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July 12th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My Take: Christian politicians should start acting Christian

Editor's Note: Richard T. Hughes is Distinguished Professor of Religion at Messiah College and author of Christian America and the Kingdom of God.

By Richard T. Hughes, Special to CNN

Let me be frank from the outset: A great cultural divide is ripping the heart from this nation and Christians are partly responsible.

I say that because 83% of the American people claim to be Christians. If those Christians lived as they are taught to live by the teacher they claim to follow, the American public square would be a very different kind of place.

If one reads the New Testament—the charter for the Christian religion—one can discover rather quickly what that tradition is all about.

Jesus tells his followers to tell the truth.

Jesus tells his followers to make peace.

Jesus tells his followers to turn the other cheek.

Jesus tells his followers to bless those who persecute them and pray for those who misuse them.

Jesus tells his followers to extend justice, especially to the poor and the dispossessed.

Jesus tells his followers to serve as bridge-builders and agents of reconciliation.

And Jesus tells his followers to love one another, even their enemies.

But based on their words and behavior, we may safely conclude that many of the Christians who dominate America’s public square routinely reject the teachings of Jesus, in spite of their claims to the contrary.

Sharron Angle, for example, wants to be the next U. S. Senator from Nevada. She founded a Christian school but casually announces that “the nation is arming” since “if we don’t win at the ballot box, what will be the next step?” For Angle, that next step is clear: those who oppose the current administration may “have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways.” In other words, if the ballot fails, the bullet is the next best hope.

Sarah Palin is open about her allegiance to the Christian faith, but routinely trades in sarcasm, deceptions and lies about her political opposition. During the health care debate, she repeated over and again the falsehood that “the sick, the elderly, and the disabled . . . will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide . . . whether they are worthy of health care.”

Newt Gingrich trumpets his allegiance to the Christian religion and writes about the role of the Christian faith in American history. He also knows that Barack Obama is a Christian. Yet he shamelessly denounces Obama as “secular”—a term Gingrich defines as an “outlook [that] does not acknowledge God.”

No wonder that some Tea Partiers claim—as one woman put it—that “we are losing our country; we think the Muslims are moving in and taking over; we do not believe our president is a Christian.”

Glenn Beck warned a national television audience to “look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site. If you find it, run as fast as you can,” adding that those terms are code words for communism and nazism. Surely Beck knows that there is no theme more central to biblical faith than social and economic justice for the poor, but still he is willing to distort the Christian religion for cheap political gain.

Ann Coulter promotes herself as a representative of the Christian religion. Yet, Coulter claimed after September 11, 2001 that the United States “should invade their countries [Muslim nations], kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

When public figures like these so completely diminish the Christian faith, it is hardly surprising that grassroots believers often engage in similar distortions of the Christian religion.

Some Christians at anti-Obama rallies have displayed signs that proclaim, “Since 1630: Bible hugging! Gun toting! Red Blooded American Against Tyranny.” Or another: “I will keep my freedom, my Bible, my gun, and my money.”

When Christians so widely and publicly embrace such blatant distortions of the Christian religion, they abandon one of the roles they might have played in America’s public square: fostering civility and dialogue and building lasting bridges of reconciliation.

But civility and respect have been all but lost in contemporary American politics. Alan Keyes, for example, has proclaimed that “Obama is a radical communist.” And one of the signs that routinely appears at anti-Obama rallies shows the President wearing a Nazi uniform and doing a Hitler salute. Another sign reads, “Barack Hussein Obama: the New Face of Hitler.” Those kinds of accusations are nothing short of slander.

The issue I am raising has nothing to do with whether one is a Republican, a Democrat, a Tea Partier, or an independent. Neither political conservatives nor political liberals have a monopoly on this kind of behavior, though in recent months conservatives opposed to Barack Obama have been especially guilty.

Yet the issue I am raising ultimately has nothing to do with whether one likes or dislikes Barack Obama. The issue has to do with Christians behaving like Christians and thereby telling the truth, doing justice, and promoting basic respect for other human beings.

