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November 30th, 2011
09:20 PM ET

Nativity Project leaders hope Supreme Court trek resonates

By Stacey Samuel, CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It made for an incongruous sight on Wednesday morning, as volunteer actors playing Mary and Joseph walked in procession in front of the U.S. Supreme Court with Baby Jesus (a 4-month-old).

Following them - wearing crowns and robes that didn't fully conceal jeans and sneakers underneath, - were volunteers dressed as two Wise Men and a Wise Woman, trailed by a two-humped camel and a 6-month-old donkey (also named Mary). The people weren't guided by a star, but by their religious conviction.

"First [we're] proclaiming the powerful message of Christmas: peace on Earth and good will toward men," said Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition, who helped organize the Supreme Court Nativity. "And, then also embracing and celebrating religious freedom and our First Amendment right."

The Wednesday event launched its annual Nativity Project, an effort Mahoney is leading with activist Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the group Faith and Action. Now, in its fifth year, the gathering is the largest it's ever been.

"Well we added more singers this year and did that quite deliberately, because we found that the music conveys the message better than anything else, certainly better than preaching. Preaching doesn't go over real big on Capitol Hill, so you have to find new ways of transmitting the message," Schenck said.

The campaign is meant "to confront the erosion and hostility toward public expressions of faith especially during the Christmas Season," according to the announcement for the Nativity Project.

The hope is that religious groups and ordinary citizens will follow in suit in other communities nationwide, without fear of violating court rulings that ban public displays of Christmas crèches - often because they require public funding. The way around it, say the pastors, is to get a permit and have the funds for the scenes come from private donors.

"One of the reasons we are going in front of the Supreme Court with a live Nativity scene," Mahoney said, is "so no court in no municipality, anywhere across America, can say it's unconstitutional when we've been given permission to go in front of the U.S. Supreme Court."

He showed his permit allowing the group - it included a harpist - to walk from their offices on 2nd Street to the foot of the Supreme Court, and passing Capitol Hill.

Getting the permit also required having the animals tested for disease, Mahoney said.

Known for controversial exploits such displaying billboards linking Planned Parenthood to a "black genocide," Mahoney and Schenck collaborated on the Nativity Project, hoping to send a softer message and thus achieve broader appeal.

"Hopefully, people will focus on the broader message," said Mahoney, who acknowledges his past activism has been seen as divisive. "I think the message of hope and peace that Jesus brings transcends any political ideological views. There's not a Presbyterian Jesus, or a Baptist Jesus or an Episcopal Jesus, there's Jesus who's the hope of the whole world."

Their purpose now is to restore a tradition some will say has been supplanted by Santa Claus and "Frosty the Snowman," to bring back to the fore the scene and players revered by more than a billion Christians.

The pastors say that with the commercialization of Christmas, the holiday's spiritual meaning has been lost.

"Maybe in the new economy, it's going to force people to go back to a more simple, meaningful type of Christmas celebration," said Schenck, "...and maybe a simple little apple and a kiss on the cheek will do a lot more than a funny toy that'll be used for a few months and put away."

The message they want to send isn't just for Christians, Schenck said.

"Christmas transcends every kind of religious sectarianism," he says. "I've been to Muslim countries where families celebrate Christmas in their homes, because it transcends culture, and it transcends ethnicity, and we hope the message of Christmas ... is a message every person from every tradition and every background can embrace."

Members of other traditions generally see Christmas as a distinctly Christian holiday.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Christmas

soundoff (571 Responses)
  1. Snow

    So, do they also believe that Christ was born on Dec 25th?

    December 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  2. LolDems

    Looks like the 1% have occupied this comment space to vent their frustration of having finite brains, unable to comprehend what the 99% find fairly obvious. See them using their clumsy understanding of science in a feable attempt to justify their positions, all the while not realizing their mistake of misapplication. Tsk, tsk. 'Tis the season to forgive such childish orchestrations. But is tempting to witness exploding heads with the Truth that the Bible is accurate, God is eternal, Jesus His Son lives, and the Spirit indwells believers. Praise God and repent.

