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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. zip

    Wouldn't it be great that if instead of praying and wishing for things to be better, we stopped pretending and actually did something about it??

    October 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  2. Jon

    Members (i.e., lemmings) of an organized religion are only as intelligent as their leaders. Unfortunately, the leaders of the evangelicals are willfully ignorant about things like evolution and the age of the earth, so that their members (lemmings) are similarly not very smart.

    October 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • george

      I guess Isaac Newton was a dumb Christian and Gregor Mendel the monk was also stupid and then Martin Luther King was an idiot. Your post just shows your true colors.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • Don

      I would agree with you Jon that if your leaders are ignorant and you believe them, then it makes you also ignorant. Unforunately Jon, evolution has not been proven as a fact ( that is why they call it the theory of evolution). I hope Jon that you can tolerate those with views different than yours.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • and895

      just telling you; you need to get your scientific law straight

      October 17, 2011 at 12:03 am |
  3. Richard Kaiser

    Freedom? What? Freely given? Where? Freedom for all? When? Free will? How? And we all have a free spirit? Right,,,,, What’s next for the political and religious panderers to proclaim freely? Huh?

    October 16, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  4. Kristian

    Any person who wants to send a woman back to the alley with a coat hanger for her family planning is in fact, profoundly dangerous. Especially when the vast majority never put their money where their mouth is....few step up to the plate to take in unwanted children.

    Additionally, I am tired of holier than thou evangelicals who arrogantly assume a secular person does not believe in God, or worse yet, the arrogant evangelical christian who DECIDES that another person is an atheist because of their politics. I am a secular American and a monotheist. I believe in God. And I believe my God has no business deciding the laws of my country. God gave mankind the ability to self govern. We do not need God to be involved because God is involved by way of our endowment of intelligence. A secular person believes in separation of church and state, regardless of their own individual belief system. see Ron Paul, a deeply devout Christian who understands that secularism keeps all religions, including his own, free.

    October 16, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  5. Realist

    Ever notice the religious fear the most? Ever notice how they tell everyone else of their feared satan?

    Surprisingly, if they dropped their god, and jesus, and just started standing on their own two feet doing good without looking for heavenly rewards, they'd be happier. In fact death would no longer be a constant worry for them. Life would be their happiness. Unfortunately, any time people focus on death, death become the worry and religions own them. Worse is they plant the same fears into their children, that's child abuse.

    October 16, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • Veritas

      The only reason religion works and still spreads like the plague is that they indoctrinate the children while they are the most impressionable. That is also why atheists are so reviled, because the church has indoctrinated these people from a very young age that those who don't believe are going to hell and are the friends of satan. Evangelicals suck and would turn this nation into a christian Iran if they could.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Richard Kaiser

      Veritas wrote, "The only reason religion works and still spreads like the plague is that they indoctrinate the children while they are the most impressionable."

      In my childhood years into my teens and even to adulthood, I had no relationship with GOD or Gods or even gods. Now nearing my 60's, I have found faith and hope in believing in GOD, his first Son who did eventually become the Lord, Christ Jesus and in this Lord who rules over all His brethren deeply inside our bodies of Godly Buildings and temples and even Kingdoms' Domains. Belief in GOD and all of HIS Kinds is not needed for one to have an abundance of living and dying thru the foreverness of Time immortal. If one so chooses to become as nothingness GOD will not stand in one's way. I, though, would rather live and die and live and die throughout eternities' memorializing way.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:40 pm |
    • Veritas

      @Richard Kaiser: Yes, I guess if you are old and senile then that's another excuse for falling for this so obviously man-made mythology, and I assume the capitalization of certain WORDS is another sign of this. Still, most evangelicals are programmed by their parents and church from a very young age. The movie "Jesus Camp" is a very good moive that highlights this.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  6. Reality

    From p. 55:

    As with most Christians, Mohler suffers from the Three B Syndrome, i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in the flaws and fallacies of Christianity. The cure? Reading and rational thinking!!!!

    Synopsis of 21st Christianity based on the studies of Professors Crossan, Ludemann, Borg, Fredricksen et al:

    Jesus was an illiterate, Jewish, peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan se-cts.

