My Take: Where are the Catholics (and how will they vote)?
Catholic Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.
June 23rd, 2012
01:00 AM ET

My Take: Where are the Catholics (and how will they vote)?

Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

Where I live in Massachusetts, Catholicism is in the blood - even if you aren’t Catholic.

Coaches scheduling practice times for their soccer teams had better figure out when catechism classes are happening, otherwise they are likely to be playing a scrimmage with one defensive player and a wing, and perhaps no one on the opposing side.

But how does Massachusetts Catholicism match up the rest of the country? Where is Catholicism weak? Strong? And how will those strengths and weaknesses play into the 2012 election?

According to data provided to me by Rich Houseal of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies, Massachusetts is the most Catholic state in the nation. Here 44.9% of the total population are Catholics, versus 44.3% in Rhode Island, 36.8% in New Jersey, 35.1% in Connecticut, and 32.4% in New York.

None of these states, however, is as Catholic as the Supreme Court, which now features six Catholics out of nine justices, for a percentage of 66.7%.

The least Catholic states in the union are all in the South, with seven states in that region claiming fewer than 5% Catholics. But Tennessee tops that list, with Catholic adherents making up only 3.5% of its total population.

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

A terrific map available at the ASARB shows the Catholic Church and the Southern Baptist Convention in something of a neck-and-neck race when it comes to the religious groups that predominate in U.S. counties.

Here the Catholic Church is the national winner, with 1,231 counties, with the Southern Baptist Convention close behind with 1,217, and the United Methodist Church a distant third with 244.

But as any political pollster can tell you, Catholics are far more widely dispersed geographically than Southern Baptists. In addition to the traditional Catholic strongholds of New England and the Southwest, Catholics predominate in the Pacific Northwest and in many Midwestern counties. Southern Baptists, by contrast, are confined almost entirely to the Bible Belt, though it should be noted that Catholics predominate in much of south Florida and south Texas.

How this plays out in the election of 2012 is hard to gauge.

Clearly the days when Catholics voted for Democrats en masse are long past. In fact, some observers now believe that there really isn’t any “Catholic vote” any more because Catholics, who now constitute roughly a quarter of the electorate, are so widely dispersed and evenly split among the two major parties.

But Catholics have been swing voters in recent presidential elections, supporting Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush in the 1980s, Bill Clinton in the '90s, and George W. Bush in the 2000s. In 2008, Catholics preferred Barack Obama over John McCain by a 54%-45% margin.

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If the 2012 election continues to tighten, part of the story as Obama and Romney kick their campaigns into high gear will be whether Catholics will push the president over the top in key swing states such as Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Mexico, where Catholics predominate.

Either way, pundits from both parties are likely to be reading this ASARB religion map against the electoral college map as we head into November.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Catholic Church • Mitt Romney • Politics • Polls • United States

soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. Roger Ramjet

    If followers of a religion like Catholicism claim to have a divine and universal morality, but they aggressively refuse to apply that morality to the atrocities of that church like the abuse scandal, then they actually do not have a morality at all. They only have the illusion of morality, a cynical, hypocritical illusion.

    June 23, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus already told us to beware of false teachers in Matthew 7:15-20.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      Jesus did not write the book of Matthew.

      It really is that simple. The bible is not a biography of Jesus.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      "...aggressively refuse to apply that morality to the atrocities of that church like the abuse scandal,..."

      Can you explain how it is that the church aggressively refuses to apply their morality to the abuse scandal?

      The fact that there are pedophile priests and perhaps accomplices to their crimes is awful and disgusting, but these individuals represent a small percentage of the church just as pedophiles and criminals represent a small percentage in the general population.

      If what you mean by 'refusing to apply morality' is for the church to defend against charges of abuse then I think you might be naive about what the church faces. There was a time not long ago when if a black man was accused of raping a white woman that he was basically guilty until proven innocent. Thank God that today a huge majority of Americans recognize the injustice of that particular double standard, though unfortunately the same cant be said of catholic priests, of whom many people will automatically believe any charge against a priest before hearing evidence, only because they follow the popular politically correct bigotry.

      June 24, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Moby Schtick

      Agreed, Ramjet. I find the RCC more and more disgusting every day-the more I learn about them and their practices.

      June 24, 2012 at 11:32 am |
  2. Alien Orifice

    God sitting on his throne looking down upon the Earth.....HE speaks,

    "Look at all of those praying people getting tortured in that death camp. Excellent! I won't do anything to stop that. And look at that little girl down there being r a p e d and murdered. Perfect! She is praying like mad, and so is her mother, but I won't do anything to stop that.

    And there are three terrorists preparing to blow up a church and kill 1,500 people who are saying the Lord's Prayer to me right now. Outstanding! I won't do anything to stop that.

    How wonderful it is that 1,000 prayerful people will die of starvation today in Ethiopia. I love it! I won't do anything to stop that.

    Oh… and there's little Suzy Jankins praying that I remove that pimple from her nose for her big date with Chad tomorrow. Let me go help Suzy right now…

    And then after that, I will answer HeavenSent's prayers that she can get the cat food opened for dinner tonight, what with all her shaking and twitching about."

