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January 7th, 2012
10:00 PM ET

Reversing JFK: Santorum’s bid to marry faith and politics

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 also profiled the faith journey of Herman Cain before he suspended his campaign.

By Dan Gilgoff and Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editors

(CNN) - It was election night in November 2006, and Rick Santorum had organized a private Catholic Mass in a room at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. The senator from Pennsylvania had just lost his re-election bid.

The Mass, held just before his concession speech, included a priest and Santorum’s close family and staff. Though the occasion was somber, the soon-to-be-ex-senator aimed for a celebratory mood, said Mark Rodgers, then a top Santorum aide.

“Life is if full of what can be perceived as disappointments or hardships,” Rodgers said, “but Scripture tells followers of Jesus that we approach those situations with joy because there’s ultimate redemption.”

Santorum’s younger brother, Dan, remembers that many attendees - including the senator’s children - were weeping over Santorum’s landslide defeat at the hands of Democrat Bob Casey Jr.

But not the senator.

“You’d think he would have been crushed,” says Dan Santorum. “But he wasn’t even bitter. He didn’t complain. He just said it was God’s plan.

“That’s when I knew he was going to run for president of the United States,” Dan continued. “Because I think that God had another plan for him.”

It’s unclear if Rick Santorum, whose strong finish in the Iowa caucuses has breathed new life into his presidential campaign, interpreted his Senate loss the same way.

Santorum concedes his Senate seat in 2006.

But the hotel Mass, and Santorum’s apparent placidity in the face of an overwhelming defeat, illustrate what confidants say is the key to understanding him as a person and politician: a devout Catholic faith that has deepened dramatically through political and personal battles.

“When I first met him he was an observant Catholic but a fairly privatized one,” says Rodgers, who ran Santorum’s first race for the U.S. House in 1990 and served as a key Santorum aide in Congress for 16 years.

“The journey I saw him on was a gradual awakening to the importance of faith at an operational level within a democracy, the idea that free people need to have a moral foundation.

“The journey was also personal - growing in faith and sharing it with others,” Rodgers says.

Many politicians have ideological concerns about issues like abortion or gay marriage, but “in Santorum’s case, it’s fundamentally religious,” says Richard Land, public policy chief at the Southern Baptist Convention. “That’s the genetic code of his life.”

It’s also the part that most inspires his political backers - among them the Iowa evangelicals who helped fuel his stunning Iowa finish, eight votes behind winner Mitt Romney - and most enrages critics, who take deep offense at Santorum’s views on divisive issues like homosexuality, which he once lumped together with bestiality in a discussion of legal rights.

“I think it’s fair to say that he’s sometimes harsh in the way he makes those arguments,” says Michael Gerson, a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush.

Indeed, even Santorum’s own party is seeing a faith-based split around his presidential campaign, with evangelicals who dominate the primaries in states like Iowa on one side and more establishment Republicans in states like New Hampshire on the other.

As he works to convince skeptical voters he has a real shot at winning the White House, Santorum’s religious faith has emerged as both his chief political asset and his biggest liability.

Kennedy's ‘sealed off’ wall

His Catholicism may have deepened as an adult, but Santorum also has deep Catholic roots.

“Three pictures hung in the home of my devoutly Catholic immigrant grandparents when I was a boy,” he said in a speech last year. “I remember them well: Jesus, Pope Paul VI and John F. Kennedy.”

Santorum attended Mass with his brother, sister and parents virtually every Sunday. “You basically had to be on your deathbed not to go to church,” says Dan Santorum.

Both parents worked in a VA hospital in Butler, Pennsylvania. As teenagers, Rick and Dan would push the wheelchairs of patients to Sunday Mass in the hospital’s interfaith chapel. Rick would serve the Mass as an altar boy, wheel patients up to receive Holy Communion, then help his brother wheel them back to their hospital rooms.

Other than that, it was a conventional American Catholic upbringing in the 1960s and ’70s: The Santorums said grace before meals, sent their kids to Catholic grade school and spent absolutely no time discussing how religion influenced their public policy views.

