September 14th, 2011
10:58 AM ET

My Take: Don’t be fooled by candidates’ God talk

Editor’s note: Brian T. Kaylor is assistant professor of communication studies at James Madison University and author of “Presidential Campaign Rhetoric in an Age of Confessional Politics.”

By Brian T. Kaylor, Special to CNN

Rick Perry’s Wednesday visit to Liberty University marks only the latest effort by the Texas governor to reach the White House by confessing his faith.

Even in an election cycle dominated by economic concerns, Perry and several of his Republican presidential opponents have spent the last few months trying to out-God-talk one another in hopes of attaining salvation at the ballot box.

While debate moderators and election commentators focus on economic issues, the religious rhetoric of the presidential candidates appears to go mostly unnoticed - except by the key Republican voting bloc being courted. After being a Republican, the best predictor of someone being a Tea Party supporter is whether a person has a desire to see religion significantly impact politics.

This type of confessional politics, in which candidates invoke God and cite Scripture to win elections, has unfortunately dominated U.S. politics for three decades. Ever since Bible-quoting Sunday school teacher Jimmy Carter won the White House in 1976, presidential candidates have followed his example of using religious rhetoric that is testimonial, partisan, sectarian and liturgical.

Exemplifying the confessional political style, Perry said he felt “called” by God to run for president. He kicked off his campaign with brazen confessional gusto, bringing tens of thousands together in an NFL stadium for a day of prayer and fasting.

In June, Perry secretly met a group of nearly 80 conservative Christian leaders at a gathering organized by evangelist James Robison. The Texas evangelist led a similar secret meeting in 1979 to plot Jimmy Carter's defeat.

That earlier effort culminated in an August 1980 religious-political rally with Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan that helped Reagan mobilize conservative pastors for his victory. At the event, Reagan famously used a line suggested by Robison to win over the crowd: “I know you can’t endorse me … but I want you to know that I endorse you and what you are doing.”

Perry isn’t the only candidate who believes the road to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue runs down the church aisle.

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has also said she felt God was “calling” her to run, won the Iowa Straw Poll last month in large part because of support from conservative evangelicals. Her campaign strategy includes speaking in churches and garnering pastor endorsements.

Now that Perry has entered the race with a similar strategy, Bachmann’s poll numbers are in free fall. As Jesus warned, those who live by the sword will die by the sword.

Even candidates who might not be expected to try their hands at confessional politics have orchestrated come-to-Jesus moments.

Libertarian-leaning Ron Paul may idolize thinker Ayn Rand (even naming his son after her) but he is rejecting her atheistic worldview as he hopes to become the GOP’s standard-bearer. In July, Paul’s campaign launched its “Evangelicals for Ron Paul”  initiative.

The website for the effort prominently features a quote from Paul: “I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, and I endeavor every day to follow Him in all that I do in every position I advocate.”

Even Mormon candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman, whose faith makes them suspicious to many evangelicals, work references to Jesus into their speeches.

In the last presidential campaign,  Romney proudly confessed, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and the Savior of mankind.”

At the June Faith & Freedom Conference run by former Christian Coalition chief Ralph Reed, Huntsman attempted to endear himself to the evangelical audience by crediting Jesus with bringing his adopted Chinese daughter into his family.

These candidates may not have the same natural religious swagger as Perry, but they're clearly seeking faith-based voters in hopes of not being left behind.

Romney has spoken at Liberty University, founded by the late Jerry Falwell, as has Paul, while Bachmann is speaking there in a couple weeks. Then-presidential candidate John McCain spoke there in 2008, even after labeling Falwell an “agent of intolerance.”

Sometimes the political conversion experience on the way to Washington seems even more dramatic than the spiritual conversion of the biblical Paul on the way to Damascus.

Not to be outdone, President Barack Obama also employs the confessional political style. During the 2008 campaign he spoke of God and cited Scripture with more eloquence and ease than McCain. Obama continues to weave biblical themes and divine references into his speeches, including in remarks last weekend at the September 11 anniversary event in New York.

Voters should ignore attempts by candidates to out-confess one another and instead focus on what really matters.

John F. Kennedy declared in a speech to Protestant pastors in Houston: “I believe that we have far more critical issues in the 1960 campaign … the hungry children I saw in West Virginia, the old people who cannot pay their doctors bills, the families forced to give up their farms - an America with too many slums, with too few schools.”

