My Take: Are evangelicals dangerous?
Many evangelicals want to ban abortion, but does that mean they want theocracy?
October 15th, 2011
10:00 PM ET

My Take: Are evangelicals dangerous?

Editor's Note: R. Albert Mohler, Jr., is president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

By R. Albert Mohler, Jr., Special to CNN

Here we go again.

Every four years, with every new presidential election cycle, public voices sound the alarm that the evangelicals are back. What is so scary about America’s evangelical Christians?

Just a few years ago, author Kevin Phillips told intellectual elites to run for cover, claiming that well-organized evangelicals were attempting to turn America into a theocratic state. In “American Theocracy,” Phillips warned of the growing influence of Bible-believing, born-again, theologically conservative voters who were determined to create a theocracy.

Writer Michelle Goldberg, meanwhile, has warned of a new Christian nationalism, based in “dominion theology.” Chris Hedges topped that by calling conservative Christians “American fascists.”

And so-called New Atheists like Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris claim that conservative Christians are nothing less than a threat to democracy. They prescribe atheism and secularism as the antidotes.

This presidential cycle, the alarms have started earlier than usual. Ryan Lizza, profiling Rep. Michele Bachmann for The New Yorker, informed his readers that “Bachmann belongs to a generation of Christian conservatives whose views have been shaped by institutions, tracts, and leaders not commonly known to secular Americans, or even to most Christians.”

Change just a few strategic words and the same would be true of Barack Obama or any other presidential candidate. Every candidate is shaped by influences not known to all and by institutions that other Americans might find strange.

What stories like this really show is that the secular elites assume that their own institutions and leaders are normative.

The New Yorker accused Bachmann of being concerned with developing a Christian worldview, ignoring the fact that every thinking person operates out of some kind of worldview. The article treated statements about wifely submission to husbands and Christian influence in art as bizarre and bellicose.

When Rick Perry questioned the theory of evolution, Dawkins launched into full-on apoplexy, wondering aloud how anyone who questions evolution could be considered intelligent, even as polls indicate that a majority of Americans question evolution.

Bill Keller, then executive editor of The New York Times, topped all the rest by seeming to suggest that conservative Christians should be compared to those who believe in space aliens. He complained that “when it comes to the religious beliefs of our would-be presidents, we are a little squeamish about probing too aggressively.”

Really? Earlier this month, comedian Penn Jillette - a well–known atheist - wrote a very serious op-ed complaining of the political influence of “bugnut Christians,” in the pages of The Los Angeles Times, no less. Detect a pattern here?

By now, this is probably being read as a complaint against the secular elites and prominent voices in the mainstream media. It’s not.

If evangelicals intend to engage public issues and cultural concerns, we have to be ready for the scrutiny and discomfort that comes with disagreement over matters of importance. We have to risk being misunderstood - and even misrepresented - if we intend to say anything worth hearing.

Are evangelicals dangerous? Well, certainly not in the sense that more secular voices warn. The vast majority of evangelicals are not attempting to create a theocracy, or to oppose democracy.

To the contrary, evangelicals are dangerous to the secularist vision of this nation and its future precisely because we are committed to participatory democracy.

As Christians committed to the Bible, evangelicals have learned to advocate on behalf of the unborn, believing that every single human being, at every stage of development, is made in God’s image.

Evangelicals worry about the fate of marriage and the family, believing that the pattern for human relatedness set out in Scripture will lead to the greatest human flourishing.

We are deeply concerned about a host of moral and cultural issues, from how to address poverty to how to be good stewards of the earth, and on some of these there is a fairly high degree of disagreement even among us.

Above all, evangelicals are those who believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and are most concerned about telling others about Jesus. Most of America’s evangelical Christians are busy raising their children, working to support their families and investing energy in their local churches.

But over recent decades, evangelical Christians have learned that the gospel has implications for every dimension of life, including our political responsibility.