American Catholics at the time were living in the shadow of John F. Kennedy’s famous 1960 speech in which he insisted that neither his faith nor his church would have any influence on his presidency.

Santorum would spend his political life trying to reverse the effects of Kennedy’s pledge. He argued that Kennedy “sealed off informed moral wisdom into a realm of non-rational beliefs that have no legitimate role in political discourse.”

During college and law school at Penn State, Santorum wasn’t especially observant; neither did his religious faith factor much into his political views.

After college he served as an aide to Doyle Corman, a moderate Republican state senator in Pennsylvania. Religion seldom came up.

“My husband and I are both pro-choice,” Corman’s wife, Becky, told The New York Times in 2006. “One of the interesting things about Rick is, the whole time he worked for us, we didn't know what his views were on that issue.”

Dan Santorum says a turning point in his brother’s faith life was his marriage to Karen Garver. They met in the 1980s while Karen was studying law at the University of Pittsburgh and Santorum was recruiting law students for the Pittsburgh firm where he worked.

“There was just a bond between them,” Dan says. “Part of that was that they shared their faith.”

That bond was on display last Tuesday during Santorum’s speech after the Iowa caucuses.

“C.S. Lewis said, ‘A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and can sing it back to you when you’ve forgotten the words.’ My best friend, my life mate, who sings that song when I forget the words, is my wife, Karen,” Santorum said before embracing her in a long hug.

Santorum bows his head in prayer during an Iowa campaign rally in January.

Sometime after arriving in Washington following his 1990 House victory, Santorum began attending daily Mass before work.

The Rev. Eugene Hemrick, who frequently leads Mass at 130-year-old St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill, says Santorum led Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback - who served with Santorum in Congress in the 1990s and 2000s - to the church.

“Santorum was always dressed up,” Hemrick remembers. “Brownback was in sweats a lot from running.”

The evangelical Brownback wound up converting to Catholicism, and the two were often joined in the pews by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

“When you know these people are out there, you do a little more homework before you preach,” Hemrick said of his high-profile flock. “You try to make it a little more meaningful to them.”

Moral codes and absolutes

The 1990 GOP freshman class, a small group that managed to win in a poor year for Republicans nationally, took a confident line in airing grievances to congressional and party leaders.

Santorum was part of the freshman “Gang of Seven” that exposed the House banking scandal, and he kept up his penchant for bold, against-the-grain gambits after his election to the Senate as part of the 1994 Republican Revolution.

Soon he was taking aim at the overriding culture-war issue of our time: abortion.

Santorum helped lead the effort to impose the first federal restrictions on abortion that could survive court challenges since Roe. v. Wade - a ban on the procedure critics call partial-birth abortion.

Faith and politics may have been separate in Santorum’s childhood home and the homes of other American Catholics at the time, but by the 1990s abortion had become the symbol for the infusion of conservative faith into American politics. The issue forged a powerful political alliance between conservative Catholics and evangelical Protestants.

On the wall of his Senate office, Santorum kept a picture of William Wilberforce, the British parliamentarian whose evangelical faith stirred him to lead the campaign that ultimately ended the British slave trade in 1807.

The senator saw his campaign for the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act as his “Wilberforcean effort,” says Rodgers, now a senior adviser to Santorum’s presidential campaign.

Santorum’s comfort with using his faith to shape his politics was partly a reflection of Catholic intellectuals he had met since arriving in the capital, including Richard John Neuhaus, a priest who edited the Catholic journal First Things, and George Wiegel, a theologian.

For Santorum, such figures and books by Catholic writers like St. Augustine instilled the sense that free societies need citizens who are governed by strong moral codes.

“How is it possible, I wonder, to believe in the existence of God yet refuse to express outrage when His moral code is flouted?” Santorum said in a ’90s-era speech at the Heritage Foundation. “To have faith in God, but to reject moral absolutes?”

For Santorum, legalized abortion represented the ultimate flouting of that code.

The Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act passed Congress in 1995, but President Bill Clinton vetoed it the following year. Santorum led a failed Senate effort to override the veto and helped revive the bill after the election of President George W. Bush, who signed it into law.

Such campaigns helped make Santorum a national hero to the anti-abortion movement and a bogeyman for abortion rights supporters.

