November 19th, 2011
10:31 PM ET

The gospel according to Herman Cain

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Editor’s note: This is part of an occasional series of stories looking at the faith of the leading 2012 presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich. We profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.

(CNN) – On a bright spring day in 2007, a black-robed Herman Cain officiated the wedding of a young couple at a mansion outside of Atlanta. The sun sparkled on the pair’s wedding rings as Cain, an associate minister at a nearby church, held them aloft.

All seemed perfect.

When it came time for the bride and groom to exchange vows, however, Cain was dissatisfied with the volume of the groom’s “I do.”

"Say it louder," Cain told Matt Carrothers.

“When he tells you to say, ‘I do,’” the groom recalled, “it almost sounds like the voice of God telling you that and you take it very seriously.”

In the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Herman Cain is not seen as a candidate who wears his faith on his sleeve. Mitt Romney’s Mormonism, Rick Santorum’s Catholicism and Michele Bachmann’s evangelical Christianity have all garnered much more attention than Cain’s Baptist-flavored beliefs.

On the campaign trail, Cain is more apt to talk about his business acumen and leadership skills than his faith. His unlikely rise as a straight-talking White House contender was pegged largely to the popularity among fiscal conservatives of his “9-9-9” tax plan.

But those who know Cain describe him as a devout Christian who leans on his faith in times of hardship. That would appear to include the present moment, when a flurry of sexual harassment allegations and a viral video of a Libya interview gaffe are renewing doubts about Cain’s legitimacy as a candidate.

Indeed, Cain’s religiosity runs deep enough that he regularly delivers sermons at his childhood church, has recorded a gospel music album and has a traveling minister as part of his campaign apparatus.

Carrothers - who worked as Cain’s political director during his failed 2004 bid for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia - says one of Cain’s favorite sayings is, “There’s our plan, and then there’s God’s plan.”

Rev Herman Cain presides over the wedding of Matt Carrothers and Debra Ann Delong.

“You may think that things are going wrong in your life,” Carrothers says, paraphrasing the candidate, “but just step back it will always get better.”

Faith and work, hand in hand

Cain’s faith journey began at a young age. Born in Tennessee and raised in Georgia, he and his parents joined Antioch Baptist Church North in Atlanta when he was 10.

The 134-year-old, historically black church was founded by freed slaves. For the Cain family, faith in God and hard work went hand in hand.

Cain has written that his family grew up so poor they were “po.” His mother was a maid and his father at times worked three jobs at once: as a barber, a janitor at Pillsbury and a chauffeur for Coca-Cola executives.

His father, Cain writes in his 2011 book, “This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House,” worked and saved enough to buy a modest home and quit two of his jobs, rising in the ranks at Coca-Cola to become the CEO's private chauffeur.

Herman Cain, meanwhile, would climb the corporate ladder, rising to become the CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, based in Omaha, Nebraska, and then head of the National Restaurant Association, where the sexual harassment charges originated.

Cain has always considered Antioch his spiritual home. The candidate declined to comment for this article, but Fred Robinson, a former Antioch minister who left to form his own church, says Cain’s late parents were pillars of the church.

Cain greets potential caucus voters prior to speaking at an Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition event earlier this year.

After he returned to Antioch amid “great fanfare” in 2000, Robinson says, Cain became a fixture in the deacon’s corner, a row of seats near the pulpit.

On any Sunday, Cain could be seen sitting with the other deacons in his favorite light-blue dress shirt shouting, “Preach Rev!” or “Say it.”

Cain became a licensed associate minister at Antioch in 2002.

The liberal church of Herman Cain

“Like most ministers, I felt called to preach the word of God and minister to the least, the last, and the lost, and minister to His people,” he told Christianity Today.

Antioch officials and Senior Pastor Cameron Alexander declined interview requests, saying the church doesn’t divulge information about members or staff.

But congregants paint a picture of Cain as deeply involved, part of a group of associate ministers known as the Sons of Antioch. Members say that if a man feels called by God to preach, he can approach the senior pastor about it. A trial sermon is then arranged.

If the congregation and pastor approve, the man undergoes training in scripture and preaching and can be licensed by the church to preach.

