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August 16th, 2010
07:00 AM ET

My Take: President Obama's assault on Americans' first freedom

Editor's Note: Tony Perkins is President of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.

By Tony Perkins, Special to CNN

President Obama has shifted centuries of U.S. diplomatic parlance. We no longer speak of freedom of religion; now, it is only freedom of worship that our government defends.

This is a radical departure, one that threatens to make true religious liberty vulnerable, conditional and limited. As some have said, it is a freedom "only within four walls." That is, you are free to worship within the four walls of your home, church or synagogue, but when you enter the public square or go abroad, leave your religion at home.

In international forums, President Obama and Secretary Clinton repeatedly have retreated to this "freedom of worship" formulation. This is no accident.

Now, President Obama's representatives at the United Nations have shifted ground. The U.S. delegation to the U.N. recently spearheaded approval of the International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). This outfit has just been recognized as a non-governmental organization accredited to the U.N.'s Economic and Social Council.

It's part of the Obama administration's campaign to press the U.N. to affirm the homosexual lifestyle worldwide. For example, IGLHRC members refused to answer the following question put to them in the U.N. last June: Would a member of the clergy be prosecuted for human rights violations if he or she preached on the sinfulness of homosexuality? No response.

Their silence is deafening. No wonder the NO votes plus abstentions exceeded the YES votes for seating this radical group. Significantly, the Egyptian delegate noted that his questions had not been answered. He charged the IGLHRC with violating tenets of Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the U.N. Charter itself. (Coming from Egypt, itself a persistent violator of these U.N. documents, the charge must have stung.)

With President Obama's nomination of Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court, the potential erosion of religious liberty only increases. Ms. Kagan has argued that incorporating foreign law into U.S. Supreme Court rulings would be "a good idea." She maintained in a legal brief that not only must U.S. institutions be barred from expressing disapproval of the homosexual lifestyle, but that a “society that tolerates (such) discrimination by its members is not a just society.”

To Kagan, any public disapproval of sexual relations between men and men or women and women, or any attempt to give preference to marriage as the union of one man and one woman, will inevitably be seen as a form of invidious discrimination-and must be banned.

America's First Freedom–freedom of religion–is in danger of being hounded out of public life, expelled from the public square. The word to millions of believers–Evangelicals, Catholics, Lutherans, Orthodox Jews–is this: Be Amish or be quiet. Keep your quaint religious practices, mumble your odd prayers, but do so in private.

Think of the implications: You try sharing the Gospel with someone, and are accused of "hate speech" and told to be quiet. You have a Bible on your desk at work, and are told this is an aggressive display of a controversial faith–and to remove it. Your church has a float in the local Fourth of July parade and it's denied admittance next year because someone says the float violates his or her private convictions.

The above examples are hypothetical, but here are three that have already happened:

–You express disapproval of homosexual conduct and are summarily dismissed from your counseling degree program. This has happened to Julea Ward at Eastern Michigan University, and Jennifer Keeton at Augusta State University is under the same threat.

–Say you are a wedding photographer. A same-sex couple comes through your door demanding you provide photos for their commitment ceremony. You politely decline, stating that your religious convictions prevent you from entering into that contract. And you are promptly hauled before a human rights council. This happened to Elaine Huguenin in New Mexico.

–You object to your kindergartener being propagandized with a book titled King and King, which details the romance between two imaginary royal young men. You find yourself arrested and jailed when you go to your son's school to protest. This happened to David Parker in Massachusetts.

These things will become the norm in American life if the radical impulse to criminalize opposition to homosexuality is not thwarted.

As a candidate for president, Barack Obama pledged to bring "fundamental change" to America. He is doing that. Constitutional liberties that we have enjoyed for 219 years are being overthrown or reinterpreted with stunning speed.

Every poll shows Americans are resisting President Obama's agenda. But many in the mainstream media largely downplay these questions, dismissing them as mere "wedge issues."

For people of faith, these matters of faith and family go deeper. They are "bridge issues" that unite races and ethnicities, men and women, education and income groups.

The radical changes President Obama and his allies advocate threaten the America we love and the way we express our most deeply held moral and religious convictions. We will be neither silent nor inactive in the face of these challenges. With courtesy and civility but with unflinching determination, we will oppose them.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tony Perkins.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Barack Obama • Homosexuality • Politics • Religious liberty

soundoff (265 Responses)
  1. Smith in Oregon

    The title of this page is totally misleading, that right wing extremist is attacking the Right of Freedom of Religion, the US Constitution itself. Tony Perkins is a terrible example of American values. He and other ilk like him totally ignore the fact that Muslims working inside the Twin Towers were killed also. This sad excuse for bigotry does not advocate banning Churches in every community that Christian militants blew up abortion clinics in and yet use the same argument.

