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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. Disciple Mikey

    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”?------
    He almost makes a good point. This is a verse that most POPULAR Christians ignore. Jesus is clear that his followers should pay Caesers things to Caeser (taxes and obeying the laws of the land) But what about God's things? Doesnt that include a persons total allegiance, life, and trust. To devote one's life to a country or to give allegiance to such is not Biblical. A true Christian is not willing to give his life or dedication to anyone other than God.

    August 17, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

      DM,,,, You wrote in your end of post stating, "To devote one's life to a country or to give allegiance to such is not Biblical. A true Christian is not willing to give his life or dedication to anyone other than God."

      One must consider the Time Periods between 1st century and 21st century. Back when Rome did rule the Lands, their armies were worshipping in pluralities of all so many Gods and Goddesses. The Jews back then were a Monotheistic Religion during the same Time period and were not persecuted by Roman Diplomacies and yet both denominations of Mono and Pluralistic Religious denominations were in effectualisms living mostly in peace with the exceptions of those Jews who were likened by Barabbas, the Jew who wanted nothing but war with the Roman Empire.

      Judeo-Christianity did arise out of the crucifixion of a Jewish teacher having a new way to bring about a more benevolent and less murderous tradition that the Romans did aspire toward. The Roman Coliseums back then were as Ampitheaters which did parlay toward the public's wants and desires to see people being murdered and/or killed for pure entertainments' sake, satisfying the Romans needs to be enlightened and/or emotionally stimulated, giving them something to later talk about after seeing someone die and/or maimed.

      Many soldiers of "our" Armed Forces of Today's Time are of religious Intermixtures and even of Secularisms' accords.Today's Coliseums are likened to Ancient Romes in regards to the people becoming emotionally stimulated and having something to talk about. Today's graduationed thoughts are more about Political agendas and sports related issues with little to hardly any religious water fountain talks. Is our current newsworthy trends toward a wanting need for spiritualism to become a center-stage issue being but a happenstance one-nighter? Shall we as singular beings be but the purveyors and listeners of newsworthiness become obliged to just counting the plus and minuses of every issue that is upon the world stages of diplomacies? Shall one's perpetuities of other than solemness be as a token of a faraway avenger of the status quo? Should we as a group not gather together in otherly places then just Today's nationalized "Roman" Coliseums? Where does one go to be emotionally transfixed and/or enlightened? Where else does one do to stimulate one's senses? Does not vacations themselves become a boring escapade after some time doing the same ol same ol going here and going there?

      Is it too much to go to a church and see if the message does in some way stimulate one's sensual inputs? Why should it always be, "I am an atheist and that is that!" Isn't there more to Life than always doing the same ol same ol things?

      Sure, Life via going to the movie theaters to be one of the very 1st to see a movie and then telling about it to those who have yet seen it is a wishy washy same ol same ol. I guess that's why we were given the internet! We all can take center stage action if but for a few moments typing away and claiming to others ones' feelings and/or thoughts. I do so love to transgress and regress in my written words. One minute I'm upity and the next I am downed! At least, I have a place to voice my Word, even if it is but the written apsects. I do read many other posters comments and some are good and some are mediocre and some are downright rediculous to say the least!

      August 17, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Disciple Mikey

      Lionly Lamb, thanks for your input. Yes, I agree. In fact, the apostle Paul was a jew and obtained Roman citizenship also. But they were followers of Christ first. One's citizenship has nothing to do with their stance or relationship with God, back then or today. The first century Chrsitians conducted themselves as "no part of the world"

      August 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
  2. valerie

    the only time these candidates are christian is around election time.And we christian are so dumb to see that.Do you think God care who is conservative or not?there are many gods but one true God and his name is Jesus. So which of these presidential candidates ever say Jesus.Do you think Jesue is going to say to them how many people did you get to vote for you? The question is going to be how people did you introduced me to.the white house and all the so call christian candidates are claiming to know God for one thing SELF.Being a christian, is being christ like.Read the bible for yourself.

