home
RSS
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. dpp

    I agree. I was taught that faith is personal, private, and not to be paraded about like a neon banner in an effort to make others think you are great.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Then you sir are a patriot!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      I agree dpp that one should "pray in your own closet/room" and seek salvation on one's theological or even atheistic premise. To be godless is ok I guess and to be godly is a matter of opinion. A god-fearing person chastises themself regularly and a god-loving person spreads their egoism upon others of like mindedness. Atheists can only make a stand against religious issues and their moral compass has little bearing or cognitive direction for upholding issues of mainlined morality that deals with baseline s.e.x.u.al.ism.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  2. Carlton

    Here we go again with CNN and its anti-God agenda!!! Not only we don't have enough God talk, but it is very obvious that many do not have God in them! Look at the world, especially our own country! There is only one God, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and until He is fully reveranced and submitted to, the problems will continue in the lives of those who refuse to believe and submit themselves! REPENT for the Kingdom of God is at hand, meaning it is obtainable and within your grasp! Americans need to stop talking so much about problems and spitting out a lot of empty words that produce no results, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and through you! Please shut up if your words don't produce anything!

    September 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      The End Is Nigh!!!!
      Repent all you sinners!!!
      The End Is Nigh!!!!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Kathy from No. VA

      Amen!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Carlton

      I hear alot of Altar boys have plenty of God in them.

      Regretably many ALSO have a priest in them.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • yeahalright

      You're a delusional egomaniacal crazy person. Luckily for you, there's lots of other crazies, so you can blend in and not have to be properly diagnosed or simply ignored. It's the twilight century for all religions, including yours.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Devil's Advocate

      –> Here we go again with CNN and its anti-God agenda!!!

      The majority of articles here are pro God. How do you figure they have an anti-god agenda?

      > Not only we don't have enough God talk, but it is very obvious that many do not have God in them!

      That's right. Many people don't believe in God. And many people don't believe in your God but rather their own.

      > Look at the world, especially our own country! There is only one God, the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ and until He is fully reveranced and submitted to, the problems will continue in the lives of those who refuse to believe and submit themselves!

      The US is mostly Christian. So if there are problems, wouldn't it be the Christians fault, using your logic I mean.

      > REPENT for the Kingdom of God is at hand, meaning it is obtainable and within your grasp! Americans need to stop talking so much about problems and spitting out a lot of empty words that produce no results, and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you and through you! Please shut up if your words don't produce anything!

      My words produce thought, which is what your words seek to limit. What is the difference between your statement and those of a muslim or hindu?

      September 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Mat 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

      Jhn 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

      1Cr 3:9 “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.”

      1Cr 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

      Luk 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is inside/within you." PLEASE NOT WELL THIS VERSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1Cr 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

      1Cr 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are

      1Cr 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

      These "hidden things of darkness" are of INNER SPACE and OUTER SPACE things, They are one and the sameness.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Richard S Kaiser

      Edited and reposted due a typo,,,, 🙂

      Mat 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

      Jhn 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence."

      1Cr 3:9 “For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.”

      1Cr 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

      Luk 17:21 "Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is inside/within you." PLEASE NOTE WELL THIS VERSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1Cr 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

      1Cr 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are

      1Cr 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

      These "hidden things of darkness" are of INNER SPACE and OUTER SPACE things, They are one and the sameness

      September 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Afraid of God

      Faith and religion are 2 very different things. Faith is a belief that gets you through hard times. It is belief that a higher power exists. Religion, on the other hand, is THE GREATEST THREAT TO MANKIND. It breeds closed minded hateful people like yourself who are afraid of people who don't fall in line behind your outdated, human created (and dictated) dogma.. What's worse, you will vote for someone based on what they tell you they believe. Thier actions are irrelevant to you, as long as they claim to be "god fearing" (pretty telling moniker) christians. I would bet that Jesus would not carry a gun or cut aid to the poor in order make the rich richer, but your "christian right" seeks to do just that. the fear and hypocrisy disgust me, and if we don't get religion out of politics, we are doomed as a country.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  3. july4th1776

