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November 11th, 2011
03:59 PM ET

Washington National Cathedral to reopen this weekend

By Chris Ford, CNN

Washington (CNN) - For 20 years, stone mason Joe Alonso has been charged with maintaining and preserving what he calls “the spiritual home for the nation,” the capital’s National Cathedral.

But his charge changed dramatically on August 23, when Virginia was hit by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake that damaged the cathedral, along with landmarks like the Washington Monument.

Alonso now faces the daunting task of repairing a traditional Gothic cathedral, which has been closed to the public since the earthquake and which will reopen Saturday, even as repairs continue.

Early estimates show the total cost of restoration to be in the tens of millions of dollars, church officials said last month.

Most of the damage was sustained on the building’s three towers and most severely affected the carved pinnacles and embellishments that decorate them. Since then, Alonso’s focus has been on assessing the damage and securing the massive church.

“Having been involved in the construction of the Cathedral back in the ’80s and having seen its completion and then for the last 20 years we’ve been maintaining, preserving, restoring the building and then for this earthquake to hit, I never would have dreamed that we’d be reconstructing parts of this building,” he says.

Alonso and a colleague were working on the ground on the day of the quake and were able to get clear of the building as pieces began to fall: “We were fortunate.”

Later in August, Hurricane Irene blew an enormous oak tree down in front of the cathedral, causing more damage. And in September a 500-ton crane, used in efforts to stabilize the structure, collapsed at the cathedral, crushing several cars in a parking lot and injuring one person

The damage from recent events caused to relocation of big major services, including the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, which was attended by President Barack Obama, and the service for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial on the National Mall.

With the stabilization process complete, the cathedral can now reopen. Its first official service since the earthquake will be the consecration of new Episcopal bishop for Washington, the Rev. Dr. Mariann Edgar Budde.

The stabilization process alone has been a “major feat of engineering” according to Alonso, with the scaffolding atop the cathedral’s central tower weighing 70 tons. Now, his focus turns to the massive task of repair and reconstruction.

“As a stone mason, I look at every one of these blocks of stone and I know what it takes to cut them, carve them, get them up there, set them in place,” he says. “It’s mindboggling, a huge amount of work.”

“Seeing it completely empty, it’s sad, it’s kind of weird,” says Alonso, recalling recent months. “You want to see the cathedral full of people and music and worship. That’s what it was made for.”

Alonso has been a stone mason at the Washington National Cathedral since 1985, participating in its construction and completion, which ended in 1990. Alonso laid the final stone himself and has led maintenance of the building since.

While his focus on the building has been predominantly architectural, he also realizes the impact the building has upon its visitors.

“Some people it’s purely a religious thing, other people it’s the architecture, just the massiveness of the building and all of that means something,” he says. “We want to keep it going.”

CNN's Kim Uhl contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church • DC

soundoff (143 Responses)
  1. richard day

    I am totally suprised at the hate and vehemence posted here. As an Episcopalian it pains me to see the nations church in such a state of damage to the physical structure–but we can repair that- the question is can we ever educate the people of this country about the true meaning of Christianity.

    November 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Oh great, first we had a Lutheran in a lather and now this Episcopalian is popping his eggs at us.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Mark

      Which true meaning? The Catholic true meaning, the Lutheran true meaning, the Morman true meaning, or one of the hundreds of nut case evangelists true meaning?

      November 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • DaveSEMass

      Perhaps "true meaning" might be a bit broad, but there certainly are some recurring precepts in all of the denominations you cite. In my 20s I was a confident atheist like many of the angry atheists posting here. I wasn't as angry, but certainly as confident that only science had any validity. I still love science, but I'm willing to consider that there might be something more. The Episcopal Church makes room for people of relatively weak faith like me, so I continue to attend. Perhaps we'll die as a church because of our tolerance, but I'm sure not going to hang out with you angry, confident Christians, either. Would all of you angry folks on both sides be as vicious in person?

      November 14, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • Bobo the Magic Monkey

      How would we ever meet in person? And why? Under what circmstances? Without details, your question is useless and naive.

      I, for one, will fling poo regardless of your socio-political stance. Poo-flinging is our heritage and my hobby.

