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August 17th, 2011
04:00 AM ET

My Faith: Sen. Joe Lieberman embraces 'the gift of the Sabbath'

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Connecticut, looks forward to Fridays, when he can get home, switch his BlackBerry off and just be Joe - Hadassah Lieberman's husband, father of four, grandfather of 11.

Lieberman is an observant Jew who has long made a point to put his faith before politics - even if that means a post-sunset vote in the Senate will force him to walk the four miles from the U.S. Capitol to his Georgetown home.

In keeping the fourth commandment to honor the Sabbath to keep it holy, he doesn't work or get in a car or turn on a light.

Last Friday, he and his wife celebrated a Shabbat dinner, as they do every Friday, in keeping with their faith tradition.

On this evening, Hadassah Lieberman moves with purpose through the house gathering plates and dishes and remarks it will just be the two of them tonight, she and Joey - as she likes to call the senior senator from Connecticut. He putters and mentions he isn't often home in time to help set up.

After a bit of convincing, he agreed to let us come to his house and talk to him about his faith, politics, and his new book, "The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath."

Lieberman sat in a dining room chair in the living room so the shot for the camera would work the best.

"Let me ask you a question," Hadassah chimed in before we began. "Should he wear a jacket? Does he look too casual?"

"He's at home," I explained. "It'll be just fine."

The senator picked up his book and mused that the publisher had sent him four cover choices for the front and told him, "Go with the one your wife likes best." He beamed. She blushed, shot him a smirk, and we began.

Lieberman explained the reason Jews have observed the Sabbath throughout the centuries is that they believe God rested after six days of creation in the biblical account of Genesis. "We aspire to work hard and be creative for six days, and rest on the seventh day, hopefully with some sense of satisfaction about what we've done on the other six," he said.

He walks through the history of the Sabbath and talks about how the observance in the Bible got to where it is today.

As Jewish rabbis began to interpret the Sabbath in their own day they "built a fence around the Sabbath. In other words (they said), 'We're going to give you a list of things you can't do on the Sabbath to protect the essence of the Sabbath as a day of rest, as a day of gratitude to God for creation, as a day of spiritual regeneration,' " Lieberman said.

One way he tries to honor his wife and the Sabbath is to bring home flowers for his wife and the Sabbath table each week. When a reporter on Capitol Hill learned about that a few years ago, Lieberman was dubbed one of the most romantic members of Congress.

The Liebermans sing songs, recite prayers, light candles, and partake in the wine and challah, a twisted bread. The two parts of the bread twisted together serve as a reminder of the biblical story in Exodus where God provides a double portion of manna, the magical bread from heaven, when the Israelites are wandering in the desert so they won't have to go out and gather the bread on the Sabbath.

And they celebrate wherever they are, even on the campaign trail. Hadassah tells a story of a campaign staffer desperately trying to find a challah bread in Wisconsin during the 2000 presidential campaign when Lieberman was campaigning as Al Gore's running mate.

As they walked through the streets to get to temple in Wisconsin with the Secret Service by their side, "people came running out to see the senator and his family on Shabbat," she said. They even got a few "Shabbat shaloms," the Jewish Sabbath greeting.

In a world of always being on and connected, the Liebermans say they relish the Sabbath and that it has sustained their marriage and family for years.

"It's been a life-saver to our family and our marriage and our home life because it's given us a moment to stop and break off from the nonsense we all deal with," Hadassah said. "We can talk to each other without the BlackBerries ringing in our faces."

When the sun sets on Friday, the matching BlackBerries are turned off and they focus on their faith and each other, unless the land line rings and there is a matter of national security.

Sen. Lieberman is in a unique position. His job can stretch and intrude into his religious practice.

He said when he first got into public service he made a conscious decision not to participate in political activities on the Sabbath.

"As much as my ambitions and my obligations would lead me to do that, it wasn't the right thing to do, it wasn't consistent with the Sabbath," he said.

While it does not happen often, he breaks his Sabbath observance when he has government responsibilities he cannot delegate, like voting in the Senate or dealing with matters of national security.

