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. Patrick

    I think you have the Matthew 6 down pretty well I would have included the 5th verse as well about hypocrites praying and already having their reward, it illuminates the 6th verse. We are also told not to pray with many words and rambling and think that makes our prayer more acceptable. Good Article. And just so you know I am or try to be a Christian, not all of us are easily decevied.

    September 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  2. Pablo

    In Roman and Pre-Roman times the typical tax rate was 10%.

    So giving Caesar what is Caesars should be a LOT less than the high rates of taxation or extortion from the government we have now.

    Take capital gains, if corporate taxes are 35% and you are then taxed on the capital gains such as dividends at 15% every dollar you earn is taxed at 50%.

    The government does this because we provide a living for others. The eldery, the infirm, those we write off in society because they are incompetent, unskilled, lazy or unfortuante.

    We gurrantee these unproductive people a minimum standard of living and create millions of jobs for public and guvernmental service.

    The Wall Street journal reported this year there are 2 government workers for every worker that PRODUCES a product, that includes manufacturing, farming and mining.

    This is insane. This paster is incorrect about most points in his article. Caesar would be shocked at the abuse of taxation.

    August 31, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • Wall Street

      Some interesting math there Pablo. So I make a million dollars for sitting the BOD of company XYZ...at 35% I owe $350,000. Wow! But in practice the person would pay significantly less after writing off the interest on the mcmansion, the summer home and the yacht, 401k deferrals, charitable deductions on worn out socks and underwear a more likely number is about $100,000. So suppose they take home $900,000. I would guess they spend SOME of that – yachts, wine, caviar, shiny trinkets for the family. Them might save $100,000. Capital gains are not taxed on the principle but the GAIN. The taxable part is the interest ...10% is VERY generous and then 15% tax on that ...$1,500. So, $101,500 on $1,000,000. About right.

      September 1, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Kay

      Thank you, Wall Street for correcting Pablo's terrible misunderstanding about taxation on capital gains and corporations.

      Sadly, people like him (who have never faced such types of taxation so are quite gullible) actually believe incredibly bogus nonsense like "if corporate taxes are 35% and you are then taxed on the capital gains such as dividends at 15% every dollar you earn is taxed at 50%".

      The Pablos of the world don't understand how corporate taxes work. And they don't understand capital gains at all. So they just see "35%" and "15%" and genuinely believe those two figures get added together. What they also don't understand is that this ignorance on their part is encouraged by those people for whom there is never "enough"....people who would take every penny from the Pablos of the world if they could.

      Sadly, the Pablos of the world also don't understand the whole "production" approach toward an economy. They apparently have been convinced that only manufacturing, farming and mining "produce" something. They don't grasp that services produce value as well. By their argument, doctors have no value. Neither do plumbers or auto mechanics or teachers or...well, you get my drift.

      September 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • Melissa

      If we could get many of the largest corporations to even pay only this 10% you say was the rate at the time of the referred-to Caesar, we would be ahead by leaps and bounds.

      They aren't paying even 10%. They aren't even paying net 0% because they are getting credits and subsidies. I understand how religion is being used to manipulate the right, but however they managed to convince the right, most far below incomes of $250,000/year, that corporations are somehow being oppressed is truly amazing.

      Surely when regular folks sit down to do their annual income tax returns, they see some glimpse of how this works?
      That you start out with certain percentage of income you are expected to pay, which gets whittled away by any number of methods?

      September 4, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • Bob

      it doesn't matter. in the future, when there could be trillions of people on this planet, people who work will be paying for people who are poor. it's just natural that in a hightech future where robots do everything and there are no jobs, that you simply have to give poor people money. otherwise, they'll all die and there will be like two people one earth. there probably won't even be any money 50,000 years from now. it will be just people and robots that do everything for you, including repair robots and make other robots. but you still can't have anything you want because of natural resource limitations so there will be like a lottery for things that are not essentials (like food). so if you want a new car, you'll have to like go into a lottery and if you win, the robots will bring you your car. the future is completely socialist, because there are no other options for humane society to keep functioning with capitalism

      September 5, 2011 at 12:33 am |
  3. Freespirit44


    August 30, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  4. Adam

    You picked my favorite, Matthew 6:6. It sums up my belief in God but not in religion. Since I was a kid I knew some "God" but wasn't sure if it was the God that Christians taught me about. That passage speaks to me, it's comforting to know that you can be faithful without being a zealot or bigot.

