My Take: Santorum’s evangelical surge is about more than Christian Right
Rick Santorum speaking in Iowa this week.
January 3rd, 2012
10:23 AM ET

My Take: Santorum’s evangelical surge is about more than Christian Right

Editor's Note: Chris LaTondresse is the Founder & CEO of Recovering Evangelical, a nationwide movement of next-generation evangelicals, post-evangelicals and those outside the church who still like Jesus, and author of the forthcoming "Recovering Evangelical." Follow him on Twitter @latondresse.

By Chris LaTondresse, Special to CNN

Rick Santorum’s surge in the polls in the days before the Iowa caucuses has been interpreted by some as evidence of continued relevance and staying power of the Religious Right.

I disagree. I believe it signals the end of the Religious Right as we know it.

As a younger generation evangelical who voted for George W. Bush twice but who supported Barack Obama in 2008, the story of my political evolution offers clues for understanding the current presidential race and the changing face of the evangelical movement in America.

I grew up in a conservative evangelical home, the son of missionary parents in Russia. When my family returned to the United States so I could attend high school, I threw myself into sharing my faith and promoting conservative causes. By the time the 2000 election rolled around, the first I was old enough to vote in, I had become a poster child for the Religious Right.

I’d often wear my George W. Bush tee shirt with Bible in hand. But not all things stay the same.

Why are Iowa's evangelicals so politically powerful?

Like many of my peers, I eventually became disillusioned with a version of Christianity that had seemingly lost its soul: too politicized, too associated with just one party, and too unconcerned with, irrelevant to, and even on the wrong side of the biggest issues facing the world in the 21st century.

As a result, the past decade has seen a precipitous decline in young evangelical identification with the Republican Party. My own story follows this trajectory.

My generation of evangelicals is just as pro-life as our parents' generation (some studies say we’re more so), but for us, any serious conversation about “life” has to extend beyond polarized, protracted and hyper-politicized debates about abortion.

We believe “pro-life” is more than a bumper-sticker slogan; it’s an ethic rooted in the biblical idea that all human beings are created in the image of God, and are, therefore, of immeasurable and equal worth in the eyes of their Creator.

Though we believe that 3,000 abortions a day in America are exactly 3,000 too many, we are just as concerned about the 20,000 children who die every day worldwide because of hunger, lack of clean drinking water and preventable disease. We also view human trafficking and exploitive labor practices as fundamental violations of people’s God-given rights and dignity.

And when it comes to “family values,” we’re weary of battles to “protect” marriage from gay couples, when so many young evangelicals have grown up in broken homes, witnessing our parents divorce and remarry at rates just as high as in the non-evangelical world (more than 33% of marriages among born-again Christians end in divorce, the same as in the general population).

In response, we believe in building strong marriages with our spouses and children as we start our own families, but wonder what this has to do with fighting against equal protection for gay couples.

So when young evangelicals see Republicans ripping pages out of the political playbooks of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and the Religious Right, it’s more likely to induce eye rolling than shouts of “amen.”

The worst offenders in the Republican primary? Look no further than Rick Perry’s commercial promising to "end Obama’s war on religion", or Michele Bachmann’s speech at Liberty University appealing to the idea that America was founded as a Christian nation.

Perry virtually launched his campaign with a large prayer gathering, while Bachmann claimed last summer’s earthquake outside Washington was God’s attempt to send a message to Washington politicians.

Perhaps more than any other candidates, Perry and Bachman have staked their campaigns on winning social conservative voters. In spite of their early successes and willingness to wear their religion on their sleeves, however, both have plummeted in the Iowa polls.

This could be one of the most important “religion and politics" storylines of 2012. In the end, it hasn’t been the GOP’s most strident culture warriors or shameless religious panderers who have finally endeared themselves to Iowa’s social conservative caucus-goers, or who give my generation reason to take a second look at conservative candidates in spite of our flight from the GOP.

Instead, the story is Rick Santorum.

Of course, there’s no questioning Santorum’s social conservative bona fides. Throughout his career he has been at the vanguard of conservative battles against abortion and gay marriage. But that’s only half the story.