The Sons of Antioch are given the honorific of “reverend.” The positions are unpaid.

Antioch is part of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. but like many Baptist churches, it operates largely autonomously. The process of appointing ministers is particular to the church.

As an associate minister, Cain sometimes preaches at Antioch and regularly helps distribute the elements of communion, a role he has kept up while campaigning for president.

Valencia Seay, a Georgia state senator and longtime member of the church, falls on the opposite end of the political spectrum from Cain. But she said they put politics aside on Sunday mornings.

From the pulpit, Cain is “charismatic, he is knowledgeable, he is on point, and he knows the Word.”

“He can lift a hymn,” she said. “It’s always enjoyable to hear a minister who can not only deliver a powerful message but also finish it with a song that speaks to that message.”

While in Omaha at Godfather’s Pizza, Cain put his singing to work, directing a men’s chorus at Pilgrim Baptist Church and cutting a CD of gospel tunes. The proceeds went to charity.

On the campaign, Cain sometimes sings for supporters and once serenaded reporters with a hymn at the National Press Club.

God-centered self-determinism

For all his church involvement, Cain’s message of self-determinism is seemingly at odds with Antioch’s focus on social justice.

The Rev. Gerald Durley, senior pastor of Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta, told CNN that Cain’s call for blacks to forget about racism and pull themselves up by their bootstraps doesn’t mesh with the philosophy of Antioch’s pastor.

“He’s not going to talk about pulling yourself up by your bootstraps,” Durley says of Antioch’s pastor, Cameron Alexander. “It’s about providing bootstraps.”

Since becoming an associate minister at Antioch, Cain has preached in pulpits around the country, often eschewing the big paydays of motivational speaking gigs for modest preaching honorariums.

In many of those sermons, Cain has promoted a message of self-reliance.

In 2003, while Cain was running for Senate, he preached at the Crystal Cathedral, a high-profile church in Southern California headed at the time by the Rev. Robert Schuller.

“I told Bob that I was so excited that it inspired me to prepare a two-hour message for you this morning,” Cain told the congregation.

“Bob said, ‘That’s great, as long as you can do it in 20 minutes,’” Cain joked.

Cain’s sermon, which was beamed around the globe as part of Crystal Cathedral’s “Hour of Power” TV broadcast, focused on the biblical verse Mark 8:36.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Cain quoted.

As he continued, Cain's message seemed to harmonize with his libertarian politics.

“Finding your purpose in life is a continuous process that God reveals to each of us when we are ready and when God is ready,” he said. “Living our purpose in life is a decision.”

In the gospel according to Herman Cain, God may lay out plans, but it is up to each believer to push forward - regardless of obstacles - to reach that goal.

For Cain, that’s meant repeatedly running for political office despite his failure to win.

Cain addresses the Northern Virginia Technology Council and the Consumer Electronic Association earlier this month in McLean, Virginia.

From the pulpit of the Crystal Cathedral, Cain traced his political career to an epiphany that accompanied the birth of his granddaughter in 1999.

“The first thought, so help me God, that went through my mind when I looked at that little face was, ‘What do I do to use my talents to make this a better world?’” Cain said. “God had revealed my next purpose in life at an unexpected moment.”

In his 2005 book, “They Think You're Stupid: Why Democrats Lost Your Vote and What Republicans Must Do to Keep It,” Cain said that epiphany led to worrying about
leaving Social Security and Medicare a “mess” for her.

“For three and a half years I would not be able to answer the question of what do I do to make this a better world,” Cain writes. “But I would often reflect on the words of the prophet Isaiah (40:31): ‘They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles.’”

In 1999, Cain formed Citizens for Cain Exploratory Committee to test the waters for a presidential bid in 2000, the National Journal reported at the time. He made campaign stops in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to press reports, which focused on his business acumen and the fact that he was a black GOP candidate, not his religious proclivities. He eventually backed Republican candidate Steve Forbes and joined Forbes' campaign as a national co-chairman.

Three and a half years later, Cain ran for the U.S. Senate, saying the decision had been divinely inspired.

