A rabbi, a Mormon and a black Christian mayor walk into a room...
The worlds of Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, left, Michael Benson, center, and Mayor Cory Booker collided 20 years ago. The unlikely trio has maintained a friendship ever since.
June 23rd, 2012
10:00 PM ET

A rabbi, a Mormon and a black Christian mayor walk into a room...

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Newark, New Jersey (CNN) – Mayor Cory Booker waits in his wood-paneled city hall office for his next visitors. His life, even on a Sunday, is tightly scheduled. He checks the time on his cell phone and lets the ribbing of his two friends, who are now late, begin.

“Jewish time is even worse than black time,” he says, “although I should never drag all the Jewish people down with Shmuley.” And then, about the other guy: “I thought Mormons were always 15 minutes early?”

If the friendship between these men – a black Christian mayor, a rabbi running for Congress and a Mormon university president – wasn't so real, this would sound like a bad joke. Instead, it’s a reflection of how three men from profoundly different backgrounds met 20 years ago, connected and changed one another.

So when this unusual trio got together for a rare meeting this spring, we jumped at the chance to join them.

But before the others arrive, let’s introduce the players.

There’s Booker, the 43-year-old Democratic mayor of Newark, a rising political star and headline grabber, a man who was recently lauded for saving a neighbor from a burning building and grilled for his perceived off-message remarks on a Sunday talk show. He was raised by parents who fought in the courts to integrate the northern New Jersey suburbs where he grew up.

Mayor Cory Booker takes a break on a Sunday from running Newark to dish about his old friends – two men from profoundly different backgrounds. (Shaul Schwarz/Getty Images for CNN)

The two men he’s waiting for are no schlubs themselves.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, 45, is a TV personality, former radio host, prolific author - his books include “Kosher Sex” and “Kosher Jesus” - and now Republican congressional candidate in New Jersey. He was also an unofficial spiritual adviser to Michael Jackson. He was raised by a single mom in Miami.

And Michael Benson, a 47-year-old political scientist and president of Southern Utah University, comes from Mormon and Utah royalty, of sorts. His grandfather is the late Ezra Taft Benson, secretary of agriculture under President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the 13th prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

With his wife and two young children in tow, the Mormon shows up first.

“Brother Benson,” Booker booms, addressing his friend in Mormon-speak as he stands to give him a big hug.

The last time these two had seen each other was five years ago, when they both helped celebrate the rabbi’s 40th birthday in New York. The massive party, as described by the mayor, was “a mosh pit of yarmulkes and sweat.”

CNN's Belief Blog: the faith angles behind the big stories

Boteach, who lives in New Jersey and sees the mayor often, rushes into the room on this Sunday a half-hour late.

“Let the record reflect, the Mormon got me lost,” he says by way of hello. The rabbi then glances down at Benson’s two little ones, who sweetly peer up at him.

“They’re a little too Mormon perfect,” he quips. “When Mormons walk into a hurricane, does their hair move?”

Booker, whose nearby desk features a stack of religious texts including the Bhagavad Gita and the Quran, watches as a crowd streams in behind Boteach. The mayor has box seats for this afternoon’s Cirque du Soleil performance of “Michael Jackson The Immortal World Tour,” and he wants his friends and their families to join him. But first he demands to know of the rabbi, “How many people are with you? … They just multiply.”

“Are you kidding?” Boteach shoots back. “We have 30 kids.” Actually, he only has nine.

Long before he became an author, TV personality and now congressional candidate, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach ran a popular student organization at Oxford University, which is where he met Benson and Booker. (Shaul Schwarz/Getty Images for CNN)

The three men and their very different worlds collided in the early 1990s at Oxford University in England, where they overlapped for two years. Booker was there on a Rhodes scholarship; Benson on a Rotary scholarship - "but if I slurred, it sounded like Rhodes,” he says. Boteach was there as an emissary for Chabad Lubavitch, a Hasidic movement in Orthodox Judaism.

