadership placed above me by the Almighty Hand of God.....and along with such, I voice the fact that even in obedience as I do, our current system and the "Affordable Care Act' would have me paying near triple my Childcare expenses for healthcare coverage which I have never needed nor can I afford prior to this ACA, let alone, now as a single father of two children. I do not agree with, nor endorse nor acknowledge the popularized "preacher" shown in example here as true Bible Teaching and Preaching Ministers, however, I will state without argument of discussion, that the current state of affairs as we are reviewing here in this post and the topics linked to and closely related are straight out of scripture and the in keeping with the fall of civilized modern government that God fearing and Bible believing individuals and families are reading in the pages of scripture. Welcome to the reality of the Christian life and the true state of man's sinful progression in this world.

    November 11, 2013 at 12:11 am |
  7. Sarah

    A friend in college once told me I was the best Christian she had ever met. I never seeing myself as pius was horrified. When she went on to explain her view of my fellow Christians I was shocked. I went to church the following Sunday and listen really listened to my fellow church goes and watched. I was dismayed to find that for the most part my friend was right. I had read the bible front to back 3 times since then but I rarely attend church. I have come to view church as a social organization where people can surround themselves with people like themselves not anker or a compass. I am fortunate to have people in my life who fill the voids. They are generally very different people from myself but I truly believe they are gifts from God. Christian could truly benefit from a long hard look in the mirror. There are so many in this world looking for God but fearful of Christians.

    November 10, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • Jeff Roem

      Thank u. I have found my church to be the most wonderful enlightened joyful generous thoughtful group of ivy league grads I ever met

      November 11, 2013 at 3:12 am |
  8. Science Assistant

    from Science Daily:

    New Light On Dark Energy, Cosmic Speed-Up: Big Bang Afterglow Shows Earth Has No Special Place in Expanding Universe

    Nov. 7, 2013 — In a new study, Dartmouth researchers rule out a controversial theory that the accelerating expansion of the universe is an illusion.

    While the findings don't explain the cosmic speed-up, they eliminate one provocative possibility that our planet, solar system and galaxy are at the center of the universe and that there is no dark energy. The findings appear in the journal Physical Review D.

    The 2011 Nobel Prize was awarded for the discovery that the expansion of the universe is accelerating. One leading idea to explain the acceleration is a new, mysterious substance called dark energy, which is thought to make up nearly three-fourths of the energy of the universe. But another alternative is that Earth, our solar system and Milky Way galaxy are at the center of the universe. That theory violates the standard assumption that the universe has no center, but if true, then cosmic acceleration could be explained without dark energy or any new laws of physics.

    But Dartmouth researchers found that this model can't hold up to other observational tests. The sky glows with light left over from the Big Bang, also known as the Cosmic Microwave Background, so they calculated how that glow would be affected. Their findings show that the model's prediction is completely contrary to the glow that has been measured.

    "Essentially, we held a mirror up to the universe and asked if the reflection was special," says Robert Caldwell, a professor of physics and astronomy who co-wrote the article with undergraduate physics major Nina Maksimova. "The reflection shows that we do not appear to live in a special location, and decisively excludes this explanation for the universe's accelerating expansion. It would be a great relief to be able to understand a basic problem of cosmology within the known laws of physics, but our research is an important step in explaining the physics responsible for the cosmic acceleration."

    November 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm |
    • Science Works

      From Science Daily.

      And believe it or not this comes out of Texas, nothing but the truth no gods/devil required.

      “This is bigger than finding any dinosaur,” Chatterjee said. “This is what we’ve all searched for – the Holy Grail of science.”

      Thanks to regular and heavy comet and meteorite bombardment of Earth’s surface during its formative years 4 billion years ago

      Paper No. 300-5: Impact, RNA-Protein World and the Endoprebiotic Origin of Life https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2013AM/webprogram/Paper222699.html

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131029133124.htm

      November 11, 2013 at 6:14 am |
  9. zELDA

    The reason they refuse to comment is because reporters constantly twist their words and take comments out of context for their own agenda. They are being wise to not open themselves to your obvious desire to criticize.

    November 10, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
    • Observer

      zELDA,

      Is that the BEST EXCUSE you could come up with? Get real.

      November 10, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
      • zELDA

        Well, knowing the real truth that is just what came to me. Are you criticizing my response for some particular reason? Its not like I was trying to start a fight. Have you ever listened to "My Jesus" by Todd Agnew?