      As you toss your nut-job posts into my cage, I will fling poo in response. Poo for poo. Fair enuf?

      November 14, 2011 at 7:36 pm |
    • Jesus

      Tear it down and build a Mosque. We lost the Iraq and Afghan wars and must accept Islam as the new American religion.

      November 14, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • John Richardson

      You seek something more ... and become an Episcopalian? That is SO funny!!! "There just wasn't enough flaccid doctrinal indecision and empty ceremony in my life. So I became an Episcopalian!" Yeah, I can see an ad campaign!

      November 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  2. herbie

    @Central Scrutinizer

    We all surely miss you here. I wish you well on your journey and you may succeed on any endeavor that you get into with. But wait........can you take Tom Tom with ya, PPLLLUUUUZZZZZZZ?!!!! We all take it as a huge favor, just drop him off when you passed by timbukto.

    November 14, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Ah, so herbie, you're posting as 'mykids'? Weasel. What a little t urd you are.

      November 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • John Richardson

      He's a pretty big turd, actually!

      November 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  3. RIGHTEOUSNESS ABOVE ALL !!!

    RIGHTEOUSNESS ABOVE ALL !!!

    AMERICA IT IS TIME TO REPENT AND TURN FROM YOUR WICKED WAYS... THAT IS THE KEY TO PROSPER AND TO BE BLESSED IN ABUNDANCE... YOU HAVE TURNED AWAY FROM GOD IN YOUR WICKED WAYS AND EVIL DESIRES... AMERICA YOU KNOW WHAT YOU MUST DO IN ORDER TO BE PUT BACK IN THE PLACE YOU HUNGER FOR... FOR YOU WERE WELL FED BY THE GOD ALMIGHTY IN YOUR TIMES OF OBEDIENCE AND HONOR... COME BACK TO THE FATHER AND CELEBRATE AS A LOST CHILD WOULD.

    November 13, 2011 at 11:37 am |
    • Jesus

      Thank you Rick Perry.

      November 14, 2011 at 7:45 pm |
  4. Avser Bastian

    ARIZONA = UTOYA(there was no shooting either in NORWAY OR ARIZONA, but instead governmental "afterlife" flash and cash mob ONLY; however, bombing was real) - WHO/WHY//HOW CREATED SCHOOL SHOOTINGS(Arizona incl.) - HAARP AUSTRALIAN FLOODS(Incl. deliberately busted oil pipe in gulf of Mexico) – WIKILEAKS is CIA(truth about Anti-Wall-Street protests) !!! – BREAST FEEDING INSANITY PROTESTS(insanity frenzy) – FACEBOOK or CIABOOTH !!? – NWO MULTICULTURALISM SWINE/PIG FLUE SYNDROME – NEWS/MEDIA OR SIMPLY BIG FAT VACUUM WORLD OF LIES/DEMENTIA(nothing else than police) !!? – THE REAL DON'T ASK DON'T TELL, BUT DIE !!! – OBAMINATOR'S FREE HEALTH CARE PLANE or GENOCIDE BASED ON FORGIVE AND FORGET – WAR ON TERROR or WAR AGAINST YOU !!? – HUMAN FLASH EATING MACHINE – UNITED NATION'S Chef Ban Ki-moon or CHINESE BAN KEY MONKEY IN CRIME AGAINST WHITE HUMANITY !!? – PARLIAMENTARIANS or SICK BIPOLAR CRIMINAL DISTORTIONISTS !!? – COMMUNISM IN EASTERN and HEART OF EUROPE TODAY IN 2011(learn about ongoing genocide against Germans since WWII) – NEW WORLD ORDER POLITICAL PARTIES(not there for you, but instead to seal your faith for their own parliament pay$$ scale !!!) – EURO DIC TRAITORS vs DICTATORS; WHAT IS WORSE !!? – LEARN WHAT DO LIBYA AND EUROPE OR USA HAVE IN-COMMON !!! and sooo much more !!!

    VISIT ALL NEW "OBAMA = STALIN = BUSH and USA = SOVIET UNION" AT http://stateofterror.blogspot.com/ OR http://avsecbostjan.blogspot.com/ TO LEARN EVERYTHING ABOUT WHO RUINED YOU, WHY, AND HOW !!!

