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)

    This guy is Just another poltically connected nummut. The first amendment says separation of Church and State not God and state.The issue was government support of organized religion not God. Get your facts straight. As long as they dont pick any specific god what the heck is the difference and if you dont believe in god what the heck is the difference.Maybe if more people truly believed in God they would be more outraged about a presidential candidate talking about how his company profited on Chinese slave labor.

    September 20, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Paul

      Look Bruce all politicians are the same. They use religion to get a moral vote. Politicians will do what ever they can to get elected. Most of them, if not all are very wealthy men/women in their own right. The only thing missing in their life is Power. A political life gives them that and they will spin any deal to get it. Religion for centuries has controlled the people, politicians know this and use them to get what they want.
      However with the decline in support by the masses for religion it's days are numbered. The day politicians realise they don't need it they will toss it very quickly, like a hot potatoe.
      True Christians do not get involved in politics or the conflicts of this world, they help people lead a better life by a Bible education from our creator who knows best for us, and they swear aligiance to his Kingdom with Jesus as it's ruler.

      September 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  2. Paul

    Got news for you all!
    400 years after Christ, Constantine fussed Religion (Christianity) and State to unite the people. What soon became apparent is the religion became the power behind the throne. The rulers could do nothing without the sanction of religion, Why? Well religion controlled the people. Many a politician tested this out to their demise.
    As the years have gone by religion has lost control of the people and as a result the state is now in full control. Religion is tolerated, but not for long. Very soon according to the Book of Revelation religion will be utterly destroyed by the UN and it’s supporting nations.
    This is God’s Judgment on a people who have misrepresented him for centuries, and he will use the UN to devastate her for her lies, deceit and the cause for millions of people to lose their life. And I say “good riddance to her.”

    September 19, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Wow, you must really revel in your crazy.

      September 19, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Paul

      I thought you of all people would be glad to see religion go?

      September 20, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • karl

      Paul, throughout your utter rambling you have not offered one piece of relative intelligent information. aka your nuts

      September 20, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • Paul

      Check it our Karl. What I said above is in your history books.

      If you had been misrepresented I am sure you would want to do something about it. God is no different. The book of Revelation describes his disgust with false religion, calls her a harlot that rides the political nations while professing aligiance to God. In her was found all the blood of fallen humans on the earth, in her crusades and wars and saying it is God's will.
      This is not God's will, Jesus said true Christians would be identifiable by the "love they have among themselves" and "love of neighbour".
      So God has false religion clear in his sights and he will use the UN to carry out his purpose. Revelation 17:1, 2, 15 – 18

      September 20, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
  3. Earl

    In Behalf of Maestro Erano Martin Evangelista of http://www.thename.ph

    May President Barack Obama unite all peoples of the world to call on the One true Name of God-whom we should call LORD GOD ISRAEL

    18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. 19 Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”.
    Daniel 9:18-19 (NIV).

    And in 2 Chronicles 7:12-14 (NIV)

    12 the Lord appeared to him at night and said:
    “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
    13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, 14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

    The people of God are called Israel.

    If the city and the people of God are called Israel, and the city and the People of Israel bear and are called by the Name of God, (Dan.9:18-19 & 2 Chr.7:12-14), what is the Name of God?

    The Name of God is ISRAEL ! Our God is LORD GOD ISRAEL!

    Regarding the disastrous events, calamities, economic crises and conflicts happening around the world, Why do such events happen now- What was God's decree before?
    Deuteronomy 11:26-28 (NIV)
    26 See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse — 27 the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; 28 the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.

    Maestro Evangelista says that the reasons the disasters, wars, famine and other calamities that happened and experiencing at present is that we never obeyed the commandments of God and never knew His Great Name. To end the curse in the world, we should seek and know His Great Name and call out the Name. By doing this we can be called by God as His people and have peace and prosperity.

    Is it true that we are experiencing God's wrath at present because we do not call on His true name? In Jeremiah 10:25
    25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that do not acknowledge you,on the peoples who do not call on your name. For they have devoured Jacob;they have devoured him completely and destroyed his homeland.

