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January 24th, 2011
05:00 AM ET

Opponent of NYC Islamic center becomes advocate for mosques nationwide

An artist's rendering of a proposed mosque in Temecula, California that has met local opposition but is supported by the Anti-Defamation League.

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

When the Anti-Defamation League - a leading Jewish group devoted to fighting anti-Semitism and "all forms of bigotry" - came out against the construction of an Islamic center and mosque near New York's ground zero last year, some critics alleged that the organization had lost its way.

"I would have expected the ADL to support the building of this Muslim community center," wrote Alan Dershowitz, an influential legal and Jewish voice. "...At the very least I would have expected it to remain silent and not to lend its powerful and distinguished voice to an opposition that includes many bigots."

Stephen Prothero, a prominent religion professor and CNN Belief Blog contributor, said the ADL's opposition to the Lower Manhattan Islamic center showed that the group and its leader, Abraham L. Foxman, "no longer occupy a moral high ground."

CNN host and Newsweek columnist Fareed Zakaria returned an award and honorarium he'd received a few years earlier from the ADL, saying he hoped the move would "spur them to... return to their historic, robust defense of freedom of religion in America."

But several months after the controversy over the New York Islamic center has died down, the Anti-Defamation League has quietly emerged as a leading advocate for mosque construction projects that have run into local opposition across the country.

Last week, the group wrote a letter to the mayor and city council of Temecula, California, urging officials there to approve the construction of a 25,000-square-foot mosque project ahead of a vote on the matter this Tuesday.

The letter cites opponents who alleged the proposed mosque would be "a refuge for terrorists," and a nearby pastor who reportedly said that Islam and Christianity are like "oil and water" and that Islam is "intolerant at its core."

"We understand that such comments echo the fears and/or slurs that some Americans express toward Islam, but we urge you not to give in to them," the Anti-Defamation League's letter to officials in the Southern California city said.

"In the words of Abraham Lincoln," the letter continued, "we would appeal to the better angels of our nature and ask you to instead honor the great American tradition of freedom of religion for all and of showing respect for all religions."

The letter was backed by members of the Interfaith Coalition on Mosques, a group launched by the Anti-Defamation League last September, at the height of opposition to the Lower Manhattan Islamic center, to fight for mosque construction rights.

The coalition includes some of the naton's top religious leaders.

"When we had the debate on the ground zero mosque, it focused attention on mosques in this country and the fact that mosques were having problems getting permission to build," Foxman said, explaining the genesis of the coalition and of the ADL's mosque advocacy.

"Whereas the issue with the mosque in New York was more philosophical, more about sensitivities, a lot of these mosques had the legal right to build," he said. "And someone (at the ADL) said this was a legal right that needs protecting."

For nearly four months now, the Anti-Defamation League has directed its 30 regional offices to monitor mosque construction battles, while the group's New York headquarters has convened calls and sent e-mail updates on various mosque construction projects to members of the interfaith mosque coalition.

Coalition members are a mix of Christians, Jews and Muslims. Rev. Joel Hunter, an influential evangelical voice, and Eboo Patel, a Muslim youth leader - both of whom have advised the Obama White House - have both joined the group.

The coalition's first project was advocating for a proposed 52,000-square-foot Islamic center and mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, that was facing local opposition last fall.

Equipment at the mosque's construction site had been torched, triggering an arson investigation, and a plywood sign announcing the coming center was spray-painted "Not welcome."

When opponents filed a lawsuit to block the project from moving forward last September, the Anti-Defamation League filed a legal brief on behalf of the Interfaith Coalition on Mosques, arguing the suit sought to "deny the mosque's sponsors their religious freedom to worship freely."

The U.S. Justice Department also filed a brief for the mosque, and in November a judge refused to issue an order to halt construction of the Islamic center.

Though much of the opposition to the mosques in Murfreesboro and Temecula alleges that the projects violate local zoning laws because of expected traffic or noise, the ADL says such complaints can be smokescreens for anti-Islamic bigotry.

"If a community is expressing hatred, the burden is on them to show that there are compelling issues" that should prevent the projects, said Deborah Lauter, the ADL's civil rights director, who is active on the group's coalition on mosque construction.

