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My Take: The myth and reality of the Catholic vote
The author argues there is not one Catholic vote, but three discrete Catholic votes.
February 20th, 2012
11:39 AM ET

My Take: The myth and reality of the Catholic vote

Editor's Note: Stephen S. Schneck is director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at The Catholic University of America.

By Stephen S. Schneck, Special to CNN

For years, pollsters and political scientists have been stumped about Catholics.

On one hand, it’s been pretty clear that as American Catholics go, so goes the nation. George W. Bush narrowly won the Catholic vote in 2004 and won a second term. Barack Obama narrowly won the Catholic vote in 2008 and, with it, the White House.

It’s easy to see why Catholics are sometimes seen as the swing voters whose shifting political preferences swing elections.

Nevertheless, the idea of a Catholic bloc is patently ridiculous. As voters, American Catholics mirror the electorate as a whole, divided into Democrats, independents, and Republicans at about the same percentages as all Americans. And it’s hard to trace such political complexity to religious allegiance.

One explanation for why is the sheer number of Catholic voters and their now multigenerational assimilation into American society. About 35 million Catholics voted in 2008. That’s about 27% of all voters.

In the 19th century and for much of the 20th, Catholics self-consciously occupied a distinctive identity in America. Predominantly blue collar, they often lived in white ethnic neighborhoods, attended their own schools and colleges, established their own hospitals and charities, and experienced some level of discrimination.

In those years, Catholics associated overwhelmingly with the Democratic Party, which not only accommodated but promoted policies that advanced ethnic assimilation – everything from minimum wage laws to the GI Bill.

But by finally achieving that assimilation, Catholics in the last 50 years have lost much of their sense of special self-identity. For white Catholics, who are about 60% of the Catholic vote, their distinctiveness in class, education, income, and even ethnicity has grown increasingly ambiguous in America’s famous melting pot.

The melting pot has even transformed Catholics’ relationship to their church. Polling numbers released Friday by CNN about the White House contraception dust-up illustrate this: Only 11% of Catholics polled said they should always obey official church teachings on moral issues like birth control and abortion.

To put this differently, 88% of Catholics in the poll said that it’s OK for Catholics to make up their own minds about these moral issues. That represents a growing trend. In 1992 only 70% supported the “make up their own minds” argument. In 1999 it was 80%.

Today’s Catholics are picky and even suspicious about political signals from the institutional church.

Politically conservative Catholics bristle at do-gooder messaging from their bishops about climate change, immigration reform and Catholicism’s important “preferential option” for the poor. Politically liberal Catholics, meanwhile, are not much swayed by the righteous tone of church pronouncements about same-sex marriage and contraception.

And yet despite the pattern and consequences of assimilation, something Catholic is going on in politics. It’s evident when you drill down into the polling numbers. While there is not an obvious Catholic vote on the macro scale, there are three discrete "Catholic votes” that really matter in American elections.

The first of these is Latino Catholics.  Over the last three decades, Latino immigration has washed over the church in America like a flood.  From insignificant numbers 40 years ago, Latinos now constitute one-third of all American Catholics.

In the not-too-distant future, the majority of American Catholics will probably be Latinos.

Unlike the Italians, Poles, Irish and similar white ethnics, Latino Catholics have retained their distinctive identity as Catholics. Their voting behavior reflects that.

This is particularly true when considered from the perspective of the famous social teachings of the church, which emphasize social and familial solidarity, the common good, preference for the poor, tradition, and welcoming of the immigrant.

Latino American Catholics (excluding Cubans) strongly associated with the Democratic Party in 2008, with 67% of Latino Catholic voters supporting Obama. But the bloc includes swing voters, and turnout can be volatile. This vote can be critical in swing states like Colorado, Florida and New Mexico, and perhaps soon in states like Arizona and Texas.

A little deeper in the weeds are two other important groups of white Catholic voters, who might be called “intentional Catholics” and “cultural Catholics.”