“Being on a God-inspired fast track of success and surviving the many things that could have gone wrong was no accident,” he writes.

He woke early one morning to study the Bible as he wrestled with whether to run for Senate.

The Bible fell on the floor, Cain writes, and opened to Matthew 18, where Jesus asks, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” - the same words he would quote from a different gospel at the Crystal Cathedral.

Later that week, Cain writes, he heard a sermon titled “The Calling” by Alexander at Antioch. After the service, Cain consulted with the pastor.

Cain said he felt God was calling him to run for Senate. According to Cain, the pastor responded: "How much louder does God have to tell you something?"

Not long after, Cain threw his hat in the ring.

Looking for God’s road signs

He would lose in the Republican primary to now-U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, but Cain took a respectable 26% of the vote. Being a millionaire black conservative made him somewhat of a novelty, and he attracted lots of national and local press.

The experience helped Cain land a conservative radio talk show in Atlanta, a book deal and appearances on national television.

Indeed, Cain sees God’s hand in his 2004 loss. Referring to his radio show, Cain writes, “I believe that having that program was God’s way of forcing me to understand the critical issues confronting our nation.”

While his radio career was humming along, Cain faced a major challenge in February 2006, when he was diagnosed with colon cancer.

The diagnosis tested the faith of Cain and his wife, Gloria. But he saw the hand of God at various points in his treatment.

After the initial diagnosis, Cain’s Atlanta doctor wanted him to get a second opinion from a specialist in Savannah, Georgia, some five hours away by car. Cain didn’t want go, but then he learned the specialist’s name: Dr. Lord. That was the first sign.

Later, Cain went to MD Anderson Cancer Center, a Houston hospital specializing in cancer treatment, after his business pal Boone Pickens called to get him in.

The nurse who gave Cain and his wife their orientation tour at the hospital was named Grace. Yet another sign, Cain writes.

And when it was time for surgery, the doctors explained they would be making a J-shaped incision. “Like J-E-S-U-S?” Cain asked the doctor. The candidate would go on to call the incision a “Jesus cut.”

“You see, the Lord gives you these road signs - that is, if you know how to recognize them,” Cain writes.

By January 2007, Cain was cancer-free. The road signs began to change. He returned to the radio airwaves and began sowing the seeds of a run for president.

‘You got the wrong man, Lord!’

Herman Cain did not want to run for president. He did not want to be president. But God told him to.

In a campaign speech in early November, he told the Georgia Young Republicans he never considered running for president until he saw President Barack Obama’s “arrogant disregard for the people,” which he said weakened the county's economy, military and standing in the world.

“That’s when I prayed and prayed and prayed. … More praying than I’ve ever had to do in my life.

“When I finally realized that this was God saying what I needed to do, I was like Moses. ‘You got the wrong man, Lord! Are you sure?’ Now, you're not supposed to doubt God. But I'm going, ‘I think maybe you're looking at somebody else.’”

Cain announced his candidacy for president in January.

Cain speaks during a campaign visit to Versailles, a Cuban restaurant, in the Little Havana neighborhood of Miami on Wednesday.

To be sure, Cain is hardly the only candidate who has said that God wants him or her to run for president. Rick Perry and Bachmann have expressed similar sentiments.

“Maybe God just wants a good race,” says Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia.

Sabato points to the large numbers of religious Republican voters in the Iowa caucuses and South Carolina primary. Many voters in those states “respond to language like that,” Sabato says.

Benny Tate, senior pastor of Rock Springs Church in Milner, Georgia, has accompanied Cain on the campaign trail, joining the candidate on recent trips to Ohio and New Hampshire. Tate said whenever they stop to eat on the road, “Herman will literally bow his head and thank God for that food. It may be something small, like a sandwich, but I’ve never seen Herman have a meal where he didn’t thank God for the meal.”

Despite that piety, Cain has had his fair share of trouble with the Christian Right.

In an October interview with CNN’s Piers Morgan, Cain seemed to mix two disparate positions on abortion. He said he believes life begins at conception and that he opposes abortion in all cases.

But he also said government ought to stay out of a family’s decision - a line that seemed to speak to Cain’s limited government, tea party-flavored conservativism.

