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January 18th, 2012
11:20 AM ET

Evangelical for Mitt: A South Carolina power broker promotes the frontrunner

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. ET for the CNN/Southern Republican Presidential Debate hosted by John King and follow it on Twitter at #CNNDebate. For real-time coverage of the South Carolina primary, go to CNNPolitics.com or to the CNN apps or CNN mobile web site.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (CNN) – You’ve probably never heard of her, but Cindy Costa’s tablemates at a Sunday prayer breakfast here hint at her influence.

Inside a hotel ballroom bulging with 400 socially conservative activists, Costa is seated with the headliners: White House hopeful Rick Perry and political operative Ralph Reed.

And when Rick Santorum and his wife Karen arrive at the Sheraton’s Ballroom E about 10 minutes into the program, they join her table, too.

It’s doubtful that many of the press photographers descending around Costa to snap pictures of Santorum and Perry, heads bowed in prayer, could identify her. But the power players seated around Costa know she’s a South Carolina Republican institution.

“In a critical early primary state, Cindy has bridged the historic divide between faith-based grassroots activists of the party and the old guard,” says Reed, who’s known her for 20 years. “That can be a much more difficult mating dance than it appears.”

Indeed, with the South Carolina presidential primary just days away, Costa – perhaps more than anyone in the state – embodies the mix of establishment party power and evangelical fervor that will determine the outcome here.

If she has her way, that outcome will be a victory for the candidate whose name she wears in a bright blue pin in her lapel: Mitt Romney. Costa says her support for the candidate is largely rooted in her evangelical Christian faith.

For 15 years, Costa has served on the 150-member Republican National Committee, the party’s governing body. But she says it’s her relationship with God, not politics, that guides her life.

“Happy New Year. God bless you!” she tells Republican activists swinging by her table at the prayer breakfast to say hello.

“My faith is the most important thing – my husband and family are second,” the mother of four says later, crossing the street outside the Sheraton to pick up her credentials for the following night’s presidential debate.

For Costa, Romney is a brother in Christ and a devoted family man – and the one candidate with the intellect and organization to defeat President Obama. “If Romney gets the right Congress,” she tells many activists she meets, “you’re looking at another Ronald Reagan.”

And yet Costa is clear-eyed about the challenges the former Massachusetts governor faces among many Bible Belt evangelicals, who are expected to constitute around 60% of voters in the Saturday primary here. Many are wary of Romney’s religion and past support for abortion rights.

Despite Romney’s strong showing in recent South Carolina polls, more than a few activists at the Sheraton are backing Santorum, the dyed-in-the wool culture warrior.

Whether Costa can coax people like them over to her side will go a long way in determining whether South Carolina anoints Romney as the all-but-certain Republican nominee or derails his march to the nomination, handing a victory to Santorum, Perry or Newt Gingrich.

No one knows that more than the Romney campaign, with senior campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom calling Costa a “good friend to Mitt and Ann Romney.”

“She's very down to earth, honest and sincere,” Fehrnstrom says. “Having her on the team is a big boost for us.”

For Costa, any concerns about Romney’s Mormonism were put to rest at a 2008 forum she attended in upstate South Carolina, an evangelical stronghold, at which the candidate spent half a day taking questions from pastors.

“They asked who he thought Jesus Christ was, and his answer was that Jesus Christ was his Lord and savior,” Costa says. “And I said, ‘OK, here we are. That’s what I believe.’”

Many evangelicals part company with Costa on that point. Though Mormons consider themselves to be Christian, surveys show that about half of white evangelicals don't think they are.

“I will let Romney define who he is,” Costa says. “If he says Jesus Christ is his Lord and savior, who am I to say ‘No, he’s not?’”

Roots of Mormon support

There are other reasons Costa is keen on Romney and comfortable with his religion. A day spent campaigning with Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, and a Romney daughter-in-law, Mary, in 2008 made Costa’s support for the candidate personal.

The committeewoman crisscrossed South Carolina with Ann and Mary on a campaign bus, with Ann delivering speeches at stops along the way.

“Relationships are a powerful thing,” Costa says. “When I was on the bus with them, I just felt like I was with people in my church. I felt like they were no different than me.”

Four years ago, plenty of other South Carolina evangelicals appeared to feel differently, with Romney placing fourth behind John McCain, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson.

Costa, for her part, tends to be open to people from other religions. Her stepfather, who she has called “Dad” since he moved in with her family when she was 2, is Jewish.