    August 17, 2011 at 11:03 am |
  3. James Joy

    I would like to hear them respond to Jesus statement that one cannot love God and Wealth. That if one loves wealth one despises God and if one loves God, one despises wealth. Or to his statement that it would be easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for a person of wealth to enter into heaven. Or his statements in Matthew 25 about what a Christian would do in regards to the poor, the immigrants, the sick and those in prison and how that would affect their behavior as a President. Would they act like a Christian as Jesus stated or as a Capitalist and reject all of Jesus teaching regarding wealth and the treatment of the poor, the sick the disabled, immigrants and those in prison.

    August 17, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  4. Rainer Braendlein

    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).

    In order to get the verse right, we must take in account that it was written for people, which want to follow Christ, that means for people, having submitted themselves (all areas of life) to Jesus. Someone, who has submitted himself to Jesus, automatically loses the appreciation of the "world", and is thus spiritually poor, because all, what he owns, is the despised Jesus.

    But what about material property?

    With the term "poor" Jesus meant "not holding on to fortune".

    A Christian has submitted all areas of life to Jesus, including his finances.

    What does that mean in practice?

    The fortune (big or small) of a Christian should be available for God's matters.

    Example:

    Many Christians in Palestine were in need at the time of the apostles. Probably a lot of them had lost their job, because the Jewish leaders had put a ban on them or they were excommunicated from the synagogue. This Christians wanted to work, but it was difficult for them to find a job.

    First, a lot of converted Jews made available their fortune for the brothers in need. Later even the Greek Christians sent money to Jerusalem for the persecuted brothers.

    Conclusion: The alls of a Christian should be available for people in need, firstly believers in need, but even ordinary people in need (good Samaritan).

    Current examples: Christians in Islamic countries often cannot rise socially. What about helping them? What about funding Christian vocational shools in Africa?

    Addition:

    Everybody must anytime choose between Jesus and the world.

    A profane (worldly) life means longing for personal power, honour and riches. This aims can hardly be achieved without breaking the law. For example: Can someone become rich solely by honest hard work? Probably no. If you want to become rich, you usually have to use some tricks. Furthermore one cannot invest in stocks and at the same fund a school for poor children. Honor often causes revenge and revenge causes hate and perhaps murder. Do you want that?

    A Christian life is not focused on personal power, honour and riches, but on Christian love. Christian love is not focused solely on the own happiness, but also on the happiness of the neighbour. Christianity means brotherhood: If one has abundance, he helps people in need. If the same one is in need, he receives help by the others, which have now abundance.
    A Christian looks not solely on his own progress, but also on the progress of the neighbour, spiritually and materially.

    Where can we find the power to live the non-selfish life (regretably by nature we are selfish). This power we find at the Holy Fountain:

    By Holy Baptism the power of Jesus death and resurrection is dedicated to us (that is not contrary to the doctrine of salvation by cost-free grace, but confirms it). At baptism our old selfish man dies and we resurrect together with Jesus to a new life in Christ, that means a life in Christian love. The Holy Baptism refers to Christ's sacrifice. Christ's sacrifize is the basis of Holy Baptism. It is clear, solely people, believing that Christ has borne their sins, get baptized. Faith and Baptism belong together. They are a unit.

    Jesus wants to set you free!

    August 17, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Helge

      "Jesus wants to set you free!", but it's OK for you to keep slaves and make your wife submit to your will. Nice double standard your crappy fictional man-made god has there, Rainer. Nice.

      Get past your sky fairy story and get a life.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:05 am |
    • Disciple Mikey

      @ Helge, being a slave in those days was not what YOU consider to be a slave. It was merely an employed person who usually even considered part of the family. Either way, the person was better off as a slave than in their previous situation. And yes, a wife should be ins subjection to her husband, just as a man should be in subjection to Christ, and Christ to God. You speak of this arrangement in a demeaning, sarcastic, and offensive manner to the person who posted before you. We should be able to have discussions here without being rude or offensive

      August 17, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Helge

      You cannot overcome any sin?