    August 30, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  5. Asklepios417

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

    The full quote is "Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription are on it?" "Caesar's," they replied. He said to them, "Then give back to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's."

    Of course it was completely irrelevant, whose image or inscription was on the coins. That was an off-the-wall thing to ask during a serious discussion of whether taxation without representation (the Roman tax on the people of Israel) was just or unjust. It was a silly and naive point, one that would only occur to someone whose sole education had been a narrow fixation on ancient scriptures.

    The fact that a tyrant like Caesar put his mug on the coins, adds nothing to his right to the money.

    August 30, 2011 at 1:25 am |
  6. Scott F

    Where can I get the cell phone plan to GOD that Rick Perry, Michelle Bachman, Glen Beck, and other right wingers have? Does Verizon or ATT have that plan? I guess the rest of us mere mortals aren't eligible? PLEASE!!!!!

    August 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Scott F: no cell phone plan. They just listen to the little voices inside their heads. If they had a cell phone to God, He would probably tell them to stop saying the crazy things that they say! 😉

      August 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  7. Scott F

    Rick Perry was perplexed why an ex Regan official called him an Idiot! So he went to Websters and looked up the word. To his chagrin it said Rick Perry. Then it referred him to a Thesaurus that said like definitions include Michelle Bachman. These are the people we want for President? Seriously? Seriously? Saturday Night live will have a field day with these clowns. Finally, we are back to no brains and the IDIOCRACY movie crowd is fulfilled.

    August 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Scott F: Imagine how Ron Paul must feel! He' s smarter than Bachmann, Perry, and Romney combined, yet he's running behind them in the polls! It only shows that the Republican electorate is trying to choose a clown, not a candidate. G.W. Bush really lowered the bar for GOP politicians. Maybe Donald Trump will jump back into the race! 😉

      August 29, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  8. dinak

    I don't believe this author posted any biblical advice for Obama and Rev. Wright during the 08 campaign.

    August 29, 2011 at 10:30 am |
    • Alex Gessong

      @dinak: because there was no need to. Unlike Bachmann and Perry, candidate Obama didn't use religion as a reason to vote for him. As for Reverend Wright, offering religious advice to an ordained minister is similar to offering cooking advice at Burger King. Like Bachmann and Perry, Rev. Wright is misguided and unlikely to be swayed by rational argument. Extremists such as Wright, Bachmann, and Perry should be ignored, not given a platform from which to spew their venom.

      August 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Adam

      Alex, right on! I don't even need to say anything else 🙂

      August 30, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  9. Scott

    Why are we arguing about this?!? The bible is clearly false, and no rational person should believe that God exists. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    Using bible passages to argue against evangelicals is like putting on a tinfoil hat and trying to argue with a conspiracy theorists. Wake up, America!

    August 28, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • Bill

      This is why the founders saw fit to separate church and state. Look at both of these candidates – pompous and false – playing every aspect of the game to gain political power. Can we trust either of these candidates to do what is right for America? What we need are politicians who are willing to make the unpopular but correct decisions for our country.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Scott: people who take the Bible to be literal truth also have to accept that a talking snake tricked a human into eating a piece of magical fruit and all snakes now travel on their bellies as punishment for what that clever, talking snake did. Is it really possible to discuss anything with people who believe in talking snakes and magic fruit? Especially when those same people laugh at those who prefer rational thought rather than fairy tales?

      August 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • DMX

      "The game is a lot bigger than you think you know, and if you think you know, then I don't think you know, dog."

      September 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  10. El Chuco

    The questions are all good ones, but the flaw of looking at any isolated passage of scripture is that you lose the context. I'll just tackle the first one: "wives, submit to your husbands". The verse comes from a section giving instructions to Christians in a letter from Paul. It is immediately followed by this verse: "Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them." In the context of the time, the second verse was more radical than the first. Women were considered property to a great extent, so the "submit" verse was not of great note to families of the time. However, telling husbands to treat their wives with love and tenderness was almost unheard of. You can't discuss the first verse without including the second. Paul is telling both wives and husbands to put their faith and family first, not themselves. Being a servant first is the cornerstone of all Christian relationships. Maybe we should look at candidates who are so public about their faith with that in mind: What kind of servant would Bachmann or Perry be to those they govern? I was disappointed Bachman didn't have a good enough understanding of Colossians to address the question directly. It makes me wonder how well she understands what's in the Bible.

    August 28, 2011 at 2:42 am |
  11. David

    The bible was not written in Herbrew!

