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At Easter breakfast, Obama talks faith in face of doubt
President Obama bows his head during Wednesday's prayer breakfast.
April 4th, 2012
11:43 AM ET

At Easter breakfast, Obama talks faith in face of doubt

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) - Facing a re-election bid and contending with a bitterly partisan Congress, President Obama spoke Wednesday at a White House Easter prayer breakfast about keeping faith in the face of doubt.

“I am not going to stand up here and give a sermon,” Obama said in the East Room of the White House, addressing an audience thick with Christian leaders. “It’s always a bad idea to give a sermon in front of professionals.”

But Obama proceeded to deliver a minisermon that centered on Jesus’ experience in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Christ expressed doubt and anguish on the eve of his crucifixion, appealing to God for a reprieve.

Obama said that Easter is an opportunity to appreciate “all that Christ endured - not just as a son of God, but as a human being,” according to a White House transcript.

“It is only because Jesus conquered his own anguish, conquered his fear, that we’re able to celebrate the resurrection,” Obama said.

“We all have experiences that shake our faith,” Obama said later. “There are times where we have questions for God’s plan relative to us, but that’s precisely when we should remember Christ’s own doubts and eventually his own triumph.”

Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, commemorates Jesus' crucifixion, and Easter, which falls this Sunday, marks his resurrection.

The pastors invited to the White House event include Joel Hunter, an evangelical from Florida; Roman Catholic Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who leads the Archdiocese of Washington; and Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Easter • Politics

soundoff (588 Responses)
  1. IT"S ZOMBIE JESUS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Everybody sing!!! (to the tune of Hurray For Hollywood)

    Hurray for ZOMBIE TIME!!!!
    That screwy, ballyhooey ZOMBIE TIME!!!!
    Where any altar boy
    Or young God addict
    can be a panic
    With just a good-looking pan
    And any barmaid
    Can be a star maid
    If she talks in silly tongues
    Hooray for ZOMBIE TIME!!!!
    Where you're forgiven
    if you're murderous!
    Where anyone at all can shoot a black guy
    and watch him die
    and ask Jesus to ignore it
    Come on and try your luck
    You could be Donald Duck
    Hooray for ZOMBIE TIME!!!!

    Hooray for ZOMBIE TIME!!!!
    That phony, super Coney, ZOMBIE TIME!!!!
    They come from Chilicothes and Padukahs
    with their bazookas
    To see Jesus rise and feast on brains
    All armed with crosses
    To lynch their bosses
    And any gay they find
    Hooray for ZOMBIE TIME!!!!
    You may be homely in your neighborhood.
    Still, if you think that you can be a messiah
    Crucify yourself and die -a
    And go freak out on evolution
    Substitute you educational polution
    Hooray for ZOMBIE TIME!!!!

    BIG FINISH!!!

    HOORAY FOR ZOMBIE TIME!!!!

    April 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Primewonk

      And you wonder why you got voted-in as cruise director on the ginormous hand basket to hell.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • IT"S ZOMBIE JESUS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Oooooooooooo, scary. I am told I don't get to go to Smurf heaven either. Whatever will I do?

      April 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Well, you could start by getting off your bu.tt and organizing a mixer so we can get this mother launched. I happen to brew fantastic beer and will gladly donate a dozen cases for our trip.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Jesus isn't a zombie. That's just a rumor started because he died and then rose from the grave because he was undead. Which is totally different from being a zombie.

      Only a fool wants to go to hell. Heaven is for the people who did what they were told and did not drink or have sex and praised God endlessly and did not get rowdy. Hell is for the people who partied hard and had a wild good time and . . . uh . . . well, heaven is where all the super faithful get together and tell God how wonderful he is for the rest of etern . . . uh . . . and hell is where the fun people hang out together . . . I know what point I wanted to make, but it somehow got really hard to make it.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  2. Arimathea

    Indeed, Easter is the greatest demonstration by God to mankind of Hope, Forgiveness and Love.

    April 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Anon

      It's just the spring equinox, nothing more.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
    • WASP

      @arim: christians were always good at stealing things.......land, money, religious occations of conquered people, and women.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • IT"S ZOMBIE JESUS WEEK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Get excited, everybody! GET EXCITED! We get to honor Jesus' transfiguration into a ZOMBIE!!!

      April 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Trumpet

      WASP-Are you at Peace with yourself with the path you have chosen? Ask yourself a very honest question, are you totally comfortable with your belief system?

      April 5, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Anon

      Correction, non-belief system or lack of belief.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Primewonk

      So your god ra.pes a young Jewish virgin so that she can give birth to himself, and then kills himself as a sacrifice to himself, so that he can reanimate himself 36 hours later. All to appease himself for making a rib-woman listen to a talking snake convincing her to eat a magic apple. And as long as we periodically eat the zombie and drink his blood, we get to live with him forever?

      And people think I'm nuts for thinking the Cubs have a shot this year!

      April 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ Trumpet ~~ I'll answer for WASP. "YES"

      April 5, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ Primwonk ~~ Cubs have no shot. You are just as nuts. Sorry.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
  3. Trumpet

    What a wonderful and powerful message of Hope to all of mankind Easter brings.

    April 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • He is risen!

      April 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Cq

      Except for most of the world's population who happen not to be Christians and would be judged as worthy of hell because of that.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Anon

      Too bad the Sun will destroy the Earth in about 4-5 billion more years when it goes through it's red giant phase.
      I say this because I've actually done comparative religion research.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Trumpet

      Everyone asks themselves a very simple question. Have you found peace in your belief?

      I have found that Peace in trusting Christ as my savior. How about you?

      April 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • Anon

      You can worship a mythological Jewish zombie/solar personification, just stay the fck away from secular laws.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • Trumpet

      This thread is about Easter. It is not about laws it about Grace. Have you found peace within yourself trusting in your belief?

