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. Franciele

    Karen / Oh my goodness, she's preefct. Not that I expected anything less but she's more beautiful that I even expected. I can't believe that head of hair especially in comparison to Evan's. haha!Can't wait to see her in April! That's way too long from now.

    April 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  2. Donah

    Ninguno de los 2 partidos que se han judgao hasta ahorita han demostrado mucho, mira Argentina vs Bolivia, los argentinos andaban lentos, no tenian la misma definicion que tienen siempre, Bolivia les cerro los pasosy mucho futbol no mostraron, Messi tampoco brillo, Colombia vs Costa Rica, a mi parecer CR hizo lo que pudo jugo con su seleccion sub 23 y con 10 judgaores en el campo mientras que Colombia con todas sus estrellitas europeas y a duras penas saco una victoria muy cerrada

    April 1, 2012 at 2:27 am |
  3. Reality

    Having trouble deleting religion/God/Jesus/ evangelicals from your neurons? A quick and enjoyable solution !!

    Watch Julia Sweeney's monologue "Letting Go Of God"

    Buy the DVD or watch it on Showtime. Check your cable listings.

    from http://www.amazon.com
    "Letting Go of God ~ Julia Sweeney (DVD – 2008)

    Five Star Rating

    January 22, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  4. The Bitter Politics of Pity

    Newt Gingrich is expected to win in South Carolina.

    January 21, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  5. The Bitter Politics of Pity

    Just now Newt Gingrich is well ahead of Romney in South Carolina.

    January 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
  6. Kebos

    Cindy Costa looks deranged and any follower of Pat Robertson should be avoided like the plague.

    She's obviously out for spreading her deluded message to achieve her own brand of power and wealth. Pathetic.

    January 21, 2012 at 3:07 pm |

    Albert Einstein: God is a Product of Human Weakness
    The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.

    if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?

    January 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  8. An inconvenient truth

    Answer : zero
    Question : What are the chances of a Mormon entering the Kingdom of Heaven as a Mormon?

    January 20, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • Abinadi

      18 But the asaints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever.

      January 20, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Isaiah 2, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it." Utah is a Ute Indian word which means literally "top of the mountains". The "mountain of the Lord's house" refers to the Salt Lake temple.

      January 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Isaiah 29, "Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, even a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid."

      January 20, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Brad

      1 COR 1:21

      For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

      January 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Ezekiel 37, " 15 The word of the Lord came again unto me, saying,

      16 Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:

      17 And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. 19 Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand."

      The Bible is the stick of Judah and the stick of Ephraim is the Book of Mormon.

      January 20, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Brad

      Good night Abinadi

      January 20, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Abinadi

      You're right. It is late. Goodnight!

      January 20, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  9. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer causes small kids to get hit by buses when they aren't paying attention.
    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you crave the smell of kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    January 20, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  10. asdfghj

    Why doesn't this w-hore do everyone a favour and just shut up? Without dim w-its like her being instructed by some god to put Israel above everything and everyone else, maybe the 15% of the country or the voter block (forget which) that are evangelicals wouldn't vote for any of the candidates that would start WW3 - namely, Santorum (imagine missiles being sent in all directions), followed by Romney and Gingrich (who would attack Iran the day after the elections).

    January 20, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  11. Abinadi

    Usurpers and false prophets are always alone when they have their "visions". That is why the scriptures call for witnesses because the Lord knew that these things would occur. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13, "1 In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established." That is why we have witnesses to Jesus Christ's resurrection. That is why there were witnesses to all that Joseph Smith said, "Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come: That we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken. And we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true. "

    Three men saw an angel and the plates were laid before them!!!! Later, 8 more men saw the plates and handled them. This is the difference between Joseph Smith and the false teachers of the day. JOSEPH SMITH HAD WITNESSES!

    January 19, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Abinadi

      You can get the full account of the witnesses on the introductory page of the Book of Mormon. You can get more information and a free copy of the Book of Mormon at mormon.org.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Get Real

      The "Lord" could have just left the plates here, knowing the notorious unreliability of "witnesses".

      January 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Abinadi

      I am sure the Lord appreciates your suggestion.

