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My Take: When it comes to 'God' in our political platforms, less is more
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presided over the reinsertion of 'God' into the Democrats' platform.
September 6th, 2012
12:27 PM ET

My Take: When it comes to 'God' in our political platforms, less is more

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

I first heard that God had gone missing from the Democratic Party platform from a Facebook friend who rejoiced in a godless platform as a triumph for the First Amendment and the separation of church and state.

I was surprised, however, because since the loss of John Kerry to George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential race, Democrats have gotten religion.

President Obama used the word God five times in his inaugural address. And according to my search of the database of The American Presidency Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara, he has used it thousands of times more during his presidency.

In remarks at annual National Prayer Breakfasts, Obama called us “children of God” in 2009, spoke of “God’s grace” in 2010, quoted from the Book of Job on “God’s voice” in 2011 and invoked “God’s command to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’” in 2012.

The president also invoked the almighty in more prosaic settings, including fundraisers and television interviews and remarks to Super Bowl champions.

This April he used a weekly radio address to talk about Passover and Easter—“the story of the Exodus” and “”the all-important gift of grace through the resurrection of his son.”

And in dozens of speeches over the last two years Obama has spoken of our “God-given potential.”

That is the formulation that found its way back into this year’s Democratic Party platform, after "God" had gone missing in a prior draft.

None of this should really matter, of course. There isn’t any straight line from an affirmation of our “God-given potential” to any particular federal law. But it does matter because we continue as a nation to wage a culture war that goes back to the late 1970s.

That was when Republicans decided to start hammering away at their Democratic opponents on so-called “values” questions and in the process turned U.S. politics into a decades-long referendum on the libertinism of the 1960s.

Foolishly, the Democrats responded as my Facebook friend did, by invoking Thomas Jefferson and the First Amendment and the strict separation of church and state. But being the anti-God party in a nation in which 95% or so believe in God proved to be a losing strategy. So the Democrats reversed course in 2004.

For better or for worse, we now have two religious parties in the United States. The Constitution may be godless, but both parties are hell-bent on presenting themselves as godly.

Is this a good thing? If you believe, as George Washington wrote in his Farewell Address, that “religion and morality” are “these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens," then perhaps it is.

But do we really want “God” to serve as a “prop” of our politics? Apparently, the answer of both parties to that question is yes.

The decision of Democratic Party delegates to reinsert God into their party's platform was clearly motivated by political calculations rather than theological acumen. But are the decisions of the Republican Party any different?

Are the repeated references to "providence" and "God" in its platform proof that its policies are more godly?

In its discussion of the Second Amendment, the GOP platform informs us that our citizens’ “God-given right of self-defense” extends not only to gun ownership but also “the right to obtain and store ammunition without registration.” Really? Is bearing a semi-automatic weapon really the answer to "What would Jesus do?"

Is the fact that the GOP platform refers to “God” twelve times rather than one supposed to prove that Republicans are 12 times more godly?

As a matter of tradition, Americans have always mixed church and state, but they have almost always tried to do so in ways that were respectful of adherents of minority religions and of citizens without any religion at all. So what our two religious parties are doing today runs in the American grain.

Still, I can't help but feel that the now-obligatory references to God in virtually every presidential speech and every party proclamation are more about pridefully asserting one's godliness than humbly asserting one's faith.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus told his followers not to pray, as the hypocrites do, on the street corners, so they might be seen and admired, but to pray instead in their closets, in secret, with the doors shut.

Today I'd like a little more of that sort of religion, please, and a little less of the street corner hucksterism of the Democrats and Republicans alike.

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

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church and state • Culture wars • Politics • United States

soundoff (1,491 Responses)
  1. jay

    It seems that the democratic party decides on the use of "God" y looking at how people respond to it. If it would be beneficial for them to not use God, then they would use it. Sounds like a good strategy!!!!! They only put it back in because of public pressure.

    If you are looking for religion, the last place that you should look is the CNN website. Authors like this have to rely on shock value in order to get their articles published on CNN. They will put up a weak argument for religion and then tear it down. It makes them look good and if they were to actually understand the other side, then they would not appear as intelligent. People like this are at Universities for a reason.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  2. C

    Athiests are about 2% of the population, and they want to have everything their way. Sorry, but the mainstream of America likes God being mentioned, and this includes Jews, Muslims, Hindu, and every other religion since they all have a God.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • this guy

      I'M RELIGIOUS AND I SPEAK FOR ALL RELIGIOUS PEOPLE. AMEN!!!