    December 1, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • Observer

      The Bible contains many good morals, but it also contains errors, contradictions, hypocrisy and nonsense. Read it sometime.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      34.2 million Americans (15.0%) claim no religion

      December 1, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
    • tony

      It was obvious to 99% for a few 100,000 yearsthat the Sun goes around the a Flt Earth – until Science gave us the real answers. You can always tell a fool by the layers of Egg on his face.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • tony

      It was obvious to 99% for a few 100,000 years that the Sun goes around the a Flat Earth – until Science gave us the real answers. You can always tell a fool by the layers of Egg on his face.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • Really?

      " See them using their clumsy understanding of science in a feable attempt to justify their positions, all the while not realizing their mistake of misapplication. Tsk, tsk. 'Tis the season to forgive such childish orchestrations."

      LOL! Yet you offer no proof of a god through your feeble attempt to condemn those that know better. 😉

      December 1, 2011 at 2:17 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      don't pee upwind during a nor'easter...

      December 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      at least my post has practical value vs, your babble.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  3. Brett

    On December 25th, I believe all Christians should gather around their Christmas Trees and read the Bible. Specifically, they should read the passages of Jeremiah 10:2-4, from which I will quote:

    "Thus sayeth the Lord, Learne not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signes of heaven, for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customes of the people are vaine: for one cutteth a tree out of the forrest (the worke of the handes of the workeman) with the axe. They decke it with silver and with golde, they fasten it with nayles, and with hammers that it moove not."

    Then they should contemplate why they have defiled their God by bringing a Pagan Idol into their homes.

    December 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Awesome!!!

      December 1, 2011 at 2:04 pm |
    • LolDems

      Wow, imagine Jeremiah writing to the people of Israel during their exile about the dangers of....Christmas trees! 600 years before Christ was born! Amazing! An heretofore undiscovered example of prophecy of the prophet Jeremiah. Good find? Naw, just a neophyte mistake of eisogesis. But good try, though. Here's a tip for ya: Practice humility every day & be not so quick to worship your own intellect.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
    • geoffrey Robertson

      Damn.... you are as good as Mitt Romney at taking things out of context... try reading the entire chapter.

      Its speaking of Idols... not Christmas trees.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • Brett

      @Geoffrey Distort it all you want, like you do everything else you pick and choose to worship in your Bible. But you cannot deny The Bible says very pointedly, and singles out the act of cutting and decorating a tree as idolatry. But don't worry about explaining yourself to me. Worry about explaining yourself to your God.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      As we decorate and place gifts under it how is a xmas tree not an idol? Im sure millions of children worship it and santa plenty.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Brett

      Nothing makes Christians angrier than to simply quote their Book of Worship back to them. It's so funny.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • I Don't Get It

      What do you mean by "worship"?

      December 1, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • geoffrey Robertson

      Brett@ READ the chapter. The whole chapter... and look at two or three translations to make sure you understand the discussion. its about pagan gods and IDOLS of those gods... I'm not spinning anything YOU are... just as Mitt Romney spun the President's words.

      Context. Without it, the real meaning of words are anyone's guess.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Brett

      @Geoffrey. Just keeping spinning it. That's a tired old bit of rhetorical trickery you're using to put doubt into people's minds about something that is written very plainly.

      December 1, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • geoffrey Robertson

      Brett – okay... no *spinning* each word needs to be judged separately and out of context..... lol!

      SO... President Obama really DID say America is LAZY.

      Look a that... wow...

      You can't cry "spin" when YOU are the one only quoting the portion of that chapter (and the specific translation) that supports your argument.

      geesh.

      December 1, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Sean

      @geoffrey Robertson
      We could copy/paste the entire chapter and your type would still say it was out of context. Then suggest we read the entire bible because it doesn’t conform to YOUR translation. Sorry bud all Christians celebrating Xmas are sinners.

