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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. Argle Bargle

    That's how it started long ago, too. They got religion involved with politics and ended up with how many civilizations wiped out?

    As soon as a candidate invokes religion, they should be hauled away.

    September 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  2. Real American

    OMG – Finally, some real words of wisdom, and from a Baptist minister of all people. Thank you, and I pray nobody stones you for speaking the honest truth!

    September 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
  3. Muneef

    Candidates and political parties are like musicians and singers who would play only what the majority would like to hear....!!

    September 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  4. Ken

    There are a lot of godless countries out there, why don't you religious haters move there? If you believe that this world was created by some explosion then that makes you a million times more ignorant than those who believe that there was a flood to cleanse the earth of the wickedness. When did you ever see an explosion that created organization? Go ahead and lay out some of the other theories you believe in so you can fully expose yourself as the idiots that you are.

    September 21, 2011 at 9:57 am |
    • Ozymandias71

      There are some primo theocracies out there – why don't you move to one of them? Iran is looking lovely this year, I hear.

      September 27, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • Alyssa

      Why does your religion give you anymore domain over this country than my lack of religion? And for reference, I don't hate religion. I think religion, though irrational, can have some very beneficial effects on its people. The problem, of course, is that it has some very negative effects as well.

      It's my country as much as it is yours, and I have every right to stay and try to change it to how I would like to see it, as do you.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  5. craig

    I agree that religious pandering is reprehensible, however, I believe our country was founded upon the principles of Christianity. I, for one, would like to see our leaders more in tune with Christian ideals. The author makes a good point when he sites the Christian voters as being the swing vote in each candidate's win in his examples.

    September 19, 2011 at 6:38 am |
    • ___.__

      we weren't founded on the principles of Christianity. None of the Founding Fathers were atheists. Most of the Founders were Deists, which is to say they thought the universe had a creator, but that he does not concern himself with the daily lives of humans, and does not directly communicate with humans, either by revelation or by sacred books. They spoke often of God, (Nature's God or the God of Nature), but this was not the God of the bible. They did not deny that there was a person called Jesus, and praised him for his benevolent teachings, but they flatly denied his divinity.

      +1

      September 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
    • Asylum52

      The treaty of Tripoli was authored by American diplomat Joel Barlow in 1796, sent to the floor of the Senate, June 7, 1797, where it was read aloud in its entirety and unanimously approved. John Adams, having seen the treaty, signed it and proudly proclaimed it to the Nation.

      Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

      Hope that clears up your misunderstanding of the founding of this country.

      September 26, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  6. jake baker

    I am not a Perry fan but I have no problem with people of faith running and speaking openly about their faith. You anti-Christian bigots are so intolerant. Amazing!

    September 18, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, and you bible-bangers are so tolerant.

      Moron.

      September 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • May

      Sometimes I wonder if the only reason religion ever existed in the past was to satisfy those who feared the consequences of their own deaths. Today, it is more about life and living. I think I would rather be just dead, not dead in someone's netherworld. Just thinking of death not being the very end feels so stressful.

      September 19, 2011 at 11:28 am |
    • Alyssa

      I have no problem with people of faith professing their beliefs either. It's a free country. But the moment you start to influence laws and policies that effect my life, then I have the right (duty, even) to resist.

      September 30, 2011 at 9:15 am |
  7. hero blue

    As an atheist when these religious affiliation and devotional contest come up I am disappointed but I am of the impression that when big issues like the ones we have today come up it matters less and less. i was a volenteer on the Obama Campagin in Iowa and I told some friends who attended a bible study by me that God means less and less when we have a problem in our pocketbooks. I believe the same will be true of this election.