      January 19, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Dr. Spencer B. Meredith, III

      How do you respond to Galatians 1:8 in light of 1) Luke 1:35 and Brigham Young's comments that Jesus was not created by the Holy Spirit and 2) John 1:1,2 vs. Milton Hunter's The Gospel Throughout the Ages pg 51?

      January 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Abinadi

      "8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." " 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. "Dr.,(I presume you are a protestant minister) If you will read my other posts, you will see very clearly that Paul was talking about you! Are you saying that Christ was the son of the Holy Ghost? It states very clearly that Jesus was the Son of God! Christianity has apostatized from the truth! Paul would not approve of the Protestant churches. He made that crystal clear in 1 Corinthians, "" 10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
      11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
      12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
      13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?
      14 I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius;
      15 Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name."

      Paul made it clear that he would belong to the Church of Jesus Christ and if he were alive today, he would belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Days. I urge you, Dr. Spencer, in the strongest terms to accept the truth of the restored gospel lest you be cursed! Paul's warning is to be taken seriously! Please go to mormon.org for more information and a one on one visit by our nonpaid mormon missionaries.

      January 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  12. AlC

    To those who love truth we offer a different understanding. Our understanding is not based on media reports but on the Word of God. People are outraged when they hear oru message even though this country is founded on freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Why do people get angry when somebody presents their belief? Check out our website at http://www.Hear-The-Truth.com

    January 19, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • abinadi

      This is not an LDS website. Go to mormon.org!

      January 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Hooo Boy that website is just chock full of all kinds of crazy.

      January 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • gupsphoo

      What is truth? Yaweh/Jesus is God according to Christians? Allah is God according Muslims? The Flying Spaghetti Monster is God according to Pastafarians?

      I don't buy any of that crap. I prefer EVIDENCE.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  13. abinadi

    Amos 3 says, " 7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets." The Bible is consistent. Jesus Christ is the "chief cornerstone" of his church. That means that he, himself, is the leader of his church and reveals his will through his prophet. There has always been a prophet on the earth when he has had a covenant people.

    Ephesians 2 says, "19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;" Jesus never intended that his saints (Christ's covenant people) be left without his personal direction, "14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" (Ephesians 14).

    We don't denegrate in any way the great reformers. They prepared the way for the true gospel to be restored, just like John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus Christ,and we honor them. But, they have done their work and their followers must give way to the higher truth. There is a living prophet on the earth today and twelve apostle! You can read their words on lds.org or mormon.org. The gospel is restored!

    20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;"

    January 19, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  14. Abinadi

    You know, none of the protestant churches could possibly be the true church because they all apostatized from the Catholic church and can claim no authority (Isn't that why we call them protestants?) Christ founded his church on priesthood authority. Hebrews 5 says, " 4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.
    5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee." Aaron was ordained to the priesthood by Moses, the prophet, and Moses received the priesthood from his father in law, Jethro. John 15:16 says: "16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit," Christ never intended that minsters and pastors run helter skelter preaching whatever they please and taking priesthood authority "unto themselves". He intended that his church be run by revelation administered by a prophet. Only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the organization of the original church and is administered by a prophet of God. It is the only church today that is administered by verifiable priesthood authority with most churches not even bothering with authority at all!

    January 19, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Claims in recent series of posts by Abinadi are repetitive instances of the No True Scotsmen fallacy.


      January 19, 2012 at 10:09 am |
    • Back to School

      Abinadi wants to come up with a definition for "protestant", or perhaps for "Christian". It's not a fallacy to put forward a new definition. Examples: No True Scotsman has never been to Scotland, or No True Scotsman has the minor allele for rs234567.

      January 19, 2012 at 10:25 am |
    • Reality

      The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.


      (references used are available upon request)

      January 19, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Kev

      I find it amusing that the Apostles Creed was set up by by historians and theologians since none of the apostles ever signed off on it in any version because those creeds were set up long after the apostles of the New Testament were around.