More than any other Republican candidate (and even more than some Democrats), Santorum speaks openly and passionately about his concern for poor and vulnerable people in the U.S. and around the world. These commitments are firmly rooted his Catholic faith.

As Senator, Santorum was one of President Bush’s key Republican allies in securing congressional funding for the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Bush’s signature initiative aimed at combating HIV/AIDS in Africa. At the most recent CNN Republican primary debate, Santorum was one of the few candidates to defend the U.S. foreign aid budget, leading to a nod of approval from the ONE Campaign.

Earlier, Santorum came out against Herman Cain’s “999” plan because it would shift the tax burden to low income Americans and eliminate the earned income tax credit.

Santorum’s Iowa surge echoes Mike Huckabee’s in 2008. The two have much in common. Both have bucked their party’s conventional wisdom on winning the evangelical vote, offering a more compassionate approach to immigration (Huckabee) and making the case that poverty is a moral values and family values issue (Huckabee and Santorum).

Huckabee’s 2008 Iowa victory and Santorum’s surge suggest that, in spite of the dominant stereotypes about evangelicals, they value religious authenticity more than rhetoric and care about more issues than gay-marriage and abortion.

Those in the mainstream media who ignore these trends, or who simply place conservatives like Huckabee and Santorum in the traditional Religious Right frame, are missing a big story about the Republican Party, the evangelical movement in America, and my generation’s response to both.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Chris LaTondresse.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Iowa • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (451 Responses)
  1. Debra Martinez

    For it is "written". It is against God !! If anyone that does fornaication it is thier responisbility that they have thier child unless it effect her life or Physican Request.. No one Has that right to take away LIfe .. Period !!
    The Goverment must provided a solution and make that person accountable for that . !!

    January 6, 2012 at 6:51 am |
    • Mirosal

      Your babbling is the EXACT reason our Consti'tution was wriiten the way it was. This is NOT a theocracy. I do NOT answer the 'laws' of your 'god'. You need to move. Might I suggest Iran, Iraq, or Saudi Arabia? I hope you, as a woman, enjoy being a second-class citizen in those places. You do have the right to spout off about your book of fairy-tales and myths. You do NOT have the right to use that book to make the laws of a secular government. Your empty threats about "repent" and 'hell' aren't going to win you any friends. In THIS country, the highests court has ruled 40 years ago that if a wiman chooses to have an abortion, she may. That is the law of our land. Deal with it ... or emigrate.

      January 6, 2012 at 7:02 am |
    • Debra Martinez@ Marisol

      I wasn't the person that written the consutuion ( MAN DID). and 2nd, Why should you question the TRUTH...
      3rd.. I am not going anywhere YOU are!!
      If you want to support ABORTION so support it its you I have no fear but what can happen to those who support IT..
      For the Giver gives pleasure and the undertakes get nothing!! and that including YOU!!!

      January 6, 2012 at 7:16 am |
    • Mirosal

      If your little moldy book were the basis for our laws, then we'd still own slaves, I could beat you without punishents, you'd have to obey ME, and genocide would be the order of the day. The founders of our government KNEW all of that. THAT is why we have a non-religious government. Even the military is actually run by civilians. Did you even know that? Your book is in NO way any kind of 'truth'. Throughout human history, no god .. NONE .. has ever been shown to exist, and they have all been relegated to the realm of mythology. In time, yours will be too. By following your little book so blindly, you are simply showing how gullible you really are, and unable to think for yourself. Is santa real? The Easter Bunny? Tooth fairy? If your teenage child still sets a place at the table for his imaghinary friend, and you know it's an imaginary friend, would you still continue to let him set a place? Or would you realize he's old enough to where he needs to let go and start living in the reality of this world?
      One question .. just answer YES or NO .. that's all you need to do .. is every word ... think carefully .. EVERY word of your little bible true? Do you believe EVERY word in there?? Every book, every chapter?

      January 6, 2012 at 7:27 am |
  2. Debra Martinez

    Keep Religiom Out of Politics!! God has Divided his Goverment from man made, period!