We’re dangerous only to those who want more secular voices to have a virtual monopoly in public life.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of R. Albert Mohler, Jr.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (5,318 Responses)
  1. ashrakay

    I can't believe they gave this guy permission to write anything. I felt like I was reading a book report from an 8th grader. He totally misses the point by asking the question if evangelicals are dangerous. In fact, Dawkins and Harris and most atheists don't draw a distinction between so-called "evangelicals" and any religious fantasizing. If you don't think religion is dangerous, think where we would be if people like Galileo, Copernicus and Darwin had not stood up to religion. Look at the spread of AIDS where religious leaders have condemned condom use. Religious morality is stuck 2k years in the past, and secular morality is concerned with the man of the future. Of course the intellectual and moral retardation that religion encourages is a danger to development and betterment of mankind as a whole.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Andrew

      To be far, Darwin was only able to undergo his journey thanks to religion. But by now, religious education isn't what funds scientific inquiry.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  2. stormsun

    Mr. Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is hardly objective in this matter. But a man of such a learned position should know better than to commit the logical fallacy he presents us in his argument. Refuting (or attempting to) Richard Dawkins' comment about the intelligence of those who castigate the theory of evolution in favor of creationism, Mr. Mohler offers this: "...even as polls indicate that a majority of Americans question evolution." There are a host of problems with this statement; I submit that the majority of Americans DO believe in the theory of evolution, but what they believe is no measure of the validity – for or against – the theory. The majority of humans on earth once believed it was flat, and that the universe revolved around our tiny planet. The Christian Church threatened anyone who disputed these "facts" with torture and death for a time (so much for their divine guidance, eh?) Virtually all of us know better now. Christian "theory" is quite different from theory as scientists define it. Scientists are perfectly willing to throw out old theory, no matter how cherished, when new evidence and new logically derived understanding proves it wrong. Christian theory does not. It clings to the notions set out by wandering nomadic tribesmen, 2000 to 3000 years ago, based on their simplistic view of the universe and the Earth (most of which they barely understood and had not yet discovered the largest part of). Sorry, Mr. Mohler, but it is not your beliefs the rest of us fear. It is the growing power of those indoctrinated from birth to follow un-elected leaders who guide them based on the illogical and unsubstantiated tenets of ancient soothsayers and prophets long absent from our world – but whose prejudices and archaic ideas are now held sacrosanct and immune from reason and logical inquiry. Live your life by any rules you care to, so long as you don't hurt others or impose your viewpoints on others. It is this last point that concerns many of us. I do not care to have you impose Christian "laws" on me, regardless how much you cherish them, against my will. That is why we have a secular – not a religious – government.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Question everything

      Excellent post

      October 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • Hoovervilles

      Very well stated. Thanks for this post!

      October 16, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • Joseph

      Excellent! You should have your own blog, or post, or position on CNN. A little reason wouldn't hurt their readership.

      October 16, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  3. Mermarie

    Anyone who objects to amoral activity isn’t merely objecting—-they’re a “hater.” As is their style, the Love Brigade aims far more hate and dehumanizing terminology at the “haters” than the haters ever aimed at them.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  4. Mike Amey

    Although I agree with Mr. Mohler’s assessment that the “threat” of evangelicalism is often overstated by its opponents, I think he wrongly sees the conflict as only between evangelicals and secularists. When the Reverend Jeffers endorsed Perry over Romney because Romney was “not a true Christian” what we saw was an attack by an important evangelical, not on a secularist, but on a man who happened to have a different religious perspective. Similarly, when Herman Cain said he would not bring Muslims in to his administration, he wasn’t attacking secularists – he was demonizing an entire faith group. Mohler, in other words, misrepresents the position of evangelicals in relationship to the rest of society. This isn’t a conflict between evangelicals and secularists; but rather between evangelicals and non-evangelicals.

    Personally, I have no objections to evangelicals holding public office, nor do I object to evangelicals advocating for and supporting candidates who share their faith. What does concern me, though, is that the beliefs of some evangelicals will then be pushed in to the public forum even when they are at odds with what experts tell us. Mr. Mohler, for example, draws attention to the fact that Mr. Perry’s skepticism about evolution is shared by many Americans. This may be true, but science isn’t a democracy that is decided by the convictions of the majority. The majority of scientists accept evolution and climate change as true. They do so, not because it is a tenant of faith, and not because the majority of Americans agree with them, but because the scientific evidence supports those conclusions. Dismissing scientific evidence and the consensus of most scientists just because one’s faith dictates something different is dangerous, and particularly dangerous when done by national leaders. This is why I believe that candidate Huntsman is a better option for Republicans than Perry – Huntsman doesn’t deny science, and in our modern society we need leaders who value science, even if it is at the expense of their faith.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Dave Davis

