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My Take: 5 biblical passages for Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry
What parts of the Bible do candidates really follow?
August 16th, 2011
10:57 AM ET

My Take: 5 biblical passages for Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry

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

The audience booed when columnist Byron York asked U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at the Republican presidential debate last week, if, as president, she would be “submissive to her husband.”

That question would have been out of order if she had excluded her evangelical Protestant faith from her presidential campaign. But she has made her faith as a Bible believer central to that campaign, so voters have a right to know which parts of the Bible she really believes in, and which parts (if any) she ignores.

Unfortunately, we cannot ask God whether He has in fact called Bachmann to be president, but we can ask her to interpret what she affirms to be the Word of God.

The same goes for Texas Governor Rick Perry, who earlier this month led “The Response,” a prayer and fasting event at a Houston football stadium that had the look and feel of an evangelical revival.

So here are my five Bible quotations for the two Republican presidential candidates now vying most vociferously for the evangelical Protestant vote.

1.  “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands” (Colossians 3:18).

Should female presidents submit to their first husbands? As it should be obvious to anyone who saw this portion of the debate, Bachmann did not answer this question. She said she respected her husband. She said he respected her. But the question was about submission, not respect.

When John F. Kennedy was running for president, some voters were worried about whether, as president, he would take his marching orders from someone else. That someone else was not Jacqueline Onassis but the pope.

In a famous speech delivered on September 12, 1960, in Houston, he answered the question clearly and definitely. “I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute; where no Catholic prelate would tell the President - should he be Catholic - how to act.”

He also drew a sharp distinction between his private religious views and his public political views, pledging that his private faith would have no bearing on his actions as president. “Whatever issue may come before me as President, if I should be elected, on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject, I will make my decision in accordance with these views - in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressure or dictates.”

I would like to know whether Bachmann will say the same about her evangelical Protestantism. If her husband tells her to veto a bill, will she submit to him? Is there any separation for her, as there was for Kennedy, between her private religious doctrines (in this case, that wives should be submissive to their husbands) and her public responsibilities (to act as "the decider")?

2. “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

When I watched Perry’s performance at “The Response,” this Bible quote came to mind. I would like to know what he thinks of it.

Should Christians make a show of praying in public? This passage at least would seem to say no. In fact, it seems to say that when you pray you should go into your room and shut the door before addressing God. But perhaps I am misreading it. Either way, I would like for Perry to tell me what he makes of this Bible passage. And Bachmann, too, while we are at it.

3.  “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13).

Part of the Ten Commandments, this passage has been used by many social conservatives to argue against Roe v. Wade and abortion rights. After all, if God said, “Thou shalt not kill” then why are we taking lives inside the womb?  But if God said, “Thou shalt not kill” then why are we allowing capital punishment?

I would like to hear from both Perry and Bachmann about how they read this passage, and how it can simultaneously justify opposition to abortion rights and support for the death penalty. (During his term as Texas governor, Perry has overseen 234 executions. Bachmann's position on the issue is unclear.)

4.  “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s” (Luke 20:25).

This famous quotation, which appears in parallel form in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, arises when Jesus is asked a "gotcha" question about paying taxes to the Roman government. It has been read in various ways by various Christians.

Nonetheless, Jesus seems to be drawing a clear distinction here between religious and secular authority - a distinction that neither Perry nor Bachmann appears to see.

Admittedly, neither of these candidates agrees with the famous metaphor of Thomas Jefferson famous metaphor of a “wall of separation between church and state” but does either see a line of demarcation of any sort - a picket fence, perhaps - between “what is Caesar’s” and “what is God’s”?

5.  “Blessed are the poor" (Luke 6:20).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus famously begins, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). In Luke, he says, more simply, “Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Luke 6:20).

This Lukan passage is a key source in the social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church for the so-called “preferential option for the poor”—the notion that Christian communities have a particular responsibility to take care of the poor in their midst.

How do Perry and Bachmann read this passage? Did Luke mess up by leaving out "in spirit"? Or did Jesus really say "Blessed are the poor"? And if he did say that, what did he mean by it? Do his words carry any meaning for us today, and to the way we craft our federal budget?

I have more quotations, of course, but these five will do for now.

I presume both candidates will acknowledge that these passages are, in fact, in the Bible. And I take it for granted that, as self-professed Bible-believing Christians, they believe these passages are true. But what truths do they teach? And what import, if any, do those truths have on their public policies?