After all, since 83% of the American population identifies with the Christian religion, that 83% could make an enormous difference in the tone of American politics if those Christians actually practiced what they profess to believe. They could also make a positive difference in American politics if they held other Christians accountable when they engage in deception and slander in order to score political points.

America’s churches and their pastors therefore have a grave responsibility: to urge their members to serve the public square as peacemakers, as truth-tellers, as people devoted to justice, and as men and women who are actually willing to practice what Jesus taught. If America’s churches refuse to take up this task—which, after all, is a task that is central to the Christian calling—the consequences for our country could be dire, indeed.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Richard T. Hughes.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Christianity • Culture wars • Politics

soundoff (586 Responses)
  1. Sean

    Just another example of a liberal left wing re invention of the bible to try to make Jesus into some ultra green democrat. If the author of this article had actually read the Bible, instead of just a few versus taken out of context, a different view might emerge. Besides which, the blatant democratic mouthpiece in only criticizing conservatives is very suspect. Typical CNN

    July 13, 2010 at 11:07 am |
    • JPT

      Actually would not categorize Christ's politics as democratic, but progressive. If he did not represent a threat to the established order, the Pharisees and Saducees would not have sought and achieved government sanction for his execution. Between agressively acting against the temple moneychangers and preaching a new faith not based solely on Mosaic law, it is hardly a wonder Christ was killed.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:15 am |
    • Ego

      @ JPT

      You go to a orthodox jew and proclaim yourself to be YHWH. Let's see if they care about your political stance over what you just claimed yourself to be.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • JPT

      @Ego: Well, yes and no. Scripturally, Jesus didn't appear to make that claim. If I recall, when asked if he was the son of God his response was along the lines, "That's what you say." He did however, imply such a connection during some of his conversations– the allegory about the landlord sending servants to the tenants, who kill the messengers, concludes with Christ asking what the tenants would do if the landlord sent his son.... Now, as to the relationship of YHWH and the Son, that's more an Arian vs. Catholic thing, and we know how that went, but that was settled far after any claim made before the priests in Jerusalem....

      July 13, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • Ego

      @ JPT

      I'm not sure what I was thinking when I commented to begin with...I guess it was that his shaking of their extremely limited govt system was not the reason why the wanted him dead.

      He was jewish and used language in the culture that they understood. Their leadership said "it's not for good works but because you being a man proclaim yourself to be God?" and no denial from jesus is recorded. Not to mention the conversation with phillip about being the father as being the most outright proclomation our culture would understand w/o issue. No doubt he did radically shake their made up traditions, but that is not why they saught govt sanction.

      Roman law prevented the jewish courts from putting anyone to death. Since he was claiming to be God, their case to the romans was that he was claiming to be a king, which no roman ruler would want Ceaser to know that there is a king rising up in their jurisdiction. It all comes back to who He was/is.

      I guess same conclusion from two different perspectives in some manner..

      July 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm |
  2. Abbie

    I don't think God is so small as to be defined by politics much less a single party. He is neither Liberal nor Conservative but reflects characteristics that are across the spectrum. True Christianity I think will offend people on both sides of the political spectrum because God is Love and Justice and Truth and those things tend to be offensive to all, they convict everyone and no one person is above it because no one is perfect. Example: God clearly states in the Bible that homosexuality is wrong BUT he also requires that we take care of the widow, orphan and alien in our land; God's opposition to homosexuality is something that will offend the left while taking care of the widow, orphan, and (especially) alien is something that will offend the right.

    What the author I think is trying to say is that Christians are misplacing the glue that holds everything together for us: the Golden Rule. The one Jesus claimed to be more important than all others: to love God with all your heart, mind and soul AND to love others as yourself. Not only are we not loving others–which is evident because we are attacking people and allowing our tongues to become so loose with sarcasm, malice, slander and hatred when our views oppose another's–but we can't even maintain an attitude of civility towards one another. We can't even be civil when God commands us to actively LOVE one another.

    Rather than trying to fit God in our political party boxes, Christians should be following God and allowing him to transform ourselves and views and realize they are not going to be on the left or the right but outside all of that nonsense because God is not earthly. The moment we stop expecting him to choose a side and realize He's above all that the better off humanity will be.

