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Ahead of presidential bid, Rick Perry and evangelical leaders court each other
Texas Gov. Rick Perry leads a prayer event August 6 in Houston. Thousands prayed for God to save "a nation in crisis."
August 12th, 2011
07:37 AM ET

Ahead of presidential bid, Rick Perry and evangelical leaders court each other

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – Evangelical pastor Jim Garlow has met Texas Gov. Rick Perry only once, but the politician left quite an impression.

Garlow, who is based in California, where he helped lead the campaign to ban same-sex marriage in the state, was attending a big prayer rally that Perry sponsored last weekend in Houston when he and his wife were invited backstage with the governor.

“My wife has stage 4 cancer, and Perry ended up talking with her quite a bit and praying for her and her healing,” Garlow said. “We spent a fair amount of time backstage.”

Though Garlow notes that the meeting was personal, not political, he is hardly the only conservative evangelical leader who has begun forming a relationship with Perry in recent days.

As the Texas governor has mulled a bid for the presidency over the last few months – a source familiar with his plans says he will formally announce his candidacy on Saturday – Perry and his circle have reached out to Christian activists who will be influential in the GOP primaries.

At the same time, many of those conservative leaders - underwhelmed by the Republican presidential field so far - have contacted Perry and those close to him to inquire about his commitment to causes like opposition to  abortion and same-sex marriage.

The flurry of meetings and phone calls portends a primary campaign that is likely to rely heavily on evangelical support, presenting a serious challenge to socially conservative candidates like Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann and creating the possibility of two-person race between Perry, a Christian Right darling, and the more establishment Mitt Romney.

“There’s been a significant attempt by him and his staff to reach out to conservative Christian leaders and it’s now going to a new level,” says Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Council, a conservative Christian advocacy group, talking about Perry's outreach.

“Perry is not making the same mistake that McCain made,” Staver said. “McCain wanted Christian conservative votes but didn’t want to get too close to Christian conservative leaders.”

Kelly Shackelford, a Texas-based evangelical activist who has been close to Perry for 20 years, says he has fielded roughly 100 phone calls in recent weeks from Christian activists across the country who are eager to learn more about Perry.

“People are calling and asking, ‘Is this guy really a social conservative and a fiscal conservative?’ and it’s easy to say yes because I’ve seen it,” said Shackelford, who runs a conservative legal advocacy group called the Liberty Institute. “As far as proving himself, he’s been the most solid conservative I’ve seen anywhere in the country.”

Shackelford says Perry has signed more anti-abortion legislation than any governor in the country, including a recent measure that requires women seeking an abortion in Texas to view a picture of the embryo or fetus and hear a description of its development before having the procedure.

Perry is also a supporter of a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

Many of the activists checking in with Shackelford are concerned that Pawlenty and Bachmann, the other Republican candidates popular among conservative evangelicals, aren’t generating enough support and have limited appeal outside the evangelical subculture.

“They want a candidate who is not only socially and fiscally conservative, but who could actually raise money,” says Shackelford. “Perry can bridge the establishment and grass roots sides of the party and that’s really hard to find.”

Perry, who has presided over a state that has seen strong job growth amid the economic downturn, is considered popular among business groups.

“Rick Perry has the potential to energize tea party and social conservatives, as well as attract endorsements and contributions from GOP donors and elected officials,” said Ralph Reed, who leads the Faith and Freedom Coalition.

“Not unlike another Texas governor, George W. Bush, he can bridge the establishment wing of the party and the conservative grass roots,” said Reed, the former executive director of the Christian Coalition. “That’s quite a combination, and my sense is he will reshuffle this race in a significant way.”

Romney, the current establishment favorite, is unpopular among many conservative Christian activists because of his onetime support for abortion rights and because of a health care law he signed as governor of Massachusetts that mandates coverage.

And Romney, a Mormon, faces obstacles in connecting with evangelical voters along religious lines, as Perry, Pawlenty and Bachmann appear to be doing.

A CNN/ORC International Poll released Thursday showed 15% of Republican and independent voters who lean toward the GOP picked Perry as their choice for the Republican nomination.

That put Perry, still not officially a candidate, just 2 percentage points behind Romney, considered the front-runner in the nominating process. Romney's advantage over Perry is within the survey's sampling error.

Much of the evangelical organizing around Perry grew out of last weekend’s Houston prayer rally, called The Response, which Perry began organizing last year.

The event, cosponsored by conservative evangelical groups, was aimed at bringing God's help to a "nation in crisis,” and drew thousands of worshippers.

“I got involved in The Response three or four months ago and at that time, the Perry for president push was not the issue," said Garlow, who is supporting Newt Gingrich for president but has been disappointed in the response to the former House Speaker's campaign so far. "It became that way primarily after Huckabee pulled his name out of the race.”

Indeed, many conservative activists began calling on Perry to run only after former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced in May that he would not seek the White House.

“I was astounded at the pressure on him to run," Garlow said. "You felt it building and we were trying to plan this prayer event and we’re saying, ‘How do we keep this out of politics because this is about Christ?' ”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Politics • Rick Perry

soundoff (573 Responses)
  1. mandible

    Democracy Now! just did a story about Rick Perry's ties to radical evangelical groups. They discussed Perry's recent prayer rally and the ideologies of some the extreme Christian groups.
    Here is the link:
    http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/12/as_texas_gov

    August 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
    • Steve - Dallas

      Texas Observer also had a good article this month on Perry and his loony "christian" friends.