I understand the impulse to draft Jesus into your political campaign. At least in U.S. politics, Jesus is good for business. But if you are going to call Jesus to your side, you need to let voters know how that affects your politics. Might you change your mind if you saw that a political position of yours was contradicted by the Bible? Or is the Bible a dead letter, useful for invoking divine authority but never for correction or reprove?

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Bachmann • Bible • Christianity • Politics • Rick Perry • United States

soundoff (1,020 Responses)
  1. Gup20

    Point #1 – should female presidents submit to their husbands? The author gets it completely wrong when he says "Bauchmann did not answer the question" when she answered that it means she is to respect her husband. In fact, this was the exactly correct answer by Bauchmann. He also gets wrong the passage – He uses Colossians 3:18, but this is more a summery. The idea is greatly expounded upon in Ephesians 5, which is the Bible's greatest treatise on marriage. In Ephesians 5 it says:

    Eph 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
    22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
    25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
    Eph 5:33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

    So it says in verse 21 to be subject to one another. Eph 5:22-24 describes how a wife is to submit to her husband (by respecting him) and verses 25-32 describe how a husband is to submit to his wife (by loving her). Then verse 33 gives a summery – husbands, love your wives, and wives, respect your husbands.

    People looking to proof text will rarely read all of Ephesians 5. They will see "wives submit to your husbands" and seize upon it as proof of gender inequality of the Bible. But in actuality, if they would take the time to read the context, they would see that the Bible is in fact equal – stating they should submit to each other – a husband submits to his wife's need for love, and a wife submits to her husbands need for respect. The is no inequality there. Furthermore even in the Colossians passage –

    Col 3:18 Wives, be subject to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
    Col 3:19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.

    Again, even though the Colossians passage is less verbose, it still demonstrates an equality within Biblical marriage. This is largely ignored by those who talk about this situation – especially those in the media.

    August 17, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Gup20: being "subject" to someone or "submitting" to someone is not a relationship of equals. The author of this article got it right. You may not like what he's saying, but that doesn't detract from the facts that he's stating. You may also recall the traditional (archaic) wedding vows: the man promises only to love his wife and share his property with her; the woman promises to love and *obey* her husband. The author is not making it up. Bachmann sidestepped the question. Unlike in ancient times, most modern, Western people view a husband and wife as equals, not as a master and his "subject." All of the observations the author makes are quite accurate.

      August 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
    • Gup20

      @Alex Gessong: If a husband submits to his wife and a wife submits to her husband, then both are in submission, and it is an equal relationship. In a marriage, a man and a woman have equal but often differing needs. A woman submits to her husband by being willing to fulfill his needs, and a husband submits to his wife by being willing to submit to her needs – even if they don't share the same needs. This is the basis for the scripture – equal submission.

      I don't believe Bauchmann sidestepped the question. She answered directly, and accurately. The question was regarding her beliefs and how she interprets "submission". Her answer is logically and Biblically sound. You don't seem willing to accept the fact that mutual submission exists, and therefore you will never be capable of understanding Bauchmann's answer. Indeed, mutual submission in decision making doesn't work – you go first, no you go first, no you go first, no you go first. But mutual submission as it pertains to meeting one another's needs is clearly viable. A husband needs respect – it is his greatest need, and his wife can submit to him by giving him the respect he needs. A wife's greatest need is love. A husband submits to his wife by loving her in ways that are meaningful to her, even if those ways aren't compatible with his need for respect.

      August 17, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Gup20: that's the issue exactly: the husband is *not* told to submit to his wife; only the *wife* is told to submit. Bachmann was asked whether she supports that directive, and she sidestepped the question. Just as she sidestepped the issue of having thought that yesterday was Elvis Pressley's birthday when it was actually then anniversary of his death. She wouldn't admit that she had made a mistake; instead she said "Elvis is always alive in our hearts." When she has no comfortable answer to a question, she sidesteps it and answers as if the question had been something else. She was absolutely did *not* answer the question of whether a wife should submit to her husband. Instead she simply stated that she and her husband respected each other. The question really warrants something like "yes" or "no", optionally including statements about why the response is "yes" or "no." She chose not to answer the question. While that was certainly her choice, it's also a plain and simple fact. You may reply to my reply, but at this point I've devoted all the time to Ms. Bachmann that I'm willing to. Have a nice day!