      You should confess!

      August 17, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Lenny Pincus

      Although I totally appreciate your interpretation, that's what it is, an interpretation. The Bible can be bent to say anything. The real problem is when politicians use it to claim divine backing for their policies which is both infantile and insane.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Lenny Pincus

      I'm sorry. This "slave doesn't mean slave" talk is ridiculous. Another spin to make parts of the Bible seem OK.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Disciple Mikey

      @Lenny Pincus, It's not clear who your post was directed towards, but you are absolutely right. There are too many men who try to interpret the scruptures, and it is very possible to make any opinion sound factual when a scripture is used out of context. But something can't be a mere interpretation when the same idea is evident throughout the whole Bible. That's how a person can tell the difference between a parable, illustration, or what some see as a contradiction in God's Word. Of course that means a person would have to actually study and read the Bible ENTIRELY, along with prayer and meditation.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • Frogist

      @Disciple Mickey: From the descriptions in the Bible of how to beat your slaves, it doesn't seem too much different from what we think of when we use the word "slave" today. Your description of it as familial or friendly is simply heinous.
      Also I think Helge has every right to demean the heirarchy God decided to set up putting her below every man, simply because of her lack of a particular organ. Especially in light of how those scriptures have been used as a road block to women's rights. Bachmann would never have been in the position she is in right now if it weren't for the women and men who rejected those scriptures in the past.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • Disciple Mikey

      Frogist, Maybe you are speaking of an account where a slave was punished? Please be more specific. Regardless, Slaves as well as slave owners were subject to punishment. And no, the arrangement that God mandates does not demean women. It is simply a chain of command. Women have very dignified roles, even in the Bible. A woman is not refused any rights, she is only to be in subjection to him but all are accountable to God. I'm sure you have a boss that you are in subjection to but you arent any less of a person and that relationship works when your boss is respectable to you. God commands men to respect their wives as well. And of course he has every right to be demeaning, but I just dont understand WHY. If someone is confident in what they say, there's no need for any extra sarcasm or rudeness.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Disciple Mikey:
      I believe there are passages throughout the Bible that give rules for how to deal with slaves (in Corinthians, Peter, Ephesians etc). And Exodus 21: 20 clearly gives notes on what should happen when a slave is beaten to the point of death or near death, not to mention the other rules of who should be set free, what to do with the slaves' children, how many years to keep a slave... It doesn't sound very different at all from our modern view of slavery.

      Of course it demeans women. In this chain of command, she is secondary to males for no reason other than gender. That is demeaning and se-xist. Your boss is never your boss simply because they are male (hopefully). That requires other qualifications but not according to what you are saying and what your Bible is saying. It does not matter how 'dignified' the role, if it is limited based on gender, it is nothing but a gilded cage.

      While we might agree that it is uneccessary to be impolite to someone else personally, when a ridiculous and harmful idea is put forth as 'truth', we should make every effort to ridicule it.

      August 18, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  5. True christianity

    what's the use CNN, you would not post my comments anyway.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Helge

      There is a word filter that you are too lazy to find out about. It has been posted about endless times here. Do some digging.Similar diligence will show you that Christianity is fiction.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  6. Steve from NC

    The more you try to prove the Bible wrong, the more you prove it right. Taking snippets of a particular verse & try to use it out of context is pointless. Use the entire passage if you have a point to make. It want hold water.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • J.W

      Oh good I have been trying to prove the Bible is right, but the atheists will do that for me.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • Helge

      So, Steve, how come such a divine book is so prone to misinterpretation and being taken out of context? Seems like a pretty weak god you've created for yourself there.