The first one to arrive at Oxford was Boteach, in 1988. His official mission was to serve as a rabbi to the students, but by 1990 he’d broadened his outreach by establishing the all-inclusive L’Chaim Society, a campus organization to promote the universal values of Judaism while celebrating differences. The society, whose Hebrew name means “To Life,” became the second largest student group on campus, surging to 5,000 members – no more than 800 of them Jewish.

The Mormon arrived in 1991, having spent six months in Israel at the Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center. Benson, who earned a doctorate at Oxford, would write his dissertation on President Harry S. Truman and eventually write a book about the Jewish influences in Truman's life and his contributions to Israel’s founding. (The “Mormon perfect” son in the mayor’s office, it turns out, is named Truman.)

Shortly after Benson arrived at Oxford, a Jewish friend told him about Boteach, saying, “You have to meet this rabbi.”

Boteach admits his previous impressions of Mormons had been pretty negative. Then Benson walked into the L’Chaim Society – and the rabbi’s life – one Friday evening. “Not a hair was out of place,” a slightly disheveled and wild-bearded Boteach says, remembering when they met. “I was fascinated.”

Benson never budged from his own religious beliefs, but he became a devout member and officer of the L’Chaim Society, which held legendary Friday night dinners.

Michael Benson, a grandson of the 13th prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, helped change how his friends – and countless others – view Mormons. (Shaul Schwarz/Getty Images for CNN)

Booker arrived on campus a year later. He first met Benson through basketball - they both played for the Oxford Blues - then got to know Boteach with the help of a woman who stood him up for dinner. Booker was supposed to meet her outside the L’Chaim Society; when she never showed, he moseyed inside on his own to check out this mysterious place with a name he couldn’t pronounce.

Inside, hordes of people – many of them drunk – were dancing around with sacred scrolls containing the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. They were celebrating Simchat Torah, a holiday that marks the end of the annual Torah-reading cycle.

“I felt like I walked into a scene from ‘Yentl,’” Booker says.

Booker would go on to become president of the now-defunct organization, taking on tasks like lighting a Hanukkah menorah with Mikhail Gorbachev when the former Soviet leader visited Oxford.

Like Benson, Booker doesn’t drink; together they became allies as well as teammates. At the end of holidays like Simchat Torah or Purim – another raucous Jewish festival where celebrators often get drunk - they bonded as sober men in the room. They also led the Oxford Blues to win a British collegiate championship.

“I was their mascot,” boasts Boteach, whose friends tower above him.

The rabbi and Mormon say the mayor's humanity and heart inspire them. Booker says these two faithful men taught him to love and respect different religions, while helping him deepen his own beliefs and sense of awe. Likewise, both the mayor and Boteach say Benson changed how they and hundreds of others view Mormons.

Booker has been known to have his driver pull over when he spots young Mormon missionaries walking in pairs. He understands they’re often financially strapped, so he gives them some money for food and thanks them for being in his city.

“That’s something I never would have done if I hadn’t met Mike,” the mayor says.

And Booker certainly wouldn’t have pulled all-nighters studying Jewish texts before meeting Boteach. There’s a tradition, the rabbi explains, for a father to stay up and study the night before his son is circumcised. It was the middle of exams at Oxford when the rabbi first roped Booker in to join him the night before his first son Mendy's circumcision. Boteach came back again 11 years ago after the birth of Yosef, to which Booker responded, “Shmuley, you’re killing me” before he agreed to take part.

But the last time the rabbi issued his all-night study decree, Booker wasn’t having it.

“Forget it. Don’t even ask. I’m running for mayor,” the then-candidate told his friend six years ago, after Dovid Chaim was born. At 1 a.m., though, there was a knock on Boteach’s door. “You have 60 minutes. That’s it,” the mayor said as he rushed inside.

“Cory and I see each other whenever he needs advice,” the rabbi likes to say of Booker. And it's comments like this that prompt the mayor to retort, “He needs to get his head examined by a proctologist.”

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach rushes in for the reunion, and a hug from Booker, 30 minutes late. Michael Benson looks on, laughing as Boteach blames him, “the Mormon,” for making him late. (Shaul Schwarz/Getty Images for CNN)

All kidding aside, these three look out for each other's interests. After leaving Oxford for Yale Law School, Booker became a self-appointed kosher police officer, alerting the rabbi when he heard about Jewish L'Chaim Society members who had stopped keeping kosher. “You really need to do something,” he'd tell the rabbi.