    I'm often surprised that CNN's belief blog writers know so little about American history, and even less about the Bible. But for the sake of this comment, I'll stick with the first category. If you wanted to go back in history, Abraham Lincoln – now beloved by members on both sides of the aisle – used frequent Biblical references (think: a house divided against itself cannot stand speech), mostly because his opponents cast him as "not being religious enough." My point: this is not some new phenomenon among American politicians – so don't try to sell it like it is. All it does is make people somehow think that politicians have been employing some new rhetorical device. Fact is, politicians are way too dumb to ever be capable of that...

    September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  4. cnnsucks

    Dems better start praying to the DEVIL, cause there's only a chance in HELL you'll be getting reelected anytime in the next 10 years...

    September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Albert

      Everything boring over at Foxnews.com, eh? You have no idea how stupid you look.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      Why pray to a devil when you can pray to the most evil supreme being of all which you people call god?

      September 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Which one, Bachman or Santorum?

      September 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • cnnsucks

      Hey its Albert the fist wielding rock head from outerspace!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      By the way, what an incredibly unfortunate last name.. Santorum.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Albert

      I guess foxnews.com is off-line. Maybe their servers crashed. We can only hope.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Albert

      We can only hope the whole building is aflame over there, is what I should have said. lol

      September 14, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Sean

      What I want to know is if CNN sucks, why do you come here? You don't see me going ove rot Fauxnews and posting in its comment section. If you don't like the site then don't come!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • cnnsucks

      I'm like a democrat living in America... I hate it so much I'd rather try to make everyone around me miserable because they have no right being happy about their country. PLUS I'm so smart I have an obligation to inform them how stupid they are.

      That's why I post at CNN, cause I'm like YOU GUYS, my brothers and sisters!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Awkward

      Santorum is Latin for "Santa, or Rum"

      The kid in me wants to say Santa, but the Jack Sparrow and the rest of the kid in me says Rum. 😀

      September 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @A Theist: Hmmmm... google disagrees. lol.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • A Theist

      But Awkward! Surely the thousands of credible sources are mistaken! For I have just thought of this meaning by myself! It is therefore the most recent and accurate of all the theories! 😀

      Sometime I want to start a thread and throw out as many fallacies as humanly possible in one statement and see if anyone just jumps on board and agrees with me :P.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @A Theist: Oh I see what you did there. Nice.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Saboth

      Have you seen your candidates? The best one you have is Ron Paul! (And no, I being completely serious).

      On one hand, I feel a president should be able to serve more than 2 terms, so good 'ol Bill Clinton could come back. On the other, I'd be afraid GW would steal another election. But I guess if you guys vote Perry in, you'll have a 3rd term for GW.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Awkward, you're a pretty awesome chick.

      Question for you: What do V for Vendetta, The Matrix Trilogy, and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy all have in common? 🙂

      September 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • fred

      Awkward Situations
      Ok, miss Foster Farms I'll bite. You said "Why pray to a devil when you can pray to the most evil supreme being of all which you people call god?"
      You need to capitalize God so I know who your talking about. If that is the god you are referring to just how is my God the most evil being?

      September 14, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • A Theist

      Fred hath declared Flame WAARRR!

      September 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @fred: I'll capitalize god when you can produce evidence that it exists. As for now, I'll keep it lowercase as I do with leprechauns, unicorns, and fairies.

      Assuming your god is the christian god and disregarding the many manifestations of it via different interpretations and sects – it is the most evil being because it created a special department of torture which most likely contains 99% of people that have ever lived. The time allocated to maintain the department of torture probably means your god fills the shoes of the devil more often than not. Also, babies born with AIDS. Oh and, only an evil supreme being would place the pleasure zone in the vicinity of the defecation zone. Any other questions?

