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More ways social issues and religion will shape 2012 election (besides same-sex marriage)
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have starkly different views on gay marriage and other social issues.
May 10th, 2012
10:56 AM ET

More ways social issues and religion will shape 2012 election (besides same-sex marriage)

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Everyone knows the 2012 presidential race is about jobs and the economy. As likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney said a couple weeks ago: “It’s still about the economy, and we’re not stupid.”

But have you noticed how the culture wars keep intruding into this it’s-all-about-the-economy election?

On Wednesday, President Barack Obama voiced personal support for same-sex marriage, launching a new wave of national debate around the issue. A day earlier, North Carolinians voted to amend their constitution to ban gay marriage and other legal arrangements for gay couples.

It’s a one-two punch of reminders that social issues with deep religious reverberations still matter.

In that spirit, here are five ways faith-based politics could shape this presidential contest, drawn up with help from religion reporter friends who gathered this week to talk about God (and godlessness) and politics:

1. President Obama’s support for same-sex marriage means a hot-button social issue will be a factor in the race. How much of a factor is up for debate. Ralph Reed, the former Christian Coalition chief, calls the president’s announcement a “gift to the Romney campaign,” because it will mobilize social conservatives and won’t play well in swing states like Ohio, Florida and Virginia. It's also likely to disappoint some black voters, who tend to be socially conservative. But the University of Akron's John Green says battleground fallout is unclear; we don’t have reliable polling about where voters stand on gay marriage in those states, he says.

2. Regardless of the issues at play, religion is one of the best predictors of how Americans vote. That’s been true in elections like 2004, the year of “values voters” and more than a dozen state-level gay marriage bans, and 2008, when most of the political talk was about reviving the economy.

Even in years like 2008, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life determined that frequency of attendance at religious services was a better predictor of how Americans voted than any other demographic factor besides race. That means religiosity was a better predictor than gender. Better than education level. Better than age, union membership, or whether someone lived in a rural vs. an urban area. That’s pretty amazing.

As USA Today’s Cathy Lynn Grossman points out, “There’s a set number of people for whom religion really matters.” That doesn’t change from election to election. It’s a safe bet that level of religious observance will be a good predictor of how we vote this year, too.

3. Despite their focus on jobs, debt and taxes, the two major parties and their candidates are really presenting two competing moral visions for America. National elections, Washington Post religion columnist Lisa Miller says, are more about those contrasting narratives than about how each candidate would craft a federal budget.

Miller says that most voters fall into one of two camps: those supporting a “communitarian” America, in which we’re all our brother’s keepers, and those stressing “self-reliance and individual achievement.” The former are liberals, the latter are conservatives, and Miller argues they're separated by different moral takes on economic systems. Conservatives would disagree, saying that they are their brothers’ keepers - they just don’t want the government playing that role. Still, Miller is onto something about competing moral visions.

4. Mitt Romney’s Mormonism. There’s been so much discussion of how Romney’s faith will affect his chances - some Christians consider Mormonism a cult, etc. - that there’s no need to rehash it all here. But Kevin Eckstrom, the editor of the Religion News Service, notes that Romney has yet to prove that he could win the evangelical base of his own party. (Eckstrom also notes that President Obama has his own base problems.)

On the question of whether Romney can surmount doubts about Mormonism, Eckstrom has invented what he calls the “A.J.” test, named after his Southern Baptist father-in-law. A.J. ain’t fond of Mormons, but he hates President Obama even more. Eckstrom theorizes that a despised incumbent - Obama - will make it much easier for Romney to win evangelicals than it would be otherwise. Worth noting that some political/religious minds believe Romney’s Mormonism will be a bigger stumbling block for independents than for the GOP base.

5. The battle over the White House’s contraception mandate provided a strong frame for women’s issues in the election, especially on health care. The conventional wisdom is that the White House won the battle with the Catholic bishops for public opinion, and the GOP is working overtime to win back independent women. To wit, the party is promoting its own version of the Violence Against Women Act in Congress. And Romney has equated Obama’s economic policies to an economic war on women. What started as an inside-the-Beltway battle over a proposed Health and Human Services policy has metastasized into a full-blown metanarrative.

One caveat to all this is that the presidential candidates themselves may talk a lot less about religion than during the 2008 and 2004 elections.