    I pray we Christians will wake up from this mess and love one another better.

    July 13, 2010 at 11:00 am |
  3. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    Religion gives God a bad name

    July 13, 2010 at 10:57 am |
  4. Mary Indy

    It's amazing how many "scholars" comment on an article written by a guy who is a "distinguished professor of religion" and the commenters know way, way more about the Bible than the scholar. I imagine all the scholarly "commenters" have also read the Bible in the original Greek. It reminds me of all the constitutional law scholars we have in our midst who know way more about the Constitution than our president, who has taught constitutional law! I agree 100% with the commentary. He very clearly defines why I won't call myself a Christian, in spite of the fact that I behave as a Christian.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:57 am |
  5. Vasmikey

    We are not a bit surprised to see this kind of self-serving hypocracy. Jesus was put to death by prominent religious leaders and politicians. True Christians do not look to Govts. for the answers anyway. When Jesus was asked to be King he summarily rejected the notion in favor of God's Government. He told Pontius Pilot when asked if he was a King, "My Kingdom is not from this source." So he was in favor of a heavenly organization and distanced hmself from a worldy system under Satan's control. Read 1 John 5:19

    July 13, 2010 at 10:50 am |
    • Joseph

      Wow this has nothing to do with anything that's been said here!

      July 13, 2010 at 10:52 am |
    • salmo8318

      Actually Joseph... I wholeheartedly agree. It has EVERYTHING to do with what's posted here. The words "Christian politicians" is what's being challenged here... one does not mix with the other.... they are mutually exclusive. If a Christian is somebody who believe in Jesus Christ and closely attempt to follow his example (1 PET 2:21) (and those of his early followers as evidenced in the Bible), then one should note that neither he nor they got involved with the Roman politics of the time. He taught us to pray for God's Kingdom in the model prayer. It is that Kingdom (or government) that will solve the world's problems... not any human government.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:05 am |
    • Ego

      @ Salmo

      They aren't mutally exclusive because if there is no human to run govt, then there is no govt. So what, Xians are supposed to live w/o a government? Jesus didn't teach anything of that nature. The dude ate with a tax collector! In our eyes, that might as well be some high ranking political official because of our disdain for them!

      You also fail to see why Jesus didn't get involved in politics. Doing so would have not allowed him to die at the required moment to enact salvation. People forget that there are OT prophecies and laws Jesus had to fulfill and getting himself killed early for proclaiming himself to be King of the Jews would have gotten Ceaser to off him much to early.

      THINK WHOLISTICALLY PEOPLE!

      July 13, 2010 at 11:16 am |
    • salmo8318

      Question for you Ego... what did Jesus spend most of his time doing during his 3.5 yrs after his baptism? He preached about God's Kingdom and taught his followers to do so as well (MAT 24:14, 28:19,20)! Yes, he performed miracles (fed thousands, healed sick, raised the dead, etc.)... but his main activity was preaching about God's government. Why? Think about it... all those miracles performed were short-lived (people got hungry again, got sick again, and died, etc.)... so why did he do it? It was to show what God can do when he's in charge. Many fail to see that it's a real government that will take over on an earth-wide scale (no, not just the US, God is not partial to any nation). One righteous government to rule the earth!

      As for wholistically... interesting that you mention that since this subject, ie God's Kingdom, and what it will do for mankind is consistently taught throughout the WHOLE Bible. Take the book of Daniel for instance... there's two different instances in which Daniel talks about God's kingdom... one was a dream (the rise and fall of an immense image) and the other a series of beasts who would rule the world. What was the culmination of each of those? Regarding the first one DAN 2:44 states: " In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite". That's another reason why Christians should have nothing to do with governments since they are to be destroyed by God's Kingdom.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:36 am |
    • Ego

      The whole "what Jesus preached most" is determined by who an swers the question. You have those who say Money, those who say Hell, those who say love, forgiveness and the list goes on and on. So I'll just let that one be.

      The "whole" bible is about The first two commandments (Jesus said so...), and paul does good to sum those up even further in 2 cor 5:18-21.