      September 14, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @A Theist: They all have to do with free will. A person has to make a decision to help save the world. Without getting too deep, what did you have in mind? 😀

      September 14, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Awkward I like your answer much better than mine! I guess that's why I love those movies so much! 😀 Philosophy always wins!

      My answer was: "Hugo Weaving". Bona fide thug :P.

      September 14, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @A Theist: Oh, of course! MR. A THEIST 😉

      I'm a movie aficionado. Right now I'm watching the Bourne series. Matt Damon is so god dam'n hot! Do you look like him by any chance?

      September 14, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • fred

      AckwardSituations
      >” only an evil supreme being would place the pleasure zone in the vicinity of the defecation zone”
      I consider it a blessing that the defecation zone is at positioned away from the nose in the opposite direction and yet far enough from the feet so that it does not get to dusty.
      >”contains 99% of the people that ever lived”
      You assume this 99% lived in the first place and/or will live again in some torture. I am not sure about your numbers but (one T not related to pleasure zone), they seem high. The big G only reserve a spot of torture for the Devil who likes it hot and considers hell no torture at all. Jesus made it even more clear when he said that for some it would be better that were not even born. Do not forget the wipe out of the un godly generation of Cain was specifically stated as “God blotted them out of existence”. The chalk board eraser routine is not ruled out for some. It is not torture if it never happened.

      Much of the Bible is not literal. Perhaps you would like the gentler version of the Bible: Let’s back it up to Sesame Street. You and I just read a great little book. Big Bird and Cookie Monster went to the beach. Big Bird is yellow and loves everyone. Secular Joe is at the beach and he is cutting the fins off all the mommy sharks and their babies because his society believes shark fin soup makes you beautiful, free and powerful. The baby sharks cry and flap about for what seems an eternity while the mommies try desperately to get to them. Sponge Bob knew about Big Bird and how loving he was and knew it was wrong to treat sharks this way. He had been posting signs please don’t hurt the sharks and love all sea creatures for generations and generations to no avail. Big Bird sees Secular Joe will never change and tells Cookie Monster to crush Secular Joe and his entire society.
      You and I are having a cup of warm milk and you say Big Bird is cruel and unjust. I argue Big Bird is yellow an loves everyone. Which is it?
      Please don’t tell me big bird never was yellow or Sponge Bob and his followers wear square pants.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Awkward
      Bourne is amazing. Haha we have this inside joke in my family (22 cousins) that each of us look like Matt Damon to a degree, but if you blended all of us together (males, that is), we'd get a perfect Matt Damon. Matt Damon, in short, belongs in our family.

      Well, I've been told I look like Michael C. Hall–Dexter Morgan, but I'm no ginger!–before, so I'm really like a mix of the two. Meh, I'm my own person, I can't really find a perfect Doppelganger, what can I say? 😛

      I at least also do martial arts like Bourne! 😀

      September 14, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Awkward, if you are into independent–and darker–films, I highly reccommend "Bronson," starring Tom Hardy. 😀

      September 14, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @fred: You have a very active imagination. How did you determine much of the bible is not literal? Maybe they should print an edition with the literal parts highlighted so there is no confusion. It must be easy to debate the contents when you can do the ol' switcheroo between literal and non-literal when it suits your needs. In any case, big bird is an irritating ba'stard and I'd love to punch him in his stupid face and decapitate him and sell his carcass to KFC.

      @A Theist: Ooo so you're hot!? How about a little bit of Brad Pitt? 😉 Too bad about the sky god thing though.

      September 14, 2011 at 7:39 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @A Theist: Okay I'll check it out for sure! Your movie assignment is Dark City and Waking Life. Is there any way to get in touch with out outside of this blog?