      August 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  2. norma jean.

    A WORD TO THE WISE....IF THERE ARE ANY OF THEM OUT THERE!!!!!!! THESE PEOPLE ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN WHAT THEY CAN GET OUT OF THIS CIRCUS. THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT THE MIDDLE AND POORER CLASSES BUT SHOULD ALL REMEMBER THAT IF THE BOTTOM AND MIDDLE OF ANYTHING DISAPPEARS ....THE TOP COLLAPSES!!!!!!!! THIS CAN ALSO APPLY TO A SOCIETY!!!!......

    August 12, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
  3. norma jean.

    Whatever happened to "separation of church and state"?????THESE PEOPLE PROFESS TO BEING CHRISTIANS BUT HAVE NO INTEREST IN HELPING THE MIDDLE CLASS WORKERS NOR THE UNEMPLOYED. WHO COULD ALL DISAPPEAR FOR ALL THEY CARE,!!,,,, REMEMBER...IF THE MIDDLE AND BOTTOM OF ANYTHING DISAPPEARS....THE TOP COLLAPSES TOO!!!!

    August 12, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  4. keeth

    What would Jesus say about Rick Perry and the case of Cameron Todd Willingham?

    August 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm |
    • frank

      Duh!

      “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s..."

      August 12, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  5. hehehe

    A poster read: "God is dead" – Nietzche. The graffiti underneath read: "Nietzche is dead" – God.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  6. Reality

    Why Rick Perry is wasting his time and money:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

    (The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.)

    August 12, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Given that 70+% of abortions in the USA are had by "believers", is this group (those that had abortions or advocated/supported same) likely to vote for a candidate opposed to the very behaviour said believers have engaged in? I think not.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Reality

      Obviously, "Roe voters" are also "Christians" at least in name.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  7. Butterfly

    Research dominionism. On Rick Perry's website for "The Respons", under the tab for "Leadership", you will find a who's who of people and organizations associated with dominionism. It's about rising in the ranks of society(also 7 mountains philosophy), rule by old testament law(including stoning), and take domion over all of the world, claiming it, and making it a theocracy in preparation for the second coming. They believe the second coming will not happen until the earth is subdued by christians.

    August 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
  8. Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

    What are the odds that Rick Perry will start speaking in tongues?

    August 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • Martin T

      I heard him speak once and to me, he was already speaking in tongues. All I heard was.. "Pray.. blah blah blah.. Jesus.. Blah blah blah.." Something like that...

      August 12, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Steve - Dallas

      If he thinks it will get him votes....

      August 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  9. HotAirAce

    I don't think it would be good for the USA and world economies, but part of me hopes that this loony gets the republican nomination, along with another delusional bible thumper as running mate, and that this gets turned into a referendum on religion, or at least religion in politics, with the thumpers getting their asses kicked, of course!

    August 12, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Atheist

      That would be great

      August 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • Martin T

      Not a bad idea, if we could make it work. Unfortunately, being from the Bible Belt originally, I doubt we can get the Far Right Religious Nutjobs to ever concede that they are wrong. Afterall, they have Jesus in their corner, you know the Zombie King who will return and raise up all their dead relatives.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      Now, now, Martin and Athiest...play nice with the Christians... 🙂

      Just kidding. Happy Friday, you two.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
  10. Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

    I think Romney will look more sane than this nutball. Granted Romney wears magical underwear. lol

    August 12, 2011 at 11:53 am |
    • Martin T

      Now THAT is humor!!!

      August 12, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • LuminousTruth

      If Romney doesn't wear the magic underwear, he must explain himself. otherwise he is not a very faithful Mormon. How, then, could we expect him to be a faithful American? of course, being Republican, he is already being unfaithful to America.

      August 14, 2011 at 2:21 am |
  11. MenaC

    Perry is my goveror, and I've yet to meet a Texan that thinks he's done a good job EXCEPT for those religious believers that know that their way is the only right way. I don't know anyone that appreciates his governorship for any reason other than his SUPPOSED Christianity.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  12. Rainer Braendlein

    @Peace2All

    Of course, insulting is not worthy of jail in itself, but usually insulting people are inclined to commit heavier crimes than insulting and thus more appropriate for jail than for WH.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:19 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Rainer Braendlein

      First buddy... why didn't you hit the 'reply' button to keep our conversation going under the appropriate thread on page #1 ...?

      You Said: " Of course, insulting is not worthy of jail in itself, but usually insulting people are inclined to commit heavier crimes than insulting and thus more appropriate for jail than for WH. "

      So, you believe that people that may make 'insults' are more inclined to commit heavier crimes, ergo... go to jail...? Really...?

      Do you have any citations to back up your claims here, or is this just personal opinion...?

      Also, if that's the case then, 90 % (pulled out of thin air) of the people posting on this blog non-believers...and... believers are more appropriate for jail, as they most likely are committing "heavier" crimes, yes...?

      Maybe we should start by learning the distinction between "insult" vs. literally physically "as-saulting"

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Martin T

      Well your English and logic are at times hard to follow. In American Politics, being insulting is often seen as a good trait. One only need to follow the election cycle to see that.

