May 23rd, 2011
10:09 AM ET

My Take: This just in, Tennessee court says Islam is a religion

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

A few months ago I spoke at an interfaith forum at the University of North Alabama. One of the speakers on my panel was Ossama Bahloul, imam of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

Bahloul began his talk by observing that God must have a sense of humor to have given him a name as problematic as Ossama. But the heart of his talk concerned the compatibility of Islam with American values.

What surprised me about Bahloul, in both his public talk and our private conversations, was his deep and abiding faith in America. Signs at the construction site for his planned mosque had been vandalized twice and federal investigators had determined that a fire at the site was intentionally set. Efforts to build that mosque, appropriate for a growing congregation that had been active in the area for roughly two decades, were met not only with protests but also with a lawsuit.

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Yet Bahloul continued to believe that what was right would win out in the end.

In the lawsuit, opponents of the mosque argued, among other things, that Islam was not a religion and therefore was not entitled to the free exercise protections and special zoning treatment given to religious organizations. But last week, a Murfreesboro court ruled for the Islamic center.

In his ruling, judge Robert Corlew announced "that Islam is a religion." The fact that a court of law in the United States would actually have to make such a finding is a sad commentary on where we are today in the United States in terms of religious literacy.

Tennessee imam: My mosque was torched

Islam is not just a religion. It is the second largest religion in the world, with over 1 billion adherents. And as the Murfreesboro case demonstrates, some of these Muslims are our neighbors.

There is still one legal issue unsettled in this case—a technical matter concerning whether a prior proceeding allowing the mosque construction had followed the rules of a local open meetings ordinance. But, as the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro noted on its web page yesterday, the building permit is now in hand.

And, at least for now, the First Amendment is still the law of the land in Tennessee.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Church and state • Courts • Islam • Opinion • Tennessee • United States

soundoff (708 Responses)
  1. Stevo

    religion is stupid

    May 23, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  2. Ashoke Ray

    Islam is a religion, no doubt, but is a violent religion. It teaches violence and non-tolerance to other rweligions. It teaches if a Muslim kills a non-Muslim he goes to heaven. There is no religion like it on earth. It must be eradicated.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Azee

      You are making your point on the basis of fundamentalists who have hijacked Islam. Did you say the same about the lady who blew up to kill Rajiv Gandhi, PM of India or his mother Indira who was killed by a Sikh. Do you have the same tunnel vision as others religious self proclaimed puritans who think they are right and others are wrong?

      May 23, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Stevie7

      Have you actually read the bible. It's filled with violence. Most Christians like to ignore this fact because they (like the VAST majority of Muslims) are not violent.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • chf

      "Christianity is a religion, no doubt, but is a violent religion. It teaches violence and non-tolerance to other religions. It teaches if a Christian kills a non-Christian he goes to heaven. There is no religion like it on earth. It must be eradicated."

      There, fixed it for you.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • FurBall

      Really? You are talking about intolerance and then make a blanket statement like 'the religion should eradicated'??? Doesn't that sound just a little hypocritical? Also, Islam is no more violent than Catholicism, Protestantism or any other world religion. It is the interpretation of a few extremists that makes it dangerous. Any extremists in ANYthing be it religion, politics or any other sphere are dangerous. Check your facts! Also: you sound a bit like an extremist right now...

      May 23, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Mycology

      Islam is infinitely more dangerous, vile, destructive and genocidal than Christianity (or any other religion) ever was, has been, or wants to be.

      Yes – Christians have done wrongs, and Ancient Israelites kill off the edomites / amalkites,

      But the Judeo-Christian history and teachings involve a "Do as I say, Not as I do" mentality

      While Islam is very literal with its "Do as I say, just as I did" when it tells people that mohammed (spit be upon him) was the "perfect man" , he was a thief, a torturer, an enslaver, a rapist, a pedophile, a murderer, a warmongerer, and a pirate.

      Not just god would send such a man as his "prophet".

      May 23, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Mycology: So you're saying Christianity is better because it is hypocritical, while Islam is bad because it actually sticks with its principles? And that's just one wrong-headed thing among the many about your post.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Mycology

      Frogi you fail so hard at reading comprehension, i'm amazed you were able to respond on your own. Or did you have someone type your response for you? Either way, you fail.

      Dont worry, I and other free thinkers with the balls to fight this scourge will protect your right to be an idiot. Idiot.