    August 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @david: you're right. Only the Old Testament was written in Hebrew. By the time of the New Testament, the target audience had expanded to include native speakers of Latin and Greek, so those languages were added. Similarly, the Book of Mormon was written in English.

      August 29, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  12. j10magnus

    Response individually:
    1. How does the role of submission play into the role of the presidency? That is a good question and does create some difficulties. There is no clear cut answer to that question.
    2. I guarantee that Jesus is not condemning public prayer. He even said, whenever 2 or more gather in his name, he is amongst them. He prayed just before the feeding of the 5,000 and prior to the Last Supper. So, what of this text? Its simple, don't try to be showy, don't try to be wordy. When you pray, pray like a child humbly before his earthly parents with a request.
    3. Abortion and Capital Punishment can't be treated on the same level. You are comparing a child who hasn't had an opportunity to even commit a crime, so abortion is more of a precognitive killing. Abortion is almost always done out of fear or ego. Capital Punishment should be done in the name of justice, not in the name of utility or in the name of revenge, rather justice. That being said...capital punishment is completely optional. If the elimination of capital punishment is the best way of carrying out justice, so be it. It is kind of relative. Abortion (unless the mother's life is in danger) has a lot more black and white. You are ending someone's life because they may be an inconvenience to you or you are afraid of how people will react.
    4. Way to take this verse out of context, severely. It has nothing to do with separation of church and state. In the text, Jesus was asked if people should pay taxes, his response was the forementioned verse. It was about taxes. This was about taxes and whether or not they should obey the government. Lets face it the first century Jews hated Rome (and rightrfully so). Therefore, they were trying to find a way to get Rome or the people ticked off at Jesus. Jesus essentially said...obey both. (Paul in his letter to the Romans said that both are ultimately under God's authority.)
    5. First, do you know for a fact that Gov. Perry & Bachmann don't care about the poor? Have they said, "The poor can all die off quickly." or something of that nature? Just checking. Second, again you have misused a text. Yes, it is talking about the poor in spirit. Luke is meaning the same thing. (He left out spirit, because he chose to. Remember Luke didn't have an iMac, he might have chosen to cut out words to save ink and his hand from getting worn out.) The poor in spirit could be due to financial poverty, it could be due to sins that one is caught up in, it could be due to a horrible disease, it could be due to natural disasters, it could be due to a number of things.

    Why are the poor in spirit blessed? Because the poor in spirit is every single human being. It is because Jesus Christ is the propitiation of the sins (source of all poverty) of the whole world. Therefore, the poor in spirit are blessed because of what Christ was to do and in our case has done. We don't inherit the kingdom of heaven because we are or are not poor in spirit. We inherit the kingdom of heaven because Christ made himself poor for our sake.

    So, what of the poor in this world? We are to attend to them, care for them, pray for them. I speak of those who are financially poor and those who are emotionally poor. Every single one of us have some form of poverty. Our world would be a hell of a lot better off if we actually cared for all forms of poverty, not just the obvious ones. There is a lot of hurt in this world, we are all in this hurt together looking forward to the bodily resurrection when the hurt is turned to joy.

    August 25, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Ann

      Could not have said it better myself!!!

      August 28, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @j10magnus: "Abortion is almost always done out of fear or ego." Where'd you come up with that? How about if we just let our fellow adults make their own reproductive decisions, without interference from state or federal government? The decision to bring a pregnancy to term, or not to, is one of the most important and personal. Fear and ego are what make some people believe that they have the right to force their own opinion on a fellow adult. If you're curious about the religious law related to terminating a pregnancy, you'll find it in the Old Testament: it's treated as a property crime. The person who ends the pregnancy pays a fee to the father, on a sliding scale that increases depending on how far along the pregnancy was. It was not treated as killing a baby. Don't expect that this will convince you, of course, nor is it intended to. As a fellow adult, I would not try to interfere with your decision. I just say that anyone who is against abortion should not have one. But that's just my opinion, driven by neither fear nor ego.

      August 29, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  13. Nathan Winters

    If the poor are "blessed" why would you want to take away their blessing? If poverty is the preferred state than the poorer a person is the more "blessed".

    August 24, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Amused

      Nathan – Oh My ! How Christian of you ! and how self – righteous!

      August 24, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Rick

      Christians have lost their minds, ha ha ha. So drunk on self pride and ignorance. Heading over the cliff with the pied pipers of money, power and idiocrazy. I love em though. Everyone you see is a mirror of what you cannot face, then we are all tied together. Eventually we will all wake up. Together. Every last one of the dummies have to come with us. Love is all there is, but it takes a big shovel to get underneath the crap! Peace, my idiot brothers and sisters.....