      I'm not sure that being insulting is worthy of jail or the white house, but I doubt there are many laws against being insulting, if that were the case we wouldn't have enough jails in the US to house all of the insulting folks. Also the Freedom of Speech thing wouldn't work well if we jailed folks for being insulting. Just saying.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Peace2All

      Plainly and clearly: Mere insulting is not worthy jail, although it proves low ethical standard of the insulting man.

      However, I condemn that "Veritas" has insulted the Governor of Texas by calling him "dummy". After all he belongs to the authority and is worthy more respect.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Rainer Braendlein

      You Said: " However, I condemn that "Veritas" has insulted the Governor of Texas by calling him "dummy". After all he belongs to the authority and is worthy more respect. "

      So... with your universal logic statement here, then... "Hitler" should be worthy of more respect, just because he "belongs to the authority"...?

      Of course not... There are plenty of reasons to state one's opinions of someone even if they are "belong to authority."

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Peace2All: I'm not sure Rainier meant what he said literally. (Although his past posts might cast doubt on that.)He might have just been throwing in some hyperbole to empasize his point that we can have a civil discussion about Gov Perry's qualifications without reverting to personal insults. Although I think Rainier was definitely overreacting a little to what is, on these interwebz, a very mild case of being a bit impolite.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Frogist

      Yeah... I'm aware of -Rainer's 'language gap' issues. And... I've seen and read enough of his postings that when you call him on it, he begins to 'delete' what he stated or 'back-peddle' or just outright ignore and dodge the whole point.

      Hence, my calling him on his points and being more 'accurate' and accountable to what he says.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Peace2All

      You compare the Gorvernor of Texas with Adolf Hitler?

      That is outrageous.

      Hitler was a Gorgon. Before he seized power, he murdered treacherously a lot of democratic German politicians. It is right to say that Hitler murdered the "democratic Germany". He was a real tyrant (political offender).

      August 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      I'm sorry...a Gorgon?

      A mythological creature that turns people to stone with its gaze? I'm not sure I follow...

      August 12, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Rainer

      Oh, good christ -Rainer... W T F...? No 'you' were (basically) saying that people in 'authority' shouldn't be criticized. You stated it as a 'universal.'

      I responded that so... Hitler, having been in a position of authority shouldn't have been 'criticized' then...?

      Just because someone is in a position of authority or power, doesn't exclude them from being criticized.

      Get it now...?

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Nameless Face

      Oops. We've already reached the Godwin's Law on this story.

      August 12, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Nameless Face

      Yep... I brought up knowingly, as it seemed to fit this discussion.

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  13. Adalbert

    This is just what the US needs, one more religious crackpot from Texas. Perry should run for a chief of evangelical pastors position in Timbuktu.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  14. Martin T

    I think that Perry has a decent chance of taking the nomination, IF he can succeed in making Romney the "evil" Mormon.

    August 12, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • J.W

      The republicans would be stupid to nominate him. There is not enough support for religious extremism for him to be elected president.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Martin T

      I completely agree, JW, but the Republican Party is in turmoil at the moment with the "tea party" faction. Perry may be the ONLY candidate that the Republicans can put out there who will be able to unite the major factions in the party. Just my humble opinion. Now, do I want Perry to be the candidate, maybe, he wouldn't be that hard to defeat in a general election.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • J.W

      I think Obama has taken major steps to get us out of war in Iraq and Afghanistan although it hasnt happened yet. I personally think that what has happened with our economy is due to many factors, and that the economy will start going uphill from here. If I am right I dont think any republican could win.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • DamianKnight

      That's kinda been the problem with the GOP. They haven't produced any viable candidates lately. McCain actually wasn't too bad; it's when he brought Sarah Palin in that he lost the election. McCain thought he was going to bring in the Hillary Clinton of the Republican party and cause those who were staunch Clinton supporters to switch over. Problem was, Palin was and certainly isn't, Clinton and the voters saw right through it.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:26 am |
    • MenaC

      That shouldn't be a problem. There were people down here in TX that were interviewed at the "Response" that said Perry was a True Christian, as opposed to Momons, who were more "like cultists."

      August 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Martin T

      MenaC, I think all Religions are little more than cults. The Book of Mormon isn't much worse than some of the writings in the bible. Jesus raised the dead, walked on water, healed the sick, rised for the dead; all sounds like fantasy to me.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Martin T

      Ooops, "arose from the dead" my bad.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  15. myweightinwords

    The last thing we need is more religion mixed into our politics. All it leads to is division and a failure to move forward.

    I am not an overly political creature, but I will strongly oppose anyone who uses religion as their platform for election.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Martin T

      Martin T Agrees, completely!

      August 12, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • Atheist

      Atheist agrees as well!
      ...
      ...not feeling the typing in third person thing.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Martin T

      Yeah that was kind of silly on my part, it just kind of happened. As a psychologist, I could perhaps explain it, but my brain isn't on duty today. This is my birthday weekend, I'll be all of 50 tomorrow, so I'm in my PJ's and having some fun today.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • DamianKnight

      Everyone uses the term from Jefferson's letter "seperation of church and state" and I whole-heartedly agree with that statement. Here's the thing a lot of the Christian Right don't understand. If the church influences the state, then likewise, the state will influence the church. Excuse me, if I don't want politicians interfering with my religion anymoreso than I want my pastor interfering in politics.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • herbert juarez

      with several years of intense education and training,you might be able to get martin t up to the level of ass hole.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • DamianKnight

      Happy early Birthday, Martin! 🙂

      August 12, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Martin T

      @herbert juarez – Been Angry Long, my friend? And to what do owe the major LOVEFEST from you? Throwing idiotic pot shots at someone is certainly indicative of someone with serious social and emotional issues. Good luck with that..