    August 16, 2010 at 11:07 pm |
  2. Starr

    Tee Hee..
    Swimminwithbowlleggedwimmin said:
    I don't think you religious nuts have really thought about the tenets and doctrines of your faiths. Many faiths actually prohibit any questioning or any extended logic concerning the religious dogma that works so well for them
    That sounds like the non religous fruits here...But, I agree with you
    Actually, I think your Swimminwithwimmin is pretty cute,lol. Good exercise,too!

    August 16, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
    • Luke

      Non religious fruits?

      August 16, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
  3. Starr

    . I am out of here...see the same ole bunch preachin on thier flying spaghetti monsters..and land of nothin! Betcha
    they debate with thier rice crispies...snap,crackle and pop.
    Now lets see here, can you prove who you really are, so we know who to judge in that there bowl..teehee.
    Cowabunga Dudes

    August 16, 2010 at 8:05 pm |
    • Selfish Gene

      Where were you when W launched a war based on his religious view? He called it a crusade. Maybe he didn't understand what that word means.

      August 17, 2010 at 12:51 pm |
  4. One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

    People have freedom of speech, but not all speech is protected. We can have a civil conversation about the King & King book. We can talk about the photographer. We can actually treat each other like human beings while discussing a disagreement over religious beliefs.

    What you are not allowed to do is incite violence or slander others. If you can avoid those, feel free to express your religious opinion in public. But don't be surprised that other people don't have to listen to you.

    August 16, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
    • Mykelb

      "The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime." –Thomas Jefferson to Pierre Samuel Dupont de Nemours, 1816

      August 17, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
    • Guest

      @Mykelb-

      "It is a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect — that of taking rights away. Rights are inherently in all the inhabitants; but charters, by annulling those rights, in the majority, leave the right, by exclusion, in the hands of a few. ... They...consequently are instruments of injustice." Thomas Paine- Rights of Man (1791)

      August 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
  5. Swimminwithbowleggedwimmin

    @Guest
    Could you be a little more clearer than that? I don't really understand what you are talking about.

    August 16, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  6. Swimminwithbowleggedwimmin

    Another clueless, narrow-minded, and sleazy article by one of the "religious right".
    Some people complain about "anti-religious bigots", but the truth is that most bigotry is religion-based.

    If you stick your religion in everyone's face, don't act so shocked and offended when everyone fights back. You people who follow an "organized religion" need to put it back in your pants. We don't like that and we have a right to complain and point out your fallacies and delusions as we see them.

    We have freedom of religion too, and that means we don't have to put up with your constant zombie-like droning on about your personal beliefs. If you don't like people pointing out the holes in your arguments, then stay the heck out of the blog!

    If you want to protect your faith, don't question it, don't wave it around for others to question it, and keep it to yourself as much as possible. If you make it our business, we'll deal with it in our own way. It's really very simple.

    I don't think you religious nuts have really thought about the tenets and doctrines of your faiths. Many faiths actually prohibit any questioning or any extended logic concerning the religious dogma that works so well for them.

    If you can't question or even explain your point of view in a clear and logical manner, then why express it openly at all?
    Keep your trembling souls before your presumed de!ty. In a blog it does nothing but make for a shaky argument and a shaky ground from which to speak. Your hysteria is understandable but invites disrespect. Your religious rantings are not often understandable, but are typical according to your particular faith.

    I like to go swimmin' with bow-legged wimmin and swim between their legs.
    I also believe that I am allowed to do so, but I'll bet there's someone out there who would like to deny me that right.

    August 16, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
    • Guest

      Can you prove your orientation to us, so we judge whether your being discriminated against or not?

      August 16, 2010 at 7:06 pm |
    • Sue

      Couldn't have out it better myself. Thank you.

      August 17, 2010 at 1:47 pm |
  7. Selfish Gene

    Tony Perkins has an ad on craigslist. Only young boys need apply.

    August 16, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
  8. Selfish Gene

    How do you spell BIGOT?

    August 16, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  9. PsiCop

    We get it, Tony. There is "freedom of worship" and "freedom of religion" ONLY for evangelical Protestant Christians such as yourself. The rest of us are REQUIRED either to join your religion, or act as though we belong to it and acquiesce to your every demand, every time, without question and without hesitation. There is NO possibility of choosing NOT to join or surrender to your faith.

    Yes, we get it, Tony.

    Militant Christianity is alive and well, and you and the rest of your Religious Rightist ilk are carrying its banner ... and its cudgels, which I imagine you plan to use against anyone and everyone who dares resist you. You people are the 21st century versions of the medieval Crusaders, willing to badger and bludgeon everyone into obeying your religion. I doubt you and your kind will be any more successful than the Crusaders were, but that won't stop you from trying, I'm sure.

    August 16, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Yes, your feelings are my feelings. Cheers to you dude!

      August 17, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  10. Reality

    Tony P. is paid big bucks by the "prophet" Dobson each year to spout his brand of Christianity. I characterized said brand but the prudish moderators deleted the comments. Strange blog!