    The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hit-ti-tes, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.
    earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    For added "pizz-azz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "fil-icider".

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedo-ph-iliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:

    Adu-lterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,–

    (added details available)

    October 16, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Realist

      Most people witness how delusion can trap people into religion by simply looking at the mormons. This group hadn't been in business that long, yet today have 14 million followers. It is not just the christian primitive mans religion, but all variations following that which capture zombie thinkers. Feared minds and greed go a long way.

      Mormonism is proof that many are fooled and follow delusions.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm |
  7. Renee DeMartin

    Oh, how about the line, ".... those who believe that jesus christ is lord and are most concerned about telling others about jesus".
    Perhaps if you'd quit trying to convert / coerce people into accepting your ignorant mythical doctrine, well maybe we might be a little more tolerant. Keep your aberrant beliefs out of politics and government. Keep them within the 4 walls of your churches and for "god's" sake, stop breeding.

    October 16, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
  8. An Atheist’s Perspective

    Are Evangelicals dangerous? The ones that mind their own business and just live their lives certainly aren't. It's the ones that openly state they have an agenda to change the laws so that things are "their way" that scare the hell out of me and there seems to be a lot of them. Evangelicals need to realize that no matter how hard they try people who don't believe as they do aren't going to change.

    October 16, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Dan

      Isn't anyone who votes trying to get things "their way." Sure, evangelicals scare the hell out of you because they vote to get their way. You should realize that some evangelicals feels the same way about you and your vote.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      So if a woman such as Hilary Clinton runs for office and says that she wants to change the boys network and make and pass laws that are more beneficial to women.....would you say she is dangerous?

      October 16, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
    • Remember...

      Are Atheists dangerous? The ones that mind their own business and just live their lives certainly aren't. It's the ones that openly state they have an agenda to change the laws so that things are "their way" that scare the hell out of me and there seems to be a lot of them.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Veritas

      Atheists simply want religion out of the legal system and government since it has no place there. If only people would keep their religious delusions to themselves and not try to impose it on others, but such is the expansionist nature of churches. I don't want atheist laws, christian laws, or sharia law, just fair and secular laws.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • An Atheist’s Perspective

      @ Mark
      Will Hilliary's new law give an unfair advantage to one group of people and not another? Will it blatantly exclude certain groups of people? If so then yes.

      @Remember...
      I don't like militant atheists either. Extremism in any philosophy is a bad thing.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
    • george

      Like it or not Christians pay taxes and if what is taught in our Public Schools goes against our beliefs like "evolution," we will fight so that other ideas are taught. Is there anything wrong with being able to speak of other ideas like the possibility of Design. Is evolution set in stone or are those who wish to teach our children evolution so dense as to want it their way and only their way? Ask yourself are you being a fascist by wanting it your way only and that if that is what a humanist hopes for then they are acting in a fascist way.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • JP0

      George, You have no understanding of science. Science tries to interpret the world around us. When facts indicate that theories are wrong scientist's admit their error and revise their theories. Religion already has an explanation of the world and tries to force observed facts to conform to their rigid explanation. It's not the same thing at all. Religion belongs to the Dark Ages. Without science that's where we'd be. Religion is about manipulating stupid people for earthly power.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  9. tom clements

    It takes more Faith to believe that first something came from nothing (before the big bang), then over the period of millions of years millions of miraculous events occurred which not only formed the exceedingly complex milky way, but that a tiny spec had millions of other miraculous events occur in which microscopic life could form, which after millions of miraculous events eventually evolved into the fine (but imperfect–can't help from sinning all the time) humans we are today. If I told you an old fashion 10 piece clock put itself together you would not believe it. But the entire creation of the universe–no problem believing that? Now if you say a Creator set things in motion (evolution), then its time to ask yourself what does the Creator expect of His creations.