      -C

      September 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I will only vote for a candidate who talks about teh importance of Shiva and Ganesh in our public schools.
      – Hindu consti/tuent

      September 6, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • fintastic

      My question is "which god"? there are so many...

      September 6, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • smeeker

      The atheists simply want religion out of government. It is you hypocrites who want to dictate everyones lives.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
    • charles davis

      You say only 2% are agnostic/atheist? I read it was 12%, i believe that if you used truth serum on all the people in congress,
      their figure would be over 50%.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  3. ArthurP

    When the phrase “In God We Trust” was going to be placed on the $20 gold coin in 1907, President Teddy Roosevelt was against it:

    “My own feeling in the matter is due to my very firm conviction that to put such a motto on coins, or to use it in any kindred manner, not only does no good but does positive harm, and is in effect irreverence, which comes dangerously close to sacrilege….”

    That, from a president who was a Christian, a Sunday school teacher, and a Republican… those days are long gone.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • this guy

      Yeah, but he also sported a terrible looking mustache, so....

      September 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  4. this guy

    I'm godless and happy.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      same

      September 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      me 3

      September 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Dan

      Me 4

      September 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      I had that conversation with a co-worker.
      The next day, he gave me a copy of a book by Kierkergaard which basically argued that if you live a life without God, you're not happy.
      Oh you may think you're happy and living a full life replete with love, job satisfaction, laughter, etc.
      But you're actually miserable.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • ryantorgeson

      me too. AND i'm moral and charitable. Crazy, isn't it?

      September 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Robert

      Me 5. But the key is choice – believe anything you want but don't impose it on me or politics. It's not anti-religion; it's separation.

      September 6, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • charles davis

      THANK GOD, I'M AN ATHEIST !!!!!!!!!!

      September 6, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • appapo

      Good for you all!! But, around 127 million votes were cast in the 2008 elections; so, you eught happy, moral and philanthropist atheists only need 63,499,991 colleagues, more or less, in order to become a majority in this DEMOCRATICALLY GOVERNED Country and THEN have the right to set public policy over your fellow countrymen/women.

      September 8, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • appapo

      Good for you all!! But, around 127 million votes were cast in the 2008 elections; so, you eight happy, moral and philanthropist atheists only need 63,499,991 colleagues, more or less, in order to become a majority in this DEMOCRATICALLY GOVERNED Country and THEN have the right to set public policy over your fellow countrymen/women.

      September 8, 2012 at 1:28 am |
  5. Way

    Granted you are a noted contributor as a religion scholar, but your personal view point stinks! Your logic is a philosophical viewpoint, not of a faith-based, my belief of God is a personal belief and is not a philosophy, to have the word "God" as part of the Democratic Party Platform is not to denote we, Americans, have GOD and other cultures do not, every culture in this world has a GOD, it may have a different name, but it is "God", a belief of a higher power than ourselves, maybe, you need to experience God in your life so you will not object for others to have God in their life. There is a major difference between religion and belief.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Horus

      Not all cultures have gods. And why shouldn't people be free to not believe if they so choose?

      September 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      What about the Ja/panese?

      September 6, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  6. Horus

    If "God" exists, how exactly can you remove him/her/it from anywhere? It's like when people start babbling about taking "God" out of schools....how's that even possible? As for the platform – I want a secular government....just like the majority of the framers of this country wanted a secular government. No matter how much people want to try and revision history, if you read the floor debates of the period, and journals of some of the most influencial figures, you will discover that religion was purposely left out of government. That's what many were fleeing when they first came here – Theocratic Monarchies.....

    September 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • God

      Oh I assure you God exiztz. Which iz the subject of your responze. Being that I am Omnipotent I have no need to prove Myself to any politician. God.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Horus

      Well, God, when you make a claim and can't support it with evidence then there's not really much assurance there......just say'n.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • appapo

      Is some one forcing you to be a believer? If so, I would gladly help you fight against such imposition. But, as far as I know, it is us, the believing majority, that are forced to suppress the free expression of our faiths in the very public venues that our tax money support.

