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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. nacholibre

    So when can we be expecting your article "5 Biblical Passages for Barack Obama"?'

    August 22, 2011 at 1:30 am |
  2. cocoasmom

    Geez, I thought by now that pretty much EVERYONE knew that the Hebrew word translated into "kill' in English was actually the word for MURDER. Plus, that the scriptures were pretty plain that there is accidental killing, killing in war, killing as punishment for what was considered a capital crime.

    Do your research before you make stupid statements about something that was written thousands of year ago, in a different language, to a different people than we here in the US now.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:38 am |
  3. KJV

    How come CNN's writers/opinions are usually biased against Christians? The writer of this article has taken Scriptue completly out of context and seems like he is trying to bash those he writes about. I bet he'll never say anything negative about Mohammed.

    August 21, 2011 at 8:04 am |
    • David

      To KJV: How is the article biased against Christians?

      August 21, 2011 at 8:42 am |
    • LC

      Not sure how this is Christian bashing. As a devout Christian, I am relieved to finally see another Christian calling these politicians on the carpet for their picking and choosing of what they will follow from the Bible when they put their religion as front and centre. I often wonder how I belong to the same religion as so many around me because my reading of the Bible has left me with far more "liberal-leaning" political beliefs than those in my area (I wasn't raised here) based on all these same types of scriptures. You can't split hairs. If you are against abortion, then you can't be in favour of the death penalty. You can't be against programs for the poor because you are taught as a Christian that you are to take care of the poor and those in need. These candidates are opportunists, twisting their religion to fit their extreme political views in ways that actually contradicts what the Bible teaches. For other Christian politicians who have not made their religion a way of selling themselves to the evangelicals, they don't open themselves up to being shown how much they pervert their beliefs for gain through their hypocrisy. These two are hypocrites. Add Palin in there, too, please.

      August 22, 2011 at 12:51 am |
    • Keith

      LC, you claim to be Christian? Certainly you see how all these verses have been used out of context, then, right?

      August 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  4. The Beagle

    How about "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor" (Exodus 20:16)?

    For my take on why politicians like Michele Bachman lie so much visit my blog at http://pathofthebeagle.com/2011/08/18/why-do-christian-politicians-lie/ .

    (Note to those who tried earlier: the link has been fixed.)

    August 20, 2011 at 9:49 am |
  5. Keith

    J.W., Wrong. ASSume some more if feel led to do so. The Bible the O.T. and N.T., but it is one book. Therefore, the whole counsel of God must be considered when viewing any one verse.

    August 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  6. bud

    This "scholar" seems to believe the Bible was written in English or translated verbatim which is ridiculous. But I hate to interfere with a good witch hunt. It seems he has more questions to answer himself before he goes asking someone else. Doesn't CNN have editors?

    August 18, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  7. mrkusn

    Despite this author's oversimplification and misinterpretation of Scripture as well as the reductionistic summaries of the beliefs of the candidate, I do agree with the central purpose of the article. American Evangelicals, like myself, have often misapplied or downgraded our own Scripture for political purposes. All I can say is repentance is in order. We have lost our way in this arena. The other point here is that Evangelicals are not a monolithic voting bloc. There is an increasing number of independently-minded folks who take issue-by-issue both parties to task. Bachmann and Perry may come from the popular notions of Evangelicalism as defined by the culture rather than the actual tenets of the faith. In this they are in danger of championing only a small number of issues. We have trapped ourselves in this cultural context and refuse to break free due to the quest for political influence. It is time for a divorce from the GOP in particular and other parties in general.

    August 18, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Nonimus

      "It is time for a divorce from the GOP in particular and other parties in general."
      Hear! Hear!

      Just as something else to think about. You see how easy it is to interpret, cherry-pick, or misuse scripture and faith in general, might that indicate a loose or weak foundation? Perhaps another approach is in order.

      August 18, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  8. Bulldog

    Mr. Prothero's views were telegraphed in his intro- a religion scholar at Boston University. I didn't have to read the article to see where this was going. Mr. Prothero, if you want to preach, get ordained and try to find a congregation to listen.

    August 18, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • Normon

      Your comment was telegraphed by your first sentence, no reason to read the rest of it.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  9. Big Man

    Why even quote from a piece of literature (at best) from a culture that has little to do with our own. Once we rid ourselves of the yoke of these creepy Abrahamic religions the better, the freer, cleary thinking, realistic/practical our society will be.

    August 18, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Don

      Oh my gosh – "quote from a piece of literature (at best) from a culture that has little to do with our own" Award for most clueless comment of the year! That's like saying the sun has little to do with the day...

      August 19, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  10. Upon this rock

    This Country will never have a woman President. If Hillary Clinton backed away from it, be assured no woman will ever be elected. Does that mean I dis-like women? Not with a beautiful wife, two daughters and three grand daughters. I am just
    exposing reality.