    June 23, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      1 John 4:1-4

      (1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: (3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that {spirit} of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (4) Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.


      June 23, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I can't believe the Dodgers blew a five run lead yesterday! I was praying for a victory!!

      June 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Kebos

      @HS – I do believe there is a special ledge reserved for you.

      June 23, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      kebos, I'm not the one teetering over the edge ... diving into the abyss. I stand on firm foundation of Jesus' truth. You folks are sinking in satan's quicksand.

      June 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • AGuest9

      LOL, "Satan" – more invented fear.

      June 24, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • sam stone

      HS illustrates (yet again) that without EMPTY proxy threats, his or her version of Christianity is impotent. Get back on youor knees and open your mouth, HS, Jesus is coming again

      June 25, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  3. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Stephen Prothero observes (according to the ASARB map that:
    "In addition to the traditional Catholic strongholds of New England and the Southwest, Catholics predominate in the Pacific Northwest and in many Midwestern counties."

    This is flawed logic. I'll explain by example. DuPage County, Illinois is a collar county of Chicago. It is purple in this map. The county seat is Wheaton, IL. Wheaton is the home of Wheaton College* and the Billy Graham Center. But DuPage County is purple. Why? Because the majority Protestant groups represented there are not added together, each of the individual Protestant tradition churches is smaller than the one Catholic tradition.

    * An Evangelical Theological school.

    The north east part of DuPage County containing Wheaton is the Sixth Illinois Congressional District. It has voted for a Republican congressional representative at EVERY election since 1972, including for many years Henry Hyde. (This district did vote for Obama in 2008, but there is a Chicago influence there.)

    I'll stipulate that 'One swallow does not a summer make' and counterexamples will exist, but the undercounting of the Protestant traditions in the ASARB map is endemic.

    June 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      This from the Pew Forum's report on the US Religious Landscape Survey is, I think, more accurate than Mr. Prothero's observation (quoted above):

      "The Midwest most closely resembles the religious makeup of the overall population. The South, by a wide margin, has the heaviest concentration of members of evangelical Protestant churches. The Northeast has the greatest concentration of Catholics, and the West has the largest proportion of unaffiliated people, including the largest proportion of atheists and agnostics."

      June 23, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  4. Alien Orifice

    Crusades (1095-1291)

    • First Crusade: 1095 on command of pope Urban II. [WW11-41]

    • Semlin/Hungary 6/24/96 thousands slain. Wieselburg/Hungary 6/12/96 thousands. [WW23]

    • 9/9/96-9/26/96 Nikaia, Xerigordon (then turkish), thousands respectively. [WW25-27]

    • Until Jan 1098 a total of 40 capital cities and 200 castles conquered (number of slain unknown) [WW30]

    • after 6/3/98 Antiochia (then turkish) conquered, between 10,000 and 60,000 slain. 6/28/98 100,000 Turks (incl. women & children) killed. [WW32-35]

    Here the Christians "did no other harm to the women found in [the enemy's] tents—save that they ran their lances through their bellies," according to Christian chronicler Fulcher of Chartres. [EC60]

    • Marra (Maraat an-numan) 12/11/98 thousands killed. Because of the subsequent famine "the already stinking corpses of the enemies were eaten by the Christians" said chronicler Albert Aquensis. [WW36]

    • Jerusalem conquered 7/15/1099 more than 60,000 victims (jewish, muslim, men, women, children). [WW37-40]
    (In the words of one witness: "there [in front of Solomon's temple] was such a carnage that our people were wading ankle-deep in the blood of our foes", and after that "happily and crying for joy our people marched to our Savior’s tomb, to honor it and to pay off our debt of grat.i.tude")

    • The Archbishop of Tyre, eye-witness, wrote: "It was impossible to look upon the vast numbers of the slain without horror; everywhere lay fragments of human bodies, and the very ground was covered with the blood of the slain. It was not alone the spectacle of headless bodies and mutilated limbs strewn in all directions that roused the horror of all who looked upon them. Still more dreadful was it to gaze upon the victors themselves, dripping with blood from head to foot, an ominous sight which brought terror to all who met them. It is reported that within the Temple enclosure alone about ten thousand infidels perished." [TG79]

    • Christian chronicler Eckehard of Aura noted that "even the following summer in all of palestine the air was polluted by the stench of decomposition". One million victims of the first crusade alone. [WW41]

    • Battle of Askalon, 8/12/1099. 200,000 heathens slaughtered "in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ". [WW45]

    • Fourth crusade: 4/12/1204 Constantinople sacked, number of victims unknown, numerous thousands, many of them Christian. [WW141-148]

    • Rest of Crusades in less detail: until the fall of Akkon 1291 probably 20 million victims (in the Holy land and Arab/Turkish areas alone). [WW224]

    June 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Source: F.Turner, Beyond Geography, New York 1980. Page numbers included.

      June 23, 2012 at 6:03 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      All lead by the lies of satan to get man to spill his brothers blood. What's your point Alien, besides being blinded by satan's lies yourself?

