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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. us_1776

    Keep Religion Out of Politics !!

    .

    September 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • 1+1=2

      @us-1776. R'amen!

      September 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  2. Sally

    I think people that scream about how religious they are talk, but when it really counts they won't be there to help.Just look at the healthcare law,the right could have help to make this a good law for all of us and they know that there are people out here suffering,but they choose not to.Money is who they seam to worship,untill thier action speak louder than thier screaming they lose all credibility me.I will pray quietly to my GOD

    September 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • MCFx

      Christians are the most giving people in our country. The difference is that they don't believe giving their money to the govt is the most effective use of their funds. One is not a Christian if they support bloated programs that misuse funds. One is a Christian if they go into their community and help out their fellow man on a daily basis. Gauranteed if a friend got hit with huge medical bill and they reached out to the community for financial help, it would be the Christians that first open up their check books to get that bill paid.

      September 6, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • MCFx

      Case in point:
      Charitable Contributions: Romney 15% Joe Biden 0%

      September 6, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • Sally

      MCFx.... one community can't do it because not all would help,and I find that unless these people can get a receipt so they can get a tax deduction then they only give to THIER own. I don't take wite of for my chairty that's the point of chairty,so I really don't care what statistics you spout.

      September 6, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  3. Leo

    This is the demise of what was once a respectable Political Party. They are being destroyed from within because they allowed elements to gain a foothold – elements who knew they could exploit the weakness...
    I'ts a shame they allowed a minority to infect what was (and still is) the majority...

    September 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • sam

      I'll bite – what the hell are you really trying to say?

      September 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  4. Bible Clown©

    If you introduce God, He should appear and make a speech. Because if you introduce him and He's a no-show, you have to bring out Richard Dawkins for the victory lap. It's safer to just leave your god in the realm of hypotheses and deal realistically with the real world.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Valerie

      Yes, yes, yes..........follow the Richard Dawkins cult.....Mr Narcissist himself. YOU my friend are beyond gullible so look who's talking about other people? Too bad you couldn't follow Jim Jones around in Guyana! He was another loser narcissist with all the answers! : )) FOOLS make men into Gods which is what YOU are doing......Richard Dawkins....I had to know at least one idiot here would mention him............hahahha!

      September 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  5. Bible Clown©

    If you don't talk about god, the ignorant won't vote for you. You can't win without the ignorant vote, so everyone's religious.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  6. Snake-Eyes

    I have said countless times & will say it again:

    Many of America's problems can be greatly helped when politicians stop trying to be preachers & preachers stop trying to be politicains.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Control freaks will be control freaks.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  7. Syd

    Agreed. Keep religion out of politics. How politicians spend their Fridays or Saturday or Sundays or whatever is their business but evoking invisible giants in the sky in a platform or at the end of s speech immediately makes a percentage of the population feel that we're not included somehow, that we don't matter.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Valerie

      Au contraire! That should be the point where all you smug atheists breathe a sigh of relief once again reminded of how much smarter and enlightened you are than the rest of us poor pitiful suckers! Hahahaha! Suck it and get over it. God exists. If he didn't, why does this topic bother you people so much? Do you see us getting into a tizzy about Santa Claus every Christmas? No, because we KNOW it's not real and we have better things to concern ourselves with.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • TheTruth

      Or that you still have something very important to learn.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Charlotte

      Valerie, the topic doesn't bother non-theists. If anything, it clearly bothers the 'believers' based on the smugness and hatred in the rants you people make. What bothers non-believers is the insistence that the believers have of ramming their particular mythology down everyone else's throats. We don't really give a rats whether you are deluded or not. We just want you to keep it to yourself and not keep pestering us with it, and certainly not try to run our lives and government with it. That's called overreaching your authority.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • DK

      >> If he didn't, why does this topic bother you people so much?

      It bothers us because you ram it down the throats of the rest of us who choose not to believe in it, and wave it around the halls of Congress while writing ridiculous laws that infringe upon the freedoms of other citizens. To hell with that. Keep it out.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • sam

      Valerie, you sound like such a good christian.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Valerie

      And would you still say that, or would you say that to yourself if it were Vishnu at the end of a speech? Or Ganesha, Odin, Zeus, or any of the myriad of other deities that you don't believe in? Would you still feel included if the government focused on language for Hindus instead of Christians? It's amazing how you can fail to realize that secularists fight these kinds of injections of religions everyone for everyone, not just themselves. Then again, we're the evil, immoral, nastry un-believers right?

      September 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • bob

      To Valerie,... think about it... people don't KILL over whether Santa Claus exists or not...

      September 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "God exists. If he didn't, why does this topic bother you people so much? Do you see us getting into a tizzy about Santa Claus every Christmas? No, because we KNOW it's not real and we have better things to concern ourselves with."

      what a strange argument.....god exists because the subject of god annoys atheists? that passes for logic in a believers mind does it?
      and you might not get bothered by santa each xmas but boy howdy do you guys get annoyed when people say 'happy holidays', all those claims of war on religion.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Valerie

      God Bless Charlotte and God Bless DK and God Bless that other guy (can't remember what he wrote mustn't be too memorable)...etc...etc....etc..............