      August 26, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • Rick

      That's hugely funny, Nathan. You sound like just the Christian this country loves.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      @Rick: True Christians actually follow the teachings of Christ. Things like "treat others as you would like to be treated," "be as wise as serpents but as harmless as doves," "judge not lest you be judged", "turn the other cheek." etc. Christianity is all about tolerance, forgiveness, love, and non-violence. The odd thing is that some people who despise all of those things, insist on calling themselves "christian.' Christ didn't shun sinners or mock them; he went among them and helped them if they asked for help. Please don't think that all of the posts here from "christians" reflect what Christ preached. It's ironic that many atheists live exactly the kind of ethical life that Christ spoke of.

      August 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  14. Rigal Terra

    “'Thou shalt not kill' then why are we allowing capital punishment?"

    Is that a joke? Try reading just one chapter more in the book of Exodus. Exodus 21:12 "Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death."

    Read the crazy Apocalypse and try telling anyone, with a straight face, that the christian god does not supporting killing "evildoers". Evildoers there meaning just about everybody.

    August 24, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Rick

      You got that right, Rigal. The old testament God is the Human Ego! Ha ha ha....joke is on us. Or them.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • MN26

      Way to pick and choose different things in the bible, which you obviously have no knowledge of. That is why you describe revelation as "the crazy apocalypse".

      Read it before you make a stupid comment, you obviously have no idea what is going on.

      August 28, 2011 at 4:55 am |
    • D

      Leviticus 20:13

      August 29, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Alex Gessong

      The crazy Apocalypse is actually a prediction of the fall of the Roman Empire, not about the end of the world. "Babylon" is a code word for Rome, and the 'Beast/anti-Christ" is the emperor Nero. The "seven crowns" are the seven hills of Rome. The crazy Apocalypse was written for the people of the time, not for future generations. The language is magical and cryptic on purpose. A book predicting (or calling for) the end of Roman rule would not be well received by the Roman rulers of the Holy Land, particularly when it basically "calls out" the Emperor. So the author (wisely) includes a statement to "clue in" the reader: "let he who has knowledge understand the number of the beast..." "666" is a numerological representation of the emperor's name. Not an end-of-the-world story really, but it has spawned some interesting movies. 😉

      August 29, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  15. Ryan

    I think the term "jack of all trades and master of none" may or may not apply because Prothero's grasp on Christianity is obviously not too tight...not to be rude because I'm sure he's more in depth all around than most including myself. The "master of none" goes for any pluralist who thinks Christianity fits into an "all roads lead to a higher power" view. John 14:6 should be quite enough to show that Jesus was not claiming to be some guru, teacher, or some enlightened being who was he claiming that there were many roads to God. Post-modern skepticism has left mankind afraid to commit, too puzzled to identify truth, and/or so disheartened that the only way to believe anything is to customize it to fit one's individual emotions and desires (I also relate this one to the upcoming paraphrase). To paraphrase Ravi Zacharias "God could have given mankind 1 million ways to Himself and the rebellious heart of man would have wanted 1 million and 1". Jesus was Deity and eternal/pre-existent, God in the flesh, and he never claimed anything less. He was the Messiah of Psalms 22 and Isaiah 53 and hundreds of other prophecies out of the Tanakh. I just read where the author places himself in a category where he describes himself as "religiously confused". I pray he finds the Truth (John 14:6).

    August 24, 2011 at 5:22 am |
  16. Fred

    The guy who wrote this article is supposedly a religious scholar. However, I get the
    impression that he needs to sit down and shut up and get some good religious training.
    I don't think he's very smart.
    The Ten Commandments are not directed at government, they are directed to individuals.
    Last I checked, capital punishment is a function of government and not the individual. Therefore, his question
    is inane.
    I see Stevie7 is giving his revisionist history of the US. The country was founded with Christian ideals and it doesn't matter
    how many atheists have heartburn over that. Truth is truth and no atheist revisionist history can change that.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • matt

      nough said

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      August 24, 2011 at 2:20 am |
    • Amused

      Fred – Clearly, YOU are the revisionist! This country was founded on the principals of Liberty and Freedom for all ! That includes freedom FROM oppressive religions ! Nowhere in the Declaration of Independence, Constiitution nor Bill of Rights is Christianity mentioned or even implied ! Liberty and freedom for all means that you can believe in any radical philosphy that you choose, as long as you don't attempt to FORCE IT ON ANYONE ELSE ! Those pricipals have nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity ! Understand ? I didn't think so ..