Her mother had Southern Baptist roots, and the couple largely ignored both traditions, making for a secular household. But when an aunt took 7-year-old Cindy to a Baptist church one Sunday, she was hooked – though not necessarily on Jesus.

Costa says she grew up poor – her stepdad was a mail sorter – and she fell hard for the church’s supplies of crayons and orange juice.

The Charleston church’s Sunday School teacher, whom Costa knew as Miss Hopkins, would pick her up from home and take her to church every Sunday morning for the next decade.

“She saw a child that needs support in a household where she’d not been given that opportunity,” Costa says. “She will get credit for me in heaven.”

Costa’s dad didn’t bring up his Judaism much, except when his adolescent stepdaughter once asked why he hadn’t formally adopted her. “I didn’t want you to live with a Jewish name because I know it could be a really negative thing,” he told her. “It could affect who would even date you.”

Costa was grateful: “What great love that he was looking out for me.”

‘A culture in a moral decline’

Costa wasn’t too interested in politics until she saw Ronald Reagan. It was 1976, and he’d come to the Charleston County Republican Convention seeking support for his bid to wrest the party’s nomination from President Ford.

Smitten by Reagan, the 20-year-old Costa was miffed to find she couldn’t get a seat as a delegate at the convention. The reason: Her voting precinct had never been organized.

So Costa vowed to organize it, setting in motion her decades-long rise through county, state and national party machinery.

A stay-at-home mom in the 1980s, her budding activism was motivated largely by her born-again faith and her growing family. The fledgling “family values” movement, bent on restoring school prayer and overturning Roe v. Wade, spoke to her.

When Costa stumbled upon Pat Robertson’s “700 Club” on TV, she thought she’d found President Reagan’s successor: “He was the first one that seared into my heart that we were a culture in a moral decline.

“That was around the time we found out about AIDS, and Robertson was telling people you can’t do this,” she says, referring to homosexuality. “It seems like a simple thing, but no one wants to say that because it could hurt someone’s feelings.”

Costa volunteered for Robertson’s 1988 presidential campaign. Though the candidate faded after a strong finish in Iowa, he put evangelicals like Costa on the political map.

She would go on to help launch the South Carolina chapter of the Christian Coalition, which rose from the ashes of Robertson’s campaign, and she became state prayer chairman for the group in the 1990s.

Her eldest daughter, Jenny, remembers watching her parents being interviewed on NBC News on Election Night 1994 about the swelling ranks of evangelical voters. Hours later, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years.

“There were some evangelicals at the time saying that politics is dirty and they should stay out of it,” says Jenny Costa Honeycutt, now a Charleston lawyer who was 15 at the time. “And my parents were willing to stand up and be heard. That was a big night for me.”

For Cindy Costa, the moral drift that Pat Robertson discerned wasn’t limited to politics. She saw it in her church life, too.

The same year she joined Robertson’s campaign, the Costas left their longtime Episcopal church amid talk that Episcopalians would start ordaining gay clergy.

“Once you do that, you have to ordain any sinful person,” says Costa, who wound up co-founding a nondenominational, evangelical-style church with her husband Louis and others in James Island, just south of Charleston. “The Bible is very clear on that.

“You start hacking up the Bible and take out this little thing you don’t like and that little thing, and you have something that’s not the Bible anymore.”

All together now

If she sometimes talks like a culture warrior, Costa hardly looks the part.

A former Mrs. South Carolina who is often introduced as a “true Charleston belle” at political events, Costa has high cheekbones, shoulder-length blonde hair and looks at least a decade younger than her 56 years.

The wife of a plastic surgeon, she says she's "benefitted from her husband's services" but won't discuss specifics.

She favors black scarves, knee-high boots and Ann Taylor dresses that are inexpensive enough that she can discard them with a clear conscience after a single season.

Costa, in other words, has the style of a card-carrying member of the national political establishment, which she officially joined in 1996 when she was first elected as one of the state’s three members of the RNC. (She is currently seeking a fifth four-year term.)

Like many of the political rebels who campaigned for Robertson against George H.W. Bush almost 25 years ago, Costa is now a party insider, balancing ideological stances on abortion with practical concerns like party unity.

“That’s a big change,” says Reed, who led the Christian Coalition in the 1990s. “These are no longer folks with funny hats whose noses are pressed against the glass of the party. Now they’re on the inside, they’re the party leaders.”

At a pre-debate reception on Monday sponsored by Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, Costa watches Reed and South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint throw out rhetorical red meat for a crowd of conservative donors before taking the floor herself.