      September 8, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  7. bobntex

    Morality comes from religion...I think morality is an important quality in a politician.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • BioHzrd

      You don't need religion to be a moral person. Religion helps teach morality, but you can be moral and not religious.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • ryantorgeson

      Morality does not come EXCLUSIVELY from religion.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • AGeek

      Morality comes from religion? Ha. BHahahaha. WWWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAhahahahahahahahahhaa. That's funny. Tell that to anyone molested by a priest, financially fleeced by a preacher, or otherwise swindled by these hucksters. If you need a threat to be moral, I would posit that you're inherently *immoral*.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Horus

      Nonsense – morality comes from within. You choose to be decent or not. Religiouis people use "forgiveness" to justify their indecent and immoral actions.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Benjamin

      I'm rather alarmed that you decide not to kill someone, not because of compassion or love, but because a dusty old book told you not too. Heaven forbid you read another book that says otherwise!

      September 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      There are about a billion Chinese who have no religion. Is it truly your contention that every single one of them is immoral?

      September 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Anne112

      Not all religious politicians are necessarily moral people.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Corey Harrell

      The writer of this article must have just started voting in 2004, down in AL and every other Dixie state. Religion has been running the Republican party since I can remember. Its so crazy that that the tea party people are saying that Romney is a Christian and not a Mormon, just so that it justifies him to go up against Obama cause he's black. Look up those great white hope boxing tees with Obama and Romney on them. They will say and do anything to put dummy Romney in the white house.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • snowboarder

      morality comes from religion? is that supposed to be a joke?

      September 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • mikehipp

      Morality does not come from religion. Morality pre-dates religion by 10s of thousands of years. We would have never made it to being modern humans if we did not have a moral code.

      Your god only showed up on the scene 2k years, or so, ago.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • charles davis

      By saying the religion equates morality makes no sense to me. The religious Christians in Europe invaded the middle east just to slaugther the Moslems and the Jews. How about in the 1490's in spain there was the Inquisistion rwhere the Christians tortured all that wouldn't convert. Are those the moral people you are talking about?

      September 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Neil from Toronto

      Moraility is important BUTseparate from religion. Thank God that the vast majority of Canadians don't know and very rarely discuss the faith/religious affiliation of our Prime Minister or those seeking his office.

      September 15, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      Did you hear the one about the Canadian that minded its own F'n business?

      September 15, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Dodney Rangerfield

      You won't the ass hole can't help itself from thinking someone somewhere needs its bull sh it.

      September 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  8. Pete

    Obama must placate the many atheists on the left. To Liberals and Socialists Government is God. It is always the left who is outraged over nativity scenes but telling everyone we must be tolerant of Islam. Why is it Obama was born to a communist / Muslim father, converted to Black liberation theology with Rev. Wright for 20 years but the media just keeps talking about Mitt being a Morman same as Harry Reid? Watching God get booed last night shows America where the Godlessness existis in Politics in America today.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Unfortunately for your hypothesis, Obama was the one who insisted on placating the Bible-bangers.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Twisted Words

      Government is not god. There is no god, so I don't want your god in my government. Got god? Go to church. Don't tread on me.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Hey Pete, I think a little corner of the white sheet you are wearing under your clothes is starting to show...

      September 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • mikehipp

      Pete, you're wrong. Government is government, not god. As for the rest of your inane argument; it's not worthy of reading, much less replying to.

      September 6, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  9. ghittsum

    Of all religions, Christianity is the most unwelcome religious affiliation to have in this country. What do we do wrong? We're called to witness, and yet when we are just doing what we're taught to do it makes us out to be outcasts? Islamic terrorist blow up school buses full of children, but that's ok? (http://undhimmi.com/2011/01/04/brave-jihadi-bombers-in-daring-takedown-of-school-bus/) They should just pile us all into trenches we've dug out, then shoot and bury us, vile beings we are.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • snowboarder

      the secular community must work tirelessly to keep the religionists from imposing their views on the public at large by infiltrating their religion into public schools and common law.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  10. Chelle

    Trace – nonsense. If you can't understand American history – pick up a book and try again. God did not used to be inserted into every political conversation. Many of your founding fathers were Diests at best, Jefferson put together a bible that excluded all miracles and Godly interventions. "One nation under God" was added in the 50s to distinguish the US against the "Godless Commies". All Stephen Prothero is saying is that God is being injected into politics far too often.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • God

      Amen Chelle...God.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  11. Pete Clarke

    I concur, most of the God talk in politics is just to suck in votes. I for one need no one to legislate religious ideology into Government. I also don't want Government to interfere with my beliefs. Freedom for all in America is why I feel so proud to be an American.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  12. RichardSRussell

    I would like the platforms of both major parties to have exactly as many references to God (also to Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible) as the Const¡tution that all our elected officials have sworn to uphold and defend.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • JeffinIL

      Where is the "like" button?