      June 23, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Hmmmm, what is my point. Religion bad. No religion good. The devil didn't do it you big silly.

      June 23, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Alien Orifice, let me write this very s-l-o-w-l-y just for you. You atheists follow the lies of satan. Who, by the way, deceives the entire world. You are on the wide path to destruction ... along with satan that know's he is condemned by God. He lied to you through his false teachers ... telling you, that as a whole, you become min-god's to rule the world. You don't rule the world and never will ... because ... you and your cronies are the reason Jesus comes back.

      June 23, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      SLOW DOWN HeavenSent! How do you expect to understand this if you type so fast? Why are you so mean to me? Why??

      June 23, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Mean? Telling you Jesus' truth to save your soul from burning in the eternal fires is opposite of being mean. You seriously need to step back a few steps in your life to read Jesus' truth (the Bible) ... because you've been conditioned into buying into satan's lies. Hence, why so many are on the wide path to destruction.

      True Christians are those that actually read, comprehend and apply Jesus' truth to our lives. That's why we tell folks His truth so you, can save your soul with the help of Jesus if you repent, ask Him for forgiveness, ask Him that you get closer to Him, then of course, sin no more.

      June 23, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      It's that 'ol black magic HeavenSent, it's got me in it's spell! Carnal!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!

      June 23, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Heavensent.. You seem to know a lot about satan. do you study him or her...what s-ex it satan by the way, and where does all that gas come from for the furnaces, . Does satan reproduce? religion has a thing about human reproduction so I would think the habits of god and satan must be a cause of discussion with in your clique?

      June 23, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Heavensent

      Evolved not, how many times do I have to answer this same question, over and over again ... just so you can deep six it?

      Here's a true Christian site that will explain anything you need to know about Jesus' truth and satan's lies: http://biblestudysite.com/realsin.htm

      Remember, you may be buying into satan's lies, but, it's Jesus' truth is what counts for all in this life and eternity.

      June 23, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      The Pope's call to defend Christians from invasion (1095) was considered long overdue even according to the standards of today's sensibilities (if only it wasn't the Pope who was making a call to war). To see some context about what led to the crusades wnd the church's controversial decision to make a call-to-war check out the following link:


      There is no doubt that Jesus taught that the persecuted is blessed, and that we must love our enemies, etc., however in general in organized Christianity we recognize the moral dilemma facing any leader who holds responsibility for the well being of their people and those people come under attack. To say that a good Christian leader ought to choose not to defend his people regardless of circ-umstance/ or nature of the invader is equivalent to offering his innocent unarmed people (including women, children, elderly, etc) up as cannon fodder. Similarly, the soldier who fights under just authority in defense of others as well as themselves is also a sacrificial act and one that (most) Christians consider to be legitimate.

      Augustine's just war theory articulates this point more eloquently and in greater detail for anyone who is interested.

      June 24, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Mike, Why would they be interested? They might have to surrender one of their favorite Catholic bashing delusions.

      June 25, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  5. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    The ASARB map shown in the link (nice Lenten and Advent purple by the way) contrasts with the view shown by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life:

    (You have to select Catholicism in the pull-down to see the map)

    The Catholic Church is the largest single largest individual church, but more significantly is the second largest 'tradition'
    as grouped by The Pew Forum:

    Evangelical Protestant tradition: ....... 26%
    Catholic tradition: .............................. 24%
    Mainline Protestant tradition: ............ 18%
    Unaffiliated: ...................................... 16%
    Historically Black Protestant tradition . 7%

    Protestant fragmenting by tradition (but not voting preference) is hidden in the ASARB map.


    If you look at party identification, the Pew study on "Trends in American Values: 1987-2012, Partisan Polarization Surges in Bush, Obama Years"

    (Party affiliation percentages are Republican, Independent, Democrat)

    White Evangelical Protestant ... 49 30 17 .... (R, R-D = 32%)
    White Mainline Protestant ........ 38 31 26 .... (R, R-D = 12%)
    White Catholic ........................ 30 39 28 .... (I, R-D = 02%)
    Unaffiliated ............................. 12 50 32 ..... (I, D-R = 20%)
    Hispanic .................................. 11 46 32 .... (I, D-R = 21%)
    Black Non-Hispanic ................. 05 22 69 .... (D, D-R = 64%)

    White Catholics are the group that is the most evenly distributed across R, I, D preferences. The Catholic 24% of America represents a vote that is pretty evenly split down the middle. 39% of white Catholics represent the "I" swing vote: (39% x 65% x 24%) of Americans.

    (65% of Catholics are non-Hispanic White)


    6% of Americans are White Catholics with an 'independent' party preference. This is the only meaningful Catholic "swing" vote. Sure, it's larger than the normal electoral margin and the Electoral College numbers game emphasizes state boundaries but numerically, this vote won't guarantee a plurality because it won't vote en bloc.

    June 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Jimmy G.

      How sad that you went to all that trouble for a badly-written CNN article.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      What the purple counties on the ASARB map really tell you is that they represent a vote split right down the middle.