An important social phenomenon for understanding intentional Catholics is what’s sometimes referred to as distillation. A study by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life last year found that one-third of those raised Catholic have left the church. Fully 10% of the American electorate is formerly Catholic.

Because of assimilation, the glue of tradition and culture that previously inclined many to adhere to the church has lost its stickiness. Leaving is easy, whether by decision or atrophy, and little shame results.

Such disaffiliation happens for liberal reasons, conservative reasons, personal reasons and no reason at all. Some who leave still feel lingering allegiance to things Catholic, but many do not, and former Catholics do not have a distinctive political identity.

But as a result of disaffiliation, many Catholics who remain with the church are “distilled.”  More and more of those who remain are those who actively choose to embrace the church and its teachings. These “intentional Catholics” are the second of the three important groups of Catholic voters.

Largely white, with impressive education levels, mostly suburban and with moderate to high income levels, such Catholics are in evidence in weekly Mass attendance and parish activities. Politically active, intentional Catholic voters lean toward the Republican Party (with some youthful swing voters) and are motivated by economic issues and increasingly by opposition to abortion, same-sex marriage and illegal immigration.

“Cultural Catholics” make up the third important group of Catholic voters. They are a complicated mix of mostly white Americans with lower levels of Mass attendance and higher levels of ambivalence toward Church authority.

These assimilated voters have varying education and income levels, often hail from urban and suburban communities, are more female than male - often with blue-collar roots - and are not intentionally but culturally oriented toward the church.

Because of the relative size of the Catholic population in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin, swing voters in this group can be pivotal in presidential elections.

Many culturally Catholic voters are at odds with both conservatives and liberals on many issues. They are more socially conservative than the majority of Americans, but many are put off by the more intense social conservatism of intentional Catholics and evangelicals.

They are more economically populist than most Americans but are uncomfortable with the libertarian zeal of the tea party.  They are alienated from the lifestyle liberalism of many progressives but remain supportive of unions and governmental programs for the middle class.

The bishops may have little role in these voters’ personal faith, but cultural Catholics look to the church for the sacraments that mark the turnings of their lives and for the traditions that connect generations. Their religious sensibility might almost be described as ethnic.

Neither Obama nor any of the Republican candidates has clinched the deal for the voters in this group. Whoever does will probably win in November.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen S. Schneck.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Politics

soundoff (1,205 Responses)
  1. Willie

    CATHOLIC TRADITION – Mary is the queen of heaven.

    WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS – Worshipping the queen of heaven (which is not the Mary of the Bible) is worshipping another god and it provokes the Lord to anger.

    Jeremiah
    7:17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
    7:18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.
    7:19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces?

    February 21, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Casey

      I've never heard Mary queen of heaven. In the Catholic Church, she is the Mother of the Lord Jesus. So... she has a special place of honor. The Church teaches that she is human... but is blessed among women. We ask her to pray to God for us, because she has a special relationship with the Lord, and is loving, caring, and is particularly understanding of the difficulties of women, being a mother. The Catholic Church also teaches us to honor her as a special extension of the Commandment "Honor thy Father and Mother". You seem to have some misunderstandings of the Catholic Church. I suggest you attend a program called RCIA at the Church which will give you the actual teachings of Catholics.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Bizarre

      Casey,

      No Mary, Queen of Heaven? Really? Maybe you'd better clue in all of those parishes and schools and hospitals which bear that name. Just Google "Mary, Queen of Heaven" and you'll find oodles of them.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_of_Heaven

      February 21, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Willie

      CATHOLIC TRADITION – Forbidding the priesthood to marry.

      WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS –

      1) It is a doctrine of devils to forbid God's people to marry.
      1 Timothy
      4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
      4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
      4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.

      2) Peter was married (remember the pope is supposedly continuing the apostolic line through Peter).

      Matthew
      8:14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.

      Mark
      1:30 But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.

      Luke
      4:38 And he arose out of the synagogue, and entered into Simon's house. And Simon's wife's mother was taken with a great fever; and they besought him for her.