These same issues demand our attention today. When religious confessions crowd out critical issues, we all lose. We are not electing an evangelist-in-chief.

When political elections come down to who can claim to love God the most, we all lose. Religious devotion and piety does not inherently equal governing competence.

When religion becomes merely another political trick, we all lose. The politicization of faith profanes the sacred.

My prayer is that candidates and voters will move away from confessional politics. As a committed Christian and former Baptist pastor, I do not wish to see religion excluded from the public square. However, giving religious beliefs too much weight in electoral decisions undermines the basic democratic values that have guided our nation for over two centuries.

The expectation that candidates talk about God and their personal religious beliefs shifts attention away from critical policy concerns, creates a de facto religious test for office and essentially disenfranchises those of minority faiths or who have no faith. Confession may be good for the soul, but it is not always good for democracy.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Brian T. Kaylor.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Opinion • Politics

soundoff (1,643 Responses)
  1. Alfonzo Muchanzo

    As a Christian, I agree that a politician's faith should not matter. I'm concerned with their governing competence as well as their ability to lead this nation. Whether they be a Christian or atheist is a moot point.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
    • Geekalot

      Nice to hear, Al....Can you honestly say you would consider voting for an avowed atheist or Muslim or Hindu? If so, I applaud you. How many conservative Christians do you think could do the same? I think not so many.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • Albert

      If we want competence, we should have tests and a meritocracy instead of a false democracy. I'd like a meritocracy very much...

      September 14, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Kyle

      It's not a moot point.

      You won't catch me voting for anyone of ANY faith. I simply cannot trust someone that believes in an omnipotent, omnipresent tooth fairy. People of faith tend to make decisions based on what? Their religious beliefs. And the fact of the matter is that religious beliefs are based on antiquated texts that contradict themselves. They teach people to hate. That's what religion does, period.

      What would jesus do about unemployment? Nothing, just like obama. Why? Because neither of them have the experience necessary to get the job done. I'll never trust someone who would rather pray than stand up and take action.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  2. AGuest9

    If Perry can't separate his church from his state, then he's not fit to govern at ANY level.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
    • Albert

      Amen to that!
      He is the worst sort of panderer, immoral, and loves nothing more than to parade his false faith into politics like a na.ked emperor using all the pomp and hoopla he can get while the rest of us have to wash our political eyes after seeing his junk flapping in the political breeze.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  3. David Johnson

    Better be careful with these religious nuts. They are fun to poke fun at, for sure. But they have a terrifying "wishlist".

    Christian Right Agenda = Christian Theocracy

    The Texas history books are rewriting history to give the conservative slant. The objective of this effort, is to create a Christian Nation, a theocracy with Jesus as Head of State.

    A huge campaign is underway, to convince the American people, the founding fathers never intended a separation of church and state. Thomas Jefferson's role as a founding father is played down. In some cases Jefferson is smudged.

    Expect an attack on the 1st and 14th Amendments. The founding fathers will weep.

    Most of the Tea Party are for a Christian Theocracy. The Tea Party is in bed with the Christian Right. A vote for any Tea Party candidate, is a vote for Christian Right domination.

    The Republicans are the puppets of the Christian Right and Rich White Men.

    You will see an amendment defining marriage as between a man and woman. The repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell", will be in grave jeopardy. Gay rights will dwindle and die.

    Roe Vs. Wade will be reversed. Women will once again be forced to seek back alley remedies. Men will be forced to buy condoms on the black market. You will procreate! It is not up to you!

    Stem cell research will stagnate. The hopes of damaged and sick people will be dashed.

    All scientific research will be scrutinized by the Christian Right. "If a theory is in agreement with Scripture ", will be the new metric. Get use to hearing "God Did It". No one will dare question otherwise.

    You say you've developed a vaccine that will prevent women from getting cervical cancer? No, Mr. Scientist. You will pour it down the drain! And you will make drugs that prevent STDs no more! So sayeth the Lord...According to the Religious fanatics.
    "Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful, because they may see it as a licence to engage in premarital $ex. Abstinence is the best way to prevent HPV" – Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council

    P_ornography will be illegal. The Religious Right will decide what is p_ornographic , as well as what is art. You will watch television programs approved by the Evangelicals. Lots of reruns of "Growing Pains", starring that Evangelical darling Kirk Cameron. Thank you Jesus!