      Because of this, Electoral college votes per states will be decided by the relative number of Protestant votes, which (particularly in the Evangelical tradition) will go Republican, and Mormon countines in Western states* will go heavily Romney.)

      * We can give Romney Utah, Idaho and Wyoming without a moment's thought. He has a good shot at Nevada, Arizona and Montana. Oregon might surprise people. David Axelrod would be well served not to ignore the Oregonian Mormans.

      The swing vote is not the Catholics, it is the going to be about how many Protestants turn up to vote in those purple states. Just ask Karl Rove, he understands this very well.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Jimmy, that's precisely why I went to all that trouble. 😉

      June 23, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Err sorry – "counties" not "countines" :O

      June 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @Jimmy G.
      We don't launch personal attacks against one another on this blog.

      I mean look, HeavenSent is a hoarder who wallows in her own feces, stepping carefully over her dead cat skeletons to get to the broken refrigerator for some moldy cheese to feed to her starving dogs, all the while not realizing that she has her keyboard stuck so far up the crack of her enormous a.s.s that her next blog is going to smell worse than your arm pits.

      But you would never here ME say something like that, so be nice.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Alien, I'm sure your righteous ancestors that followed Moses' truth are rolling their eyes at you and how you live a lying, pathetic life follow satan's lies.

      June 23, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      The devil is not that bad, you just have to watch out for the horns and pointy tail when you play a game of hoops with that red b.a.s.t.a.r.d. He likes the dribble drive and takes it up strong. You don't get called for too many offensive fouls when you have horns! Ah, good times.

      June 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  6. Alien Orifice

    The vestiges of pagan religion in Christian symbolism are undeniable. Egyptian sun disks became the halos of Catholic saints. Pictograms of Isis nursing her miraculously conceived son Horus became the blueprint for our modern images of the Virgin Mary nursing Baby Jesus. And virtually all the elements of the Catholic ritual – the miter, the altar, the doxology, and communion, the act of "God-eating" – were taken directly from earlier pagan mystery religions.

    Nothing in Christianity is original. The pre-Christian God Mithras – called the Son of God and the Light of the World – was born on December 25, died, was buried in a rock tomb, and then resurrected in three days. By the way, December 25 is also the birthday or Osiris, Adonis, and Dionysus. The newborn Krishna was presented with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Even Christianity's weekly holy day was stolen from the pagans.

    June 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • jamest297

      With so many religions in the world over such a long time, it is no wonder that they have so many coincidences between and among them. It is HILARIOUS that christians believe they have the right religion and that their god is the ONE true and everlasting god – world without end. This is still the stuff of pure comedy gold.

      June 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • bubbles

      no one knows the exact date of the birth of Christ.Most are guesses

      June 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      No one knows if Jesus was born at all. He was most likely invented by the RCC to control the Jews.

      June 23, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Alien, scriptures tells us that Jesus was born on September 29th ... weeks after His cousin, John the Baptist's birth. As far as Matthew 23, those woes especially pertain to the atheists of the world that listen to the baloney their professors teach, go onto internet sites when we know the son's of Cain have changed all of history throughout the world, not just the US. The woe's pertain to all the liars and thieves ... due to their big egos (sin of pride), teaching man's nonsense, instead of Jesus' spiritual truth. What amazes me when you atheists write to condemn Jesus' truth, is, you know He wrote His truth 100s of years ago and it applied then as it does today. Take that back to the liars (Pharisees and scribes, that killed Jesus) as they try to continue doing to this day ... that teach you that as a group, you shall be the min-god's. Baloney ... and both you (the students) AND your teachers are going to fry because you are journying on that wide path.

      June 23, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Jesus was ignorant. There is no evidence that he ever wrote anything (if he even ever lived at all). ROFL

      June 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus is truth and you follow the lies of satan and his offsprings (the folks who Jesus told us not to listen to). You believing that as a group will be mini-god's is a joke. Enjoy your illusion on earth, for you are going to fry along with everyone in your group for bringing forth satan's evil. Read the end of His Truth. Satan looses.

      June 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I am so afraid now.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      AO, you're too arrogant to be any thing, never mind comprehending Jesus' truth that your false teachers brainwashed you into believing you should just destroy.

      Isaiah the prophet in denouncing the Judah tribe for their abominations said:

      “The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! For they have rewarded evil unto themselves!” ( Isaiah 3:9)


      June 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I'm a bad 'ol bear.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      yup,... and we demand reparations for everything the Christians stole from us,..... or an apology,...that would be nice too

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

      That's what you get for believing in the scribes and pharisees that killed Jesus physically and continue to this day to corrupt His truth. They are the off springs of Cain who's father is satan. Jesus warned us in Matthew 23 to avoid them. But, nooooooooooooo, you atheists didn't listen then (just love to hear what you want to hear ... stroke, stroke, stroke that ego) as you still have no eyes to see nor ears to hear His truth today. There is nothing new under the sun ... as you walk that wide path to destruction, as those before and after you do. Satan is the liar, he's perfected his craft. Why? To take as many as God's children with him to the eternal flames. Satan doesn't want to fry alone.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • Sam Yaza

      oh and HeavenSent the lair says he dose not lie,... you god is the destroyer and the king of lies, you know Samial, Damnu, Orochi, Satan ect

      how does it feel to get a taste of your medicine

      June 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Prove to us scripturally, that Yeshua was born on September 29. Then explain how Quririnius was governor, and Herod was King, when in fact Herod had died 10 years before.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Jesus didn't write anything. He was iliterate.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      All the atheists deceived by satan's lies.