      April 5, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • WASP

      easter reminds us each year to have our christian population spade or nuetured. lol they breed like rabbits. happy stolen holiday everyone. 🙂

      April 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Anon

      Just keep your christian "grace" AKA theocratic views the fck away from secular laws, that's all.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Trumpet

      The simple question you ask yourself is this. Do you have peace? answer that question honestly to yourself. This question has nothing to do with theocracy. That, America will become a theocracy is an irrational fear you have. Let me assure you that America will never be a theocracy. Now, to the real question. Do you have peace within yourself?

      April 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Anon

      Knowing that once I'm dead, my molecules will eventually return to the universe (red giant sun destroys earth).
      That's more than enough to give me peace.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Trumpet

      Good to hear that you have peace knowing that you will become molecules after death. According to your belief you have only one life to live. Right? Why would you want to spend the rest of that mortal life on an article that talks about God's plan of salvation to mankind? Would you rather not focus that valuable time reading up something on science or history or geography or economy or whatever?

      April 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      How, exactly, is god killing himself as a sacrifice to himself an act of hope?

      The concept of an omnipotent god making a sacrifice is laughable. If a deity can sacrifice, then the deity is, by definition, not all-powerful.

      April 5, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • AGuest9

      The groundhog? He saw his shadow.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  4. No Likey

    evolution is true AND the earth is only 6k years old. Ha eat that everyone.

    April 5, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  5. The Four Fluffy Kittens of the Apocalypse Get Philosophical for a Moment

    Why should an atheist be good? Hmmmmmm has asked an excellent question. There are many reasons.

    There are far more benefits to be had in the long term from cooperation instead of criminal behavior such as theft or rape. Criminal events are generally one-time payoffs, or short period events. Cooperation leads to long term benefits and prosperity to all sides. This has repeatedly been born out in Game Theory studies and experiments.

    There are major consequences for criminal behavior, NOT including law and law enforcement. In a world free of law, a criminal is always at risk of being caught in the act and severely punished. He also is at ongoing risk of revenge afterwards, and the more criminal behavior, the more likely the probability revenge. And the more he has attained, the more he becomes a target himself. I once knew some drug dealers, and they lived in constant fear of robbery, violence, and possible murder. The longer the fear exists, the more bothersome it feels.

    Furthermore, if criminal behavior is what you and others do, then you live in a world of crime, and the likelihood that you and friends and family will become victims becomes very high. Do you choose to live in crime-ridden areas when you buy your house, or do you avoid them? A major reason people choose to not do crime is that they don't want to live in that kind of world.

    There are positive benefits of self-esteem and being respected if you live your life without harming others – you get more friends (humans are social animals), and you get more respect. You will more often get what you want from people by some positive means of enticement than bullying or coersion.

    Humans are also social creatures, so seeing suffering makes us generally want to help alleviate the problem. Studies clearly show that in a crisis, atheists help out with just as much regularity and determination.

    An abstract external system of morality like religion is not necessary for positive behavior for most people. I would argue that an abstract external system of morality is ineffective with that percentage of the population who are inclined towards crime, which seems to be supported by crime rates in religious areas and the religious affiliations of prisoners.

    I would also argue that whenever a system of morality has bad behavior encoded into it, it actually becomes aforce for evil. Recent behaviors by Muslim extremists, anti-abortion Christians and anti-gay religious activity support that as well.

    And finally, if you look carefully at the morality supplied by the varioous religions, you see that a couple of the rules are common sense – subject to the reasons I listed above – but most of it is strange and often inhuman. Looking at the Bible, the many many moralities in Deutronomy and elsewhere are absolutely hideous (I alway find it strange that some Christians swear that morality is universal when they have abandoned the vst majority of moralities in their own scripture). This is not limited to Christianity, of course.

    There is lots more, but you get the idea. The bottom line is that even religious people obey laws for the reasons I listed more than because their religion say so, that religion does not improve morality (studies of religious versus non-religious areas show it does not), and that atheists are perfectly capable of acting morally (and statistics show they do).

    Great question, hmmmmmmmmm. I am glad to have the opportunity for a thoughtful discussion for a change.

    April 5, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel-Jesus

      Also, a number of studies recently have shown evidence for the evolutionary benefit of religion to primitive societies – a benefit that become irrelevant once a suitable system of law and order is established.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      It will depend on what you call good. If someone needs only to not be bad, or criminal, to be good, then yes most can do that. Or, just give to those in need.

      How about selling everything you own and giving it to the poor? Love your enemies? Do good to those who hate you? Turn the other cheek? Give to everyone who asks you? Love your enemies, do good, and hope for nothing in return?

      I am a Christian and I have failed to do all of those. If you are a nonbeliever and have then you are more “good” in my opinion.

      I believe no one is really good, except God. You can’t work your way into heaven, yet faith without works is dead.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • The Four Fluffy Kittens of the Apocalypse Get Philosophical for a Moment

      Ignoring the existence or non-existence of God, I really have to disagree with you when you say "I believe no one is really good." I have met a large number of people who give remarkable amounts of time and energy to help charities or friends in need, or made some significant positive contribution to their community. I think the evidence shows that some people can be and are essentially good most of the time.

      Unfortunately some people tend towards behavior that is destructive or hurtful as well, and many are just plain mediocre.

      People cannot act at their best 100% of the time – that is just human nature. But to say that no one is really good, well I just cannot agree. That sounds like the guilt indoctrination of Christianity, or perhaps you are inclined to see the human glass as half empty.

      If you put God into it, as you did, then why would he make everyone bad? And worse, why would he judge them as bad when he made every last one of them that way?