      May 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Mycology: Sooo since you didn't bother to answer my question, I'm guessing your argument doesn't have a leg to stand on.

      May 24, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • Matthew

      Wow, I don't think you he is a Christian guys. I could be wrong.

      Everyone knows that the lack of religion has been the cause of most wars. Napoleon, Hitler, Hirohito, and Stalin all argued against religion and started great conflicts and major loss of life.

      The three most destructive wars in human history (WW1, WW2, and the Mongol Invasions) were started by secular men and a desire for power. None of these three conflicts involved Religion in any form or fashion.

      May 24, 2011 at 11:46 am |
  3. Joe - Utah

    Of course Islam is a religion. The question is: what kind of religion is it? Is it a religion of hate and terror? Is it a religion that oppresses women and believes in honor killings and stonings? Is it a religion that seeks death to America and Isreal? Is it a religion that still lives in the dark ages and seeks to force its views and Sharia law on everyone else? Or is it a religion that is tolerate of veiws, values, and religions different from their own. Is it a religion that will allow its people to convert to Christiany or Judism if they choose without a death sentence being place on them? Is it a religion that will allow cartoons of Mohamed to be drawn without death threats to the artist? Is it a religion that will allow a rude bunch of people to burn the Koran without death threats and calls for death to America? Yes, Islam is a religion, but I am not convienced they are willing to live in world with any other views or values except their own. Until such time (if ever), Islam is not going to be warmly received by the rest of the free world.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Joe, NY.

      Funny thing is, Muslims make up a large portion of America's scientists, engineers, and doctors. Unlike white trash Americans like yourself that only know how to mop floors and shoot guns.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Tupac

      That's funny coming from a person living in State who's dominate religion thought being black was a "curse".

      May 23, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Stevie7

      Maybe its a bad idea to stereotype all flavors of a particular religion. Unless you're fine with the entire world thinking that Fred Camping speaks for all Christians. Or that all Christians blow up abortion clinics or federal buildings.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • EJ

      Yes, Islam is religion. I am proud to be American and Muslim at same time. What happans in Saudi Arabia, Plestine or in Pakistan, in the name of Islam, is their problem.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Mary

      The questions Joe raises are questions all of us who are Christian want answers to. Why do Muslims want to set up camp in the U.S.? The Judeo-Christian values of the U.S. are not compatible with Islam. Why do Muslims insist on coming to the U.S. when their values are consistent with the Middle East? Islam has proven to be a violent religion. It's not enough to say it's non-violent when every day we see and hear the violence. Answers are needed.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Joe, NY.

      Marysays: "The questions Joe raises are questions all of us who are Christian want answers to. Why do Muslims want to set up camp in the U.S.? The Judeo-Christian values of the U.S. are not compatible with Islam."

      You and the rest of your trailer park community should try and get a college education. Do you even realize what you are saying when you say 'Judeo-Christian'? Jesus was a Jew who claimed to be the Messiah. The Jewish priests of the time didn't want him taking away their power or starting a rebellion against the Romans, so they attempted to crucify him. So while the Jews do NOT believe Jesus was the Messiah, Muslims believe that Jesus was a prophet of God and is the Messiah promised. For Muslims, Jesus sits at the right hand of God in Heaven until his return. Dummy.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @Mary, that's about as un-American a post as I've seen in a while. As about as ignorant.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Mycology

      Joe- you are ignorant of Islam.

      Muslims believe Jesus was NOT the messiah, NOT the son of god, and that it is MOHAMMED who sits by the side of God.

      You clearly have an agenda, as someone who is portraying "the jews" as the ones who killed christ and crucified him – who was occupying the Jewish homeland Israel at the time and had a habit of crucifying people – oh yeah, the same ones that named it fakestine oops i mean palestine, THE ROMANS.

      Jesus' followers were all Jews, while his disbelievers were Jews, Roman-deity worshippers, local pagan sects, etc. The first "Christians" (although Jesus never told them to make a religion after him) were Jews.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:37 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Mary: Muslims from other countries came here probably for the same reasons your ancestors came here. But do I really have to remind you that the Muslim community in this country are many of them American citizens? They didn't fall off a boat last week. They've been here practicing their religion and living peacefully within society for generations. If they really were all such a threat and didn't fit in because of their religion, wouldn't you have noticed a much longer time ago?