      August 17, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
    • Gup20

      @Alex Gessong: The husband is indeed told to submit to his wife's need for love; Ephesians 5:21 says "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." It then describes that a husband submits by loving his wife, and a wife submits by respecting her husband, as we can see from the summery in Ephesians 5:33; "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband."

      Moreover, Alex, the word used for "love" in the Original Greek is AGAPE. There are 3 words the Bible uses for love – one for erotic love, one for brotherly or friendship love and one for "the God kind of love". Agape is the God kind of love. It means unconditional love. So not only are we told to submit to our wives' need for love, but to do so unconditionally – meaning we show them love regardless of their behavior or performance – regardless of whether they deserve it.

      Consider the question – "have you stopped beating your wife?" Clearly, a yes or a no is detrimental to the person answering. When ignorant people ask the wrong question, it is foolishness to indulge their ignorance. When the person asked the question of Bauchmann they brought all of their own incorrect assumptions into the question. Bauchmann answered correctly in that she pointed out the flaw in the assumptive framework of the question. To the above question, the correct answer would be "you have it wrong... I never have beat my wife." To the question of whether Bauchmann follows the BIble and submits to her husband, the correct answer is that that form of submission is not what the Bible is talking about. Bauchmann did that by pointing out it doesn't mean doing what the other person tells you ... it means showing honor and respect to your husband.

      August 18, 2011 at 9:28 am |
    • Frogist

      @Gup20: It does not actually 'say' a husband submits to anyone with the exception of God. What you have gleaned is your interpretation. That summary you have quoted is actually not equal either. Love (any of the kinds you mention) is not reverence. To revere means to worship or to put on a pedestal. That is not a matter of equal or mutual submission. If it was then, as Alex Gessong pointed out, the language would be the same. But it is not. It is clearly the male as dominant and female as submissive. The rest of the Ephesians 5 makes that pretty clear. And it's pretty clear that's how Bachmann interpreted it as well since she said she didn't want to study tax law but she had to do what her husband told her because her religion says to submit to his will. Bachmann didn't answer the question. Most likely because she knew no matter what she answered she would be losing votes. It was a pretty clear test of what her true feelings were, which are apparently say whatever to get the votes.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:02 am |
  2. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    Steven Prothero makes a good argument for atheism. "“Thou shalt not kill”. Yeah, right. Right after Moses came down from the mountain and smashed the 10 commandments, he ordered the coldblooded murder of 3,000 people for worshiping the golden calf. Not to mention all the murder in the bible that happened before and after the 10 commandments were issued.

    August 17, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @victim: actually it's Republicans who are the hypocrites, particularly during election seasons. They yell about being "christians" even as they reject what Christ preached. Christ preached tolerance and non-violence. Christ said "be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves." Christ said "if some hits you on the cheek, turn and let him hit the other cheek, too." Christ said "judge not, lest you be judged." Christ said "do good to those who persecute you." Republicans reject the tolerance and pacifism that Christ taught. Christ said "blessed is the peacemaker." Christ would not be welcome at a Tea Party or NRA rally. Christ didn't shun sinners or mock them; Christ went among them and preached a better way. Christ also said "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth." Don't find many meek people at Tea Party rallies. Conservatives who call themselves christians are hypocrites, pure and simple.

      August 17, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
  3. Reality

    What M. Bachmann and R. Perry's answers should be:

    1. Colossians 3:18, as per most contemporary NT scholars, was not written by "St". Paul but by a pseudo-Paul so it therefore carries no weight as to divine inspiration.

    2. Matt 6:6 , a single attestation from the third stratum (80-120 CE) historically unreliable. e.g. See Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 146.

    3. Exodus 20:12, as per 1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis, there was no Exodus.

    To wit:

    The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel – not one shard of pottery."

    The Ten Commandments also were not Jewish originals. Analogous rules were written before the OT by King Hammurabi of Babylon and by the Egyptians i.e. the Book of the Dead. (Hammurabi's Code and the Book of the Dead are both on-line).

    4. Luke 20:25- authentic Jesus based on the conclusions of all contemporary NT scholars. However as with all the NT, one must keep in mind the following:

    Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospels being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European, white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher man would do or say?