      3) Paul, a great apostle, remained single; however he made it very clear that he could marry if he wanted to.

      1 Corinthians
      9:5 Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?

      February 21, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • Casey

      Bizzarre: I stand corrected ... I never heard Mary referred to by that t*tle before. but you appear to be correct. What I said is what I was tought in the Church, and I hold to that idea... that Mary is the Mother of Jesus and respected by the Church for that reason. She is certainly not worshiped as a diety. Every discussion I've had with Priests and Deacons has held this to be the way we (Catholics) see Mary.

      February 21, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Casey

      Did a little research, and what Bible scholares are saying is that there is basically a translation subtelty (error) in the KJV of the bible from Hebrew. Coming back to Jeremiah 7:18; the word translated as queen in “queen of heaven” is melekheth and is therefore not applicable to Virgin Mary because the word refers to mother of false Christs (or Messiahs) and false prophets (Matthew 24:24). Interesting.

      February 21, 2012 at 2:06 am |
  2. BigRed

    The reality is that while Catholics listen to the Pope and the priests, they understand the reality of modern life. They are not the unified flock that once would do the bidding of the Church regardless. Instead they think for themselves and many many many are Democrats who use birth control in its many forms. The reality is that Catholics understand the Church as being their home but even in the closest families there are secrets and the big secret here is that American Catholics think and vote according to their own political and social beliefs while still loving and respecting mother Church.

    February 21, 2012 at 12:10 am |
    • Casey

      Well said.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • mike P

      @Bigred: All I got out of this (and everything you said is 100% true) was that Christians "cherry-pick" the parts of their religion that they like and ignore the rest. Most of the Christians I know have only picked up the Bible during church, and that's only the ones that go. Most Christians today know the short version:"Jesus is the son of God and if I accept him as the Lord and savior than I am saved." they're mostly hypocrites with faith only as strong as "Pascal's Wager."

      February 21, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  3. caleb

    why are atheists against and hate something that 'doesnt exist' to them? i mean why continue to keep arguing and showing hate towards something that 'isnt real'? just throwin it out there

    February 20, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • ZZeyn

      I don't think they're hating anything, they're just fed up with the other side's interference with politics.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • BigRed

      Perhaps you are missing the point. It isn't that God doesn't exist to them. That is firm in their own mind. Rather it is because they do not understand that faithful and see them as delusional or manipulated. Rather then argue with atheists the best thing is simply to accept that they chose a different path probably because of some sort of conflict that was never resolved in their own lives.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • caleb

      yeah i agree! not trying to argue just saying that God has to be real or else there wouldnt be and arguement to be argued!

      February 21, 2012 at 12:20 am |
    • Casey

      I agree BigRed... but man it gets tough to ignore them when you see them just piling all the junk on here over and over. Some of it is sooo hateful... but you're right. I need to take that to heart.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:32 am |
    • allanhowls

      What I think you see is a reaction to having someone else's beliefs shoved down one's throat repeatedly.
      I'm an atheist, and I personally don't care what you believe one way or the other, so long as you afford me the same courtesy. But as soon as you (and I mean you in the generic sense, not you personally) start telling me I'm condemned, or that I'm somehow less of a person or less deserving of respect or consideration, we're going to have some words, and I'm going to let you know precisely why I gave up on the belief in a deity. And I'll do so in precisely as insulting a manner as you told me. I give as good as I get.

      If you want freedom of religion, you have to grant it to everyone, and that includes freedom *from* religion, if that's what the person so chooses. That's the only way it works, unless you want a Taliban-esque theocracy.

      And Caleb, your remark doesn't make any sort of sense. We can argue about whether or not unicorns are purple, but having the argument is not ipso facto evidence of their purpleness, much less their existence. I love a good theological debate, but it has to be a *good* debate...involving reason, consideration, actual listening, and give-and-take; not proselytizing.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:40 am |
    • Mike

      I suspect if you actually talked to an Athiest, you'd find they don't "hate god." Or hate religion, for that matter. Many will tell you they think religions are based on fairy tales and religious people are putting their faith in something that's no more real than the tooth fairy.