For the mosque construction projections is has supported so far, the ADL's legal arguments revolve around the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, a 1990 law requiring government to show a compelling interest if it imposes land use regulations on houses of worship.

The advocacy has not been without controversy. On Friday, one of Interfaith Coalition on Mosques' highest-profile members, Southern Baptist Convention public policy chief Richard Land, announced that he was leaving the group.

“While many Southern Baptists share my deep commitment to religious freedom and the right of Muslims to have places of worship, they also feel that a Southern Baptist denominational leader filing suit to allow individual mosques to be built is ‘a bridge too far,’” Land wrote in a letter to the ADL explaining the move.

Foxman, for his part, acknowledges that the ADL's advocacy for mosque construction projects could give the impression that the group is paying penance for its opposition to the New York Islamic center.

"Some people say so, and they're entitled to," he says.

But Foxman says the ADL's opposition to the Islamic center near ground zero still stands.

While recognizing that the New York project's organizers have a legal right to build, the ADL says it opposes the site for the project because it is insensitive to the survivors and victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks and their families and friends.

"Proponents of the Islamic center may have every right to build at this site, and may even have chosen the site to send a positive message about Islam," the ADL said in announcing its position on the proposed New York Islamic center last summer. "But ultimately this is not a question of rights, but a question of what is right."

"In our judgment, building an Islamic Center in the shadow of the World Trade Center will cause some victims more pain - unnecessarily - and that is not right," the statement continued.

Some prominent Muslims who the ADL later asked to join its Interfaith Coalition on Mosques declined the invitation, citing the group's stance on the New York Islamic center.

But Patel, one of three Muslims on Interfaith Coalition on Mosques, says he's been impressed by the time and energy the ADL is putting into investigating mosque construction projects.

"They are fulfilling the promise of organization,"says Patel says, who has taken criticism from some Muslims for joining the effort.

"Just because I disagreed with them on Cordoba House," Patel continued, using one of the names for the proposed Lower Manhattan Islamic center, "doesn't mean I can't work with them in another area."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Houses of worship • Interfaith issues • Islam • Judaism • Mosque

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soundoff (422 Responses)
  1. Big Joe

    Simply an ADL ruse. Definite plant PR piece. CNN shouldn't insult our intelligence.

    January 24, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  2. duffey

    The ADF did take the higher moral ground when it came out and opposed a Mosque close to the 911 attack.

    Do we forget that we were attacked by Saudi Nationals, and never held anyone other then Osama responsible. Think about it if 20+ Americans had hijacked an aircraft and crashed them into the Mosque in Mecca, do you honestly think the Saudi Arabians would have said anyone other then America was @ fault?

    Its time to get serious with these Islamic radiacals and hold the counties where they are coming from responsible. Otherwise the country of origiin will never step up to the plate.

    Too bad about the stink about the Mosque in New York. It's high time that this so called religion be held responible as well. How many people died yesterday in Moscow?

    January 24, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  3. Tommy

    How many mosques are in Israel? That's what I thought.

    January 24, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      The Dome of the Rock is in Jerusalem! Muslims consider Jerusalem to be their third most holiest site after Mecca and Medina. Hence the problem!

      January 24, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Todd

      Actually, there are many many mosques in Israel. About 17% or more of Israeli citizens are Muslim.

      January 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Catie

      There are 8 Mosques in Isreal. One or two are open to the public except on Fridays and Holy days

      January 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Bob

      There is also another mosque on Temple Mount in addition to the Dome of the Rock. When I visited Israel, one of the first things I heard wasthe Muslim call to prayer sounding over Jerusalem.

      January 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Malang

      Muslim, Jews and Christians have always been living in that area peacefully ever. This problem is rather recent.....

      January 25, 2011 at 9:18 am |
    • Todd

      The Dome of the Rock is not a Mosque. It's a shrine.

      January 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm |
  4. Future Lawyer/jew

    Don't argue with the Dersh!