      You're not applying prophecies very well to modern times, considering that God was the one who instituded government, not man, back in Genesis 9:5-7. You avoided the issue I brought up anyways. If, miraculously everyone in a single country, or even a city (to keep it realistic) was converted to Christianity, is there not supposed to be a mayor? How irresponsible would that be, a town that has no one collecting the taxes to keep up roads, parks and funding public schools...

      July 13, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
    • salmo8318

      “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replies: “The first is, ‘Hear, O Israel, Jehovah our God is one Jehovah, and you must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.’ The second is this, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” In fact, Jesus adds: “On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.” When the scribe makes insightful comments, Jesus tells him: “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” MARK 12:28-34. So, interestingly, Jesus ties the two greatest commandments in with God's Kingdom since under God's Kingdom only those who strictly follow these will be permitted as subjects. Actually, more fully the Bible's consistent theme is that of the vindication or sanctification of God's name Jehovah via the Messianic Kingdom.

      With regards to 'who will govern if all become true Christians'; this reasoning disregards Jesus' requirements of his followers to be no part of the world (JOHN 17:16). The concern for Christians then should be to obey God's commandments which include being no part of the politics of this world which are under the influence of the "ruler of this world" Satan the Devil. That doesn't mean that Christians are to be hermits and separate themselves like some have done. Rather, Christians are to be in subjection of the "higher powers" (current governments) (ROM 13:1) while God permits them to exist (which is why we pay taxes, obey the laws, etc.).

      July 13, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
    • Ego

      You're confusing Salmo, you're arguing both sides?

      July 13, 2010 at 1:38 pm |
    • salmo8318

      Because the Paul says Christians are to be in subjection to human governments that's confusing? Christians are to remain neutral to political campaigns, candidates, promises, etc. yet – as citizens of these nations in which they reside – are obliged to be in subjection to appointed rulers. Again, it's not like they are to live in separate communities but amongst others. Nor was Christ (nor his apostles) advocating that his followers promote anarchy nor rebel against governments (though this has happened a LOT throughout history by "so-called" Christians). Their priorities should center aroud that of "seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness" MAT 6:33.

      Why so much emphasis on the God's Kingdom? No matter what the issue is that humankind faces today... under the heavenly rule by Christ as the appointed King, ALL of them... EVERY single last one of them... will be remedied. Humans were not meant to govern themselves (ECCL 8:9) and thousands of years of varying forms of monarchies/rulerships/governments/etc. have proven that fact. God has allowed it to happen but the time is near when he will step in... as Creator and Sovereign of the universe only God has the right and the wisdom and to rule in righteousness. This is great news! "And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come" MAT 24:14

      July 13, 2010 at 2:14 pm |
  6. JPT

    If we accept that nations are ephemeral and the divine eternal, the should we not place following divine ordinances above those of man? While Christians should acquiesce in just rule, are we not also called upon to fight legalized opression? My argument is that the conscientious Christian might find himself in jail from time to time; while Paul preached obedience to the state, his failure to embrace its idols and to speak the truth as he knew it generally meant that his letters were usually written in jail. In the case of an illegal immigrant, one might in good conscience provide food and shelter while altering the authorities, since the punishment is light– typically, deportation. What of a convicted murderer who escaped his execution?

    July 13, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  7. PHIL

    I do this not to defend Christions but to put things in perspective . those who attack Christions for not always being perfect make themselves appear to others like think they are .

    July 13, 2010 at 10:43 am |
  8. dwighthuth

    I like the title of the article "Politicians ...acting" Lets look at the word acting and see who were are really dealing with.

    Acting:Acting is the work of an actor or actress, which is a person in theatre, television, film, or any other storytelling medium who tells the story by portraying a character and, usually, speaking or singing the written text or play.

    So basically RTH wants politicians to act more like the people from his religion hoping that by some insane chance that there might be a hope that the planet will be whisked backwards in time so that everyone will be with Jesus and walk in the heavens. Hootspa! When you act like someone else or something else you do not become that person or thing that you are acting like what you do become is a little bit crazier everytime that you act hoping to make time spin backwards.