      December 1, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Brett

      @ Geoffrey I challenge you to find at least one passage of the Bible where the traditional observances of Christmas are supported. The Bible seems to be strangely silent about such an important Christian holiday. In fact, the very few places where it does seem to make mention, are such passages as I quoted above, which say more to forbid the traditions of Christmas than they do to condone it.

      December 1, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Brett

      @ Geoffrey. I'm using the 1611 King James Version of the Bible which is not just any translation. It has been the Authoritative version for centuries, and was so when the traditions of modern day Christmas were developing.

      But another point to that. You would think an omniscient divine being, who intended for such an important text to be the undisputed word of his laws, would at least have left us with a few translations to avoid any such confusion. For a Being that's supposed to know everything, God sure is pretty stupid.

      December 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  4. Larry

    I find it somewhat interesting that only the Christians who for the most part are ignorant of the customs of the Jews in 1st century Israel continue to push this thing on Yesuas birthday, when in fact Jews didn't observe birthdays. They did in fact honor the day of ones death. The only place where a Birthday is mentioned in the KJV is about Herod. Fact is it's a mistranslation, it should of been Anniversary , the Day he was "Born Again" which was a common phrase back then. When a person went from one station in life to another. Christians just don't care, their going to make Yeshua have a Birthday like it or not!

    December 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  5. Lucifer's Evil Twin

    freedom FROM religion

    December 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  6. tony

    If prayer, even for altruistically praying for others, doesn't make any difference to anything, why would anyone "worship" a supposed personal or loving god?

    December 1, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • chris

      Because they are brainwashed into believing it when they are young. The mind is a power thing.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • Dolores

      There have been a number of scientific studies on the affects of prayer in the medical field. Check out Scientific Research of Prayer: Can the Power of Prayer Be Proven? Written by Debra Williams. Google the topic and you'll find several other articles. Not all, but most support the power of prayer.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
    • streetsmt

      @Dolores
      Placebo's exist in many forms. I believe there has not been 1 mainstream, peer reviewed study proving prayer works in any objective manner. Objective meaning no connection between the pray-er and the intended consequences.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Chuckles

      @Mu.lva.... I mean Cl.itoris, I mean Dolores

      prayer is a useless thing other than for the cosmetic "feel good" effect it gives someone who feels better knowing other people hope they make it through. If you can show me one instance where someone say, regrew a limb, got completely rid of cancer without any traces and without going through treatment or some other miraculous instant that could not be explained by science or standard deviation then I'll start to give you a little more understanding

      December 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
    • Nonimus

      I think there is evidence that there is a benefit to the person praying similar to the benefits of meditation and/or other mental techniques like positive thinking, imagery, mindfulness, etc.
      I think many studies however, show prayer having no objective effects.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • tony

      @Dolores- Pray tell us about the reduced health and Life Insurance rates you get because people pray for you, and so god makes you stay healthier and live longer.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Dolores, there was a multi-million dollar REAL scientific study (funded by the templeton foundation no less) to finally put the power of prayer to the test. The results: if anything it hurt people's health.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @Delores – Some studies show a positive effect from self prayer. However the significance isn't any different than meditation or other relaxation techniques. There was one large double blind placebo controlled study on intercessiary prayer – the STEP study. This study show that inpatients undergoing cardiac bypass surgery, knowing you were being prayed for resulted in a higher rate of complications.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  7. Brett

    Do any Christians on here know why Christmas is celebrated on the 25th of December?

    December 1, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • tony

      It's St. Salesman's Day!!!

      December 1, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • geoffrey Robertson

      to coincide with the pagans' older religious ceremonies... what's wrong with that?

      Any successful human venture... whether inspired by the divine or not, requires the understanding of the human psyche.