    August 16, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
    • MadPanda

      you may already know this but watch out for sanct!ty, const!tution, ent!tles since these have the word t!t in them. I guess the filters arent very smart

      August 16, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Reality

      Funny you should mention that about the moderators. Evidently you don't get flagged just for words. I have 3 comments that are flagged. Hmmm...

      August 16, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • Matt J.

      Your language skills are severely lacking, if you had to resort to vocabulary the 'prudish' filters disallow.

      But then I expect such educational deficiencies in such ignorant opponents of all that is good.

      August 16, 2010 at 4:30 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Matt J.

      The bible is the sole document in the support of the God of Abraham and supernatural Jesus. If you have more, show it!

      August 16, 2010 at 7:14 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      Thank you Mad Panda. I may not agree with you, but I like knowing why certain posts are getting moderated...

      August 16, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  11. civiloutside

    The author seems to think the photographer was brought before a panel for expressing disapproval of homosexuality and therefore their right to free speech was infringed (or at least he seems to want to convince the reader of this). But they didn't merely express their opinion – they went beyond speech and acted in a discriminatory fashion to deny the couple services based on their sexual orientation. Similarly, in the case of Michael Parker, the man wasn't arrested for protesting the decision but rather because he refused to leave the school until either his demands were met or he was arrested. And that the counselor who lost her job did so because she was specifically counseling students in a way that contradicted the policies of her employer.

    August 16, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  12. MadPanda

    Hey tony, Why don’t you and your religious friends keep their dirty, greedy, hypocritical, fear mongering, controlling, pedophile-protecting, unjustified-bs-spreading, murdering, lying, evidence denying, power hungry, tentacles out of our gov't.

    You complain that they are attacking your freedom of religion. But this is not the case. They are only protecting everyone else from your absurd, unjustified, made-up beliefs. Once your fantasies in an invisible man start influencing others through policy they should be removed. You believe that a tiny ball of embryonic cells has a soul? Well it’s cute and all that you believe in things like that with no evidence but OTHERS DONT. So to deny stem cell research based on nothing is to deny research in a therapy that could save a huge amount of people from death or a poor quality of life based on what papa smurf says. This is one example of your unjustified beliefs (key word unjustified) influencing me. It will be a great day if people are afraid to hire someone or elect someone because they are worried their made up, unjustified beliefs might lead to them making extremely stupid and illogical decisions. You are not justified in thinking that you know what is better for everyone else than they do just because you heard it in a fictional storybook. I love hearing religious nutcases such as you complain when they can’t control everyone else with their religion. It just makes my day. WAAAA! Cry me a freaking river.

    I don’t care if it is part of your belief and the belief of the majority to spread deceit and brainwash unprotected young children. It still isn’t right, and it still doesn’t hold any water logically speaking.-so get it the heck out of our decision making process!

    August 16, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
    • MadPanda

      Oh yeah, I almost forgot: your gay aren’t you tony? You sure look gay and that would explain quite a bit. Not that I have a problem with gay people.-The FSM doesn’t seem to mind all of the different creatures it created.

      August 16, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • MadPanda

      You're*

      August 16, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • Matt J.

      Your vile slander against all the religious makes it pretty clear who is really on the offensive here: it is you and your freedom-hating anti-religious bigots.

      August 16, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
    • MadPanda

      Get your unjustified trash out of my life and I will stop the attacks, or as I call it, the defense against illogical thinking and its consequences. Of course if you give me some evidence to justify your god I can no longer call religious influence unjustified. No evidence?-that’s what I thought. So logically speaking I am right you are wrong since you think things that are unproven have a place gov't. I guess our politicians should start using the magic 8-ball.

      August 16, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • MadPanda

      Freedom hating? Lol

      Talk to the gays about who is freedom hating.-hypocrite. You are free to whatever fantasies you want and i am free and justified in calling them fantasies untill their is a reason to believe them. I am also free to call out your illogical nonsene and argue logically for the exclusion of any unjustified, illogical rules that the religious majority puts into place.-Especially when they deny others rights. And if you havnt noticed, i do think that religious people are fools for believing in something for which there is no evidence. It says alot about their mental capacity and the likelyhood that it is small (Though not definitive). And i think you are even worse when you try to force your incredibly stupid and foolish values onto everyone else. And why do you do this??-because a magical book tells you too. MORON-lol

      August 16, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Matt J.

      Show me the proof of your god. You name call and insult. Share your great knowledge with me.

      August 16, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      MadPanda,

      You don’t like religious folk….
      You don’t like people having faith in God….
      You don’t like Tony….
      You don’t like gay people…..

      You don’t seem very happy.

      Do you have a soul?