“On the morning after the Iowa caucuses, there were millions of pro-life voters who woke up pinching themselves that one of their very own had emerged at the top rank of candidates, making sure it wasn’t a dream,” said the Southern Baptist Convention’s Land.

Around the time of the Clinton veto, Rick and Karen Santorum confronted a tragedy that added flesh-and-bone experience to their anti-abortion stance, which had up until then been intellectual and religious.

By that time, the Santorums had three children. While pregnant with her fourth, doctors told Karen her fetus had a fatal birth defect. In his 2005 book “It Takes a Family,” Santorum writes about Karen turning down the option to have an abortion.

“Karen and I couldn’t rationalize how we could treat this little human life at 20 weeks’ gestation in the womb any different than one 20 weeks old after birth,” Santorum writes. “So instead of giving our child a death sentence, we gave him a name: Gabriel Michael, after the two great archangels.”

The premature baby died two hours after birth. The next day, in a move that has widened the public opinion gap over Santorum, he and his wife took the dead body home so their children could spend time with it before burial.

“Gabriel died as a cherished member of our family,” Santorum writes in “It Takes a Family.”

Karen captured the episode in a 1998 book, “Letters to Gabriel,” describing to her late child the reaction of one of his sisters: “Elizabeth proudly announced to everyone as she cuddled you, ‘This is my baby brother, Gabriel; he is an angel.’”

For Santorum, who now has seven kids, holding Gabriel was a lesson about the fragility of human life.

Santorum, wife Karen, and his seven children.

“At that moment, eternity became reality,” Santorum writes. “After Gabriel, being a husband and father was different, being a legislator was different. I was different.”

Conservatism and the common good

Santorum has received a glut of media attention for how his religion shaped his culture-war stances, but allies say his faith has made him a compassionate conservative.

As a senator, Santorum was known for his work on poverty and combating HIV/AIDS. He says such efforts are rooted in the Catholic notion of working for the “common good.”

“Just as original sin is man’s inclination to try to walk alone without God,” Santorum writes in “It Takes a Family,” “individualism is man’s inclination to try to walk alone among his fellows.”

Santorum and those close to him say that impulse motivated his work on welfare reform during the mid-1990s.

Many conservatives “would have taken a fairly harsh view of welfare reform as a waste of taxpayer dollars,” says Rodgers. “Rick’s view was that publicly funded programs are justified when it’s for the least of these, which comes from Catholic social teaching.

“There’s a compassionate side of the Catholic faith that says you prioritize the poor in public policy, and there’s also the side that says work should be a component of that care, that not working strips you of your dignity.”

Santorum championed welfare-to-work programs in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act that Clinton signed, as well as the idea of charitable choice, which gave states the ability to partner with religious institutions to address social problems like poverty and addiction.

Success on welfare reform provoked Santorum and a handful of other religious Republicans in Congress to begin discussing conservative solutions to poverty and other social problems that had mostly been the province of liberals.

Among the participants in those sessions was Gerson, who would join Bush in Texas as a speechwriter in the run-up to his 2000 presidential campaign and bring some of the ideas of the congressional group with him.

One was a plan to start a federal program to help level the playing field for religious groups applying for government money to address social problems.

For Santorum, employing faith groups in such a campaign was partially grounded in the Catholic idea of subsidiarity, which calls for addressing problems closest to where they are. In many troubled communities, the thinking goes, the strongest local institutions are churches, ministries and other religious organizations.

The notion of outsourcing government programs to religious institutions also appealed to Santorum’s beliefs about government’s limits.

“The problems currently afflicting us reflect an impoverishment of the soul more than the pocketbook,” Santorum has said, quoting conservative education scholar Chester Finn. “Government is simply not equipped to address problems of the soul.”

The idea for a government faith-based program had critics on the left and right, who feared government-backed religion and a welfare system for churches.

“A lot of people have a hard time getting Rick Santorum because they’re used to a debate between liberalism and complete free market approach and he’s not either of those things,” says Gerson, now a Washington Post columnist.