    5. Luke 6:20 From Professor JD Crossan's analyses:

    Stratum: I (30-60 CE)
    Attestation: Triple
    Historicity: Positive
    Common Sayings Tradition: Yes

    But most if not all NT scholars conclude that Matthew's version of the Beat-itudes is historically the more accurate:

    Matt 5:3

    "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

    So where did this simple preacher man come up with these beati-tudes? John the Baptist ?. Traveling Greek Cynics (See Professor JD Crossan's studies published in over 20 books on the historical Jesus). Then there is the issue of "insanity". Even Jesus' family thought he was a bit odd.

    Mark 3:20-21 "20 Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. 21 When his family[a] heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

    BTW, Mark 3:20-21 has been judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    August 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Jennifer

      "1.5 million Conservative Jews and their rabbis" the other 90% disagree....

      August 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Reality: Very thorough narrative! Thanks for an interesting read! I'm surprised the angry hordes have not yet replied, though.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • J.W

      They have replied the first 1000 times they saw that post

      August 17, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • CRAIG

      PLEASE GIVE IT A REST

      August 17, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  4. Mike Dodd

    You do not have to be an athiest to be in politics. You do not have to check your religion at the door. The founders did not want any government run religion, but wanted to allow for the free exercise of religion. That includes the president and anyone in office, of any religion. They can practice their belief or lack there of, and it can even influence there decisions just as any moral compass can. To say otherwise is ignorant of what our founding fathers wanted.

    August 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Trevor

      The degree of your misunderstanding is quite amazing. Think again about separation of church and state.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Mike Dodd: No one has ever asked their elected officials to check their religion at the door. That's a fallacy. What we ask of our representatives, in any field, not just political, is that they do their job. That's what they are hired for. If I hire someone to wash dishes on the weekend, and they then say they won't do that on Sunday because it's God's day of rest, we obviously chose the wrong dishwasher since he won't do the job half the time. If we hire a congressman, and he refuses to do what is best for his const!tuents and his country because he is too busy doing what he thinks is good for his God, well he's the wrong person for the job. Bachmann and Perry are the wrong persons for the job.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:18 am |
  5. Steven Gaynor

    I see only one bible passage and that is misquoted. The other 4 are from the New Testament and while the majority of the people in the USA may be Christians, many are not so these should not apply. As far as the commandment 'thou shalt not kill', the original Hebrew word more closely translates to 'murder'. So stop forcing religion into the mix – get rid of all religious based issues – they do not matter. Focus on improving the economy, education, health care. Plenty of work to do in these categories.

    August 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • victim of democrat hypocrisy

      There were plenty of murders committed in the old testament before and after the 10 commandments, both on the order of Moses and your hypocritical god.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Andrew

      Incorrect.

      The translation falls somewhere between kill and murder. Catholics typically translate it as Kill, and protestants typically use Murder. Neither is correct. The real question, if you are a Christian: Did J C ever kill anybody? His example is as important as his words. Did he execute anybody for their wrong doings? Or did He forgive?

      August 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  6. pat

    The actual submission quote should include as you (the husband) submit to God, so they are free to go as the husbands are obviously not submitting to Christ. Also Jesus only submitted to God the Father and no one else and Paul went out of his way to tell Christians to be submissive all over the place, seems that a Constantine lackey may have altered some text.

    August 17, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Trevor

      There's an S & M message behind all Christianity, for sure.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  7. Ben

    The media is or they think that as long as they control who gets air time they control who gets elected. Maybe they will come up with another short catch phrase for the sheep. CHANGE.

    August 17, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
  8. Ben

    Absolutely no Ron Paul Coverage even though he took second in the straw poll. What dont they want you to SEE????

    August 17, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • victim of democrat hypocrisy

      That Ron Paul is a nutjob. Duh!

      August 17, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Ben: we know Ron Paul took second in the straw poll because the media reported it. There's no conspiracy to hide Ron Paul. He's just not as "flashy" as a Michelle Bachmann or Rick Perry or any of the other candidates who make wild, ridiculous statements. Ron Paul actually gives thought to what he says. This translates to "dull" in terms of soundbites, so he doesn't get as much press time as the others do. As long as he appears in debates, he will be heard by a national audience, because the media will broadcast the debates. They won't blur out his image or mute his microphone. He may make sense, but he won't make good soundbites.