      Its the same reason the OWC nuts are failing in their endeavor. They fail to take into account human nature.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:28 pm |
    • BRC

      @geoffrey Robertson,
      There is nothing really wrong with putting your holiday ontop of an existing holiday season, and using that to move forward, it's actually a very shrewed move. BUT, it is very disengenous for people thousands of years later to claim that the season is special because of the imposed holiday. The holiday season was the holiday season for hundreds of years before anyone even considered pushing the idea that there was just one god that everyone owed everything too. Maybe because early people loved snow and thought winter was lovely because all the bugs and many pests were dorment, or maybe because they hated it and they were starving and it was depressing and they needed something to bring everyone together to keep hope of survival going, whtever the cause the holiday seasons had the feeling and stigma of a special time well before Christmas.

      So, you can say that the purpose of CHRISTMAS is to celebrate the birth of Christ. That's fine, perfectly accurate, and it doesn't matter that he wasn't born in winter, that's just when you choose to celebrate it, I'm okay with that too, not my son of "God". But, it is wrong to claim that the holiday season is special because of Chrismas. People would be celebrating during the month of December wether Jesus had ever been born or not (as a few hundred years worth of Jews can attest to).

      TL:DR- You can have Christmas, but you don't own the Holidays, get over it.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:38 pm |
    • Ummmm

      To celebrate the Winter Solstice!

      December 1, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  8. CarrotCakeMan

    Read what Andrew Sullivan wrote in Time Magazine about "Christianists." These persons demonstrating at the US Supreme Court are NOT "defending Christianity," they're seeking to force their minority view of one small segment of Christianity onto all other Americans. No, "Christianists," we will NOT let you destroy everyone else's Freedom Of Religion!

    December 1, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      IE the exact opposite of religious freedom

      December 1, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
    • geoffrey Robertson

      Classic example of the 1% claiming to represent the 99%

      The religious nuts should speak for themselves... not try to claim they are speaking for the rest of us.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  9. Jonathan

    Christmas is really Yule, the Winter Solstice, celebrated in every corner of the globe for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. Christmas was planted in time Not because Christ was born then but because the most popular spiritual celebrations happened at this time and the Church in power wanted absolute control.
    Now capitalism has stolen Christmas thanks to the right wing corporate agenda. Nothing more. Enjoy!

    And Happy Holidays!

    December 1, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
  10. geoffrey Robertson

    Now as long as they don't camp out there until baby "Jesus" is twelve.... it will all be good.

    December 1, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
  11. Jerome

    I wonder how many of these pseudo-intellectual 'atheists' have ever actually read the New Testament from cover to cover, since they claim to know so much about it, as opposed to basing their opinion of Jesus on what they hear on TV or from others who have never even read it.

    I'm willing to bet a big fat zero.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • tony

      Try Exodus 14:19 onwards. Even the Israelites found God was not all-powerful.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm |
    • Brett

      I'm an atheist, and i've read the 1611 translation of the King James Version of the Bible, which is beautiful and eloquent, but no more true than any other work of fiction.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Observer

      Jerome,

      Since you've apparently read it, please tell us why the "wise men" aren't being trashed for bringing the ABOMINATION of incense to Jesus? Any explanation other than hypocrisy?

      December 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Since you obviously don't pay attention to these blogs it is well known that atheist know more about the bible than christians.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • BRC

      I'm in the process of reading the Bible from cover to cover, I will admit that I haven't gotten to teh NT yet, because the OT is really really hard to read, but you don't have to look past teh OT to find some perfectly reprehensible behavior.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
    • Jonathan

      And if you read the new testament from cover to cover you'd find inaccuracies, contradictions, and flaws over and over and over, and there are no scholars that can challenge these facts.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • Brett

      Actually, there was an interesting survey done awhile ago about people's knowledge of the Bible. Embarrassingly, Atheists knew more about the Bible than so called Believers. Being an atheist, I've read it many times, because I'm constantly referring to it to support my positions in arguments.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • yari

      I have read the bible from cover to cover, more than once. I have also read the Torah (basically the old testament), the Book of Mormon, the Koran and a few other more obscure religious texts. How much comparative religious study have you done true believer?