Then he heads back home to be with his family, pray, or to take part in what he called one of "God's great blessings," the Saturday afternoon nap.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • DC • Judaism • Politics • Torah • United States

soundoff (352 Responses)
  1. SirEcho

    The first Sabbath Day was three days after the first appearance of the first New Moon, according to when God took His "Day" of rest. The second "Day" of rest would then be approximately 29 days later, when the third day after the second New Moon appeared. This Sabboth should be observed only once in a monthly cycle.
    It seems as though the Sabboths Joey is celebrating are for entirely different reasons, according to his Jewish teachings.

    August 17, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • md2205

      Sabbath observance has nothing to do with the new moon. It has to do with being the day after the six days of creation. There is an observance of the new moon every month. It symbolizes many things, but one of the things it symbolizes is the history of the Jewish people. Sometimes they are oppressed, as symbolized by the smaller size of the moon, but they always experience a rebirth and will do so permanently when the Messiah comes.

      August 18, 2011 at 12:04 am |
  2. ksocreative

    why do christian act like the world is their bubble? Any of you nutters that think Jesus is the only path to heaven, or god, or whatever, you better take your bible out your *** and look at the world around you. you can start with the below link that completely shoots your whole mesiah/savior theory out of the water. http://www.religionfacts.com/
    You';re not the only one's in the world with a piece of the pie of human morality, afterlife, etc. etc, FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER!

    August 17, 2011 at 11:03 am |
    • HotAirAce

      I agree...

      I refuse to discuss the details of religion, the rules of the world's largest fantasy role playing game, 'cause it's all bullshit once you come to the conclusion there are no gods (not even just one), but it strikes me as incredibly pompous, arrogant and just plain stupid for christians to lecture jews (or anyone else) about how to play their version of the game, or advise on which version of the game is better, especially when there are 34,000+ versions of the christian game.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Tracie

      Same ol' rhetoric. Is there a website you get this from so you can practice what you're saying? Your lack of understanding is what causes you to be such an angry person. I bet you are a liberal. You people are only liberal on what you want/believe and expect everyone else to keep their trap shut. I bet you surf the net just so you can spew your anger. Get over yourself.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:42 am |
  3. fritz

    For one thing, there is NO Sabbath. The sabbath as initiated by the ancient Hebrews was intended to give slaves a day of rest. Moses made it a crime worthy of death to bust the Sabbath. He even commited murder to uphold the sabbath. The original sabbath is on Saturday. Pope Gregory, a fervent anti-semite changed the Sabbath to Sunday to better separate the Jews from the more recent Christian people. So there are 2 sabbaths now. The bottom line for me is that humans created the sabbath. God had nothing to do with it. Does any other creature in Nature observe a sabbath? I don't think so. One of the things I learned about Nature is that any day is just like any other. Nature doesn't know nor care what day it is. Ardvarks and zebras have no need of a sabbath and neither do I. For me personally, I decide when and if I observe a sabbath. It could be any day I decide to screw off and take it easy. However, I can't take too many sabbaths per week or I won't ever get anything done!

    August 17, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • TheWiz

      Pope Gregory?!? Sorry, but read Acts. Christians have been worshiping on Sunday since practically the first Easter.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:01 am |
    • md2205

      G-d created the world in six days. The seventh is the Sabbath. That is when He stopped creating. The creative powers He used are what Jews refrain from doing on the Sabbath. That is why Jews do not use electricity on the Sabbath, as the world was created with fire, and electricity is a controlled spark of fire. G-d did say that all people and even the Jews' animals should also observe the Sabbath. Jews do not refrain from all work on the Sabbath; only what actions G-d used to make the world. Therefore, a Jew could conceivable sweep the floor the entire Sabbath and not be breaking the Sabbath, because he is only pushing dirt around. But he shouldn't turn on the light even once, because that is the act of "creating" a spark of fire, something G-d did to create the world.