      May 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Justdoit

      @Mycology – "Muslims believe Jesus was NOT the messiah, NOT the son of god, and that it is MOHAMMED who sits by the side of God. "
      You sound very uneducated when you make this statement. Go read the Quran and search for Jesus or Isa(PBUH, as he is referred in the Quran) and count for yourself how many times Jesus is mentioned. Compare that to Mohammed(PBUH) and Moses(PBUH). Muslims do believe in all the Prophets/Messiah that Jews and Christians. From Adam to Abraham to Moses to Jesus to Mohammed.
      FYI – Jews and Christians are named as "People of the Book" in Quran. If you read the Quran, take them with context and also make sure you understand the word Metaphor – Even millions of Muslims fail to understand the word Metaphor instead they take it literally. So it is not the problem of the religion or the prophets, but it is of the ignorant humans.

      Bottom line we are all humans and there will be no peace based on "My religion is better than yours" propaganda. All religions teach the moral values and Islam is no different. If you take a negligible extremists who exists in all religions and unfortunately their word has more news material rather than the good normal people who do good deeds. So get over it and focus on positives.

      May 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • Mycology

      Either you're committing Taqiyya,

      Or you're a good person. – which makes you a "bad" muslim,

      which means YOU would die along with the other infidels , just like all the "good" people who are "bad" muslims –

      Please see: The average of 1 mosque per week that your cult EXPLODES , because they were the "wrong sect" or "not muslim enough"

      In any case, your cult is a danger to itself and the entire world – especially the free world.

      It is not a fluke that EVERY DAY –

      Somewhere in the world a muslim kills in the name of -RELIGION- -ALLAH- -MOHAMMED- as commanded by the -QURAN-

      Quranimals reap what they sow, my country is doing alright, hows your native country doing? On fire? Good.

      May 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  4. Abdul Rehman

    Being an ex-Muslim, I am really scared of radicalization of American Muslims. Jihad is one of the fundamental principle of Islam, and peace is just a strategic move that they make when they powerless. In Pakistan in schools and colleges they kill people for playing music. If the religious people see a guy sit with a girl they beat the guy up and make an example out of him. Please open your eyes, Islam is good as long as they are not powerful, eventually they are going to gain this power and soon we are going to see them telling us what to do and what not to in our day to day lives. I see this coming very very soon.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • Monk

      "killing people for playing music in Pakistan",hahahaha,where music is one of the biggest industry.
      do you really have to be a drama queen to draw attention to your comments?

      May 23, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Azee

      Not sure which schools are you talking about in Pakistan. I am from Pakistan and I never witnesses such an event that you described. It is true that Pakistan is playing in the hands of fundamentalist terrorists these days but fundamentalist political parties and groups never acclaimed any majority in any of the past democratic elections held in Pakistan. The inherent culture of Pakistan is typical south asian/islamic where there is a segregation of male females, and that is prevalent in India, Pakistan,Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries. The episodes of violences due to playing music is not true and just plain absurd. I am a musician and I have been playing and composing music in Pakistan all my life without any threat to my life.
      You are riding on the same bandwagon as others on bashing Pakistan as people in Pakistan have the similar untrue emotions for US. I tell my fellow Pakistanis about the wrong impressions they have about US and I try to tell folks here in US the untrue picture of Pakistan and Islam portrayed in US by media and comments like yours. We are going through a tough times where tolerance and acceptability of each other from all sides is the best cure for all hatred in someone like yours. Lets not spread hatred if we cannot spread love.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Anastrophe

      What evidence do you have that Jihad is a fundamental principle of Islam? You must have been a radical yourself. What you say about killing people in Pakistan for listening to music is an outright lie as the music scene in pakistan is flourishing like no other time. Another reason I think you are/were a radical and these were the circles you were exposed to. Throughout history, Islam was the most tolerant of other religions: In Egypt, it took the muslims 200 years to become a majority – In Spain, it took the muslims 400 years to become majority – and in India, they never became majority. If people were converted by the sword, Christianity would have disappeared form Egypt and Spain, similar to Hinduism in India. Where are the indiginous religions and languages of South America?