The comment enraged many anti-abortion groups and is featured in a new web ad for Bachmann that’s aimed at positioning the Minnesota congresswoman as the true anti-abortion candidate.

While most of the other Republican candidates have reached out to Focus on the Family, an influential evangelical organization and long a stopover for GOP figures, the group has not heard from Cain.

But those who know him say Cain’s focus on economic issues is an outgrowth of his faith and his view of an individual’s ability to chart his or her own course.

“Herman sees the pressing issues of our day are economic,” Tate said. “Because of his faith he sees that that can turn around. One way he sees that is through personal responsibility.

“Herman believes that, ‘By the sweat of thy face thou shall eat bread,’” Tate said, referring to Genesis 3:19, in which Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden of Eden.

Cain has used this idea to criticize the Occupy Wall Street movement.

“Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks,” he recently told The Wall Street Journal. “If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself!”

That idea is not original to Cain. It is one long found in black churches.

“The fiscal conservative thread … not being dependent on anybody else, especially not ‘the white man,’ is a theme that is decades old in the black community,” said Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church, a black megachurch in Maryland.

Jackson, who was invited to give an opening prayer when Cain kicked off his presidential campaign, says Cain is representative of many conservative black evangelicals - though he might not be getting many votes from the folks at Antioch.

The question remains whether Cain’s blend of self-determination and striving to complete what he sees as God’s plan will land him the Republican presidential nomination - whether he wants it or not.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Georgia • Herman Cain • Politics • Race • United States

soundoff (1,421 Responses)

    Surprised that a former CEO never heard of Libya. Perhaps he is what we need in the White House, saving us billions of dollars by not invading countries around the world. Hopefully, he never heard of Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, or Vietnam. Right on, Citizen Kane, and I am sure that all those nice ladies at the Restaurant Assoc. agree with me.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • keats5

      I understand that he took his time to think though his answer to the question of how Obama handled Libya, but you are being dishonest to say Cain never heard of Libya. If you are not personally familiar with the video; look it over.

      There are some things which may be troublesome, but let's keep the debate believable.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:51 pm |
  2. NLuu

    This Cain will make it, change we will have in 2012 go HCain.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:21 pm |
  3. BAM

    "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" is not even within the realm of Christ's message. What if Christ came to us sinners and said "pull yourself up by your bootstraps." Thank GOD he did not! He not only gave us boots and bootstraps but pulled them up for us as well. Cain, as well as many Christians have not "heard" the Gospel. If they did, they would understand that as Christ has gave to us unmerited grace, so should we, out of love give unto the least unmerited grace of any kind. Yes, oh right wing Christians, this means financial help as well. Not just to buy bread and milk for one meal, but to totally revive those impoverished, regardless of how they got there; as Christ did for us. "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" It saddens me to know so many right wing Christians not hearing the Good News. Cain's voice in his head is probably from self glorification. His pizza may be good through.

    November 20, 2011 at 10:12 pm |
  4. bubba

    He is also an engineer! Praise God!

    November 20, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  5. Easy E

    I could care less if Cain is religious or not, I just don't want him for president.

    He can't think on his feet, that alone disqualifies him for the job.

    The only two real choices left in the R category are Huntsman and Paul

    November 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  6. Mr Chihuahua

    Mister Cain, why didnt Jesus help you with a better pizza recipe, because your pizza is a total FAIL lol!

    November 20, 2011 at 9:46 pm |
    • Hummmmm!

      The great thing about the good old USA is you don't have to buy anything you don't want except a couple car companies, a bank or 2,3,4 or 5 oh and I almost forgot the healthcare reform act.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Observer


      You can also buy the Republican line that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are paying too much tax and everyone should pay more to make up the difference.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:11 pm |
  7. Ronald

    These guys will say and do anything to get elected. What egos! Using God and religious belief to gain political favor is so low and should be enough proof that this guy is a lier. No real Christian would use religion and God to get elected.

    November 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • ellipse...

      I believe that would be the true interpretation of using god's name in vain.

      November 20, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
    • sybaris

      Which god?