      No Hate involved. What they might "hate" is how many religions (of any denomination) try to meddle in other people's lives through preaching and trying to pass legislation based on their religious beliefs. They ask why secular laws should be influenced by any religion's 'Holy Book."

      February 21, 2012 at 1:15 am |
  4. S. Shipley

    WOW! All the religious fanatics come out at night. I hear the atheist saying "life is life. Death is death"
    I hear the religious people talking about jesus and the bible.

    How many religions are there in the world? Who is right? Who got it wrong?

    February 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • P.Y.

      If you don't believe in God(any God),why it make any difference for you?People will find their answers with which will be happy,and you can try to do the same

      February 21, 2012 at 12:08 am |
    • ZZeyn

      P.Y. it makes a difference when Santorum comes out and talks politics as per HIS religious beliefs – don't forget politics is for all citizens, not just for a particular group that believe in a particular division of a particular religion.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • P.Y.

      ZZeyn,so,don't vote for him.You can't make other people do what you want anyway If Catholics like Santorum they will vote for him ,no meter what anyone will say on CNN.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • Casey

      ZZeyn: So... what you are saying is that if there is a candidate that believes in God, then you find it necessary to go on the Belief Blog and belittle all those of Faith. Do you think that makes sense? Why wouldn't you either 1) Not vote for the Guy or 2) weigh his belief (you see as a negative) against and positive qualities you think he may have... and then compare that amalgam to the other candidates and move on with your life. Why do you come here and do your best to be unpleasant to those of faith? – I'm just curious – (BTW... if you don't vote for people because they are people of faith... well... you've probable never voted for anyone).

      February 21, 2012 at 12:28 am |
  5. Casey

    Repost from below answer to "I Wonder" "Ashrakay" and "Tom Tom"

    The thing you guys don't get... and probably never will... is that faith is a journey. That God reveals truths to us in time, when we are ready for them, and need to hear them, and it often requires study, thought, and prayer. This is because the word of God is a living thing. He speaks to us all the time, we just need to learn to listen.

    People of faith are always asking questions, and trying to understand the nature of the Lord, and the universe He created.... so... do we think we have all the answers? No... I come to this Blog to have discussions relating to faith and God... I don't come here to be the target of hate filled vitriol that spews forth from the bigots and athiests. If you have something to add to the discussion that is positive, or thought provoking and has the semblence of humanity, if you want to discuss/debate the topic in a rational way, if you want to compare the various religions and find their similarities or differences... That would be GREAT!

    On the other hand, if you just come here to tell everyone they are stupid, or ignorant for their belief in God, or you just want to belittle, or call others names, or tear down that which is sacred, use hateful speech, or serve some self centered need to hurl hate and bigotry at others, then I would rather not hear anything from you. Your opinions don't matter... you are irrelevent...

    February 20, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • S. Shipley

      "The thing you guys don't get... and probably never will... is that faith is a journey. That God reveals truths to us in time, "No idiot. You yourself learn things along you life line and experience propels you on.

      True religion is about oneself and what e has done in the world and how he will be remembered.

      Not some mythical book written eons ago.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:24 am |
  6. Reality

    Only for the newbies:-------->

    Why the Christian Right no longer matters in presidential elections:

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

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

    2008 Presidential popular vote results:

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

    And the irony:

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

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

    February 20, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • Casey

      But the abortion rate has increased since the pill was introduced. So...

      February 20, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • S. Shipley

      Exactly, whose pay role are you on? Your post was way too far planned out.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Reality

      S. Shipley,

      You flatter me. Having a PhD helps review statistical data.

      To wit:

      "Facts on Contraceptive Use

      http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html
      January 2008

      "WHO NEEDS CONTRACEPTIVES?