    September 17, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  8. EnergyBeing3

    After you awaken to new levels of awareness from the brainwashing. After you do some historical background checks and line up the psychological control factors the that Christian CULT uses on it's blind followers, you'll come to the rude awakenings of how you've been scammed and lied to in one of the most elaborate cons of the human species. The Christians look at the Mormons or the Scientology CULTS as insane, but they are just as brainwashed in the fantasies of mind control. Do your own research and the truth will set you free. Many people are addicted to religion though, it sets up some rather genius psychological "warm fuzzies" to keep a person locked in. You have an option though to enlighten yourself with the truth of reality. It's OK to have skepticism... it's HEALTHY. Religions thrive on 'suspension of disbelief' from outlandish and outrageously HYPED stories blown WAY out of proportion that has been proven wrong and not based in any reality along with you proclaiming allegiance with a made up 'Parental Reward (heaven) or punishment (hell) system.

    WAKE UP!

    September 16, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • fred

      Interesting the Bible says you are the one that is asleep at the wheel, you are the one distracted by the glory of mans own being, knowledge and science. EnergyBeing3 says it all. Being to the power of 3 is the end result when God is removed. A bunch of borg all doing what the great collective self wants. Good thing only 5% of the population is godless.
      What is interesting about you borg is that you cannot even see how brainwashed you are. I imagine you cannot even find some good in the Bible or other truth of God. Well, some Christians can find some good in atheists and actually pray for their souls. We would fight against the borg because it strips away all individual rights.

      September 16, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Yo!

      "What is interesting about you borg is that you cannot even see how brainwashed you are."

      It's because they are not that they see the light and stupidity of a 2000 year old book.

      September 16, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • fred

      Yo
      That 2,000 year old book is the foundation for all of the best selling self help books in the US. They strip away reference to God and Jesus but take the principles can claim something new. Same only Bilbe principles recycled over and over.
      Have you ever read the Bible with an open mind? If so you may walk away saying poo on God but the principles should have hit you square between the eyes. If not you can join the collective with EB3 above.

      September 16, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • Yo!

      "ame only Bilbe principles recycled over and over."

      The bible was a recycle from pagan cultures of the time, it had nothing to do with a god. It's time to come into this century.

      September 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • fred

      Historical background check; throughout all know history man has looked up to God. In recent times there came a minority that could not look up in admiration and worship God. They used science and all the knowledge man had gathered over all existence and concluded this kind of science and knowledge cannot be used to prove or disprove God. They then turned around and used that which they admit is of no value to be the foundation of their very existence and worshiped it instead of God

      September 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • fred

      Yo
      Yo missed the point or ignored it because of years of brainwashing

      September 16, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Yo

      “They used science and all the knowledge man had gathered over all existence and concluded this kind of science and knowledge cannot be used to prove or disprove God.”

      But it has disproved many things written in the bible to be false and the stories were stolen from other cultures. I’ve been talking about the bible moron. It’s just another fictional book making the human race look like a bunch of idiots. If we can’t explain it then it’s a god. The more we understand of our world the more we know there is no use for the bible.

      September 16, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Yo

      fred is totally missing the point or ignored it because of years of brainwashing, the proof is in your cult!

      September 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • fred

      Yo
      Yo not one false thing in the Bible has been proven by your collective. Put a period on it. The Bible does not lend itself to such testing as it is not a science project. You can dissagree with it or not understand what Moses meant 3400 years ago because they were speaking a picture language acceptable to that culture not ours. How about you go back 3400 years and explain that a 64 bit system is required to access more than 4 gigs of ram

      September 16, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
    • Yo

      "“You can dissagree with it or not understand what Moses meant 3400 years ago because they were speaking a picture language acceptable to that culture not ours.”

      Which is why it’s a work of fiction and not based on anything but the imagination of men and others interpretation of that imagination? Imagination is a powerful thing that is why when people can't deal with their reality they use their imagination to believe they are special and a deity loves them. They can't face the reality of who they allowed themselves to become.

      September 16, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • fred

      Yo
      Yo really do not get it do you? Many old cultures for example had a flood story just as the Bible has. You cannot say a flood never happened therefore the Bible is fiction. It makes no sense

      September 16, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Yo

      "Yo really do not get it do you? Many old cultures for example had a flood story just as the Bible has. You cannot say a flood never happened therefore the Bible is fiction. It makes no sense"

      Many writers use real life situations to inspire their works of fiction, but it doesn't make what they are writing about true. It wasn't a god that flooded earth it was the cycle of it's evolution. We can see that evidence in the planets we've been watching evolve out in the universe and science. If you want to say the flood was created by your god then all natural disasters in this world would be caused by it. That means it is an evil god with no heart. No thanks! Ok let's hear the excuses for your god....you know you got them.