      December 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Have you read the gospels of thomas and mary?

      December 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
    • Chuckles

      I think Jerome just learned that you can call an atheist the devil, condem them to hel.lfire, pray to god to smite them, but don't ever.....ever call an atheist ignorant

      December 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • streetsmt

      @Chuckles
      Yea, being an intellectual himself, I'm sure he did learn this. He must have moved on to another blog.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
    • geoffrey Robertson

      Ya..... I've read the entire Bible backwards.... in Greek. I read the Koran while running the New York City marathon... and made several corrections for incorrect grammar.... in the last mile.

      And I once studied the Torah while sky diving in France...

      LOL!

      Its so easy to make outlandish intellectual claims on a chatboard....

      December 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Geoffrey,
      You are really insecure in your intellect aren't you? ie the growing part of this country/world that is waging war on reason and logic based on the ego.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • Dolores

      Jonathan, scholars don't try to dispute your claim. The NT was written by different people who had never met Jesus. The Bible is the "inspired" word of God. The letter of word is not as imporant as the spirit of the word. While the stories are not all historically factual, they are true to those who believe. To comprehend this takes a higher order of thinking that moves beyond "just the facts."

      December 1, 2011 at 1:39 pm |
    • Observer

      "While the stories are not all historically factual, they are true to those who believe."

      Not much of an endorsement, is it?

      December 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
    • geoffrey Robertson

      Hasa Diga Eebowai- insecurity has nothing to do with my post.... annoyance at the outlandish claims of intellectual superiority are what drove me to post what I did.

      Its simply amazing how many atheists have read every major religious book in human history... cover to cover.... usually several times.

      I was simply pointing out the fact that I TOO have read all these books... or at least that I can easily CLAIM to have read them to gain an uncalled for advantage in a debate. After all, how can you claim I haven't???

      And man..... were my calves hurting after the New York City Marathon.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:03 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Jerome –

      From the executive summary of a recent PEW poll on religious knowledge in the US:
      " Atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons are among the highest-scoring groups on a new survey of religious knowledge, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics on questions about the core teachings, history and leading figures of major world religions."

      So it's not just YOUR bible we know better than you, it's all religions that we know more about than you folks.

      I wonder why you didn't know this?

      December 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • geoffrey Robertson

      Primewonk From the executive summary of a recent PEW poll on religious knowledge in the US...

      LOL!

      You're going to cite a two week LAND LINE survey of 3412 people, with an OVER SAMPLING of Jews, Mormons and atheists/agnostics as proof positive of what exactly?

      December 1, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  12. streetsmt

    Here is my take on why these people (usually christians in this country) make public displays of their religious beliefs.
    A religion will die if it does not grow, along with the feelings of power and importance the pushers of these ideas get while being a leader. So it makes sense that the leader(s) would need to decree that the followers go forth and spread the idea. The next logical step is to deal with questioners and unbelievers. So you next decree that blind faith is good and belief is necessary to be saved.

    So whenever I see a group like this I immediately get uneasy. They are the current evangalists following a long line that goes all the way back to the original leaders. I feel their public display is meant to work on me or my children, as was, and still is stipulated by their leader(s). Although I don't like it, I have to put up with it unless public funds are used to aid them. That I will not stand for.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • Mikey

      Well put. This is what angers me about Christians saying they are being discriminated against. No, non-Christians are saying that no public funds or public buildings should be used to promote a particular belief. So no funds to Ramahdan, no funds to Hananuuka, and no funds to Christmas. We aren't picking on Christians, we are picking on publicly funded religious events. As to other faiths celebrating Christmas – what a crock. A person of another faith may pick an element of Christmas to enjoy (think a Hananuuka tree because it is pretty) but they are NOT celebrating the birth of the Christian savior.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
  13. Hasa Diga Eebowai

    End the christian war on Yule!