      November 20, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  8. TR in ATL

    CNN is trash. Stop reading their editorial garbage and think for yourself.

    November 20, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Observer

      FOX News sounds more like your mentality.

      November 20, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • GarrViet

      Careful, you're incriminating yourself; people are going to think you actually think Cain is mentally stable.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:30 pm |
  9. clarke

    Wow, people are either nutz or just plain stupid

    November 20, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Hummmmm!

      Are you so critical of Cain because he is black and he doesn't look at things the way you do or the way your stereotypical racist view of what black people should think like? At least he knows that there are only 50 states and not 57 like the college professor that was elected president. He also knows that there is not one company large or small that will hire one person just to get a tax break. Business only hires for one reason and one reason only and that is demand created by consumer confidence that they will have a job to pay for that item that company produces, supplies or services. Another thing single payer, would have allowed the baby from Canada to die without any effort to save it even if the parents have the money. Single payer system of Canada went to court to keep the parents of that kid from taking their child to be treated by a group of Michigan doctors that were willing to attempt to keep this kid alive at no cost to the parents or their insurance. If you are a parent I wouldn’t want to be your kid if you think that is ok. You might as well get a pistol and shoot your terminally ill child in the head.

      November 20, 2011 at 9:57 pm |
    • Observer

      "At least he knows that there are only 50 states and not 57 like the college professor that was elected president."

      So do YOU believe that the president of the United States "knows there are 57 states"? YES or NO? This will tell far more about your level of intelligence than that of our president. So is your answer YES or NO?

      November 20, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  10. Larry L

    Anything associated with religion always gets huge responses. It's ridiculous – but powerful...

    November 20, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  11. David Johnson

    From the article:

    “When he tells you to say, ‘I do,’” the groom recalled, “it almost sounds like the voice of God telling you that and you take it very seriously.”

    WoW! Proof positive. God is stupid.


    November 20, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  12. Dave Harris

    When you're pandering to the stupid, you have to pretend to believe in their phony god. Pizza guy knows this, but he's too smart to actually believe this cr*p.

    November 20, 2011 at 7:47 pm |
  13. ashrakay

    It's amazing that in the 21st century, belief in an invisible, overlord superhero who secretly communicates with special people and tells them to run for president, isn't met with the reasonable response of trying to help the unfortunate believer of such a fantasy, into a mental hospital and well medicated.

    November 20, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Antetam

      God just called me on my cell phone and said that he has a bed ready for Citizen Kane at Elgin State Hospital. So be it.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:46 pm |
    • keats5

      Don't be a hater.

      November 20, 2011 at 10:57 pm |
  14. Nunya

    So where is the chorus of conservatives blaring about how Cain couldn't possibly have gone to this church all these years without absorbing and agreeing with the decidedly non-conservative things that the head pastor of the church preaches?


    November 20, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
  15. norma jean.


    November 20, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • Observer

      Cain fan?

      November 20, 2011 at 7:31 pm |
    • huckfinn

      I think it's Adelina come back to us from the daid!

      November 20, 2011 at 10:13 pm |
  16. norma jean.


    November 20, 2011 at 7:04 pm |
    • tallulah13

      It's the letter combinations, not the words.

      You should probably seek professional help for your paranoia.

      November 20, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
    • ashrakay

      Also, "norma jean" is not a sentence so no period is required.

      November 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm |
    • Observer

      No period is required, but capitalization would make it appear more intelligent.

      November 20, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  17. theoldadam

    Enough IS enough! And too much is plenty!

    November 20, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
  18. Latest Tips for All Posters - update your lists today.

    bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN "awaiting moderation" filter:
    Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
    You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
    ar-se.....as in spa-rse, pa-rse, ar-senic, etc.
    ass-hole.....yet ass is okay.
    ba-stard..as in who killed Kenny.
    co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
    co-on.....as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
    cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cucu-mber, etc.
    ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
    ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
    ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
    hoo-ters...hoot, hootie, and hooter is okay. More than one hooter is bad.
    ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
    jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
    ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
    koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
    po-on.....as in spo-on, po-ontang, harpo-on, etc.
    pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
    ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
    se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
    sh-@t.....but shat is okay – don't use the @ symbol there.
    sp-ic.....as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
    strip-per..but strip, stripe are okay.
    ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, anti-thesis (any anti-"t" word),beat-itude, etc.
    tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
    va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
    who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!