Bush created the Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships via an executive order days after his 2001 inauguration. Santorum helped organize a conference to tell religious leaders from across the country about the new program.

“It was on that day that I decided to swallow my constitutional concerns about it,” says Richard Land, who attended the conference despite reservations.

“Seventy-five percent of the people attending the conference were either African-American or Hispanic,” Land says. “They wanted people who lived where the problems were making decisions about what should be done. They were in a lifeboat situation.”

Santorum was also a key Bush ally in creating the president's $15 billion global AIDS initiative, with the senator’s staff sometimes lending office space to rock singer Bono while he was lobbying for the program on Capitol Hill.

President Barack Obama has continued support for both the faith-based office and the global AIDS initiative. The programs are evidence that Santorum can be more than a culture warrior, and their staying power suggests he's gone a long way breaking through JFK’s sealed-off wall between religion and politics.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Politics • Rick Santorum

soundoff (2,874 Responses)
  1. Reality Jr.

    My dad will be here soon to post a bunch of swell paragraphs and quotes for you to read. Be patient.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • .........

      when they come hit report abuse on them all because it will all be repet itive bull sh it

      January 8, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Reality Jr.

      I cant do that then he will sent me to my room and take away my copy and paste privileges for a month.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

      I'm a realist, hope your dad is too. As a realist, we treat religion as p-or–n. We keep the primitive stuff away from kids, we let kids be kids without the brainwashing.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Reality Jr.

      My dad says to never talk to strangers who lure me into their cars with strange extremest ideologies.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  2. Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

    yep, a delusional freak. Instead he ought to be holding the catholic church, pope and bishops, responsible for the destruction to small childrens lives.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Winston Salem

      At least making them pay taxes. When industries pay taxes we forgive their crimes.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • just sayin

      Most children are victims of abuse at home, among trusted family members not in churches. Will you neglect families in your vengeance?

      January 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

      catholic church.. Highest percent of pedos of any other group, including failies

      January 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  3. DrVonBrain

    Republicans like Santorum think it is absolutely evil that big government can tell individuals how to live and intrude on the lives of others.

    Santorum does seem to make an exception to this rule when it comes to gays, women who want abortions etc.

    Santorum also portrays himself as a "family man" with "Christian values". But, the first thing he and the Republicans go after when they get elected are the sick and the poor.

    And a little off topic but I have to ask: Why does one have to close their eyes in order to pray? Is it because they are having difficulty seeing God?

    January 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  4. Zen

    You Americans have been criticizing the world and looks what's happening in you country after 911.
    About 3000 died and you guys have gone rabid and wild. What about the millions YOU have killed in Iraq, Afghanistan ?

    SHAME ON USA!!!

    January 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

      christians/muslims, all the same bunch of delusional freaks

      January 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Holy Cow!!

      Yes Zen, "WE Americans" are running wild & crazy in packs all over the world killing at random .. yes that's exactly how it is LOL.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • GAW

      Post troll face here

      January 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

      The reality is the more intelligent Americans keep their children safe from All religions, xtianity the most.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  5. Shadynuk

    Hitler in a sweater vest.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

      keep in mind that hitler was a devout catholic. Ever wonder why the vatican wasn't bombed? That the pope didn't stand up against hitler? That hitlers comrades were praised by the pope and bishops?

      The catholic church is filthy, disgusting. I was a catholic and I was sodomized by 4 priests, one a bishop today who is the popes sidebody. Is the pope a pedo too? Sounding more like it.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • An inconvenient truth

      Hitler was not a devout catholic. Hitler was a devout national socialist and devoted to his own deity. Hitlers gestures to Rome were as sincere as Hitlers gestures to Neville Chamberlain and about as honest. Do not be deceived Hitler was not a believer in any God except himself.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Time to be held accountable for crimes against humanity

      Hitler was a devout catholic carrying out the catholic mission. <– fact

      Why is it catholics have to dig through 10,000's of priests and bishops only to fine one or two that stood up against hitler? Yet the others were seen with him..

      Sorry, tired of catholick lies.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  6. DrVonBrain

    Santorum after his wife gives birth to their next kid: "I'm afraid I'm going to have to sell you all for scientific experiments!"