    October 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Veritas

      What idiocy. Please study how evolution works and the scientific proof for it instead of regurgitating the same old creationist dogma.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • atheismisthetruth

      Billions of years not millions of years. Try reading "The Magic of Reality". It is a great lesson in science. What you are doing with all of your "miracles" talk is propagating lies about thing which you obviously know nothing.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
    • Scowl

      I take it you are a Ray Comfort/Kirk Cameron fan.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Bucky Ball

      It is meaningless to say something "happened" BEFORE the Big Bang, as space time began when the Big Bang happened, as far as we know. As far as all the "miraculous" things go, you obviously know nothing about statistics, probability, Chaos Theory, and the super computer studies of how random mutations happen, and how often they occur. Talking to a completely uneducated person about such topics is a waste of time, as are your questions. Besides some math and stats, try some logic also. 😈

      October 16, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • Colin

      Tom, you are so right!! Finally, somebody said it. There is also another stroy I wish to get straight.

      It is OBVOIUS to me that storks bring babies! I have never seen a woman giving birth, but I have seen a lot of storks, especially on margarine containers. If you ever go to the beach, you will lots of storks carrying babies. They look just like pelicans because they carry the babies in their mouths. If women gave birth to babies, there would be no need for a navel, but that is how the stork picks the babies up from HEAVEN.

      There is no REAL evidence that women give birth to babies. It is just a THEORY. If they did, why is it that men never give birth to babies? Why just women? Where do boys come from? It makes no sense. Also, why are there only “midwives” and never “mid-husbands”?

      If women gave birth to babies, why are there still women and babies? And why is it you never see a half-woman, half-baby!! Explain that evolutionists and va.ginal birth believers! Bet you CAN’T.

      If you look at a stork, it is INTELLIGENTLY designed to carry babies. Why would that be if it didn’t deliver babies? And what about twins and triplets? What, do some women have 2, or even 3 uteruses? That is stupid. A stork can EASILLY carry two or three babies, but a woman couldn’t.

      Why is it that for every 50 boys born, there are 50 girls. What, can a va.gina count? Ha, how stupid. But a stork could. And, what about all the GAPS in the birth record. One time I took a peek at my mother’s va.gina, and it was so small and babies are SO BIG.

      You evolutionists are so dumb. Your think babies JUST HAPPENED in their mother’s womb. What, do you think they just appeared out of yucky, slimy blood and stuff ? Fred Hoyle once calculated that the chance of a baby spontaneously appearing in a woman’s uterus was the same as a storm blowing through a junkyard and creating a Boing-747. That’s harder to believe than that the stork brought them!

      You might like to think you came from a mere zygote, but I KNOW I came from a glorious stork.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm |
    • Brent Slensker

      @Tom You have NO clue what evolution means..Nothing happened by accident OR miracles, it happened within the constraints of Physics like pouring water into a glass...whether you like it or not...READ a science text book!

      October 16, 2011 at 11:25 pm |
    • tom clements

      Ok Ok...I'm the uneducated regurgitating idiot. Not one of you can even give me the statistical chance of life occurring after the big bang which has so many zeros behind it there is not a name for that number. There is no one who even knows all of the millions of chemical reactions that had to occur to even come up with the statistics. I'm the idiot for not even understanding how science works? Do you know how many chemical reactions have to happen at exactly the right time with exactly the right ingredients even to make a blade of grass grow? Yes I know the statistics and they are not in your favor...
      Also science is set in laws, of which something coming from nothing does not apply. No one has yet to explain this part of evolution, so the inference is that we have not discovered that part of the theory yet, but it doesn't discount the rest of the theory. My point is that it takes faith (because right now there is no proof) to believe that something came from nothing. Your faith tells you the universe just was, then man's creation started with an explosion, collision, chaos.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:45 pm |
    • tom clements

      I'm still waiting for the mathmatical/statistical likelihood that something can come from nothing. And that in the event of this highly unlikely but wonderful event, although defying all laws of physics, needs no scientific explanantion because the rest of the theory makes so much logical sense.

      October 17, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • tom clements

      buckyball...random mutations does not help your statistical probability argument. There is a precise order to our universe and to the laws of physics.

      October 17, 2011 at 12:07 am |
  10. S1N

    @Colin – Little do they know that I will become the world's first Atheist Crusade leader! Let the forced enlightenment begin!