Romney doesn’t like to discuss his Mormonism, and Obama got burned for his close relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright in 2008, which may make him more reticent on his personal faith this time around. His campaign has yet to hire a religious outreach director this year, even after pioneering such outreach for Democrats in the last election.

This doesn’t mean religion won’t matter in the battle for the White House (see points 1 through 5, above) but it will matter differently than it has recently. Which should keep things interesting.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Uncategorized

soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. Mikel Sale

    Just wish to say your article is as astonishing. The clarity in your post is simply great and i could assume you're an expert on this subject. Well with your permission let me to grab your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:04 am |
  2. LIberalsSux

    I love how the Democrats/CNN and the liberal media have spun this election into social issues! Let's get onto the real issues: unemployment, the national debt and a national budget!!!!! Obama is running his campaign on smoke and mirrors! How about run your campaign on your record as President!

    May 13, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Social Conservative

      They don't want to run on Obama's record because they know they will lose. He is the most failed President since Jimmy Carter.

      May 14, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  3. Dr K

    Amazing how virtually none of the responses here relate to the story –

    Oh wait, that was the plan – Come up with something to get everyone talking about something other than the fact that I have accomplished noting of merit since I took office – Nice

    May 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  4. warrenindisguise

    Jesus never promoted skillful manipulation..especially not by devaluing people. Jesus raised people's value and worth (women, children, foreigners, lepers, "sinners") in a society that tried to "turn or burn" everybody. Read the gospels. Most people don't realize that gay and lesbian rights supporters do the exact same thing to people who don't agree with their belief systems. They are their own religion. They condemn people who don't say being gay is okay. That's called being a hypocrite and it's definitely a two-way street.

    A lot of culturally-created "Christians" don't really know anything about Christ as person at all, and only know a boring set of rules and regulations that's supposed to help you become a "good person". People have tried religious "theories" since the beginning of the human race and it doesn't work out. That the reason why salvation can only come from God..

    People pollute things for sure. Just like reading the Bible without the Holy Spirit revealing things could inspire genocide or generations of hatred between people groups. Somebody who doesn't understand God's character can't understand Scripture without help with the context of it and "why" things are written like they are in the Bible. It's like giving a real sword to someone on their first fencing lesson. Somebody is getting cut.

    Christianity was never intended to be a method of preying on the weak-willed, but, it is a way for those who are strong enough to acknowledge their weaknesses to gain strength from knowing God intimately. You can't tell me your will is so strong that you always pick the things that benefit you the most, correct? We seem love to pick things that hurt us (albeit eventually) out of ignorance or hatred of ourselves or others. Or maybe just cause it feels good for awhile.

    You can actually feel God's presence, ya know. In times of prayer and worship you can actually become aware of Him hanging out with you. Faith given God, means God gives back. You can't take a gift from somebody without getting from them first right? Otherwise you'd have to try and steal it...and people get in trouble for stealing.

    Religion (as a set of principles or "commands") never killed anybody by itself. But, evil people (and sometimes even well meaning people) have definitely used religion as a way to get what they want, hurting people in the process.

    Jesus didn't come to set up organizations of people really good at condemning other people for not following rules good enough. He came to establish a meaningful relationship between Himself, His Father, and the human race. IPeople don't know they can actually know God intimately. The "proof" you people are looking for isn't found in any scientific research paper or statistical analysis of trends but can only be found in personal connection, knowing God as a personality, and that's only found by accepting Jesus Christ as the Bossman over their life and allowing Him to help them succeed in life as their Savior. People don't get it and I didn't for a long time either. It took me a long time to re-recognize God as a loving Person..not just some hater's concept they got out of a dust tome. He's a good God and just..ask Him yourself.

    No, of course, this doesn't answer every question you guys have. Why did that religious person hurt me? Why didn't God show up here? I could answer that if you like..it's pretty simple: people have problems. We're not puppets..we're people. God can't robot people into loving each other (see..He even holds Himself subject to boundaries) but He can encourage and ask us to.