      Sir, is it truly neccessary for our "future leaders" to pass a Liberal litmus test concerning the Theory(ies) of evolution? I hope not. No one should have to lay down personal beliefs(religeous or other) to run for office in any facet of government.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
    • Drew

      Ron Paul is another candidate that believes evolution to be factual.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  5. GrandOldPatsy

    It's sad that a well proven scientific fact like evolution can't be taken seriously by people who believe that some invisible being in the sky decides their daily events. Wake up people, unlike heavenly beings, evolution has been proved and proves itself again and again all the time. When's the last time god held a press meeting to prove he exists? Just because it cannot be proved or disproved does not mean it exists.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Drew

      It also doesn't mean they don't exist.
      I believe an invisible being decides my daily events, but I also believe evolution to be a self-evident, yet God-guided process.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
    • ashrakay


      October 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  6. DaveinCincy

    ......let's focus on the real danger to America. Intollerance as demonstrated in just about every post written.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • stormsun

      Please don't misconstrue debating and disagreeing with intolerance. On the contrary, most of us make such an allowance in respecting others' rights to their religious convicitons that we won't voice disagreement with the most absurd of propositions – for fear of "offending" someone else's beliefs. I believe that religious beliefs are fair game in the public arena, and are a fitting topic to discuss, inspect and dissect, and hold up to the scrutiny of reason and logic. If only I had spoken up some years back, I might not have lost a good friend to the cynical BS that masquerades as a religion called "scientology," (which has nothing to do with either science nor the meaning of existence, in my opinion). How many others have been "assimilated into the Borg" of one cult or another because no one wanted to question the tenets or beliefs of the proselytizers?

      October 16, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  7. Question everything

    For the last time GOP'ers/bible thumpers, the social and scientific definition/interpretation of 'Theory' are completely different. Please do some investigating of your own. I can't stand reading the same thing over and over.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  8. Mermarie

    This article is a joke...and on the main page, CNN? Really? Why not an article about the violent protestors? Ah, too close to the truth. OKAY! 🙂

    October 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  9. Hiro

    Mohler's biggest misconception is confusing radical evangelicals with actual Christians.

    Actual Christians feed the hungry, clothe the poor, nurse the sick, etc. Evangelicals figure out ways to monetize these operations and by default keep the same people hungry, poor, and sick.

    Actual Christians know that the secular concerns of US citizens have little impact on their lives. Evangelicals have a desire to be right/correct/righteous and can only prove such righteousness by pointing out how others fall short.

    Please, do not confuse real Christians with the wing-nut Evangelicals who have co-opted those beliefs as a means of political and monetary gain. R. Mohler would be wise to stop apologizing for those who would not hesitate to eliminate his voice.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Anyone who uses the phrase "actual Christian" or "real Christian" assumes that there's some kind of standard for who qualifies and who doesn't. But, of course, EVERY Christian has such a standard, namely "It's what *I* believe in". And every one of them thinks that those who DON'T believe exactly the same things aren't REAL Christians but merely pretenders at best, or apostates, heretics, blasphemers, or agents of Satan at worst.
      Ever notice how God and Jesus never seem to have the time to come down, point at one church, and say "THAT'S the right one, all the rest of you are false Christians"? Nope, they let their self-professed followers do all the talking for them.
      And, of course, all of the 5000 different flavors of the followers disagree with each other and think the other 4999 are wrong and will burn in Hell for misleading people about The Truth. They all disagree with each other, so they can't all be right.
      But they CAN all be wrong.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  10. the chick who says "meh"

    dr. mohler, your article completely ignores the inherent problems with evangelicals and politics; that is, that the two are best left seperated, as our founders intended. evangelicals are welcome to their beliefs- be a pro-life creationist all you want, i don't care. i do care, however, when those people seek to inject their beliefs into politics. the pro-life position is by far a religious movement, and you can't make laws based off of just religion. creationism is purely a christian belief, which is why you can teach it in your home and church, but not in a publicly funded school. do you see my point? have your own beliefs, use them to guide your own lives, but try and use them to govern MY life and that's when we have a problem. i'm not christian, so why should i have to follow your rules? (curiously enough, no one is pushing to make the 1st commandment law- why not? if you want everyone to follow SOME of your rules, why not the most important of them all? hmm?) evangelicals want special treatment, and then write whiny articles like this when the rest of america won't give it to them. grow up, the world doesn't revolve around you anymore.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
    • Dave Davis