Ever since Boteach learned that Benson’s older brother, Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Steve Benson of The Arizona Republic, had shrugged off religion, the rabbi has said he’s on a mission to bring the older Benson back to the LDS Church.

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The Mormon can’t help but marvel at the rabbi’s chutzpah, but he’s happy to let him give it his best shot. So far Boteach has only e-mailed with the older Benson, but he looks forward to a face-to-face meeting so he, the Jew, can give the ex-Mormon the proper Latter-day Saint sell.

Boteach has fallen for the national parks of Utah, where the LDS Church is headquartered. He has lectured a handful of times at universities where Benson has been affiliated. Benson has led the way in scrambling to find kosher food for the rabbi before the two have headed out for weekend hikes.

Booker reflects on his old friends and says, “I love the fact that those two have kept such a good friendship. They’re very different. Mike is humble and soft-spoken; Shmuley is loud and bordering on obnoxious.”

Noticing the time, Booker rushes off to squeeze in a meeting before Cirque du Soleil.

The mayor's friends, at home in his office, take their time leaving. They stroll down the empty and echoing hallways toward the exit of Newark City Hall. The Mormon throws his arm around the rabbi's shoulder.

“I have to get back to Utah soon,” Boteach says. “It's been too long.”

“This time, we'll get you baptized,” Benson tells him.

The suggestion of a Mormon conversion, even in jest, might stop other rabbis in their tracks. But Boteach doesn’t skip a beat: “If it'll get me votes, fine.”

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Christianity • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Interfaith issues • Judaism • Politics • Race

soundoff (941 Responses)
  1. Leeroy

    My comments are being filtered out now. 🙁

    June 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Leeroy, it is the CNN filters. I don't have the list but maybe someone can post it for you.

      June 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Leeroy

      That's aweful nice of you Alien. I was trying to bash you and it got filtered. So, see, it's true . . . we all CAN get along. 🙂

      June 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Feel free to bash away my friend. Doesn't bother me, but you will need to get that list of CNN filtered words or just look through your posts and change anything that might be getting filtered. It is most often a word within a word like superst i tious or acc u mulate, etc.

      June 24, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-nthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).

      There are more, some of them considered "racist", so do not assume that this list is complete.

      June 24, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Leeroy

      Holy Cow . . . I used none of those words! How the heck did you grt that list posted? Sheesh! 🙁

      June 24, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
  2. Raz A. Matazz

    When my friends and I get together, we always invite a CNN film crew over so we can gush about how wonderful we are too. Perfectly natural. Everyone does that.

    June 24, 2012 at 6:06 pm |
  3. smallvoice

    These three are a class act.

    June 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I think you meant Class Clowns.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Low class. It's a political photo op.

      June 24, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  4. jarodbee

    "If the friendship between these men wasn't so real, this would sound like a bad joke."
    This sentence illustrates what is wrong with religion. The capacity for and interest in having meaningful friendships is innate for human beings. Only when 'religion' takes over the minds the problems will start and feelings get corrupted.

    June 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Yes I agree. I have seen a few people like you hit the nail on the head. This article clearly points to the fundamental problem with religion. It makes me sick. And these three morons using this publicity for personal gain. That is all it is. I can't believe people fall for this crap but they do.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  5. ralph Petrillo

    It is all right as tehy try hard to be cute while the beat goes on.

    June 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 24, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Hi HeavenSent...errr....prayerbot. Pray for rain today, it is freaking hot where I am!!

      June 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • nope

      It will be way more hotter where you are going

      June 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Where am I going? Oh this is exciting! Where??

      June 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Ignorant troll alert!

      June 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  7. StephenD55

    Thankyou for sharing this wonderful story. Too often we read articles about rancor and disrespect for those who are different, as displayed by many of the reader comments. This nation may become great again if we put away such childish behavior, stop looking for sensationalism and instead elevate success stories that give us hope inour fellow citizens.