    May 13, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  5. AtreayuJah

    "I am NO part of this world, and neither should you." Those are the words of Yeshua. And yet, followers of Christendom are arguing over the decisions of this government. Why? If you are a lover of Yahweh God, why are you even delving into worldly politics? If it doesn't affect you, and it shouldn't, then why worry? Here's what irks me. You call yourself a "Christian", and yet your actions and doctrines refute it. Yeshua (Jesus) was not affiliated with any part of politics when he was around. When asked to be King, he turned it down saying that his kingdom was NOT a part of this world. Neither should his followers who claim to love him. True Christian's don't vote because you know that this system and government is overseen by Satan. Christendom holds to Pagan traditions enacted by Constantine and Babylonian gods! Here's a hint..if you want to judge others on their decisions in life, start with yourself and your so-called faith. Stop listening to these money-hungry pastors that go to school to learn the Bible when if you are truly called by Yahweh, then you don't need a theology based college that all preachers and pastors go to. Here's a hint...research! Christmas...pagan, Easter...pagan..the cross...pagan! Yeshua died on a stake NOT a cross. So before you whine about decisions Satan's government makes and you claim yourself as a follower of Yeshua, you need to do your research. You are to be NO PART OF THIS WORLD. You pay back to Ceaser what is Ceaser's (Pay your taxes) and follow the laws of your government, because many laws are guidelines of the ten commandments. Other than that, politics are not of Yahweh. Jesus wouldn't touch politics. PERIOD!

    May 13, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  6. Donaize

    Find it interesting that a woman can abort a fetus and it's okay for that life to be taken – it is a choice –
    But if that same woman meets her untimely demise through a heinous crime, that person is charged with two counts of murder – why is that murder and not the taking of the child by the woman?

    May 13, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Michael

      You are very dull.

      May 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      you really want to debate this one? seriously you want to go there?

      OH BOY

      sit down

      May 14, 2012 at 7:23 am |
  7. Worship Poseidon

    Jesus himself was flamboyantly gay. He had relations with over 50 men. At the same time.

    May 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Cesar

      You blasphemed the name of your Father. I hope you embrace brother.

      May 13, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  8. pchow

    distraction from the economydistraction from the economydistraction from the economydistraction from the economy

    May 13, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • IslandAtheist

      The economy is the distraction.

      May 13, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      okay ponder this thought. Obama stance on the gay issue can be looked upon as an answer the economy problem. Gays want to get married, they have money. Let them spend it and see how the economy will look brighter. I wish people would stop looking for others to solve their problems. Create your own job opportunities and stop looking for governments to do the work for you. There's opportunity everywhere, you just have to look.

      May 14, 2012 at 7:27 am |
  9. Patricksday

    3% of the American Population that is Gay who would even choose to marry given the chance ARE ALREADY LIVING TOGETHER! The only thing that will change is their legal rights as a couple to make choices in each others life and to protect each other from Hateful family members who only wish to punish them at a time of crisis. Keep your nose out of other peoples business. Blacks could not marry out of their race until 1971 in some states, what would that look like if it came to a Vote???. You cant vote on human rights.

    May 13, 2012 at 9:14 am |
  10. Clovis Hibbert

    These so-call pastors who ARE for gay marriage, they them self are GAY! How can u use the word God and twist it for ur own PLEASURE!!!! U FAKERS!!!!! WHAT BIBLE ARE YOU GUYS READING???? UR OWN?? THE LORD DOES NOT CHANGE! HE'S THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW!

    May 13, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • Patricksday

      Too bad you bow down to Lucifer, your God of Hate and Judgement. Pious pompus arrogant monster who thinks he lives such a HOLY LIFE. Snap out of your dream world. 3% of the population is not going to destroy America, Gay people are here and your Hate is not going to drive them back into hiding.

      May 13, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • preacherman

      You're not from Clovis, NM are you? That's one messed up, Bible-obsessed town. Opulent churches on every corner, while the town wallows in poverty and ignorance.

      May 13, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Michael

      Try decaf.

      May 13, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  11. baber

    I'm skeptical about the claim that religion is the major cut. Evengelicalism has traditionally been the religion of the lower classes. The cut is between the white working class–coded "evangelical"–and the rest of us. Class is that C word that no one wants to mention. But Culture Wars is a war between the white working class and the rest of us. Let's be honest: the white working class, in particular, white working class males, are the enemy. And "we will bury them."

    May 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  12. GLCarmine

    This is a really kick ass article – thank you CNN.