      What happened during the foundation of the world, when satan (then called Lucifer) was a cherubim (one of the highest ranking angels of God's) due to the sin of pride, lied to 1/3 of God's angels to follow him to rebel against God. Lucifer wanted to be God. God got angry (wrath of God) and destroyed the first earth age (2 Peter 3). God then thought about it for a week (No one's figured out from scriptures how many days were in a week, therefore, man devised 7 days) ... but, a day of the Lord's is 1,000 days of man ... and created the world again (this 2nd earth age we live in).

      Anyway, Lucifer wants to be God today, as it was from the beginning ... and that's why he twists and contorts God's truth (via Jesus' scriptures in the Bible) because he thinks by lying, he'll get his way.... but, he gets fried and he knows it because that too, is written.

      To all the atheists out there that are duped into believing satan's lies ...

      Read all of Revelation 2 and 3 and pay attention to Revelation 2:9, 2:14, 3:9.

      Revelation 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I know] the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan.

      Revelation 2:14 But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.

      Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.


      June 23, 2012 at 6:00 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Alien..HS has never been able to tell us what jesus truth actually is..it is a saying that sounds as if it has some thing to tell us but it is empty, and is just a marketing slogan for god groupies.

      June 23, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      Don't be so carnal DNA, and start reading that Bible. Jesus wrote that for YOU so hop to it! Carnal!!!

      June 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Evolved, I've answered this same question over and over again. You're the one that refuses to accept that all of Jesus' letter to us (the Bible) is truth about life and the hereafter. John 14:6, Matthew 13.

      You are conditioned, and comfortable while believing John 8:44.

      June 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      Jesus wrote the old testament? Did he also write the book of mormon?

      Hey there HeavenSent, who is this King James chap?

      Aaaaand, last question, was Michael Landon a sinner or a saint for his role in Highway to Heaven?

      June 23, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      HS.. There is nothing in the bible that humans did not know before... nothing new , no mention of lands that were unknown ..no mention of penguins, no mention of Antarctica, the Americas, nothing...the bible was written by men..with the knowledge and prejudices of the age. using for good measure the rituals of the earlier religions and gods...you still have no more proof that your god is any more real that Zeus.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.

      2 Timothy 3:13

      June 23, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      This is where all men get deceived by satan who knows scriptures better than man and twists and turns Jesus' truth to incorporate his lies:

      John 10:34-36

      34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
      35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
      36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

      Christ was quoting from the Old Testament:

      Psalms 82:6-7

      6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
      7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.


      god(s): Hebrew word #430 'elohiym (el-o-heem'); plural of OT:433; gods in the ordinary sense; but specifically used (in the plural thus, especially with the article) of the supreme God; occasionally applied by way of deference to magistrates; and sometimes as a superlative: [usages of the word in the] – angels, exceeding, God (gods)- dess, -ly), (very) great, judges, mighty.

      Jesus was referring to:

      Exodus 22:28

      28 Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

      June 23, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
  7. kerfluffle

    No catholic in his/her right mind is going to support the carpetbagging mormon.

    June 23, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • jamest297

      Where exactly does the notion of CARPETBAGGING MORMON fit into the election. What if the rest of the US had felt that way about JFK? And, that was over 50 years ago for christ sake.

      June 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      You do know what a carpetbagger is, yes? Mittens has laid claim to Utah, Michigan, Massachusetts as home states, has mansions in California and New Hampshire, and may have been born in Mexico. He emphasizes whatever ties are politically convenient. He is a carpetbagger.

      To your other point, the topic at hand is in regards to how catholics will vote. My contention is salient in stating that no catholic in his/her right mind will vote for Willard Mitt Romney, the carpetbagging mormon.

      Is that a little easier for you to comprehend?

      June 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      And Teddy kicked Mitt's behind in '94.

      June 23, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • billdeacons

      I'm Catholic and I'll take teh Mormon over the moron. So will most everyone I know

      June 23, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Jamest297


      I indeed know what carpetbagger means, but I still don't see how that defines Romney. He is and was a citizen of Massachusetts and it doesn't matter how many other poaces he has lived or where he owns real estate, does it PROFESSOR.

      By your depiction of Mr. Romney, you seem to be stating a preference for the carpetbagger Obama. I'm sure you're acquainted with all the different places in the US he has lived, places outside the US where he has lived and even the various places ha has real estate interests.

      My analysis is that you object to Romney because he's a Mormon not because he is upwardly mobile and has spent the night in several different of his own homes. Frankly, anyone who professes belief in a god or follows a particular religion demonstrates to me that they have a deep gullible streak. That said, I prefer Romney for his less gullible streak on how to run an enterprise and balancing a set of books.