    January 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  5. JASNewLife

    I'm all for your rights and I'm not going to push my views on anyone. If they want to build a mosque, build it. In my opinion, it's the location of the mosque. Ground Zero is kind of "sacred" for lack of a better word, to the families and supporters of the men and women who lost their lives trying to save life and are protecting our rights to say what we want. Move the location from Ground Zero, and build. Religious or not, spiritual or not, it's a slap in the face to our troops and the men and women working to keep our lives safe. If you don't stand behind our troops or men and women of service, go ahead and stand in front of them.

    January 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Malang

      That ground is sacred for all american, Christians, Jews and Muslims along with any other faith or lack of. There was and is a mosque from before the twin towers were built apparently much closer to the site for park 51.

      Maybe time will tell who really was behind these atrocities. All I can say that there were no WMDs.....

      January 25, 2011 at 9:15 am |
    • Westerner

      If people knew history and any meaning of hidden messages of words, the following wouldn't need to be pointed out:
      Is it not interesting that the Muslim member quoted in the article states he supports the Cordoba house mosque aka ground zero mosque. WELL the importance is that Cordoba is the last place the Muslims ruled from!! In present day Spain!! The same Cordoba muslims like bin laden and other radicals STILL openly advocate taking back...
      Hidden agendas and messages in wording by such accepting people...

      January 25, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  6. the_dude

    I have nothing against mosques being built I just wonder why we need so many?

    January 24, 2011 at 2:07 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      The same should be said for catholic churches.

      January 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  7. JQA

    It seems like the majority religious articles posted by CNN seem to promote sympathy for Islamic religion without acknowledging some of the horrors brought on by Islam. Conversely, CNN is open to bashing the Catholic religion, admittedly there are faults within Catholicism. Also, I was just wondering if anyone knows of any instances when muslim clerics, or muslim community for that matter, have supported any issues that created a "Firestorm" for the catholic church or jewish people in a similar manner where sections of the jewish and catholic community have stood up for issues concerning the islamic faith, ie, the polarizing events of mosque construction? I would enjoy hearing peoples thoughts, respectively of course. Thank you.

    January 24, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  8. Catie

    It is interesting that the group helping build this doesnt recognize that the book used by its participants has not one line in the whole book, that speaks of respecting a woman. I am serious. There is absolutely nothing regarding the respect of a woman, wife, mother, grandmother. Dont you find that kind of gathering troublesome

    January 24, 2011 at 1:50 pm |
    • I am sick of this...

      I really can't believe there are still people like you, Catie, that claim to know every single line that has been written in the Quran to support some random, false belief that you have in your head. If you were to ACTUALLY READ what it says in the Quran and not just listen to idiots and bigots in the media, you will see that Islam truly is a compassionate, understanding religion. What you people see in the media everyday about "Islamic Extremists" and "Fundamentalists" truly have NOTHING to do with Islam. I don't know how much clearer I can be on that subject... culture and defunct tribal practices is what drives the minority in the Middle East to behave the way they do... NOT religion. There is no such thing as Islamic Terrorists... there are just terrorists. Any person that can take innocent lives and scapegoat an entire religion is morally incapable of accepting any religion.

      These terrorists and suicide bombers exist because of their socio-economic situations... not because of religion.

      January 24, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Catie

      Dear I'm sick of this,. I happen to have a Quran, I read fervently. I also have a book of Morman, the Catechism of the Catholic Church along with others. I dont say that evily, or with hatred. I say it with concern. And you are wrong my dear, they are extreme Islamic terrorists. Please dont be naive. I realize it is very difficult to believe, with the morals that most people grow up with that any religion can be so violent and extreme, but, there are those who have warped the Muslim faith and that is a tragedy. It does not mean that this mosque will be a bad thing. I was merely making an observation. Will men be allowed to worship with women? Do you know everything yourself about this Faith. No I do not know the customs, but, you find a verse in favor of women for me and I promise you I will print you a humble apology

      January 24, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Catie

      I'm sick of this. Oh dear, I just read your last line. Now who is the naive one? Are you kidding me? Do you know 90% or more of the wars are due to religion. Goodness

      January 24, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • Malang

      Quran is a book of mostly guidelines to be taken in context of when, where and why that particular verse was revealed. It should not be taken out of context. If you ever go to a muslim dominated country and spend time with their families, you will have a different point of view. You just have to open your eyes and mind. Women had more rights 1500 years ago in Islam than in USA less than 100 years.