      August 17, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • Benemoritus

      @CatholicMom

      How dare you question the existence of someone else's soul! In driving people away from the Church, you commit evil AND sin.
      This place has too many temptations for you, my daughter. Go and sin no more.

      August 17, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
    • MadPanda

      Hate religious folk? no. I hate religious folk who force their unjustified values on everyone else. Stay out of my life and i will happily stay out of yours.

      Hate gay people? I never said that in any way. It is tony and the nutjob religious who hate gay people. I see nothing wrong with their actions since i dont have a magical man telling me to hate them. In fact i have been on here arguing against the illogical religious hate for months since this is one of those "unjustified religious influences" that i speak of.

      I hate people having faith in god?-no, i hate when people having faith in god affects my life and my right to not believe in your god. Once again, leave me alone and stop trying to force unjustified ideas into law and i will stop the attacks on your flawed logic.

      I hate Tony?-yes i think he is satan dwelling withing your church. He is the shining example of all that is wrong with reliigon today. He is as far from being Jesus-like as one could get.

      Am i happy?-yes, an engaged, honest (even to myself), athiest, analytical chemist doing exactly what i have always wanted to do -research. I spare myself fairytales since i dont need them to be happy. I dont require that i am "special" in order to be happy. I have accepted my limited role and scope in the universe and dont pretend to be more.

      Do i have a soul?-no, and neither do you.

      August 18, 2010 at 9:51 am |
    • Guest

      @Benemoritus-

      Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother's eye. Luke 6:42

      August 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      MadPanda,

      What values of religious folk are being forced on you?

      You said you hate Tony. You ‘accused’ him of being gay as if that were a negative.

      Is Tony a member of the Catholic Church, my Church? I didn’t think so.

      You don’t believe in a soul but you believe in satan. What is it that satan would want of yours if not your soul?

      Thank you for doing all your research; all new discoveries are so exciting for us lay people who do not understand chemistry that well.

      I hope you and your fiancé understand each other’s position on life issues before you partake of the Sacrament of Matrimony. Happiness to you both on your marriage.

      August 18, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • McCluck

      I’ll keep this short because I am busy. The value(s) being forced upon me is illogical decision making to be short. That can come in the shape of politicians catering to the religious, or from a religious politician. Anytime one makes a rule with no logical backing it is an unjust rule. There are Christian values that are just and there are values that are unjust. (“Just” meaning “logically derived”) A simple example is that murder is wrong and stem cell research is wrong. While I agree that murder is wrong (for other reasons than “god says so”) I do not agree that stem cell research is wrong. I do not attach any value to cells that have not differentiated into anything resembling a person. Perhaps I should have used the religious stance on gay marriage (since we no longer NEED a fetus to get stem cells though it is much easier.) and the fact that because it is seen as a sin and because of the religious majority, it is illegal. Need I go into what we are teaching in some schools?-Or abortion law? If anything, evidence would suggest that the abortion rate going up is inversely related to the crime rate. In other words, there is evidence that having an option for abortion is a good thing as long as you don’t insist that there is some magical value, bestowed by god, to the fetus. Since you cannot prove a god exists there is no logical backing for that and therefore it is unjust. There are many more examples. Call it conflation if you want, but you will never convince me that without religion we would have any reason to do some of the things we do.

      August 18, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • McCluck

      I accused tony of being gay because sometimes you see hom ophobia result from repressed hom os exual desires. I followed it up by explaining how I see nothing wrong with being gay or even acting on gay desires. It makes no difference to me. It was however a cheap-shot that I shouldn’t have taken.
      The “Satan dwelling within your church” comment was a reference to the fact that in the bible it talks about how satan will dwell even within the church. I do not believe in satan and I do not believe that Tony is a part of your church specifically. Sorry for the confusion. I just think he is one extreme example of what religion can do to people. I’m actually more convinced that he is spreading ideology and may not even believe some of the things he says. After all, some of the organizations he works for are hate groups in my book.
      I didn’t keep it very short did i…

      August 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
    • McCluck

      wow it really is hard to get by the filters with long comments

      August 18, 2010 at 3:27 pm |
  13. David Johnson

    @Matt J.

    Come on, fess up. You are Mike aren't you? No one else... well never mind.

    Are you sort of like in a costume? Sort of like "Bible Man" LOL. LOL 'till my sides ache.

    Dude, you just can't hide silly. Cheers!

    August 16, 2010 at 2:54 pm |
  14. Me

    I've read several previous comments that made the argument that if one replaces the word "homosexual" or "gay" with "person of color" or "race" others would clearly see the bigotry of the argument presented by Tony Perkins.

    So my argument is this: if you replace the words Religious Nut, Christian, Fanatic, Islamic, Jewish, or Fundamentalist, with "person of color" or "race" will you acknowledge your own bigotry and hatred?