      • 62 million U.S. women (and men?) are in their childbearing years (15–44).[1]

      • 43 million women (and men?) of reproductive age, or 7 in 10, are se-xually active and do not want to become pregnant, but could become pregnant if they or their partners fail to use a con-traceptive method.[2]

      • The typical U.S. woman (man?) wants only 2 children. To achieve this goal, she (he?) must use cont-raceptives for roughly 3 decades.[3]

      WHO USES CON-TRACEPTIVES?

      • Virtually all women (98%) aged 15–44 who have ever had int-ercourse have used at least one con-traceptive method.[2](and men?)

      • Overall, 62% of the 62 million women aged 15–44 are currently using one.[2] (and men?)

      • 31% of the 62 million women (and men?) do not need a method because they are infertile; are pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant; have never had inte-rcourse; or are not se-xually active.[2]

      • Thus, only 7% of women aged 15–44 are at risk of unwanted pregnancy but are not using con-traceptives.[2] (and men?)

      • Among the 42 million fertile, s-exually active women who do not want to become pregnant, 89% are practicing con-traception.[2] (and men?)

      WHICH METHODS DO WOMEN (men?) USE?

      • 64% of reproductive-age women who practice con-traception use reversible methods, such as oral con-traceptives or condoms. The remaining women rely on female or male sterilization.[2]

      FIRST-YEAR CON-TRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES

      Percentage of women (men?) experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)

      Method……………..Typical

      Pill (combined)……… 8.7
      Tubal sterilization ……0.7
      Male condom ……….17.4
      Vasectomy…………… 0.2

      Periodic abstinence.. 25.3 (RCC approved)
      Calendar 9.0 (RCC approved)
      Ovulation Method 3.0 (RCC approved)
      Sympto-thermal 2.0 (RCC approved)
      Post-ovulation 1.0 (RCC approved)

      No method 85.0" (RCC approved and important to women and men wanting to get pregnant)

      (Abstinence) 0 (RCC approved)

      (Masturbation) 0

      More facts about contraceptives from

      guttmacher.org/pubs/fb_contr_use.html

      "CON-TRACEPTIVE METHOD CHOICE

      Cont-raceptive method use among U.S. women who practice con-traception, 2002

      Method No. of users (in 000s) % of users
      Pill………….. 11,661……………. 30.6
      Male condom 6,841……………… 18.0 "

      i.e.
      The pill fails to protect women 8.7% during the first year of use (from the same reference previously shown).

      i.e. 0.087 (failure rate)
      x 62 million (# child bearing women)
      x 0.62 ( % of these women using contraception )
      x 0.306 ( % of these using the pill) =

      1,020,000 unplanned pregnancies
      during the first year of pill use.

      For male condoms (failure rate of 17.4 and 18% use level)

      1,200,000 unplanned pregnancies during the first year of male condom use.

      The Gut-tmacher Inst-itute (same reference) notes also that the perfect use of the pill should result in a 0.3% failure rate
      (35,000 unplanned pregnancies) and for the male condom, a 2% failure rate (138,000 unplanned pregnancies).

      o Conclusion: The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly and/or use other methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.

      February 21, 2012 at 7:52 am |
  7. Brian

    We are talking about a wide cross section of people. Some of the Catholics in my family attend mass once a year and act like Protestants the rest of the year.

    February 20, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • S. Shipley

      And – just how a protestant blamed for a person only showing up for the weekly "SHOW" on Sundays

      I can't even believe i was bored enough to indulge in the inanity of this forum.

      I will say it once and then log off :

      Religion is when you can look into a mirror; see both eyes at the same time. Religion is when you can tell yourself, while trying to look yourself in the eyes, that your are content and happy the way you have led your life.

      When you are comfortable with those emotions - you have reached the true meaning of religion.

      Everything else is classification and $$$$$$

      February 21, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  8. Descarado

    Our parish hall holds about a thousand parishioners and is usually standing-room-only for five weekend Masses.

    The last two Sundays, Obama's "Healthcare Presidential Mandate," a.k.a. Obama Fatwah, has been the topic of the homily.