      September 16, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      It is interesting when dealing with the Great Flood, it is recorded in many books and other historical docu'ments. What causes questions is how many ark type of instances are repeated in a few of the stories. In today's media we need multiple angles of footage to confirm that two planes actually did fly into the towers and still there is doubt, in some, that a third plane went into the pentagon. That different folks wrote of the “ark” type of vessel.

      Examples from : http://www.nwcreation.net/noahlegends.html

      China –
      The Chinese classic called the Hihking tells about "the family of Fuhi," that was saved from a great flood. This ancient story tells that the entire land was flooded; the mountains and everything, however one family survived in a boat. The Chinese consider this man the father of their civilization. This record indicates that Fuhi, his wife, three sons, and three daughters were the only people that escaped the great flood. It is claimed, that he and his family were the only people alive on earth, and repopulated the world.”

      Mexico –
      The Toltec natives have a legend telling that the original creation lasted for 1716 years, and was destroyed by a flood and only one family survived.

      The Ojibwe-
      Natives who have lived in Minnesota USA since approximately 1400AD also have a creation and flood story that closely parallels the Biblical account. "There came a time when the harmonious way of life did not continue. Men and women disrespected each other, families quarreled and soon villages began arguing back and forth. This saddened Gitchie Manido [the Creator] greatly, but he waited. Finally, when it seemed there was no hope left, Creator decided to purify Mother Earth through the use of water. The water came, flooding the Earth, catching all of creation off guard. All but a few of each living thing survived." Then it tells how Waynaboozhoo survived by floating on a log in the water with various animals.”

      The question of if does not appear to be a sticking point to you as much as the why. Why the report of evils done, and then only a handful being chosen to live on? Was God evil or was the Great Flood really just to cleanse the Earth of the evils of man? If we even entertain your question of if every natural disaster God's fault all a person has to do,is to ask the question, when have we had a global disaster? Even with Pompey and other mega volcano's erupting, a collective global observation was very minimal. Even our destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki it was only measured around the world but in the end, I feel you are trivializing an event that was noticed and witnessed around the world, and in many of the stories the “ark” aspect is repeated.

      If you want answers on why, I respectfully do not know but as a person of Faith I do believe it happened. As a person who is open to the many paths to God, the Great Flood appearing in so many Books of Faith just reinforces my Faith.

      September 17, 2011 at 4:17 am |
    • HotAirAce

      @fred

      A 64 bit system is not required to address more than 4gb of RAM. If you are wrong about something as simple as this, I think it is highly likely that you are also wrong about The Babble

      September 17, 2011 at 6:00 am |
    • Ben W

      They're called "ideograms" and "pictograms" fred.
      Not "picture language."
      Many cultures use ideograms. Letters are just ideograms expressing particular sounds.
      Arabic scribbles are different from Chinese ideograms. Railroad tramps used pictograms.much like some American Natives did.
      There's also sign language, oral traditions in non-written languages, and other types of language.
      There are so many details to almost everything in the world that your brain needs to get up off its ass and explore all of human knowledge. You already feel you have your religion all packaged up, so when will you move on to learning about the rest of the real world?

      September 17, 2011 at 6:03 am |
    • .........

      spam alert garbage hit report abuse on all reality posts

      September 17, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • FYI

      ........

      Looks like @herbie has gone dotty - ignore him.

      September 17, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • AGuest9

      I love when a response begins "Interesting the Bible says..." At that point, it's tough to go on, because if that's all that someone uses to provide as direction and guidance in their life, then I feel truly sorry for them. But they claim that learned people are "distracted" by science Presumably, knowledge and science are two things that the "true believers" feel they don't need in their lives. Ironically, they use computers to post their foolish comments. Hopefully the sheeple will wake up and realize that THEY are the ones who have been lied to and brainwashed. BTW, there is no such thing as a soul.