      September 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • read it and weep

      A big secular 'amen' to that

      September 6, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Chelle

      Awesome!

      September 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • ryantorgeson

      LIKE

      September 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • killowatt23

      ditto

      September 6, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • fintastic

      EXACTLY

      September 6, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  13. God

    The State iz not Welcome in my church, therefore no church iz welcome in My State....God.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Anne112

      God, look at you, all grown up and using modern technology!

      September 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      Hey, you got your Chocolate in my peanut butter...

      No, you got your peanut butter on my Chocolate...

      Hmmm, a delicious combination...Eureeka!!

      Except in the case of religion & politics it's more like:

      Hey, you got your Corn Dog in my cup of feces...!

      No, you got your cup of feces on my Corn Dog..!

      Hmmm, a vile and disgusting combination...Eureeka!!

      September 6, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  14. Brian

    The article is interesting but not fundamentally correct. the seperation of church and state was never against the church, but was directed at the state. The church has always been in politics, as it should be. Our faith is supposed to be the governing factor that shapes the way we live, if we are true to our faith/religion. When a platform is primarily based on anti-religious views, and as stated, 95% of the population believes in G-d and as such biblical views, it's not hard to figure out, knowingly or not, you are misrepresenting 95% who have forgotten what they believe. With abortion and Gay marriage at the forefront of the platform, how can religion be left out of the politics, when that goes against the faith of 95% of the people it is supposed to represent.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      This is revisionist history. There are 2 religion clauses to the 1st Amendment, 1 designed to keep government out of churches, the other designed to keep religion out of the capitols — or, as Jefferson phrased it, a "wall of separation between church and state". You would have us believe that the wall works only one way. That's now how walls work, my friend; you're thinking of a semi-permeable membrane. But I guess I shouldn't expect any more of someone who spells "God" with a hyphen than from someone who uses "Democrat" as an adjective.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • read it and weep

      The assertion that the First Amendment religious clauses were intended *solely* to protect religion from governmental intrusion is incorrect.

      The two religious clauses – the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause provide reciprocal protections.

      Finally, you seem to assert that because "95% of people believe in God" that the government is duty-bound to represent the interests of religions. First, your statistics are way off. Up to 16% of citizens in the US are atheists, agnotics, skeptics, or freethinkers. Hardly an insignificant minority. Further, it doesn't matter. There are fundamental rights that accorded even to a minority of 1. Among them, freedom from government-sponsored religion. This is what the Founders intended vis-a-vis the tyranny of the majority.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • TheTruth

      "God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure if we have removed their only firm basis: a conviction in the minds of men that these liberties are the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever." – Thomas Jefferson
      "The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.” The US Congress 1782
      “It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible.” George Washington
      “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” John Quincy Adams
      "Only one adequate plan has ever appeared in the world, and that is the Christian dispensation." – John Jay, First Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
      "The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained" – George Washington
      "If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a Nation gone under." – Ronald Reagan

      September 6, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • mikehipp

      Incorrect. Demonstrably incorrect even. .... and why do you spell god with a hyphen?

      September 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  15. TheChurchStateGuy

    Regardless of Prothero's personal beliefs, there are plenty Christians who agree with him. I'm one of them and also blogged on this topic today (before seeing his post). http://www.thechurchstateguy.com/post/30998255704/god-and-the-political-platforms

    September 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • Brian

      the church has been involved in politics from the foundation. The seperation was established to prevent the state from governing over religion, but the seperation was never meant to prevent religion from influencing the government. It was due to distortions of the law, that we currently have a prohabition on religion in government. I don't care if they have G-d in their platform or not. The way they act, it would probably be best if they didn't. Blasphemy and Hypocrisy, is still a sin as far as I know. Acting as if you have faith to get what you want, may end in a judgment you didn't expect. Most Christians claim faith in G-d, but are less educated in what that G-d explains as truth. The President himself said his religion prevented him from supporting Gay marriage. Did his religion change or did he walk away from his religion? One or the other has to be accepted as fact.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  16. tuvia

    !
    B"H

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=360]

    B"H

    LET MY PEOPLE GO SENETOR HILLIARY CLINTON AND hussein OBAMA. LET JONATHAN POLLARD GO NOW
    LET MY PEOPLE GO
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyBZhTaf1oU&w=640&h=360]