    October 16, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
    • Colin

      Indeed S1N – I can see the headlines from 25 years ahead right now.

      LAST CHURCH IN THE USA CLOSES.

      Reuters AAP – The last place of worship the USA officially closed its doors yesterday. The Church of Christ Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama held its last service at 10:00 on Sunday morning and was promptly shuttered by its pastor. “While I will be sorry to see a tradition pas.s, I guess it was time to move on,” declared Pastor Kevin Smith, “It saddens me a little, but I can no longer preach things I no longer believe in myself. Also, given that my congregation is elderly and poor, donations are down to a spasmodic trickle.”

      The closure marks the culmination of a dramatic surge in secularism in the USA following S1N's successful crusade. Then, after Murdoch’s Fox Network revealed that the Pope and virtually all Archbishops were acutely aware of the depth of the pedophilia problem since the 1950s, sweeping new policies were implemented under President Gibbs’ administration (2040-2048).

      Under his “No Mind Left Behind” policy, children were taught science, history, psychology and critical thinking from their first year of school. It was not until they were in their early teens and had a grounding in healthy skepticism and independent thought, that any supernatural belief, such as astrology or religion was allowed to be presented to them. Such beliefs were, of course, almost universally rejected by them.

      As interest in the supernatural has dwindled, the vacated churches, synagogues and mosques in the USA were sold off and the proceeds invested in a fund which, under the XXV Amendment to the US Const.itution, could only be used to further scientific education and environmental awareness and protection. Already the fund has been responsible for returning vast swaths of land to their natural state, in the USA and elsewhere and has largely been credited for ensuring the survival of the tiger, cheetah and mountain gorilla.

      Bibles and The Book of Mormon, which once graced virtually every hotel room in the USA, were replaced with Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion.”

      As people have increasingly realized there is no sky-being looking out for us, donations to the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, the Red Heart (f/k/a “Red Cross”) and Doctors Without Borders are at an all time high. “Looking back, it’s weird to think of some of the nonsense people believed as late as the early 21st Century,” commented Pastor Smith, as he locked the doors and walked nonchalantly from his church. “I guess you can’t judge them too harshly, though. When you’re taught it from such an early age and then told it’s immoral to even question it, I guess you are easy prey.”

      October 16, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Superb Colin....just superb. Alas it's probably just a fantasy to think it would occur in a mere 25 years, but someday the tide will turn.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
    • Colin

      I won't live to see it Steve, wish I would....

      October 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  11. Jon

    "Secular voices" means voices that appeal to reason rather than religion. When it comes to politics and economic policy what matters is human wisdom in these two domains. God *wanted* human beings to use *their own brains* for figuring out things like political and economic policy. When you pretend like the bible has the answers to these issues, it only reveals that you are too lazy to use the brain God gave you. So please, anyone who thinks secularity is bad in politics, please stay away from any government positions: you are an idiot. Idiots in government positions are dangerous.

    October 16, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • tom clements

      The Bible is only a guide. God's gift and curse to us is free will. You are free to believe whatever you want. The Bible makes clear that many will not listen.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Richard Kaiser

      @ Jon,,,

      Politics is a big "shell' game. Find the shell with the nut inside and whamo, you get the nuts,,,,

      October 16, 2011 at 11:12 pm |
    • Kool Aid

      @tom: the bible makes a lot of other things just as clear, such as child abuse, slavery, and genocide, just to name a few. It is so full of contradictions as to render it nearly unreadable. It's time to relocate our thinking where it belongs, which is NOT in the 1st century AD.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
    • JP0

      Tom: If god gave you something you are wasting it.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:43 pm |
    • tom clements

      Kool Aid ...have you ever studied the bible instead of reading it. Or have you ever prayed that God might speak to you through the bible to see what He wants you to learn? The bible is for people pursuing God's will. I am surprised how people mock God on this blog. Interesting.

      October 17, 2011 at 12:14 am |
    • Kool Aid

      @Tom: just exactly how would one go about 'studying' a written text without 'reading' it? The logic of that escapes me entirely. My guess is this idea rests on the premise that God will somehow 'speak' to you through the pages of a book. Does that mean I can commit horrible acts, as long as I am 'inspired' through these 'teachings'? Utter drivel. Try again...