        November 10, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
        • Observer

          zELDA,

          "The reason they refuse to comment is because reporters constantly twist their words and take comments out of context for their own agenda."

          Everyone of them love the spotlight and publicly talking. It's just a ridiculous excuse for them not commenting about something they may find embarassing.

          November 10, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
      • zELDA

        Everyone of them love the spotlight and publicly talking. It's just a ridiculous excuse for them not commenting about something they may find embarassing.

        Good point.. So the real reason may be they may find it embarassing. Well, its hard to say but this article is critical and has every intention to bash the christian church as if they caused the problem to begin with. People need to individually look at their relationship with God and not blame a preacher who isn't perfect for the problems of the world.

        November 11, 2013 at 12:26 am |
    • doobzz

      More likely they don't want to answer the questions about their luxurious and privileged lifestyles, tax free.

      November 11, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  10. Shelia

    Oh look more christian bullying from cnn and its readers why am I not surprised.

    November 10, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • YouTube Bart Ehrman... YouTube Neil deGrasse Tyson... YouTube Dan Dennett...

      Information age got ye by the tail, Shelia?

      November 10, 2013 at 11:09 pm |
    • Gus McCrae

      Good Grief! You worship an all-seeing, all-knowing, all-pewerful God, and you Christians couldn't be a bigger bunch of crybabies if you tried. I swear, the worst advertisement for Christianity...are most "Christians".

      November 11, 2013 at 12:06 am |
    • doobzz

      Oh boo hoo. Poor persecuted Christian.

      November 11, 2013 at 11:34 am |
  11. YouTube Bart Ehrman... YouTube Neil deGrasse Tyson... YouTube Dan Dennett...

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJsD-3jtXz0&w=640&h=390]

    November 10, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
    • YouTube Bart Ehrman... YouTube Neil deGrasse Tyson... YouTube Dan Dennett...

      Filmed at the Royal Geographical Society on 22nd May 2013.

      Daniel Dennett is one of the world's most original and provocative thinkers. A philosopher and cognitive scientist, he is a professor at Tufts University.

      On May 22nd he came to Intelligence Squared to share the insights he has acquired over his 40-year career into the nature of how we think, decide and act. Dennett revealed his favourite thinking tools, or 'intuition pumps', that he and others have developed for addressing life's most fundamental questions. As well as taking a fresh look at familiar moves - Occam's Razor, reductio ad absurdum - he discussed new cognitive solutions designed for the most treacherous subject matter: evolution, meaning, consciousness and free will.

      By acquiring these tools and learning to use them wisely, we can all aspire to better understand the world around us and our place in it.

      November 10, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
  12. YouTube Bart Ehrman... YouTube Neil deGrasse Tyson... YouTube Dan Dennett...

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxiLnC7ikw8&w=640&h=390]

    November 10, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
    • YouTube Bart Ehrman... YouTube Neil deGrasse Tyson... YouTube Dan Dennett...

      Published on Mar 2, 2013

      Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, explains how God disappeared as an explanation for things humans did not understand about the universe, as the "perimeter of ignorance" receded. The greatest minds dared increasingly brave to question the world around them, but sometimes cowardly copped out along the way when they faced problems -similar to the modern Intelligent Design movement that advocates a "god of the gaps"- until someone else took over and furthered scientific progress.

      November 10, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
  13. YouTube Bart Ehrman... YouTube Neil deGrasse Tyson... YouTube Dan Dennett...

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GgV4eU8YWWQ&w=640&h=390]

    November 10, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
    • YouTube Bart Ehrman... YouTube Neil deGrasse Tyson... YouTube Dan Dennett...

      A speech by Bart Ehrman at Stanford about the story behind who changed the bible and why and the history of the bible and how they got tainted. He is a former Christian bible scholar who studied the bible and found the mistakes and became an agnostic. Ehrman holds a Ph D from Princeton Theological Seminary and is the Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

      This speech is a must see for christians who ask questions like:
      Who wrote the gospels?
      Is the bible the word of God?
      Are there contradictions?
      Does the bible contain errors?
      Is there evidence or proof?

      November 10, 2013 at 11:07 pm |
  14. Jeff Roem

    U c, my love, it helps to no what u r lying about before u lie. Otherwise, u get egg all over us filthy lying mug, right Horus? Oooops

    November 10, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  15. Elmer Bechdoldt

    One of the reason most Christians do north accept the slave wage of the affordable cae is is that its a hand out from master to slave. It takes the God given from away from US citizens and turns them into serfs and peasants begging at the masters table. If the tugs in the demo-rat part had written a bill where the poor was protected from the government shackles maybe we could have supported it. But any health care plans that needs 1000's of IRS agents to spy and rob people to get the bill to work is not a good bill.