    The Ruler in the World is Satan!! Satan has been cast down to earth and , Woe he is angry so not even man can fix the Sin that we all carry in Adam @ Eve name.. There is no perfection here , we all carry the DNA to prove it!!
    So , Honestly there is no country that SAY we are united , becaused as you can see we all are divded.
    And we are also even divided from GOD!!! So go seek and you will find !!

    January 6, 2012 at 6:41 am |
  3. Philip Georgevich

    The author is concerned about the unborn child, yet voted for Obama who would not even defend the right to life of a baby who survives an abortion!! If this is an example of the new evangelical, I much prefer the old generation of evangelicals

    January 6, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  4. MKinSoCal

    I disagree with the conclusions of the writer in regards to lack of support of Michele Bachman and Rick Perry. Their world views and politcal statements were generally so outrageous – or uninformed – that no amount of religiosity could save them. I think many Christian voters had to hold their noses at the polls when they made the choice between the "Papist" and the Mormon.

    January 5, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  5. tchibo

    It is just sickening when grownups just love to critic and disagree with everything that seems to differ with their world view. That is the definition of illiteracy. George just posted a very interesting (personal) appraisal o the evolution of young evangelicals, and rather than try to appreciate his view point, some are downright nasty – just because he mentions God and Jesus and Christianity in his essay. This is simply part of the reason America is so divided. I am sure the so called far right have the same problems but two wrongs never make a right.

    January 4, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  6. Sanford

    This country will fail if Santorum gets elected, our country should scream equality and freedom, Santorum wants to take that away. Obama has really done a great job with America, he has pushed for equality and has improved the economy since Bush was taken out of our government, sure it has been a slow re-growth but that is expected since the majority of Republicans really messed everyone over. Obama has 100% of my vote. Oh, to the "religious" readers, Pleaseeeee stop acting as if you are more "american" than others, you truly make America look worse to the world with some of your crazy views, you should be pushing equality for all, and not promoting hatred for others not like yourself. Thankssssss!

    January 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  7. HawaiiGuest


    I have read posts all over the place from you and those like you. And all I need to ask is that you take a step back and a good long look at what you do on these blogs. You seem to think that you are spreading the "Word of God" but all you do is judge and condemn others. Not very Christian. Seems to me that you should really fix yourself before you claim to know in which direction everyone else is going to go (if there is such a place, I don't know).

    January 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  8. Dave

    Santorum, et al., may be interested in other issues besides abortion and marriage equality, but for progressive, pro-equality Americans, he's just another evil anti-gay jihadist from the Religions "Right." We have no doubt if elected, he will work tirelessly to take away our civil rights, allow anti-gay bullying in schools, promote the immoral anti-gay agenda and rip our families apart...all in the name of his "religious beliefs."

    January 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • George

      Right because those that oppose the ho.mos.e.xal agenda are "evil." Woe to those who call good evil and evil good.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • sam

      Ok, George. For you, we'll change it from 'evil' to 'creepy dumba$$.'

      January 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • George

      At least Rick Santorum is a man I can come out of the closet for.

      January 4, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Debra Martinez

      The Father in Heaven does not approve of man made habits that are agiainst his Word. There is no winner her just a number that elect someone to have a higher position in Goverment.. All goverment are hand made .They are just so, So we get what we ask for! That was Jesus says stay away from them , for the are not able to give you anything that i am able to give you and those who came in My name is everlasting .So support BIble priciples the you will know you have elected a right person . He can cure and he can heal and he can save any worries , thats no man say I can!! So please leave all Politics away from the True God, which he does not support one man better than the other!!

      January 6, 2012 at 6:14 am |
    • Mirosal

      Debra, let us know when you graduate from your "English as a 4th Language class". Then you MIGHT be taken with perhaps a modicu'm of seriousness.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:22 am |
  9. Thor

    Great! So now the "Christian Right" is the new religion? What about the rest of us, like the sinners, the deviants, the drunks..... I guess we shall have to follow your "christianity" now?

    January 4, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • George

      The sinners need to get their hearts right with God, otherwise who cares what happens to them.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Thor

      I thought you r "christian" god would forgive us? Guess not if we don't meet your criteria for "good" now... ?

