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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. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    I see that "Professor" Stevie P thu-mped Matthew 6: 5-6, (hypocritical prayer) in his commentary. Had he did some research like any professor worth his salary would do, he would have found that said passage does not meet rigorous historical review i.e. a single attestation found no where else in the NT. See also Professor Gerd Ludemann's conclusions in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 145-147 and pp. 694-695. "In no way did Jesus speak these words......................."

    So "pray-tell" why does CNN continue to pay Stevie P since he obviously is not well read in his area of "expertise"?????

    September 7, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Had he DID some research?

      And you're calling out someone ELSE?

      September 7, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      The way to expand book of hindu Mithra ism, savior ism called bible for ages, add in what ever suit you and lay it on Mithra savior Jesus, and claim it to be from God. Way of Magi hindu's pagan trickster to hind, fool people by their hindu Judaism, filthy secular ism.To learn causes of mayhem among humanity please visit http://www.limitisthetruth.com/

      September 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Reality

      Oops, make that "had he done some research". Exhausting day on the golf course.

      Some suggested reading for the "Professor":

      o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
      2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
      – a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–

      3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
      – "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"

      4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."

      5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm

      6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria

      7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html

      8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias

      joezias.com/HealthHealingLandIsrael.htm
      9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
      10.The Gnostic Jesus
      (Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)

      More suggestions to follow after he finishes these ten references.

      September 8, 2012 at 12:26 am |
    • ElmerGantry

      @Tom Tom...

      Let's not get too excited about typos, everybody makes them once on awhile. Especially when typing an handheld devices or on computers and trying to get a comment out quickly.

      September 8, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • sqeptiq

      The whole NT fails to meet rigorous historical review.

      September 8, 2012 at 10:16 am |
    • Reality

      Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.

      The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.

      earlychristianwritings.com/

      For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".

      September 8, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  2. thecollegeadmissionsguru

    Religion belongs in the home and the Church, NOT in Politics! I believe that religion should take part of politics when churches pay taxes.. no? the stay out of politics. PERIOD

    September 7, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      I agree that religion should be kept out of govmnt. That way, when a missile from a drone in Afghanistan wipes out a family at a wedding party, the secular gubment, with its secular taxpayers, are culpable all by themselves.

      September 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
      • thecollegeadmissionsguru

        Sure, or we could just pray away the issues, much like they tried in Texas during their drought. Or we could allow the religous to dictate who gets birth control or who decides when a woman dies or not because she can't get an abortion even to save her life. We all know how well the Catholic Church did when they were ruling Europe during the DARK AGES.

        September 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Or by your logic: When a woman dies who could have been saved by having an abortion, the religous right can take all the credit for her death and the death of the infant.

      September 7, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  3. catholic engineer

    I am in favor of keeping religion mostly out of politics. Atheists claim that man can be good without god. I have not see them site a single significant civilization that could boast "see how great good we are without god." So by keeping religion out of policics, the atheists will finally get a chance to produce some evidence to prove their assertions. Theoretically, man CAN be good without God. But there is not a shred of evidence that, collectively, he WILL.

    September 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Huebert

      Switzerland is about 50% atheist. All the Scandinavian countries have large atheist populations as well.

      September 7, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • catholic engineer

      Huebert, your data is inadequate. What you want is the COMPLETE absence of God. Otherwise, your sample has been compromised.

      September 7, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Damocles

      @CE

      Can you point out to me the purely good religious country we have had?

      A person CAN be good or bad without a deity, it is proven everyday. There is not, nor will there ever be a society that is all this or all that. A theocracy does not automatically lend itself to goodness simply because people will be in charge of it.

      September 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      ce, why don't you show us a country in which 100% of the people are religious and compare it to the US? Go right ahead.

      September 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • thecollegeadmissionsguru

      Sure and we all know how MORAL those Muslims are and they have god to show them the way. There has never been a secular country so your challenge is useless. But, the Chinese, before communism, did not believe in the Christian god and I'd dare say they were as moral a group as any society has ever been.