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

      You dont know the Bible and you don't know the 10 commandments that the Lord gave to Moses. I will keep you and all of the others who are in the dark in my prayers.

      August 18, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • Tracie

      Nice humanistic approach. God gave Moses the commandment, he didn't make it up himself. You can' mix humanism with the bible and come up with the right answer. Not possible.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:44 am |
    • jimtanker

      Which ten commandments? Exodus 20 or Exodus 34?

      August 18, 2011 at 5:50 am |
  4. theDude

    Conviction! Imagine that....

    August 17, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  5. GAW

    @ Tam Nice to know that atheists can be holier than thou too.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • Tam

      hey,I am not holier than thou,maybe luckier than thou,LOL! I'm just someone who sees through this whole stupid,infantile charade they feed us since we're kids to control us and have us hand them all of our money.So...that would make me....intelligent? Versus the sheep that just crowd along and jump through all the hoops rabbis/priests/mullahs/insert-name-of-conman-here ,I am glad that at least I don't have to chant /dress/eat what they want AND make 'em rich in the process.Nothing holier than thou about that,just plain good ol' common sense!

      August 17, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • truth

      its all about rebellion...has been since the very beginning...comes through in all the NO hope, NO future and NO love souls who post here...LORD have mercy!

      August 17, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  6. Jacquelyne

    Life was A LOT better when I didn't read hateful blogs. Perhaps we don't need this type of forum when only mean people have something to say.

    I like Joe and I respect him.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:56 am |
    • truth

      just remember that the reason for the hateful bloggers is: NO hope, NO future and NO love...all foreign concepts to them....how very SAD

      August 17, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  7. J.C.

    Lieberman is an embarrassment on so many levels and now this. I still think Gore would have been a better president than the idiot eventually elected to the Oval Office, but the selection of Lieberman as a running mate has always made me question his judgement.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:55 am |
  8. JimboInPlano

    Too bad he's not president. He's the only one up on the hill I have respect for.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:52 am |
  9. krishna

    God does not give commandments. God just exists. God is existence itself. Can't believe there is so much ignorance in this world. Read all the religions. Compare all the religions. Be objective and exercise reason. Only then y'all can be "enlightened". Till then.....

    August 17, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • Tam

      hahha..it's statements like these that make me think you "religious" folks really need a wake-up call...go get back on your meds or something Krishna.un-freakin-believable...

      August 17, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • krishna

      @Tam,
      If its plain ol' common sense then what i have written is also plain ol' common sense. god can be as real as i am writing to you now. by merely denying something you cannot assert that something does not exist. use your brain Tam.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Just curious, but what is your objective reasoning for the following:
      "God does not give commandments. God just exists. God is existence itself."

      August 17, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Tam

      "God" is as "real" as the tooth fairy and Santa Claus,krishna.Only difference is that those who "preach" in "God"s name want your money and want to make you dress,eat ,act and speak the way THEY say "God" wants you to.An obvious con.Just because a bunch of books obviously written to manipulate people into blind obedience and the giving up of their money to the "church/synagogue/temple"SAY God exists doe not make it so.Give me hard,cold proof and then you may have a point.Up till now, God is just the product of some wild imaginations and a lot of greedy con artists.

      August 17, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
  10. Steven

    Every time i read a blog that has been written by a Jew, it totally amazes that their are still so many ignorant, anti sementic people in our own country. No where has "Joe" asked you to accept what he does is "better" then your point of view, nor has he said if you 'don't" do what I believe in your will rot in hell.....This is simply a very principled, disiciplined man, that keeps (when possible) a day in his life, to reconnect with his family, his thoughts and his sprituality. We should all take a lesson from him in his integrity and principles. No matter if your "day of rest" is on Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.......

    August 17, 2011 at 10:48 am |
  11. Fred

    A man of faith truly shows his value to the people he serves. The fact that Senator Lieberman's faith comes first makes his duty as a senator a part of his beliefs and values. He has and continues to serve this country well – Bravo, Joe.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Jacquelyne

      Very well put and I agree!