But Costa strikes a decidedly different tone, calling on fellow Republicans to start thinking about the need for party unity after the brutal primary season passes.

“The eyes of the nation are on us tonight,” she says. “So behave yourselves, and smile for the cameras.”

Afterward, walking to a Faith and Freedom Coalition rally at which she’ll lead the Pledge of Allegiance before the five remaining Republican presidential candidates deliver remarks before the debate, Costa says the quest for unity is a hallmark of her life that’s rooted in the Bible.

She explains how she and her husband apply the principal at the plastic surgery center they run in Charleston, asking employees to resolve differences among themselves before coming to them for help. Cindy is the center's business administrator.

Perhaps nothing illustrates Costa’s pursuit of party unity – a preoccupation for any establishment leader - as much as her support for Mitt Romney, who many grassroots conservatives distrust in part because of his establishment backing.

After watching Romney deliver a well-received speech at the pre-debate rally, she darts off to be interviewed by a young evangelical radio host who broadcasts in the most solidly evangelical part of South Carolina, around Spartanburg and Greenville.

The host, Josh Kimbrell, is a Santorum supporter but asks Costa to talk about Romney.

“I had the opportunity to do a bus trip across the state with Ann Romney, and it was a real bonding experience,” she says, leaning into the microphone and wearing a pair of big headphones upside down so it doesn't mess up her hair before the debate.

“I’ve come to respect the family tremendously and just know he’d be a great president.”

When Kimbrell asks what she expects to happen after Saturday’s primary, Costa again picks up the banner of unity, sounding about as far away from a Pat Robertson culture warrior as you could imagine.

“As Republicans, we need to be winsome in our message, be kind and loving,” she says.

“There’s no reason to be hateful. That’s just not who we are.”

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Politics • South Carolina

soundoff (1,003 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Dear Cindy C,

    (and we continue to wait and wait again for your response)

    JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Most contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher man would do or say?

    January 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Cindy

      Still looking for that special someone "Reality"?

      January 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • john

      reality your wrong you dont know a thing about reality

      January 19, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Reality

      Only for the those interested in a religious update:

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

      “New Torah For Modern Minds

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

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

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

      2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      Current RCC problems:

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

      2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

      Current problems:
      Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

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

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

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

      Current crises:

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

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

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

      Current problems:

      The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.

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

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

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

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

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

      January 19, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  2. BigRed

    So surprising. Look another blond white person has joined to support Mitt. Yeah!!!

    January 18, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • john

      your a rascist

      January 19, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Hedwig, Helga, Holdine, Harald, and Heidrun

      Actually, she looks a LOT like Joseph Goebbels wife Magda. Seriously. Try googling images for Magda and see.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  3. Mittardus Romneveris

    I lost track of Cindidum Costaretardus. Don't tell my wife I was ah.........with it!

    January 18, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  4. john

    this is whats right

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IAhDGYlpqY

    January 18, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes lives
    Prayer is the refreshing of dawn
    Prayer is as when God bends down and kisses your forehead
    Prayer is the joy and fullness of life
    Demons fear and ridicule prayer
    Prayer opens the portals of heaven for all to see
    Prayer confirms Gods love
    Prayer really changes things

    January 18, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • bnb42

      Two hands working do more than millions clasp in prayer.......

      January 18, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • Nine changes things. The Frequency is Nine

      The frequency is nine.
      The frequency is nine.
      The frequency is nine.

      January 18, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Snow

      Prayer keeps hallucinations alive
      prayer feeds imaginary beings, but no living being
      prayer thins the line between truth and fiction
      prayer wastes time that could be used productively
      prayer causes people to rely on other's help
      prayer keeps people from trying to become self-sustained...

      January 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • An ode to Prayer

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJkq-U7_8ZA&feature=player_detailpage

      January 18, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • THE BIBLE IS GARBAGE

      WHAT THE HELL IS THIS ODE TO PRAYER GARBAGE?

      January 18, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
  6. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Small kids get hit by buses while distracted with praying.
    Praying fucks up your ability to detect bullshit.
    Praying will fuck up your knees if you do it long enough and make you constipated.

    Fuck prayer. Just go spend quality time with some friends instead and you'll do and feel much better.

    January 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • The Phist

      Praise the lord!

      January 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  7. Cougar Hunter

    Shhhhhh.....be very quite, this whole area here is being threatened by a man-eating Cougar. It is called the Cindidum Costaretardus. It's very dangerous and must be handled with great care......I will check back later as we get closer to its territory...

    January 18, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • congratulations!

      you fail at funny!