    Politicians do not need to act more religious than another as acting makes the politician a complacentary conformist who are scared to try new avenues of social advancement to spread Democracy rather depending on what how their parents and grandparents lived their lives in the past. This is what the GOP is. Living an ideal based in the passed for they are to scared to turn around and see the brilliance of the future.

    Stay here in this line of independants and hold firm against the religious right for if we do not we shall end up like Iran being raised to be like the State chooses us to be instead of having the choice to be free and to make the choices based on those freedoms. www persia org. The faith or the religion of a country does keep the country together rather the will of the people through and by their Constitution will turn the cold of night into the warmth of the day.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  9. Jim

    Matteroffact,

    Please stop being so reasonable, it might throw off the aura of the comment thread! lol Just kidding. It seems this discussion (in general) usually boils down to people on both sides trying to use Scripture to make their politics "holy" when Jesus didn't adopt a conservative or liberal approach to living for God. He used Scripture to interpret what we are to do and how we are to judge political issues.

    Grace and Peace,
    Jim

    July 13, 2010 at 10:33 am |
    • Ranjit

      I was really blsesed by your blog about God showing up', thankyou. Thinking about it while out walking, I wondered is it that God shows up' or is it that he's always there and we just have to place ourselves where he is? Years ago, I did a study called Experiencing God' by Henry Blackaby, and in it I learned that God is always at work around us and that we just have to join him. That's what Jesus did (John 5:19-20). I have never forgotten it, and it makes every sinlge day an adventure with God! Thankyou also for reminding me that: God makes me what I'm not'. I am SO grateful. What a wonderful great and mighty God we serve! May God bless you and Aylene richly as you continue to serve him.

      September 6, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  10. Gene

    Some people hide behind the the word “Christianity” – they don’t practice it and they prostitute Christianity but many of the people who call themselves Christians ARE Christian. They strive to live and love as Jesus would but fall short sometimes (especially in times like these, with bad economy, job losses, health care crises, wars, the gulf oil crises, etc.). We have been drawn into worldly distractions and begin to act like everyone else, even though our belief holds us to a higher moral standard (which does not include judging others nor does it mean superiority over others).
    Christians ARE the majority in America, but we have lost focus on God, in this nation. God was taken out of the schools, when prayer was removed. Along with the Atheists denial of God, they also deny that Atheism is a religion, so they can “preach” it openly to our children in school. They teach a theory, as a fact and don’t mention “intelligent design”, which is not rational to secular educators but “The fundamental reality of God transcends human rationality.”
    This article has some good points. As Christians, we do need to remember Gods’ greatest commandment (LOVE- Mark 12:29-31) and we can’t do that by always focusing on the negative. As Christians, I think we should not be “enforcers of the faith” but never stop being – “bearers of the truth”. If there were no “Christian” hypocrites, what would the Atheists have to argue about?

    July 13, 2010 at 10:32 am |
  11. NikEstep

    As someone who grew up in an Episcopal church and has since decided that religion is not for me, I truly appreciate someone expressing the viewpoints that I took from my upbringing. I always thought that things like Jesus says to love everyone should be more forefront in someone's mind than than one verse from the old testament decrying homosexuality. Conservatives are primarily the guilty party right now, but a few years ago liberals were primarily the guilty party and the next time conservatives have power the liberals will be guilty again. Our politics are in a truly sad state.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:27 am |
  12. PHIL

    BLUEBIRD Each side has had its share at least . But GOD is not a fan to say the least of a tit for tat mantility. THANKS FOR YOUR HONESTY.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  13. Matterofact

    This article raises some good points, and I certainly agree we ought to practice what we preach. I think a large point is missing however. Although Jesus says we should give to the poor, etc., he also says to "give to Caesar what is Caesar's" (Matthe,w 22:21). I think the big issue is: at what point are we discussing personal responsibilities, and at what point are we discussing effective government policy? When Glenn Beck says run from Churches that say 'social/economic justice' it is not because he is against giving to the poor, it is because he is against the government forcing us to do so. He believes Christianity requires us to PERSONALLY give. He does not believe Christianity requires us to support a government that caters to the lowest common denominator. I am not a Beck supporter; I am using this as an example to explain my point. The article encourages honesty, and that is a good thing. We need to honestly discuss where the fine line is between what our personal callings are and what a government forces us to do. A government that collapses due to lack of incentives for society to better itself is no good to anyone.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:25 am |
    • Marty, Grand Rapids MI

      Giving to Charities isn't going to give 42 million people healthcare or give people a living wage. If Jesus had to choose between rationing based on money and wealth or rationing based on need and resources, we all know what he would choose.