      I'll bet all of you Liberals would like to see us simply "bow out" of real-life situations which concern us as much as anyone else in America. You people want our tax dollars to fund your government programs, you want our sons to continue fighting for your rights and freedoms on other shores, you want our participation in Police, Fire, and Rescue-type organisations. You need our wives as school teachers. We are both part and parcel to this Country and it's great strength. If you would like a "secular" country (just like all the "others") you can probably have it someday. The balance seems to be swinging somewhat your way. We who believe in Christ and Christianity have (as a whole) been in control of things for some 225 years. Sure, there have been occasional problems, glitches and a Civil War. But the Republic still stands. And it is much stronger than the Secular countries you Liberals desire to mimick. We have "run" this Country for 225 years, how long will you Liberals be able to "Make it work"?

      October 16, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • wrussia

      That is bizarre that you can not see the fallacy in your statement. All belief systems are in fact a religion. I can not prove evolution or creation so they become a faith or a belief system. If an evangelical Christian pushed forth their belief the way the gay straight transgendered whatever alliance i would be nervous but nobody worries that Barney Frank voted his belief system. Also please remember there was a time catholics were not welcome in this country.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Lindsey

      It seems as though you are suggesting that people leave their beliefs at the door when approaching politics. How does this make any sense? When you vote or address a "political" issue, it is impossible to do so without seeing those issues through the lens of your world view, i.e. your beliefs. For example, a nonreligious person might "believe" that a woman has the right to choose to abort her unborn child, so he will approach political conversations according to that belief. A Christian "believes" that it is wrong to abort an unborn child, so he or she will vote, discuss, etc from that perspective. How is the former any different than the latter?

      I think what you are really saying is not, "Don't bring your personal beliefs into politics." I'd like to see you attempt that- it's impossible. Participating in a political discussion or voting is, in fact, based on a belief that such activity is important. But rather, it seems that you don't want the Christian worldview entering the political arena. Every worldview is acceptable, except that Christian one. I leave you to draw your own conclusions about the dangers of a society which supports this rationale.

      And, just for the record, there is actually overwhelming science which supports the theory of creation. How "scientific" is it to disregard quantifiable evidence? I urge you to investigate creation science for yourself- I'm sure you will be shocked at what your science teacher never told you.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • the chick who says "meh"

      dave: really? things work better when christians are in charge? like, slavery, oppression of women, voting restricted to land owners, denial of science, and hey, go back a little farther, and then you have crusades and random women being burned alive. sounds like a great system. i would elaborate, but i can tell from your assertion of society wanting your "wives" as teachers (last time i checked, unmarried women and men were teachers too....) that attempting to talk sense to you is as futile as arguing with a five year old.
      wrussia: evolution is science, not religion. it's based on real life observations, not 2000 yr old scribbles. and before you spout the "it's only a theory" conservative tagline, gravity is only a theory too. if you want to question it by jumping out a window, please, be my guest. and yes, i know catholics, along with jews and quakers and many, many others were not allowed to settle in the beginning. who's fault is that? since hmm, CHRISTIANS were in change, i'm gonna guess that group is to blame. but hey, you can still ignore history and blame the godless atheists for that too, since yall are so fond of making crazy stuff up.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • stormsun

      Dave Davis, you are committing a grave fallacy in attributing nefarious purposes to "seculars." It is not the secular person who wants to force one viewpoint on others; that would be the religious zealot. If you are not one of those, I commend you. But I AM tired of having numerous religious leaders stand in their pulpits and demonize the "secular humanist" as a straw man for every ill they see in society. Look around you at the world. Most of the organized violence you see is not coming from any secular agency, it is coming from organized religious groups. Why? They all want the same thing (and it isn't your soul). They want control and power in the here and now. The reason preachers and other self-appointed spokesmen for God use secular humanists for their whipping boys is that we AREN'T organized. They have no centralized authority representing their philosophy or cosmological beliefs – nor do they need or want them. That's what irks the religious leaders, they don't get to assert control over "seculars" ... and they also have to do without the money they induce their followers to give them for nothing but promises and mythology. But many of us "seculars" are tired of being quiet while morons disparage us. We are tired of charlatans masquerading as the pillars of society, with all the prestige that entails, while mouthing "wisdom" based on ancient mythology. If you want to refute me or disagree, please do – that is your right. But try to base your response on reason and logic if you have not forgotten how.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • the chick who says "meh"