      Your pathetic, evil religion is a joke and your god is fiction. Get over it and get with the last century, at least.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Disciple Mikey

      Helge, the fact that people have misinterpreted God's Word so much is irrelevant in proving the accuracy of it. That is a fault of men's not of God's. Also, God (through the Bible) foretold that MANY men would misinterpret his Word. What you speak of only further validates the accuracy of God's Word.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:59 am |
  7. Meat Puppet

    who cares? Bachmann has no chance – she is a media fabrication Perry is a reworked George Bush and approaching religious fanatic status Obama must be laughing as there aren't any real solid GOP candidates

    August 17, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • John

      You better take a closer look at Ron Paul if you think there are no solid GOP candidates. He actually won the Iowa straw poll by a mile when you consider how many votes Bachman bought for herself. People are sick of Obama and the rest of the D.C. clowns. Who ever wins the GOP nomination becomes the next president. Count on it.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • J.W

      Ron Paul has a lot going for him, but he is still a part of the Tea Party movement, and that might hurt him. He will have to distance himself from the Tea Party. However, if any Republican besides Ron Paul gets the nomination, Obama will win.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • Frogist

      @John: Do you really think Grampa Paul has a chance? The way he's being ignored by the media in favor of the pretty candidates, you might wonder if he really will have sticking power. People will forget about him as long as they are being bombarded by the Parry, Bachmann media machine. And from what I've seen here and in polls and articles, the Repubs are losing their voters. Their base is defecting because of the Bachmanns and Parrys. You hear about disillusionment on the Dem side, but not people defecting to the Repubs. I personally think of all the Repubs I saw in the debate, the two who showed themselves to be genuine were Huntsman and Ron Paul. But Huntsman was never going to make a mark after he stood up for the civil rights of gay people. And Ron Paul will find himself mano a mano with the evangelicals who will hammer him for not toeing the Christian right line. Right now the Repubs are in a very bad place.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      Frogist

      And from what I've seen here and in polls and articles, the Repubs are losing their voters. Their base is defecting because of the Bachmanns and Parrys.
      --------
      Bingo...I left years ago because of this very reason...saw the handwriting on the wall. The GOP is fractured and fracturing more because of the evangelicals. The winners are the democraps.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
    • J.W

      Even if things do not get better, which I think they will, no republican will be able to beat Obama.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  8. rich

    Fighting about fiction again...

    August 17, 2011 at 10:39 am |
  9. Tea Party Daily Mirror

    A spokesperson today said that candidate Michele Bachmann, having recently left her church behind, is converting to Islam.

    Bachmann is also leaving her latent-gay, flaccid husband Marcuthhhhhhh so that she can be free to pursue musician Yousef Islam (Cat Stevens). Bachmann is guoted as saying "I've always liked his music. You know what they say about musical men and their trombones. I've been preparing diligently by practicing on a corndog..." and "As a Muslim and POuTUS, I could solve our terrorism problems once and for all. There's no way Al Kaida and his countrymen will attack a country with a Muslim leader. This will help me get elected in other ways too. In fact, it might be the only way I can get more than the teabagger vote and pull in anything from Obama's liberal base."

    Yousef Islam (Stevens) was heard to say "No way, dude, no friggin way. That leathery old haggis wouldn't have made it as my groupie even when she was 20, no matter how good her oratory skills are."

    August 17, 2011 at 10:35 am |
  10. PandoraDoggl

    Our responsibility to take care of the poor is a personal one and a corporate one in the sense of the body of the Church – not a national one in the sense of putting a gun to the heads of our neighbors and with it, forcing them to do as we think is right. We submit ourselves to Christ of our own free will and participate in the body of the Church of our own free will. There is little free will involved when the government seizes our tax dollars and does with them as it sees fit, and little morality besides. Check out Penn Jillette's opinion piece on atheism and libertarianism. Even if you believe, you don't know.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • Martin

      I'll bet there are plenty of other things you would force people to to and not do! Very convenient that as a nation we can opt out of helping the poor by using your reasoning.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  11. Oh, Lord!

    It's amazing that a "religion scholar" who writes books about God exhibits such poor exegesis of basic biblical texts. scieng is right; Prothero has stripped away critical context and is essentially engaging in prooftexting under the guise of scholarship. Very dishonest and disingenuous.