      I was coming across on some definitions from Miriam Webster:

      Definition of PROTESTANT
      1 capitalized a: any of a group of German princes and cities presenting a defense of freedom of conscience against an edict of the Diet of Spires in 1529 intended to suppress the Lutheran movement b: a member of any of several church denominations denying the universal authority of the Pope and affirming the Reformation principles of justification by faith alone, the priesthood of all believers, and the primacy of the Bible as the only source of revealed truth; broadly: a Christian not of a Catholic or Eastern church

      Definition of REFORMATION
      1: the act of reforming : the state of being reformed
      2 capitalized: a 16th century religious movement marked ultimately by rejection or modification of some Roman Catholic doctrine and practice and establishment of the Protestant churches

      Since protestant churches are based on the reformation, which is involves modifying Roman Catholic doctrine and if Roman Catholic doctrine actually was the true and original doctrine of Christianity, after all it's Roman Catholic doctrine which the vast majority of "normal Christians" base their beliefs on, then why modify the true and original doctrine?

      If the doctrines of Roman Catholicism were actually flawed and was no longer the full and complete Gospel of Christ, then how does reforming or modifying something that was flawed and incomplete to begin with make it whole and complete bringing the Gospel of Christ to its original value. If that is truely the case then the reformation brought about by the various protestant churches doesn't quite do the job. There needs to be a certified restoration that is certified by God

      January 19, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • The Further Adventures of Mr. Cuddles, Fluffy Kitten Of DOOM!

      I think you mean there is no true Abinadi phallus.

      January 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • Reality

      "The word "apostle" has two meanings, the broader meaning of a messenger and the narrow meaning of an early apostle directly linked to Jesus Christ. The more general meaning of the word is translated into Latin as 'missio', and from this word we get 'missionary.'

      Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/twelve-apostles-1#ixzz1jwkmBepW

      January 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Abinadi

      Acts 1:22 Says that an apostle is a witness of Christ's resurrection. Modern apostles who are prophets of God would certainly be witnesses of his resurrection, since he lives and is at the head of his church.

      January 19, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • Reality

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/Disease:

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke's Gospel records it. The Assumption ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      Of course, we all know that angels are really mythical "pretty wingie talking thingies".

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,


      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      January 19, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Kev

      @ Reality, What? So you're saying that because there is debating among theologians about the validity of Christianity that Christianity is a con and should be done away with? Isn't that kind of like saying that any legislation proposed in congress should never be brought up to vote just because of the mere point that there is debating in congress over it?

      Also, since there is a lack of concensious among theologicians, doesn't that take some of the wind out of their sails as being the here all and end all when it comes to religion, since they can't all come to conclusion as to what the truth is?

      January 20, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Reality

      It is not a debate. It is a thorough review of the historical records using the rigorous methods of contemporary historians, archeologists and theologians and the conclusions of said reviews.

      An example:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      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 doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      January 20, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Kev

      @ Reality, when such words as "probably", "viritually", and "more or less" are used amongst scholars, historians, and theologicians, they don't exactly evoke fact. That just simply reinforces the point that there is no consensus among them. If these scholars are so knowledgeable, why can't they come to a universal resolution? Knowledge is knowledge isn't it?

      Also, the whole thing about certain rabbais reinterpretating scripture based on certain anthropological studies on recent years, doesn't that just simply mean that ones understanding changes over time? Paradigms do change over time among scholars, so what is ones truth today may not be the truth in the future, or in other words what is one's understanding to be truth today that same understanding may no longer hold water in the future.

      Even if there hasn't been one shard of Israelite pottery found, that doesn't mean they have all stopped looking. Just because certain things cannot be proven to be true doesn't necessarily mean you could just automatically assume the opposite to be true. You could make your own conclusion or belief based on the evidence or the lack thereof, but that conclusion does not necessarily mean that it is the absolute truth.

      January 21, 2012 at 1:54 am |
    • Reality

      Unfortunately, there were no CNN's, ABC News, NBC news, cameras, recorders and newspapers in the biblical time periods.

      January 21, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Kev

      @ Reality, True, if only those news agencies could have covered it. However, I do wonder just how good their coverage would have actually been anyway.