    Regarding the disasters and wars in our generation, who has the right to ask salvation from God?
    The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.
    Psalm 9:9-10 (NIV).
    God will not forsake those who will call on His Great Name!

    May you know more of God's True name in the Bible and why He gave it first to Jacob and His message for our time in http://www.thename.ph.
    Disastrous events will continue to happen all over the world, for the people to realize that the world is cursed. These will only stop when they accept and acknowledge the true Name of God .

    If the American people truly embodies the motto: IN GOD WE TRUST- then they should trust and call on the real and only Name of God- who we should call LORD GOD ISRAEL

    September 19, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • CKEN

      I wouldn't count on Obama for that. There is ample evidence available, including his own words, to question whether Obama's true faith is Christian or Islam.

      September 20, 2012 at 1:46 am |
  4. Paul

    @Job said; “Jesus and his followers recognized the authority of government and did not call it devilish or anything else similarly ridiculous.”
    Yes we should as Christians pay our taxes and so forth as they have been placed there by God until his Kingdom arrives. But he will hold them accountable. The apostle John did say though that the “whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” 1John 5:19

    September 19, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  5. David

    Dems will use any excuse to try and win an election. Face they said they want god out of everything, So all you Christians really gonna vote for the ungodly? Wow

    September 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
  6. mikem

    Religion is a cancer. Don't let it spread to your children.

    September 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  7. TheWordIsAlive

    I believe in the Bible. I believe the Word of God is true and alive. Not everyone believes the Word of God is true because they have been blinded by the god of this world. I pray for those and love them as I am called to do. Hatred is a mean sinful word and is used by too many of believers and nonbelievers of this world. There is no truth from this world and has created division among ourselves. The only truth is from the Word of God. The end will come and its not a matter of "if" its a matter of "when". Christians do not let the judgement, conspiracys, sterotypes and accusations let you fall to the way of this fallen world. They are not to blame, they just don't know. Pray for them. The verse below is from Luke 21, everything described in this verse is already happening, open your hearts and minds, forget the lies and the sinful nature of others for one minute and pay attention to what is being said.

    And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”
    Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name's sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness. Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. You will be hated by all for my name's sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.
    “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it, for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
    “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

    (Luke 21:5-28 ESV)

    September 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      September 19, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • ....


      September 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • fredd

      If that happened I would commit Hara Kiri.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  8. Julie

    Politics should have no place in the life of a Christian. When Jesus was in the desert with Satan, Satan offered him rule over all the kingdoms of the world if he would bow down and worship him. He said, "All the kingdoms will I give you" and he added (paraphrasing) because they are mine to give. Jesus didn't argue with him. Governments belong to Satan, not to God. Therefore politicians are accepting their power from Satan when they occupy an office, no matter how often they use God's name to help their campaign. The bible says, "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the father is not in him." I know that doesn't sit well with the modern so-called evangelicals, but it's not my opinion. I'm just quoting the Bible.

    September 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I agree with you Julie, except for the part with the evil, red lizard in the desert. But that aside, I do agree based on normal rules of logic, and common sense.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • Job

      What a ridiculous comment – "governments belong to satan". I think you forget that the Bible says that "render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's". Jesus and his followers recognized the authority of government and did not call it devilish or anything else similarly ridiculous. You do a massive disservice to millions of Christians by making such ridiculous comments.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • Zafiro


      September 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  9. SoJax


    September 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  10. Chat Pata

    Jesus saves, period! When all your arguments fails, you have to seek help of Jesus. That is why GOP always seek help of Jesus because their logic always fail.

    September 19, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  11. Chuckhashman

    Mankind needs GOD!!!! GOD doesn't need mankind!!! All men should fear their creator including the lying thieving politicians!!! I have personally seen the impossible made possible and seen the forces of Evil face to face who are the Enemy's of all mankind!!! They are at work to discredit GOD and thwart his plan!! All men beware of them– Praise be to GOD!! The 10 commandments for ever- Humility is the only way to GOD!!