    June 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I agree Stephen. If these 3 men would quit believing in Fairy Tales and behave like adults, that would be good start indeed. Religion must be purged from society.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • nope

      what one lies to the next swears to

      June 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Johnny Johnson

      Three friends, two of whom are running for office, get together and invite a CNN news crew so they can gush about each other?

      And you bought that? You mistook that for wonderful?

      June 24, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • bubbles

      atheism should be purged from society.

      June 24, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  8. Leeroy

    This story is a great example of what it will take to ever enjoy world peace. And it's so simple. The solution is to get a good education and to look beyond our differences and focus on our similarities and basic good core values. This may be one of the most important and meaningful stories in the media these days, yet, so many can't say one good thing about it. However, people's responses make it crystal clear what this world is up against . . . as foreseen in the scriptures. Of course, there are no surprises to anyone familiar with the scriptures.

    June 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Can to:

      "one good thing about it."

      June 24, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Your "scriptures" are just the ignorant rantings of ancient goat herders. A perfect example of archaic mythology, perpetuated through the ages by fear and ignorance. Delusional much?

      June 24, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
  9. Glenn

    Astronomers of the world unite! Who will be the first to discover Joseph Smith's Planet Kolob – God's Planet?

    According to Joseph Smith, Planet Kolob is the heavenly body nearest to the throne of God. While the Smith's "Book of Abraham" refers to Kolob as a "star",[1] it also refers to planets as stars,[2] and therefore, some LDS commentators consider Kolob to be a planet.

    If Romney gets elected, he'll commit to NASA funding to find this elusive planet – how cool would that be!!

    June 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      .......uhh......real cool there storm trooper.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • seenenough

      it's as bazaar as a virgins being impregnated by God......Or raising the dead after three days. All religions have their amazing stories....grow up.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  10. Leeroy

    This story is a great example of how well educated people can look beyond trivial differences and focus on their good core values. And then there are all these responses from hateful, questionably educated people who seem to have a goal of desiring to see others as misserable as they are. No wonder the world is in the condition it is in. Great story. Sad responses. 🙁

    June 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • JC in Western U.S.

      Thanks for your comment. It bothers me a lot too. I don't see why people have such a need to invent new and more disgusting ways to insult each other, or what kind of pleasure they get out of it. Makes me wonder if they are so full of hate that they emanate it walking around, or if people who know them would be surprised by this angry hateful core inside them.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Leeroy.. So we have a story that three human beings have managed to remain friends despite the fact they are all of different religions..does that not speak more to the inherent distrust that each religion has of each other? This is akin to three humans remaining friends despite the fact that one takes the bus, the other takes his car and the other rides a bike....this only a story because usually religions and their associated prophets are at each other throats..

      June 24, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Leeroy.. So we have a story that three human beings have managed to remain friends despite the fact they are all of different religions..does that not speak more to the inherent distrust that each religion has of each other? This is akin to three humans remaining friends despite the fact that one takes the bus, the other takes his car and the other rides a bike....this only a story because usually religions and their associated prophets are at each other throats.. See how nice folks can be if they put aside their sycophantic tendancies towards the gods they invented?

      June 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Leeroy, really? You can't see past this obvious B.S.?

      June 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Mr.Realistic

      It is great to read this response. Thank you.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      It's just a political photo op. Get over it.

      June 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
  11. Johnson

    I have never heard of Booker before; however, Mormons have little in common with monotheistic religions given its dogma of multiple Gods including the eventual crowning of Romney as a God.

    June 24, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • JC in Western U.S.

      Evidently you've never heard of Mormons either. Your description bears no resemblance to those I know.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Mormons believe that God created multiple worlds and each world has people living on it. They also believe that multiple Gods exist but each has their own universe. We are only subject to our God and if we obtain the highest level of heaven we can become gods ourselves.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • InsaneReligions

      @Alien So to sum it up,

      Most religions offer everlasting life if you worship their God, assuming of course that you worship the exact same way they do.
      Some religions up the ante to eternal life PLUS a number of Virgins, provided you ignore where they might come from or happen to have been born female.
      And Mormons top that with potential Godhood itself.