      August 17, 2011 at 10:54 am |
  12. Bo

    =============@dejavu================== Interesting, and what Bible text do you base all this freedom on? Do you mean that now that Jesus has set us free of the law that we can become religious criminals?

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

      From a Christian perspective, according to the writings of St. Paul, we have been freed from the letter of the law so that we can live according to the spirit. Hence, the holy day of Christians is not Saturday (as proscribed in the Hebrew Bible) but Sunday, which is the day that Jesus rose from the dead, and the fact that we do not have to adhere to dietary laws, and so on. But, Paul makes it clear that being set free from the letter of the law does not mean that Christians are given license to just do whatever they want. Rather, Christians are called to, once again, live according to the Spirit.
      But, this article is not about what, if any religion, is correct. This is about this particular senator and his integrity in observing his faith as a priority over even his distinguished (even if you disagree with him politically) career. I, for one, say right on!

      August 17, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  13. Ray

    you'd think they'd break down and buy a new tablecloth. One without holes in it.....just saying.....

    August 17, 2011 at 10:40 am |
  14. Karen

    Thank you, Senator L. I also keep the Sabbath and I enjoy those same benefits. The Sabbath not only helps us to restore our relationship with God, but with our families. It is a day to completely unplug.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • ksocreative

      not if you work the graveyard shift.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:58 am |
  15. Chris

    I agree with AGuest9. Not only that, but this is coming from the same guy who has continually voted against pro-life. Purely disgusting and hypocritical. It's time for the American people to flush the toilet with concern to the U.S. government's "elected" officials. It's time to take the Country back.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  16. Jack Tors

    Good story. Who cares what others do on their time. Live and let live.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • ladydi

      Great story – too bad the rest of the world doesn't observe their religion as deeply as him............there would be peace in the world!!!

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

    Rest is good !! Religious mumbo-jumbo is not !!!

    August 17, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • dejavu

      Senator, you miss the whole point. Jesus Christ came to set us free from the LAW. If you keep the sabbath and all that, I presume that you take you beast to church as an offering for like committing adultry or two doves for looking at your neighbours wife???? No, no, we are free. We can use the Blood of Jesus anytime as His child. We only have to confess our sins to one another. Friday rest means you are rejecting the offer of our Lord and Saviour by doing the mumbo-jumbo religious stuff.

      August 17, 2011 at 9:45 am |
    • MikeyNYC

      @dejavu You do recall that the senator is jewish, not Christian. I know that its almost impossible for an evangelical Christian to refrain from vomiting their faith on others, welcome or not, but why not give it a try? Are you under the impression that American Jews are not familiar with Christianity and its teachings? We've had it shoved down our throats for our entire lives, so we don't need a lesson. Try some respect next time instead of going on your evangelical auto-pilot. Perhaps you forgot that it was Jesus himself that taught that if one does not wish to hear the gospel, then the one preaching it should "move on and brush the dust from his feet". Consider yourself on notice that there is no jew who wishes to hear the gospel, and no, Jews for Jesus don't count, since accepting Jesus means rejecting Judaism, so a Jew for Jesus is about as ridiculous as a "christian for satan" or a "vegetarian for veal"!

      August 17, 2011 at 10:28 am |
    • Jeff

      @Dejavu,

      Wow, do you really believe we don't have to keep the law? i.e. shall we steal, lie & kill, or is it just the 4th commandment in particular? The scriptures have a lot to say about the message you're presenting. Take note that there were two groups in Jesus' day: the Pharisees, who added to the ten commandments, and the Sadducees, who took away from it. When Jesus healed on the Sabbath and was accused of working on the Sabbath, it was man's law–not God's law–that he had broken. When he said "two new commandments I give unto you," take note that you can't love your God without doing the first four commandments, and you can't love your neighbor without the last six. He wasn't striking down the law he'd written in stone with his own finger, he was putting a framework around it so that it may be understood better. Incidentally, it was not the law written on stones tucked away in the ark of the covenant that was done away with (Sabbath), it was the sabbaths that were handwritten by Moses and put outside the ark that were done away with.