    Creationism will be taught in public school, most likely alongside evolution rather than instead of, but no guarantees.
    Vouchers will enable parents to send their child to religious schools. Funds to public schools will dwindle. Quality education will be out of reach for the masses. The finite amount of money, will be spread too thin.

    Little Johnny will believe in talking snakes and Zombie Messiahs. The rest of the world is spending their time learning real science and math. Good luck Johnny. Can you say: "Would you like fries with that?"

    State-sanctioned Prayer will be in our schools. The Christian Right think they know better than the Founding Fathers and want to tamper with the Bill of Rights. They want to amend the U.S. Const_itution, so that the Government would legally sponsor and take over the activity of prayer. Only the one true god, the Christian god, will be given homage. The non-Christians will be allowed to put their heads down on their desks, during the morning worship. They can contemplate their damnation, for not accepting Jesus.

    $ex education will consist of abstinence only. Studies have shown it is a worthless concept. But, it will please Jesus / The Christian fanatics.

    The war against unions, commenced during the Bush administration, will continue. Labor will be humbled. Even a minimum wage will not be allowed.

    Say goodbye to enti_tlements. Social Security and Medicare are Ponzi schemes! Our elderly will die earlier than they thought. But, they have the promise of an afterlife to comfort them. Unless of course, they haven't accepted Jesus. Then, they will burn in hell for all eternity.

    The government will turn over its programs for the p_oor, to the Christian Right. They will decide who will receive help and who will not. No longer will the criteria for receiving help be income.

    Jesus will be the Head of State! He will be represented by an empty chair at the head of the leadership table. Only the Evangelicals will be able to hear His voice. They will tell the rest of us His will. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

    We will be slaves to a make believe god. If it wasn't so sad, it would be funny.


    September 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      EXCELLENT POST !!!! FULLY AGREED !!!! The Tea Party NUT JOBS want their country "BACK" but the logical and sane people want our country "FORWARD"

      September 14, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • Alfonzo Muchanzo

      Lol men will be forced to buy condoms on the black marktet? That right there completely discredits everything you said. Please think next time 🙂

      September 14, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      The sad thing is that these are the actual aims of a large portion of the electorate. Large enough to shift elections.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm |
    • A Theist

      I got a little bored reading it all the way through. The way I see it though, is for this to happen, the majority of America needs to already be Fundamentalist Christian, in Congress, The Executive Office, and The Judicial Branch. If it ever reached that point, I would say that by most people's definition, America would already be doomed.

      Theocracies are wrong anyway, since they remove the willingness to obey God and substi`tute it with legal compulsion.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @A Theist

      You said: "I got a little bored reading it all the way through."

      Understandable. Most believers have trouble with their reading and comprehension. If this wasn't so, there would be very few theists.


      September 14, 2011 at 12:46 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Alfonzo Muchanzo

      You said: "Lol men will be forced to buy condoms on the black marktet? That right there completely discredits everything you said. Please think next time"

      Let's practice thinking.
      Your god is very unlikely to exist. Prayer doesn't work. No evidence that Jesus ever existed. Or you pick one.


      September 14, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • A Theist

      Not that, it's just that the story of the Fundamentalist Christian is a tired one. I really don't seem them as nearly a formidable a threat as some of you do, and I think the sooner we recognize that the only way for them to get a firm grasp on our laws is for the majority of American to be Fundamentalist Christian in the first place, the sooner we can sort of just laugh them off.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      I would laugh them off too if they did not actually have an impact. Usually at the local level, but often enough state level and it can add up.
      For example, the ridiculous notion of outlawing birth control... Reality:

      "Still, the anti-birth-control movement's efforts are making a significant political impact: Supporters have pressured insurance companies to refuse coverage of contraception, lobbied for "conscience clause" laws to protect pharmacists from having to dispense birth control, and are redefining the very meaning of pregnancy to classify certain contraceptive methods as abortion. In increasing numbers, women and men opposed to contraception are marshaling health facts and figures to bolster their convictions that s.ex for anything but procreation is morally wrong and potentially deadly. Although its medical arguments are really just thinly veiled moral and religious arguments, using findings that are biased and unfounded, the rising anti-contraception movement, echoed by the Catholic Church, is making significant inroads. Leaders of the pro-choice movement know it, are worried about it, and realize they can't take it lightly, as they mount their own strategies to battle it.