      Capich – PROFESSOR?

      June 24, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  8. AGuest9

    The Kennedy's were catholic, too. John F on drugs and screwing around on Jackie, while she screwed around on him with Onassis. Ted screwing around on Joan, and killing poor MaryJo. Rose sounding too busy to take the call that her son had been killed in Dallas. Let's hear about upstanding Massachusetts catholics.

    June 23, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Guest is playing the Golden Moldies of right-wing delusion for you thin morning

      Wow, you went for a really moldy old right-wing myth, didn't you? I thought that you would have newer stuff from having turned on Rush in the morning and learning what your opinions were today.

      You left out Chappaquiddick.

      June 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Jesus warned us (Matthew 23:1-39) about who sat in the lead roles in the churches, synagogues, any/all false religions in the world ... and specifically told us to read and study His truth (the Bible) so that we can sharpen our knowledge with those that profess to know him whether they are teaching His truth or the lies of man. Now everyone is wondering what happened to the world ... because they got conditioned to being lazy not to hear what they need but, listen to man made lies of what they want. Big difference of hearing what is needed versus what you want.

      June 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • kerfluffle

      Is that Ted Kennedy to whom you are referring the same Ted Kennedy that made Mittens look like a fool in the Massachusetts Senatorial race a few years back? Romney the Carpetbagger got schooled.

      June 23, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Jacqueline did not meet Ari O. until long after JFK was dead. History is history.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • EvolvedDNA

      heavensent Jesus was a man, so the truth he told to everyone then was a lie? in which case.....as you claim man lies....If god wants to talk to his creation I suggest he does it in person ....less ambiguous and will remove the crazy middle men in all the various religions on earth ..all whom have the only truth.....religion is the guarantee of an apocalypse for the human race.

      June 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • AGuest9

      @Delusions 3:15: History IS history. Perhaps you should look at the Kennedys' meeting with Winston Churchill on Onassis' yacht in the south of France in 1958, and Jackie's vacation on his yacht through the Aegean Sea in October, 1963, during which Onassis broke off his affair with Jackie's sister, Lee.

      June 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • AGuest9

      @Guest is playing the Golden Moldies of right-wing delusion for you thin morning: If you were more than functionally illiterate, you would see that I did mention Chappaquiddick. I've been to MaryJo's grave many times. What a loss over another womanizing politician.

      June 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  9. jamest297

    Given the priests predilection to pedophilia, it might be a good idea for some of the kids to spend less time at catechism and more time outdoors.

    June 23, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • junior

      A cruel remark

      June 23, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • Slurms McKenzie

      Truth hurts.

      June 23, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • junior

      It would if it were true

      June 23, 2012 at 11:58 am |
    • HeavenSent

      Romans 8:1-10

      1 [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

      2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

      3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

      4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

      5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

      6 For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.

      7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

      8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

      9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

      10 And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.

      The rest of Romans 8 should be read too.

      June 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      The Secret in the Old Clock :
      Mortimer Bartesque 1:2 HeavenSent is so full of Babble quotes, she needs an enema.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  10. Catholic in Sacramento

    Not one word on our bishops and laymen speaking out on the HHS mandate? I do believe you dropped the ball on this one.

    June 23, 2012 at 8:11 am |
    • Give me a break

      I wonder why you mentioned the HHS nonsense and not something of real importance, like the continuing failure to change the failed corporate culture that caused such a widespread monstrosity? It's your children and grandchildren who were at risk, buddy. What have you done to get your church to stop covering up and make REAL reparations to the victims, and especially what to do with all the higher clergy who engaged in criminal conspiracy and child endangerment in there game of pedopriest musiacal chairs.

      What have you done? Defended it?

      June 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      The Bishops gave it their best shot. "Our Most Precious Liberty" was full of flaws, and half-truths. ALl it took was a few Catholic scholars to totally shoot em down. So sad. Too bad. Until they re-think the "magisterium" bullsh1t, and that authority comes from the top down, instead of the bottom up, they will continue to decine, among educated adults.

      June 23, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  11. Reality

    As per Pew Research Center:

    "10% – America's Former Catholics

    Approximately one-third of those who say they were raised Catholic no longer describe themselves as Catholic; which means that roughly 10% of all Americans are former Catholics. "

    One wonders how they will vote.

    And of course Stephen P continues to be non-committal as to his own religious and political beliefs.

    June 23, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • Reality

      "If ex-Catholics were counted as their own religious group, they would be the third-largest denomination in the United States, after Catholics and Baptists, according to the National Catholic Reporter."

      June 23, 2012 at 7:53 am |
    • jamest297

      Why does Stephen P's religious or political beliefs matter. Don't you think it a good thing that the author of such a piece doesn't let his personal slant take over the narrative?

      June 23, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Reality

      Your beliefs will always slant your comments. The mere fact that Prothero discusses the Catholic vote indicates some prejudice as noted by his sly comments about Massachusett's soccer being affected by Catholic beliefs.