    August 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
  15. Hoosier Daddy

    Tony Perkins has confused expressing religious freedom with legislation against others beliefs. You can have whatever opinion you want about anyone else; you just can't pass laws that enforce that opinion. I agree, Tony. It is a radical change. It's called equality. That same force has given groups the civil rights, the right to vote and the right to not be treated as property.

    August 16, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
    • Matt J.

      No, you are the one who is confused. Religion means much more than just worship and mental belief.

      August 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
  16. David Johnson

    @Matt J

    WoW! You are sooo right. The stories of the King James are ever so much more believable than the 70 virgin story.

    You have no basis to claim Christianity is any less worthless than any other religion or denomination. The bible is the sole document in the support of the God of Abraham and supernatural Jesus. Cheers!

    August 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm |
  17. David Johnson

    @Matt J

    You said, " The perfect and topical example of this is all those poor suckers duped into believing that by violating the commandments of Islam, they can nevertheless inherit 70 'houri' in Paradise, vainly imagining that those houris are virgins – when they might just be dates, the fruit (if the word really is from Syriac rather than Arabic)."

    Yeah, 70 virgins is a lot to believe in. Lets look at the 'ol King James:

    A young earth, a 6 day creation, a talking snake, knowledge and eternal life giving fruit, a global flood requiring that every species of animal be collected by twos, a fish that ate a man and then spit him up alive, 3 days later, a tower that god was afraid might actually reach heaven, a virgin birth, people rising from the dead, flat earth, unicorns, satyrs, the leviathan that god defeats in battle.

    August 16, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
    • Bob

      But you know what's really odd? It seems that God acts and has knowledge of the people of the time. Odd. You'd figure that God would know about the dangers of inbreeding for Noah's Ark. Then again, you'd think he'd know about the actions of men before they occured and would fix it before so that hundreds of babies don't drown in their cribs.

      Of course, this would be the same merciful and loving God that killed 70,000 people because David dared to do a census. Or the God that killed many more when the people complained that God was killing them.

      What a kind and mericful God.

      You know what the problem is? The problem is that Christians don't actually read their bible. They gloss over it or read it with rose coloured glasses. They rationalize things like slavery, murder and wanton destruction because "God gives and God takes away".

      August 16, 2010 at 2:52 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bob

      Take this with a grain of salt. I read an article years ago. A story was related to a group of Jewish Seminary students. It was a story similar to the Slaughter of Jericho. Instead of god ordering the slaughter, a Chinese Emporer was said to been the one. The students were very angry that the Emperor had ordered the slaughter. They said he was very evil.
      Then, the students were told it was not the Emperor, but the God of Abraham. The students immediately started explaining why the carnage was fully justified.

      August 16, 2010 at 3:08 pm |
    • Bob

      @David Johnson

      Yes, there are quite a lot of studies where the moral perspective is changed depending who took the action. Espicially in children, because they don't have the intellectual defenses to deal with the complex ideas of any religion.

      A man strikes a womman, it's bad. Jesus strikes a woman, it's good.

      The sad part is that there are adults who still are affected by this. A country killing 70,000 people for no good reason? Evil. God killing 70,000 people because David took a census? Good, merciful, kind.

      August 16, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Bob

      In the OT book of Leviticus it bans cross breeding of plants and animals and even using linen and wool on the same garmet.

      Evidently god didn't know that cross breeding could increase milk and meat production and make plants more resistant to drought and pests. Seems like a god should know those sort of things.

      August 16, 2010 at 3:21 pm |
    • Matt J.

      Look harder. You will then realize your comparison of these with the 70 houris of Islam is completely off-base.

      But you won't look harder. For you are one of the anti-religious bigots, those who arrogantly dismiss any and all aspects of religion.

      August 16, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Matt J.

      Help me Matt J. The stories I listed from the King James would seem to be just as hard to believe as the 70 virgins story. Just as hard to believe as Mohamad ascending into heaven on a winged horse. The bible is the sole document in the support of the God of Abraham and supernatural Jesus. It is fiction. Cheers!

      August 16, 2010 at 7:30 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Matt J.

      You said, " For you are one of the anti-religious bigots, those who arrogantly dismiss any and all aspects of religion."

      The problem is, that once you dismiss the idea that there is a god, there is very little meat left on the bone of religion...

      Cheers!

      August 16, 2010 at 9:39 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Bob,

      In the beginning God made everything with perfection. He gave people freewill. In perfection there is no sin so for hundreds of years there was no sin called inbreeding.

      Once man fell into sin he became aware and covered himself. After that, man was aware of sin he had done and it is still that way today. You know when you have done wrong unless you have hardened your heart to the point that your conscience has been killed by your persistence of not listening to it. However, I would think it is quite hard to kill the conscience, so chances are most people use their conscience to their benefit and the benefit of society.

      God has every right to awaken His creatures any way that He sees fit. He will not be mocked.