    There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.
    Allowed words / not blocked at all:

    raping (ra-pe is not ok)
    shat (sh-@t is not ok)
    The CNN / WordPress filter also filters your EMAIL address and NAME as well – so you might want to check those.
    • More than one web address will also activate “waiting for moderation”. Make sure the web address does not have any forbidden word or fragment.
    CNN also has a list of tips on posting comments at: cnn.com/terms/comment_policy.html

    November 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
    • Beavis and Butthead

      mmmBeavis you As-s hole. You didn't even post the po-op reply in the right place...
      Here's the right place Butthead.....

      November 20, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      I have removed the more graphic and obvious ones from my list - no need for splashing them all over the place each time. If folks don't know that those blatant offenders will be censored, they shouldn't be on the internet. It's those tricky words-within-words that they need help discovering.

      November 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
    • Fordham Jock

      What the fuck asshole, you can say anything you like. It's a free country. 🙂 Just kidding of course, I would never actually call anyone names like that, but just to prove, THERE ARE NO MODERATORS. 🙂

      November 20, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
    • John Richardson

      Hey, where've ya been, Fordham?

      November 20, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
    • Fordham Jock

      Howdy JR,
      Busy at school I guess, and over on the Tech board. What's new ?

      November 20, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
  19. Platypus

    Herman Cain: « He didn’t want to run for president but God told him to. » Here we go again!

    If you talk to God, you're praying; if God talks to you, you're psychopath. [Thomas Szasz (b. 1920), U.S. psychiatrist. The Second Sin,"Schizophrenia" (1973)]
    The religious beliefs of certain government leaders may influence certain of their legislative decisions thereby affecting the happiness or misfortune of the people.
    Ex President G.W. Bush, a fervent Born Again Christian shouted to the world that it was God who ordered him to invade Iraq in 2003. Remember his "mission accomplished" speech on USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1st 2003? A bit premature n’est-ce pas?
    He made many people unhappy among American and Iraqi families during his reign as a bellicose Texan cowboy president.

    "Religion and government will both exist in greater purity, the less they are mixed together» -James Madison in a letter to Edward Livingston, 10 July 1822.

    Al Gore (V.P. to Clinton) told reporters that he would precede every major executive decision with the question “What would Jesus do?”
    Well, lucky us we didn't have him as president!

    “Religion can influence the progress or the decline of civilization”. – Edward Gibbon

    “Anyone who knows history, particularly the history of Europe, will, I think recognize that the preponderance of any particular religious fait in education or in government is never a happy arrangement for the people”. -Eleanor Roosevelt

    Secular humanism transcends all religions!

    November 20, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • Beavis and Butthead

      You said po-op....cool.

      November 20, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  20. Reality

    The gospel in the 21st century in less than 500 words:

    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

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, 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.

    November 20, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • GauisCeasar

      All that is funny, but did you realize that you are ignorant about what the word "gospel" means. From reading your rant, it seems you don't. The term means "good news." Also, important is your idea that these rituals come about from the dark ages, which would be equally inaccurate.

      November 20, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Sheesh


      Also quite funny that you don't know how to spell your own name...

      November 20, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • When you can't spell your own name

      don't try to sound smart on an interwebs.

      November 20, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Mark

      The gospels of the new testament are the story of Jesus. There are also many gospels out there that the early Catholic Church decided to not include in the bible and actively tried to rid the world of because they disagreed with the message the church and political leaders were trying to send. As someone raised Christian, I understand how hard it is to remove the lenses that have been put on you since birth. Things that other religions do and say that seem so ridiculous seem so sincere and obvious in your own religion. I feel Reality was not trying to be funny at all. He was merely pointing out that as an educated civilization we should be able to look past the stories we are told and start to figure out what is more practical and realistic. What is funny is that you see such reasonable statements as sarcasm and meant to be spiteful. Actually, that's rather sad.

      November 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
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About this blog

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