      August 12, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Martin T

      Thank you DamianKnight... that was very nice and kind of you.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • herbert juarez

      @martin t
      not the least bit angry, just a joke in poor taste ,concerning the third person posting, didn't realize it was your 50th.Many happy returns.
      If you missed the joke that badly i sure wouldn't look to you for your professional services.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Martin T

      Sorry Herbert, being called an ass hole isn't ever part of my "joke" repetoire. I no longer counsel people, I find it more appealing to teach and do research in the area of mental illness. I appreciate your good wishes, but again find your delivery somewhat abrasive. Peace.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Peace2All

      @Martin T

      ¡¡¡ ˙˙˙ʇ uıʇɹɐɯ 'ʎɐpɥʇɹıq ʎddɐɥ 😀

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @martin t
      Now that you have the joke in context ,feel free to use the line where inappropriate.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Frogist

      Happy Birthday, Martin T! Hope you're having a wonderful weekend in your PJs! LOL!!
      If you ever decide to get back into the counseling business you could make a fortune off these blogs alone.
      Is it just me, or does anyone else find it deliciously funny that a person tried to troll the psychologist who can probably see right thru his cover-up that it was just a joke?

      August 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Atheist

      I'm an engineer, notoriously bad at handeling the english language with any type of finess and I saw right through his coverup. It didn't take a psychologist.

      Also, Happy early birthday Martin T.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      @frogist and atheist
      In the case of you two ,several years wouldn't be long enough to reach that high plateau,unless you both were kept after class daily.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Frogist

      @herbert juarez... let me guess. That was a joke? LOL!

      August 12, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  16. Atheist

    I think politicians just ignore the separation of church and state now. They sometimes pretend they do, but then they use their religion for political gain and make legislature based on said religion (not just abortion and gays getting married but anything that keeps someone from doing something that would only do harm to themselves.)

    I think laws should only ban people from doing something that can do harm to someone else, these religious nutjobs want to ban anything that they don't agree with. And as for abortion, you aren't hurting anyone until that baby has a brain, without one, you might as well be killing a plant.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Martin T

      I agree, I worry about these Christian Right Wingers who want to "return the US to a Christian Nation" knowing full well that we have NEVER been a Christian nation. Like MOST religious leaders they use the religion card in hopes of it obtaining them more power, religion is about power and little else in my opinion. There are a few Republican Candidates who, quite frankly, scare the H E L L out of me.

      As for the issue of abortion, again I agree. For me the litmus test is simply when does the fetus have a chance to live OUTSIDE the womb, until then it is little more than a parasite. That should get the faithheads up in arms.

      August 12, 2011 at 10:58 am |
    • J.W

      Some have said that the fetus may be able to feel pain at 26 weeks. Do you think abortion should be illegal, or only legal in limited cases, after that?

      August 12, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Atheist

      I'm honestly surprised anyone agreed with me.
      But my overall philosophy is "if you don't agree with it, then don't do it. But don't keep me from doing it just because you don't agree with it, especially if I'm not hurting anyone but myself"

      I know there is some stuff that doesn't fit into that nicely, like second hand smoke, but I think there can always be an easy compromise/solution, like having smoking areas.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Atheist

      @ J.W.
      I think anytime within the first trimester is fine and even well into the second it should be legal for anyone. If someone wants to use that as birth control that's fine, just know that it's way more expensive than a condom.

      26 weeks is well into the pregnacy and I think that's too late.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • Martin T

      Atheist, like you, I too am an atheist. You make sense in what you say, as far as I am concerned. I had written a long reply and it didn't post, I suppose I keyed in something that the system didn't agree with.

      I am less worried about abortions and more with the children who are already alive. Take Somalia right now, there are 600,000 children at risk of dying of starvation. WHEN the Christians take up "arms" to care for the living children of the world, I'll be less inclined to think poorly of them.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:27 am |
    • J.W

      I am generally against abortion although I do realize that there are case where it may be necessary. I think whether or not the fetus can feel pain is a big part of the abortion debate. I think I have read that the fetus has brain activity at 9 weeks, but it is closer to 26 weeks before it can feel pain. I guess they are not sure exactly when.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • Peace2All

      @J.W

      Hey -J.W...

      And what 'is' absolute fact... and 'not' in debate is that humans... adults/children that are out of the 'womb' do feel pain and have rights.

      Trying to decide if a clump of cells (which yes... I know that they are human cells) feels pain and spending so much time on that seems to be insanity to (me)...IMHO.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Atheist

      @Martin T
      I agree with you there, but to be fair, many churches and christain groups encourage charity work and are pretty involved and I respect them for that, but sometimes their priorities are way off. If they were all for helping people live their own life instead of most that are for "helping" people live life dedicated to their god, I'd stop trying to convert them to atheism.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • J.W

      I think a big problem in Somalia is that the goverment is keeping aid from getting in. There are relief workers that do help out in Africa though. I knew a girl who did go on a relief trip there. The crazy thing is is that where she went she said that the people accepted AIDS as a part of life, like sooner or later everyone would get AIDS. I think that AIDS is something that if we just stop the spread of it it will go away. We just need to figure out how to do that.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • DamianKnight

      The abortion debate is a complicated one. I'm with JW and personally believe abortion is wrong, because I believe life begins at conception. I have no scientific evidence to back that belief up, it is merely a personal belief. That said, even as a Christian, I'm not charging ahead and screaming at senators to repeal Roe vs. Wade, or blowing up clinics or anything like that. It's like I told Laughing the other day, my opinion on abortion is, "Don't like abortion? Don't get one."