      January 25, 2011 at 9:10 am |
  9. Matt

    We attacked Iraq since we wanted to take revenge what happend in September 11, instead of fcocusing in Afganistan. We are now doing it again. Focus on reality and not their own citizen. By creating hate we are making situtaion worth.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Smashicus

      Iamsickofthis, you are full of crap. Anyone literate can read for themselves on a daily basis what the "religion of pieces" is doing. Peddle your lies elsewhere, maybe some jihadi site or something.

      January 25, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  10. TheEraser

    @Northside77 – Yes random, but No more mindless than the majority of the dribble I see posted here.

    The flag is just a symbol, but the importance of what it symbolizes is what's important here.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  11. George

    Those of you who are not Muslims, lets not forget that you are infidels.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      And those of you who are not Christians are heathens.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      I think you are all nuts.

      January 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  12. George

    Lets not forget that it was Dershowitz's legal skill that allowed a double murderer, (OJ), to go free. So where is his moral high ground? All it takes to get some people to support anything is $$$. Muslims are killing people all over the world and working their way into societies that in truth, do not want them. Europe is suffering from Islamic immigrants and sees no way of improving the situation. We in American must end Muslim immigration while allowing those who live here legally to do so in peace. It is in the growth of their numbers that the danger lies.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  13. Lorenzo

    Temecula?! It's been a decade since I left San Diego, but as I recall Temecula, it was a sleepy town amid the avocado groves. I can't picture a mosque there. I can't even picture a church there.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • Dumbenzo

      How about a few nice big casinos since you left? See where the mosque is going with this?

      January 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
    • Catie

      Oh Honey Child, it must have been a while since you've left. Temecula has grown quite a bit.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm |
    • westmetals

      Temecula, and the surrounding area, has grown like a weed over the last sixteen years or so. It's probably three or four times the size you remember. It's basically become the new Escondido.

      In terms of the mosque... my personal belief is that any house of worship should be subject to the same restrictions as a commercial business (parking and traffic concerns, etc.) and that is ALL. I recall, when I was younger, attending town council meetings in Alpine (just about an hour's drive from Temecula) where similar, baseless complaints were being lodged against a house of worship. In that case, it was a plan to build a new building at an existing Catholic church. So-called "Neighbors" (who actually lived in a housing development built multiple blocks behind, and after, the original church) complaining about things like the sound of the bells and the smell of fish from the Lent Friday meals. None of the complaints were based on the things that SHOULD be the only viable grounds for such complaints (traffic, parking, etc.)

      January 24, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • kobeight

      Grown quite a bit. The avocado groves are actually in Fallbrook, the city before Temecula. While I'm for freedom of religion in the U.S., I can't see a mosque being built in Temecula, which is a predomint Christian conservative community. If the Mosque is built, there is a case for traffic congestion, as the roads are bumper to bumper as it is. One thing I think, all Christians should do if the mosque gets built, is to try peaceful demonstrations, by preaching in the spirit of God to convert these Muslims. After, all in America they cannot behead us or imprison us, so we should turn their congregration over to the Holy Spirit.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  14. karek40

    God does not play lets make a deal, he is God and said here is the deal. One way.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Which god?

      January 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
    • Gerbil

      MarkinFL, there is only one God.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Yes, I've heard that from the believers of many gods. They each believe that fervently.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Nonimus

      The Jews and Muslims would agree with you. Unfortunately, the Buddhists wouldn't.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
  15. karek40

    The anti-defamation league – a jewish group has come out supporting Islam who is sworn to exterminate every Jew on the earth. Does anyone else find this odd.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
    • northside77

      No, because we're not simple minded idiots.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • Gerbil

      Yes, I found it odd (which was why I read this article), but I also found it even stranger that no one else on this forum seems to have noticed. Everyone seems to prefer religion bashing. How sad that we let hate and anger blind our senses to what should stand out to us like a burning bonfire. There is something very wrong with Jews supporting the building of mosques. I suppose that is a sign of dead or corrupted faith. It is people with wishy washy views and morals that we should fear most of all. Many of the Islamic faith may hate us, but at least we know where they stand on the issue. Where do these Jews stand?