      January 18, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      CH, I think I smelled the Cindidum Costaretardus close by. Does the female of the species mark their territory? The animal seems to be on the prowl and circling around a Mittardus Romneveris! Fascinating!

      January 18, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Cougar Hunter

      My God.
      It is praying without ceasing in 2012. The Mittardus Romneveris in dumbfounded at this point and is looking for its mate.

      January 18, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • And Christine O'Donnell Is Still Not A Witch!

      Mittens Romperroomnius is not so much dumbfounded as he is founded on dumb

      January 18, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Serf

      'And Christine O'Donnell Is Still Not A Witch!"

      But she LOOKS like one. And she turned me into a newt (the animal, not the skeevy politician)

      January 19, 2012 at 2:38 am |
  8. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    January 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • The Phist

      prayer turned you into a broken record.

      January 18, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Ungodly Discipline

      Right on time.

      January 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      The joy of prayer is the joy of God
      Prayer confirms heaven
      Prayer confounds evil
      Prayer really changes things

      January 18, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Mirosal

      Sorry, your own beliefs negate your as'sumption that prayer changes anything

      January 18, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Theres gotta a be a way to get CNN to permaban "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things". Such an idiotic waste of time from a waste of space person.

      January 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Pray without ceasing in 2012
      Prayer angers demons
      Prayer confounds the wicked
      Prayer confirms heaven
      Prayer really changes things

      January 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • The Phist

      Hitler liked to pray.

      January 18, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • BigRed

      Prayer is fine if it is between you and whatever God or belief that is part of your life. It is highly personal (which blogging is not). It is reverant (which blogging is not), It is a communication (which blogging is not). Keep prayer out of schools, out of government, off this blog, and keep them to yourself where they belong.

      January 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  9. Penguin In Bondage

    It is almost time for "Prayer" to come out and play. Just another 15 minutes or so. I can't wait. I prefer praying when I pray.

    January 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
  10. Ungodly Discipline

    Always a fun read:

    The 10 Stupidest Things Pat Robertson Ever Said

    10. "Lord, give us righteous judges who will not try to legislate and dominate this society. Take control, Lord! We ask for additional vacancies on the court." –Pat Robertson

    9. "Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the ho.m.os.e.x.uals who want to destroy the Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history." –Pat Robertson

    8. "I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you, This is not a message of hate - this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor." –Pat Robertson, on "gay days" at Disneyworld

    7. "(T)he feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." –Pat Robertson

    6. "I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period." –Pat Robertson

    5. "I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God, you just rejected him from your city. And don't wonder why he hasn't helped you when problems begin, if they begin. I'm not saying they will, but if they do, just remember, you just voted God out of your city. And if that's the case, don't ask for his help because he might not be there." –Pat Robertson, after the city of Dover, Pennsylvania voted to boot the current school board, which inst.ituted an intelligent design policy that led to a federal trial

    4. "God considers this land to be his. You read the Bible and he says 'This is my land,' and for any prime minister of Israel who decides he is going to carve it up and give it away, God says, 'No, this is mine.' ... He was dividing God's land. And I would say, 'Woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the E.U., the United Nations, or the United States of America.' God says, 'This land belongs to me. You better leave it alone.'" –Pat Robertson, on why Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a massive stroke

    3. "Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up" –Pat Robertson, on nuking the State Department

    2. "You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with." –Pat Robertson, calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

    1. "It may be a blessing in disguise. ... Something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. Haitians were originally under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the third, or whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the devil. They said, we will serve you if you will get us free from the French. True story. And so, the devil said, okay it's a deal. Ever since they have been cursed by one thing after the other." –Pat Robertson, on the earthquake in Haiti that destroyed the capital and killed tens of thousands of people, Jan. 13, 2010

    January 18, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • TR6

      And to think he actually once ran for president

      January 18, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • The Phist

      I particularly enjoy quote 9, specifically because I've yet to see liberals building concentration camps for christians. I can't stand the democratic or republican parties, but these kinds of mindless accusations need to be written down in REALLY thick, heavy books. Then, those books, preferably 18 inches in length, 12 inches in width and 7 inches in thickness need to be turned sideways, and shoved aggressively up the rectums of the accusers. Praise him and all his mercies.

      January 18, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • The Phist

      Oh, and number 8. This is a funny one. I was there for this event with my ex wife and her son. Her son kept asking us questions about the t-shirts they were wearing. The t-shirts had phrases such as "spitters are quitters" and "I love d!ck" stamped on them. I'm not against gay rights, but I think if you're shooting for rights, people should try to go about it a different way. Using a venue directed toward children isn't exactly the best location for vocalizing bedroom activities.