      January 4, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • OhPlz

      "The sinners need to get their hearts right with God,"

      That's funny your fairy tale books states all people are sinners so guess you're going to hell too. LOL!

      January 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Thor

      After all of this bantering.... it's funny that many have survived and prospered very well, and they have been kind and loving, long before this "christian" stuff came along. Hail to those who don't need a book to tell them right from wrong.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • George


      To get forgiveness, you have to repent and ask for forgiveness.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • God

      George, you are not right with me as long as you keep posting like a right wing nutjob.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • George


      You betray a fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity. Yes, we are all sinners. Some of us have repented and asked for forgiveness. Some continue to live in sin. There is a difference.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Thor

      Ohhhh ! Now I get it! I can kill someone and go out and kill someone and then "change my heart" and "repent" and "ask for forgiveness" and I will be forgiven? Will that undo the wrong?.... perhaps bring back the person I killed? Perhaps fix the hardship I created for the friends and family of the one I killed? ..... but.... all that is not part of the "christian forgiveness" cycle, nor is it part of the CURRENT "christian" story book. Guess that makes "christians" better. .... especially when they wear their religion in public while running for political office.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • George


      First of all, you are committing blasphemy by posting as God. Secondly, I am ultraconservative. Only liberal loons consider ultraconservatives to be "nut jobs".

      January 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Thor

      .... and for those who are "forgiven" and "reborn".... I guess that little phrase "let those who are without sin cast the first stone" or " we are all sinners" does not apply any more. You are perfect if you are "christian".... I get it.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • George


      Yes, that's right. If you kill someone and later get your heart right with God and repent, you will not be held accountable before God. Jesus paid your price. That does not, however, relieve you of temporal punishments, i.e. execution by the state.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • OhPlz

      "You betray a fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity. Yes, we are all sinners. Some of us have repented and asked for forgiveness. Some continue to live in sin. There is a difference."

      You're still a sinner George you will continue to sin and therefore go to hell like the rest that you pass judgment on. LOL!

      January 4, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • Thor

      Maybe that repent stuff is good enough for some peoples well being..... seems the forgiven here, who have "repented" are without any sin.... fascinating!

      January 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • George



      January 4, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • God

      @George: you're committing blasphemy just by existing. I am going to smite you if you don't stop misusing your employer's internet by posting small minded nonsense on blogs.

      January 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • Debra Martinez

      For it is written that , not all man are men of the True God!! For it is written Matt 7:13,14 Go in through the narrow gate: because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it, (14) whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.

      January 6, 2012 at 6:23 am |
  10. Robert

    Amen to a thoughtful approach to complex issues.

    January 4, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  11. Reality

    Only for the "newbies":============================================>

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

    Once again, all the conservative votes in the country "ain't" going to help a "pro-life" presidential candidate, i.e Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, Newton Leroy Gingrich, Ron Paul or Rick Santorum, in 2012 as the "Immoral Majority" rules the country and will be doing so for awhile. The "Immoral Majority" you ask?

    The fastest growing USA voting bloc: In 2008, the 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year i.e. 78+ million "IM" voters in 2012.

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

    69,456,897 for pro-abortion/choice BO, 59,934,814 for "pro-life" JM.

    And all because many women fail to take the Pill once a day or men fail to use a condom even though in most cases these men have them in their pockets. (maybe they should be called the "Stupid Majority"?)

    (The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions ( one million/yr) and S-TDs (19 million/yr) in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or condoms properly and/or use other safer birth control methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.)

    January 4, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  12. George

    Rick Santorum is my man, and it looks like he is going to win in Iowa. He is an upright man of faith.

    January 3, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • 0G-No gods, no ghosts, no goblins!

      Who is ready to start a war with Iran. That alone should cause Obama to win.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Sampson

      Iran is not strong enough to win any war against us. But they might win against Iraq or Afghanistan. We aren't necessarily the target.
      Iran may be getting ready to invade a neighbor.
      The Ayatollah Khomeni is still around and looking pretty healthy compared to Bin Laden. He is running much of this show.
      We aren't going to attack anyone without proper provocation, regardless of who is in the White House.
      Defense isn't about party lines, it's about doing things right.
      It's not about religion either, but about doing a good job of defending this country regardless of religion.
      You go mixing religion into foreign policy and you might as well insult and attack all our allies, including NATO, because a religion can and will always be "interpreted" to mean whatever you want it to mean. That's no way to run a country.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:33 am |
    • HotAirAce

      As is so often the case, George was wrong – Romney wins!