      Finally, you hit a great point regarding some of Jesus' moralities – they are impossible to fulfil, or they are really bad advice if you try. Give away all your wealth? That's just asking for misery, especially when you get old. Love your enemies? That is a great way to let your enemies run amuck all over you. Give to everyone who asks you? That is enabling behavior, long recognized as unhealthy.

      Oh, the faith without works thing? The Bible says yes (Romans 3:20, 3:28, 4:3, 4:5, 5:1), and it says no (James 2:24, 2:26).

      Other parts are more common than you think – do good, and hope for nothing in return? Yes, I do charity work all the time.

      April 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  6. Voice of Reason

    Being good is an evolutionary process and answers the why. It was here long before your religions and your gods. When they came into the picture the word evil was created as they are the mere essence of its being. They robbed the word good and sodomized it. If you would educate yourself you will find rational reasons for good and you don't need a god to be good.

    April 5, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Voice of Reason,,,,,

      You are right. We do not need God to be a goodness creationed Being. God may well be but an afterthought within people's minds. The "Self" speaks volumes when viewed from outside the rifts of sarcastic socialisms. Being of Godliness is but a selfish emotionalized virtue of individualism. No one earns Godly respect.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Pipe-Dreamer

      Voice of Reason,,,,,

      You are right. We do not need God to be a goodness creationed Being. God may well be but an afterthought within many people's minds. The "Self" speaks uneasied volumes when viewed from within the rifts of sarcastically embittered socialisms. Being of Godliness is but a selfish self-serving emotionalized virtue of niave individualisms' rallying cries.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  7. Hmmm

    I know atheists can be good people, but is there really a reason WHY??? I mean think about it, your thrown here for a short period of time and since you're an atheist there's no such thing as karma, heaven/hell, etc so shouldnt you be out to get all you can get? Without breaking the law obviuosly bc you don't want ot be in jail. Why donate to charity or help those less fortunate? It has no bearing on your life whatsoever. You should get what you can when you can. Think about the why and get back to me.

    Btw saying that you understand there are others and its decent to help others doesn't explain the why, seriously think about the why, it doesn't make sense other than to get what you can when you can, everything else is just random events.

    April 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Anon

      Let me get this straight, if you didn't believe in a god then you'll be going on a rampage raping and murdering?
      It's like believers can't admit to themselves that atheists are generally good folks but are indoctrinated to see atheists as murderers, rapists, etc.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
    • Eric G

      I am chariable because there are those less fortunate than myself. I would hope that those who receive my as-sistance would help others when they can. You can call it "humanitarian solidarity" if you like.

      I do have a question for you.......

      Do you only help others to impress your god? Do you keep track of your charitable deeds on a "get into heaven" score sheet? If you find out that your god does not exist, will you act in an immoral way?

      I would suggest to you that you do good deeds because of you. To give credit to your religious beliefs is selling yourself short.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • Primewonk

      You seem to assume that you can't be good without a god. And that morality is a religious concept. You are wrong. Morality and altruism are both evolutionary in nature.

      According to your line of thought – theists only do the right thing because of the threat of punishment from your invisible sky-daddy.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion." -Abraham Lincoln

      That's why.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ Hmmm ~~ You are morally bankrupt if you need more of a "why" than because it is the right and good thing to do. It feels good to help people. It's that simple. Without the threat of hell, I wonder just what your moral fiber may look like. Maybe it's a good thing you're on the "god leash".

      April 5, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Also, it may seem weird for me to say this ... but I believe in karma. The universe doesn't care; but it is an interesting phenomena on how good deeds and bad deeds come back to you full circle.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • I'm The Best!

      It's not get everything you can in life, its be happy. And if you have excess and like bringing joy to other people, why not give to charity and things like that. Your as.sumption on how atheists view life is where you went wrong. We all have different views on why we are here, even amongst atheists they differ greatly. To as.sume we all just want as much as possible is a poor as.sumption

      April 5, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
    • Nii

      Atheism like any religion seeks to promote ethical behavior to solve the moral dilemma humans suffer. Without ethics it is just a philosophy.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @ Lucifer's Evil Twin

      If you make extraordinary claims (karma) then you need to prove it or keep it to yourself.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      karma |ˈkärmə|
      noun
      (in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.
      • informal destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Over It

      @LET: "good deeds and bad deeds come back to you full circle."

      Natural consequences - there is nothing spo.oky about it.

      All in all, 'tis better to do good deeds than to not.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      I see karma as statistical in nature. If your good to people, you have a higher probability of good things happeneing to you. If you are bad to people, you have a higher probability of bad things happening to you. But it's not 100 %. Some good people end up with horribla lives and some bad people have nothing but good things happen to them.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      @Voice – No, I'm pretty sure I can say whatever I want...and you can bite me nube.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      I never said I believed karma as supernatural. I said it was an interesting phenomena.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Rama-Kandra

      Karma's a word. Like "love." A way of saying "what I am here to do." I do not resent my karma – I'm grateful for it. Grateful for my wonderful wife, for my beautiful daughter. They are gifts. And so I do what I must do to honor them.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @ Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Yes, freedom of speech, thought and religion is a right that every human should enjoy BUT if the claim of the speech, thought or religion infers that it is the truth in our reality and it cannot be proven to be fact then it should be exposed as being not true. Would you agree? If you want to believe it that is your choice.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      We are selfish creatures by nature, yet our survival depends on cooperation. In order to balance these two conflicting instincts, mankind has had to develop rules that allow room for both.
      These rules are not the same for all communities – hence we've had so many different types of religion and government throughout history.
      Religion binds communities together by giving a common frame of reference. Shared fears (like divine retribution), hopes (like going to heaven) and rituals allow the instinct for self preservation to extend beyond one's self and immediate family.
      This is why the great majority of evolutionary biologists find no conflict between religion and science – as long as religion is recognized solely as a sociological adaptation.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Now that's Dumb