    WHERE NEWS IS TRUTH AND NOT 66 YEARS OLD LIE ATOP OF OTHER LIES !!!

    November 12, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
    • Jesus

      I see the home lets you use their computer.

      November 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      I think its Billy Joel's updated version of 'we didnt start the fire'

      November 15, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
  5. myklds

    To those who have faith, NO explanation is necessary. While to those who don't have (faith), NO explaination would be enough to satisfy its necessity.

    May God Bless all atheists with faith.

    November 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What makes you think your blessing is effective or necessary?

      November 12, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • myklds

      You might not think it's necessary, but effectivity reassured. All you have to do is to try to have one.

      November 13, 2011 at 9:32 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Effectivity is assured"? Says who?

      I don't care what you believe, mykids. You're welcome to believe anything you want. So am I. Furthermore, I am not required to live according to what you believe are god's laws. This isn't a theocracy–it's a nation of laws. As long as I don't infringe on the rights of others, I am free to do as I choose.

      Get over it.

      November 13, 2011 at 9:37 am |
    • mykids

      @TTPS

      I speak from mine own experience with faith, which is apparently the same experience shared by the at least 84% of the world populace.

      Pls. be guided that my recommendation of faith was purely a recommendation. It neither intended to infringe the right of anybody nor to shove it down to somebody's troath.

      Nonetheless, let me thank you for respecting my right to believe, reassured it will be reciprocated fairly.

      Be well and....God Bless.

      November 14, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • Bobo the Magic Monkey

      What is a "troath"?

      November 14, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Jesus

      There is no God. I keep seeing you dolts look up to the sky and pray. Nobody lives in the clouds. I flew Delta and didn't see one angel on a cloud, pearly gates, or a magic man. You are seriously delusional.

      November 14, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      "I speak from mine own experience with faith, which is apparently the same experience shared by the at least 84% of the world populace. "

      except they dont all follow the same religion or god, not by a long shot, so a large number of people are just having delusions. Wonder which group you fall in to?

      November 15, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
  6. Bo

    @fred, have you ever given thought to the idea that if all belivers would quit posting on this forum, the atheist would soon disapear? The only reason they come on this blog is to torment belivers, in fact, if belivers would just cease to respond to their posts they would soon go away. So, it is the believer's fault that atheists are on this blog. If belivers would just respond to other believers the atheist would be disapointed.

    November 12, 2011 at 9:02 am |
    • John Richardson

      Non-believers would still comment on the articles. And quit feeling sorry for yourself. No one is here to "torment" anyone, except perhaps your creepy god, though as a non-existent being, he is strictly speaking not here.

      November 12, 2011 at 9:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      BELIEVERS, Bo.

      Why don't you try your little experiment? Go elsewhere. And take HS with you.

      November 13, 2011 at 9:39 am |
    • evolvedDNA

      Bo..you do not appear to like to have conversations where you need to provide evidence or are challenged on your views. It is, I must admit, far easier to just tell others to have faith and then wander off.... after all its all you have been able to do for 2000 years. What you have most likely found after reading the blogs is that you are despite the believe that you are superior with your god is that you are in fact the same as all of the rest of the human race...welcome!

      November 13, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • hippypoet

      Bo, i have a some-what kinda simi sweet respect for you... so i won't insult you back for your clearly aimed insult at those likeminded as myself. Instead, i will say, you are wrong, i post on here to have conversations to further my understanding and knowledge of things... its that simple.

      November 14, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
    • John Richardson

      I kinda like fred. He seems innocently addled, but sincere and of good will. Bo seems at least as addled, but he's also a pontificating blowhard.

      November 14, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
  7. Passive Agressive

    Does the ol Mr. God decide when there will be an earthquake and who and how many should die? Christians quickly now, speak up, you have all the answers.....

    November 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • Passive Agressive

      Wow you Christians have a weak-A-ss religion man. Embarrassing.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Please. You're embarrassing yourself, PA. No one gives a crap what you think.

      Got a quarter?