      May 23, 2011 at 11:51 am |
    • dark wanderer

      I'm Pakistani, I've always listened to music in public, hell we even have concerts! heard of Junoon? Vital Signs? Strings? all Pakistani rockbands!! Forget sitting with girls, I've had relationships which was public knowledge and no one so much as casted an evil eye against me! I have never heard of anyone being killed in Pakistan because they were listening to music in public let alone sitting with girls, most colleges and universities here are co-eds so, u can't AVOID sitting with them.

      If you want to make a point Mr. Abdul Rehman, by all means do so, just dont cast lies. Thank You.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Colin

      Dark Wanderer. Heard of Salmaan Taseer?

      May 23, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • dark wanderer

      its obvious from the way you're invoking salman taseer that you have no idea what you're talking about.

      Its also obvious from the way you're Insulting the Holy Prophet (PBUH) that you're a VERY VERY sad Human Being.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
    • Justdoit

      @Rehman, I wonder which part of Pakistan you were from? What sort of BS you talk about. Have you ever been to a Church or a Hindu temple in Pakistan while you lived in Pakistan. If you think, Islam has Jihad at its principle core is Jihad, I do not which if you remember that among the 5 pillars of Islam – the word Jihad never appears. Neither does it appear in 6 Articles of Faith. I bet you do not even understand what the term Jihad means – it could range anywhere from "Struggle within self" to "war" under specific guidelines. So do not interpret the word war and Jihad as many Westerners believe. There are clear wordings when a "war" has to be established to be termed as Jihad. Some of them are – when Muslims are oppressed meaning not allowed to practice the basic pillars, and faith – then it is the time to have Jihad. Tell me which country including US, UK, Europe, Asia has stopped the Muslims to wage a war or Jihad. As far as I know, every country I have visited – I am allowed to follow my religious obligations without any hesitation. So the practical application of Jihad never exists in today's world as some religious extremists have taken them as verbatum of the word Jihad and so are the Westerners.
      May Allah(SWT) give you toufeeq and better understanding of the religion.

      May 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm |
  5. Colin

    Essentially the court ruled that a group of people who believe that a god created the Universe and its billions of galaxies and then whispered the secrets of life and death to a sixth Century Arab pedophile in a cave can gather togther and think this god is reading their minds over the objections of another group who think this god did not do the above, but instead impregnated a virgin with himself so he could give birth to himself and then sacrifice himself to himself to "forgive" an original sin that never happened and negate a rule that he himself made.

    Welcome to Tenesseee, home of the Scopes Monkey trial.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Colin, doesn't make much sense to me either.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:40 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Colin, have you considered how any rational mine can read this and and still believe? It comes from what they say they believe just put more directly.

      It is scary and baffling, that someone can read this and say "yep, that's what I believe". You can see why I really don't want these beliefs with their finger on the bottom.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Colin

      JohnQuest – I agree. Maybe Sagan said it best, "Their belief does not come from logic, but from a deep seated need to believe".

      I don't know mate, it's got me baffled. My theory is you combine a basic lack of knowledge of natural history and astronomy (essentially, it requires a deep ignorance of the size, age and complexity of the World and the Universe) with a strong fear of death and a constant social reinforcement that it is somehow "wrong" not to believe and you can trap the weak mind.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Peace2All


      Well Said... Also, I think we need another "Top 10 List" from you ti-tled, how do you know if you're a bigot or a racist. LOL...! 🙂

      Peace brother...

      May 23, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Colin

      @Peace to all. Your wish is my command.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Frogist

      LOL@Colin: Hilarious!
      umm btw JonQuest: "finger on the bottom"?! There's a Catholic priest and altar boy joke in there somewhere!

      May 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Peace2All


      LOL...!!! 😯 Just for you for that one...!


      May 23, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
  6. Abdul Rehman

    Being an ex-Muslim, I am really scared of radicalization of American Muslims. Jihad is one of the fundamental principle of Islam, and peace is just a strategic move that they make when they powerless. In Pakistan in schools and colleges they kill people for playing music. If the religious people see a guy sit with a girl they beat the guy up and make an example out of him. Please open your eyes, Islam is good as long as they are not powerful, eventually they are going to gain this power and soon we are going to see them telling us what to do and what not to in our day to day life. I see this coming very very soon.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • El Kabong

      Yeah, you said that already. Sounds like BS to me.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:53 am |
  7. KingofKing

    Like to see someone build a church or basilica in Saudi Arabia...as a social experiment,,see how tolerant muslims are

    May 23, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • NAK

      Mr King,

      Saudi Arabia is not the only Muslim country in the world. churches exist and flourish in pretty much every muslim country in the world. look it up!