      @LET

      Hahahaha an atheist who believes in karma, now that's contradictory and hypocritical. Shows how moronic you are sir.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Doc Vestibule

      Makes a lot of sense BUT when that religion starts making laws in the society based on the supernatural ideals and morality of its unfounded belief that where it gets very dangerous. Laws in the US about abortion a perfect example.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • BRC

      Being an athiest means you believe there are no gods. That's it. Nothing more. While MANY, probably even most atheists extend this to not believing in the supernatural at all, it is not a requirement. I could be an atheist and still believe Harry Potter was real (because that would be pretty friggen sweet), and there would be nothing innaccurate. SO Lucifer's thoughts on Karma, while not the most common, are not contradictory. Whether or not they were hypocritical would depending on teh fervor of his belief versus the abundance of evidence behind his belief when compared to say, the average Christian who believs there is a "God". But that's a lot of stuff that's really hard to quantify, so I'm not going to worry about it.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • J.W

      I agree with lunchbreaker on that one. Karma doesnt have to be just a religious concept. If you have a positive effect on the community around you eventually that positivity will come back to you in the long run.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "Also, it may seem weird for me to say this ... but I believe in karma. The universe doesn't care; but it is an interesting phenomena on how good deeds and bad deeds come back to you full circle."

      I guess my comment caused some confusion. I believe in the concept of karma as a means/tool to keep oneself on a "good" path, (subjective, I know). Similiar to my earlier Lincoln quote, "When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion."

      I do not believe in any religion or mysticism, but I do believe in good begets good, evil begets evil. (Ironic bible reference, I know).

      and I would rather believe in Middle-Earth than Harry Potter. because that would be MORE sweet! LOL.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Cq

      Voice of Reason
      When my wife and I say something is good Karma we just mean that doing something nice will ripple out other good deeds and helps make the world a better place to live in. Doing bad stuff (bad Karma) often backfires, and when somebody else does something bad to you then you can't help but think that you should have been a better example yourself, and end up feeling guilty for the bad things you've done that affected others.

      It's like the old saying goes that you can't ever hope to get away with crapping in the same water supply that everyone, including yourself, uses. Just common sense.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " I know atheists can be good people, but is there really a reason WHY??? "

      To show the evolutionary nature of altruism – They have done rat studies showing that rats are altruistic. They put a rat in a cage and trained it so that if it pushed a button it got a treat – like a pellet of food. Once the rat got used to pushing the button and getting the treat, they put another rat in another cage next the first one. And every time the first rat pushed the button to get a treat, the second rat would get a shock. It didn't take long for the first rat to make the new association with the button causing the shock to the second rat. And over and over again, the rats chose to stop pushing the button. They gave up getting treats in order to stop another rat from getting shocked.

      So do rats do the right thing because they believe in your god?

      April 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Badda Bing

      Those were atheist rats, Primewonk. If they had been Christian rats, they would have continued to shock the rat if it was not Christian, or at least killed it for not obeying it's father, and if they were Muslim rats, they would have blown themselves up.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • closet atheist

      @ Primewonk.... hahaha... great example!

      April 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  8. Voice of Reason

    @Primework

    That was my first gut feeling, being in a public building. I know of cases across the country for example where a young lady's request to remove a prayer flag from her public school was upheld.

    April 5, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  9. Voice of Reason

    Does anyone have an opinion on if this prayer breakfast goes against the establishment clause in the first amendment?

    April 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • BRC

      It does not because they have special events for other religions as well. Don't get me wrong I'd be happy to do away with it, but as long as they are evenly recognizing all faiths with little ceremonies, it's legal.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Primewonk

      My opinion would that yes, it does violate the establishment clause, if the event was held in a government building. I don't think that a government offiicial simply expressing a personal religious belief would violate it though.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Voice of Delusion

      No, you're an ldiot. Free expression of religion. As long as he's not trying to implement laws or forcing others to follow his beliefs he's allowed to express whatever he believes in.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      The establishment clause states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". As long as the breakfast was not mandated by law it doesn't violate the clause.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      @BRC

      I think if anyone challenged it that's where it would land with a decision.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " The establishment clause states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion". "

      The consti.tution means whatever SCOTUS says it means – and it has since Marbury v. Madison (1803). Through their writings and rulings SCOTUS has stated that yes, there is in fact a wall of separation between church and state.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • Cq

      Are similar events held for other religious holidays, or just Christian ones? Kinda hard for government not to look biased towards particular religious expressions when only certain ones are being showcased. The White House isn't just a residence, it's where the executive branch does business. Not at all a clean separation.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  10. William Demuth

    Atheists are smarter than everyone else and that's a fact. They can and will do what they want and say what they want bc they're by far the smartest. Anyone who questions them is a m0ron. We can't be blinded by ego when we are the smartest and all knowing.

    April 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      Hey Willie! Are you a bone doctor in PA?

      April 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Eric G

      INFERIORITY COMPLEX.........TABLE FOR ONE............

      Some atheists are smart, others are good looking.