      January 4, 2012 at 2:37 am |
    • Sampson

      Maybe George is always celebrating "Opposite Day" and does everything wrong on purpose for, of course, the wrong reasons.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:47 am |
    • MarkinFL

      "We aren't going to attack anyone without proper provocation, regardless of who is in the White House."

      Iraq anyone? Or do fabricated reasons count?

      January 4, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • George


      First of all, since you are Canadian, our elections don't concern you. However, just a couple of weeks ago, people scoffed at me for saying that Santorum and Bachman represent my values. Now where is the scoffing? Santorum missed winning by a hair. And now that Bachman has dropped out, he will pick up many if not most of her votes. When Perry is gone then Santorum will get stronger still. Even CNN is reporting that Romney's poor showing, albet a win, is cause for concern for his campaign. Keep in mind that Santorum spent very little and Romney has spent a lot. Now Santorum will start to pick up support since he is now seen as a viable candidate. I look forward to Santorum winning the nomination. He will crush Obama in the general election. And he will crush Iran once he is president.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • OhPlz

      "And he will crush Iran once he is president."

      You're an idiot, now you proved it to the world.

      January 4, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Chuckles



      Plus, he's a catholic, which doesn't exactly sit well with the evangelicals. I have a feeling Ron Paul may make a surprise showing and a grab for the evangelical vote.

      Also, everyone in the world is invested in the US elections, being we're a super power and our president is at the helm, the world should be paying attention and probably give input, it could help our country contain the crazy ie; you

      January 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Frank

      "Rick Santorum is my man, and it looks like he is going to win in Iowa. He is an upright man of faith."

      Rick Santorum voted for spending, more spending which is not a Christian value. We Christian’s live within our means. Rick was part of the problem that created to the deficit. I’m Taxed Enough Already and Rick Santorum would spend more raising my taxes.
      Rick Santorum voted for and openly supports foreign aid to Muslim tyrants who hate Israel which breaks two Christian values, aiding Israel’s enemies and welfare internationally.
      Rick Santorum openly supports defending Muslim tyrants like Saudi Arabia who hate Israel. Rick also openly supports arming Muslim tyrants who hate Israel like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Egypt. Helping Israel’s enemies is not standing with Israel.
      Rick Santorum wants more spending as seen by his record.
      Rick Santorum wants more foreign aid. (International Welfare)
      Rick Santorum wants to arm, aid, and defend Muslim tyrants who hates Israel.
      I do not see how any Christian can vote for Rick Santorum
      I do not see how any Conservative can vote for Rick Santorum
      I do not see how any TEA can vote for Rick Santorum
      Please look yourself and you will see how contradicting Rick Santorum really is.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • OhPlz

      "Rick Santorum is my man, and it looks like he is going to win in Iowa. He is an upright man of faith."


      Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) issued a report in 2006 entitled "Beyond DeLay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and five to watch)." From their site: "This encyclopedic report on corruption in the 109th Congress documents the egregious, unethical and possibly illegal activities of the most tainted members of Congress."

      Santorum was one of only three senators named in the report.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • George


      He will work to bring our domestic laws more in line with Christian values and will deal a death blow to the secularism that is currently taking over our nation. He may even support the Christian Amendment to the Const.itution, though I'm not sure that he's been asked about it.

      January 4, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Stewart

      ~~~Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) issued a report in 2006 entitled "Beyond DeLay: The 20 Most Corrupt Members of Congress (and five to watch)." From their site: "This encyclopedic report on corruption in the 109th Congress documents the egregious, unethical and possibly illegal activities of the most tainted members of Congress."

      Santorum was one of only three senators named in the report..~~~~

      I don't think George did any homework on this guy. It just proves how gullible religious nuts like George are and why religion such a great money making scheme.