      September 14, 2011 at 7:42 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Awkward I've been called many things... and I suppose "hot" is one of them :P. I dunno, can a guy really rate himself?
      Haha yeah, the Sky God thing's got me all up in the crazy zone!
      There certainly are ways to get into contact with me beyond this blog... Hm, let's see how I can do this with discretion... I you familiar with decryption? (haha jokes...or maybe no jokes?) The problem is my emails all include my name in them, which of course could leave me with LOTS of fun from some of these, other, loving bloggers :P.
      Let me know if you have an idea or something. I'll definitely have to check out Dark City, it sounds awesome! Waking Life looks rather interesting too! Thanks for the suggestions!

      September 14, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @A Theist: I set up a temporary gmail address. It's skygod---. The missing portion is the "choice" you have. Let's see if you can figure it out. I'll email you back from my real email address once I get the message. This feels so appropriate after watching Bourne all day!

      September 14, 2011 at 10:24 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      @A Theist: Ahh it cut off the number of dashes I entered. it's skygod_ _ _ _ _ _ _
      No spaces. 13 letters total.

      September 14, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      Did you figure it out? Hurry it up dam'n it!

      September 14, 2011 at 10:50 pm |
    • A Theist

      @Awkward
      Sorry, I've been away from my computer so I didn't have a chance to see if you had replied yet. I figured out the riddle right away, but I see that you have already deleted your email.... Hmmm perhaps I will try the same email (with the addition of the numbers 511) tonight around 9 pm. Hopefully I'll be able to reach you!

      September 15, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Awkward Situations

      skygodredpill@gmail.com

      September 15, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  5. Julie

    From Thomas Jefferson: please stop saying the founding fathers were Christian. They were not.
    "Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth." – "Notes on Virginia"
    .

    September 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • cnnsucks

      Glad you like Jefferson, amazing individual. Perhaps you should read about what he stood for and throw those quotes on your Liberal blogs.

      Naaahhh... why ruin your reputation?!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • BenButtons

      Julie:

      As I suspect you know, Unitarians, Deists and Christians all can dredge quotes up to support their view. At a minimum, TJ was inconsistent.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • julie

      CNN isn't it time for your medications? You really are not making any sense.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • cnnsucks

      Julie, that's the 4th post Ive read where you fail to comprehend simple logic.

      V e r y telling my dear, very telling.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • julie

      I don't think he was inconsistent. Most of the FF were probably Deists or Unitarians, but that is an incredibly different type of belief than the current "Jesus is my personal savior, I'm washed in the blood of the lamb, God talks to me and tells me to run for president and tells me that gay people go to hell" kind of religion. They clearly disdained that sort of fanaticism, and had they in later times, when science was better understood, they most probably would have been atheists.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
    • julie

      What's "telling", my dear, is how utterly ridiculous the Republican party has become. I say that as one of the descendants of a long, proud line of conservative Republican politicians, all atheists. This was back in the day when being a conservative meant minding your own business, keeping government out of people's private lives, and being fiscally responsible. Is there anybody like that LEFT in the Republican party?

      September 14, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  6. marcia

    AMEN! The "God" talkers are always the least trustworthy...ie John Edwards. I don't trust and never will trust someone who is always HOLIER THAN THOU!!

    September 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  7. Josh

    While it's ok for a candidate to profess their belief in religion, it shouldn't be used for political gain. I think Ron Paul does better with it than Perry. Perry has referenced and talked about God multiple times. In a debate you'll almost never hear Paul say anything about it, even if it would help with votes.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  8. Harry Baxter

    When all else fails, man can succeed by evoking God and Patriotism. History is loaded with despots who have owed their success to convincing others that they represent God and Patriotism, and their opponents represent the other side. Only a fool would believe that "Barak Obama hates America", but polls show that a lot of fools believe this.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • ArizonaYankee

      An even more fools like yourself believe that Obama and his 20 mentor Rev. Wright, and his wife the Anti-American love America. You are a naive axxhole....