      Call someone who cares.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
    • Passive Agressive

      Tom Tom, you are being Passive Agressive. I do not care what you think. My opinion is my opinion. Agree or disagree, but why are you so rude?

      November 12, 2011 at 6:43 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      PA, not my post. herbie the hatebug again.

      November 12, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
  8. *** DUDE ***

    Happy happy, joy,joy!

    November 11, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
    • Passive Agressive

      Dude, amen. There are so many miserable people on these blogs. It makes me sad. But you make me happy!

      November 12, 2011 at 6:44 am |
  9. sarah

    Okay CNN get your damn facts straight! the National Cathedral is in DC NOT Virginia!! Dear God how can you be a writer/reporter and not check your facts!!

    November 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Are you learning-disabled? The EARTHQUAKE was centered in VIRGINIA, you dope. Not the cathedral. And that's exactly what the article SAID.

      Jesus melmo, what a boob.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
    • Passive Agressive

      Too bad the damn thing didn't fall down. We could have built a park or an Indain Casino there.

      November 12, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  10. Passive Agressive

    Well, it is great with those two giant phalic steeples. Churches have always been about s ex. And why not? S ex Rocks! Who wants to argue this point with me? God made s ex and s ex is awesome. Except of course for theose Catholic fuks.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
    • Passive Agressive

      Really? None of you Christian Morons disagree with me? Wow you are smarter than I thought!

      November 11, 2011 at 10:43 pm |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Go ahead and begin. The all about se'x part, I find interesting. A few weeks ago it was all about war. Before that it was money. Now you join the same silly chorus of saying what you feel the churches are based on. I mean if you take the symbols of the steeples and saying that they are phallic in symbolism, then you would have to look at other items such as the leaning tower of Pisa, to Big Ben, to even the images of the Space shuttle or any rocket on a launch pad.....

      But again, I am here, let us here YOUR, reasons ... which I take it is the common blanket beliefs that many outside of the Faith have of the many churches being of the same mindset, which for your purposes is the subject matter of "se'x"

      November 12, 2011 at 3:52 am |
    • Passive Agressive

      Mark, please. Grow up. Everything is about s ex. Note the giant penis on the national mall. The giant penis at st. peter's basilica. Everything men build is a big giant chub.

      November 12, 2011 at 6:40 am |
    • Mark from Middle River

      Oh... now everything is about se'x...

      I take it your Freudian huh? Or are you a militant feminist? Hate to tell you but there are Women architects now honey.

      Come P.A. ... tell me you have more than episode of Frasier/The View response.

      November 12, 2011 at 9:46 am |
    • John Richardson

      Well, with TWO phallic symbols, it's obviously really all about repressed ho-m-se-xuality!

      Ok, do I win?

      November 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  11. John

    I cease to be amazed at the number of atheists that read articles from the section of CNN devoted to religion and then spout off about how they despise religion.

    November 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
    • MartinT

      Why would you be amazed? I mean it's NOT just about religion, it's about the discussion of faith/religion. I'm sure there are plenty of sites that you would enjoy, that do not allow atheists to express their opinion. Perhaps you should seek them out, just saying.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:21 pm |
    • MartinT

      OH and are you sure you are "ceased to be amazed"????? I would have thought you meant that is NEVER ceases to amaze you... just asking.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You "cease to be amazed"? Really? So you stopped being amazed?

      Idiot.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I never cease to be amazed at the ignorance, carelessness, and stupidity of the thumpers here. It's so endlessly entertaining to watch them make fools of themselves as they pretend to be literate and sentient when with every post they show they are neither.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm |
    • Passive Agressive

      Tom Tom, the thumpers are not going anywhere. UNLESS you do more than just insult them. Thay are dumb. They don't even know when you are insulting them. It will take much more than your jibes, unless of course that is what entertains you and that is why you are here, in which case have at it.

      November 12, 2011 at 6:58 am |
    • Passive Agressive

      John, athiests = educated
      You = you can't change and you can't debate either.

      November 12, 2011 at 7:02 am |
    • Jesus

      Atheists do not posts here. ANTI-THEISTS DO POST HERE! There is a difference!