    August 18, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  11. Matthew

    I have some reponses for Mr. Prothero!
    1. Probing, but valid question, not sure how Bachmann’s going to address that.
    2. That’s ridiculous. There’s nothing wrong with a governor publicly praying for their state, or a president praying for his country, for that matter. Were Lincoln and FDR out of line when they gave their ‘Prayer for Peace’, and ‘Prayer in Dark Times’, respectively? Were they just attempting to showcase their piety, as Mr. Prothero suggests Perry is doing? Rather, I think they were leading, properly.
    3. There is a big difference between killing a completely innocent, preborn baby, and executing a convicted serial murderer. The bible makes a clear distinction between murder and execution of criminals (not to mention violence in war), big difference. Poor question by Mr. Prothero.
    4. Mr. Prothero quotes the idea of ‘separation of church and state’ that came from Jefferson’s letter, yet, ironically, Jefferson himself drafted a resolution for a national day of “Prayer, Humiliation and Fasting” in 1774. In fact, there have been 146 calls for prayer, humiliation, fasting and thanksgiving by the President of the U.S. Were they all out of line?
    5. You have to balance those verses out with “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat” -2Thessalonians 3:10. We shouldn't enable those who are simply unwilling to work. Then, of course, there’s the question of the whether the government or the church should bear the responsibility for taking care of the poor/widows/orphas/helpless, as the church is called to do.

    August 18, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • Kelley

      3. The commandment isn't "Thou shalt not kill the innocent." Even the most heinous criminals were made in the image and likeness of God. This is the primary sticking point to our two party system. EVERY human being is sacred and deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Capital punishment, abortion, euthanasia, not caring for the poor and marginalized, unjustified war, not caring for our environment – all of these issues are life issues, and neither political party has it 100% right. Our prison system may be flawed, but life in prison is usually adequate – and costs the taxpayers less than execution. I'm all for a new party that is truly pro-life in every way.

      August 18, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • J.W

      I think many innocent people do die in war, and we probably have executed innocent people.

      August 18, 2011 at 10:49 am |
    • Free

      Kelley
      How are you on giving full 'dignity and respect' to gay folks and allowing them to marry?

      August 18, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  12. JennyTX

    Why do many Christians believe that theirs is the only religion that counts? Religions are beliefs, not facts.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • Faith

      Because there are only two religions in this world. Jesus or self. Christians trust Jesus over self for salvation and all others trust self's merit – conclusion from studying all religions. That's the difference and it's a huge difference.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • jmb2fly

      Jesus gives us the choice to accept or reject Him. He didn't allow us the option of say that He is a way to get to Heaven; He made it clear that He is THE WAY. It's still your choice to accept His claims or not......

      August 17, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Faith

      Excluding the Biblical Christianity, adopting any religion makes no difference. You have to be a person who does morally good. God says humans are all sinners and doing good or understanding something never redeems a single human soul. Only the faith in the atonement of the Divine Jesus can save humans and that's why Jesus is the Savior of the world. No human can save himself or herself. Trusting Jesus alone equals acknowledging God as God.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • jmb2fly

      Religions are beliefs, not facts. True, but they make claims about what the facts are. Religions make Truth Claims. We can't know everything about everything, so we all have beliefs about Truth of one sort or another. If I didn't believe that Christianity was the only "religion that counts" then I wouldn't be a Christian; I'd be something else....

      August 17, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • jmb2fly

      By the way, I like your question.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:04 pm |
    • Free

      Faith
      What if what you are only really interested in is being morally good, because you see that as being a benefit to society and yourself; and you aren't so selfish as to judge others and even take their rights away simply to better your chances at getting into some proposed exclusive afterlife country club?

      To me, a lot of believers seem more than willing to throw others under the proverbial bus and to act rather disagreeable thinking that this is something that their God actually values, but what if they're wrong? What if their God doesn't like their telling people that they're going to Hell, or evil just because they disagree with them? What if there isn't really a God out there asking people to do these things? Then all of that bigotry and hate was for nothing, yes?

      You can cite Pascal's Wager and say that you have nothing to lose, but everything to gain by believing, but I'd rather not take the chance of hurting somebody unnecessarily, not even for the ultimately selfish end of getting my butt into heaven. I'd rather take the chance of burning.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • jmb2fly

      FREE,

      How do you define morally good? How is your definition of morally good any more valid than any other human beings definition of morally good? If God doesn't exist, and everything has come into being by chance, how does life have any real purpose and how does good or bad have any meaning that could possibly be universal? It's nice that you wish to be morally good just for sake of being good. That's laudable. But without a universal standard of morality then Adolf Hitler, Stalin, Osama bin Laden all have standards of morality that are just as valid as yours'. They all had the tendency to get rid of anyone who disagreed with them so that leaves you nice guys in bad shape.