    September 19, 2012 at 4:56 am |
    • Chat Pata

      On the other hand, mankind does not need GOD. GOD needs manking. All the death and destruction have come in the name of GOD whereas benefits comes from science. GOD needs mankind because it is man who has created GOD in his image, and keep him alive through death and destruction in his name.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • sam stone

      Why would anyone want to be around (let alone spend eternity around) that petty vindictive punk?

      September 19, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • EnjaySea

      Your concept of god is contradictory. We must fear him, and love him. He loves us, but he also barbeques us if we don't believe in him. He's a god of peace, yet a god who regularly practices genocide. He requires belief, but never provides evidence.

      I have no idea whether or not there is a creator or deity. But the deity concept that the desert religions have invented refutes itself. You need to go back to the drawing board.

      September 19, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
  12. William

    That's what I say, and keep God out of the Declaration of Indepence while your at it.

    September 19, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you are being sarcastic. However for anyone who is mislead, the premise of the Declaration of Independence is that man is endowed with certain unalienable rights, by our Creator. This is the crux of the great American experiment; that our freedom and our liberty is divinely conferred, not granted by king or congress.

      September 19, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      You're a little bit late on that one, William.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  13. Fred

    I absolutely agree with Stephen Prothero that religion should be kept out of the platforms...it's pathetic how folks wrap themselves so tight in the fabric of religion but leave just enough room to finger point!

    September 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  14. Don

    Imaging the world without religion.  No 9/11, no Vatican and their pedophiles, no Crusades, no Inquisition, no Catholic-Protestant conflict in Ireland,  no Dark Age, etc....

    September 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Hold on there Pilgrim! If there were no Christians, then who would I debate every morning?

      September 18, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      No polyphonic music, no universities, no personal property rights, no printing presses.

      September 18, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • tuvia suks

      Bill, you are so full of it. You spout this stuff, and most isn't even correct. None of them were founded on xtian priciples or otherwise. Xtianity had nothing to do with anything you just spouted off about.

      September 18, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The Winchester Troper includes perhaps the oldest large collections of two-part music in Europe, along with the Chartres Manuscript which is approximately contemporaneous or a little later. It consists of two English manuscripts dated circa 1000. One can be found in Oxford, in the Bodleian Library (MS Bodley 775), the other in Corpus Christi, Cambridge (MS473), but were copied out at, and originally used at Winchester Cathedral.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      European higher education took place for hundreds of years in Christian cathedral schools or monastic schools (Scholae monasticae), in which monks and nuns taught classes; evidence of these immediate forerunners of the later university at many places dates back to the 6th century AD.[8] The earliest universities were developed under the aegis of the Latin Church, usually from cathedral schools or by papal bull as studia generalia (n.b.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      The printing press was invented in the Holy Roman Empire by the German Johannes Gutenberg around 1440, based on existing screw presses. Gutenberg, a goldsmith by profession, developed a complete printing system, which perfected the printing process through all of its stages by adapting existing technologies to the printing purposes, as well as making groundbreaking inventions of his own.

      September 18, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      n Europe the notion of private property and property rights emerged in the Renaissance as international trade by merchants gave rise to mercantilist ideas. In 16th Century Europe Lutheranism and the Protestant Reformation advanced property rights using biblical terminology. Protestant work ethic and views on man's destiny came to underline social view in emerging capitalist economies in Early modern Europe. The right to private property emerged as a radical demand for human rights vis-a-vis the state in the 17th Century revolutionary Europe. But in the 18th and 19th Century the right to property as a human right became subject of intense controversy.[23]

      September 18, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Next time do your own homework tuvia. For practice try "portland cement" Then tell me what kind of buildings we would have without a Catholic inventing it.

      September 18, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Very well done research Bill.

      I'd be glad to keep Christianity around forever. No problem with that. Just keep your dogma, and your laws, and your moral judgements out of the government of the country I live in, and we'll get along just fine.