      October 17, 2011 at 12:51 am |
  12. Remember...

    Thanks CNN for making people pause a moment to think about God. If I'm wrong about Jesus, when I die, I die. If you're not a Christian and you're wrong, there's a long payback. Also, there's a whole lot of entries about unacceptable extremists like the people who call themselves Christians and protest at funerals, yet the evangelicals I worship with put a whole lot of effort into our prison ministry, our ministry for those struggling with addiction, and our support of the local food kitchen. Lord knows, don't need those kind of crazy activists in your community...

    October 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • Veritas

      The religious are pretty predictable in regurgitating the same tired old dogma, like Pascal's wager.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • bnwabaxcv2

      ...So you are a "Christian" out of F.E.A.R.... your "Loving God" can go F.U.K.C. himself...

      So what if "nothing happens when we die"?

      You are AFRAID OF THE TRUTH, because you are AFRIAD OF DEATH, and so you MAKE UP STORIES (not original btw, the stories of Jesus are the SAME for many other religions) to make yourself "feel better"...

      LIVE LIFE AND DIE!

      Nothing wrong with that... all things eventually come to this conclusion, pretending that you are somehow "special" for "eternal-bliss of heaven" is REDICULOUS NONSENSE!!! (Besides, what do you do when you get to heaven any way? Notice how it doesn't say in the Bible, just the crappy answer 'be by God's side FOREVER'… sounds pretty gay to me… O.o)

      (2 CNN internet-forum-moderators…. THIS POST IS PROTECTED BY FREE SPEECH OF THE 1ST AMENDMENT! If those crazy religious nut jobs can PROTEST DEAD SOLDIERS FUNERALS, I CAN POST MY OPINIONS ONLINE!!!)

      October 16, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
    • Max

      If there is a god, and he's hateful enough to send people to a fiery burning pit because we didn't stroke his ego, he deserves all the opposition I can give him. He should be put on trial for plotting the crucifixion of his son, if nothing else. Though he had the final call on a couple of genocides and then there's that whole Inquisition thing, not to mention the Holocaust, which wasn't put out by nice apathetic atheists, but lots of happy true believers who were still mad that one ethnic group got duped into crucifying the Son of God, even if that was their God's plan all along. Can we say dysfunctional?

      October 16, 2011 at 11:19 pm |
  13. DarrellS

    I wholeheartedly disagree! Some Evangelicals are extremely dangerous. Their belief system is based on radical and literal interpretation of The Holy Bible, most especially the Old Testament and Revelations. (They seem to forget the whole Christian aspect of The New Testament and Christ, where he preaches peace, and tolerance, and charity.) Their leaders support the Israeli State because it's God's Commandment, regardless of how the Israeli State may at times aggressively attack their enemies. Their leaders also speak often about all the ills of the world simply being the "latter day" of the world, and they seem to anticipate war, suffering, and violence as the stepping stones toward the Second Coming. The most popular Christian Book Series (Left Behind) glorifies a Christian Armed Conflict.

    I'm sorry, but these are some of the most terrifying people on the planet as their entire belief system actually perpetuates hatred, intolerance, violence, and war–all in the Name Of God! These people have NO reason to be part of American Politics because they bring a radicalized vision of the future, rather than a desire to find solutions and create peace between peoples of the planet. THIS is the very reason for the separation of Church and State. Practice the belief system you choose, but do not use your belief system as the basis of the government when so few believe the way you do.

    October 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
    • Remember...

      Plenty of cult leaders have said they are Christians in an effort to legitimize hatred, immorality, and much more. Spend some time getting to know the vast majority of evangelicals who follow closely the Word of God. Yes there are those who hide behind religion (or politics, or atheism, or whatever) and you wish they would not identify themselves as part of your group. Actions speak louder than words and there is no copyright on calling yourself a Christian. Please don't paint us all with the same brush as those who have twisted, corrupted, and misled Christians and non-believers.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • tom clements

      What the heck kind of Christian Church did you go to?