      So few of us are both.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Ykcyc

      @William or whoever is making these stupid comments.
      If that was a true statement, then you could not possibly be one of them. Because, based on your comments, you definitely do not "suffer" from being smart and it would not possibly be your own ego making DUMB statements like that. You are so lost in your own head, you don't have a clue about the things you are talking about. You must be totally unloved. What a pitty.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:37 pm |
    • William Demuth

      I cant help it that i get off by watching the Teletubbies.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • J.W

      I am guessing that is not the real William Demuth. He is usually so polite and humble.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Cq

      Since many, if not most, atheists are former believers I can't say that we are "smarter" than what we use to be. Braver maybe, but not smarter.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • jim

      i can sense your sarcasm there JW

      April 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  11. Seriously

    I see the atheists always manage to come out of there shells on a belief blog and post garbage over and over again. Anyone can claim logic and intelligence, actually having it is a different story

    April 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Voice of Reason

      By that statement I would have to agree totally that you are a complete moronic simpleton with a very low IQ

      April 5, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • Seriously

      voice – Normally when you say you agree with somebody it pertains to what their post said. You don't say I agree and then insert whatever you feel like saying. Your post says more about your intelligence than mine.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • Peter

      "I see the atheists always manage to come out of there shells on a belief blog and post garbage over and over again. Anyone can claim logic and intelligence, actually having it is a different story"

      I think a great example it the garbage that gets posted over and over again is "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things." It's funny how you seem to not consider that troll.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Seriously

      @Peter

      I actually do think he trolls and have said so before. You atheists keep responding to him everytime though which is mind boggling.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Cq

      Seriously
      You're right. I don't understand the compulsion to answer that guy. I suggest that the first of us to see it just post "troll" and leave it at that.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  12. Religion is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer is delusional.

    April 5, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • Get Out Much?

      Thanks for sharing your 2 cents. Any other mindblowing observations? Haha what a loser.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  13. Why?

    Why do atheists post such hateful and mean messages? That's way more telling to what's really driving you instead of your claim to "logic" and "reason."

    Oh, and the fact that you seek out religious articles only to slander and post angrily about believers is also quite telling. The truth is painfully obvious no matter how many times you deny it.

    April 5, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      "The truth is painfully obvious no matter how many times you deny it."

      truth |tro͞oTH|
      noun ( pl. truths |tro͞oT͟Hz, tro͞oTHs| )
      the quality or state of being true.
      • (also the truth) that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality: tell me the truth | she found out the truth about him.
      • a fact or belief that is accepted as true: the emergence of scientific truths.

      All right then WHY, tell me the painful truth that is so obvious.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Primewonk

      But it's still OK when the fundiots (fundamentalist îdiots) on here dàmn to hell those who worship different gods, or no gods, right?

      And perhaps you can explain why the fundiots show up on the science threads and post inane lies about cosmology, abiogenesis, evolution, climate change, etc?

      April 5, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Why?

      @voice

      Thanks for defining the word truth, I was completely unaware of it's meaning until you enlightened me. You atheists really are that smart. As to the why, it's obvious when somebody claims one thing but their actions show something completely different, aka actions speak louder than words. If you'd like to define more words for me please go ahead. A couple of words I'm unsure of the meaning; the, and, something, it, why, smart.....please enlighten me with more of your wisdom.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Why?

      @primewonk

      I see very few Christians on here who damn atheists or whoever to hell. I do, however, see tons of atheists making that claim, kind of a persecution complex which you all claim we Christians use (in fact both sides can be seen to use it depending on the poster). The hypocrisy is astounding.

      You militant atheists are just as zealous as the fundamentalists which you claim to despise. You are exactly what you claim to hate FYI.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      "As to the why, it's obvious when somebody claims one thing but their actions show something completely different, aka actions speak louder than words."

      Can you define this for me? What actions?

      April 5, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Cq

      I use to voice my skepticism on a UFO believers site, but none of them got angry or were threatening like most Christians here are. Besides, they're harmless whereas you crowd are anything but. Your extreme beliefs actually harm people.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Eric G

      @Why: In your post, you make claims of fact that you did not support with evidence. What makes a "truth" obvious is the verification of supporting evidence and satisfaction of the inherent burden of proof outlined in any claim.

      Can you please clearly define what "truth" you are referencing and what evidencial support you have for your claim?

      April 5, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • hahaha

      militant theist fly planes into buildings, go on shooting rampages, and suicide bomb.

      militant atheist post angry messages on blogs

      BIG DIFFERENCE

      April 5, 2012 at 11:49 am |
    • Cq

      Eric G
      Yes, any blowhard can walk into a sports bar and declare his favorite team or player the best, but he had better have the stats to back that up or things could get real ugly. Nobody values an opinion that can't be defended by facts and figures, and fundamentalist Christians are lacking both.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @Eric G

      There will be a long silence after asking such a reasonable question.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • Cq

      hahaha
      Some responses are angry, but no more angry than some political or sports discussions, but a lot are also reasoned criticisms.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:53 am |
    • Do Research Before Spouting Garbage

      @haha

      You're and ldiot. Please look up Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao Tse Tung, James Lee, etc. That claim is so easily debunked it's not even funny. Yet another example of the atheist delusion.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • I'm The Best!

      @ research
      Their atheism had nothing to do with their drive to power. This isn't the case with Hitler, or the 911 terrorists. You're bringing unrelated topics into the discussion.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Primewonk

      " I see very few Christians on here who damn atheists or whoever to hell. "

      In that case, you don't read many of these comments.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Mirror Mirror

      How about that? A hateful and mean message about people who post hateful and mean messages.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Eric G

      @Do Research Before Spouting Garbage:
      I suggest you take your own advice. Stalin, for example, studied to become a priest for 6 years. But that is not really important.

      The societies you referenced were based around a political ideology, not a theology. Your post implies that the atrocities ordered by these people were because they are atheist. First, you will need to provide verifiable evidence that they were, in fact, atheists. Second, you will need to provide verifiable evidence that supports your hypothesis that their actions were based in, and in support of their non-belief.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
    • Eric G

      No response................................... Typical.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • Cq

      Do Research Before Spouting Garbage
      Those guys were anti-organized religion, exactly like all of the "Christianity isn't a religion, but a personal relationship with God" crowd. I suggest you ask them why the have this in common with Stalin, et al..

      April 5, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  14. Ellen McCormick

    The White House should not be used for religious purposes. By anyone.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      VERY LOUD APPLAUSE!!!!!!!!!!! STANDING OVATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Everyone yell TAX THE CHURCHES AND KEEP YOUR RELIGIONS AND GOD AWAY FROM OUR CHILDREN AND OUR GOVERNMENT!!!!!!!