      September 26, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  9. Kathleen Scheidt

    In the good old days when someone stated that god wanted them to be president they were locked up and medicated

    September 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • herbert juarez

      The voice of experience?

      September 17, 2011 at 5:48 am |
  10. Cathy W

    Another reason it's a bad idea to pay attention to God talk: You don't know if the candidate is pandering, or being truthful. Are they genuine, or lying? You have no idea, and never will. Since you can't ever know what's inside a person's heart, then you must rely on their stances, their actions, their record, and their ability to solve problems.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm |
  11. ColoredMountains

    @Think-for-yourself: Evangelicals are the only ones what nations need the most. Prayers are the best thing to do. Study human rights and civil rights movements all over the world – those were initiated and established by Christians or the educated-by-Christian alone. You Westerners were all worthless barbaric child-burning tree-worshipers before Christianity made you civilized.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • think for yourself

      You still ignore the immoral god that they worship. And of course the crusades, witch trials, etc. that have occurred in the name of their religion. Of course all of those still are nothing compared to the wrath of their imaginary god. Christianity has not brought about only bad things, but I would say the bad outweighs the good, especially when you consider that the sheeple support a god that is so vengeful.
      If prayer is all you need, good for you. Next time you or someone you know becomes sick or seriously injured, don't have them get medical attention. Just pray...really hard. Gather a large group of your sheeplings to join you. Let us know how that works out. Show those silly doctors that they don't need to spend 8+ years in education/training becoming doctors, they just need prayer.

      September 16, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • Your god is a fossil

      Prayer does nothing but use up time better spent trying to figure out a logical answer to a problem or situation

      September 16, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • AGuest9

      New name, eh, Mathilda?

      September 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm |
  12. ColoredMountains

    @Think-for-yourself: Evangelicals are not simple-minded, but they are the last moral ones left in your nation. You self-smart ones act more like Ja-panese or French than American. Keep thinking and lose the war. Atheists do name-calling, not Christians.

    September 16, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • think for yourself

      The evangelicals try to pray away our problems, instead of fixing them. That is a clear example of simple-mindedness (example, see Rick Perry's public prayer in Houston).
      Has this solved the problems of the education system here in Texas? Nope, not by a long shot.
      You also forgot yet again about morality. Evangelicals worship a god that is completely immoral. Good thing he does not exist, except inside their simple minds.
      If morality consists of condemning everyone who disagrees with your ridiculous beliefs with no proof supporting them, then I am happy to be "immoral".
      I don't seem to remember your "moral" religion giving women the right to vote or freeing slaves, either. And while we're at it let's condemn all gays too, even though our god made them that way.

      September 16, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Please take your meds, Mathilda.

      September 18, 2011 at 8:01 pm |
  13. ColoredMountains

    Democracy is being hijacked by the immoral oppressive secularism; the tyrannical liberals forced the religious to speak up.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • BRC

      My memory is a little fuzzy, where was the first recorded practice of democracy?

      September 16, 2011 at 11:41 am |
    • ColoredMountains

      Definition by Abraham Lincoln, a Christian. The Greeks are fakes, since they included only elite males, no other.

      September 16, 2011 at 12:20 pm |
    • think for yourself

      A lot of name calling and no substance in your post, ColoredMountains.
      All secularism is for is keeping superst.itions out of government. It's not as we want to change the pledge to say "one nation, under atheism" or anything like that. There is nothing "immoral" about secularism.
      You call people immoral and tyrannical, but fail to remember it is your invisible god that wants to torture 70% of this world's population forever. If "He" existed, he would be the "immoral" and "tyrannical" one. Lucky for all of us that capitalizing words like god, he, him, his, etc. doesn't make "Him" real.

      September 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Mathilda, what is it that you have against the Ancient Greeks? You attacked me a few weeks ago over Plato and Socrates. Here you go again. You DO realize that Luke, a writer of one of the gospels (even though he never MET Jesus) was a Greek physician, do you not?