      August 17, 2010 at 10:53 am |
    • Grant

      CatholicMom – so is inbreeding a sin or isn't it? If God made everything perfect in the beginning and in the beginning there was just a man and a woman, then there are only 2 possibilities here: Either God intended for them to procreate a lot and therefore, inbreed. Or God never intended for Adam and Eve to procreate, thereby making ALL humanity not part of God's plan...

      August 17, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
    • verify

      CatholicMom,

      In my opinion, you are the one whose conscience has been killed by the indoctrination of delusional religious dogma. To each his own conscience be true, however.

      August 17, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • Grant

      Sigh...I never get a response to my questions

      August 17, 2010 at 3:00 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Grant,

      When you read a post do you try to understand what has been written?

      I repeat.....

      In the beginning God made everything perfect. He gave man freewill. No sin was committed for hundreds of years. Inbreeding was not a sin because there was no sin until man disobeyed God. [Meaning there was nothing that was sinful, not even inbreeding] until man had disobeyed God.

      All sin is disobeying God. The conscience was given and man knew what sin was the moment he sinned. He hide himself and covered himself.

      Inbreeding is wrong and your conscience will tell you that if you forget......along with other things that makes your conscience burn....burn because you have disobeyed God.

      I think you knew, you just wanted to hear it all again.

      August 17, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
    • Grant

      I do try to understand what was written, unfortunately, yours is full of illogical rambling.

      What you're saying is as long as we obey God, inbreeding is ok. So God wanted us to inbreed and it was original sin that made it wrong.

      So when God wants us to do it, it's ok. But once man sinned for the first time, even things God wanted us to do were now wrong?

      So why is it wrong if it wasn't wrong before the first sin? Clearly if inbreeding was the way to go before the apple was eaten, then God wanted inbreeding to be the norm.

      Beyond that, once the apple was eaten, and there only was Adam and Eve, what other choice was there but to inbreed? It's like a parent saying something is ok, but then punishing the kid for doing it based on them doing something else (and completely unrelated) wrong. I don't know of any good parents who do that.

      August 18, 2010 at 8:50 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Grant,

      My dear brother,

      Not all things in life remain perfect even though at one time they were. You are no longer a child, you can grasp this….

      Nothing can be wrong in perfection. During the time when ‘all was perfection’ there was NO sin-–nothing was sinful….. enter disobedience-the fall-now we know sin which is death of the soul. Man is the one who used his perfected state to disobey God.

      God, out of love for His creatures made it so we could once again regain that perfection of soul while maintaining our freewill. [Our goal is Heaven where nothing will enter unless perfect.]

      We are all Adams and Eves, Cains and Abels; we are all who spread injustice over the world by ignoring God, like the Great Flood of Noah's time; we all try to build towers to make names for ourselves; [pride….]. All the early stories are stories of ourselves and how we sin every time we disobey God.

      The Bible teaches us about our Faith and is not a Book on science or absolute history. Jesus Christ told the Apostles that He would send the Paraclete to be with His Church, guarding and guiding it through time, until the end of time, bringing it into the fullness of Truth as they could bear it. If the Bible held ALL the Truth, He would not have needed to SEND the Holy Spirit to bring us into the Truth because we would already have had it.

      When the Catholic Church put the Books of the Bible under one cover, this did not mean that we now had the fullness of Truth. We look to the Church for the continuation of Truth. Once Truth is known about anything, nothing can change the Truth so that it is no longer Truth.

      The Bible is the Word of God and manifests the Truth which we need in order to continue on our journey in this life, seeking the fullness of the Truth through the Catholic Church; we need the Catholic Church, the Magesterium, and the Bible as we journey in this earthly life, seeking our hearts desire....life ever-lasting in Heaven for all of eternity with our Creator.

      August 18, 2010 at 11:53 am |
    • verify

      CatholicMom,

      "Once Truth is known about anything, nothing can change the Truth so that it is no longer Truth."

      Therein lies the crux of the problem. The Bible is a record of man's mental meanderings in search of the Truth, perhaps, but it is not proven Truth. It is a book of historical fiction of a small section of the Middle East, full of myth, legend, superst!tion and fantasy... and that is all it is.

      August 18, 2010 at 1:45 pm |
    • Grant

      1) Your "perfection" is an unproven theory based entirely in man-made faith. It should not be excluded from logic, and because of this I'm afraid I have to dismiss your catch-all explanations, so I must also reject your application of the concept of perfection as an explanation where no others are possible. As the story of Adam and Eve goes, incest was their only choice, lest no procreation were to happen. So either incest was fine while everything was "perfect" and always a part of "God's plan" (in which case perhaps we should strive for that in an attempt to get back to God's original design?) or incest was never intended to be a possibility, in which case all of man kind is outside God's plan. You cannot have both an unwanted thing and a master plan that allows for nothing else.