      January 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      No, this is the U.S.A. and we have a Consti.tution that protects all religion EQUALLY. If you don't like it. Leave.

      Jews are smart enough to realize that the very thing that protects Muslims is what protects Jews.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      MarkinFL, if that were true than we would not have "In God We Trust" (not separation of religion). Does that sound like equal rights to you...to say that religion is protected equally and than have kids pray to someone else's God in school?

      January 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      We live in an imperfect world and Christians have a huge influence in this country but the Const.itution has overall done a pretty good job of protecting the minorities as it was intended to.
      As the Christians conservatives are WELL aware of, their influence has had less and less impact on daily life for the last 50 years. The ability of a religion to impose its belief on the entire country has been reduced dramatically and that reality continues day after day. I see it as a battle between freedom and religion. Freedom must win for our country to have any meaning.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      "kids pray to someone else's God in school?"

      And what are you talking about?

      January 24, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Jerry C

      It makes perfect sense in view of Romans 11:25-"that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in". And God's blindness to the jews is very thick! Unbelievable a jew would agree with something like this.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Perhaps they actually believe in our country's ideals.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @karek40,
      "...Islam who is sworn to exterminate every Jew on the earth."
      Correct me if I'm wrong but Muslims are supposed to"..not dispute with..." "people of the Book" (Jews and Christians) and treat them with tolerance. There are certain Muslims like Ahmedinajad(sp?) who hate Jews, but not all.
      So, moderate Jews supporting the rights of moderate Muslims makes perfect sense to me.
      The question should be, 'where are the moderate Christians'?

      January 24, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      " If you don't like it. Leave." Now, that is how MarkinFL deals with people. Kids in Texas are still praying in school to a Christian God. That is not protection or equal rights or protection of other religions That is what I am talking about. What are you talking about?

      January 24, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • vimy17

      Money Trail

      Actually, there's evidence that the founding fathers were actually Deists – not Christians. Deists believed that a supreme being (god if you will) created the universe and then removed him/herself from the equation. They believed that the universe operated solely on natural laws.

      January 24, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @MoneyTrail,
      Are kids in public schools in Texas forced, encouraged, or coerced into praying to a Christian God? This shouldn't be happening since, I think, it violates the First Amendment. If you know of this happening, tell where.

      January 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Smashicus

      Actually northside, you are the perfect idiot. Thankyou.

      January 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm |
  16. HeavenSent

    Reality, you cut and paste your post below, but haven't a clue to what it's truth is. You only believe it's an insult to Christians, yet we comprehend it's meaning.

    "Reality, Saving Christians like HeavenSent:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    "Heaven is a Spirit state" as per JPII and Aquinas i.e. there can be no bodies. i.e. there was and never will be any physical resurrection/ascension of human bodies."

    And is it not ironical that JPII along with Aquinas are the ones who put meaning to the words "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless." "

    January 24, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Reality

      Added details from those in the "know":

      Saving Christians from the Resurrection Con:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      : As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue, ( Professors Crossan and Wright are On Faith panelists).
      p.4
      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."
      o p.168. by Ted Peters:
      "Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Bob

      ". . .his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      The claim that Jesus rose from the dead did not main the disciples' financial security. (What financial security?) Rather, it ensured their deaths a martyrs. So are we to believe that somehow a small group who didn't expect their leader to die somehow hastily formed a plan and stole a body from under the noses of a Roman guard? And then, with everything to lose and nothing to gain, the lied about it. What's more, they convinced others who had witnessed the events to join them and similarly risk everything.

      The Resurrection may seem an unlikely event, but it is more plausible than the alternatives.

      January 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2010: (updated based on the studies of historians and theologians during the past 200 years)

      I might believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created state of bliss called heaven.