      January 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
  15. Abinadi

    It is the Protestants and Catholics who have changed the true doctrine. A good example is the Nicene creed. The Nicene Creed is nowhere in the Bible. It was totally fabricated by Constantine and his council of pagans, Capadocians, Nicenes, Gnostics, Arians, Apolinarians, Greek mystics and others who had an agenda. Constantine didn't know any doctrine. He just wanted peace in his empire from all the factions who were fighting over doctrine. He just settled for the first thing that the majority could agree with. The sad thing is that there were probably people there who knew the truth, but couldn't prevail over all the other factions – doctrine by committee! Paul would not have approved of the mess christianity is in. He said, "5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism," (Ephesians 4) Obviously, there can not be more than one true church or more than one true doctrine. The question is, which one? We invite all to visit mormon.org for the answer. Christ taught the true doctrine of the Godhead when he suffered himself to be baptized by John. In Luke 3:21,22 we read, "21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
    22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."

    This is the true doctrine of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost which was taught by the Bible – that the Father and Son are two separate beings and which Joseph Smith, the prophet, was able to comprehend better than all the false teachers were able to for 2000 years.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • Abinadi

      The Protestants are changing the Bible to agree with their distorted views. An example is John 3:16, "16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only BEGOTTEN Son,". The Protestants have taken out "Begotten" and replaced it with "his one and only son", which totally distorts and changes the original meaning of the scripture. They do this because they realize many years later that their teachings are not in harmony with the Bible. How embarrassing!

      January 19, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Reality

      They are called the Infamous Angelic Cons:

      Joe Smith had his Moroni.

      "Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."

      Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;

      Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).

      Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.

      The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.

      Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".


      "The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
      Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:

      "TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."

      And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:

      "In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."

      "The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "

      "The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "

      January 19, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  16. Abdullah the Butcher

    I want to put my fat Weiner up her rump.

    January 19, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  17. Reality

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are 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!!!!

    January 19, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  18. myklds

    Romney and Tebow are clear manifestations of God's power working to His people.

    January 19, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Do you seriously believe that?

      January 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Paula Weinstein

      That must be why Romney is for NDAA right?

      January 19, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  19. billy mays

    Hi y'all .... check out the religion yo9ur new Ken Doll Presient is in to! Wow ....hey this is the USA ...freedom of religion .....but this guy with this belief system has his fangers on the button ....the big red button .....just remember that .... also remember we have Freedom of SPeech and religion and while i dont agree with what you say i will fight to the death for your right to say it .....

    just sayin ....christians for Mitt is questionable I am thinking .....OH here is the cartoon they all watched for years and believed in


    January 19, 2012 at 4:16 am |
    • Abinadi

      A very distorted view of Mormonism. I've been a member for 63 years and I've never heard 1/2 of that stuff. Jesus had 3 wives, really? Like all lies, it has a grain of truth, but even that is presented in a very distorted fashion. I wonder what the Baptists would think if I made a cartoon and ridiculed their beliefs and showed it to all the Mormon congregations, but we don't ridicule other religions in our chapels. We focus on Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer and his teachings – and it is the Jesus Christ of the New Testament. We focus on the teachings of the Bible the way other Christians claim to, but don't. Maybe as I have time today, I will talk about some of those protestant teachings that don't come from the Bible.

      January 19, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  20. Ban Religion

    Religion of every kind needs to be banned from every medium on the face of the Earth. I'm all for retracting freedom of religion and replacing it with "belief will get you sent to a special camp where you get to work for free." Maybe when enough christians realize that prayer isn't getting them out of breaking rocks into smaller rocks 20 hours a day they'll stop believing in fairy tales. Then again, these tards will think it's persecution and cling hopelessly to their bibles. Just kidding, no bibles allowed in special rock breaking camp!

    January 19, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • gupsphoo

      It's not feasible to ban religion because gullible people will always exist. It would be sufficient if we could make sure religious people would stay away from politics and science.

      January 19, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • circu.mcise all atheists (they're stinky)

      To the original poster

      Your point of of view has some points. But...would you mind keeping it by yourself and quit ra.mming it down to other people thr.oats?

      January 19, 2012 at 7:37 am |
    • abinadi

      You would have made an excellent Roman Emperor! Have you ever considered changing careers?

      January 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      @Ban Religion

      "Then again, these tards will think it's persecution and cling hopelessly to their bibles."

      You do realize that you just detailed a plan to enslave and persecute the religious, and that they would be correct in thinking that don't you?

      January 19, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Prior

      "Those who abandon the path are evil." – "Blessed are those who walk in unison."

      "Hallowed are the children of the Ori."

      January 19, 2012 at 4:03 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.