      August 19, 2011 at 12:41 am |
    • Free

      jmb2fly

      "How is your definition of morally good any more valid than any other human beings definition of morally good?"
      Exactly, and I could ask you the same, right? Christianity goes a step further in making having the wrong thoughts (not believing in God) a crime punishable in the extreme.

      It's up to the individual to find 'meaning' for their lives. Whatever standards of morality the tyrants you mentioned had it wasn't a universal one, and neither is Christianity's. Christianity is only good and moral for the Christians who accept it. To all others it fails to be a valid moral code in the same way you probably view Islam. Morality really is flexible. In times of plenty giving charity may be accepted as a good thing, but when your own are dest.itute then giving away resources could be seen as an evil. All we can do is try to do what is best under the current circu.mstances, and forcing yourself to conform to ancient rules of conduct is only a formula for regularly missing this mark.

      The Church also had the tendency to get rid of anyone who disagreed with them. Usually they burned them as heretics, or witches.

      August 19, 2011 at 1:06 am |
    • nacholibre

      Because 2 opposite and contradicting ideas cannot both be true. If one is true, the other must be false.

      August 22, 2011 at 1:34 am |
  13. Me

    RICK PERRY IS A TRAITOR – LITERALLY. He agreed to act as an agent for a foreign power and to harm this country. He made a deal with a company owned by Spaniards and headquartered in Spain to build toll roads in Texas. In return for putting up the money to build the roads, the company is allowed to keep all the revenues generated by the tolls for 75 years. Part of the deal was that the state of Texas has to work to maximize the Spanish company's profits. That means the state has to take measure to drive traffic off the existing roads and onto the new toll roads. One of the measures is to slow down maintenance on the existing roads, to allow them to deteriorate so they become so rough, drivers would switch to the toll roads. He agreed to cause damage to critical infrastructure in the United States of America in order to serve the ends of a company owned and run by foreigners. Rick Perry agreed to harm this nation on behalf of a different nation. RICK PERRY IS A TRAITOR.

    August 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm |
  14. Faith

    The American non-believers are like spoiled kids who scorn at the rich food their good parents prepared while other kids are starving. America's excellent heritage will be handed down to some other peoples and not to Americans at this rate. Thankless people wreck lives at the end.

    August 17, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Steve

      You mean great examples of religious heratige like burning women at the stake in Salem, and all the religious "justifications" for slavery and segregation? Great stuff from religion there.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:25 am |
  15. Faith

    Americans have this strange grudge against Christianity – a Christianity complex. Because they have no idea on the horror of the absence of the organized Christianity and also their Biblical knowledge is premature if not pitifully poor. Also, Americans worship their idea of secular human rights as sacred though the concepts of human freedom, human rights, dignity and honor do not exist outside of Christianity. In that regards, total ignorant pagans have far better honest at-ti-tudes towards Christianity.

    August 17, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Free

      You are aware that a pretty big swath of the US is called the 'Bible Belt' for a reason, don't you?

      August 18, 2011 at 12:19 am |
  16. Faith

    Mr. Prothero, the Bible requires a systematic study. Stick to secularism, your own religion.

    August 17, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Free

      So, 'systematic study' to you means that he must disregard his own conclusions and accept yours on blind trust, right? Your arrogance is shining through once again.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  17. Faith

    ANSWERS:

    #5 – The Words of Jesus is profound. Read the whole chapters again. Matthew stressed the spiritual realms and Luke stressed the physical sides of the matter. In reality, it's really a blessing to go through life's pain and poverty; we come to understand life richly through those. But any better-off Christians have a holy duty to help the poor and needy in the utmost effort to rescue humanity from the physical ills.

    #4 – Jesus taught us that normal civil odedience must be kept unless it collides with the obedience to God. Abortion and ho-mo-se-xual marriage are against God's will so those must be opposed by all Christians. No distinction of ethics and politics here.

    #3 – Read the whole Pentateuch. Killing fetus willfully, not by accident, is murder because we were all once a fetus. The Bible says personal life starts from conception. Psalm 139. Killing enemy combatants in battles for self-defense and protection of the home country and executing vicious criminals by justice are perfectly acceptable and are commanded by God. Those who refuse to do so are bad citizens(or simply fools) and villains' unjust comrades.

    #2 – Mr. Prothero, read the whole chapter. It's never an exclusive command. Jesus simply prohibited spiritual hypocricy. He Himself prayed in private AND in public – a lot. And all the prophets, kings and disciples in the Bible prayed publicly a lot according to the will of God and the nations got blessed by them. Mr. Perry did right in calling Americans to pray in public. But we must never pray with hypocricy and should pray in private a lot to live as the true people of God.