      September 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      I'm going to use some logic, however, to point out a few things, after reading your fine list of historical trivia.

      Printing presses make people money. Therefore, the printing press would have been invented eventually by those that want to make money, and does not require religion to facilitate that profit-making potential. That fact that it was invented in the Holy Roman Empire is irrelevant.

      Music has existed for many thousands of years before there was Christianity, and will exist for as long as there are humans. Musicians have always been, and will always be inventive and creative, and would have ended up producing polyphonic music irrespective of their faith.

      Private property rights? Again, money drives commerce. If those that want to make money are believers, that has nothing whatsoever to do with the commerce that they create. Private property rights did not require belief to come into fruition.

      September 18, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Conjecture about what might have happened is just that, conjecture. The fact is that in the real world, under the conditions of history, religious people have contributed greatly to the advancement of mankind. While I wholeheartedly support the separation of church and state, too many people have lost sight of (or conveniently ignore) the profound and deep contributions of Christian thought to our civilization. It would be insane to eliminate religious thought from public life.

      September 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      NJC: Further refutation. You can see by the following that there exists, still today, political philosophies that are anti property. Plato made arguments against personal property and modern communist states such as China and Russia combined socialism with repression of religion. So, it is not axiomatic that private personal property rights would have been established without support and effort from somebody, simply by means of commerce. That somebody happened to be the Church. So, unless you prefer a world in which you are unable to acquire your own personal wealth, I'd say you actually support a little religious dogma in your law wouldn't you?

      Anarchist opposition to private property rests on two, related, arguments. These were summed up by Proudhon's maxims (from What is Property? that "property is theft" and "property is despotism." In his words, "Property . . . violates equality by the rights of exclusion and increase, and freedom by despotism . . . [and has] perfect identiity with robbery." [Proudhon, What is Property, p. 251] Anarchists, therefore, oppose private property (i.e. capitalism) because it is a source of coercive, hierarchical authority as well as exploitation and, consequently, elite privilege and inequality. It is based on and produces inequality, in terms of both wealth and power.

      September 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Bill, there were private property rights in pre-Christian Rome, as well as in ancient Greece. (http://www.libertystory.net/LSBIGSTORIESROMANPROPERTYLAW.htm).

      As for your dismissal of my comment as conjecture, I'll have to point out that your assertion that these advancements required religion is conjecture as well. All I did was state some simple motivations that would have caused these things to come about regardless of the current temperature of faith in society.

      I'll give you your point that it would not be an advantage to remove religous thought from public debate, but a simple stroll through European history will illustrate why it is crucial that governments are sufficiently insulated from the institutions of faith.

      September 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Incidentally, Bill, I'm happy to concede that we do have a tremendous library of beautiful musical composiitons over hundreds of years, for which religion, and specifically Christianity, gets full credit.

      September 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Agreed, the last thing I want is a state sponsored religion that violates my freedom. The other last thing I want is a state that prohibits my free exercise thereof. I think the establishment clause is worded perfectly.

      September 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      As a musician, I particularly appreciate your reference to music as well as your moderate discussion of these points. It's the ignorance of people like the OP that I respond to with vigor.

      September 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Bill, I think the establishment clause is worded perfectly as well. And I too am a musician.

      It was a pleasure sparring with you.

      September 18, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • timmuh

      @Bill Deacon, For more than a millennium, the church was the only outlet for creativity and got all the best minds. Moreover, the fact is the church both enriched and retarded the progression of science down through the ages. Personally, I'm more concerned about the validity of Christianity's supernatural claims, which are mutually exclusive from the 1000's of other religions, with none of the above offering a lick of evidence for their claims, and science offering a mountain of evidence against.

      September 18, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • billdeacons

      tim, you are free to investigate, believe or disbelieve any supernatural reports you like. I will not argue those on this forum. My focus is on the subject matter of the article which deals with the inclusion or elimination of religious philosophy in politics.