      September 7, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Jesus freaker

      So by keeping religion out of policics,...

      Do you really think our government is religious? It's all for show to keep the Jesus freaks happy.

      September 7, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • ElmerGantry

      Moving the goal post fallacy.

      September 8, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • sqeptiq

      Define GOOD in terms of a nation's behavior and we might have something to talk about.

      September 8, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  4. tuvia

    -----------*

    NEWS, JERUSALEM. ISRAEL

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

    September 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • old ben

      This Jonathan Pollard is a traitor to the U.S. And a highly unstable lout to boot. Keep him locked up.

      And just google Richman and "red cow" to read more about this nutball.

      September 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  5. tuvia

    ----

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

    September 7, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • old ben

      This Jonathan Pollard is a traitor to the U.S. And a highly unstable lout to boot. Keep him locked up.

      And just google Richman and "red cow" to read more about this nutball.

      September 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  6. niknak

    I find inserting god and providence into everything just like the wearing of that little american flag that all politicians have to do.
    Yeah, I need some cheap Chineese made piece of ferros metal to prove how much of a patriot I am.

    September 7, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  7. tuvia

    *******************************************************************************************************************************8

    B"H

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

    DOES HE AND THE REST OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE

    WANT THE TORAH?

    DO THEY WANT THE ISRAELITES, THE LEVIHIM AND THE KOHANIM AND DOES THE WORLD AND WILL YOU PLEASE
    ASK MR. ROMNEY, AND HIS CONVENTION THE FOLLOWING QUESTION.

    WE THE ISRAELITES, THE LEVIHIM AND THE KOHANIM
    WE WANT TO GET PERMISSION FROM THE WORLD TO
    BUILD THE 3RD TEMPLE.

    WE WANT TO ADVANCE THE EDUCATION TO THE WORLD
    THROUGH THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    THE TEMPLE INSITUTE IN JERSUSALEM WILL HELP THE
    MINISTRY OF EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES WITH
    PERMISSION.

    MR. ROMNEY THE FOLLOWING QUESTION IS DIRECTED TO YOU.

    DO YOU MOURN THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SECOND TEMPLE AND WILL YOU ALLOW THE ISRAELITES, THE LEVIHIM AND THE KOHANIM TO SERVE HASHEM IN THE LAND

    PLEASE ASK THE CANDIDATE THE FOLLOWING QUESTION.

    JONATHAN POLLARD HAS SPENT ENOUGH TIME IN PRISON.

    IT IS TIME THAT HE IS PARDONED.

    WILL THE PRESIDENT PARDON JONTATHAN POLLARD ON

    THE PLATFORM OF HUMANITARIANISM

    WILL THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AGREE TO LET
    JONATHAN POLLARD GO BACK TO ISRAEL
    WITH HIS WIFE ESTER AND LIVE THEIR LIVES IN
    ISRAEL ONCE IF POSSIBLE THE PRESIDENT
    AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AGREE TO THIS.
    LET MY PEOPLE GO. PLEASE PARDON JONATHAN POLLARD
    MR. PRESIDENT.

    THANK YOU,

    TUVIA

    September 7, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • old ben

      This Jonathan Pollard is a traitor to the U.S. And a highly unstable lout to boot. Keep him locked up.

      And just google Richman and "red cow" to read more about this nutball.

      September 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Ya, hindu Jew, filthy self centered can build his temple in his ancestral home land Egypt, Do not mess with truth absolute hindu Jew's filthy secular s, desire's of truth absolute, or Muslim'swill bury hindu Jew's filthy secular s with their hindu filthy family of Pharaoh's. For more visit http://www.limitisthetruth.com/blog.html

      September 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Jerry

      Pollard deserved what he got, and more. He stays where he is.
      As for building the "Third Temple": go ahead, it's your land. After the war it starts is over you can probably make a few shekels selling pieces of those Muslim temples now on the Temple Mount to the surviving remnants of your murderous, thieving neighbors.