    December 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  14. BrewtownPsych

    P.S. Christians, Your "faith" is actually a "faith" in what somebody said, and then what somebody said about what somebody said, and then going back thousands of years!!! you can't get the exact story from a game of telephone with 20 people in a room in 10 minutes, what makes you think ANY of the stuff you believe actually happens. Think about it. Your faith is really, faith in people, or more specifically, one gigantic game of telephone. Heck, literally 2 days after Elvis died people "swore" he was alive!!! imagine how that works in Bronze Age middle east. Just think about it!!!!

    December 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • geoffrey Robertson

      its always a question of faith. Even if you are an atheist who believes in evolution... you're still taking it on faith.

      Unless you go back and take all the steps Darwin did.... do all the math and the decades of study... and come up with the same conclusions...

      Unless you do ALL that... you are taking it on faith that what OTHER people have said is the *gospel* truth.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Geoffry, you don't have to do anything that Darwin in today's age. All DNA sequences and the programs to analyse them are available free online. You can build the evolutionary tree yourself if you so desire... ie no faith required!

      December 1, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • geoffrey Robertson

      And so, you are going to claim to have PROVEN the given DNA sequences online are valid? Or do you just have the faith that the data available to you is accurate and the tools for building the DNA sequence are precise?

      Or is it like the movie Jurassic Park... where we say... "Look dinosaurs! – THEY must exist... because I see them."

      You ARE taking a LOT on faith unless you study, confirm and deeply understand ALL the data and tools you are using to see those DNA sequences... as well as all the years of background info required to reach that point.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Yes, and its more than faith because the results are peer reviewed and are constantly being used and double checked by thousands of biologists all over the world. For example how could one lab get a human sequence and another get a chimp sequence independently and have the result be so close. In addition, I am a biologist who has done a great deal of sequencing and I have never found any serious problems in the database.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • geoffrey Robertson

      Ya... you're a DNA sequencing Biologist.... and I'm a nuclear botanist.......

      December 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Actually I don't do any sequencing myself. Today you just mail the DNA to the centers and it cost ~$5-10 per run.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
    • geoffrey Robertson

      Hasa Diga Eebowai: "In addition, I am a biologist who has done a great deal of sequencing and I have never found any serious problems in the database."

      Hasa Diga Eebowai: "Actually I don't do any sequencing myself. Today you just mail the DNA to the centers and it cost ~$5-10 per run."

      Wait... I'm confused... are you a biologist who has done a great deal of sequencing or are you not?

      Or are you just saying that because it helps you artificially boost your side of the debate with false credentials.

      For my side of the debate... I hereby openly state... I am no religious expert.... and I held the position of Pope for only a few weeks, while the real Pope was in Vegas.

      December 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Its just jargon, I isolate the DNA and design the DNA primers that will amplify the region that I want sequenced (~800-1,000bp). Then you send it to a company that runs the machines for you. If you actually want to doubt something go to ncbi, read the methods that the numerous scientists have developed on sequencing then go look at the results (numerous independent and confirming sequences) then come back with something intelligent to say. Then take all that doubt and place it where it belongs...... mythology

      December 1, 2011 at 2:40 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Geoffrey – why is it that folks who purposefully choose to be ignorant about science, come on message boards and demonstrate that ignorance?

      December 1, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
    • Hasa Diga Eebowai

      Prime, ignorance is "pseudo"-bliss

      December 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  15. QS

    PFFFFFT!

    December 1, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  16. Woofka

    By all means Xtopher – the X is an ecclesiastical (thus church) abbreviation. The X represents the Greek letter Chi which is the first letter of the Greek word translated as "Christ". So yes, Xmas = Christmas. It came form the church, was (and is) used by the church. I thought everyone knew this already, but for the few who are ignorant of its origins, it is important to note that it in no way denigrates Christ. It is akin to using Rev. instead of the fully written out Reverend. So, Merry Xmas everyone!