      September 18, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  14. ColoredMountains

    The God-talking candidates are courageous ones and better than all the others. Where is Mr. Prothero? Was it finally discovered by CNN that he had no knowledge or understanding on Christianity? All these liberals should stop teaching students on religion since they are ignorant.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • think for yourself

      They are just saying what helps them the most in getting votes. There is nothing courageous in that. They are just trying to get votes from the simple-minded evangelical population, which accounts for a significant chunk of political support (regardless of party).

      September 16, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • HS

      Hmm, Christians are supposed to be compassionate, yet Perry has no problem with all the executions in Texas. Christians are supposed to be meek and humble, yet Perry participated in the enormous spectacle at the look-at-me prayer service at that stadium. Yeah, courage...

      September 16, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      ALL CHRISTIANS ARE HYPOCRITES! EVEN THE RIDICULOUS POPE. It's all hype and sensationalism with total rubbish rituals and silly robes for show. NO ONE can live by ALL the oppressive and outlandish rules of the Bible. Not legally anyways. It's grossly outdated rules to live by. There are a few basic "good" rules but humans don't need a religion to teach these basic morals and values. Compassion, Kindness, Generosity, Empathy, ... these concepts aren't so BEYOND a basic understanding anymore that only a religion with ancient stories can teach.

      September 16, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Actually, Mathilda, all religious teaching should be stopped outside of the church, most especially that which is used in the name of "science", like "The Panda's Thumb", and similar nonsense..

      September 18, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  15. Swagger

    Clearly, BTK isn't an idiot, where are your degree(s)? Sounds like you are weak minded, and dont quite understand a cultural zeitgeist. Do you teach, I pray you can only type and cannot speak.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:28 am |
  16. Swagger

    Calm down fanatics and do some academic and religious reading, thank God we have an academitian with the good sense and character as well as street smarts to finally "call out the dirt" BTW do your research his facts are correct, stop being lazy, prob why most of you dont have jobs and blog all day. Go to the library folks, get off the computer, get some respect for believers and academics, oh and try to work on your swagger.

    September 16, 2011 at 11:20 am |
  17. Jody

    The argument for God continues. I will not argue for a God that is more then able to win any argument on His own. Most that argue against Him have no desire to know, in certainty, whether or not He exists. They attack the believer. They don't go to the 'invisible' source to see what happens. The argument for faith should never be about me. My response will always be, ask Him yourself. If you get no response, go on your way, if you get an answer, come back and be my 'brother'.

    September 16, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • uh

      The response you get is all in your head.

      September 16, 2011 at 11:23 am |
    • Cason

      Lol, it could be said that most believers aren't willing to admit that God may possibly not exist. The saddest thing about the arguments on this subject is the constant pot calling the kettle black.

      September 17, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  18. Lavaux

    Jimmy Carter didn't start the politicians' God talk. Rather, politicians have been God-talking since the first European stepped on Virginia soil nearly four centuries ago. The reason Carter's God talk was noticed is that by 1976, enough Americans had become secularized that God talk by politicians became noticeable.

    Many seculars reacted negatively to Carter's God talk. Some even accused him of theocratic designs, warning everyone who would listen that political God talk threatened to break down the (mythical) wall between church and state. Most of today's legacy news media belong to this lot.

    As the seculars coalesced around their revilement of political God talk (and any God talk in the public square), two new factions were born to American politics: The seculars and the Moral Majority. The latter faction had been unrecognizable before Carter because they were normal. It wasn't until the elites controlling nearly all of the media channels openly proclaimed their secularism and hostility to traditional American principles, mores and norms that the Moral Majority coalesced around the realization that they were distinctive because the culture had left them behind.

    With these facts in mind, reconsider Mr. Kaylor's opinion piece. American politicians have been courting sectarian voters with God talk since 1776, yet America is the less religious today than it's ever been, including its government and elite governing class. Policies that would have been unthinkable in 1950, 1850 or 1776 for religious and moral reasons are now commonplace, so much so that they go unnoticed and uncommented. Tolerance has become a unilateral obligation owed by Christian white males to everyone who isn't Christian, white or male, and open season has been declared on anyone who finds this obligation vexatious or unjust.