      September 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  8. tuvia

    *******

    GOOD SHABBOS TO EVERYONE.
    SHALOM

    SHALOM, YOM TOV.
    TUVIA

    ***

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

    September 7, 2012 at 10:08 am |
    • old ben

      This Jonathan Pollard is a traitor to the U.S. And a highly unstable lout to boot. Keep him locked up.

      And just google Richman and "red cow" to read more about this nutball.

      September 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Ya, hindu Jew, filthy self centered can build his temple in his ancestral home land Egypt, Do not mess with truth absolute hindu Jew's filthy secular s, desire's of truth absolute, or Muslim'swill bury hindu Jew's filthy secular s with their hindu filthy family of Pharaoh's. Nothing but hindu's racist of Egypt and Persia pretending to be what they never were Israelite to hind, fool humanity. For more visit http://www.limitisthetruth.com/blog.html

      September 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  9. Phil Muse

    I posted this comment several months ago, but it is worth repeating: "we habitually confuse religion with the various churches that represent its worldly establishments – churches that are continually being distracted by the vile partisan politics that are destroying our democracy. To say that you are not influenced at all by religion in your political choices, on the other hand, may only be self-deception. Where do we get our concepts of moral and ethical behavior, our basic notions of right and wrong, our compassion for the poor, the elderly and the downtrodden, and the notion of common responsibility for the success of our community, if not from religion? All the world's great western religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam – teach these things. There is remarkable consensus among them. We forget our religion-based values when we are distracted by the political partisanship and the global conflicts of our time. It's time to get back to basics, and then maybe we can agree on more of the issues that divide us. Just don't tell me that religion doesn't matter!"

    September 7, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  10. Atheists are bad liars

    Atheists are such cowards that won't even sign their name to their posts.

    September 7, 2012 at 9:45 am |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheists are bad liars", but you assertion regarding atheism is unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 7, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • tuvia suks

      @ Atheists are ...pot, meet kettle. You are the bigger COWARD. You hide behind a fake god.

      September 7, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      I have absolutely no problem with signing my name to any post.

      September 7, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  11. tuvia

    ---

    IMMEDIATE NEWS RELEASE

    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=TyBZhTaf1oU&w=640&h=360]

    September 7, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  12. ViK100

    less is better?? and this comes from someone who proclaims to be a religious scholar who "knows" the law. I don't think less is better. There has to be a balance, yes.. but not less. Less only means more inmorality and more corruption. Mr. Bill Clinton is a perfect example and there are so many more politicians we can mention. Clinton while in power was signing away less supervision of the big banks while cheating on his wife and he only paved the way to future corruption and showed the world how inmoral and corrupted we all can be without God. Are we better off now???

    September 7, 2012 at 8:11 am |
  13. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things
    Proven

    September 7, 2012 at 4:36 am |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 7, 2012 at 10:46 am |
    • EnjaySea

      I stopped replying directly to this individual weeks ago. He subscribes to the neiner-neiner school of debating. When confronted with logic, he covers his ears and chants the phrase "neiner-neiner" until the scary, logical person goes away.

      September 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  14. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    I see that "Professor" Stevie P thu-mped Matthew 6: 5-6, (hypocritical prayer) in his commentary. Had he did some research like any professor worth his salary would do, he would have found that said passage does not meet rigorous historical review i.e. a single attestation found no where else in the NT. See also Professor Gerd Ludemann's conclusions in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 145-147 and pp. 694-695. "In no way did Jesus speak these words......................."

    Said failure to keep up with NT studies, vitiates all of said Professor's comments.

    September 7, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Are you serious? The German must still be fighting the British.

      September 7, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • sdsd

      If we can just remove things from the bible, can we take ot the one about they gays? It would be so much easier if we could.