      April 5, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • J.W

      If churches are taxed then they should be able to have a say in government.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @J.W.

      If they can prove there is a god then I wouldn't have any problem with that. BUT, if anyone is to have any say into government it needs to pass the reason and logic tests, no supernatural BS.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • lunchbreaker

      Churches already have a say in gov't. Churches are composed of citizens who have the right to vote.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      Does anyone know if this goes against the establishment clause in the first amendment?

      April 5, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • J.W

      So only people who agree with you should have a say in government? I don't think that is how it works. We should all be allowed to have a say. If you don't like it write a letter to your congressman from wherever you are from and try to get the law changed

      April 5, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Voice of Reason

      @J.W.

      Show me where I said "only people that agree with me should have a say in government". You are a perfect example of the stupidity of not knowing the definition of reason and logic. I would bet you are religious.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • William Demuth

      He was insinuating that nobody will agree with you. Duh

      April 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  15. Voice of Reason

    My name is Rainer Braendlein, and I live in Munich/Germany and I am an atheist.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      Atheist?

      April 5, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      For a good, time call 08989623887.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  16. Voice of Reason

    If we look at religion with a critical eye, religious people are lost people. The are lost in some alternate reality that does not exist but only in their weak mind. It is like telling a 5 year old that there is no santa or easter bunny. There lies the danger, indoctrinating our children into a cult of nonsense and evil. I mean, it is perfectly acceptable to finally explain to the children that santa and the bunny are make believe but if you are brought-up to believe there is a god?

    April 5, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • Sue

      VoR: great post and great comparisons.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Cq

      Like Trekkies?

      April 5, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  17. Nii

    What??? No test for a con.gen.ital condition like being left-handed? And yet u know I'm bise.xual from my FB page cos I said I like 2 form friendships with males n females. How did u meet ATHEISTSTEVE or u jumped right in bed, no friendship. When did FB write "u r now se.x partners with..". LOL smh

    April 5, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Nii

      TRUTHPREVAILS
      I respect women a lot. My mom(RIP) was a very wise n noble woman. She wud not walk into the Side-Winder u just did. U know why? She taught me to love my neighbor as myself. With this u can be very rational. Hate is not akin to love. Its just a cliche. Hatred blinds.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      How did I meet AtheistSteve? Through mutual friends if you must know. You're an ass for making any form of a$$umption based on not knowing anything!
      As for you being bi, it's not an a$$sumption when the question facebook asks is 'interested in' and you answer 'male and female'...most normal people would take that as you being bi and you have previously mentioned that you 'tried' being with a male...so your lies do not cut it dolt!!

      April 5, 2012 at 10:51 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      btw: I hate no-one. I dislike people within reason and you keep giving me reasons to dislike you.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Nii

      TRUTHPREVAILS
      Some rearguard action. Don't lie! I said my friend fell into it after losing interest in his girlfriend. When someone asks u a question u look at context. Since u control my FB page u know that I seek professional and not just social relationships. Why does male friends not fit. Silly

      April 5, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Nii

      And while at it let me point out that not everyone thinks of s.ex orientation all the time. I think its just silly. Humans will have s.ex with who they will. As someone said the priests used the boys cos they were at hand. So do the pri.soners and everyone else. Few back down. I don't think like u.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Nii

      I know perfectly well that u and Stebve were friends of sorts before marriage. I asked a rhetorical question which a calm, charitable person wud have recognised for what it is. I was emphasising FB as a site for friends not getting laid.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Nii: Just to clarify here, when most people see that someone posts both male and female as their interest, it looks like they are bi. If you are not, so be it. Facebook is the worse place to meet people. Steve and I met through mutual friends while he was visiting in Ontario. After numerous months of chatting I took vacation time to visit him in New Brunswick and have never looked back. I can only wish that everyone is as fortunate as we have been in our relationship.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • Nii

      ERIK
      So in case I go 2 prison (which I pray I never will) I can give my se.xual orientation 2 de guards n they'll put me in solitary confinement till my conjugal visits? I read de science papers on de biological evidence myself but whenever statistics are introduced the arguement fails. Thanks.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • YeahRight

      "I read de science papers on de biological evidence myself but whenever statistics are introduced the arguement fails. Thanks."

      That's why all the experts around the world disagree with you, keep showing everyone how stupid you are.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:44 am |
    • Nii

      TRUTHPREVAILS
      I love the story about you and Steve. I hope u guys go all the way. I also will allow you to know that I have reviewed papers on evidence for natural occurence of being gay. I don't think it is beyond doubt at this stage though. I'm sorry if I sound harsh at times.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • Nii

      Why?
      This place the wolf pack are against the foxes. Chickens just get in the way I guess. The militant atheists and Evangelicals have been admonished by spiritual atheists and Christians to stop but they seem to just chew on. You can debate without denigrading behaviour. They r both happy though.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Nii

      Christianity unlike its senior counterpart Judaism has never been a theocracy. The max punishment 4 unrepented sin within its communities is excommunication. Those outside we dont judge 4 either good or ill. if u ask us our opinion n we give it we dont intend 2 force it on u. Obama understands this.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
    • William Demuth

      "I hope u guys go all the way"

      lol classic!

      April 5, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Anon

      That Christianity has never been a theocracy?!
      Looks like christian Uganda is a paradise for GLBT folks then.
      Nil you're officially another disingenuous apologist AKA liar for mythological Jesus.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Nii

      Christian Uganda?? People don't know Africa much, do they? Only Ethiopia has been a Christian African nation in modern times. Even then it was a monarchy not a theocracy. Iran is a theocracy. Israel is not. Just cos Xtians are many doesnt make a country a theocracy. Britain is Xtian cos de Queen is.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  18. Rainer Braendlein

    Obama said that Easter is an opportunity to appreciate “all that Christ endured – not just as a Son of God, but as a human being,” according to a White House transcript.”