    December 1, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
  17. Brett

    On December 25th, I will be celebrating the ORIGINAL holidays of the Winter Solstice and Yule, which are traditions thousands of years older than Christmas. I'll also be decorating my house with Evergreen wreaths and trees, which are Pagan symbols of life and fertility. So Happy Winter Solstice to you all! Yuletide Greetings! In the spirit of the season, I forgive any Christians for thinking they have a patent on the Holiday, and I hope their God forgives them for the blasphemy of bringing Heathen symbols into their homes.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
    • yari

      I am with you! Only I will be celebrating starting 12/21/11, the date of the solstice. Then on for 12 more days of merry making!

      December 1, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Brett

      Very Good Yari. I'm observing on the Solstice on 25th as Traditionally aligned with the Julian calendar, although we now know the solar calendar to be slightly different.

      December 1, 2011 at 1:10 pm |
  18. Anne Chong

    It is Time and our rights to show and proclaim that North America is a CHristian Society. Christianity celebrates and respects in the beliefs that "Love God above all things" and "Love your neighbour as you love yourselves" to be the two most powerful commandments that should guide us in our lives. If mankind were to embrace these two fundamental wisdom, the world would definitely be a better world. It eliminates Hate, promotes love and respect for each other and to God.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Observer

      I wish there were more Christians with a similar philosophy.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • yari

      There is no god.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
    • hippypoet

      take god out of it and you have a great point, otherwise you are asking the world to share in your personal delusions!

      December 1, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • yari

      And P.S. The USA is not a Christian society and was set up expressly so that there would be no state religion.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • runswithbeer

      Might as well go to the nut house and interview some folks there...

      December 1, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • Aaron

      I agree, take God out of your message and the points you make I think universally resound with many people. PS this is NOT and NEVER will EVER be a Christian nation.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm |
    • claybigsby

      are you serious? have you even read the bible?

      December 1, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
  19. Guest

    I applaud people standing up for the true meaning of CHRISTmas! Hope and peace and love! We've lost our sense of God in this society, and, wow, does it show.

    December 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Guess What

      Now let's get them to stand up for the true meaning of Thursday. Hail Thor!

      And tomorrow we'll honor Frigga.
      And then Saturn
      And then the Sun
      And then the Moon
      And then Tyr
      And then Woden

      Next month, we'll praise Janus for 31 days!
      And later Mars, Maia, and Juno.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • yari

      Christmas was stolen from pantheistic religions. It really has nothing to do with Jesus/Christ and everything to do with the winter solstice.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • runswithbeer

      "WE"??? We the PEOPLE consist of every religion and non-religion known to mankind. Christians doing their best to take over the Government and impose their religious beliefs on everyone else. Well if you want me to DEFEND your right to worship then DEFEND MY FRIGGIN RIGHT NOT TO............ Otherwise we have a MAJOR MAL-FUNCTION.

      December 1, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
    • Liqmaticus

      Amen!!!

      December 1, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  20. pt6071

    Atheists for Jesus – Jesus was a nice guy with some good ideas. By all means celebrate the season and understand the good messages. Just be reasonable about it, okay?

    December 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • hippypoet

      a quote from me, the Hippypoet – "Reaching the age of reason is easy. Having to reason the rest of your life is unreasonable."

      December 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
    • Christians have Rights too.

      There is NO right for us to force our religion on others nor is is good for non believers to do the same. Schools should NOT be in the business of teaching morals, right from wrong, Mary has two mommies or Mary's two mommies are going to Hexx.
      The schools should be teaching the basics that we all can live with Math, English, History.

      December 1, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Christians have Rights too.

      There is NO right for us to force our religion on others nor is is good for non believers to do the same. Schools should NOT be in the business of teaching morals, right from wrong, Mary has two mommies or Mary's two mommies are going to Hexx.
      The schools should be teaching the basics that we all can live with Math, English, History. Thanks.

      December 1, 2011 at 4:54 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.