      May 23, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Ahmed Al-Hujazi

      About as much chance as a mosque being built in Rome. However, I do agree that there should be more religious tolerance in Saudi Arabia.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • phunk

      many muslim nations have churches. Egypt, Iran, Qatar, UAE all have Catholic Churches withing their borders. I'd like to see America allow a Mosque to be built or expand without causing an uproar. Not even just to test our tolerance but how about the whole "freedom of religion" thingy we were founded on as a country?

      May 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  8. Reddy

    "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Mohandas "Mahatama" Gandhi. Look in the mirror, Christians. This is how others see you and your arrogance and religious imperialism.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • Friend

      I don't like Hindus because they enslave dalits. Gandhi is a hypocrite.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Reddy, Gandhi is on the wrong side of the divide in paradise.


      May 23, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • El Kabong

      HeavenSent, if God doesn't like Gandhi, God's dumb. Think about it.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • HeavenSent

      El, what part of this scripture do you not comprehend?

      Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

      John 14:6


      May 23, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Stevie7

      HeavenSetn, many people have interpreted that verse (of your particular english translation) many different ways. Did god personally speak to you to let you know that your interpretation was the correct one? Perhaps what was really meant was that in following jesus teaching, one could get to the father. You know – the whole love thy neighbor bit. I'd suggest you brush up on that passage.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  9. Veritas

    Glad they are able to build their Mosque. But, as one who has lived in the Muslim world, we should realize that Islam is not a religion in the sense that Westerners are use to thinking. It is a totalizing, dominating political system moved by religious motivation. Think of it as expansive Communisim with metaphysical motivations. Until we an figure out how to deal with both the religious AND the utterly incompatible, totalizing political components, we'll keep having confused policy.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Stevie7

      This would describe much of Christianity until the last few centuries or so. I mean, you couldn't even be a monarchy in Europe without the pope's blessing.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Paul

      Any religion is like that, it just depends on how fanatic and rigid the followers choose to be.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • Veritas

      You will always find people who use religion for political ends. The fact is when a person tries to build a totalizing state in the name of Christianity they are against Jesus who said "my kingdom is not of this world. If it were my disciples would fight to prevent my arrest." They are bad Christians. When a Muslim builds a dominating state in the name of Islam they are OBEYING the Koran which tells Muslims to "fight against the unbelivers until they submit and pay taxes to you." They are good Muslims. This is a MASSIVE difference that Westerners need to understand!

      May 23, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • JohnR

      That's the way Christianity behaved until the rise of humanist philosophy.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Veritas, it seems to me that you have misinterpreted the last 1500 years of the Christian Church. How do you think Christians were able to spread all over the world, if not at the point of a sword (now bullets and bombs).

      May 23, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • HeavenSent

      6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought:

      7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, [even] the hidden [wisdom], which God ordained before the world unto our glory:

      8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known [it], they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

      9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

      10 But God hath revealed [them] unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

      1 Corinthians 2:6-10


      May 23, 2011 at 11:50 am |
    • Frogist

      @Stevie7: I don't really think that political aspect of Christianity has died out. Religious groups regularly get together to influence voting on certain issues in this country. Prop 8, abortion laws, teaching se-x ed, teaching science... we may like to think that ideology of the religious and political are two separate things but they are far from it particularly for Evangelicals who justify their political action as "living the word of God".
      @Veritas: These interpretations of bad christian v good muslim do not hold up in practical terms. Every Christian who has political aims can point to whichever scripture they like to justify their position as a "good" Christian. And they will tell you they are obeying the Bible. The same can be said for peaceful non-politically motivated muslims who call themselves "good" muslims. Neither position is clearly delineated across the board. So who is a "good" or "bad" Christian/muslim depends only on the society and surroundings each person exists in and who you ask.

      May 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  10. Jude

    Al-Azhar can be compared to Harvard Univ. HAHAHAHAHA!
    Anderson would be lynched for being gay by this religion that he is being a mouth piece. USEFUL IDIOT!