      August 12, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • Atheist

      @JW
      To be honest, I haven't given much thought as to when should be the best time to draw the line between when you can have on and when you can't. But I do believe that it should be legal for a necessary amount of time to allow the parents to really think it through but not long enough that they could kill it a week before it's due.

      I do like Martin T's thoughts of 'if it can survive outside the body then it's too late' though. The only problem with that is with better and better technology, that time is going to get longer and longer. So I'm not saying I'm the one that should decide the length of time, but I am saying that there should be one.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Martin T

      I agree JW about the issues in Somolia, they haven't had a real government in place in a long time. America will invade a country for oil, but ignore countries where REAL human suffering is happening. I hate our government for that, to be honest. We find significant oil reserves in these poor African nations and we'll be in there so fast make you head swim.

      To Atheist, I agree that SOME churches do some good. The Catholic Church in these poor Aftican nations are against birth control and often allow priests to make life and death decisions. The Vatica could raise an army and send in enough troops and supplies to handle the situation in Africa at any time.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:43 am |
    • J.W

      Yeah Peace I do understand what you say. I am not advocating making abortion illegal, I am just saying that whether it feels pain is something to consider. It is just a complicated issue, because there are good points on both sides.
      Atheist I think that you are right that we should concentrate more on helping not converting. I donate money to the Mennonite Central Committee, which does not try to convert people. I believe that they are the only religious organization that some countries in the Middle East will allow in for that reason.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Peace2All

      @DamianKnight

      Hey -Damian...

      " It's like I told Laughing the other day, my opinion on abortion is, "Don't like abortion? Don't get one."

      I agree.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • J.W

      Yeah I would say personally I am like Damian on abortion. I dont want to hold back anyone's rights, but if I was with a girl and she got one I would probably be upset.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • Martin T

      My first wife had an abortion back in the 70's and I've never regreted it. We went on to have two wonderful children and I now have two beautiful grandchildren.. I've never once wondered about the child we elected to abort, probably because I don't believe in the sky god and any kind of penalty for my actions.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • Peace2All

      @J.W

      Hey -J.W....

      You Said: " Yeah Peace I do understand what you say. I am not advocating making abortion illegal, I am just saying that whether it feels pain is something to consider. It is just a complicated issue, because there are good points on both sides. "

      I understand where 'you' are coming from too. Being pro-choice for women does not necessarily imply being a "murderer." It 'is' a very complicated issue, and I can't imagine too many women who upon struggling to make this hear-wrenching decision aren't forever affected by it in some fashion.

      What I'm also saying and I think @Martin T made reference to it is the 'millions' of children already alive and that are suffering and in need of love and kindness now. He said " I'm less worried about abortions, than the children that are already alive " That is more of where my head is at concerning this issue.

      The clump of cells is still really debatable, and I'm now always sure as to why the so-called 'pro-lifers' make the clump of cells such an issue when we, again, have millions of children on this planet that 'are' experiencing pain, suffering, atrocities, etc... NOW !

      That 'is' undeniable.

      Regards,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Atheist

      Well... It sounds like we're all in agreement here.
      Abortion should be legal, if you don't like it, don't get one, and deciding when the cutoff week for one is really difficult.
      Religious groups should focus more on helping people rather than converting them
      and Governments are terrible for only going into nations with oil and not ones that really need the help

      I think that's it. There may be another point that I missed.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Martin T

      @ Peace,

      Precisely MY point. We have children right here in the US who have no healthcare options, who go to bed/school hungry and dirty, who are homeless and without hope. I brought this up during a debate with a Christian once and he told me that he didn't care about the children of losers, but he would kill someone for the unborn. It blew me away.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Martin T

      That sums it up, Atheist. Now, let's put together a Position Paper on it, present it to the President and Congress, then to the religious community, and get these issues resolved. Good work everyone..

      August 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • J.W

      I dont think it is just my belief in God. I guess when the baby is forming in the womb even though it doesnt have all of its human characteristics I still think of it as a living thing. Really it doesnt say alot about that in the Bible, just maybe a couple of passing references. Also I havent had children yet and I would like to so if I produced a child and the mother aborted it I would be mad.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Peace,

      You said, "The clump of cells is still really debatable, and I'm now always sure as to why the so-called 'pro-lifers' make the clump of cells such an issue when we, again, have millions of children on this planet that 'are' experiencing pain, suffering, atrocities, etc... NOW !"

      I think it is fair to say that many of the Pro-Lifers are of a religious mind. They believe in the soul and that at the point of conception, that clump of cells has a soul. Since it has a soul, if you abort it, it's murder. Hence, why many pro-lifers are against abortion.