      2) Let's put Adam and Eve aside for a moment. You mentioned Noah. If Noah were to populate the ark (assuming a big enough ark could have been made to house all the animals), then there were only 2 of each. Again – incest is the only choice that God has given. And in this case, you cannot rely on the argument of "perfection" because the fall from grace had already occurred (hence the flood).

      3) "his did not mean that we now had the fullness of Truth" How do you know what Truth you follow? Is their logic behind your beliefs or is it blind faith? Or is this another catch-all where you believe as long as you seek God, you seek the Truth. What about religious fanatics who also claim to seek God. Is their truth the same as yours? Whose is right?

      4) If the Bible is truly the word of God, why is it not all of the Truth. Would it not make sense to have the entire word of God in one place? Why is it that God allowed the truth to be only partly conveyed. Or is this just another instance of the catch-all of God working in mysterious ways?

      August 18, 2010 at 2:11 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Grant,
      1.
      Faith is not man-made, it is a gift from God which some people reject. Faith is all encompassing; that is, it affects every aspect of life and directs one to do good rather than evil. The covenants that God made with His people were made throughout time; with each new covenant superseding the old covenant. We don’t need to try to go back into any of the old covenants unless you wish to study how each one laid the ground work for the next, bringing us to the present.

      2.
      Anthropologists have found that the institution of marriage, and rules concerning appropriate and inappropriate ‘e’ u l behaviors, existed in every society. This shows the establishment of the Truth that God has planted in human hearts concerning marriage and certain behaviors pertaining to it. God controls when and how He plants Truth.

      3.
      I follow Jesus Christ’s Church because God will reveal to the Catholic Church through the Holy Spirit what we need to hear. We need to HEAR Truth from someone who is SENT. Not every person has been SENT, but the Apostles and their successors have been sent. As you know, there are many thousands of ecclesial communities proclaiming that they are bearers of the Truth. But they all can’t be the ONE and there is only one Truth, so if you believe in the Word of God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ’s Church…. there is logically only one, and it is the Catholic Church. If you seek Truth you will receive Faith. Fanatics, as you say, are not seeking Truth for if they were they would find their way into the Catholic Church.
      4.
      God chooses to reveal Truth in His way. That is, He founded His Church, established the Sacraments, and SENT the Apostles out to Baptize all nations telling them that He would SEND the Holy Spirit to them and help them recall all that He had taught them [Tradition] and to bring them to the fullness of Truth in time but He knew they could not bear it all at that time. There may be more Truth coming, we don’t know; God wills for us to know it when He chooses to reveal it to us. Have Trust. He knows best!
      You might wish to know everything right NOW, but God knows what is best for you. Be patient.

      August 18, 2010 at 4:57 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Grant,
      1.
      Faith is not man-made, it is a gift from God which some people reject. Faith is all encompassing; that is, it affects every aspect of life and directs one to do good rather than evil. The covenants that God made with His people were made throughout time; with each new covenant superseding the old covenant. We don’t need to try to go back into any of the old covenants unless you wish to study how each one laid the ground work for the next, bringing us to the present.

      August 18, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Grant,
      3.
      I follow Jesus Christ’s Church because God will reveal to the Catholic Church through the Holy Spirit what we need to hear. We need to HEAR Truth from someone who is SENT. Not every person has been SENT, but the Apostles and their successors have been sent. As you know, there are many thousands of ecclesial communities proclaiming that they are bearers of the Truth. But they all can’t be the ONE and there is only one Truth, so if you believe in the Word of God, the Bible, and Jesus Christ’s Church…. there is logically only one, and it is the Catholic Church. If you seek Truth you will receive Faith. Fanatics, as you say, are not seeking Truth for if they were they would find their way into the Catholic Church.

      August 18, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Grant,
      4.
      God chooses to reveal Truth in His way. That is, He founded His Church, established the Sacraments, and SENT the Apostles out to Baptize all nations telling them that He would SEND the Holy Spirit to them and help them recall all that He had taught them [Tradition] and to bring them to the fullness of Truth in time but He knew they could not bear it all at that time. There may be more Truth coming, we don’t know; God wills for us to know it when He chooses to reveal it to us. Have Trust. He knows best!
      You might wish to know everything right NOW, but God knows what is best for you. Be patient.

      August 18, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Grant,
      2.
      Anthropologists have found that the institution of marriage, and the rules concerning appropriate and inappropriate specific kinds of behaviors within marriage existed in every society. This shows the establishment of the Truth that God has planted in human hearts concerning marriage and certain behaviors pertaining to it. God controls when and how He plants Truth.

      August 18, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
    • Grant

      CatholicMom, I do have to thank you for this most enjoyable exchange, and as I'm sure you already know (having been on these boards long enough), that nothing I said was meant as an attack against you and, likewise, I took nothing personally.