      Nice racket they got, eh?

      I do happen to believe in God, by the way, but religion comes along and tries to make us believe some pretty silly stuff. Stuff that conveniently contains some benefits for a chosen few (regardless of any innate deserving qualities), stuff that also contains convenient political motivations, and stuff that just plain seems like it was inspired by a drug-induced psychotic episode.

      I take a simple approach that believes that you will be judged by your actions, with an emphasis on how you treat others. In this sense, no matter how silly these religions seem to me, I try to respect their complete faith in them.

      Of course, that respect fades when they use religion as a reason for treating others badly – after all, that is essentially against my religion (and I say that tongue in cheek).

      June 24, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  12. Glenn

    Slow news day.

    June 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  13. perversion is a crime

    Traveling around this land it is easily noted that whining atheist,whining qu eers or whining qu eer atheists are in the extreme minority. For the most part America is a land populated by moral, God fearing people. Even so that extreme minority represent a pus filled scab that needs to be lanced from Lady Liberty before it becomes a more serious medical condition. As to those foreign ent ities that try to infect our good land? They do not even warrant the attention that one would give a pimple on a gnats ass.

    June 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      ...but yet you are writing about them so.....I don't get it.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      fair warning to the unfair

      June 24, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      You are among the most offensive people on the blog. Bigots like you give Americans a bad name.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • perversion is a crime

      only a fool would consider TRUTH offensive

      June 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      The Truth? HA HA HA HA HA. Ancient mythology, written thousands of years ago by ignorant goat herders is the truth? HA HA HA HA HA. Delusional much?

      June 24, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Your comment is the true message of religion, believe as we do or we will ki ll you. I love seeing theisms true message being posted. And btw, a lie shared by millions is still a lie.

      June 24, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • 1question

      This is the perfect example of what is wrong with religion. It really is embarassing that more people in this country aren't atheists.

      June 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
  14. Movie Poop Shoot.com

    All you mutherfukers are gonna pay! YOU are the ones that are the ball lickers! I am going to fuk your mothers while you watch and cry like little whiney b i t c h e s. I am going to make you eat my shiit! Then shiit out your shiit, then eat your shiit that's made up of my shiit that I made you eat!


    June 24, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Movie Poop Shoot .com

      Fuk Mohammed! Fuk him up his stupid a.s.s.!!

      ~Magnolia Fan

      June 24, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Movie Poop Shoot .com

      Muhammad sucks balls!!

      ~Clown Shoes

      June 24, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  15. Wayne

    Three grown men can play pretend but then put their imaginations aside so they can still be friends. Wonderful story.

    June 24, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Elmer Fudd, Buddhist

      You did that one already.

      June 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Wayne

      What one?

      June 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  16. Alien Orifice

    ...and though they grieved and rent their clothes, it was in the pub the followers gathered for darts and dark ale which they hoisted in sadness and drank with great sorrow. Many libations they consumed and they called it the blood of the son of God.

    ~The Irish Bible (Following a futball match in which the apostles got an a.s.s kicking)

    June 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      At least these men are searching for God. One is on a path to find His truth, if, he reads the Bible. The other 2 need to pick up the Bible to find Him. And you Alien, you're going to fry. Enjoy this life, for there will be no eternity for you if you don't repent, ask Jesus for forgiveness, ask that you get closer to Him (meaning to read the Bible) .. and He will direct your steps to His truth, then of course, sin no more. Too much to ask? It's your soul that looses. That's what you get with free will and not choosing wisely.

      June 24, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      HS, Jesus was illiterate if he even existed at all. He didn't write the bible, he didn't have a bible. He was a Jew and dabbled in some Eastern Philosophy. Not sure why all the lies about him were written but there are a lot of a-h.o.les out there who seek to gain from the e.x.ploits of others. And even more fools who believe anything.