      June 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
  12. A dose of reality

    1. You believe that the pope has personal conversations with God (that nobody else ever hears) and is infallible when speaking on matters of Church doctrine. You then wistfully ignore the fact that Church doctrine changes and that former popes therefore could not possibly have been “infallible”. Limbo, for example, was touted by pope after pope as a place where un-baptized babies who die go, until Pope Benedict XVI just eradicated it (or, more accurately, so watered it down as effectively eradicate it in a face saving way). Seems all those earlier “infallible” Popes were wrong – as they were on Adam and Eve v. evolution, heliocentricity v. egocentricity, and a host of other issues that required an amendment of official Church doctrine. You also ignore the innumerable murders, rampant corruption and other crimes committed over the centuries by your “infallible”, god-conversing popes.
    2. You reject the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. You are blissfully (or intentionally) blind to the fact, that had you been born in another part of the World, you would be defending the local god(s) and disdaining the incorrectness of Catholic beliefs.
    3. You begrudgingly accept evolution (about a century after Darwin proved it and after accepting Genesis as literally true for about 2,000 years) and that Adam and Eve was totally made up, but then conveniently ignore that fact that your justification for Jesus dying on the cross (to save us from Original Sin) has therefore been eviscerated. Official Church literature still dictates a belief in this nonsense.
    4. You disdain native beliefs as “polytheist” and somehow “inferior” but cannot explain (i) why being polytheistic is any sillier than being monotheistic. Once you make the quantum leap into Wonderland by believing in sky-fairies, what difference does if make if you believe in one or many?; nor (ii) why Christians believe they are monotheistic, given that they believe in god, the devil, guardian angels, the holy spirit, Jesus, many demons in hell, the Virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel, thousands of saints, all of whom apparently make Earthly appearances periodically, and all of whom inhabit their life-after-death lands with magic-sacred powers of some kind.
    5. You bemoan the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don`t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees or the 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf (or the dozen or so other slaughters condoned by the bible). You also like to look to god to for guidance in raising your children, ignoring the fact that he drowned his own – according to your Bible.
    6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that God impregnated Mary with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to “forgive” an ”Original Sin” that we now all know never happened.
    7. You disdain gays as sinners, but have no problem when Lot got drunk and committed father-daughter in.cest (twice) or offered his daughters to a mob to be gang ra.ped, or when Moses, time and again, offered his wife up for the “pleasures” of the Egyptians to save his own skin.
    8. You believe that your god will cause anyone who does not accept your Bronze Age stories to suffer a penalty an infinite times worse than the death penalty (burning forever in excruciating torture) simply because of their healthy skepticism, yet maintain that god “loves them”.
    9. You will totally reject any scientific breakthrough that is inconsistent with your established doctrine, unless and until it is so generally accepted as to back you into a corner. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you of the deep inanity of your silly faith, some priest doing magic hand signals over bread and wine is enough to convince you it is thereby transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus because of the priest’s magic powers (or “sacred powers” to the extent you see a difference).
    10. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to Lourdes, Fátima and other magic places and prayers in general. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. The remaining 99.99% failure was simply “god moving in mysterious ways”. The fact that, if you ask for something repeatedly, over and over, year after year, sooner or later that thing is bound to happen anyway, has not even occurred to you. A stopped clock is right twice a day.
    11. You accept the stories in the Bible without question, despite not having the slightest idea of who actually wrote them, how credible these people were or how long the stories were written after the alleged events they record occurred. For example, it is impossible for Moses to have written the first five books of the Old Testament, as Catholics believe. For one, they record his death and events after his death. In fact, the chance of the Bible being historically accurate in any but the broadest terms is vanishingly small.
    Heavens, I could not fit them into ten. Maybe, if they pray hard enough to their sky-fairy, the Catholics can turn them into 10

    June 23, 2012 at 7:14 am |
    • Colin

      Dude- ya gotta include the opening line "10 ways you know you are a Catholic" or it makes no sense. Second, you need to put spaces between paragraphs.

      June 23, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • junior

      Catholic and proud. Obviously you cannot fathom the significance and beauty of the mass.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • HeavenSent

      reality, Isaiah the prophet in denouncing the Judah tribe for their abominations said:

      “The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! For they have rewarded evil unto themselves!” ( Isaiah 3:9)

      That's what you get for following the scribes and pharisees (professed to be Jews, but are not) that killed Jesus physically, as they continue to kill His truth today. Jesus warned us about them in Matthews 23. Jesus told you that you aren't min-gods, but, you believe satan's lies that is scheduled for destruction as he takes all that follow him to the eternal flames.

      June 23, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  13. SeniorMoment

    The two positives about the Catholic Church is that Catholics are raised to seek justice for all, and the modern Catholic Church has no difficulty recconciling itself with whatever science produces, because in the final analysis no one can actually prove the universe was created without God's involvement. In fact a lot of cosmology is so loaded with shakey evidence that could fall down like a deck of cards if one central method of measuinrg the universe is dead wrong. Cosmology depends on extending our knowledge as if it is universally true, while just in the last few years a team of scientists proved magnetism is not a universal constant but varies along the plain of the galaxy nx most of what was thought before Einstein has been proven wrong as far as cosmology, the only dubious science that tries to explain away God's existence as a necessary fact for creating a universe.