    November 10, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
  16. Jeff Roem

    Or my darling, observer, we could talk about wwi, WWII, Viet Nam, Korea and the CIA ordered into iran and Cuba by your democratic friends. Ooooooops!

    November 10, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
    • Observer

      Jeff Roem,

      So you are blaming all those wars on Democrats? lol. lol. lol. Get serious. So Democrats used Ja.panese airplanes to bomb Pearl Harbor? Oooops. lol. lol.

      November 10, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
      • Jeff Roem

        Good point as usual big o.

        It was the Republicans who attacked us on 9/11, too, u no.

        I have never seen such poorly educated people, ever. Seriously girlfriends, u need to go back and get ur geds and do so w/o cheating this time.

        November 11, 2013 at 4:23 am |
        • Dorothy M


          Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh...
          Here comes the sun king
          Here comes the sun king
          Everybody's laughing
          Everybody's happy
          Here comes the sun king

          Quando paramucho mi amore de felice carathon
          Mundo paparazzi mi amore cicce verdi parasol
          Questo abrigado tantamucho que canite carousel

          November 11, 2013 at 4:35 am |
  17. Shelia

    No one to blame but Obama he is the one that failed everyone. He passed the bill. Doesn't matter how much you want to blame everyone else. OBAMA PASSED THE BILL..

    November 10, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
    • Just the Facts Ma'am...

      The only mistake Obama made was trying to reach accross the aisle and compromise with republicans. He should have known the racist bigots would never accept him no matter how many of their demands he met. Obama and most progressives want a single payer health care system to cover everyone, but they decided to accept many republican proposals which watered down the law so much it was unrecognizable and then they voted against it anyway. It's like some bullys demanding their right to shlt in the punch bowl at the party and then they decide they aren't thirsty while they point and laugh at anyone silly enough to try and drink their shlt punch. Of course it's having problems, of course it doesn't reform enough and has many give-a-ways to private insurers, that is what the republicans wanted. They would slit the throat of social security if they could and have tried several times always saying "it's running out of money! We won't have enough to pay benefits after 2020!" when all it would take is an increase of 1.2% in funding to stabalize it through 2075. But that goes against their ideology so they refuse to pay more and set it up so that the elderly have to choose between heat or eat. But the fact that many conservative republicans don't care about the poor or minorities, those who get the most benefit from social security, medicare and food stamps, is nothing new, it is par for the course for them.

      November 13, 2013 at 6:35 pm |
  18. Darryl Clayton

    The real reason why you don't see many prominent ministers speaking the truth about Obamacare is because they have been politically co-opted by the GOP. Many of the churches since Bush II were used as silos for political messaging while receiving federal 'funding' for programs such as abstinence counseling or other favors. And you want to know the real irony in some of these congregations (sans the very profitable ones)? They oftentimes don't provide adequate or any healthcare to their employees. So Obamacare would be a boon for their employees. However, if the GOP led states refused the ACA funding, any complaints by the ministers fin these locals would be considered political suicide which affects funding and other church related favors. And that's why Jesus aligned himself with righteousness and not politics...otherwise he could have just preached 'salvation' and not fed, healed, or befriended anyone.

    November 10, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
  19. lol??

    Poor widdle A&A's that can't accept the answer of God for their BIG pwoblem!!

    November 10, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
    • YouTube Bart Ehrman... YouTube Neil deGrasse Tyson... YouTube Dan Dennett...

      Poor widdle fundy Xtians can't stop the information age – their lies and wild claims are leaving them butt-hurt and insignificant.

      November 10, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
  20. Billy Phillips

    What did Jesus Himself say about the poor? It is found in Matthew 26:11 " For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me." That's a direct quote, by the way.

    November 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
    • Fay

      It is not "a direct quote" from Jesus. It was retold by someone telling a story, then written down by someone who heard it, then translated into English.

      November 10, 2013 at 10:31 pm |
    • YouTube Bart Ehrman... YouTube Neil deGrasse Tyson... YouTube Dan Dennett...

      As Fay said, but other languages came before the English and then there was copying by scribes over and over across a number of years.

      November 10, 2013 at 10:48 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.