      October 16, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
  14. TruthBeTold

    Rick Perry– self-described evangelical– sure seems to be a danger to innocent men on Death Row in Texas.

    October 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  15. george

    It takes fire to move a motor and our words are like fire so be careful what you say. This article is sound in its reasoning and this is what Democracy is about and being able to reason out the truth of the matter. The fruits of Christianity throughout history have outweighed the bad fruit that has been spawned by those who at all costs have stifled truth. Atheists although having a right to proclaim their beliefs do not know everything and Christians though we acknowledge God do not always act in the way God would have us to act or respond. Throughout American history there has been ample opportunities for Christian leaders to take America by the horns and make it a theocracy, but it has never happened. All faiths and all ideas have been able to flow freely in one way or another in American history and these ideas morph from one place to another.
    If you want an example of theocracy look at Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia and an example of Atheists taking root and installing their form of government is the Soviet Union, Communist China where the fruits of ideas have sputtered into oblivion. America has no need to fear Christianity, but what Christianity says," that you need to fear God, because He has given His Son to die for your sins and if you believe in the resurrected Son you will have eternal life." That is all.

    October 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • JP0

      So you know everything and atheists are all immoral. amazing!

      October 16, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  16. TruthBeTold

    Evangelicals are no danger to anyone. Just ask all those murdered abortion doctors.

    October 16, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Dan

      "all those" – you mean the six that have been murdered in the last 50 years or so? Obviously that's six too many, but it's not some terrible epidemic that's sweeping our nation.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:11 pm |
    • Fundie

      My guess is that their reasoning goes like this: A physician who practice abortions are taking away human lives. Therefore, it is a lesser evil to take the life of the physician. In other words, they see this form of vigilante justice as something akin to the government executing criminals.

      But there are two fatal flaws with this line of thinking. First, legality aside, the Ten Commandments explicitly prohibits murder. Second, they are overstepping their role, because God alone is the final judge.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • Fundie

      Oops, there was a typo in my previous post– "are taking" should obviously read "is taking."

      October 16, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  17. Mike

    Spurious, straw man, argument. Evangelicals are not JUST about Abortion and Marriage. There is a whole litany of issues. Those are just the two most talked about ones. The ultimate point is the evangelicals want to legislate based on biblical beliefs – which is inherently theocratic.

    October 16, 2011 at 10:55 pm |
  18. Jon

    Why is CNN letting this guy write here? Every line of this article demonstrates why evangelicals are dangerous. Someone divorced from reality enough to think the earth is 6,000 years old (to be distinguished from the much more tame `questioning of evolution') is an idiot. And if an idiot is in the white house, that is dangerous.

    October 16, 2011 at 10:52 pm |
    • sybaris

      Right!

      You would think in the 21st century our culture (U.S.) had evolved enough to the point where willful intellectual dishonesty would be a disqualifier for political office.

      October 16, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      There have been those of Faith in the white house since the beginning. And that one was a mason.

      Looks like we have done well as a country.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
  19. martinipaul

    Politically, atheism sucks. If it is so superior why has it been, and still is, rejected by both the electorate and politicians? Perhaps the assumption of intelligence and superiority by atheists is like the Christian assumption of God, unprovable and therefore false.

    October 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • Veritas

      Politically? The idea is that we don't mix religion and politics, so in that case atheism or not becomes a non-issue.

      October 16, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Colin

      Yes, because the electorate and the politicians would never reject anything worthwhile and smart.

      October 16, 2011 at 10:54 pm |
    • Mike

      Or maybe it's because, according to quite a few studies, Atheists are the most reviled people in America. Hence, most politicians will distance themselves from them. Logic is not an issue here. Intelligence is not an issue here. The Religious Right is a strong political force in the United States, and they don't like Atheists.

      October 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • sybaris

      Love it. A new spin on the Atheism = Communism fallacy.

      October 16, 2011 at 10:58 pm |
    • martinipaul

      Ver: where does it say we can not mix politics and religion?