      Regarding the assumption you make (that we are free to sin without consequence), consider Romans 1:1-2, 15-16. And if Hebrews 10:26 doesn't make your stomach turn, I don't know what will...

      there are some very good messages at the website below. I urge you to watch a couple of these videos...I did years ago, and I learned a lot! http://www.amazingfacts.org/Television/ProphecySeminars/TheProphecyCode/tabid/81/Default.aspx

      August 17, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • shiney

      Yes, Christ (the Messiah) came & fulfilled the Law – this is true, BUT in a way he's doing what all of us should be doing. Jews observe the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday). While christian observe the christian sabbath (Sunday).. the world would be a much better place if we observed the Sabbath. It's sad when you can pack a stadium for a football game & you think you did great to get 100 people in church service on Sunday. If you think about it, the world sets things up to sabatoge this teaching (work 6 days, rest the seventh) as most jobs will have you working on Sunday, most sporting events are on Sunday (Superbowl Sunday, need I say more), even family reunions & birthday parties half the time are scheduled for Sunday.... anything & everything to keep a person out of church – get them to forsake assembling themselves together in one place (church). Sad, sad indeed.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • fred

      MikeyNYC
      So one 96 year old Jew who came to Christ at our church is one of the strongest Christians I know because she retained much of the Old Laws and added the saving grace from Christ to that. I am stumped in that there is nothing you can do since you will forever break your own law and now there is no more sacrafice at the temple. How do you atone today ?

      August 17, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • TheWiz

      @Dejavu – first off the sacrificial system was meant for the Jewish Temple not "church" or, more accurately in this case, synagogue. Unless you're willing to bulldoze the Dome of the Rock the Temple will never be rebuilt. Secondly, while I agree with you as a Christian that salvation for all people is through Jesus Christ, Senator Lieberman does not "miss the point" because he's Jewish. In fact, remember the two commandments, the greatest ones on which the whole of the Law and Prophets hangs, as identified by Jesus- 1)Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength, and 2) love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus made it pretty clear that doing those two things are absolutely essential to salvation, not just sitting back and waiting for "easy grace" as so many conservative evangelicals like to do. I would argue that by living this way, putting his faith in and love for God first, above even career, he is fulfilling the commandment of Christ. So, lay off.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Reality

      Off topic but since everyone else is:

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

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

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

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

      August 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  18. William Demuth

    Ah, Good old Joe, the last of the great Zionist infiltrators into the Congress.

    Alas your movement is doomed. One by one you are being replaced by Tea Party evangelicals, who only support Israel in its march towards their highly anticipated Armageddeon!

    I do so laugh when I see Jews networking with Conservative Christians, totally oblivious to how much they loathe them for killing their beloved Jesus.

    August 17, 2011 at 9:00 am |
    • J-Ex

      Spoken like someone who knows nothing about the evangelical Christian/Jewish relationship.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • shiney

      Yes, we love Israel – if we don't we are in trouble & obviously haven't cracked your Bible lately if ever.

      America has been a friend of Israel for many years & best remain as such or we will be in deep doodoo. God promised to Abraham "I will bless them that bless you & curse them that curse you". Israel is God's chosen people – the apple of His eye – Jesus was a Jew.

      If you don't believe me & won't pick up a 1611 King Jame Version Bible & read for yourself, you can also check out a wonderful book that I've been reading "As America Has Done to Israel". You will see the connection through the years. When you go against Israel, you can expect trouble.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • truth

      @WILLIAM....no one killed Jesus....he laid down his life to reconcile God with man...the pascal Lamb...He gave his life for your soul to live for eternity....but you reject Him, which is your choice

      August 17, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • William Demuth

      Please

      I see it with my own eyes.

      Wild eyed Christian Skin Heads with the Torah as toilet paper and Israeli flags as targets.

      If the Jews are foolish enough to trust Christian Zealots, the the genocide against them shall be finished once and for all.

      Be it Jesus or Hitler, the zombie followers are still alive and well.