      "It is very hard to awaken people to the threat," says Gloria Feldt, the former president of Planned Parenthood, "because who can believe that something so accessible can be at risk? But that's what [people] said when they started attacking Roe, and now look at how close we are to losing Roe."

      September 14, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @A Theist

      Unlike the baby Jesus and the devil and demons, the Tea Party / Christian Right is very real. Already, the Republican Party is trying to end a woman's right to choose.

      You strain at a gnat while swallowing a camel.


      September 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • David Johnson


      Dude! You make me smile. You give me hope, that America will stay secular and free.

      Cheers to you!

      September 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • real_personn

      Excellent post. When a friend in China mentioned she has more rights then we do under the right wing government.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Secularist

      Well, this degenerated into a liberal rambling. Unions have no place in this day and age, and have nothing to do with this topic.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • RP

      You're delusions are paranoid and bear no resemblance to reality other than that which exists within your mind. Although Christians and Deists made up a majority of our founding fathers they built a secular state that guaranteed freedom of religion and freedom from religion if you so chose. Although there may be a very small group of people that your views apply to it is extremely small, probably much smaller than 1% of the general electorate.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • Jeff

      RP: Let me know when I can cash in on my "freedom from religion" because I am sick to death of hearing about it. If only that were true and we actually had freedom FROM religion. Sigh...

      September 14, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  4. EnergyBeing3

    People are addicted to their religious delusions. Praying to a dead corpse nailed to two boards and then in some totally gross ritual drinking the blood and eating the body of a dead master is beyond insane. The simple minded fall for the con and scam, then they can have their choices swayed or controlled because who ever is " At the wheel of spirituality " will persuade them of what is right and wrong for their personal gain and hidden agendas. It's beyond sick. WAKE UP PEOPLE

    September 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  5. Geekalot

    As I often say here, I fully support every person's right to choose what to believe or not, so long as those beliefs do not directly harm another person or force someone to convert or disallow someone from changing his mind.

    That said, religious talk in politics is a VERY VERY bad idea. It always favors the dominant beliefs and makes it virtually impossible for anyone from a minority belief or no belief to be heard. All you religious folk who love to hear your favored candidate talk about God ask yourselves how you would react if that candidate were Hindu or Buddist or Atheist how would you react?

    The only factors that should matter in a democratic free society is the candidate's qualifications to govern competantly and fairly. Could you honestly say that you would consider voting for an Atheist or Muslim, even if that person were the most qualified? Really?

    If you hesitated, then you nead to re-examine your priorities. Don't think so? Imagine for a moment if another religion gained power in our governemnt and began writing laws based on their favored holy book. Would you want that? Can you honestly say that would be just? No? Then why do you think it is OK for your brand of religion to force its ethics on everyone else?

    Like it or not, the freedom to believe or not, to pursue one's happiness, requires no interance from any religion in order to ensure everyone gets to freely practice their own religion or none at all.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  6. The Bobinator

    Only morons vote for someone who claims to have the same faith as them. Unfortunately, about half of americans are below median intelligence. 🙂

    September 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • A Theist

      The Bobinator knows his statistical terms! Let's see if someone tries to "correct" you 😉

      September 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • AGuest9

      By definition, you are correct.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • A Theist

      AGuest9 sees it too 😀

      Oh stats, what wonderous things you can do with data!

      Let's see if someone tries to mention that the average IQ of an American is roughly 100.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Normon

      What do you mean, "about" half?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Norman "about half' as in "About one quarter of Americans are below the lower quartile of intelligence" 😉

      September 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • Normon

      Obviously, but I'm disputing the "about", not the "half".

      September 14, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • A Theist

      Haha yeah I was reading his post as a joke. But then, I could have been wrong there.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Lies, Dam.ned Lies and Statistics

      September 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • A Theist

      @AGuest9, brilliant quote. And many times a rather true one!