      October 16, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
  20. MaryM

    This is why religion has NO place in politics or government: .In the history of the world, nothing has been the catalyst of more grief, hatred, war, and crime than religion. Religion allows a person to hate, kill, torture, or steal, while allowing him to recuse himself of all blame. Religion causes people to break the laws of ethics and morality in the name of a god.

    October 16, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
    • JoM

      Stalin, Mao....

      You don't know your history.

      October 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • S1N

      They still haven't beaten the Crusades. The Crusades managed to destroy entire continents.

      October 16, 2011 at 10:56 pm |
    • Veritas

      @JoM: Stalin and Mao were not driven primarily by atheism; that was just a sidenote. Their reason for murdering people was that they stood in the way of the communist revolution. The religious kill people purely because they are not submitting to their religion.

      October 16, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • MaryM

      JonM "The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy." ~ George Washington

      October 16, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • Colin

      JoM – oh dear god, not that tired garbage again.

      First, Hitler was a Christian. A devoted Christian who despised atheists. For example, in a speech in Berlin in October 1933, Hitler said "We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out."
      He would also agree with most Evangelicals on religion in school – "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith ...we need believing people." Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933
      He was, for most of his life, a devoted Christian, serving as an altar boy in Vienna and often hosting archbishops and even the Pope. Indeed, he said the following in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

      “"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.”

      By the way, that does not mean Hitler was truly motivated by his Christian religion to do what he did. He was motivated by a lust for power. His Christian faith was as irrelevant to what he did as his star sign (Taurus, FYI).

      But, he was most definitely not an atheist.

      Mao

      As with Pol Pot, religion seemed to have been generally irrelevant to the man. If one reads his Little Red Book – which is remarkably forward thinking on a few things, by the way, including equality of the $exes – he seems to have been a generally agnostic philosophical type, with views akin to Buddhism, but with no real defined views on religion or the afterlife.

      Now, in anticipation of your retort:

      Stalin

      Stalin was an atheist, at least when he was older. He said so himself many times and scoffed religion. He actually started life as Eastern Orthodox and was even educated as an Orthodox Monk. He later rejected religion and saw the Church as a threat to his power. That is why he was so anti-theology. But let’s not be naive, if he thought it would have benefitted him, he would have held himself out as Orthodox Christian, or as a Wiccan for that matter. It was all about power. His atheist views were no more a motivator for his actions than were Hitler’s Christian views.

      As a curious aside, Hitler was not German (he was Austrian) Stalin was not Russian (he was Georgian – I have visited his birthplace) and Napoleon (an atheist who most theists miss when listing “evil atheist leaders” by the way) was not mainland French, he was Corsican, which was then under French rule.

      Pol Pot

      Pol Pot Started life in a Buddhist household, but was later sent to a French Catholic school in Phnom Penh. His religious views were rarely articulated, although I have read that he considered himself a Buddhist. According to one Pol Pot biographer, Dr. Ian Harris, a Reader in Religious Studies at the University College of St. Martin: "In one of his early writings Pol Pot wrote approvingly that the 'democratic regime will bring back the Buddhist moralism because our great leader Buddha was the first to have taught [democracy].”

      However, as with Hitler, Stalin and Napoleon, there is no evidence that his Buddhism (or his brief stint with Catholicism) motivated his actions. Religion seems to have been irrelevant to the man.

      But in none of these four cases can it fairly be said that their religion, or lack thereof, motivated them. It was as irrelevant as their star signs. Power and faulty economic policies were the reason they killed so many.

      October 16, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
    • S1N

      World War II taught us one lesson that should never be forgotten. When a slightly unhinged German boy applies to your School of Art, accept him... no matter how badly he sucks at painting.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      The crusades and destroyed entire continents..... Which continents are you speaking of?

      October 16, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Dan

      ".In the history of the world, nothing has been the catalyst of more grief, hatred, war, and crime than religion."

      Power and money are the primary cause of most atrocities. Religion is sometimes used as propaganda, but there have been very few wars and genocides that were truly motivated by religion.

      October 16, 2011 at 11:13 pm |
    • MaryM

      Dan You Really need to read the history religion.

      October 17, 2011 at 12:03 am |
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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.