      January 4, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
    • hmm...

      'He will work to bring our domestic laws more in line with Christian values...'

      George means 'be a big judgmental pr!ck to everyone he meets'. Hey George, you do realize it's just Iowa? Iowa's full of nothing but corn and radicals. That's where we keep them, so we can keep an eye on them and vote against their craziness.

      January 4, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
    • cowboysblowgoats

      "people scoffed at me for saying that Santorum and Bachman represent my values"

      Three loons don't make a right.

      " And now that Bachman has dropped out, he will pick up many if not most of her votes"

      Yeah, all five of them

      " Now Santorum will start to pick up support since he is now seen as a viable candidate"

      He hasn't been a viable candidate for anything since getting tossed out of PA by a 2-1 margin.

      I look forward to Santorum winning the nomination. He will crush Obama in the general election.

      That's laughable. He has no chance against Obama. Rick Santorum is certifiably insane. The best case scenario for the GOP is Romney.

      January 4, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • George

      Rick Santorum is a man I can come out of the closet for.

      January 4, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Santorum is not the pick of the GOP elite. It's just a matter of time before dirt comes out about him.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Blind

      Do you truly believe that any man of politics these days even can be an honest man? Let alone faithful? If he was truly honest wouldn't he call out the corruption of his running mates and staff if and when he came across it just as Jesus would? Can you truly see him trying to explain to a pentagon briefing room that the best precautionary measures for the defense of their strategic oil and gold reserves is whatever Jesus would do? Or that the provisions for the budget of the fed should be alloted as per decreed by St Augustus to the feasts of celebration? These men don't know Jesus and Jesus doesn't know them. To not bear false witness you must also only speak the truth. In order to speak the truth, you must have an understanding of what is real. You can't understand whats real if you fight against knowledge, which has been a constant spin on the teaching's of Jesus, the one never called Christ by any man that knew him.

      January 4, 2012 at 11:28 pm |


    January 3, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Keith

      Wrong Troll.
      Mat 7:21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

      Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

      Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

      January 4, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • Stuart UK

      Actually, Hitler was a catholic until the day he died.

      January 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Thor

      Hey Stuart! So you are saying Catholics are not Christians?

      January 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  14. The big fat referee

    Why doesn't Jeebus just stop by, and tell them, once and for all, who he wants to win the Iowa Primary. Why drive them all CRAZY ? Oh wait, they were already crazy. Well.....never mind.

    January 3, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  15. REALITYpunchesYOURfaceOFF


    Religion + politics.

    notice how they keep smashing them together?

    January 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      Yeah, kinda like "People + Opinions."

      Welcome to the REAL reality, where people have opinions that differ from yours.

      January 3, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • REALITYpunchesYOURfaceOFF

      you must not be familiar with the separation of church and state

      politics and religion do not mix

      thats not an opinion

      you may kindly shove yours

      January 3, 2012 at 11:04 pm |
  16. dtw888

    Without faith, how could families stand? without families how could the youth be protected? without faithful youth, where is USA's future? No Christ, no future for America, period.

    January 3, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      That's a pretty big leap to take. Religion does not hold a monopoly on values, ethics, or morality.

      January 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • The Bling Thing

      1 + 2 = 5

      January 3, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Root post by dtw888 is a form of non sequitur fallacy.


      January 3, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • The big fat referee

      False premise foul, (religion is the source of ethics and morality). 10 yard penalty. Fourth down. Consider a punt.

      January 3, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      None of us want a future stuck with a bunch of religious idiots that actually think some imaginary pal is going to gallop down from the sky on his rainbow-farting unicorn. Get real. No religion is the way to go. It's a terrible shame that religious belief isn't a crime punishable by death. If it were, then maybe people would wake up and stop believing in the sky fairy.

      January 3, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @The big fat referee,

      And what evidence do you have that ethics and morality came exclusively from religion? There is more evidence of cultural and evolutionary influences playing a larger role.

      January 3, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      @The Big Fat Referee

      Referees do not offer advise on the next play. 😉


      You missed the point of Ref's post–he was _criticizing_ the idea, not agreeing with it.