      November 14, 2011 at 7:51 pm |
  12. The Central Scrutinizer

    Hello....this is the Central Scrutinizer.......again.
    I bid you all a fond farewell. The Central Scrutinizer has other pressing matters to attend to and can no longer linger here. My friends, Sheik Yerbouti, Greggory Peccary, Father O'blivion, Alien Orifice and The Illinois Enema Bandit will be as sisting me as I go forth into the real world to enforce the laws that haven't been passed yet.

    Be good boys and girls and play nice. Love, peace and understanding is the path to happiness. It's been fun. Those of you who are friends and you know who you are, I have enjoyed talking to you and learning from you. Thank you.

    Those of you of you who are about to be A-ho les…save it for someone who cares.
    Bless ya all then!

    November 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sad to say sayonara, CS. Hope to see you again soon.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:14 pm |
    • fred

      Finally got a job? Well congratulations. You can move out of the basement and at long last leave us alone. Take TT here with you. It isn't wanted either.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why, ferdy, what's your problem? If you don't like me or what I write, you can go elsewhere. I'm sure no one will give a fig.

      November 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm |
    • fred

      People might not care if I'm gone. But they'd celebrate your departure.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Maybe. So?

      November 11, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Really, ferd berfel, you might imagine others will miss you, but you'd be deluding yourself. You aren't that special. No one is.

      The world will go rolling on with or without you. No one will even recognize your name in 100 years.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • fred

      I don't know what part of my last comment you didn't understand. It was quite simple, actually. Someone your magnificent cranial proportions should have picked up on the direct simplicity of the black and white text arranged neatly in two short sentences. I am at a loss as to how you could still be confused with believing that it matters to me whether or not I'd be remembered. It doesn't. Before you amuse yourself further with so many of your quips, please respond accordingly based on the content of the comment you base your response on. Next time you might not look like such a fool. Imagine that.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Didn't understand? Please, you dolt. You are as simple as a t urd.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And even less interesting. Imagine that.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Poor herbie. What a shame someone so ugly is also so lonely.

      November 11, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
    • Referee

      Tom,

      fred said that people might NOT miss him if he was gone... then a little snarky part about you. You missed the first part and overreacted to the snark.

      Cool it, both of ya'. Sheesh!

      November 11, 2011 at 11:57 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Herbie?!? Herbie's back?

      November 12, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • fred

      It's quite alright, Ref. TT is obviously not happy with it's life. It feels better when it attacks people on the internet. I bet in real life, it is afraid to speak to people. The comments you see before you are TT's inner troll just screaming to get out and hurt anyone it can. Too bad this is just the internet. Can't hurt me TT. I enjoy watching you scramble to try though.

      November 12, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • Get Real

      Central Scrutinizer, Sorry to see you leave - you will be missed. Peace, happiness and success to you. Try to come back someday.

      November 12, 2011 at 1:53 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yup. He's using "fred" as his name now.

      November 12, 2011 at 9:35 am |
    • herbie

      @Central Scrutinizer

      I wish you well on any endeavor that you get into with. But wait........can you take Tom Tom with ya, PPLLLUUUUZZZZZZZ?!!!! We all take it as a huge favor, just drop him off when you passed by timbukto.

      November 14, 2011 at 11:12 am |
  13. Nancy

    Early estimates show the total cost of restoration to be in the tens of millions of dollars. Wow. What a waste of funds to have special place to commune with god, gods, or sphagetti monster. Must include donations to church for abuse lawsuits.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:47 pm |
  14. Fedupwithla

    One of our national treasures. Let's appreciate it.

    November 11, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
    • Passive Agressive

      Let's turn it into a bed and breakfast. Nothing lastsforever.

      November 12, 2011 at 7:03 am |
    • Jesus

      It is a vestige of our national stupidity. Worshipping an invisible and imaginary guy in the sky is a form of insanity.

      November 14, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Its only one of our national treasures if Nick Cage says it is.

      November 15, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • Get Real

      It is not a "national" anything... any more than The First National Bank is a "national" treasure.

      It's a great building, with a long history - that is all.