      July 13, 2010 at 11:01 am |
    • Frank Lee, my dear

      If we all agree that it is socially just to take care of the poor then we are only arguing about the method. You think it should be voluntary. I think everyone should do his part. I'd rather the government take care of the poor because we can more easily supervise our government than our clergy.

      July 14, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  14. cliffhuber

    It is most surprising to read followers of Chritianity take the author to task on the teachings of the New Testament.
    Read the book my friends.
    Those folks the author mentioned as distorting Christianity are actually doing just that.
    It is so obvious and clear that the defenders of many right-wing talking heads need to take 'JesusTells Me So' 101.
    Spewing hate, lies, and self-indugent nonsense is a betrayal of the trust given to Christians at baptism.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:23 am |
    • Ego

      I'm not sure anyone is saying the people he pointed aren't perverting Xianity, but are merely suggesting how convenient he left out many other suitable examples.

      July 13, 2010 at 10:49 am |
  15. JB

    "The issue has to do with Christians behaving like Christians and thereby telling the truth, doing justice, and promoting basic respect for other human beings."

    Very well stated. There is nothing remotely "Christian" in many of the acts evident today. Christianity appears to be as much of a scam as the tea party movement. Phony fronts with alternative motives.

    I have seen much greater acts of Christianity and spirituality from secular humanists who react purely on instinct and nature rather than conditioned fear and intimidation brought on by archiac beliefs.

    Todays form of "chrisitianity" is truly a cancer to spirituality.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  16. Jim

    JPT,

    You should be applauded for your compassion toward illegal immigrants needing help but we are also commanded to obey the laws of the rulers until they require us to personally break God;'s commands. Since it is not against God's commands to help someone but bring their illegalities to the proper authorities (God is just as interested in justice as he is with compassion because without one you do not have the other), your responsibilities lie with aiding them but not enabling them to break the laws of any country. They are not commanded to illegally immigrate to any other nation....

    Grace and Peace,
    Jim

    July 13, 2010 at 10:16 am |
    • JPT

      I agree with you, up to a point. Current US immigration law is fairly lenient– we seek mainly to repatriate rather than punish offenders in prisons or other means. A person might, in good conscience, give a struggling illegal immigrant food and shelter while calling the authorities. However, are lmits to man's notion of justice vs. God's. While some and even arguably most laws don't have any bearing on Christian belief or divine justice, others do. In some circumstances, I must mutually exclude obedience to either the state or God. If a condemned man begs to hide from the authorities in my home so the state may not execute him, I understand that I must break the law of man to serve the law of God. Paul spent more than a few nights in prison for violating Roman ordinances.

      July 13, 2010 at 10:37 am |
  17. jmb2fly

    Good article!

    July 13, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  18. JPaul

    I think if you took about 1/2 of what the author says and 1/2 of what those he is criticizing say, you would get a much more accurate view of what the Bible says. For example, the author is wrong when he says:

    "Surely Beck knows that there is no theme more central to biblical faith than social and economic justice for the poor, but still he is willing to distort the Christian religion for cheap political gain."

    The main theme of the Bible is that God created the world, man rebelled against God and His laws making himself God's enemy, but instead of just punishment, God in His mercy sent His Son Jesus Christ to sacrifice Himself to pay for the sins of man and to save those who would repent of their sins and believe in what Christ has done for them. Punishment still awaits those who reject God's offer of reconciliation. Within this main message is also the message of seeking justice, helping the poor, etc. that the author talks about.