      January 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • dtw888

      All of you above six ladys/gentlemen, you must have at least one of the following symptoms happened to you:
      (1) Divorced or have divorced parents;
      (2) None loyal relationship with you wives/husbands;
      (3) Drug and similar addictions;
      (4) Mental illness or unexplainable nightmare or physical pain.
      (5) Never settled restless.
      (6) None lasting friendship.
      (7) Self conflicting judgemental reference on social and moral issues.

      You do not need openly acknowledge them, but if YES, you know what are the root cause. And those are exactly happening to this generation. I just point out the root cause of these problems. You maybe accept them as normal, but if you know there is one solution, you shoul not think them NORMAL.

      January 3, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • REALITYpunchesYOURfaceOFF


      you think religion is the answer? lol

      perhaps we should choose the religion that tells us we should put gays to death – christianity

      or the one that tells us to kill people that arent following our god – islam and christianity

      gosh i wonder which faith is the best one

      January 3, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • The big fat referee

      Sorry, THAT was the false premise. Religion is NOT the source of morality and law.

      January 3, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • The big fat referee

      Those problems are not unique to "this generation". If you really think that, your History education is sorely lacking.

      January 3, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • TL

      Fallacy Spotting 101

      Correct, identify, or eliminate your bias.

      January 3, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • George

      There is no morality without God.

      January 3, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Is this the same George who will vote for Newt if he becomes the GOP presidential nominee even though Newt is a a fornicator?

      January 3, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
    • derp

      I am at a complete and total loss to explain how my atheist self, my atheist wife, and my two atheists children live a happy fulfilled moral life without the help of the magic sky fairy and his unicorn riding, resurrected, superhero son god.

      Maybe we are simply good people?

      January 4, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • umm

      With 2 legs, and a job.

      January 4, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Really?

      “There is no morality without God.”

      Which came first, religion or morality? Listening to religious people, you'd hear how people need religion's instructions, or else we'd be morally clueless. God comes first, then God's Law comes to humanity, and only then can people be good.

      But there's no good evidence for any part of this fable. Such a religious fable itself is a relatively recent creation, reduplicated in many forms all over the world. Different religions talk about all manner of strange supernatural agents perpetually obsessed with correct human conduct. (You'd think any actual self-respecting deity would have more interesting things to do.) Yet basic morality itself is remarkably consistent across human societies. Long before humans had language complex enough to spin stories of heaven, our distant ancestors had to deal with their own problems on earth.

      We are a highly social species, using social structures like monogamy, family, clan, and tribe. Our ancestors were using these structures at least 500,000 years ago. If you were suddenly plucked from your life and sent back in time to live with people in Indonesia about 15,000 years ago (or even Ethiopia 150,000 years ago), you would be able to figure out what is going on. The basic social roles, responsibilities, and civil rules would seem somewhat familiar to you, and you'd fit in pretty fast. How is that possible?

      Cultural anthropologists have long recognized how all human societies have similar basic norms of moral conduct. Marc Hauser, professor of evolutionary biology at Harvard University, has just published a paper about additional studies showing that people’s moral intuitions do not vary much across different religions all around the world. From an evolutionary perspective, that means that human morality is very old - old enough to pre-date any religion that exists today. Furthermore, basic morality is highly resistant to religious influence - most people easily reject religious rules that violate their basic moral intuitions. Rather, religions all tend to confirm and support human morality, because that essential morality sustains our schemes of social cooperation.

      Hauser concludes that

      "... religion cannot be the ultimate source of intra-group cooperation. Cooperation is made possible by a suite of mental mechanisms that are not specific to religion. Moral judgments depend on these mechanisms and appear to operate independently of one's religious background. However, although religion did not originally emerge as a biological adaptation, it can play a role in both facilitating and stabilizing cooperation within groups, and as such, could be the target of cultural selection."

      The rich diversity of supernatural fantasies hides their common function: to enhance willing obedience. Religion did not evolve independently from, or earlier than, our moral capacities. Morality is independent from religion, while religion is dependent on human morality.