      lindsay: yes, leaving your religious beliefs at the political door is exactly what i'm saying. as a pagan, i find this incredibly easy to do, and it boggles my mind that you christians struggle with it so much. the abortion debate is an excellent example! i'm actually pro-life for myself, because i believe in reincarnation and karma. if i were to become pregnant, my beliefs would lead me to carry to term. however, i know most don't believe in reincarnation and karma, and to use my beliefs as a justification for how millions should live their lives is absurd. i think they should make their own choices, based on their own beliefs, which is why politically i'm pro-choice. see? it's that easy!
      i won't even start on your ridiculous assertion that science somehow supports creationism, because it doesn't. period. i hold a masters degree in anthropology, so i'm pretty darn sure i'm up to date on that. heck, i'm even visited a creationist "museum", and saw the definition of evolution plastered all over the place (change over time, that simple), so even creationists are evolution supporters, they just don't like to admit it.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm |

    The author fails to acknowledge that the type of Christianity practiced by Michelle Bachmann and others who believe that God talks to them (directly) is different than the faith I practice. I am a Roman Catholic and do not appreciate the negative and sometimes insulting comments posted by atheists and agnostics here, but I respect their right to post. You see, I believe in the separation of church and state – and find no contradiction in the two. I live by one and in the other. Just as I don't want to be told how and what I should believe, I won't impose my beliefs on others. And I certainly don't want the government becoming the theocracy that we fought so long and hard to escape from.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Andrew

      You'll find that we generally say nicer things about people like you than evangelicals like the author of this diatribe. That said, I still believe your beliefs are inherently flawed and kinda silly. But contrary to what Mohler says, that does NOT mean I want to limit your rights to believe. I'd prefer to convince you that your beliefs are irrational by rational arguments, not force.

      I think Mohler is perhaps projecting his own beliefs onto atheists.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  12. notanapologist

    you are free to practise your faith...but lets call it faith and not based on any reality. And it would be enough if you would just practise it in private and everyone else alone...but you won't and continue to espouse views and enforcement in schools and courts based upon your book...a book full of bigotry, immorality, and one which does not stand up to examination...by even the most casual observer...

    October 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Drew

      Just because you can't prove something under your Western materialistic lens doesn't mean it isn't reality. Widen your view and try and come at other ideas with less preconceived notions. I think you'll find there's more spirituality than you think.
      Some people aren't comfortable believing in a 2,000 year old book, and I get that. But other people aren't comfortable believing that all we see today came about randomly and honestly, quite improbably without a higher power. Some people aren't comfortable believing that there is no such thing as objective morality when everything inside us tells us otherwise. We could go on and on.

      October 16, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • Gordon

      Considering the number of galaxies and stars that we know of, why is it so hard to believe that life just sprung up on this planet? I wouldn't be at all surpised to find that the basic organic materials exist on many, if not most planets. It just so happens that the Earth had the perfect conditions for this organic material to eventually evolve into organisms. Maybe the odds are a trillion-to-one that other planets have similar environments, but considering the number of planets that must be out there, there are probably plenty that have life on them. We're just at the beginning of finding other planets!

      October 16, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  13. Eugene

    Are all of any group dangerous, tyrannical, etc.? No, of course not. Will there be elements that go too far or are in fact dangerous. Yes. It amuses me that the writer uses telling buzzwords ("elites") and paints with the same broad brush he accuses the other side of using.

    Personally, I know this. I have never heard first hand an atheist, agnostic or even moderate Christian, Jew or Muslim say that someone should due because of what they believe or who they are. But I have been told, to my face, by two fundamentalist Christians that when they "are in charge", that I and anyone who agrees with me (I am an atheist) will be, as one put it, "exterminated". (The other used the word "removed".) And both believed in democracy, they just felt that ONLY Christians of their stripe should be allowed to vote and run. Atheists, they said, in basic agreement with a statement by George H. W. Bush, should not be citizens.