    I loved the description of liberal morality as communitarian – that rocks. It is the perfect word and does have spiritual and moral roots – it's much more intuitive and intelligent than the stereotypical "liberals are secular" attack. And I'm a Christian, so I'm all too familiar with that attack.

    But here's something really interesting in mentioned here: religion is an indicator of voting, but that statistic can't be as tight as they think, because it goes off of the Pew research about attendance to religious services. This means that people thinking out of the box religiously or spiritually cannot really be described statistically or targeted politically – not everyone who has spiritual or even religious beliefs are part of a collective religious observance. And I love this article because it gives room for people to critically think about an issue where people wind up being so very polarized.

    May 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  13. intel

    The Mormon church is a cult. Do a wiki search on the Book of Mormon. You won't believe it.

    May 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Of course it's a cult. Some guy who claims to talk to god, bringing god's word to the people of earth. A holy book gets written recording all of his claims. Millions of dollars roll in for hundreds of years. Yada, yada, yada.

      Oh wait! That sounds sort of like Christianity.

      May 12, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      it sure does EnjaySea

      May 14, 2012 at 7:29 am |
  14. eroteme

    Isn't it strange that Obama rarely, if ever, mentions 'Obamacare' in his fund-raising re-election campaign?

    May 12, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Chris

      They've pumped millions of taxpayer dollars into advertisements ostensibly touting reducing Medicare fraud or some such, but the ads are clearly just vehicles for Liberals to pepper us with not-so-subliminal pro-Obamacare propaganda, paid for by us.

      May 12, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      You guys are right! God forbid we should all have healthcare. That would really suck.

      May 12, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      @enjaysea

      that would make America too much like the French and Canada. LOL

      why would America be so nice to it hard working people.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  15. inHISsvc

    inHISsvc I POSTED THIS ABOVE >>>but it bears repeating here. My prayer list has grown, including each of you.

    n8362,
    I do not "think religion and GOD are true", I KNOW it to be true personally. Inasmuch as I know HIM, I also knew life without HIM and there is no comparison. I became a Christian when I was 18. When I was 40 I was in a serious auto accident..head injury, coma, spinal meninjitis and blood clots forming in my legs going into my lungs, prompting emergency surgury. I was in full arrest 3 times during that event. Just like Jesus said when HE died ("into your hands I commit my spirit...") I was immediately in GODS physical hand...immediately knew WHO held me in HIS giant hand. Later, in ICU, I realised that HE had not picked me up, but it was a place I dwelt since I accepted what HIS SON did for me on the cross. I live knowing that the GOD of ALL holds me, that HIS HOLY SPIRIT lives within me enabling communication and that Christs sacrifice covers my sin. My life has NOT been simple...just last year I was assaulted by a man. He saw my Bible and in the middle of the assault said, "Where is that GOD of yours now? I have you!" I said, "My GOD is right here and HE will intervene on my behalf!" He backed away and actually called 911 on his cell and said he wanted to report an assault. The police arrived and he was arrested. Evidently in his mind he tried to say I assaulted him, but the Police were able to see the evidence to the contrary. He was convicted of the felony. Now, except for GOD doing just what I said HE would do, you tell me why the criminal would call 911. When GOD does something HE does it in such a way that only HE can get the credit. Even the Judge said "Your GOD did intervene!"
    I am going to pray that you and the other non believers posting here have an experience in which you see HIS hand. Knowing HIM is the most wonderufl life there is!!!

    May 12, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • One one

      Jesus said, "my god, why have you forsaken me?" an expression of doubt.

      May 12, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • Krissy

      So your personal experience is worth more than my personal experience, meaning your faith is worth more than my faith.

      Right.

      May 12, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      These endless "coincidence experiences" don't prove that there is a god. They only serve to prove that there are coincidences. Excuse me while I go roll my dice.

      May 12, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  16. TYPICAL atheist's logic

    Atheists are like a fishermen who have been competing to hit the ocean floor using their long poles but failed. They decided to connect all their long poles altogether and made the last attempt but fail yet. All of them went back to the shore frustrated, telling all people that "ocean like beer in a bar, is bottomless".

    May 12, 2012 at 8:02 am |
    • momoya

      No quicker way to convince people you're a fvcking moron, huh?? Thanks for the signpost!