      January 4, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Thor

      Christianity remained prdominate in Europe because Charles Martel won the Battle at Poitiers. Christianity spread to the Norsemen because Rollo was tired of the sea and he got bribed with an illigitimate daughter of the "christian" king Charles the Simple. Historically, the "christian" religions have destroyed in the name of "Christ" just to promote the selfish worship of a fantasy god. Read some history will ya?

      January 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Blind

      I do believe that the early followers of Jesus were kind of sort of in places they weren't exactly treated maybe the best they could have been. So by stating that there must be a Christian presence in government you're kinda unconsciously outlining the mind controlling hypocrisy you're indoctrinated into, of early Byzantine cultists who subverted a good religion and plugged 2000 years of pagan rituals into a philosophy that was about love and created the most hypocritical, torturous, murderous, blasphemous, demonic and satanic era of human history, that would have made the devil himself, if he happens to be real, enthralled and delighted at the inhuman acts perpetrated by men who's skill lay only in great fornication and great defilements, that can only be possessed by those that truly revel in the pain and the blood of the innocent. Only to be repeated in this day in age by brainwashed followers of a church that has never even taught a real sermon in their lives.

      January 4, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  17. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    To be in the full council of God
    Pray without ceasing in 2012

    January 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • ......

      Please hit Report abuse on AINHFCAOLT's frequent and repet-itive posts. They pretty much count as spam now. CNN does act on our complaints, especially if many of us report it.

      January 3, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Bob

      Everybody has the right to write about Prayer.

      January 3, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      I believe in the beauty of abortion and praying for laws that outlaw church and religion so that anyone that publicly speaks about their mindless belief in god or preaches in public gets shot on site by the law enforcements.

      January 3, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  18. ELL OH ELL

    The words "religion" and "relevant" do not belong in the same sentence unless it is to say religion is not relevant to anything, for any purpose.

    Wait, I take that back. Religion is relevant to mental cripples who are so incredibly stupid they are unable to accomplish tasks without the aide of an imaginary friend.

    January 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • Robokok

      Your muthers kunt is irrelevant – and old and stinky!

      January 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • REALITYpunchesYOURfaceOFF

      That the best you can do?

      Poor baby!

      January 3, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  19. Steen

    Santorum is a creationist Catholic. That alone should give pause.

    January 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Stein

      Steen – you must be a Jew with a name like that.

      January 3, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Robokok

      LOL@ Stein

      Hey Steen, that hook nose of your getting enough free air? Have you swindled any Gentiles today, you scheister! Did the rabbi give you "20% off" for your bris? Do you slander Catholics with your other heb friends with your smelly mouth full of garlic bagel, cream cheese and salmon, which lingers on your forked tongue all the live long day.

      Would you vote for an atheistic commie Jew like Bernie Madoff?

      January 3, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Stein and Robokok

      Wow talk about 2 very idiotic jacka.sses.

      January 3, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Robokok

      Hey Hawaii – don't you have some hula dance to go to? While you're there, stuffing your face with heart-clogging Spam, yell BOOK'EM DANNO!

      January 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      My what original and well thought out insults you have. Clearly I was wrong when your screen name suggested that you had the intillectual capacity of a whiny 10 year old.

      January 3, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      So tell me Robo, does your mommy and daddy know that you post mean things on the internet?

      January 3, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • derp

      Jesus was a jew.

      Santorum is a nutbag.

      January 4, 2012 at 10:11 am |
  20. S. Buck Pearl

    Well, goodnight my dear comrades! I have to sign off now. I volunteer at an all-night abortion clinic.
    My job is to grind up the chunky bits and then pour the goop into red plastic medical waste bags. Then it's off to bed at midnight. I've got to get some sleep too, because in the morning I've got another meeting with my local PETA chapter. I think were going after caviar farms next.

    Well – nighty night!

    Land, bread, and peace!

    (and Obama 2012)

    January 3, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • S. Buck Pearl

      Ps – we know we have to allow for enough caviar for Barack & Michelle, and Barbra Steisand, et Alia, but for the vast majority of people, we think keeping fish penned up like is cruel and inhumane.

      January 3, 2012 at 8:03 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.