      September 14, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • fred

      I don’t believe in mediums so you can’t count me in any stats.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • Nick

      Ok, that was funny fred! At least I hope you meant that as a joke. 😉

      September 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • fred

      Wait, wait I hear a voice someone close to you I can't make it out....oh wait do you know a saint an old saint? He wants to know if you like what you got for christmas.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  7. A Theist

    Why even say, "I've been called by God?" If you really believe in God and you think God called you to it, then God will make it so whether you tell others or not. Also, why would call two people on the same team, when He clearly has already made up His mind? It's statements like these that really make me question the legitimacy of the Politician's faith.

    Ron Paul, you're looking better and better every day, uomo.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • A Theist

      *"I've been called by God"?
      (Trained by the Grammar Nazis)

      September 14, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Know What

      A Theist,

      Outstanding post. Thank you.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:34 pm |
    • I Don't Know but Neither Do You

      Don't get in too big a hurry to jump on Ron Paul's bandwagon...even he is rallying with the evangelikooks now.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  8. Albert

    If the retardicans want to win the Presidency, they're gonna have to quit doing stupid things that only help traitors.
    We are a country of secular laws, not religious laws. Religious laws are about the "next world" not this one.
    Nothing in the bible addresses political issues and cannot be used to govern a country. To try is to be a fool.

    September 14, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
    • A Theist

      Apparently you aren't familiar with the 32nd Amendment, which says "All people must attend church daily and say, 'I love Jesus!' after every meal." 😉

      September 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Kyle

      Well, as long as the retardocrats don't keep retarbama in office...

      September 14, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  9. Choices

    I see a couple of choices here regarding those who say that "God" talks to them:

    1) They are delusional.
    2) They are dishonest.

    Neither quality is a stellar recommendation for a leader.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Albert

      Yet those are the ones that always get elected. Wat do?

      September 14, 2011 at 11:56 am |
  10. William Demuth

    I miss 1968.

    The herd is too big,

    September 14, 2011 at 11:47 am |
  11. tallulah13

    The only people fooled by these politicians are the really, really gullible ones.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • David Johnson

      You mean the Christians?


      September 14, 2011 at 11:44 am |
    • Albert

      Just the gullible ones. Not necessarily religious. Just naive, gullible, and stupid.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Rational Being

      And you must be really foolish and gullible to vote for a politician and not the policies!

      September 14, 2011 at 12:24 pm |
    • Jared

      You have to be gullible to believe anything a politician says to begin with.

      September 14, 2011 at 1:40 pm |
    • Kyle

      Considering the fact that democrats think they're all more intelligent and educated, and they got obama elected.... I find it humorous that any democrat is even willing to publicly show his or her face.

      September 14, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Why Kyle? Republicans got Bush elected, which is why we are in the trouble we are, and the current republicans are obstructing anything and everything. I guess republicans should be very deeply embarrassed that the politicians in their party are destroying the country in order to get reelected.

      September 15, 2011 at 12:36 am |
  12. clock

    This may be a shock to YOU, but many Christians profess their faith because they are faithful! God tells us to not be ashamed of our faith and to proclaim it. perry would be sinning if he tried to hide it. Try it, you might find God.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • ThinkForYourself

      Doesn't your bible say something about not praying just for attention? If you really think that all of the god talk is not politically motivated then I have some ocean front property in Colorado to sell you.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • William Demuth

      You might also find globall thermonuclear war.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:48 am |
    • Albert

      You're supposed to pray in secret, not shout prayers for political gain. Hypocrisy is the rock-solid standard of religion.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:55 am |
    • EnergyBeing3

      Clock, do yourself a HUGE favor and look up the term "BRAINWASHED" then read through a few Atheist web sites. You owe it to yourself to have a better understanding as to why people are dropping the Christian religion like a bad habit. One of my fave sites is TheThinkingAtheist ....... what if one day, like me, you had the rude awakening that you'd been brainwashed and scammed in one of the oldest cons in human history? You'd eventually have liberation with the truth and find a greater sense of mental freedom.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Clock, people lie. That is why you should consider a person's actions more than their words.