    May 23, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • wzrd1

      Well, if you do not like having a first amendment, I'll happily pay for your one way ticket to China, where that amendment and our rights do not exist. But, I WILL insist that you renounce your citizenship first to the state department.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • El Kabong

      For those who don't know, "useful idiot" is this week's Limbaugh saying. Everyone is being duped and ONLY the conzis are smart enough to see through bla bla bla Kenyan birth certificate. Get help, folks. It's focken tragic.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  11. MTP

    So Islam is a religion huh? I'm glad the courts decided this. When are they getting to Catholicism's day in court? And if they did, I wonder how well the religious catholics would take it?

    May 23, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • wzrd1

      They did, a century and change ago. Catholicism is also a religion, per the US government. In spite of protestant-Catholic religious wars in our cities streets.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  12. Reality

    An update on the major religions in less than 100 words: (please staple a copy on your mosque, church or synagogue doors)





    Added details upon request.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • HeavenSent

      And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

      2 Thessalonians 2:10


      May 23, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Bible Clown

      "deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish" That's gibberish. Really, you find this stuff convincing? It's like a joke.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Frogist

      LOL@Reality: I can just see him dressed up in cassock robes like Martin Luther printing out copies on his old printing press and pinning them to houses of worship. Love it!
      @HeavenSent: Is it really written "deceivableness"? Isn't the word "deception"? Just thought that was weird.

      May 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  13. John in NY

    I saw the CNN program about this mosque a few weeks ago and some of people in that town are so small minded and bigoted that it's truely pathetic.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • wzrd1

      What shocks me is the statement, "The first amendment is still the law of the land in Tennessee. Apparently, the author forgot what the court remembered, that FEDERAL LAW IS SUPREME IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
      No town, city, county or state may attempt to disparage rights given us by our FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • KT

      I am a Christian and proud to live in Murfreesboro for the last seven years. The "small minded" people you refer to are not indicative of this community. It is home to the largest enrollment of any college in the state. It is a great place to live and raise your children. Like any group, community, etc. the wackos are the ones you hear the loudest. Reason will prevail, and I'm certain the mosque will welcome in our community.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Peace2All


      Let us hope so.


      May 23, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  14. sisi

    It's yet another group of fanatics only this group blows up people all over the world.

    May 23, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • John in NY

      Are you refering to the fantics that set fire to the construction equipment at the site?

      May 23, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Stevie7

      Yup, nothing bad has ever happened in the name of Christianity. it's the religion of peace. And there's absolutely no violence or condoning of violence anywhere in the bible.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Abudu Rahman

      Nah, I think she's referring to whoever is dropping bombs in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan and has dropped bombs on at least 40 different countries in the past. The United States was the first country in the world to develop nuclear weapons, and is the only country to have used them in warfare, with the separate bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Reggie

      ...or perhaps you're referring to the fanatics that blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City?

      May 23, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Guys, Guys, sisi, only sees "Islamic terrorist". Just like Bill, Rush, and Beck says and we all know, they are fair and balanced.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  15. Ahmed

    God is Great (Allahu Akbar)

    May 23, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • chaz Romano (not real name. take that CNN)

      wow, appropriate.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Andrea

      God is great! I am so happy that I am convert to Islam since the age of 20. I know so many converts myself and I can tell that we are still the same people after converting to Islam..only we have discovered really nice values. If Islam was a bad religion why would people convert to it? What I read in the Quran and what haters say is so different.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
  16. Bible Clown

    In Tennessee, Pi is equal to three.

    May 23, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • God


      May 23, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  17. Den

    Well, now, sometimes we must declare the obvious to be so, just to move on to more important matters. What I'm waiting for is the court battle over whether being a Jedi is the same as being a believer in a religion. Think I'm making this up? Check out http://www.jedichurch.org (based in New Zealand, interestingly enough).

    May 23, 2011 at 10:43 am |
  18. Muslim Tea Party

    1st amendment. End of Story. NEXT!


    May 23, 2011 at 10:37 am |
  19. JohnQuest

    Sad, this could have been the beginning of the end to all religions being recognized.

    May 23, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • Draeggo

      And your way is better? Do you actually believe in anything other than trying to tear down what others believe? I bet you are a real pleasure to be around too. Maybe if you actually believed in something you wouldn't go to bed or wake up every morning so angry at everything.

      May 23, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • JohnQuest

      Draeggo, quite the contrary, I absolutely love life (including my wife, kids, neighbors, co-workers and 99.9%of everyone else I have known in my life). You and everyone can (and should) believe anything you want, my issue is that I don't want your beliefs to effect me. I don't want your religious views to decide the fate of my children or their education. I definitely do not want someone with a fundamental religious viewpoint running my government, they don't seem to mind killing and calling it "Gods Work".