    Additionally, what Kennedy said and what he did were two different things. No one of any true faith can separate the influence of what they believe from their decisions, nor should they.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:26 am |
    • Jess

      I disagree that people of "true faith" can't separate their personal beliefs from politics. For example: I believe abortion is wrong and I would never kill a perfectly healthy baby I was carrying because I have a strong faith. However, I also believe it is a woman's personal choice and if others with different beliefs disagree or are in more challenging situations than myself then the government should not tell them what they can and cannot do. God gave us the freedom of choice and I do not think the government should take it away. God should judge people not politicians.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:55 am |
    • J.W

      He is presenting the verses that way because that is the way many Christian conservatives take them.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:57 am |
  12. Roger

    We could spend all day pulling out verses that distract candiates and make them uncomfortable in front of everyone. In general asking these candiates to compare our cultural beliefs with that of 2000 years ago seems strange. Do you really beleive that any of them are not mordern thinkers or are you trying to make them look bad? Asking a women running for president if she will submit to her husband is disrespectful. Leading public prayer does alienate some people but for those that this is important to why should we critise it? Let the voters decide. I think we belive we should protect life and we do kill to protect life. Turning back R vs W at this point is difficult because after 30 years of doing it you tell all those women you murdered your own and why make what they feel even worse? We should encourage life and encourage a culture that treats life as a miracle that can disrupt your lifestyle but you can go on and aborting should be a very last resort if it has to be. This country does take care of the poor. Many of our poor have it better than those in other countries. We have to draw a line between helping and creating generations of dependancy. We have made it ok for kids to show up at school without a breakfast, lunch, dicipline, homework, sleep etc...

    August 17, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

      Roge, your post is well received at least by my eyes. People can be so ingrained on issues of lessor value than issues of real concernments. 🙁

      August 17, 2011 at 11:21 am |
    • Frogist

      @Roger: Bachmann brought the issue on herself when she made that quote. It is very fair to ask of a candidate for president whether she will be doing her duties as president, or by her own admission, will she be deferring to her husband whom the voters did not elect. The only thing se-xist and disrespectful about the question is the scripture and actions that it questions to which Bachmann seems to adhere.
      We must criticise prayer in terms of what Parry is doing because it is a clear violation of one of the most deeply held tenets of our country – the separation of church and state. They are not running for pastor, or minister, or priest. They are running for President. It is important to know whether they will keep those obligations to uphold our country's foundational beliefs.
      Roger, abortion being legal never stopped anti-choicers like you from telling women they are murderers. So this faux concern for women's feelings is just condescending. You describe pregnancy as a disruption in lifestyle. But I find it difficult for a male who has never and will never understand what it means to be pregnant to speak so dismissively of women who must put themselves at risk in pregnancy and who understand that those risks sometimes outweigh the positives of their situation and their families.
      Oh yes, the people of Somalia are worse off but does that mean we stop caring for those within our reach? Or does that mean that all our Christians will be flying out to Mogadishu tomorrow? When did we start judging whether we provide care for those in need based on the worst situation possible? I don't think it matters to a hungry child what side of the planet they happen to be located.
      The more I read these posts, the more I despise these opportunistic, hypocritical, bottom of the barrel Christian sell-outs. You make the genuinely loving, concerned ones, seem so misguided to have the same name.

      August 17, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • J.W

      I want to donate money to Somalia, but the problem is I dont know if it will help the people or just go to the corrupt government. It is hard to tell.

      August 17, 2011 at 1:37 pm |
    • Frogist

      @JW: I have the same concern. I can't fly out to Somalia tomorrow either. The only thing I can do is donate money to organisations who are helping out. I gave to the World Food Programme who are the main provider of food and care for those in the region, as well as long term solutions like support for farmers. They have said only a fraction of the aid has been diverted. The majority of it is getting where it needs to go apparently. They just don't have enough. Oxfam is sending water. Doctors Without Borders is always a safe bet too. But I genuinely don't know whether what I'm doing is helping. I just know I must do something. I welcome any ideas anyone else has because it's a situation I find hard to get out of my mind.