      August 17, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Schaz

      Why are you surprised? The so called "liberals" are historically always so anxious to throw the Jews under the bus.

      They are as bad for the Jews as the so called "right wing" movements.

      August 17, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • md2205

      The Pope already stated that it is wrong to blame the Jews for that killing because the Jews did not do it. If you look at the Bible it does state which ways someone convicted of a crime are to be killed and hanging on a cross was not one of them. The Romans, however, did kill myriads of people that way, and they are the ones who killed him also.

      August 18, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  19. John Stefanyszyn

    The Sabbath day, one of the Ten Commandments which were written on stone for the Israelis to follow. Why on stone?
    Why did "commandments" need to be given? ...because the Israelis did not desire to love the True God and their neighbor.
    This was very clear at the outset, when they made a golden calf to worship and later throught history.
    If one loves and serves the True God, then the True God would not need to command him to serve him.

    The same applies to the "Sabbath". God had to write this command on stone because the Israelis did not want to keep this day "holy", which that was a reminder of who was the creator, of who brought into existence all that exists. They did not want to remember Who was the Creator.

    God gave them the "10 Commandments on stone" because they did not want to love Him in their heart.

    ....because they prefered to live by another belief in their heart.

    There is the belief by which man lives his life by and their is the "personal religious faith" which is "a part" of that life.

    What is Mr. Lieberman's first, core, prioritary belief and way of life?
    Is it not his desire for and belief in one's own freedom to to do what is right in his own eyes. Is it not his belief in freedom of rights and religion?...Yes....he serves this belief, has given allegiance to this belief, and works for this belief.

    The belief in freedom of religion dictates that all religions/god/beliefs are as valid and as equal as the Creator God and His Son, the Christ. This is blasphemy.....not only acording to what Christ taught but also according to the first three commandments that were written "on stone".

    Mr. Lieberman may seem "righteous" in the eyes of men by "religiously" observing the Sabbath, but he is not only breaking the first 3 literal commandments but more importantly, he is breaking the First Spiritual Teaching that Christ taught....to love the True God, and Only Him, with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength.....this means that there is no other belief or way of life to be embraced.

    August 17, 2011 at 7:50 am |
    • William Demuth

      Hey Johny

      Why don't you throw a PogRom for him while your at it.

      He don't dig your Jesus, and that freaks you out don't it!

      August 17, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • David Johnson

      An actual Jesus probably never actually existed. Sorry to be the one to tell you.

      Cheers!

      August 17, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • Adam

      First of all, what you are talking about is incorrect. In the Torah, or Old Testament, the ten commandments are not called ten commandments but rather ten statements. Why? When translating mitzvot they mean commandments and debrot mean statements. Believing in freedom of religion does not mean that you accept other gods as your's, rather you are accepting the fact that other people have a belief and you are fine with it. And G-d did not give commandments because they did not love him as much as they should have or didn't recognize him, but G-d gave for the Israelites, which are now the Jewish People, ways to connect with Him, which are following the 613 commandments. G-d wants everyone to connect with him and He gave different ways of connecting with Him

      August 17, 2011 at 10:12 am |
    • J-Ex

      man you love to hear yourself talk.....here's a hint....all the rest of us hear is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah

      August 17, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • MikeyNYC

      Is it just me or do these evangelical Christians make everyone want to vomit? If I wished to learn about Jesus, I'd ask you to teach me, so please assume that anyone who refrains from making such a request does not wish to hear about your faith! All non-Christians in the USA are so tired of having Jesus shoved down our throats day after day, week after week and year after year. Do you think we don't know what Christianity teaches? Many of us have been told that we will burn in the Christian hell for all eternity if we reject Jesus and THATS JUST FINE! I'd much rather spend eternity in your hell, than be in an eternal paradise with ignorant, arrogant evangelical christians. If you want any respect for what you believe, then you had better show respect for the beliefs or lack of beliefs of others.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:35 am |
    • TheWiz