      It seems this debate has reached its end simply because we have reached that impasse where faith and logic attempt to intersect, but cannot do so. I do not accept the premise for your faith, but also would not attempt to force you to stray from it, and I would assume you would extend the same to me. Rather I attempted to argue from logic's side and you from faith's stance (as all other debates on this board would have it).

      And, if nothing else, this post is getting pushed back in the history of the religion blog, and therefore, out of the minds of people. I'm sure we will find each other again in future posts.

      Cheers and again, thank you.

      August 18, 2010 at 9:56 pm |
  18. Mike

    Sorry Dave you missed the point.

    personal: relating to an individual or an individual's character, conduct, motives

    meaning if they are really Christian it just isn't something done on sundays but is a lifestyle and a belief you form your actions on.

    Also you should know there is no such thing as separation of church and state. If you really do believe that re-read the constitution.

    Trying to aviod moderation

    August 16, 2010 at 1:27 pm |
  19. Embarcadero

    Jerry Falwell"s moral majority – dead
    Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's televangelist empire – gone
    Pat Robertson's religious convictions – exposed as political opportunism
    Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, American Family Association – all hate groups whose sole purpose is to make life miserable for LGBT folks, all undergoing slow, painful deaths.

    I can't tell you how happy I am to see the likes of Tony Perkins squirm as the lies and half-truths they've been spreading for years are exposed to the light of day in a court of law. They never did make sense, and now it's clear that they won't hold up in court. When in doubt, spread irrational fear – like not being able to read a Bible.

    For those of you who are not familiar, Tony's group recently ran a fear campaign about gays on trains: they called the Obama administration "off the rails" because Amtrak had an ad campaign targeting LGBT readers. Tony Perkins and his ilk felt that this was promotion of the gay lifestyle, just like they're blaming the President and Secretary of State now for promoting the gay agenda.

    Spare us Tony. If it's not the dire threat of gays on trains, it's imminent global collapse because we don't support the death penalty for gay people in Uganda or because we stood behind consultative status for the ILGHRC at the UN.

    You can only claim the sky is falling so many times.

    August 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Embarcadero

      You said, "You can only claim the sky is falling so many times."

      I'm not sure that is true of fundies. I think you can do it several times a day, and they will still run about with their heads covered. Or placed up a safe body cavity.

      August 16, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • Matt J.

      You are counting your chickens before they hatched. Walker's decision will be appealed, despite his attempt to quash it. And when it lands before the US Supreme Court, you will see how the Opus Dei enlightened justices will find the arguments FOR the constitutionality of Proposition 8 quite compelling. Then you will have to eat your words.

      August 16, 2010 at 1:32 pm |
    • Guest

      Embarcadero-

      You bring up an interesting point– can you prove to us your gay or lesbian? How do we know your not just trying to steal our tax dollars.

      August 16, 2010 at 4:12 pm |
    • Matt J.

      Embarcadero's own post is more like the Chicken Little claim, "the sky is falling". There is, after all, a world of a difference between what FRC actually did, and what Embarcadero CLAIMS they did. Opposing an LGBT ad campaign is NOT the same as "running a fear campaign about gays on trains"

      August 16, 2010 at 4:24 pm |
    • embarcadero

      Are you disputing the veracity of my claim? Do you deny that the FRC claimed that the Obama administration was "off the rails" and "promoting the homosexual agenda" because Amtrak had a targeted ad campaign for LGBT travelers?

      Do you deny it?

      Then please tell me how my claims are not matched precisely by what the FRC did? An ad campaign for LGBT travelers != promoting the homosexual agenda, it means targeting travelers likely to buy a given product.

      The same man who decries gays on trains trots out the same lies and half truths here. Sorry you don't seem to like seeing them exposed.

      August 17, 2010 at 12:27 am |
  20. Reality

    And how much does Tony P. make for spouting his and Dobson's "values"? $200,000/yr.

    August 16, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
    • Luke

      Probably a lot more than that. Benny Hinn flew private jets everywhere. Think about that.

      August 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Don't wound your good heart with jealousy and envy.

      August 16, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Luke

      Yes, but think about all the people Benny Hinn has healed...

      Benny Hinn, like most of the television evangelists, believes in the prosperity gospel (or the health and wealth gospel). This doctrine teaches that God desires the material, spiritual, and physical prosperity of his people. To become prosperous, all one has to do is believe, receive, and act upon God's promises. Can you say, "seed faith"?

      The starving in some of Africa's poorest nations have seemed to reject this great truth. They have failed to send in their "seed faith" donations. How can we expect Benny to pray for them, if they refuse this crucial step? God helps those, who help themselves. Benny is helping himself to all he can get.

      August 16, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
    • Luke

      CatholicMom – I assure you; I am not jealous of a glorified panhandler. I earn my take and I am not disingenuous about it.

      August 16, 2010 at 1:25 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Luke,
      I wasn't talking about the 'man', I was talking about his 'money'.....

      August 17, 2010 at 10:42 am |
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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.