      May 12, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      You're completely mistaken. An atheist among those men with the poles would simply say "I don't believe that the depth of the ocean can be measured. Therefore I'm not going to wager a guess about how deep it is." But then when shown the radar images indicating the actual depth of the ocean, will immediately proclaim the answer along with everyone else.

      Show me proof of god, and I'll change my mind too.

      May 12, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      lmao @ momoya so true

      May 14, 2012 at 7:31 am |
  17. Shimon Cleopas

    Happy Mother’s Day to Our Lady of Fatima, Woman of Genesis and Woman of Revelation this May 13, 2012!

    1/9 The greatest gift man can give to Mother Mary is give TRUTH (Her Son Jesus) A FAIR SHARE OF JUSTICE in Capitol Hill, Wash DC

    2/9 New intelligence analysis reveals that engaging in sacred wars could have been avoided by simply catching the 2 big fish: God and Satan.

    3/9 New intelligence analysis reveals that engaging in sacred wars could have been avoided by simply catching the 2 big fish: Christ and Antichrist.

    4/9 9/11 attack was byproduct of preaching that America/Israel is big/small Satan. The real Satan needs to be caught and brought to justice.

    5/9 Incidentally, SCIENTIFICALLY proving that Jesus is God with a rock-solid evidence also catches and obliterates Satan/Antichrist.

    6/9 Once SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN that Jesus is God, woe to pharisees who preached militants the wrong Satan and the wrong God!

    7/9 Scientifically proving that Jesus is God wins hearts, minds and most importantly souls of everyone including militants and atheists.

    8/9 A SCIENTIFIC RETRIAL of Jesus Christ in Capitol Hill turns tables NOT JUST in AMERICA but also in Vatican, Jerusalem, etc.

    9/9 The SCIENTIFIC PROOF that Jesus is God obliterates Satan and gathers the flock into ONE FOLD ONE SHEPHERD.

    May 12, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • EnjaySea

      Awesome! I can't wait for the proof.

      In the meantime, he was just a preacher with a good message, who got out of line and was murdered by the state.

      May 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Michael

      I doubt it all.

      May 13, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  18. n8362

    Imposing your religious superstition on others is immoral.

    You do not believe in religion because you honestly think it is true, you believe in it because you fear mortality or are seeking meaning in your life. It does not take a genius to figure out all religion is man made, so for humanity's sake, please stop lying to yourself.

    Deluding yourself in religion does not change reality. Lying to yourself is probably the worst possible way to try to find meaning.

    May 11, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Lee Hobb

      Your statements are are wonderfully anticipated in Romans, Chapter 1. Take a minute to read something about yourself that was written approximately 2,000 years before you existed. Caution....ego crash is possible.

      May 12, 2012 at 12:13 am |
    • Hitchens

      Lying to yourself is an essential character trait to becoming a pretend atheist.

      May 12, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • inHISsvc

      n8362,
      I do not "think religion and GOD are true", I KNOW it to be true personally. Inasmuch as I know HIM, I also knew life without HIM and there is no comparison. I became a Christian when I was 18. When I was 40 I was in a serious auto accident..head injury, coma, spinal meninjitis and blood clots forming in my legs going into my lungs, prompting emergency surgury. I was in full arrest 3 times during that event. Just like Jesus said when HE died ("into your hands I commit my spirit...") I was immediately in GODS physical hand...immediately knew WHO held me in HIS giant hand. Later, in ICU, I realised that HE had not picked me up, but it was a place I dwelt since I accepted what HIS SON did for me on the cross. I live knowing that the GOD of ALL holds me, that HIS HOLY SPIRIT lives within me enabling communication and that Christs sacrifice covers my sin. My life has NOT been simple...just last year I was assaulted by a man. He saw my Bible and in the middle of the assault said, "Where is that GOD of yours now? I have you!" I said, "My GOD is right here and HE will intervene on my behalf!" He backed away and actually called 911 on his cell and said he wanted to report an assault. The police arrived and he was arrested. Evidently in his mind he tried to say I assaulted him, but the Police were able to see the evidence to the contrary. He was convicted of the felony. Now, except for GOD doing just what I said HE would do, you tell me why the criminal would call 911. When GOD does something HE does it in such a way that only HE can get the credit. Even the Judge said "Your GOD did intervene!"
      I am going to pray that you and the other non believers posting here have an experience in which you see HIS hand. Knowing HIM is the most wonderufl life there is!!!