    January 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  7. m

    Yes, God has special plans for Santorum. Of all the people in the world he has been chosen by the Almighty above all other men. Of course Santorum is the only man that God has chosen. The other candidates pray to false idols. Life is good when one is a religious nut case.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Holy Cow!!

      But how do we know he ISN'T Gods choosen one .. how would we know who was Gods choosen one, if there ever was one?

      January 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • government spy

      I assume God would tell us, in the form of some flammable shrubbery or a flood lasting several weeks.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  8. Patriotism

    Another religious nut who wants everyone to believe what he believes, and forces them to do so.

    I have never heard something like this before... Bazinga.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  9. GonzoG

    I GREATLY respect Mr. Santorum's Faith. Faith can make someone a better person.

    HOWEVER–Neither Mr. Santorum nor ANY OTHER political official has the RIGHT or the DUTY to enforce their Religious Rules on ANY OTHER AMERICAN.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  10. christopher

    I could not care less whether Santorum was Catholic, Baptist, Jewish, Muslim or Athiest. What I do care about is that he is an unrepentant bigot hiding his hate behind his stupid god.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  11. Sheikh Abdul bin Bari bin Tar bin Jaari bin Maari

    Dear fellow Christians and Jews.... heh... heh...heh ... getting tangled in your own shoe laces and tripping ....eh ?

    January 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • cigarlover6

      yeahhhh.. just like in your sheikhdom... you fool

      January 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  12. liz

    Santorum wants to blend his VERSION of Catholicism with politics. When it comes to healhcare, social justice,etc. this candidate couldn't care less

    January 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Santorun Schmantorun

      Santorum once said that to him politics was just a game, and a sport. Can't wait till the media resurrects THAT little tid-bit of video, and starts to replay it. He's a gonner.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  13. Carmen

    Conservatives must be a sorry lot indeed if they need a politician to save their souls. I find it ironic that they are always accusing Democrats of treating Obama like he is a Messiah. Yet their candidates are constantly declaring that God told them to run for president and throwing their faith out there. Its like they expect their candidates to be vetted by God.

    January 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  14. government spy

    Seems like Right-Wing Christians always forget, one of the basic principles of Christianity is that God gave mankind Free Will.

    If God felt that He didn't need to decide everything for mankind, and that people deserved to make choices for themselves, why do so many Christians feel the need to take those choices away and decide things for the rest of us? Do they feel they know what is best for me more than their God does?

    January 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Holy Cow!!

      All they "know" is what they want and use the God concept in hopes fear will get then what they want.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Patriotism

      Yes, they want to tell what to think because, "Our tradition and morals are divinely inspired" Yeah sure let's go with that.

      God did give us free will, so they are turning around on their own religion by telling us what to do.

      So I always say, "Who's to say, what to say, and how to say it?" According to them, them.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • AtheistSteve

      Actually the principle or idea of free will isn't in the Bible. It is the result of Christian apologetics to address the problem of evil. As in why does an all loving God allow bad or evil to exist is countered by the 'excuse' of free will.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • captain america

      stevie continues to butt in where he is neither needed or wanted. stevie is a BS canadian and as such his opinion is worth dog crap to our political or religious systems. Thanks but no thanks steve we will figure out our own American business. Why don't you mind your own? Nobody want your bull sh it in canada? There's your sign

      January 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • government spy

      As I said, it is currently a main principle of modern Christianity. There are so many things currently practiced under the umbrella of "Christianity" that were never in the bible, it would be impossible to list them all. I just picked one of them that Santorum and his ilk seem to contradict the most often.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Holy Cow!!

      However Captain, Steve is correct!

      January 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • captain america

      Your opinion .
      if it is let the ass hole be correct in his own yard. There's your sign

      January 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  15. Nature_Just_Nature

    The Christian scripture is full of violence so is Jew's Talmud and the Old Testament. May the Nature help if these Extremists Christians or Extremist Jews come in power. That would be end of US, the way we hard it pre 911

    January 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  16. AtheistSteve

    This short video is frightening.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lETiqZTLzCk&w=640&h=360]

    January 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Roy

      There is a new fashion craze blnaizg through the creative world. The new WWSKD t-shirts, camera straps and other apparel. the acronym expands to What Would Scott Kelby Do?