      November 15, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
  15. Lois

    When I attended American Univ. (seen in the upper right corner of the photo), I used to love to come and study at the Cathedral–many beautiful places both inside and outside depending on the weather. And if there at the right times, you could hear the choir rehearsal or any number of other musical events taking place–for free! You don't have to be religious to enjoy the serenity of the place. I remember seeing them put in the last stone on top of the spire (1990?) and thought that a lot of stone masons would now be out of work–who knew???

    November 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I was actually acquainted with one of the carpenters who worked on the building-I agree it's an amazing part of the DC landscape,

      November 11, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Passive Agressive

      Yes, along with the giant Penis at the mall.

      November 12, 2011 at 7:06 am |
  16. Reality

    Money wasted!!!!

    It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm" and convert all houses of "worthless worship" to recreation facilities and parks

    November 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
    • jakeman

      What a sad life you lead. You obviously hate being alive, hate that you were born, hate anything good or bad, in general just a hater. You apparently exist just so you can troll all websites and spew your hatred of anything and everything. It must s*ck to be you.

      November 11, 2011 at 7:08 pm |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      JAKE, QUITE THE LITTLE HATEMONGER YOU ARE. SPRAY THAT CHRISTIAN VENOM! YEAH!!

      November 11, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • Nah

      reality: "It is time to replace all religions with a few rules like "Do No Harm""

      Right. And what happens if I want to do harm? What happens when I can get away with it, like so many have for so many centuries?

      Your moral imperative is impotent. Sorry.

      November 11, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • MartinT

      I agree it is a HUGE waste of money, money that could be spent on the number of children who are without healthcare or who go to bed hungry or homeless. Of course, those issues aren't important to the Right Winged Christians, they want to take away the rights of women to decide, make them have those babies, THEN let them starve.. so christian like, I say.

      November 11, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • Reality

      The results of human concern:

      A prayer:

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen

      November 11, 2011 at 11:52 pm |
    • jakeman

      @ The Bible....Uh I don't recall that I inferred anything about Christianity. Like your cohort Reality you assume anytime anyone challenges you , they "must be spewing Christian venom." Try harder next time.

      November 12, 2011 at 12:00 am |
    • Reality

      Okay, jakeman what shoe fits?

      1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

      Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) 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 (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) 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 sects.

      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, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      For added "pizzazz", 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 "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

      Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

      2 b., 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:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

      3. Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.

      This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.

      And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.

      Current crises:

      The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

      5. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."

      The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

      6. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."

      "However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"

      Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.

      Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.

      Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!

      November 12, 2011 at 7:14 am |
  17. THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

    WHO CARES. IT'S A NICE BUILDING, BUT SINCE IT'S A CHURCH IT LOWERS THE VALUE OF IMPORTANCE.

    November 11, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  18. tallulah13

    It is a beautiful building and I'm glad they restored it, no matter what it stands for.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Tally, I agree. Regardless of its purpose or whether I believe in its mission, it's a landmark in DC and is worthy of restoration.

      November 11, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • I_get _it

      Yes, it is a lovely building. I just wish that it wasn't mistakenly considered by so many to be a government (or government-sponsored) building.

      November 11, 2011 at 6:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I don't think most of the residents of DC regard it as such.

      November 11, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
  19. William Demuth

    I bet they OCCUPY it!

    November 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • J.W

      lol I would think if they were going to occupy somewhere in DC I would go to the white house or another government agency. Unless they knew that several government employees were at church here.

      November 11, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Chuckles

      Actually the occupy DC that i've seen has been along K st.

      November 11, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • J.W

      LOL Im not sure what is on K street. I mean I have been to DC a couple times but I do not know it well.

      November 11, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Chuckles

      It's the corridor in DC where all the lobbying and consulting firms go, sort of the wallstreet of DC, ish.

      November 11, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
    • J.W

      Oh that is a good place to occupy

      November 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • Mark

      Yes, after all, we can't have a group who are trying to help the poor and downtrodden occupy a Christian place of worship. Jesus would be scandalized, I'm sure.

      November 11, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • IsItaCult.com

      Is Catholicism a cult? Cast your vote now at http://www.isitacult.com

      November 12, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  20. J.W

    Good news. It is a nice building.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:15 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.