    WORLD VS ISRAEL. HILLARY CLINTON-THIS IS A MESSAGE FOR YOU – LET MY PEOPLE GO. FREE JONATHAN POLLARD NOW. LET MY PEOPLE GO BARRAK HUSSEIN OBAMA – NOW!
    The Land of Israel is the Promised Land given to our forefathers Abraham Isaac and Jacob and is given to us, their seed, as an everlasting Inheritance.
    PLEASE PLAY ON YOUR NETWORK NOW
    THANK YOU IN ADVANCE

    PLEASE ASK THE CANDIDATE THE FOLLOWING QUESTION.
    JONATHAN POLLARD HAS SPENT ENOUGH TIME IN PRISON.
    IT IS TIME THAT HE IS PARDONED

    LET MY PEOPLE GO SENETOR HILLIARY CLINTON AND hussein OBAMA. LET JONATHAN POLLARD GO NOW
    LET MY PEOLE GO

    Rabbi Chaim Richman answers President Obama's Cairo speech

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=360]
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyBZhTaf1oU&w=640&h=360]

    WORLD VS ISRAEL. HILLARY CLINTON-THIS IS A MESSAGE FOR YOU – LET MY PEOPLE GO. FREE JONATHAN POLLARD NOW. LET MY PEOPLE GO BARRAK HUSSEIN OBAMA – NOW!
    The Land of Israel is the Promised Land given to our forefathers Abraham Isaac and Jacob and is given to us, their seed, as an everlasting Inheritance.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • old ben

      This is bull sh it. Also this Johnathan Pollard is a highly-unstable traitor. Keep him where he is.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      It is for rants like this that the "Report abuse" button was invented.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  17. tuvia

    B"H

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=947by3X6_RU&w=640&h=360]

    September 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • old ben

      This is bull sh it. Also this Jonathan Pollard is a highly-unstable traitor. Keep him where he is.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  18. TexDoc

    There should indeed be no religious test for participation in government, but to exclude people of faith is just as wrong.

    September 6, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • snowboarder

      since when are they excluding persons of faith?

      September 6, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • TheChurchStateGuy

      Read the DNC platform and you'll see that the Dems actually include and respect people of faith far better than the RNC platform does. read them both here: http://www.thechurchstateguy.com

      September 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  19. Trace

    its time to fight for God and get him back in are world.....In God We Trust its on money we have....That should say something about what most A

    September 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • capnmike

      Hey,let's fight for a huge lie and fairytale invented by people to explain stuff they didn't understand?. NO THANKS!

      September 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • NewEnglandRepublicanInBoston

      True, and it only got their relatively recently because of McCarthy!!

      You remember McCarthy???

      September 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Larry

      So you won't be supporting Obama this time?

      September 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • NewEnglandRepublicanInBoston

      Will not be supporting Romney this time. Been there and done that. Not will to give him an opportunity to ruin the US economy as he almost did in Massachusetts.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • snowboarder

      your god is in your world. you have no right to try to force him into our own reality.

      that would be what everyone claims the islamists are doing.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • ArthurP

      When the phrase “In God We Trust” was going to be placed on the $20 gold coin in 1907, President Teddy Roosevelt was against it:

      “My own feeling in the matter is due to my very firm conviction that to put such a motto on coins, or to use it in any kindred manner, not only does no good but does positive harm, and is in effect irreverence, which comes dangerously close to sacrilege…”

      That, from a president who was a Christian, a Sunday school teacher, and a Republican… those days are long gone.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
  20. Topher

    Mr. Prothero, I see you are a "Boston University religion scholar" but I'm curious as to what your personal beliefs are. For full disclosure, I'm a fundamental Baptist.

    September 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Steve pretty much outed himself as a non-believer post Aurora shootings. Due to respect for his students, and school, I doubt he will ever just come out and declare himself.

      Were you born a Baptist, or did you arrive at the position, as a result of rational inquiry ? If so, what were your criteria, for choosing among the 33,000 sects of Christianity ?

      September 6, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Topher

      I was not born into any religion. In fact I was a raging atheist until my late teens. Then I became an agnostic and then a false-convert Christian who would tell you I believed in Jesus Christ but never once opened a Bible or cared at all about Christianity. I was almost 30 before I was born again.

      I chose to attend a Baptist church because they seem to hold the Bible as the highest authority and if God says He wrote it, that's what I care about. It also helped me choose when I went "church shopping" that the church I am now a member of was the only one preaching and teaching what God says in the Bible.

      September 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
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