      September 18, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • joe

      Yea, and last but not least, no UNITED STATES OF AMERICA in your scenario

      September 19, 2012 at 2:09 am |
    • In All Fairness

      Remember Mao Zedong? Atheists can be just as brutal.

      September 19, 2012 at 2:56 am |
    • EnjaySea

      –Remember Mao Zedong? Atheists can be just as brutal.

      I agree with you, In All Fairness. Atheists can be just as cruel as Christians. Believers have killed and oppressed, and so have non-believers.

      So, in order to avoid becoming a ruthless killer, should I learn to believe and not believe simultaneously?

      September 19, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      HI NJC. Maybe your question is in jest, hard to tell. But perhaps there is more wisdom in it that you recognize. My comment would be that while the Commandment is "Thou shall not kill" (or murder as my friend William Demuth likes it phrased) that we know for a fact that there are justifiable reasons for killing and for war. So, the proper approach would be to bring our passions, our fears, our motives and our needs before some code of morality or authority that offers clarity and guidance. Much in the way a sheet of music indicates the performance but the musician must strike the chord. For religious people, that code is the Bible, the Tora, I'll even include the Quaran. I'm not sure what secularists refer to other than what they tell me which is one of two things; either their "innate" sense of right and wrong or the laws of the nation the live in. My issue with both of these pillars is that they are both subject to the whim of self justification and rationalization. So, my recommendation is before you kill someone CHECK WITH GOD

      September 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • fredd

      The first univesitys were founded on what you call pagan practices.

      September 19, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • hpostful

      I can understand you're frusteration. I wish I could have all of the answers to everything, but unfortunately I am too flawed to have all of those answers. I wish we human beings should understand the message of Christ more clearly so we wouldn't have wars. Jesus' message was not about having a war or requiring any one to think we are more superior than others. His message was really about love and forgiveness. He practiced this type of love by showing forgiveness while have been securely nailed to a wooden cross. I know I am a pretty pathetic human being and I need to wise up myself. Lord help me and help us grasp your unconditional love so we could understand who you are as God, and not struggle for perfect performance. Thank You. Amen.

      September 19, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  15. Frahmxx

    I've seen so many on here arguing about what our country was founded on.

    1. The seven principle founding fathers were DIESTS, not christians. Ever heard of "The Age of Reason"?

    2. Let us not forget the Treaty of Tripoli.

    "As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen [Muslims],—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan [Muslim] nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

    It was submitted to the Senate by President John Adams, receiving ratification unanimously from the U.S. Senate on June 7, 1797 and signed by Adams, taking effect as the law of the land on June 10, 1797.

    September 18, 2012 at 11:57 am |
    • Mick

      You are so correct, yet so few Americans, especially Christians, realize this or will openly admit to it.

      September 18, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • freeman

      Morals are derived from simple logic and human nature, not religions. Notice how most religions do adhere to the same basic moral packages – e.g. don't kill each other, don't steal, respect each other's rights, etc. That's because if they didn't, no one would follow them.

      The danger of allowing religions to be considered the source of moral values is that all religions are based upon artificially constructed mythologies, where the proponents have imbued themselves with the sole power of divining what is right or wrong. So even while they may promote clear and logical moral rules for human society, they retain the authority to make up whatever other "divine" rules they want to grow their religion.

      September 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Mel

      The Treaty of Tripoli was each country officially recognizing the religion of the others in an attempt to prevent further wars between Xtians and Muslims. The quote you are using is basically distinguishing America from European Xianity which held a hatred of Muslims. It was assuring Muslims that the US was not Christian nation like those of previous centuries and would not participate in a holy war against them.
      As far as founding fathers being deists, Jefferson did not call himself a deist as many have said. He explicitly called himself a Christian – "I am a real Christian, that is to say , a disciple of the doctinres of Jesus." Franklin rejected the "Clockmaker" concept and believed prayer was worthwhile and God did intervene in daily affairs. The founding fathers rejected atheism and generally frowned up on deism. Read their own words, not out of context, in entirety and you will see that America was founded on Biblical beliefs and principles.