      May 23, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Bible Clown

      "you wouldn't go to bed or wake up every morning so angry at everything." I don't see any anger in his post, but it's spewing out of yours. Is it important to you to believe that people who don't belong to your church are bad people or somehow unhappy? Believing it DOESN'T MAKE IT TRUE.

      May 23, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • El Kabong

      I'd bet Draggle's the one who is always angry and no fun to be around. How many divorces, Draggy? Did she keep the kids and take your house? We'll pray for you . . .

      May 23, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • SeanNJ

      @Draeggo: Why do religious people insist that everyone should believe in something? There doesn't have to be a "why" attached to everything. Your need to have this unasked question answered is your own failing, not that of the atheists who feel perfectly complete without it.

      May 23, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • wzrd1

      I have to agree with John, I far prefer for ALL to leave me alone to my beliefs, not force them upon me, not ruin my government, not run schools, not dictate what may and may not be taught.
      In short, using the words of a mythical character:
      Leave me alone!
      I. Hulk.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • RightturnClyde

      You think you know everything but you don't. What the Bill of Rights says is: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to as_semble, and to pet_ition the Government for a redress of grievances." If the Congress (and the court) respected that Const_itutional you would have these rights. But the Congress is willing to write laws that limit the practice or one's faith and the right to speak and to assemble. They want to control YOU and have an Army with which to do it .. and an Army of police and lawyers. And you (posters) are all too wiling to let them do it to you .. you are happy when they do it to you. So you will become serfs and peasants in a very short time. You are well on the way already.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • Stevie7

      @RightturnClyde: "But the Congress is willing to write laws that limit the practice or one's faith and the right to speak and to assemble."
      Can you actually point to examples where the Supreme Court Justices (what do they know about the law!) has ruled against the first amendment?

      May 23, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • Huh?

      Instead you chose to have your beliefs effect people around you.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • Peace2All


      Per usual, feeling the poor put upon christian, that doesn't get to rule society with your biblical beliefs.

      I agree with @Stevie7... I believe that SCOTUS has done a pretty darn good job of keeping a balance of 1st amendment rights, while not allowing people the christians(especially the 'fundamentalists') to dominate society with their wishes, desires and beliefs.


      May 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  20. Colin

    Im other news, the court brilliantly agreed that a a poodle was a dog.

    May 23, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • TheMovieFan

      Unfortunately, the courts probably need to do such things when ignorant people are involved.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • Stevie7

      Somewhere, German Sheppard owners are crying. And devising new lawsuits to discredit the poodles. Because everyone knows that poodles are hateful, violent, and evil. Plus, sometimes they dress strange.

      May 23, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • RightturnClyde

      You laugh and you think you are funny. The Court has the power to redefine you in the same way that it can redefine the nature of a poodle. It can decide that you are not human in the same way and it can take away every right you ever had (and has taken away at least 80% and possibly 50% of any rights you ever had. You can be reduced to a subject (and a peasant) in less than a dozen court cases. You area already half way there (and you think it's funny)

      May 23, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Colin

      RightTurnClyde – Oh, look, just pay the damn parking ticket, ok....

      May 23, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Peace2All


      Please enlighten us with this list of rights (80%) of these rights that the courts have 'taken away' from us.


      May 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • RightturnClyde

      @Colin. RightturnClyde knows how to read. I know my rights and I know how to defend them. I HAVE read the Bible (cover to cover) about six times. I've read the proceedings of all of the Church councils (including #1). I have read all of the Papal encyclicals. I do not belong to any religion (like Jesus) and I do not follow any preacher. If you don't want your rights you will not have them (and that's your choice .. and he world you'll live in .. that's not my problem. That's your problem (and it is self inflicted). So go ahead and laugh .. the laugh is on you.

      May 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Reasonable Person

      Come on man, wheres your evidence of that? Name one instance of what youre claiming. You see in the 21st century we examine facts and evidence to come to a well informed opinion. We don't blindly accept what rush limbaugh and some book (written by humans) says. So come on bro, u can do better than that, (but maybe you cant).

      May 23, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Colin: You are on form today! Enjoying your every post!

      May 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
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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.