    June 23, 2012 at 6:06 am |
  14. SeniorMoment

    Thr Roman Catholic Church has the greatest number of fallen away members in the USA due in large part to the current Pope and how the Church dealt with case of priest child abuse and pediophilia. It is obvious that the bishops don't speak for U. S. Catholics either. Only a very small percentage of Catholics use the church approvel natural family planning because it is not reliable without excessive abstention from intimate relations with the spouse. Most don't agree with their bishops either on the relationship between church and state. I for example believe the bishops are simply trying to cheat Catholic hospital employees of a standard health care benefit when those employees are not even Catholics who adhere to natural family planning, even when they call themselves Catholics.

    It is cheating employees when you tell possible employees you off health care benefits and then don't in fact offer the standard package of health care benefits and services. Most of us are just waiting to see if the next Pope is humanitarian enough to justify staying in the Catholic Church, altough perhaps 10% of Catholics strictly follow the church's teachings and directives from the bishop based on my own conversations with other Catholics.

    June 23, 2012 at 5:55 am |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 23, 2012 at 5:28 am |
    • A dose of reality

      please provide proof

      June 23, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things

      June 23, 2012 at 7:27 am |
  16. Rolph Eczema

    Who give s flip about the Catholics, and when are they going to leave?

    June 23, 2012 at 4:23 am |
    • junior

      I have not counted on leaving.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • Let's hear it

      So junior, what have you done to force your Church to end it's repulsive handling of the abuse scandal? What have you personally done about the clergy who are still in power who shuffled and hid these perpetrators from the law, and allowed it to continue? What have you done about the horrific way your church treats the victims, calling them conspirators out to destroy the church and other lies like that?

      What have you done?

      June 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
    • junior

      I have stood behind Truth. Pray for my enemies, pray for the sinner. If there is a cleric or religious who is perpetrating a crime, it is my Christian duty to report it to the authorities. There is a chain of command if you will. Every parish has to answer to the diocese, and it follows all the way up to the Holy See.
      I am bearing witness, teaching those to not be afraid, to be courageous, to be righteous.

      Now a question for you:
      What are you doing for Faith, Hope and Love?

      June 24, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  17. Jimmy G.

    Well, Prothero, this is a crap article.
    They told you to write something about voters or Catholics, right?
    And you wrote this while on the beach again, amirite?
    Bad Prothero! Bad!

    June 23, 2012 at 3:38 am |
  18. Bootyfunk

    ummm... in prison for child molestation?

    June 23, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • perversion is a crime

      At the root of child molestation is ho mo se xuality. Filthy perverts snuck into the catholic church by lies and deception with evil intent to ply their ho mo se xual perversions on an unsuspecting and innocent peoples. Once one ho mo se xual had slithered its unholy self into the sanctuary with pretense of love it hissed to its brethren of its ability to deceive and corrupt and so drew in other perverts as well.The honest servants of God were caught unawares not suspecting that kind of attack from within. The same attack ho mo se xuals are now using on all of society. Disease ,perversion and filth , the true fruits of ho mo se xuality.

      June 23, 2012 at 7:12 am |
  19. Fluffy the Gerbil of Doom

    Where are the Catholics ? They are in debt to the lawyers ... that's where.

    June 23, 2012 at 2:11 am |
    • junior

      Right here.

      June 23, 2012 at 9:58 am |
  20. Larry B

    I have found that there are 3 kinds of Catholics in the USA. Those that we could call "non-Catholic Catholics" like the late Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi who do not follow Church teaching on major moral issues. Then, at the other extreme, are the Catholics who once they hear "this is what the Church teaches", shut down their thinking and just do what the Church tells them to do. The third category lies between these extremes and follows the Church where they see the Church is on solid ground and does not follow the Church in areas where they believe the Church is not competent. That is why it is hard to gauge how the Catholics will vote. Catholics are not simply one large monolithic group.

    June 23, 2012 at 1:21 am |
    • Reality

      And there are the ex-Catholics who now compose the third largest "religious" group in the USA. One wonders how they will vote.

      June 23, 2012 at 7:42 am |
    • Joe from CT, not Lieberman

      Growing up Catholic, you will probably see the older generation (70 and older) as likely to support Mitt Romney as they are Barak Obama. By that, you can read that there are some Catholics who will vote against Romney because he is a Mormon as there are Catholics who will vote against Obama because he is Black.
      Those in the 50 to 70 range may be tricker. We see Romney as the guy who didn't serve in the military with us during Nam. However, unless they are college educated they are more likely to vote for Romney following their own ingrained conservatism.
      The Under 50 crowd is less likely to be influenced by the Bishops and their fight against the Health Care mandates, so are more likely to support the President.

      June 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Joe from CT, at least the righteous Joe knew when to retire ... not wanting anything to do with ushering in the anti-christ.

      June 23, 2012 at 4:48 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.