    #1, yes, wives must submit to husbands. Americans, being the Hollywood sheep, enjoy trapping the conservative candidates too much. The late President Kennedy has been wrong and he lied unconsciously. Conscience can never be separated from one's own religion. Why do Americans still naively believe such childish quotes of a politician who simply wanted more votes?

    August 17, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
    • jmb2fly

      Well said........

      Mr. Prothero, Satan quotes scripture to, when it suits him.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Free

      jmb2fly
      Satan can quote scripture, but can he read it? Apparently not if you believe he is has to follow some set script during the Second Coming.

      August 18, 2011 at 12:22 am |
    • jmb2fly

      Free, if you are not a believer that's O.K. You get to choose. At the same time God is in control. How is that possible? I don't have all the answers, and to think that I could is arrogance. Just because there are things that you and I have a hard time wrapping our minds around it doesn't mean it can't be that way. It just might mean that you and I are not god....

      August 18, 2011 at 12:44 am |
    • Free

      jmb2fly
      "At the same time God is in control."
      Isn't making that statement, without any objective evidence to support it, and speaking to my understanding of things rather arrogant?

      August 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
    • Fred1

      Hey Faith: Here’s a little part of the Pentateuch you seem to have missed. It doesn’t seem to mind killing

      And Moses said unto them “Have ye saved all the women alive?... Now therefore Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known a man by lying with him, but all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves” Num 31:1-2, 9-11, 14-18

      August 18, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
    • jmb2fly

      O.k Free,

      Again, you don't have to believe. You want objective evidence? I didn't realize that God had to answer to you or anyone else for anything. I also was not aware that you personally know everything that can be known.

      August 19, 2011 at 12:16 am |
    • Free

      jmb2fly

      "God doesn't want to show himself if he doesn't want to" isn't a very convincing argument since the same thing can be said for just about every mythical character. I do not claim to know everything that can be known but, again by the same argument, not being able to know for absolute certainty means that any character from myth could be just as real as God. When confronted with the concept that virtually anything could be real, no matter how slim that possibility is, isn't the rational response not to dwell on such remote possibilities, but to concentrate on what we are more sure of based on evidence? Otherwise you really don't have any logical reason to fear that God exists any more than vampires, dragons or cyclopes, and how irrational would you consider somebody who was absolutely convinced that Dracula was real and out to get her?

      August 19, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  18. IMR 4064

    Stick to islam, Prothero, you're better at it.

    August 17, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  19. Caboose

    I like this guy!

    August 17, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  20. the dude

    When people ask christians to state their opinions or what they think; it is obvious that their morals, convictions, and outlooks are influenced by the bible. It is ridiculous for someone to ask a christian to state their opinion without scripture influence. Christianity is a lifestyle. Mr. Prothero doesn't like public prayer but this country has a deep and rich history of public prayer.

    August 17, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
    • Faith

      America is a Christian nation. Ave-ra-ge Americans never read the Bible or what their forefathers wrote but only the liberal garbages at schools and media. Americans are being deceived on who they are. Like Soviet Union, atheists can burn the Bibles and prohibit them, but not all the historc do-cu-ments and writings of America's founders. Soviets could not destroy all the excellent Christian Ruissian literature. How could anyone? Truth stands forever no matter what secularists try. They can only succeed corrupting Americans but never able to erase the records of America's Christian heritage.

      August 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Faith, it's a shame you don't get a thesaurus so your nonsense can at least be as interesting as Lionly Lamb's.

      August 18, 2011 at 2:22 am |
    • Steve

      Faith quit hyphenating words that don't need it. Jesus Christ.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Free

      Faith
      Maybe America use to be a Christian nation, but only by virtue of the vast majority of European settlers were Christian, and they forced their faith upon the native population. Lately, however, many more non-Christians are immigrating here, and the populations of non-Christians and atheists disenchanted with the treatment of the supernatural as real is growing steadily. So, America can no more be called a 'Christian' nation than a Dalmatian can be called a 'white' dog.

      Atheists here don't burn Bibles generally. If you bother to check you probably will discover that we are amongst the biggest consumers of Bibles in the nation. I, personally, have seven hard copies of various translations and a few electronic versions for my iPhone. Many of us read the Bible more often and more extensively than the average Christian does, and you can deduce where that leads.

      Sure Soviets kept the Russian churches down, and maybe even destroyed some of their materials, but some of these materials probably argued against their rule and was therefore political and not strictly religious writing, yes? Consider also all of the religious material that the Church itself has destroyed throughout its history. Does this historic campaign of book burning by Christians somehow indicate that these materials were great 'truths'? If so, how about all of them that somehow still managed to survive? Perhaps we should consider them as truths that stand forever too, by your 'logic'.

      August 18, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Fred1

      America may have a rich history of public prayer; but the bible specifically says to pray in private. So which takes president historical heritage of direct commandment from the bible

      August 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.