      August 18, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  13. Eric

    This is the strange dichotomy that these fundamentalist candidates must manage - on one hand, they want to pander for votes from the delusional crowd that believes in an IMAGINARY FRIEND that watches over them. But, by the same token, the religious text used by the faithful is immoral and unethical. The bible, for example, is PRO-genocide, PRO-child sacrifice & PRO-slavery! The "family values" of offer in the bible are pathetic – read what Jephthah did to his daughter; what Lot did to his daughters or what Abraham did to Isaac. These politicians are either OK with imaginary friends & the doctrines that purport such nonsense OR THEIR NOT! ((which is it???))

    August 17, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • John

      Actually Eric it was Lot's daughters doing something to him. Abraham knew that God would spare Isaac. Read the passages again and you will see. Taking these and other events out of context makes you sound like Obama. Actually study the Bible and then make your comments.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Martin

      You're missing the really scary part. These candidates believe in the imaginary friend!

      August 17, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

      I just saw a leaf blowing in the wind! No? maybe it was Leaf EricKson? Naw, couldn't be! He is no tall standin tree!

      August 17, 2011 at 11:06 am |
  14. Jeff

    How unfortunate a use of the Scripture. With regard to prayer, Jesus was teaching that prayer should be sincere before God. i.e. if you pray publicly only to draw attention to yourself, you pray out of wrong motives. He was not teaching never to publicly pray, he did so himself on numerous occasions.

    Thou shalt not kill, actually is better rendered thou shalt not murder, as in the killing of innocents such as unborns who cannot speak for themselves. As for capital punishment, the Bible says whosoever sheds mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed (Genesis Chapter 9). Somehow in our country many think it fine to kill the innocents and protect the guilty.

    Unfortunately, taken out of context one can make the Bible say things it truly does not say. Hitler used the Bible to justify exterminating Jews and declaring the Aryan people as God's chosen.

    Separation of church and state does not prevent religious people from participating in government. It is intended to prevent the state from running the church, and the church from running the state. It is sad in our country that being a Christian is worthy of ridicule and dishonor, while accomodations must be made for those who are athiest or practice non-Christian religion. When did freedom of religion become freedom from Christianity?? Christians have just as much right to being represented in government as non-Christians and just as much a right to being heard.

    I pray God will send America a Christian leader, but I know it is He who causes leaders to rise and fall and that he works all things to the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. So whatever happens, my trust remains in Him.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Melissa

      The problem with your argument is the reality that Christians, specifically of the conservative "we're so oppressed for being Christians!!" sect, ARE well-represented in government. The entire GOP is a walking billboard for that group of Christians. Conservative Christians don't want other religions' viewpoints represented. They want to fight them, bury them, and force the country to live by the conservative ideals of morality and faith. There is no division between secular and religious in the conservative world, and that is a huge problem.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

      "Our forefathers who have so died and art now in their respective heavens, hallowed be their namesakes. Their kingdoms did come and their wills in it done now as for upon this earhtly Heaven be swaggled. Give us our Libertairain virtues as is so given to ours now residing in the heavens deadened placements, Lead not those in vile temptuousness but deliver all from the doledrums of all acts of agressionisms for our Presidents were and now are of the powers and the animosities ever likely to unfold. amen"

      August 17, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • B

      Nothing like S Prothero getting air time, how does this guy get any readers? Why don't we all just say things that CNN will like and agree with so we can get on air, or be published?

      August 17, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • patriciaincanada

      Bless you Jeff. How true that cherry picking verses leads to distortions. The second half of wives submitting to husbands directs husbands to love their wives as Yeshua loved. There's a challenge for the husbands! Another important requirement to further understand the Bible(s) is understaning the Jewishness of the writers. Even more will be clarified if one studies the original languages Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Relying on pastors priests and rabbis means accepting their possible miseducation as well.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • Alex from TX

      How did Jeff inappropriately use the Scripture? He posed questions, not opinions. He wants answers and in no way interjected his own beliefs into the matter.