      May 12, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • n8362

      Lee, it does not take a genius to make those types of predictions. If you ran around telling everyone the Earth was flat I could predict their responses to you.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • n8362

      Hitchens, from what I have witnessed atheists seem the most honest on matters of religion.

      May 12, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • n8362

      Svc, why did your god let you get into the accident in the first place? He could have intervened before it happened, so he actually caused you a lot of suffering. Do you realize that many Christians get into accidents and die?

      Did you know there are many Jews, Hindus, Muslims and many other religious people who are just as convinced that their god or gods is the real deal? If you grew up in the Middle East you would be praising Allah.

      May 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Hitchens

      Honest atheist = whatever one lies to another will swear to.

      May 12, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • momoya

      I think that Hitchens is an atheist.. He doesn't realize it yet, but he has already lost his faith.. If he had faith, he'd post more faithful stuff.. The fact that he can only sling mud means that he realizes this childish tactic is his only defense.. His pretend Christianity stopped helping him long ago.. Now he just hates himself for not having the courage to follow through in real life what his brain has already decided–bible god is just too stupid to exist or be much use..

      May 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      @ inHISsvc

      If I ever do see his hand, I'll check MYSELF into a looney bin because I will know then I am officially insane.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:14 am |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    May 11, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!.

      May 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      you again with the same spam message

      go sit down

      you still haven't responded to the post on the other debate. How does prayer change things?

      May 14, 2012 at 7:34 am |
  20. One one

    Easy steps to starting a successful religion.

    First, the rules:

    Rule number 1: Believe or else
    Rule number 2: See rule number 1.
    Rule number 3: See rule number 1.

    NEXT: Convince vulnerable, prospective devotees that they are worthless trash; sinners, who are certain to burn in hell and suffer the brutality of their loving god's wrath because they deserve it.

    NEXT: After the vulnerable, prospective devotees have been sufficiently pounded down by indoctrination, fear of death, on top of life's other challenges, offer them a "get out of hell, go directly to heaven" pass.

    HINT: This last tactic is most successful if you play to the emotions of the vulnerable with a story full of drama, torture, blood, sacrifice and death.

    NEXT: To obtain a " Get out of hell, go directly to heaven" pass, See rule number 1.

    May 11, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • mandarax

      NEXT: Make it not only a virtue, but a requirement that you convince everybody you can of all of the above.

      May 11, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Your religion won't be successful. You forgot to ask for money.

      May 12, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • AtreayuJah

      I am NO part of this world, and neither should you." Those are the words of Yeshua. And yet, followers of Christendom are arguing over the decisions of this government. Why? If you are a lover of Yahweh God, why are you even delving into worldly politics? If it doesn't affect you, and it shouldn't, then why worry? Here's what irks me. You call yourself a "Christian", and yet your actions and doctrines refute it. Yeshua (Jesus) was not affiliated with any part of politics when he was around. When asked to be King, he turned it down saying that his kingdom was NOT a part of this world. Neither should his followers who claim to love him. True Christian's don't vote because you know that this system and government is overseen by Satan. Christendom holds to Pagan traditions enacted by Constantine and Babylonian gods! Here's a hint..if you want to judge others on their decisions in life, start with yourself and your so-called faith. Stop listening to these money-hungry pastors that go to school to learn the Bible when if you are truly called by Yahweh, then you don't need a theology based college that all preachers and pastors go to. Here's a hint...research! Christmas...pagan, Easter...pagan..the cross...pagan! Yeshua died on a stake NOT a cross. So before you whine about decisions Satan's government makes and you claim yourself as a follower of Yeshua, you need to do your research. You are to be NO PART OF THIS WORLD. You pay back to Ceaser what is Ceaser's (Pay your taxes) and follow the laws of your government, because many laws are guidelines of the ten commandments. Other than that, politics are not of Yahweh. Jesus wouldn't touch politics. PERIOD!

      May 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • DragonSlayer Lights Your Fire

      funny @EnjaySea

      May 14, 2012 at 7:35 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.