      September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  9. CEL1

    Neither God the Father, nor God the Son or God the Holy Spirit are running for [poolitical office. Please stop dragging them into the debate. Spearation of church and state was put in place to help protect churches and religious groups. That is slowly being chipped away and the next thing will be for the governements at the state and federal level to start taxing churches.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Albert

      Not having to pay taxes is special consideration – a legal "tribute" to religious establishments. It is in clear violation of the First Amendment and should be struck down ASAP.
      For church businesses to pay taxes would bring a measure of equality back to the US Tax Code. You don't like being equal? Then go live in a different country. We don't need more pseudo-castes within our borders.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • yeahalright

      They should! Please tax them! We tax movie theaters, book stores, stage performers and all manner of fictional mass entertainment. Why does religion deserve a free pass for their own various brands of fictional entertainment?

      September 14, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
  10. David

    To all the Christian bashers here: I will also be consulting the Lord in prayer before I vote. It is my God given freedom to vote and freedom to worship as I chose. Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. One day every knee will bow, every tongue confess that He is Lord Whether you like it or not.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Harry Baxter

      No one is bashing Christians. They are, however, upholding Separation of Church and State, and bashing the hypocrites that jesus himself called out.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Chris

      yeah it's not like we're feeding Christians to lions like Romans did

      September 14, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Uh and who's denying you the right to vote or worship your invisible fairy? Hey, when he tells you who to vote for, is it strictly party line? Does he straight out speak it or like leave it on a note under your pillow or tucked into your bible?

      September 14, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • Matt

      I stopped believing in fairy tales when I was 10. Religion is nothing more than a way to control people by fear; exactly what you are trying to evoke. No god is coming, the universe is 14 billion years old and we have no deus ex machina in the sky that is going to fix the economy or whatever politicians are blathering about to get votes from the uniformed... Get over it and get on with your life!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Albert

      That's the poster known as "HeisGod".
      You can almost see the spittle flying from his lips as he screams his words. And the veins pop out on his forehead, too.
      He has a fetish for slobbering tongues and nekkid knees. It's probably se.xual, but who knows?

      September 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • fred

      Matt
      You are not 100% certain and cannot prove there is no God. Being closed minded on a matter of such importance is like Christians that said there is no such thing as evolution. Consider the company you keep on the closed minded end of the spectrum. You are not unique because percentage wise you are in a minority of 3% of the population of the US that is atheist. Rather, you are 3 standard deviations from the norm. Let's be honest and realistic and say you have a bias that will keep you from the truth in all things. Knowing you have a bias is like the first step in AA, admit your are powerless and have no control over the creation of the universe. Since you have no control then who does? You say nothing does...........well buddy drinks are on me

      September 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Know What

      Albert,

      Not sure if that is "HeisGod" or not - I don't see the usual spelling and grammatical errors.

      Btw, the infamous "HeisGod" is a woman.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Know What

      oops, I take that back... I see some errors now, but still not sure of the true ID.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • yeahalright

      Fred, you can't prove there's no santa claus, easter bunny, or tooth fairy. Keeping it in the realm of gods, you can prove there's no Thor, Zeus, or Ganesha, among others. When you properly dismiss the ridiculousness of children's fairies and reject these other gods, you'll understand why those of us who don't believe in any gods don't believe in yours. We simply believe in one god less than you.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • yeahalright

      can't*

      September 14, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  11. RS

    I saw him speak today and this was not the situation. He spoke about his life story and his love for America. He discussed how God can use you, not his personal calling as much. He encouraged us to put forward our best foot and know that you have a future. Sure he used biblical references but, as illustrations that we can be used by God. Regardless of whether or not he believes it is between him and God, and at least he wasn't sugar coating anything he said.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Riiiiiight

      Saying go can "use" you is just an excuse for crazy people to kill other people. I wish people would stop using "god" as the reason to do good things (and bad things) and accept accountability for the world that surrounds you!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  12. William Demuth

    Does anyone else find this scary?

    I have never felt the Union should be disolved before, but I am getting to the point where I might consider that opinion.

    With wealth fleeing the middle class, and our politics in a knot, I am increasingly thinking that we just MIGHT get a full blown Jesus freak in the WHite House.