      Many Christians say that the Bible is the "Word of God" and should be taken literally, word for word. Other Christians believe it is to be interpreted. Thus, Jeff's questions are totally reasonable since no one knows everything going through any other person's mind.

      Do you have an issue with anyone that asks self-proclaimed Christian candidates questions about their religious beliefs? You yourself said you want to see a Christian leader so it seems you would want to know answers to your own questions about any candidate's religious beliefs. Why is it not OK for Jeff to ask very outspoken, self-proclaimed Christian candidates about their views, especially since Michelle Bachmann has made it clear she has litmus tests for judges she would nominate?

      August 17, 2011 at 10:42 am |
    • Johanna

      Well said, Melissa...you are spot on!

      August 17, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

      Jeff wrote, "How unfortunate a use of the Scripture. With regard to prayer, Jesus was teaching that prayer should be sincere before God. i.e. if you pray publicly only to draw attention to yourself, you pray out of wrong motives. He was not teaching never to publicly pray, he did so himself on numerous occasions."

      I have only heard of Christ saying but 1 prayer and that was the Lord's Prayer in saying it was for individualism's sake. Show me Jeff at blueletterbible.com as to where our Lord Christ Jesus made "public" prayers!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I do humbly await your comment(s)! 🙂

      August 17, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • pmbg73

      So Capital Punishment is a Christian principle because it says so in the old testament? Well, the Old Testament also says you can have multiple spouses and concubines. I thought you had to follow the teachings of JESUS CHRIST, who flatly rejected the Old Testament principle of taking equal revenge for a wrong done (Matthew 5:38-41, Luke 9:52-56).
      The bible is an extensive compilation of books and you can find a phrase somewhere to justify about anything. But Jesus was very clear and straightforward about love, forgiveness and compassion. Unfortunately, like Jesus warned us, a large number of "Christians" just don’t get it or are misguided by those who just use religion for their own benefit.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:48 am |
  15. gggg

    The "submissive" bit definitely needs to be answered by Bachmann. If she's elected, is she going to do what her husband tells her to? Nobody's voting for him, but the people may need to hear his views on things in order to make an accurate choice come election day. Or, does "submissive" mean only that when he wants to get laid, she has to let him? And in that case, can she say no if she's got to be at some important government meeting in 2 minutes (don't follow that train of though folks, you know what I'm talking about)?

    August 17, 2011 at 10:11 am |
    • The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

      So like Mrs Obama doesn't give her mate/husband an earful? Give them people a BREAK!

      August 17, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • Alex from TX

      Agreed. The question is reasonable since Bachmann is running on a platform as a religious conservative. Why wouldn't other religious conservatives EXPECT Bachmann to be questioned about her claims? If she is going to spout Bible versus and religious beliefs into her political roles, why wouldn't they and everyone else want to know how that would affect them and every other member of American society?

      August 17, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  16. svann

    The verse about blessed are the poor doesnt say or imply that we should take care of them. Im not saying we shouldnt, but that verse isnt about that. Im not sure how you could have read it so wrongly. Looking for something that isnt there?

    August 17, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Lenny Pincus

      Thank goodness we have so many scholars here who can properly interpret the Bible for everyone and show us its Republican slant, although I had no idea humans needed to interpret it to such a degree. You'd think God could have been more clear.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • svann

      No interpretation necessary, just basic reading skills.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:38 am |
    • The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

      Really svann?

      http://www.blueletterbible.org/search/translationResults.cfm?Criteria=poor&t=KJV

      is where one such like the ilks of you might find a clearer understanding and meaning regarding biblical philosophy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 17, 2011 at 10:41 am |
  17. scieng

    Actually, the author is doing a dishonest "play on words", and misrepresenting what the Bible says by taking passages out of context. Prayer was both a public and private requirement. The emphasis was on the private requirement to keep self aligned properly. The commandment about "killing" actually refers to murder. Taking care of the poor is important, but it requires more than handouts. There is NO separation of church and state in the Bible, only an honest accounting of making sure that debts are paid properly. The question about submission is reasonable, and should be answered by all persons.