    The Catholics vote is not a myth.

    How do you say "One and Done," in Spanish?

    February 20, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  9. Willie

    God has many wonderful names and Jesus will not be put under a cover. His light will shine forever. Jesus is Lord. Kings of Kings, First and Last, and wonderful counselor. All you need to do is Ask Jesus and salvation belongs to you. Jesus is the head of the Church and the Church is the Body of Believers in Christ. Many will come in the name of Christ but are wolves in sheep's clothing. All one has to do is ask Christ to forgive them and not a priest. The church is letting the priest get away with crime. Hurting children in the name of God. Lying to children saying it's God's love. Jesus will bring justice for the children. Jesus is for the poor, weak, orphan, and widow. These men of Satan taking full advantage of these people. May you find a way out and turn to Jesus. Jesus is the author and finisher of one faith.

    February 20, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • TheRealTruth

      Just because you do not believe in God does not make him "imaginary". That is because you have no faith. If there is a God when you die you will meet Him. It is not intended to scare you, it should, but that is not my intent, the purpose is to let you know that God does not need for you to believe in Him for Him to be real. Now go ahead and call me names or if you are mature enough let's have an intelligent conversation without name-calling.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • momoya

      Willie, a thought virus has taken over your brain. In a way, you're a transitional fossil.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Casey

      What exactly are you blathering about? Take a deep breath, and try to put together a coherent paragraph that has a point (preferably something more interesting than "you so stupid... i don't like what you like"). Here's a tip... have an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. (Just trying to help you out)

      February 21, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Willie

      I like that comment! REaltruth and mOmoya ...I rather stay with Jesus and His Word and please the Saviour. No one is perfect but Jesus. He loves you both no matter how much you disrespect HIM, He will reach out to you before it's too late for you both. Is it worth it to fight the Saviour? You dont want to leave this world without knowing HIM. You are not hurting me but Jesus. He loves all people. Jesuits got you fool. You were fooled but not smart enough for you to be in the Jesuit Order. That is why you are where you are my friend. As long as you are under the tradition and serving satan's church. It's taking away your eyes from Jesus and his truth. Jesus exposed the religious machine then and this machine is the RCC. May the Lord find and save you. Maybe I will see you heaven one day.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:19 am |
    • S. Shipley

      What about the 76 percent of the world that are other religions? What about history? Spanish Inquisition? 100's years war?

      February 21, 2012 at 12:45 am |
  10. Madame Mireille

    Am I the only one who don't get why nonbelievers always account for 90% of the comments at religious articles on CNN? I think they are here to troll, or to show their hatred and being ignorant. Shame! Was that how you were raised to hate others' and show lack of respect to religious people?! Ridiculous

    February 20, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • capitalist

      Atheists just have a hatred for ignorance!

      February 20, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • jackiesmith

      that's right, we have no respect for your stupid fairy tales and whiny self-imporance.

      get over yourselves. and stop trying to tell women what to do with their bodies, and gay people what to do with their private lives. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • LookAndSEE

      Do you remember how it was before u became a believer? "It's all foolishness" to them.
      After all , Atheist believe we came from a rock.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • S. Shipley

      Sylvia. You ask atheist to quit shoving their beliefs down others throats. What about you force feeding others with your beliefs?
      Catholics and "Christians", along with Muslims and Jews and all other organized religions are the biggest hippocricts (sp)
      I have ever met in my 50+ years

      February 21, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • P.Y.

      jackiesmith, you forgot that you have no respect for 50% of the country,(your parents provably included).,You are not very nice person.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • ashrakay

      We don't hate you. We hate the disease infecting your brain.