      Nothing in the right to freedom of religion affirms universality – that is, that all religious beliefs are equally valid. It simply means that you have the right to worship as your conscience deems fit (right or wrong) without interference from the government, and that for the good of civil peace, no religion shall be directly involved in the affairs of government. Period. That is it. No Universalism intended or implied. If he longs for God, and loves God, puts God first in his life, then Jesus himself affirms that as the right and proper thing. And, remember the parable of the sheep and the goats – the ones who shout their love for God but who do not love and serve Christ in their neighbor are condemned, while it is the ones who love and serve their neighbor, and thereby even unknowlingly, serve Christ, those are the ones who get to enter the kingdom. So, judge not, lest you be judged. Sound familiar?

      August 17, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • md2205

      If you serve G-d, you are by definition of the word "serve" doing what G-d wants. And you can't do what G-d wants until He tells you what that is. That is what a commandment is. If you "serve" without the commandment, you are only making something up yourself and doing it. That is only serving yourself. G-d gave the Jews the commandments because they were the only people who wanted to serve Him. In fact, they said to Him, "We will do and we will hear", meaning, tell us what to do and after that, we will learn about it to understand it. They were just coming out of Egypt after being slaves there for so long and were very interested in doing what G-d wanted. Some of the Jews made a Golden Calf because they thought that Moses, having been up on the mountain for 40 days and having not taken any food with him, couldn't be alive anymore and they were going crazy. Aaron, Moses' brother, tried to stall them because he understood that the G-dly revelations Moses was experiencing on the mountain was sustaining him, but many of the people didn't listen to him. That is why we have Yom Kippur. And where do you think J. got that nice sentence about loving G-d with all your heart and soul and strength? That is in the Torah that G-d gave the Jews. That is a statement a Jew reads at least twice and sometimes four times a day. But one main difference between Judaism and Christianity is that Judaism puts great emphasis on doing, making the world a better place, and not just on believing.

      August 18, 2011 at 12:26 am |
  20. AGuest9

    As a former fed, I nearly missed the birth of my son, his baptism, and missed most of his important "firsts" in life and most of my older children's school and sports activities. It's nice that for how much a Senator is paid, that they are allowed to "shut off" their Black Berry on the weekend. I worked around-the-clock through many "long weekends" and holidays, including Christmas, and was told that as a lector at the church, I was "unreliable" because I could be called by work at any time. Glad he can enjoy his time with his wife and his Saturday afternoon nap!

    August 17, 2011 at 7:12 am |
    • ItsYourOwnFault

      YOU chose a job that put YOUR family in the backseat. Don't be bitter at anyone but YOURSELF for making the choices YOU made. Nobody put a gun to your head to do the line of work that you did.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • DamianKnight

      @Guest,

      That must have been very difficult, sacrificing your family time and faith for the work you did. I don't know what you did in the Federal government, but regardless, thank you. You guys don't get enough appreciation.

      August 17, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • AGuest9

      @Damian – You're welcome, and thank you for your appreciation. I didn't work for public adulation, like so many of these politicians. They seem to forget when they make impossible demands and then go home, the people fulfilling those demands are in the office late into the night, on weekends and holidays, and still have their REAL jobs to do.

      People like ItsYouOwnFault are the first to gripe about too many "overpaid" GOVERNMENT employees (yet, are unable to identify WHICH government level they are expecting services from when they are "wronged".)

      August 18, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
    • AF_zoomie

      With over 14 years of military service under my belt, I understand and appreciate the sacrifices you've made in the name of public service. I've missed out on about half of my 18 month-old daughter's precious life so far, and I'm exceedingly thankful for a supportive wife (and Skype!). I think Ben Franklin would agree that time is the stuff that relationships are made of, and we can both see the consequences of this principle in our own lives.

      If you can see the need for time with your family to build/maintain those relationships, can you not also see the need for time with God to build/maintain that relationship? That's what the Sabbath is about. It's about spending time with our Creator, not about taking naps. http://www.sabbathtruth.com

      Respectfully,
      Jeff

      August 19, 2011 at 2:46 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.