      August 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm |
    • ernie

      'The country was founded with Christian ideals and it doesn't matter how many atheists have heartburn over that.' Hey Fred, please go and tell this ' truth' to Native Americans. You may be kidding yourself, but they have experienced this 'truth' on their own skins. Hahaha!

      August 28, 2011 at 8:29 am |
    • Bill

      Hey Fred, something bothering you? All Stephen is saying is that if candidates want to use religion to get elected it is fair to ask them questions about what they believe (it is now admissible in the court of public discussion). I think that is great because what Stephen is suggesting is the perfect way to keep these CLOWNS out of office. Christians and atheists can both benefit from that! May God bless Stephen and yourself, and may God bless America!

      By the way.... Governments are not like corporations – what is good for individuals applies to governments as well.

      August 28, 2011 at 12:26 pm |
  17. Ryan

    I need to get more rest before posting LOL "kind of exciting" "Wonderful isn't it?" And I give myself a D- for punctuation and sentence structure.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:24 am |
  18. Ryan

    Yeah this guy's eisegesis is pretty bad. He's guilty of what plenty of others are also (and even myself growing up). Including some standing behind pulpits. Grabbing an individual scripture and giving his own definition based on plucking one verse out of one chapter out of a book. That's how you'd read a letter or a book right? I always receive letters from loved ones, close me eyes, plant my index finger, read a sentence or two, and then put the letter away and mentally digest those sentences...and there's nothing like picking up a classic literary piece and turn to page 225, chapter 7, line 16 and enjoy a sentence or 2. Gives me a true perspective on the book. It's kind of un to be able to interpret a paragraph, a chapter, or even the entire book this way. It's liberating and leaves a lot of room for "my own" interpretation.
    JL Newsome- We're there with you man, life is void of purpose and all of these emotions and thoughts are simply chemical reactions. So when you see some horrific crime committed against a child on the news, rest easy folks. We're just material! :o) Wonderful isn't. Basically your conscience, compassion, character, ethics, and a list of other things are no more than evolutionary developments for survival or maybe even a flaw...? Sorry, not the most gifted in this area, kinda think it's bunk. You guys take care.

    August 23, 2011 at 5:19 am |
  19. Christopher Nelson

    From what I understand the word for kill in thou shalt not kill means murder. Especially premeditated murder. So this would exclude capital punishment. This would however cover abortion. Context and understanding of the original biblical languages can be very helpful. So it is basically saying, thou shalt not murder. It is not talking about all killing. There is justifiable killing such as self defense for instance. They even had the death penalty in the bible. And one must also not mix what an indivdual christian is to do with what a government does to punish criminals. A christian is not supposed to kill out of revenge for instance.

    August 23, 2011 at 12:15 am |
    • Amused

      Christopher – "A christian is not supposed to kill out of revenge for instance" Isn't that precisely what capital punishment actually is ?? Revenge killing !?? You don't see the glaring hipocracy in your statement?

      August 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • James

      I learned as a teenager that the bible was too full of contradictions to form a basis for my belief system. It outlaws killing but the god represented often commands it. A god that created the beauty of the universe certainly can not be the same one that harbors all of the least attractive attributes of humans i.e. vengence, jealousy, and my favorite: such an insecurity that requires pathetic humans to "worship" him.

      August 28, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  20. JL Newsome

    Realty, in it's truest form, of a molecular chemical existence with a electro-biogenetic cellular mass phenomena called a brain that is altered by duelistic world outlooks and biased perceptions. The truth of our species survival and evolution is dependent on the natural acts of killing to protect territory and submissive and dominate muti-partner relationships to ensure that survival. This is true reality humans need not be reminded. If Jesus is needed to give meaning to life, then some people need Jesus. True reality is dehumanizing at best, our fantasy ridden perceptions of life give purpose and our sanity. So some Jesus may be what we need as a nation to shield us from true reality, a mass awakening to truth would be chaotic at least. I am not a Christian but using the words and wisdom of my grandmother, "You had best come to Jesus before I bust your butt". True reality will kick our butts.
    To the two politicians, do not disrespect the Christian faith, so many depend on, by invoking the name and will of God to advance your self serving grab for power. Because when you fail, I and many others see that the Judea Christain God failed, don't be an egotistical ass.

    August 22, 2011 at 9:30 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.