    I don't know what Mr. Kaylor has been smoking in the faculty lounge, but whatever it is, it certainly has impaired his perception of reality.

    September 16, 2011 at 1:29 am |
  19. Question everything

    The republican party; using religion to influencing simple minded, selfish people to vote against the better interest of the whole.

    September 15, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      Actually, a lot of Evangelical Christians will vote AGAINST their own interest just because the GOP claims to be more religious. I watched a YouTube video in which a Christian lady said just that. She claimed that God would take care of everything in the end. There are too many delusional Christians in the US.

      September 16, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      The Republican party does not have to do anything. GW Bush had us in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. GW Bush had a prison setup in Cuba where folks are held without trial.

      Obama THREE YEARS LATER !! Has us still with troops on the ground in Afghanistan and in Iraq. Gitmo is still open and now it is reported by CNN that we now have troops on the ground in Libya. So, not only has Obama have us in all the wars that GW Bush did, the Noble Prize winner has us now in third theater of WAR !!!.

      W.T.Flip Wilson are we going to need to pull our troops home..... next years election? If you want to talk about simple minds I will leave that to the minorities and LGBT people in society. Many are starting to wake up from the Democrats dreams.

      Remember, Don't Ask Don't Tell..... with a majority congress, Obama would not move to overturn it.

      ...but you can thank a bunch of Gay and Lesbian Republicans who did.

      September 16, 2011 at 1:10 am |
    • J.W

      When did CNN reports that the U.S has troops on the ground in Libya?

      September 16, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  20. EnergyBeing3

    If you want to eat the body (cannibalism) and drink the blood (vampirism) of a dead Jesus corpse nailed to two boards while trying (and it's nearly impossible in this modern age) to follow some outdated rules of a revised (like over 20 times now) Bible, then by all means, it's your freedom to form your fantasy and delusions and to be a brainwashed idiot. Just keep it away from my government laws. PEACE

    September 15, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • Allen

      Dude your ignorance is willful. You have fantasies and delusions that you understand religion based on what, a few viewings of Zeitgeist?. You would have no freedom of thought if it weren't for religion (Franklin's Quaker Background) as there would have been no freedom of religion and accompanying speech. I suppose it's good you have a trade here in condescension as your understanding of just how deeply religion is embedded in our countries laws is pathetic. I should warn you that condescension and spite by their nature lack the necessary comprehensiveness and patience to ever be properly applied and are a waste of time. They only work on the weak minded and even then only until someone more eloquent comes along.

      September 15, 2011 at 8:32 pm |
    • lyds

      The eating of his body and drinking of blood are symbolic acts. No one actually eats flesh and drinks blood. We eat bread which represents his broken body offered up as a sacrifice for us all. We drink wine which represents his redeeming blood that he shed to save us from eternal death and separation from God.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:08 pm |
    • boris

      yeah, only god gets the real blood. The guy revels in it, apparently. Loves the smell of it burning too.

      September 15, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
    • Free

      "What kind of people eat the flesh and drink the blood of their savior!?"
      Marge Simpson, from "Don't Have a Cow, Mankind" Treehouse of Horror XX

      September 15, 2011 at 11:58 pm |
    • EnergyBeing3

      After you awaken to new levels of awareness from the brainwashing. After you do some historical background checks and line up the psychological control factors the that Christian CULT uses on it's blind followers, you'll come to the rude awakenings of how you've been scammed and lied to in one of the most elaborate cons of the human species. The Christians look at the Mormons or the Scientology CULTS as insane, but they are just as brainwashed in the fantasies of mind control. Do your own research and the truth will set you free. Many people are addicted to religion though, it sets up some rather genius psychological "warm fuzzies" to keep a person locked in. You have an option though to enlighten yourself with the truth of reality. It's OK to have skepticism... it's HEALTHY. Religions thrive of suspension of disbelief along with you proclaiming allegiance with a made up 'Reward (heaven) or punishment (hell) system. WAKE UP!

      September 16, 2011 at 5:30 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.