      I think that's their viewpoint. Whether you or I agree or disagree with it, that's their argument.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Atheist

      J.W, I see what you're saying, and if I really wanted to keep a child but the girl aborted it, I'd probably be mad too. But the thing is, up to a certain point, it may be a living thing, but no more than a fly or the weeds growing in your garden. It's just a clump of living cells.

      @ Martin T
      I'm all for the paper, I don't think it would go over well with many people but it should still be done.

      Although it is time for lunch here on the east coast so.... I'll be back later. lol

      August 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      We need to contact CNN. This needs to go in the belief blog. I can see the headline now. "Believers and non-believers agree on abortion through rational conversation."

      August 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • Martin T

      @DamainKnight, you are so right, that is what they believe. Problem with that kind of belief is that there is NO emprical evidence that a soul even exists. However, the living children who are suffering DO exist, and that's my belief.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • J.W

      Seems like the issue we are getting into is helping people who are alive now. The first step if we want to help with this is getting republicans out of office.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm |
    • Martin T

      I agree completely. Most believers can't past the idea that atheists are evil and stupid to open up enough to realize we are smart, we have morals, we have love for our fellow man, and we are reasonable. Even in my own family, I am seen as someone who has no morals and who is evil, even though I am perhaps the most socially accepting of the clan. I truly get excited when Christians, Muslims, Atheists, and others come together and discuss what is best of EVERYONE, makes me tingle all over.. LOL

      August 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @DamianKnight

      Yeah... I do understand the argument. I believe I miss-spoke. What I was referencing was in IMHO the vastly disproportionate responses from the 'pro- lifers' via this clump of cells, which as Martin T expressed does or doesn't have a 'soul' vs. the millions possibly billions of children that are alive and are experiencing suffering beyond measure.

      That is undeniable. I guess my point is that i don't get the over-zealous noise making about whether a woman has a right to choose vs. the (in comparison) relatively little noise and actions being made for the children that are undeniably 'alive' and are undeniably 'suffering.'

      And, over-all I do understand where you are coming from and I think we are making some really great head-way here in this dialogue between me, you, Martin, J.W., and Atheist.

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Martin,

      You're absolutely right. I suppose where I get irritated is when, carte-blanche, I am referred to as "unintelligent" or "uneducated" because I believe in a supernatural diety. Or when that supernatural diety is referred to "a magic fairy", "a sky wizard" or any other derisive term, because it's something very near and dear to my heart. I'm absolutely positive that non-believers feel the same way when someone of faith refers to them as "immoral" or "evil." It's juvenile name-calling that does not benefit anyone.

      One's spiritual beliefs do not define intelligence, as hopefully, I have proven here. I don't begrudge or hold anything against non-believers. That's not my way and I don't believe that was Christ's way either. And, at the very least, Christians are supposed to emulate the teachings of Christ. Christ wasn't exclusionary, He was very inclusionary (i.e. ate dinner with sinners and tax collectors.) And when others do make those comments, isn't that the essence of "turn the other cheek" to simply ignore them? I simply put it this way, I can respect you have your beliefs, you can respect I have my beliefs, but that doesn't mean we can't get along and at least have a civil discourse and at times, agree to disagree.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @DamianKnight

      Well said, my friend !

      Respectfully,

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • Atheist

      @DamianKnight
      I never did understand why someone would refer to God as a sky wizard or anything like that. I mean, I don't believe in him, but if you're calling him names, then you're just trying to make someone angry. I'd much rather have a civil discussion with someone without calling them names. Well... unless they deserve it.
      But I do agree that at some point in the argument when it's obvious neither side is going to budge, it's best just to agree to disagree.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • J.W

      I agree Damian. I became a Mennonite because I feel like they are peaceful, friendly, non-judgmental, and try to help others in the community. I feel they do the best at following the example of Christ. I am not saying that we all have to be Christian. We should just all be at peace with each other.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Frogist

      Sorry to put the kibosh on your paper, boys! But I thought you might like the opinion of someone with an actual uterus. I know it's novel to actually include a girl in these discussions about babies and pregnancy, but I'm nothing if I'm not a rebel! LOL! It's actually a bit of a pet peeve of mine to hear all these male pro-life politicians discussing what they want to happen to my womb. It's a bit sick really.
      In every discussion about pro-life and pro-choice, people forget that there are 2 "lives" at stake here: the "child" and the woman. We're not talking about a baby in some kind of mechanical capsule. We're talking about a real, live, human adult woman with thoughts and feelings of her own who will be affected for not just nine months, but maybe her whole life. And not just in terms of the psychological impact of an abortion, but the psychological, physical, mental, financial effects that bearing a child will bring. Women who understand that their bodies will be stretched and torn and damaged irreparably by things like diabetes or hypertension or just the trauma of birth, know that it's not just a matter of what number of weeks someone else tells you a fetus turns into a person. The discussion MUST be more than about some abstract theory of "personhood". Because there is no question, at least not to women who will be affected by these decisions, that women are persons! Where is the fight for her independent right to life and the pursuit of happiness. It might be a fair point to argue that there are many suffering children in the world and that there is such an imbalance of outcry for them. But it is also a frustratingly enormous amount of attention to whether or not a fetus is alive or a person above and beyond the absolute, clear, indisputable fact that a woman is very much alive, a person and with the full body of rights that we are still debating whether or not a fetus actually has! These are glaring omissions to almost every discussion of abortion care by politicians in this country. I can't think of a greater travesty than that.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • Atheist

      @ Frogist
      I'm not in any way saying that you shouldn't have a say, it should be a serious discussion between the mother and father of the future child. My point is that you should have the right to choose whether or not to have an abortion rather than forced to have the child. But there should definetely be a cut-off point where you aren't allowed to have the abortion anymore unless some big medical risks arise for you or the child.