    The mystery of Jesus was that he was God and man at the same time and that his two natures did not influence each other. Jesus was actually God and actually man.

    Hence, it could happen, when somebody met Jesus 2000 years ago in Palestine that he just perceived him as an ordinary infant, child, youth and adult. Jesus obeyed his parents, he went to school, he worked as a carpenter. The only special thing, which the people perceived, was that Jesus was extraordinary humble, compassionate, meek, righteous, merciful, straight, peaceable and steadfast. For a long time (up to the comming of John the Baptist) Jesus wrought no miracles and people could not realize his glory (at the utmost they praised his extraordinary fine character).

    In a word: Jesus was a human being, indeed, even though a model one.

    Before Jesus came into the situation of the Garden Gethsemane, he had revealed his glory by working a lot of miracles. It was clear that he was not only a man, but also the Eternal God. It was a heavy crime that the Jewish and the Roman Establishment arrested him and finally killed him.

    The human will of Jesus was not influenced by his divine will and reverse. Be aware of that!

    Jesus always subordinated voluntarily his human will to his divine will. In the Garden Gethsemane it was absolutely clear for him, why he should have to die. It is only that the anguish and trouble of the situation in the eve of the crucifixion was that great that Jesus humbly asked the Father, if he could spare him from the death (cup of sorrow). That Jesus appealed to God for reprieve is another evidence that he was a real human being. The special thing of Jesus was that he was ready to accept God’s will, even though it meant infinite suffering for him. However, it was not possible to spare Jesus from the death for the sake of the salvation of the mankind. Hence, Jesus accepted the will of his Father and the will of his divine nature, which was united with the Father in the Eternal Godhead.

    Jesus could have broken with God in the Garden Gethsemane. It is necessary that this was so, because otherwise Jesus had not been a complete human being. When Jesus had broken with God, the universe had colapsed. On the man Jesus leaned the future of the whole universe in the Garden Gethsemane.

    We will eternally praise and worship the Lamb of God, which has overcome for the sake of our salvation.

    Jesus lives and reigns together with the Father and the Spirit from eternity to eternity.

    Addition:

    What is the meaning of the resurrection?

    It was not legitimate to kill Jesus and thus the verdict could not have endure. The judgement on Jesus was not authorized by God, the highest judge, and thus God himself repealed it by raising Jesus from the dead. Although Jesus’ execution was not legitimate, it was part of God’s decision like the betrayal by Judas Iscariot. God is that mighty that he can even use the crimes of human beings to fullfill his plans. However, Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate and many of the Jewish Establishment, which killed Jesus, will have to suffer eternal fire.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:31 am |
    • Stan

      Everyone who reads Rainer-Whiner's longwinded posts say "Aye"...

      ...silence.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:42 am |
    • Nii

      I don't know why people are so stuck on God sacrificing His Son. He knew that the message He brought to this world won't be popular and will result in His death. THAT IS THE SACRIFICE. He did not deny the truth of His message even under severe torture. He took a stand like Sir Thomas More.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  19. Rainer Braendlein

    @Primewonk

    Ho-mose-xuality is one of many maladies, caused by our alienation from God. Like Adam, we have forsaken the source of life, which is God and thus we had to perish and to die.

    You may read Romans 1 and you would see that God gave up Adam and us (the mankind), because we didn't praise him for his great creation, by which he showed us his great love. Instead of adoring God, we adore idols like the Mammon, the god of materialism. The ancient Greeks adored their sinful Gods like Zeus and we adore the coldhearted Mammon.

    Because of that God gave us up in a sinful state. We have forsaken the source of life and thus we have to taste the death, which reigns the regions outside God.

    Hence, ho-mose-xuality, but also greed, hate, egoism, anger, murder, lie, philistinism, etc. are signs for our alienation from the loving God.

    Only if we return to the loving God by the gospel of Jesus, he will cure us from our maladies.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • HellBent

      How exactly can you classify something as a malady that has exactly zero ill-effects? Generally, maladies are considered bad things. But the only people that consider this bad that those that cherry pick and ancient text to put down people different than themselves.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • BRC

      You continue to post identicle material without addressing the isses with teh material.
      "You may read Romans 1 and you would see that God gave up Adam and us (the mankind), because we didn't praise him for his great creation, by which he showed us his great love"

      SO by your own interpretation, an all powerful un imaginably great "God" cast humans (who he supposedly made the entire universe for) into pain and sin and torment, because they didn't say thank you enough? And you feel a being who is supposed to be that great, but is actually that petty, is a being of love that is worthy of worship? I cannot understand how your thought process works.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @BRC

      It is yet enough, when God ends his protection, to cause the doom of a man.

      You got me wrong!

      I meant it like this: God finished his protection and preservation of the human being and thus the powers of death took hold of him. There are evil power and it is yet enough, if God stops to protect someone to deliver him the death.

      God did not create the sin. Sin exists in that area of the universe, where God doesn't reign. Adam left God's realm and joined the realm of the devil, hence he had to perish and became a sinner.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Primewonk

      Being born gay is not a malady. It is simply a natural variant of human se.xual orientation. It is a biological multivariate based in genetics, hormonal baths in utero, neuronal plasticity, neuroanatomy, etc.

      I wonder why you can't understand this?

      April 5, 2012 at 10:48 am |
    • Sue

      "Where God doesn't reign' -uh huh, so you've got another one of those non-omnipotent, non-omnipresent gods. Thought so. Better make yourself another, better one.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Peter

      "Hence, ho-mose-xuality, but also greed, hate, egoism, anger, murder, lie, philistinism, etc. are signs for our alienation from the loving God."
      No it's not for the gay person, there are gay Christians. All those things you have stated after that is can bring about harm to another human being. Gay people who enter into a loving relationship with another consenting person does not cause harm but loving intimacy. The whole premise of the bible is about understanding love and respect for each other and for your God. It is funny how Christians are blinded to the loving relationships that gays have with each other, relationships that are exactly like straight people.