    Romney is the last stop before La-La Land, and I suspect he would be a reasonable President, but the rest of the circus troop seems for want of a better word, unacceptable.

    I mean like 1861 unacceptable.

    Anyone else have that vibe?

    September 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Chris

      I don't think Ron Paul would put rationality behind religious faith. He may speak the God-language a bit, but he seems to have a better grasp on the law of cause and effect far more than the other candidates.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Harry Baxter

      Right now, I'd support you fully. Can you imagine the Red States, most of whom contain the less educated, God-fearing (according to them) GOP / Tea Potty supporters in one country, which before the separation received much more from a central government than they contributed, and the other more educated voters, whose states would then contain the bulk of the profitable companies and most of the top schools of higher learning?
      Where do we sign up?

      September 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • Albert

      They've been working towards it since they lost the Civil War. Their tactics have become full-blown since 2000.
      When you see the Cunfederate flag being flown openly on top of GOP headquarters you'll know they are ready to come out of the closet....until then, expect more Bush-era tactics. Those haven't stopped at all.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
    • julie

      Absolutely, It's frightening to think that in this day and age we can have an entire stage full of presidential candidates say on TV that they believe in creationism over evolution and want it taught in schools. It's not funny anymore, it's frightening.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • William Demuth

      julie

      You seem bright?

      What ya wearin?

      September 14, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • yeahalright

      It'd be a slightly whiter afghanistan with more churches

      September 14, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  13. sparky91

    Can we PLEASE get religion out of politics! This should be a red flag to ALL voters!

    September 14, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  14. EnjaySea

    Wait, god "called" Bachman to run, AND "called" Perry to run? If god were as smart as it is claimed that he is, shouldn't he just "call" one of them?

    September 14, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  15. DD

    One nation under GOD. Get over it or move to France. God was foremost on the mind of our founding fathers.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Julie

      And for you too: the words of John Adams:"God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there will never be any liberal science in the world."
      .

      September 14, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • William Demuth

      DD

      Is your name your bust size, or your average in American History?

      September 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • shootmyownfood

      In response to DD: The "under God" part of the Pledge of Allegiance was added as an afterthought, based on the fear of "godless communists" perpetrated by McCarthy. It was NOT part of the original Pledge of Allegiance, and has always made me wonder "what God"? The god of the Christians, the god of the Jews, the god of the Muslims, or the multiple gods of the Hindus? If a Hindu god, which one? It just doesn't make sense.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • herfules

      "Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies." – Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

      September 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Brad

      Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law. – Thomas Jefferson

      September 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Shawn

      "One Nation Under God" and "In God We Trust" wasn't added until the 1950's, during a time when propaganda was at an all time high against a "godless" Communist Russia. It was pure fear-mongering and pure political pandering.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  16. jj

    Other than that, good article!

    September 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  17. jj

    Jimmy Carter's faith can in NO WAY be compared to frauds Reagan's, or Nixon or Bush – or Pat Robertson or any mega-preacher. They are the standards of pandering to the religious right.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • marcia

      JIMMY BOY WAS THE BIGGEST FRAUD OF ALL!!!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Shawn

      How was Jimmy Carter a fraud? He's spent decades volunteering, building houses for charities, and being an all around wonderful humanitarian. If Christianity was a contest(as many christians seem to turn it into) he would be winning.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Albert

      Carter's mistake was in thinking everyone could be together, in peace, even with opposing views. He bent backwards for everyone and the country got the shaft. Kind of like what Obama is doing now. He thinks there are compromises to be made with completely insane people. There aren't. Being overly-conciliatory is Obama's biggest mistake. Or maybe they are holding a gun to his head somehow. He sure isn't being firm with anyone. Like Carter. We need a better Democrat to step up and run against Obama. They'd probably get the Presidency in a heartbeat as long as he / she seemed intelligent and firm.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  18. Julie

    Um, and for those misguided by religion who think the founding fathers were Christians, here's a quote from John Adams, and there's many more: "God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there will never be any liberal science in the world."
    .