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary.

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      January 24, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  17. TheEraser

    Whoever you are, whatever you believe....You best know that if you burn a US flag on my lawn, I will play god and clean up the mess. Bring it!

    January 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      What are you talking about?

      January 24, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • TheEraser

      @MarkinFL – Either you don't know because you have been living the past five decades in a closet, or, and more likely, you are a supporter of the extreamists who wish to bring Sharia Law to the US. Don't drive your slighted propoganda in this direction.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • northside77

      Hilariously mindless and random post.

      But, while we're on the topic, what's more important to you: your flag, or your ideals? They are not synonymous.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • TheEraser

      @Northside77 – Yes random, but No more mindless than the majority of the dribble I see posted here.

      The flag is just a symbol, but the importance of what it symbolizes Is what's important here.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      If you burned a plain piece of paper on my lawn you'd have to answer for it. If I burned a flag on my lawn it is none of your business.

      BTW, I do not burn flags. I love my country, which is why I support your right to burn the flag. On your own lawn.

      January 24, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • TheEraser

      You may screw your goats on your property for all I care. I may feel bad for your goat, but it's none of my business. But, when you threaten the symbol under which so many American soldiers gave their lives so you could spew your liberal bs, be careful, because the US is my lawn and I and many others will walk right up on it to preserve that great symbol.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • MoneyTrail

      MarkinFL, it's everyone's business if you are burning a flag on your lawn. You are physically making a point. You will be dealt with physically by someone else making their point.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Wow, I feel bad for those who believe they are patriots yet do not actually love what their country stands for. That you actually put freedom of speech below abusing animals, says far more about you than me.

      The fact is that I would never burn or disrespect our flag since I can separate our governments actions from what the flag actually stands for. However, what it stands for is freedom and anyone that tries to abridge those freedoms is welcome to be prosecuted by the law.

      January 24, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • TheEraser

      No, you said I would actually put freedom of speech below abusing animals.

      I support our freedom of speech, but be prepared for the consequences when you shoot off your fat mouth and it doesn't go the way you had hoped.

      And a typical lyb just looking to argue a point no matter what that point may be. Either you are part of the problem or part of the solution. It is obvious where you stand, causing problems.

      As for being prosecuted for my actions, I will take my chances when the scenario arises.

      January 24, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • claybigsby

      Ive burned the US flag before and I plan on doing it again tonight...what are you going to do about it? thats right, nothing. sit down and shut up.

      January 25, 2011 at 9:19 am |
  18. Gene

    Let's not forget that Christianity, Judaeism and Islam all are Abramic faiths, claiming the same founding principle embodied in Abraham: the willingness of a man to kill another man because God told him to.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • dxp2718

      What about the commandment that says "thou shalt not kill"? When was the last time a Jew or Christian was told by God to kill?

      January 24, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • SeilNoigileR

      You should read the Old Testament. They (the Jews) were instructed to wipe out entire cities. Sometimes they were allowed to pillage and enslave and other times they were commanded to wipe out everything and 'salt the earth' so nothign would grow there. If the OT were written as a novel today, most 'christians' would likely fight to have it banned for its extreme violence, incest, etc. The 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' bit apparently applies only if you don't receive a 'breaking news alert' from your deity. Then you can do whatever you want and no one can say you weren't told to do it, 'cuase you can't prove that god didn't speak to them. That the glorious ambiguity of the bible. You twist it to match your own reality with very little effort. Like Nostrodamus' prophecies...so easy to interperet whatever way you want.

      January 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Nonimus

      May 31, 2009

      January 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Sorry, more recent than that:
      http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2009/12/09/2009-12-09_while_us_debates_gREMOVEay_marriage_uganda_considers_death_penalty_for_hoREMOVEmoseREMOVExuals.html

      January 24, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  19. mike

    Jews should worry about Israel more then whats going on here the UN gave them a state and still Jews in the US aren't happy with whats going on in Israel Jews you have a state immigrant there

    January 24, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  20. g

    I wonder what he gets in reward for this crock of crap opinion.

    January 24, 2011 at 1:14 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.