      April 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  20. Nii

    If we use the species-based arguement gays don't stand a chance. Because slavery, infanticide, culling, monarchy all exist in nature. Hence we have a natural right to kill potential gay babies. Send this over to Atheist China. U will see how many gay baby tests will be conducted and babies aborted.

    April 5, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      This coming from someone who is bi-se.xual, that is rather hypocritical and in-humane. There is no way to tell before a child is born if they are going to be gay or not, there is no testing for it and the fact that you would wish anyone dead speaks to your lack of morals!! You're a pathetically immoral person Nii!!

      April 5, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Nii

      U guys should be happy that believers know or at least think gays have a choice. I've seen how castrated dogs are treated by other dogs n it ain't pretty. Leave gays alone. If they attack children like some priests have jail them but make sure when u go to jail u seek solitary confinement cos...

      April 5, 2012 at 10:24 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Believers know nothing when it comes to a person being gay. It is not a choice, it is a way a person is born...not a choice they make!!! Us being happy with your false as.sumptions is impossible because they make no sense and have no place in the world. Bigotry is dangerous and horribly hateful.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:56 am |
    • Erik

      "U guys should be happy that believers know or at least think gays have a choice."

      Being gay is not a choice. Science, in fact, is actually not in dispute on this matter.

      All major medical professional organizations concur that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed, from gay to straight or otherwise. The American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and European Psychological, Psychiatric, and Medical Associations all agree with this, as does the World Health Organization and the medical organizations of Japan, China, and most recently, Thailand. Furthermore, attempts to change one's sexual orientation can be psychologically damaging, and cause great inner turmoil and depression, especially for Christian gays and lesbians.

      Reparative therapy, also called conversion therapy or reorientation therapy, "counsels" LGBT persons to pray fervently and study Bible verses, often utilizing 12-step techniques that are used to treat sexual addictions or trauma. Such Christian councilors are pathologizing homosexuality, which is not a pathology but is a sexual orientation. Psychologically, that's very dangerous territory to tread on. All of the above-mentioned medical professional organizations, in addition to the American and European Counseling Associations, stand strongly opposed to any form of reparative therapy.

      In my home country, Norway, reparative therapy is officially considered to be ethical malpractice. But there are many countries that do not regulate the practice, and many others that remain largely silent and even passively supportive of it (such as the Philippines). Groups that operate such "therapy" in the Philippines are the Evangelical Bagong Pag-asa, and the Catholic Courage Philippines.

      The scientific evidence of the innateness of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transgenderism is overwhelming, and more peer-reviewed studies which bolster this fact are being added all the time. Science has long regarded sexual orientation – and that's all sexual orientations, including heterosexuality – as a phenotype. Simply put, a phenotype is an observable set of properties that varies among individuals and is deeply rooted in biology. For the scientific community, the role of genetics in sexuality is about as "disputable" as the role of evolution in biology.

      On the second point, that there is no conclusion that there is a "gay gene," they are right. No so-called gay gene has been found, and it's highly unlikely that one ever will. This is where conservative Christians and Muslims quickly say "See, I told you so! There's no gay gene, so being gay is a choice!"

      Take this interesting paragraph I found on an Evangelical website: "The attempt to prove that homosexuality is determined biologically has been dealt a knockout punch. An American Psychological Association publication includes an admission that there's no homosexual "gene" – meaning it's not likely that homosexuals are 'born that way.'"

      But that's not at all what it means, and it seems Evangelicals are plucking out stand-alone phrases from scientific reports and removing them from their context. This is known in academia as the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Interestingly, this is also what they have a habit of doing with verses from the Bible.

      This idea of sexuality being a choice is such a bizarre notion to me as a man of science. Many of these reparative "therapists" are basing this concept on a random Bible verse or two. When you hold those up against the mountain of scientific research that has been conducted, peer-reviewed, and then peer-reviewed again, it absolutely holds no water. A person's sexuality – whether heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual – is a very deep biological piece of who that person is as an individual.

      The fact that a so-called "gay gene" has not been discovered does not mean that homosexuality is not genetic in its causation. This is understandably something that can seem a bit strange to those who have not been educated in fields of science and advanced biology, and it is also why people who are not scientists ought not try to explain the processes in simple black-and-white terms. There is no gay gene, but there is also no "height gene" or "skin tone gene" or "left-handed gene." These, like sexuality, have a heritable aspect, but no one dominant gene is responsible for them.

      Many genes, working in sync, contribute to the phenotype and therefore do have a role in sexual orientation. In many animal model systems, for example, the precise genes involved in sexual partner selection have been identified, and their neuro-biochemical pathways have been worked out in great detail. A great number of these mechanisms have been preserved evolutionarily in humans, just as they are for every other behavioral trait we know (including heterosexuality).

      Furthermore, there are many biologic traits which are not specifically genetic but are biologic nonetheless. These traits are rooted in hormonal influences, contributed especially during the early stages of fetal development. This too is indisputable and based on extensive peer-reviewed research the world over. Such prenatal hormonal influences are not genetic per se, but are inborn, natural, and biologic nevertheless.

      Having said that, in the realm of legal rights, partnership rights, and anti-discrimination protections, the gay gene vs. choice debate is actually quite irrelevant. Whether or not something is a choice is not a suitable criterion for whether someone should have equal rights and protections. Religion is indisputably a choice, but that fact is a not a valid argument for discriminating against a particular religion.

      This is not an issue in dispute. According to modern science: baby, you were born this way.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:02 am |
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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.