      August 17, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  9. Cali36

    First I would like to say that you can not separate your religious views from your political views. Your world view/religious view dictates what you believe and thus how you act, including what you believe would be beneficial for the country. If you consistently do not act according to what you say you believe then only one conclusion can be drawn, you don't really believe it.

    Second, all of these quotes out of scripture are mere sentences taken out of paragraphs. With out proper context anything can be made to seem ridiculous or hypocritical. I would encourage everyone, especially the author to the whole letter/ book that the verses were taken out of and compare them to the rest of the bible. You then can see the consistency of the messages from Jesus.

    third as I need to get back to work, The sixth commandment is not you shall not kill... it is you shall not murder. Huge differences between the two words in ancient hebrew and in our modern language. So the difference between taking an innocent's life (abortion) and someone paying the debt for their crime (death penalty) actually become quite clear.

    August 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • Cali36

      should read , "encourage everyone to read the whole letter/book"

      August 17, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Trevor

      So how is it that your omnipotent fairy being would allow his followers to have to follow an error-laden, self contradicting text that is so readily taken out of context and misinterpreted?

      Hint: your Christian stories are mostly fiction with a few historical anchors thrown in so they don't get tossed out quite so readily by the merely stupid. Start living your life well, like it's the only one you have, because it is.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Cali36: actually, the Bible does address the issue of abortion directly. Causing the death of a fetus is treated as a property crime. Depending on the stage of development, the person who causes the pregnancy to terminate has to pay the father a fee, which starts small and increases depending on how far along the pregnancy was. It was not treated as murder (which was punishable by death), just as something that required monetary compensation to the father. You will find that in the Old Testament if you're curious. It also says that a fetus is not even considered to be alive until the mother feels the fetus kick. If we want to apply religious law to this question, it's right there in the Old Testament. Old Testament law also says that men shouldn't shave their beards or cut certain parts of their scalp hair. But, as we know, people disregard religious laws that they don't like, even when they try to use religious law to support their arguments.

      August 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  10. JB21

    There was something in there, you know, about separation of religion and state, do WE remember that?

    August 17, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  11. JMK

    Isn't there a passage against swearing on so many pledges?

    August 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Sean

      Could be in the newest ‘translation’.. but keep reading I’m sure you’d find another verse with the complete opposite message.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • J.W

      Yes Jesus said that we should not take oaths or pledges. It was in the Sermon on the Mount.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Free

      And yet presidents get sworn into office. Will either of these candidates opt out of this should either of them should be elected?

      August 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • LinCA

      @JMK and J.W

      JMK said "Isn't there a passage against swearing on so many pledges?", while J.W said "Yes Jesus said that we should not take oaths or pledges. It was in the Sermon on the Mount."

      I think we agree, but for different reasons.

      Because any society is made up of people with a wide variety of views, their elected officials have to work together to ensure that whatever is done to govern that society is done in a way that best represents all citizens. That doesn't mean that everyone will get their way. It means that, on balance, everyone will be equally represented. Therefor, for a civilized society to function, the ability to compromise by its leaders is an absolute requirement.

      By refusing to compromise, politicians either become like the playground bullies, if they are in the majority, or the whining child in the candy aisle, if they are in the minority. Either way is childish. Those unwilling to consider compromise are unfit to govern.

      Bachmann, her fellow tea party morons and a lot of other republicans have taken to signing pledges lately. By doing so, they remove a critical part of the democratic process that makes it suitable for governing a civilized society. Once they've removed their ability to compromise they will have shown themselves to be unfit for elected office.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • J.W

      Free personally I would say that they should not, although I am sure not all would agree. LinCa I think that that is a good reason not to take pledges as well. The reason that Jesus said was that if you take a pledge that say that I swore to God that I will tell the truth that implies that I would otherwise be lying, when we should always tell the truth. Although when a pledge or oath binds you to doing something that is wrong as well.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  12. GeorgeBos95

    Religious questions have no place in the debate about governing.

    If a candidate thinks it is appropriate, they will not have my vote.

    August 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  13. Bayousara

    Also, how does "Thou Shalt Not Kill" figure into our never-ending wars? It seems the more "religious" the president, the more wars we are injected into.

    August 17, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • Free

      Not just declared war, but how about clandestine operations? Would a 'Christian' president order somebody assassinated? It sure didn't seem unChristian to Pat Robertson, did it?