      September 19, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
  16. frank

    Opinion:Keep the godless out of party platforms. Yea, that makes more sense. The godless are bringing God's wrath on us. Don't think for a second that what these rebellious evil people do does not effect us. It does. Lets keep the godless out of party platforms. Lets pray that God might raise up some righteous folk that actually fear and honor Him. Praise God.

    September 17, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Awww how cute, frank wants Christian Sharia Law. Good thing people like him are brushed off as the crazy people they are.

      September 17, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • ME II

      " The godless are bringing God's wrath on us. "
      God's wrath? What exactly is that?

      September 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Yep, we know that your deity is a grouchy, angry, wrathful guy, ready to decimate those who don't believe in him, and yet presumably omnipotent enough to make us believe if he wanted to, yet doesn't.

      I choose not worship your thoroughly conflicted, and disturbed deity. And he apparently chooses not to force me to. So we're all good.

      September 18, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • tuvia suks

      frank, you are, quite frankly, dumb. You don't get it as you are too stuck in your babble book. Read a real book, and get your nose out of the fiction section.

      September 18, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      frank: your god is a petty pr1ck. now, get back on your knees and beg like a good little slave

      September 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • CC

      I'm with you Frank.

      September 19, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  17. Andrew

    I agree, lets but the Flying Spaghetti Monster everywhere in our speeches, on our money, in our party platforms. At least the FSM is based on something real (pasta), where the imaginary friend of the bible is no more real than Bugs Bunny, just a lot older.

    September 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
  18. Anne

    No one SAID they don't believe in God. While evangelicalism may be the predominant religion today, it's not the ONLY religion. Just because someone doesn't practice their faith the EXACT same way as you does NOT make them evil. If Buddhists and Hindus are evil because their faiths are also Eastern, it's news to me. But then I'm a Hindu what do I know? An evil few does not make the ENTIRE Islamic community evil.

    September 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • Motherof2

      There is only one God and if you read the Bible and look at the facts you would see how history is actually repeating itself. We are headed down a dangerous road. One thing is for sure he is in control not us and it's very self-centered for us to think that he needs us when the truth is we need him. So keep your head in the sand and try to keep him out of the platform he's there anyway and anyone is foolish to think otherwise.

      September 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      motherof2: man created god, not vice versa

      September 18, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  19. swinehunt

    This is just your opinion that is read by hundreds of thousands of people who may be swayed by your rhetoric. I don't care who you are. As for me, I disagree. You see, politicians who support religion, faith, and rule of law, and our founding fathers are who I would vote for! You can now trash your article

    September 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Purrito Purrpants

      Excuse me, but the Founding Fathers were most definitely not Christian. Try using Google once in a while, you might learn something.

      September 18, 2012 at 12:41 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      The term used was .."support religion..." Not "Christian"

      September 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Purrito Purrpants is NUTS

      Uh, have you read anything the founding fathers have ever said about this country or religion? None of them were atheists or agnostics and only a very few were deists, but deists that still believed God could be prayed to and still had a hand in people's lives. Show me concrete proof the Founding Fathers were not Christians, and by proof I mean their own words, not taken out of context.

      September 19, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  20. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    If we remove a belief in GOD as a Corner Stone of the United States core Political Parties belief and values today,
    Then we are No Better than the Communist Soviet Union 1916>1989,Since there are so many special interest groups in the Democartic Party that devalues the belief in GOD and Moral Values that as a country under another Democratic Administration the country will deteriorate further.

    September 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Grow a brain Frank

      Organized religion may have brought some good about in the world past but anyone with any true sense can see that all it does is divide us. Get YOUR god out of my life!

      September 17, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      *psst* The McCarthy fear mongering era is over. Just in case you didn't get the memo.

      September 17, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Motherof2

      @ Frank this is political party that claims to support women's rights yet Mrs.Clinton claims that the Muslim religion is a great religion and they are the most degrading to women than any other religion. Really Hillary?

      September 18, 2012 at 3:59 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.