    August 17, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • Lance

      "The commandment about "killing" actually refers to murder."
      Really, is that just your interpretation or is there some confirmation somewhere in the Blble that clarifies your statement?

      August 17, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • Markf

      In Hebrew, the language of the Pentateuch, there are different words for "kill" and "murder." The commandment clearly says "Thou shalt not murder." There is plenty of evidence of this from elsewhere in the Bible, since God doesn't have any problem with killing your enemies and capital punishment.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:25 am |
    • jimtanker

      How can a devinely inspired book be taken out of context? That is impossible.

      Or is that the reason that there are 38,000 different denominations of christianity?

      August 17, 2011 at 10:34 am |
    • svann

      Lance, like he said – the bible accepts killing in plenty of verses. Some verses require it.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:40 am |
    • The Lionly Lamb of The Gods Does Roar

      "debts are paid properly?" Mathew 6, does state, "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." It has since been altered to say in the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us" Read for yourself at:

      http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Mat&c=6&v=1&t=KJV

      That is of course you do want to be an enlightenment figurehead,,,,,,,,,

      August 17, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  18. Johnson

    What about Mormonism. In Mormonism, God talks directly to the Prophet in the Salt Lake CIty Temple and he instructs the fold. Failure to follow the Prophet's directions which came from God result in failure to achieve the God-like spiritual afterlife. How does Bishop Mitt Romney reconcile this with the Presidency.

    August 17, 2011 at 9:53 am |
    • ldean50

      Excellent question. Is there a journalist out there that dare take him on? Bishop Romney has taken the secret oath of blood atonement in the Salt Lake City temple . . . he is sworn to secrecy about the ceremonies and oaths that take place in the temple. His allegiance to the church is considered secret – pledged by oath with the possible retribution of death. He took that oath in the late 1980s . . .

      August 17, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  19. Gavin

    More gotcha questions from the left challenging candidates from the right on their religious and secular beliefs. Obama claims he is a Christian, but many believe he is a Muslim. Shouldn't you also be asking those same questions to our President. We know the religions of the Republican candidates, but is it fair to ask questions about religion to Republican candidates when the other party's candidate gets a free pass.

    August 17, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • svann

      Only when the candidate herself makes it an issue. She opened the door.

      August 17, 2011 at 9:58 am |
    • TodayMessage

      Is it fair to ask the "gotcha" question.

      If a person said s/he is a honest real estate salesperson and gives you a good deal for somef Arizona ocean front properties. Is it fair to ask a "gotcha" question?

      When the candidates use his/her faith as a qualification, the voters should have the right to ask questions regarding his/her qualification. I don't have any problem with candidates who are not sharing the same faith as mine. I do have problem with voters who do no know the qualifications of their candidates.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:20 am |
    • ldean50

      That question has been asked repeatedly of the president. He has answered it, and I personally see no reason to continue to ask it over and over. The main difference is Obama doesn't lead state-wide prayer meetings and talk about his biblical interpretations of the bible . . . like Bachmann's belief in submitting to her husband. In a court of law . . . once the defense goes there . . .the prosecution is allowed to follow that line of questioning. If they start preaching to me, then I reserve the right to question what they are preaching.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:15 am |
  20. Mike from CT

    Wow, Stephen you are getting worse and worse as you run out of real news to report on

    Blessed are the poor IN SPIRIT... compare matthew 5 to Luke 6, in the greek if you have to. After all research should be part of your job.

    And as for #2 it is not do not pray in public ever, more to the point of do not pray for the sake of just beeing seen as in the next verse "for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking". We know this because Jesus then goes on to... you guessed it... pray in public

    Sad, when instead of doing real journalistic work your job to is provoke anger through blatent miscontextualization.

    August 17, 2011 at 9:49 am |
    • mikel

      Great job countering his fishing expedition. But it goes with the territory – even the devil quotes scripture.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:28 am |
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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.