      Like I stated earlier, you shouldn't be allowed to have the abortion two weeks before the baby is due. (unless that medical stuff that I said above.)

      August 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • DamianKnight

      @Frogist,

      Please forgive me if it seems that, in my statements, that the welfare of the woman is not in the conversation. I agree, that it certainly should be. It's another portion of the discussion to add to the whole topic, and you're right, most of the discussion is centered around the fetus.

      August 12, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @Frogist

      I 'think' we are in basic agreement, here...yes...?

      Or did I miss something specifically that wasn't covered...?

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Civiloutside

      There is no such thing as a risk-free pregnancy. Is there another aspect of life in American society where it is deemed acceptable to legally demand of one person to risk their own life and welfare for that of someone else?

      August 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • J.W

      I am all for protecting people's rights Frogist. I was just saying kind of how I feel if it was my child. I wasnt trying to insult your uterus. Im sure it is lovely.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Peace2All

      @J.W.

      " I wasnt trying to insult your uterus. Im sure it is lovely. "

      W T F ? 😯

      ROFLMAO !!! 😀

      I mean this 'respectfully'... thank you for the chuckle !

      Peace...

      August 12, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • J.W

      LOL I am glad my sense of humor is appreciated.

      August 12, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Nameless Face

      @ Atheist - Last year, Nebraska passed a fetal pain bill, banning all abortions at and after 20 weeks based on recent research findings and the viability statistics. They are now saving the lives of babies that are born at 22 weeks gestation in NICUs. Granted, the quality of life they have being cared for outside the womb is not that great, but I think it is important to take those stats into consideration where abortion legislation is concerned. I think it's important to remember in political debate that - without the push-pull between libs and conserves - these factors might not be taken into consideration.

      @Frogist - My uterus tips its...uh, ovaires...to your uterus. 🙂

      @ Martin T - With all due respect, I don't think you're giving Christians a fair shake when you're saying they need to put their money where their mouths are and take care of the suffering children around the globe. Did you know that many charitable Christian organizations have to work under the radar in third-world countries because they aren't allowed into certain areas of the world? Somolia is one of them. There are Christian organizations –the Christian Children's Fund comes to mind first - that have dropped the word "Christian" from their monikers because the use of the term prevents them from getting any help to these countries. That's just silly.

      That's all about politics, not religion. I think human beings, in general, need to quit looking at the narrow scope of their own world and their own rise in power and start caring more for their "neighbors."

      This has been a wonderful discussion to read. And I'm completely with Damian about the "sky wizard" and "flying spaghetti monster" vs. evil/immoral label. If we could all agree to stop the condescending name-calling and stick to the issues at hand, we might actually get somewhere in this world.

      Happy weekend all.

      August 12, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Nameless Face

      Just to be clear - when I said "they are saving lives," I meant medical professionals are saving the lives of premature babies. (It's been a long week.)

      August 12, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • mE

      @Martin T: Isn't politics all about power? Some misuse religion no doubt, but some also misuse politics... just to gain power over a person or people.

      August 12, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • mE

      @Atheist: "But my overall philosophy is "if you don't agree with it, then don't do it. But don't keep me from doing it just because you don't agree with it, especially if I'm not hurting anyone but myself"

      Does that mean we let those who want to commit suicide do so just because they "aren't hurting anyone but themselves"? You may say, "aborting a fetus doesn't hurt anyone", but I would disagree. The future parents of that embryo/fetus/baby may not care, but what about the future grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins? I submit that abortion emotionally hurts others so therefore, aside from my faith-based objections and using your reasoning, abortion is wrong.

      August 12, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Frogist

      The point, lads, is that you spent the entire discussion talking about the fetus, and not including any discussion about the women who have to bring this fetus to bear except in terms of how upset you might be if a woman you were with decided to have an abortion. That is the way every discussion on abortion is spent. And that is a complete skewing of the viewpoint away from a major player in this situation – the woman. Pardon me for saying, but it's not about you. It's barely even about the fetus. Does anyone know how having a child when you don't want one affects a woman? I have no idea. Do you think any of the male politicians who make these calls know? When you exclude a woman's experience, you have a one-sided view that allows for only one-sided results. It may seem a no-brainer to you that of course you mean that the woman's part is important. But not so for the fools who perpetuate this issue of fetus rights. They don't care. They want the cut-off point to be at conception and will push for that no matter what it costs a woman. Rick Santorum already said that last night on the GOP debate. And the more discussions we have where we take for granted that someone somewhere is thinking about the woman's side, the more mired we become in a discussion that excludes her. The more you look at the fetus, the more you look away from the woman carrying it.
      Framing the entire argument on whether a fetus is alive means you are focusing on mother's life vs baby's life like it is the only posssibility when an abortion is acceptable. That's where the pro-lifers WANT this argument, because then you can ignore that women's situations are more complicated than a life for life. To a pro-lifer everything on one side of the equation is taking a life. For them even if I have a miscarriage I can be investigated! An abortion is acceptable, preferred even, in situations where it doesn't come down to life for life. We have to know what situations those are and what factors go into women wanting to have an abortion because they are the ones who are affected. That discussion must be had rather than every last effort we make be about the esoteric or narrow definition of personhood.