    September 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Joe Blow

      http://fakehistory.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/john-adams-and-the-awful-blasphemy/

      September 14, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Facts

      False! Julie is a liar: http://fakehistory.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/john-adams-and-the-awful-blasphemy/

      September 14, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • Albert

      I'm not going to some idiots blog for "facts"!!!
      Why not show REAL sources? Like non-partisan ones? They're out there.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  19. Facts

    God has been present in American politics since the signing of the Declaration of Independence and our Forefathers writings have no shortage of His name. They recognized God in all that they did and no revisionist historian can say otherwise. Religious freedom is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and I'm pleased to see candidates embrace their faith–both Democrat and Republican. Will you persecute all those simply because they are different from you? Perhaps tomorrow, you will be the one persecuted for whatever you believe in.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Julie

      I'll repeat John Adams for your benefit: "God is an essence that we know nothing of. Until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there will never be any liberal science in the world."
      .

      September 14, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Facts

      So now CHRISTIANS are persecuted?

      Ask a Jew, a Gay. a Mormon, a Black Man, an old Woman and the poor who persecute them, and they will say it is the Christian right.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • herfules

      And again:

      "Religions are all alike – founded upon fables and mythologies." – Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, April 11, 1823

      September 14, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Facts

      @Julie,

      False! You are a liar! You should not have entered the ring with a historian. Typical atheist response Julie. Try not to spread your lies and deceit any further: http://fakehistory.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/john-adams-and-the-awful-blasphemy/

      September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Facts

      @William,

      Since you are an expert testifying about all these groups being persecuted by Christians, provide examples for each one. If you can't William, you are presenting nothing more than your mere opinion. Stop spreading the lies my friend. There are enough in the world.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • marcia

      Big ol' blow hard, you are!!!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Facts

      Please review. I suggested you ask them, they shall gladly let you have the details.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Shawn

      "Religious freedom is guaranteed in the Bill of Rights" This does not guarantee Christians the right to be a controlling religion in this country! It is guaranteeing that every religious belief is treated equally, i.e. Christians do not get to have final say in what's right or wrong for this country.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Shawn

      Facts, I AM being persecuted, by Christians! They are taking over a government that is supposed to be for all people, and pushing their own beliefs on everyone else.

      September 14, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • History

      @herfules,

      You are a liar! Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in which he cites "Nature's God" and "Creator". How dare you slander Thomas Jefferson with your deceitful lies.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
    • What?

      @Shawn,

      "The controlling religion"??? People choose their respective religion in this country. Does my choice to drive a certain car make that company the controlling company in market share? Flawed argument Shawn.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Nice try

      @William,

      Solid argument William. Try premise/conclusion next time and stop judging others. Perhaps it will be you judged next time.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
    • Facts

      @William,

      Sorry to disappoint you William. I am Christian. I also have gay friends, mentor a black youth, and have a brother-sister relationship with a woman who is a Jew. What can you say now? I have spoken the truth but your veracity is yet to be determined.

      September 14, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  20. Jetaimecher

    I have a doctorate in law, and; well, I am pretty sure I can think for myself. And you might not want to say you are sorry for my afflictions since I don't have any. Sorry if YOU get jealous, but Jesus ('sky-God' to you) has blessed me beyond my fondest dreams in health, joy, money and mental clarity. Next time I speak publicly I'll try to remember to use the code name 'Jetaimecher' to help you figure out who I am (in case you need help). Oh, and I will be consulting God about for whom I vote.

    September 14, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • William Demuth

      Jetaimecher

      Mental clarity? Your posting is Prima Facia evidence your argument is without merit!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • marcia

      I know who you are!!!! You're an idiot and a moron!!!

      September 14, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Melvin Belli

      Jetaimecher,

      Methinks your brain is too much in your briefs.

      September 14, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24
Advertisement
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.