    As for the many comments about the evils of religion in general, people who speak this way don't seem to understand that everyone has a religion. Your religion is simply a statement of who is your ultimate authority. If you reject the God of the Bible, or the gods of other religions such as Islam, Hinduism, etc., then you are left with the god that you have made for yourself – you – and that is your religion. Your opinion is your ultimate authority.

    July 13, 2010 at 10:08 am |
    • TheOneIndependent

      I'm sorry but that is just idiotic. I no longer beliieve in the myths of the Bible and believe me I dont ever worship myself. I believe in the lessons of the bible but as something equating to Aesops Fables. For all of you that believe that the bible is the "Word of God", you need to do some archeological research concerning the creation of the bible. The Bible is the "Word of a Man describing the "Word of God". Written around 400ad by a commissioned group of Rabies and reviewed and ok'ed by another group who decided what writings sounded like the "Word of God". These writings were based on storys told by storytellers for hundreds of years, embelished by each for the benefit of the group being told. Not one book of the bible was written by any deciple and seldom was written by one person. While I dismiss the stories of the bible I have lived my life by its lessons and have done so much more than most christians I have ever met. Religions have always been a means to manipulate people and its influence in politics or the governing of people go back thousands of years before christ.
      Remember when we didn't understand something or feared something we either said we angered a god or we called it a god. Faith is a good thing but religion, historically has caused more wars, more deaths than any other reason.
      I almost laugh at the notion that God hears our prayers. If we have a loved one that is sick , we pray and if he dies, we say "It was God's Will" and if he gets better we scream "Thank you Jesus". There were never more people praying to God as during the Holocaust and these were "Gods Chosen People". 4 million dead. Genocides happening all over the world. Do you think these people pray to their God? Does anybody really think that God is watching and would never intervine in our distruction of ourselves?. In both old and new testiment, God was everywhere and his benevolence and his rath were in every chapter. What happened to him? In truth, I envy those that can be so naive as to live by its teachings and do so "religiously" because it does give them an inner peace, so it seems but these are also the same people that are easily led by false prophets.

      July 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
    • Frank Lee, my dear

      JPaul:
      Why then did Jesus say the most important commandments were to: one, love the Lord your God with all your heart and; two, your neighbor as yourself. In fact, he said this was the very essence of the law. If he was not espousing social justice I can't imagine what he was talking about.

      July 14, 2010 at 12:09 am |
  19. Jim

    If the author was more even-handed with his criticism of the 83% who claim His name and the lack of civility in our culture, he might be takena bit more seriously. Of course his points on the "conservative" elements is pretty damning and it is not to be dismissed because he didn't speak forthright enough on the "liberals" who do the same BUT, he would have been more credible.

    We Christians have enough to answer for though....don't need any more (and BTW Beck is not a Christian, he is a Mormon and the LDS position is that all other churches outside the LDS are apostates (left the faith) which means they cannot be lumped in with other who claim Jesus' name if one is intellectually honest and aware. Not a criticism of Mormons or Mormonism (before someone claims I'm "bashing" Mormons) but just a straightening out of the record.

    Grace and Peace,
    Jim

    July 13, 2010 at 10:04 am |
  20. Bluebird

    Its more than that. What about the rest of us who are not Christian? I show respect to Christians but often {esp in politics} it is not only, not reciprocated, well it's like casting pearls before swine. I would not ask any American to do anything that I myself am not willing to do, but all I ask, is the same consideration. I wish that self-proclaimed Christian Politicians would deflate their egos just a bit and join the rest of us mere peons down here on earth. I wish they would stop pretending like anyone who doesn't share their faith, is incapable of having ethics or morals or values. I wish they would stop trampling NonChristian's rights, and ignoring our good works, and our patriotism. What kind of NonChristian? Does it matter? Actions speak louder than words. It is the gist of this article, and it is true for many other situations. I am a part of this country too. I wish that Christians, especially Christian Politicians would start acknowledging that in a positive and meaningful way. It would do much to deflate the tension between different faith and ideological camps if they could just graciously share America with other Americans.

    July 13, 2010 at 9:56 am |
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About this blog

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