      August 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Atheist

      @mE
      That may be, but would you rather the grandparents be emotionally hurt a little, or have the child grow up without proper nurishment or housing because the parents couldn't afford the child. Or they grow up to be emotionally unstable because the parents never wanted it or maybe grow up in foster care which (I've heard from movies) isn't a good system most of the time. Emotional pain to grown-ups who can handle it is much better than years of possibly physical AND emotional pain to a child who would then be scarred as an adult.
      I'd much rather have abortion legal for the childs sake than make it illegal for the grown-ups sake.

      August 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
    • Frogist

      @JW: And you've never even met her! I'm sure she appreciates the compliment anyway!
      And I think your feelings are important in the decision of having a baby or not with whomever you want. What I am saying is if your male voice is the only one heard, your feelings the only one considered, then the discussion is not a fair one.

      @mE: I'm not sure what you mean by the future extended family of the fetus would be hurt by it's abortion. Seems to me, it's up to the woman who she wants involved in the discussion of how she wants her body treated. If she wants to invoke the rights of the grandparents, so be it. But assuming that they have any automatic say or assuming what their feelings might be is reaching.

      August 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Atheist

      @mE
      Also, Think about the woman that's having/not having the abortion.

      ....
      see frogist, I was paying attention.
      lol

      August 12, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Frogist

      LOL@Atheist: Compliments on the uterus AND attention for what I'm saying? The husband needs some tips from you guys!

      August 12, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • J.W

      Frogist by your name I am guessing you like frogs. and all girls who like frogs are good looking. Therefore all of you must look good. See and you thought a Christian couldnt use reason.

      August 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Frogist

      @JW: Look good? Ha! Boy are you off! My eyesight sucks... ba dum bum
      (But I talk good! lol)

      To all posters... sorry this excellent conversation has devolved into this...

      August 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  17. Carlos Mruphy

    Basic reality – life in this country has been essentially miserable except for the eight years of the Clinton administration.

    Every time somebody named Bush has been elected, my job has evaporated and life became difficult.

    Life is just beginning to show some hpe and now we have Bush number 3.

    Not being political, just observant.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:44 am |
  18. DVoice12

    Sounds like W. Bush is running for president again.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  19. Separation of Church And State

    Didn't Bush start out trumpeting his "Faith" and Christian religion? His Presidency ended with the rich getting much richer through tax cuts for them and the rest of this country and 2 other countries either collapsing or collapsed due to his wars.

    If this guy's first term ends in significatnt cuts from programs like Medicare and Social Security while the rich receive no tax increases then won't that have harmed most of the population in this country?

    Think you idiots. Please think. These guys want your votes under the banner of religion while the things they do, ironically, mainly things that a good diety, such as Jesus Christ, would probably oppose. Would Christ want Social Security cut for the old and poor, while the superlucky on this planet continue to plunder and live lavishly? If yes, then you're a fool.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Separation of Church And State

      The preference of the rich people is a worldwide problem.

      You will laugh, but I tell you the following: The more a society becomes secular, the more the rich men become powerful.

      Within a lively Church people could establish their own cooperations and get independent from the rich dudes. But when we don't go to Church, the rich men can play with us like with puppets.

      What is the current situation?: More and more people live outside the Church and thus they are like weak single fleas, easily to be catched by the slavedrivers of the rich men.

      We need a strong Christian Church, according to Jesus intentions, where wealthy peope are not prefered. Please note, I did not say that rich men should be forced to donate their money. Never!. According to the New Testament the wealthy people should be gently (very gently) urged to use their money to help the poor (for examble the rich men could build schools for the poor). However, Jesus did never force anybody to reduce his wealth. It must happen voluntarily.

      Note: I hate communism. Nobody can be forced to give any money. That would be a bollocks.

      August 12, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • The Beagle

      @Rainer Braendlein

      >> The more a society becomes secular, the more the rich men become powerful.

      Really?? The USA is by far the most religious of the modern democracies, and we also have one of the greatest gaps between rich and poor, with a corresponding imbalance of power. Looking farther back to when the church and state were essentially one, in the Middle Ages, the rich were extraordinarily powerful and the common man had no power at all.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @The Beagle

      The Middle Ages were ruled by the Antichrist (666 years of evil rule), which we call "Holy Father" today.

      When I use the term Church, I mean the true Christian Church and not the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). Strictly speaking, the RCC is a cult. The idol, which they adore, is the pope (currently Benny Rat).

      At Luther's time the Christian Church materialized for a short time and was call Protestant Church (regretably it perished quickly). The today German Evangelical Church has become a satanic temple like the RCC, which has nothing to do with the Church, which was founded by Jesus.

      Gov. Perry belongs to the Methodists. Or? Unfortunately I have no exact knowledge of the American Methodists.

      However, a Church, according to Christ's intentions, would help us to live in true freedom. As I said already, the members of a good Church could cooperate in all areas of life and thus overcome their dependence on the rich dudes.

      August 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  20. J.W

    He wont win. Mitt Romney will be the republican nominee.

    August 12, 2011 at 10:31 am |
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About this blog

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