      February 21, 2012 at 2:20 am |
  11. Willie

    This is the history of the Jesuit Order. Ignatius of Loyola was hit by a cannon, recovered, wanted to be like St. Francis and started seeing things, so he seen mary one night and that was it....Jesus is the way, not mary. Satan will appear to you as a shinning light of angel the bible says. So, Ignatius hung up his sword by the alter of Black Madonna in the Benedictine Monastery of Montserrat. He put himself in pain to suffer which is not BIBLE and this is not repentance..It's penance. He would whip himself and see visions. He would tell people he knew the secrets and people would follow him. then the catholic church wonder what kind of witchcraft this was, and who he this man is...they put him in jail for a few years and after those few years went before pope Paul III. The pope accepted him and made this a part of RCC. "The society of Jesus" which came into being on Sept. 17, 1540. To destroy baptist and Protestants churches until they are the main religion in the world. Jesus will not let this happen.

    February 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Casey

      ummmmmm... the Jesuits were started to be highly focused on education and knowledge... and they are to this day. The Jesuit order is some of the most highly educated people around, and they are schooled in many many different disciplines. Renouned scholars in physics, medicine, mental health, etc are Jesuits. They were not started to "wipe out" anybody. The Church has a high emphases on education, and eht Jesuits are a pretty big part of that.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • Willie

      So, the question is ...Who do you follow? Jesus or Catholic Black Pope? Would you rather follow Jesus and Tradition? Only two sides to be on..Jesus or Satan? Jesus says, I'm the way, life ,and truth and no man cometh unto the father but by me....All you have to do is ask Jesus and he will save you, and salvation is belongs to you.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  12. There. Are. No. Gods!

    This is like asking "Is santa real and the easter bunny not?" No! Both are fake. Both are made up. It doesn't matter what your religion is. . .IT IS NOT REAL!!!! There. Are. No. Gods! Stop arguing over fables, stop being stupid!

    February 20, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Madame Mireille

      Your thoughts will really take you to heaven and kingdom of paradise.....good luck human.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Sylvia

      Stop shoveling your nonbelief in our throats.... Leave us alone your moron

      February 20, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Babylonia

      Jesus still loves nonbelievers too....... Our prayers goes to you darling.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Dano

      wow, you just convinced me.... incredibly inciteful post

      February 20, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • P.Y.

      There are no gods?Why?Because you said so?Good argument,I hope you are not a lawyer.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  13. Willie

    The Roman Catholic church will always be around under the god of this world. As long as they keep people under their fingers and control. They will control you, everyone, and the government. Number one target right now is taking out the Baptist and Protestants churches. Get their keys Jesuits in positions to act like baptist or Protestants and these keys Jesuits will pose as people preaching love and unity. The bible says to be separate if you are Born Again. Salvation is free and for everyone, does not need to be paid for or worked for but it's given to you freely. Just ask. So, the Catholic church is going to always be around because they are under the command of Satan.

    February 20, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • S. Shipley

      All of you Jesus freaks on here are delusional and fuuuucked up.

      You are lost and weird

      When you die and you are put 6 feet under won't it be sad you wasted your life believing in an after – life?
      That is right__ you won't know because you will be dead!!

      February 21, 2012 at 12:11 am |
    • Casey

      Wow... that is just amazing. You seem to have absolutly no knowledge of the Catholic Church. Ummmmm.... are you just a troll spouting the most completly wrong and outlandish thing ... just to get a rise out of somebody? (and... I'm actually stupid enough to respond... eek.... yep, you got me.) DagNabbit!! LOL... I AM an idiot.

      February 21, 2012 at 12:18 am |
  14. Priest

    Jesus Christ said: 'Love your enemies – love your neighbor'.

    February 20, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Reality

      "As a concept, the Golden Rule has a history that long predates the term "Golden Rule" (or "Golden law", as it was called from the 1670s).[2][7] As a concept of "the ethic of reciprocity," it has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard way that different cultures use to resolve conflicts.[2][6] It has a long history, and a great number of prominent religious figures and philosophers have restated its reciprocal, "two-way" nature in various ways (not limited to the above forms).[2]