      September 7, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • Atheists are bad liars

      It's easier if gays changed.

      September 7, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      NU had live s e x shows on stage. Lewdman is just giving it to you on a different level. Wake up.

      September 7, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Christians are good liars

      Since gays can't change, and the Bible is already in print, neither option is even possible.

      September 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • tuvia suks

      Steven P should have to pay CNN for the bullshyte he posts. He is clearly xtian but tries to sit on the fence. This guy is a poe, and a shill.

      September 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Reality

      Actually, the bible is being rewritten:

      To wit:

      origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482 NY Times review and important enough to reiterate.

      New Torah For Modern Minds

      “Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.

      Such startling propositions - the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years - have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity - until now.

      The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine doc-ument.

      The notion that the Bible is not literally true "is more or less settled and understood among most Conservative rabbis," observed David Wolpe, a rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles and a contributor to "Etz Hayim." But some congregants, he said, "may not like the stark airing of it." Last Passover, in a sermon to 2,200 congregants at his synagogue, Rabbi Wolpe frankly said that "virtually every modern archaeologist" agrees "that the way the Bible describes the Exodus is not the way that it happened, if it happened at all." The rabbi offered what he called a "LITANY OF DISILLUSION”' about the narrative, including contradictions, improbabilities, chronological lapses and the absence of corroborating evidence. In fact, he said, archaeologists digging in the Sinai have "found no trace of the tribes of Israel - not one shard of pottery."

      prob•a•bly

      Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

      September 8, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Reality

      Thomas Jefferson did an analogous rewrite of the NT. Ditto for the rewrite of the NT by the Jesus Seminarians, Professor JD Crossan in his over 20 books on the historical Jesus and related subjects and Professor Gerd Ludeman in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp 694-695.( a two page listing of the passages in the NT deemed to be authentic i.e. less than 10% of the current NT)

      " Thomas Jefferson omitted it (Revelation) along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he considered it (Revelation) as "merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams."

      September 8, 2012 at 8:10 am |
  15. Rd

    I remember when 9-11 happened, all I watched was people praying on the streets of NY. News media and concerned citizens of this great nation asking for every one to pray. Now people want to turn their back on the very thing that helped this nation become the greatest nation in the world??? Look up the history of our forefathers.

    September 6, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
    • sdsd

      most founding fathers weren't Christian. Jefferson was an atheists. George Washington wouldn't take communion. Benjamin Franklin said that "lighthouses make for a better use of a building that a church." Samuel Adams said that "The united States were in no way founded on the beliefs of the Christian religion." Sounds like you may need to go back and read the history book.

      September 7, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      sdsd, I've heard it all before. Amending the c o n s t i t u t i o n recklessly doomed us.

      September 7, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • Kebos

      Quite the opposite, I'm afraid. Prayer and religious evangelism is driving this country to ruin. A slow and steady decline.

      September 7, 2012 at 7:02 am |
    • Atheists are bad liars

      Atheists are such bad liars. Jefferson was not an atheist. In fact, he wrote his own bible.

      September 7, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.
      George Washington
      Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/george_washington.html#lS8odM7xR4cPcy3M.99

      September 7, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Atheists are bad liars

      Atheism is driving this country to ruin. Look what they did to Europe and Canada.

      September 7, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      Atheists are lbad....

      Which now shows us you have never read Jefferson's bible. It treats Jesus as a philopsopher, and has all magical or spiritual issues removed. Including such things as 'son of god' and any other such nonsense.

      He basically rewrote the life of Jesus as if he were an ordinary, but very gifted, teacher.

      Probably a much more accurate take on Jesus' life than any gospel, come to think of it.

      September 7, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Jerry

      And just how many of the murdered did those prayers bring back to life? Did they roll back time and make it not have happened at all? Did they wipe Bin Laden and his cronies from the face of the Earth? No, they did only what prayers always do: provide a ritual hideaway for the delusional and make not one iota of change to the real world. Delusional babblings to imaginary beings tend to get anyone not claiming the Judeo/Christian/Muslim "praying to God" sent to Bellevue for a while, (and even many of those who DO use that claim!)