      March 4, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  17. mbw

    Really, why all this uproar about Santorum and his Catholic faith? For scores of decades in the United States, Protestants and other Christians have championed the separation of church and state. This was an unabashed ploy to reduce the influence of the Catholic church in American politics. And this has suceeded. In over 200 years of this nations history, only
    one Catholic has ever been elected President. Now we have a situation where a Republican cannot be nominated for the presidency until he has received the litmas test of Fundamentalist, newly coined Evangelical, pastors and ministers. Where is the Protestant and Other Christians movement now? Apparently, separation of church and state only applies to Catholics. It is about time that Catholics exerted their their own voice in American politics. Even if it takes a third party movement to do it. I propose a Christian Democratic Party which would be a fiscally moderate, socially moderate, centrist party composed of Catholics and other catholics united for the benefits of all Americans, not just the Liberals to the left and the Conservatives to the right.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Hypatia

      Oh please!

      January 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  18. MikeB

    I wonder why we never read anything like this from the left wing press when Kennedy was running. For that matter, why haven't we heard something similar about that current Chicago gang banger in the White House and his "black power", "black church" nonsense. I mean, Holder is under orders to allow Black Panthers to harass voters, go so far as to murder people, and excuses them. Apparently, like ABC and Stephanopolus, CNN has dropped any pretense of being professional or balanced.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Bill

      Well said

      January 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  19. rlowens1

    Just say "no" to adults with imaginary friends.

    January 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Bill

      Eighty-two percent of Americans believe in God or a higher power.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Holy Cow!!

      Then 82% are delusional. Don't forget, there was a time when more than 82% believed the world was flat too.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Bill

      I'm not saying this is wrong or right, all I'm saying is that the vast majority of US citizens do believe in a higher power, and just ignoring that is foolish. You can choose to, but it's not going to make something go away.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Holy Cow!!

      True Bill, but we can't let a delusion take over the rest of us. When it come to the politics of the entire country, delusions need to be checked at the door.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Bill

      Name a single US president who admitted to being either agnostic or an atheist.......don't bother looking. You won't find a single one.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Posts by Bill, if being used as evidence for veracity of religious claims, would be instances of the ad populum fallacy as well as the appeal to authority fallacy.

      http://www.iep.utm.edu/fallacy/

      January 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Bill

      I'm just quoting facts readily available on the internet. I never made a single claim to being an authority. Google a couple of the things I've stated. You can find the answers yourself very easily, instead of making undeserved statements about me.

      January 8, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • Tray117

      LOL! Succinct, perfect.

      January 11, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  20. DrVonBrain

    I just realized how many of my own sperm have gone wasted over the years without producing life....millions and millions and millions.

    When I think about this, I reflect in shame and sing a little hymn to the Creator: "Every sperm's a good sperm. Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, GOD gets quite irrate!"

    January 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Less than an 10 minutes to football

      Do you know the Monty Python routine on the Dead Parrot too?

      January 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Less than an 10 minutes to football

      Excuse me, I'm here for an argument...

      January 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Patriotism

      The Catholic belief is that the soul is created a conception (yeah, okay, the thing can't even think).

      January 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Less than an 10 minutes to football

      No it isn't.

      January 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      The thing is, there is no "moment of conception". Ultimately, one could theoretically break down the process, first by better and better "clocks", into infinitely smaller and smaller time segments, and secondly, they never say "when" EXACTLY conception takes place. Is it when the sperm approaches the egg, (how close), or starts to enter the egg wall, or gets .4567245 of the way into the egg, or when it is all the way into the egg, or when DNA replication begins, or when it is .35672345176 % completed, or when there is 1.000000 complete replication or bla bla bla). It's all meaningless drivel by people who never stop to think about what EXACTLY they are saying. There is no "moment" of conception. 😈

      January 8, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • football's on

      Yes there is....

      January 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • llɐq ʎʞɔnq

      and that is ................................................................................:twisted:

      January 8, 2012 at 1:45 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.