      Statements that mirror the Golden Rule appear in Ancient Egypt in the story of The Eloquent Peasant.[8][ Rushworth Kidder discusses the early contributions of Confucius (551–479 B.C.) (See a version in Confucianism below). Kidder notes that this concept's framework appears prominently in many religions, including "Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and the rest of the world's major religions".[9] According to Greg M. Epstein, " 'do unto others' ... is a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely."[10] Simon Blackburn also states that the Golden Rule can be "found in some form in almost every ethical tradition".[11]

      February 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Reality

      Matt 7: 12 as with all NT passages has been reviewed by many contemporary NT scholars. Many have concluded that it was not uttered by the historic Jesus. e.g. Professor Gerd Ludemann, "Jesus After 2000 Years", p. 152.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  15. Lady

    the U.S. is a Christian nation and was founded upon Judeo-Christian values – whether you like it or not. Yes, we have seperation of church and state, as well as freedom of religion but our values, culture and laws are based on the Christian faith. Everybody else is welcome, but respect it. Don't like it move out or shut up and keep your believes to yourself. Life is not fair, the majority always wins.

    February 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • There. Are. No. Gods!

      "Don't like it move out or shut up and keep your believes to yourself." Spoken like a true religious fruit cake. There. Are. No. Gods! Get over yourself.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Maine

      What is our national motto? IN GOD WE TRUST ! And every healthy human being knows that it refers to the Christian God – JESUS CHRIST

      February 20, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • ashrakay

      @Maine, apparently you don't know "In god we trust" comes from the quran. (Quran 7: 89) So in allah you trust?

      February 21, 2012 at 2:16 am |
  16. John NYC

    Classic case of over-analyzing and missing the forest for the trees. Obama did not "narrowly" carry the Catholic vote in 08; he carried it by eight points, which represented a 14 point swing from 2004. That was the biggest swing in any material demographic.

    No matter how you cut it or dissect it, no candidate has won the popular vote without winning the Catholic vote, at least since 1980.

    February 20, 2012 at 10:56 pm |
    • Dano

      The Catholic voting block (most of them are not practicing, just cultural catholics) is basically a microcosm of the nation. It is safe to say that whomever is elected in the future, not just 2012, will 95% of the time carry the Catholic vite

      February 20, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Chris Lee

      I dare say it's also true that no-one ever won the White House without carrying the blonde vote or the over-six-feet-tall vote. Don't confuse correlation with causality.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  17. capitalist

    Uh, for all of the theists attempting to frighten atheists about what will happen "when they meet God". By definition, atheists don't believe in God! Therefore, they will not be seeing your imaginary friend. Also, atheists are not "called", hear voices in their heads, or wonder what happened to persons souls that died before they knew about the Jesus zombie.

    February 20, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  18. mickey1313

    Yes it is a myth, you must have brains to orginize. It is the same myth that christians are kind and compassionate, they are in fact, (like all thiests) evil hateful hypocrites.

    February 20, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  19. Jessica

    ATHEISTS GO TO HELL !!!!!!! STOP COMMENTING ON RELIGIOUS ARTICLES

    February 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • momoya

      Pray us away?

      February 20, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Matt

      A model christian...

      February 20, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Aezel

      ^^ Typical rabid mindless Christian.

      February 20, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • mickey1313

      and if you cannot take the openion of the other half, (actulally 60%) then you dont even deserve the air you breath.

      February 20, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why? Are you so weak in your "faith" that dissent bothers you so much you'd censor it?

      Not much to pin any hope on, then is there?

      Get over it, honey. This isn't a theocracy and you don't get to tell anyone else to shut up.

      February 20, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • capitalist

      I love sardonic humor! But, you could do better.

      February 20, 2012 at 10:58 pm |
  20. Aezel

    Maybe but the Bible is for sure.

    February 20, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • mickey1313

      correct sir. I find it funny that the best shot of the "religous right" they could find was that old bat crooning in the front, lol

      February 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Is for sure what? Is for sure a book? No kidding.

      If you're asking if it's "for sure" fact, then no, it isn't.

      February 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • Aezel

      ...."for sure a myth." There, fixed.

      February 20, 2012 at 11:04 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.