      September 7, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  16. Robert

    So, God and Jeusalem must be mentioned in party platforms in a 21st Century America founded on the principles of the Age of Reason and Enlighment and the seperation of church and state? Sounds more like the Middle Ages when monarchs sought the favor of popes and made committments to go on Crusades to the "Holy Land".

    September 6, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
    • HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

      Many CHRISTIANS have been led astray into Esau's foul-up with their born-again birthrights. Esau did it impulsively. They've been pounded silly by the rapture and Dispensationalist shepherds deliberately and methodically.. The charismatics don't help a bit from what I've experienced. Here's a hint for the confused. There are two Jerusalem's. The old doesn't count for good,it's just a servant for the coming destruction; they will root up three.

      September 7, 2012 at 2:32 am |
    • Atheists are bad liars

      Atheists quote their own lies. There is no such wording as separation of church and state in the 1st amendment. Our founding fathers knew that atheists were enemies of civilization.

      September 7, 2012 at 9:38 am |
    • old ben

      "Atheists are bad liars" wrote: "There is no such wording as separation of church and state in the 1st amendment."

      Too bad all the juicy goodness describing separation is in there, despite what it is ti'tled. Too bad for you.

      September 7, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Jerry

      @Atheists are bad liars:

      It may not use the word "separation of Church and State" but in guaranteeing not only freedom of, but freedom FROM, religion it makes it illegal for our Government to ascribe to or promote ANY religion over another. "In God We Trust" doesn't belong on our currency because that amounts to the Treasury Dept. of our Federal Government promoting Judeo/Christian/Muslim mythology over all others. Senator McCarthy's Communist-paranoia-inspired addition of "under God" to our Pledge of Allegiance needs to be removed and the Pledge restored to its non-sectarian all-inclusive original form.

      There's more evidence of the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot than there is of your god. You don't have to believe in them any more than I have to believe in yours, (although you'd be totally wrong to not believe in the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, the Yeti, the Skunk Ape, El Chupacabra, E.B.E.s, etc. 'cause they're ALL REAL! I KNOW it 'cause I have FAITH!) [See how asinine you people sound?]

      September 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  17. HAVE MUD WILL TRAVEL

    At this point in time of the nation it's fair to quote this:'Dan 4:17 This matter [is] by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.'

    September 6, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Atheists are bad liars

      Indigo blue is not my favorite color.

      September 7, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  18. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just go to http://santorum.com to find out more.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat, pale, weak, and sedentary.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    September 6, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
  19. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I could use a change of scenery. Maybe a nice little town on the Med. Maybe in Corse-du-Sud. Pray for me?

    September 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  20. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    September 6, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Sorry. You're the one who prays, right?

      September 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • truth be told

      Anyone who prays is right

      September 6, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just go to http://santorum.com to find out more.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you fat, pale, weak, and sedentary.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
      Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
      Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
      Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
      Prayer dulls your senses.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

      September 6, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • SeilnoigileR

      I have prayed and prayed for you to stop posting this, yet you still do. Therefore, prayer doesn't work.

      September 6, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • just sayin

      The first prayer God hears from your type would be the sinners prayer, after you are born again God will converse with you on a variety of subjects, opposing prayer will not be one of them. God bless

      September 6, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • hal 9000

      I'm sorry "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but you assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book might help you overcome this problem:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...
      by the Alzheimer's Disease Society

      September 6, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Atheists are bad liars

      Let me guess hat. Your parents were Christians and taught you Jesus' righteousness and you assume it's in your DNA? Are you atheists that brain dead?

      September 7, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Jerry

      "Prayer changes things"?!? Yeah, and I suppose that's what you depend on to change your underwear, right?

      September 7, 2012 at 9:49 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.