      September 15, 2011 at 12:37 am |
    • TheDragon117

      I'm not going to try and convince anyone to renounce their faith, while I may not believe in christian religion the fundamentals of it are plain and simple rules of surviving as a society. I think the reason these fights get so bad on here is because we the atheists or agnostics are taking the wrong approach. Don't attack the religion what it teaches is fine, its how it is executed that is a problem. Not everyone does it, but the ones that do make everyone look bad, and you're grouping truly devotes with those that claim to be truly devote and then proceed to behave in ways that aren't in accordance with their own teachings. For christian to vote for christian is only natural just like conservatives or liberals voting for other conservatives or liberals. Now the catch is christian should watch to see if a professed christian is actually one. The christian bible states clearly that man is given free will, and it is our choice to act in accordance with "god's" plan. So a real christian won't try to take away your freedoms. A real christian won't try to force you to join they just share their belief, the same way we all do. Don't attack a faith because of its stupid people. We as atheists claim logic and reason over faith in a God, so logically realize that their faith doesn't make them bad people. If a christian wants to profess his faith while running as a candidate fine, because that gives one more standard to hold him to, if he cant follow his own beliefs then I don't expect him to protect mine and I won't vote for him watch his actions. Their will be people that vote for him because he's christian, just like people who voted for Obama because of his skin color, but I hope it is the majority of people who actually vote for what a person does not who they say they are. If they don't that is the problem, not race, religion, or affiliation, but ignorance.

      October 16, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  13. Shadowflash1522

    "The politicization of faith profanes the sacred."

    I have to agree with this one. Regardless of what you believe, when faith enters politics it becomes nothing more than a con man's word, a cheap trick. Even atheists have things they believe and things they hold sacred (not divine, but revered)–family, friends, humanity, the universe in all its glory.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Speaking of con job.

      Too funny.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:33 am |
    • A Theist

      It sort of depends. On one hand I think confessing faith is helpful, so I can get a grasp of what stance they'll take on certain issues. I even see nothing wrong with leading prayer once in a while. On the other hand, if a politician is asked, "How do you plan to balance the budget?" and their answer is, "Praise Jesus!" I feel rather dubious about their competence to get things done. It even says in the Bible that matters of a nation will not coincide with matters of the faith, and so if you're running for office, I'd say being a Spiritual Leader should be put on the back-burner. Pray, that's fine. Share your faith, that's also fine. But more importantly for a President, tell us what you're going to do and how to do it, then get it done. That's what will ultimately win my vote.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
    • Shadowflash1522

      How Christlike of you, HeavenSent.

      Tell me, are you enjoying the view of the forest or are the trees in your way?

      September 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
    • Shadowflash1522

      @A Theist:
      Right on!

      September 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
    • TheDragon117

      @ A Theist, I liked that, better put then I think I could have. Its not the professing of faith that is a problem, its the lack of any other real answers. IF you want to claim god is leading you, ask for the answer now so everyone can get on the same page. I don't want to vote for someone who says god will tell me, or someone who just says, I'll know what to do when we need to. I want a plan and to know that you will do the right thing, I don't care if you came up with it or if god did as long as its right, but I need to know what that is before I put you in charge.

      October 16, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
  14. jimtanker

    When we talk to God, we're praying. When God talks to us, we're schizophrenic.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Just the facts, Ma'am

      Isn't it funny how a Christian who said he actually heard God speak to him, who said he actually heard God's voice, would be considered crazy by most Christians?

      September 14, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • jimtanker

      It worked for Pat Robertson, Oral Robers, and Billy Grahm. Look how rich they got. They all said that god talked to them.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Jim, those are all fakes making a dollar off of Jesus.


      September 14, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Just the facts, Ma'am

      So if you are a layman and say you have heard the voice of God, your fellow Christians think you are crazy, but if you are a Christian media whore and say you have heard the voice of God, you get rich?

      These Christian protocols are most mysterious.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • Kyle

      jesus was a fake as well.

      That jesus guy is never coming. You see... he's late. REALLY late. By about 2000 years. According to his own words.

      "Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled." –Matthew 24:34 (KJV)

      "And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power." –Mark 9:1 (KJV)

      "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." –Matthew 16:28 (KJV)

      "According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, we who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep." –1 Thessalonians 4:15 (NIV)

      "Jesus answered, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.'" –John 21:22 (NIV)

      "When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes." –Matthew 10:23 (NIV)

      And then, jesus never showed up. So, what happened? In Peter, we can see excuses being made. It is believed this was one of the last additions to the bible. They realized that jesus lied.