      August 17, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  14. Harold

    They will perform whatever mental gymnastics are required to give an answer that can mean anything... in the spirit, as always, of a good Christian.

    August 17, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  15. N.Shaipiro

    The commandment is "THOU SHALL NOT MURDER", not "thou shall not kill",
    an unfortunate mistranslation in the King James version.
    ns

    August 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • NOo..oON

      Wait, you're not saying that the Bible isn't inerrant, are you?

      August 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • Free

      Then the question comes to whether assassination is a form of murder. If it is, would a Christian president order somebody killed like Pat Robertson dreamt about happening to Chavez? If not, then wouldn't our enemies suddenly become a whole lot bolder knowing that being taken out by our government was off the table? A politically anxious president with this conviction might even go so far as to protect our enemies from harm, just to avoid the speculation that they would be capable of doing such a thing.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  16. Bus2

    Why are the candidates being asked about quotes from some fairy-book? What's next? Arguing about what color the Tooth Fairy's tutu is? What smurfberries tastle like? How much Santa Clause can bench press?

    August 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • JoePub

      Smurfberries were good. At least the cereal was.

      August 17, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Free

      Actually, under whose jurisdiction Santa's Workshop lies is an important question. All the circu.mpolar countries claim territorial limits to the point of the North Pole, but who gets to charge Santa for all the mail delivery? 🙂

      August 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
    • wes

      Sarah Palin

      August 17, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  17. amarjit

    Despite so clear writings in Bible as well other holy scriptures, none follows it in personal & potical life in real world.

    August 17, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Free

      'Clear'?! Seriously?

      August 17, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Stevie7

      @free, clear is a relative term. As in, mud is clearer than asphalt. The bible is (arguably) clearer than, say, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili

      August 17, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  18. B-man

    Question five is easy. As Republicans they would logically support the wealthy over the poor, that has potentially (the debate is still out in some circles of course) increased the income gap and driven more people into unemployment. Making more and more of the blessed poor. Once these policies succeed in making the vast majority of Americans poor, they will tackle the "rich man into heaven/camel through the eye of a needle" problem.

    August 17, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • JJT

      I am surprised to see that this blogger is a religious scholar with Boston University. He CLEARLY has a limited understanding of biblical interpretation given that the "submit" passage when translated correctly is not about submit as we think about it today (such as employee to boss etc.) but is about mutual respect. And of course the second part of this passage that everyone always leaves out...husbands love your wives. In Ephesians Paul goes further and say husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church, which of course he died for. Paul gives direction to both husband and wife in these passages, teaching how to be in a marriage that is signified by mutual love and respect. So representative Bachmann did in fact give a very sound biblical answer, especially given that this topic would need far more time than a 30 second sound byte for correct interpretation and explanation.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Free

      JJT
      Anyone who still uses the KJV of the Bible and reads it with the help of Strong's Concordance, and that's a WHOLE lot of people, would likely disagree.

      August 17, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Frogist

      @JJT:
      The husband has to give his wife love. But love and respect are two sometimes mutually exclusive principles. And love does not necessarily require submission. So we cannot assume that when the passage reads 'love' it absolutely includes respect or submission. We can only go with what is there. What is there is the wife is secondary and must submit and revere her husband as if he is carrying out God's will. The husband's only command is to love his wife. That is not equal.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  19. ReligonissuchBullshi*

    The delusional questioning the delusional. Please CNN stop with the "Faith" page. It's laughable news at best.

    August 17, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • J.W

      A lot of people are interested in it. Don't read it if you don't like it.

      August 17, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  20. SciFiChickie

    Since this is America & they are both running for President, The only question about religion that matters to me is...
    Do you believe that Sepparation of Church & State is key for a fair & impartial government, & if you do why would you oppose Gay Marriage?

    August 17, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      good question to ask

      August 17, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • B-man

      like, like likety like like

      August 17, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Hear! Hear!

      August 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • SciFiChickie

      I also think that this question needs to be asked of every Senator, & Congress man/woman, before they run for office...

      August 17, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • BNB42

      "like" button clicked repeatedly...

      August 17, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • Roland

      SciFiChickie is my new best friend

      August 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
    • Arne

      SciFiChickie is my hero.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • sam

      I vote for SciFiChickie.

      August 17, 2011 at 4:17 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.