      Pat is still is retard.

      January 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  11. Ken_In_ATL

    The lady endorsed Pat Robertson. Anyone with half a brain dismissed her immediately after reading that.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  12. The Phist

    Terrific. I'm looking forward to Presidential public addresses being made from the 700 club instead of the White House.

    January 18, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  13. SteveX

    This isn't about Ms. Costa's power brokering at "prayer meetings", it's about politics, power, influence peddling and the expectation of something in return. And the woman dares to call herself a christian??

    January 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • And?

      "Christians" have been all about those things for a while now.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  14. And?

    The only thing I've gathered from these comments is that Christians don't actually know their Bible or practice the teachings of their Christ. And they spend way too much time at anti-Mormon "sermons" because their greedy pastors' livelihoods are threatened by Mormonism, since they can't sell their brand of doctrine on it's own merits. Yeah, there's also some atheists in here, but most of them are obviously insecure in their atheism or are just jerks for the sake of being jerks. Oh, and please feel free to speculate what label I should place on myself, because that's always entertaining.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Your label? How about "He who Over Generalizes"?

      January 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • The Phist

      I wouldn't concerned myself with labels if I were you. Instead, I'd take a closer look at what you think you just said, which is inaccurate.

      Most christians don't spend their time with anti-mormon uselessness. They spend their time pretending to understand their own faith when the majority of them don't know 99% of what their bibles say. This much is evident in the abundance of comments made by them quoting scripture with clear misinterpretations they are regurgitating from their moronic pastors.

      Most of the Atheists that come here have a better understanding of the bible and know its contents far more in depth than the majority of the christians. If you pay attention, you'll find that Atheists will often quote scripture that proves that the bible is broken, in a very bad way. The majority of christians completely ignore this, with the exception of one christian I have spoken to who was actually able to give it some attention. Atheists are much more secure in their knowledge. After all, we aren't the idiots that deny evolution and believe in imaginary beings from a book that has been proven to be incorrect.

      January 18, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • The Phist

      concern*

      January 18, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  15. Byron

    She endorsed Pat Robertson....I mean, do I need to say more?

    January 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  16. acts 431

    I went to the gym this past Saturday morning, and the girl at the front desk asked for my ID. I said to her, "I forgot my ID, but I am Michael Jordan." Her reply was, "If you say you are Michael Jordan, that's good enough for me. Who am I to say you're not?!"

    I have no doubt Ms. Costa is a big-time power broker in South Carolina Republican politics. I am sure that everybdoy who wants to be somebody would die to sit at her table at fundraisers...er, I mean, prayer breakfasts. There is one more thing I know beyond a shadow of a doubt. Ms. Costa apparently does not know what a born-again Christian is, if she endorses Mitt Romney as a fellow Christian. The Mormon religion and Christianity are incompatilbe. It is impossible to be a Mormon and be a biblical Christian.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • And?

      You know that, huh? Methinks you don't and you don't know or get to determine who qualifies as a Biblical Christian.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Abinadi

      "32 And the mult itude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul." That pretty much excludes all protestants.

      January 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  17. Penguin In Bondage

    Who won the election?

    January 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  18. Debbie

    If Cindy is an evangelical power broker then Cindy is not a follower of Christ but of Politics. Using Christ for political power or gain is nothing better than what Judas Iscariot did. Toss Cindy 30 coins and call her what she is: a political player not a Christian.

    January 18, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Webster

      I like to think of them as polist*itutes

      January 18, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Undisciplined dog

      I'll throw 30 coins at every Christian for their politics.

      January 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  19. tony

    She grew up poor...her father was a mail sorter? Did he work for the USPS? I did not know they were considered poor. I think she was enveous Milt and jezebeled her way into a plastic surgeons bed and now she is thriving on fame...sad...BTW, President Obama said he believed Jesus was the Christ and the same group all called him a liar...

    January 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  20. Leucadia Bob

    A great friend of mine was going out with a psychotic hose beast. Defying logic itself, he refused to listen to his best friends and family's advice to get as far away from this sucubus as possible. Not only was I forced to spread rumors(and by this I mean facts that I knew were true) about her, but I also wrote a song called Meth Head Girl, that layed it on pretty thick. In the end, he got a restraining order and is on the mend. Check out the song-it's funny as hell: http://soundcloud.com/leucadiabob/meth-head-girl

    January 18, 2012 at 5:01 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.