    And then there are the lovely quotes like this from leading evangelical voice Randall Terry, speaking specifically about people who support a woman's right to choose, but similar to statements he has also made about atheists and non-evangelicals: "When I, or people like me, are running the country, you'd better flee, because we will find you, we will try you, and we'll execute you. I mean every word of it. I will make it part of my mission to see to it that they are tried and executed." (U.S. Taxpayers Alliance banquet, August 8, 1995)

    Note to Mr. Mohler: when people like this are not called to task by other evangelicals who claim they are peaceful people, how can you point the finger at those who find such statements frightening. Look to the plank in your own eye, sir, and I shall look to the one in mine.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Charles

      The Handmaiden's Tale is a disturbing story for most of us but a plan of action for some.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Drew

      I've lived as a Christian in the Midwest my entire life and never met anyone even close to the type of people you describe here. To pretend that this is the norm among religious people is ridiculous.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  14. Dano

    If evangelicals are "most concerned about telling others about Jesus," they probably don't belong in public (ie, secular) office.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  15. RhythamSentalle

    My take: CNN would be better off using "Belief Blog" as a place where people can learn more about various world religions instead of what has become a largely anti-Christianity (anti-religion to a lesser extent) opinion dump.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • Jim

      Don't forget the people telling everyone that they are going to burn for eternity because these 'sinners' don't believe exactly the same way that they do.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Colin

      Or you could just learn from the writing on the wall.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Colin

      You will learn more about religion from an atheist than you ever would from a religious person. Atheists provide more objective thoughts on religion than religious people do because religious people take their religions personally and speak with bias.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Mermarie

      But don't remark on the violent protestors. lol

      October 16, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  16. us1776

    Religion is the worst thing to ever happen to mankind.


    October 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Draz

      Thank you for your unique and clever input. You truly stand out as a free thinker among free thinkers with your revolutionary insights.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • Drew

      Mankind is the worst thing to happen to mankind. People are going to murder and oppress one another whether religion is involved or not. Look up Communism and Nazism.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  17. Marcia

    Church and state are to be separate... and as Seneca said

    “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”

    October 16, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
    • Attilio

      Hello Marcia, unfortunately Seneca never had an encounter with his Savior Jesus Christ... in what way would the death of Jesus and His resurrection be used to 'control' people???

      October 16, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Attilio

      By the way... I definitely do believe in church and state to be as far apart as possible... Morality and faith can NEVER be ligislated!

      October 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      I keep hearing that "morality can't be legislated". I also keep seeing evangelicals who sure as heck want to try!

      October 16, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  18. God

    Yes, they are dangerous. They do and believe things that I would never. They are not my children.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
  19. s57

    As long as evangelicals claim the right to tell others what to think and believe and to spread intolerance, they pose a danger to democracy and free discourse, especially when they aim to subvert the policitcal system to spread their personal belief. Might as well call that religious fascism, and I say: No thanks to that!

    October 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Lindsey

      Anyone who believes something firmly wants to "spread their personal belief," otherwise you wouldn't be commenting at all. When people are silenced for believing in something firmly and sharing those beliefs with others, THAT is the true threat to all of us. Christians have every right to believe what they believe and talk about it freely without being accused of "intolerance." Are you not "intolerant" of "religious fascism?" Are you not attempting to get others to hear your belief by commenting on it? Wouldn't it be unjust if you were charged with a crime for believing what you do and voicing it freely?

      October 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
    • Drew

      Thank you Lindsay.
      You know what is a danger to free discourse and democracy, s57? People who try and tell other people that they can't share their beliefs in the public sphere because they are of a religious nature. Stop calling religious people "intolerant" simply because you don't agree with them.

      October 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  20. triscele

    A Southern Baptist doesn't see any issue. I for one am shocked at the balanced view one of the more extreme sided present.

    He wrote-"The vast majority of evangelicals are not attempting to create a theocracy, or to oppose democracy."

    On abortion, that group has made it possible for Congress to practice medicine without a license by allowing them to decide medical policy when it comes to abortion funding. They demand special rights and get them all the time. It is clearly wrong and makes them a highly privileged class.

    You are also more likely to be divorced (which one would think weakens the fabric of marriage) if you're in his category of "Christians" You're also more likely to have favored torture. So for a more moral America and a stronger marriage ethic, perhaps the group who should be discriminated against are his group.

    October 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.