      September 14, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • RP

      Billy Graham didn't get rich. Despite the hundreds of millions of dollars that went through his organization he took a very modest salary in comparison to anyone running a similar sized endeavor.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
  15. Prayer

    O Lord we humbly beseech thee,
    Please forgive us of our iniquities
    Hear our prayers, O Lord
    Help us to be that nation once again whose trust is in God!
    Help us to be a beacon of light to all other nations.


    September 14, 2011 at 11:20 am |
    • Rev. Monty

      Let us praise God.
      Oh Lord...
      Oooh you are so big
      So absolutely huge.
      Gosh, we're all really impressed down here I can tell you.
      Forgive Us, O Lord, for this dreadful toadying.
      And barefaced flattery.
      But you are so strong and, well, just so super.
      Fan – tastic.

      Let us sing:

      Oh Lord, please don't burn us,
      Don't grill or toast your flock,
      Don't put us on the barbecue,
      Or simmer us in stock,
      Don't braise or bake or boil us,
      Or stir-fry us in a wok...

      Oh please don't lightly poach us,
      Or baste us with hot fat,
      Don't fricassee or roast us,
      Or boil us in a vat,
      And please don't stick thy servants Lord,
      In a Rotissomat...

      September 14, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • NOo..oON

      All hail the Python!

      September 14, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • A Theist

      Ecky-ecky blloiinng schablee ababelaksls humun...an...um...

      From the Knights who once said... "NEE!"

      September 14, 2011 at 12:19 pm |
    • ThinkForYourself

      What sad times are these when ruffians say "Ecky-ecky blloiinng schablee ababelaksls humun...an...um" at will to fellow posters.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      And now for something completely different.............

      A politician that actually says what he believes...... Nah.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm |
    • A Theist

      The Larch........ the Larch

      This could go on for a rather long time, but I will likely cease to parrot my Monty-isms presently.
      I am, if you will, an EX-PARROT!

      September 14, 2011 at 12:39 pm |
  16. jimtanker

    Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion, and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  17. jimtanker

    Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:17 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Those two hands working (cough, cough) never belongs to a non-believer. They're the ones that pretend to work, are busy bsing all day.


      September 14, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • ThinkForYourself

      Would someone form heaven really propogate such lies? I thought that your bible says that's wrong. Do you think that believers are the only ones that volunteer their time to help the less fortunate? Try getting out of your bubble once in awhlie.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • The Bobinator

      > Those two hands working (cough, cough) never belongs to a non-believer. They're the ones that pretend to work, are busy bsing all day.

      I find it odd that this all powerful God requires his followers to do something and to defend his name. It's almost like God doesn't exist and people are defending their silly notions.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
    • MarkinFL

      Heavensent actually knows better which just goes to show he has no integrity and is quite willing to propagate lies to further his cause. Sounds just like the politicians above.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  18. jimtanker

    "My prayer is that candidates and voters will..."

    How about you stop praying and do something instead? Prayer does not work.

    September 14, 2011 at 11:16 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Jim, and what have you done lately? Oh, yes. Complain on this blog.


      September 14, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Albert

      And what does HeavenSent do? Nothing but make snide disgusting remarks. Nothing but hate in HeavenSent's heart. Amen.

      September 14, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • The Bobinator

      > How about you stop praying and do something instead? Prayer does not work.

      I would have said "How about you stop praying and use the mind that your God supposedly gave you. Perhaps thinking about the situation and carefully analyzing the situation will lead you to an intelligent conclusion."

      September 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • HellBent

      @HS: "Jim, and what have you done lately? Oh, yes. Complain on this blog."

      Pot, I would like you to meet kettle.

      September 14, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Kyle

      Every night, I ask jesus to send hitmen to HS's house.

      It's now painfully obvious that jesus doesn't exist.

      September 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  19. A chosen generation

    One Nation under God!

    September 14, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • ThinkForYourself

      You realize that phrase was added in the 1950s, right?

      September 14, 2011 at 11:39 am |
    • William Demuth

      Two Nation Indivisible, with liberty and justice for a few

      September 14, 2011 at 11:54 am |
  20. jimtanker


    September 14, 2011 at 11:12 am |
    • jamesClunker

      Have your fun, but the rest of us are just wondering what you're doing out of Kindergarten so early 😉

      September 14, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
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About this blog

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