      June 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

      John 14:6


      June 24, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The lies about Jesus are man made from folks such as yourself, that are too lazy to read His truth (the Bible). Not to worry though Alien, Jesus will blot all of you non-believers out. You're just as guilty as those that preach man's political correctness, instead of Jesus' truth.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      HS, again, and sorry to keep pointing out the obvious, but again this was not written by Jesus nor is there a shred of evidence that he said it.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  17. Reality


    Joe Smith had his Moroni. (As does M. Romney, as does Michael Benson)

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

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

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

    Jesus and his family had/has Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day demon of the demented. (As does BO and his family, as does Mayor Booker)

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

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

    June 24, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Nice Guys Finish Third

      Nobody cares what you think there genius.

      June 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      O LORD, [are] not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, [but] they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.

      Jeremiah 5:3


      June 24, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @nice guys
      I think you meant: "I don't know how to think there genius." Just trying to help.

      June 24, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Oh, right, you bright bulbs believe that you came from slime out of the oceans to slitheron your bellies for miles in the hot blazing sun, that didn't fry you as the crispy critters, you are ... to reach thousands of years later, to shaded area of trees. Logical. LOL. Brain dead, is more like it.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Was that you trying to describe evolution? Or did you just hack up a hair ball?

      June 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      heavensent.....so you think that some alien invented you, put you in your mummy's tum and then sprouted to become part of his master plan. The entire universe was invented and exists for you, and you can't wait to die to see him, but of course far no one has ever seen this being you crave.. And because he is so loving, he will only torment those who fail to believe said story..
      You have evolved HS maybe not as fully as some, but you are as connected to the universe as a tree, slug, slime and seawater....

      June 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Reality

      Some added references to "tink-erbells".


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

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

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

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

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

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

      For added information see the review at:


      June 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  18. truthORnothing

    What's a "Black Christian" CNN ? ,...I only know of one type of Christians and they are simply called "Christians".

    June 24, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • Al

      Good point.

      June 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • JC in Western U.S.

      Rather than nitpick over the details, how about just celebrating that three men who most people would say have so little in common that they might well find plenty of reasons to stay apart have instead embraced the differences and each other.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Because it is B.S. dip sh|t.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Alien, there is no bigotry in Jesus' truth (the Bible). That was man made.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Finally we agree on something HS, the Bible was man-made. You are making progress!

      June 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  19. Mohammed the Prophet

    Hello children! Please draw a picture of me and mail it to your local mosque. Thanks!!

    June 24, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  20. bubbles

    Magic underwear is needed in order to get into heaven. This is what mormons believe.

    June 24, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Mitt Romney

      Makes perfect sense to me!! Please put the world's most powerful army under my control.

      June 24, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • Al

      Yes those Mormons are crazy. If they only knew that in order to make it to heaven you have to eat the flesh of a 2,000 year old corpse.

      June 24, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • MaryM

      Magic underwear and dont forget the planet kolob. Mormon Theologians agree that God lives on a distant planet, the planet KOLOB. It's located in the constellation Cancer. Kinda makes you cringe, dont it

      June 24, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Nick

      Funny how Mormonism seems absurd to you, but Christianity claims that a person died, was dead for three days, came back to life, and then was seen by about 500 people.

      June 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • JC in Western U.S.

      If the underwear of Mormons is to be ridiculed as "magic underwear" then at least spread your sarcasm around fairly and call the yarmulke a "magic hat". Both are, in reality, symbols worn next the body to remind the wearer of a covenant made with God. Stop showing such disrespect. Ridicule reveals more about the speaker than about those who are ridiculed.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      JC, don't get your magic undies in a bunch!

      June 24, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • JC in Western U.S.

      Allen Orifice

      I am not a Mormon.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Only a hindu, ignorant can ask to respect hinduism, denial of truth absolute, Mormon ism is nothing but hindu pagan Mithraism, savior ism, not of truth but of hindu's, crooks of Egypt labeled as Jew's, self centered,secular claiming to be Israelite, but hindu filthy racist by faith like Nazi.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      JC, that's ok. You don't have to apologize for not being a Mormon yet. You can still get your magic undies, there is time.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Chuckles


      Jews never claim their magic hat can literally protect them from bullets. It's worn only as a reminder of god and to respect him. It's still ridiculous but when jews go into battle, they wear bullet proof vests, not blessed underwear.

      June 24, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.