      September 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Doesn't she, though? Valerie, what you fail to grasp is that most of us don't demand that you give up your beliefs. You, on the other hand, insist we live by yours. Many of your pals are insistent that Roe v Wade be overturned so that women become second-class citizens when they become pregnant and give up the rights our Const itution guarantees us, because you believe the fetus has a right to life and is sacred. Many of them want to deny gays the right to marry the person they love, simply because you believe h0mos3xuality is immoral.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Valerie

      Tom, Tom...which one of "me pals" might you be referring because I actually do NOT HAVE any "pals" who are against abortion OR gays marrying...INCLUDING ME. So what exactly are YOU getting at?

      I can believe in God and also ALLOW GOD TO BE JUDGE which is HIS rightful place. I am NOT God. Nowhere did I imply I was. There you people go again, ASSUMING every person that believes in God is out to TAKE something from YOU or some right from you......unbelievable.....who's the bigot here? It sure is hell isn't ME.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Valerie

      Well, considering you essentially asserted that your concept of god exists, and told all those nasty little un-believers to basically shut up and deal with it when possible elected officials, or current elected officials invoke a specific religion (thereby not representing all people), I'd say you're the intolerant bigot. I'm also still wondering if you're going to answer my other post.

      September 6, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  8. nick

    Vic you're saying it one and I'm saying it another and it's basically the same thing.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  9. Stephen

    I think that most reasonable people agree that Islamic extremist nations are bad for the world. However, when an article like this brings the discussion to our country I am shocked to hear those arguments for more religion in our government and society. Religious based societies are wrong-minded and limiting. If we went the direction many here propose we would become no better than the Islamic nations we abhor.

    Our government should continue to protect religous freedom but religion and belief should be left as far away from our government as possible.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Villargoisa should be deported to Iran.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Charlotte

      No worse than Jewish extremist nations or Christian extremist nations. But contrary to what a lot of the ignoramuses posting here seem to think, Iran is not filled with religious extremists. At least no more so than the U.S. is (in our case they're mostly so-called "christian"). Iran is filled with intelligent, educated people, many of whom are mainstream Muslim, mainstream Christian and mainstream agnostic. They have the misfortune of having a government whose loudest mouths are those that try to whip up religious extremism (sort of like GWB) and get a lot of press, and who unfortunately have too much control and power – very similar to another dictatorship (Beijing) that happens to be absoluely non theist. So don't blame religion, including Islam. Blame human nature.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Stephen

      You are correct about human nature however religious extremism brings out the very worst in human nature.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  10. Oregon Granny

    If a certain political party would stop trying to base our "secular" laws on their own personal religious beliefs, I would have no beef about whatever reference to whatever god they think they believe in. Jesus was apparently a good man who gave out good advice. I have no judgement about whether he was a "son of god" or not. I don't "hate" god, just because I don't believe in the kind of god who answers prayers. Pray all you want, but don't say I "hate god" because I can't hate something that I believe does not exist. I do heartily dislike people who would claim to be superior because they say they do believe in some god or another. One has only to look around today, read history if you will, to see what the belief in supernatural beings has done for our world. Do "moral values" have to be based in a belief in a diety?

    September 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Charlotte

      Like!

      September 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Do "moral values" have to be based in a belief in a diety?" Mine aren't. Mine are more like "If my dad came back to life, would he be proud?" I don't cheat on my wife or otherwise scorn her, I deal fairly with everyone and try to be my best self at all times. "Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed, But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need."

      September 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  11. blade1975

    Let's be realistic. Democrates HATE and bash the main stream christian religions yet flock to the muslim religons defenese anytime it's pointed out it carries the basis of destroying our nation.

    Right, Demo's have bashed our country, our history, anything to be proud of, and hate one type of religion, and it's ok, like bashing white people. Or black republicans ...

    Just remember when you have NO chance to lose whine they are Nazi's... like a coward.

    No votes for the Demo's this time. Obama is a F as a president, and it's just facts eatting away. You can take your labels and insults and honestly shove it. Labels and insults don't save the nation which you obviously hate so much.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Rubbish.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Obama will lose. Romney will bring the country down. The people will revolt. The country will be rid of the filth that has taken control of this country's government. Simple.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Charlotte

      Ha ha @blade. Democrats do no such thing. If you insist on childishly claiming that people "hate" something that you cling to, just because they may have other priorities or not want to be dictated to by the likes of you, then it is you who have the problem. In part, that of being a pathological liar who is mentally incapable of separating rationality from hatred. You should seek help for that before it drives you straight into the asylum.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • daisy

      Hate and insults, that sums you up! Take your meds, oh angry child!

      September 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      wow, you are one seriously deranged individual arent you?
      you obviously arent christian because you hate too much and we all know those that hate are hell bound so you cant be a christian, right?

      September 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • screenthis

      What a ridiculous post. First, trying to speak for all Democrats is laughable. And then, to actually misunderstand the views of many in that party simply reveals your massive bias. Demonize 'the enemy' and attribute all sorts of characteristics to them.

      In FACT, many Democrats are part of the so-called 'main-stream' religion. You're most likely one of those people that believes 'one party' is the Christian party in favor with GOD. In reality, most Democrats I know simply dislike small minded bigots.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Kraig

      @Blade1975. Each to his own but everything you say in my opinion is how I perceive the Repubs ... little to no substance. Very myopic and frankly hypocrites, the very demise of this nation is due to the very people who point fingers at other religions... the Repubs. Most of them are so biased that they can not even give credit where credit is due. By the way I am a Christian. If President Obama is a "F" grade president then certainly, all your presidents from Reagan to your current nominee Mittens deserves a "Z" letter grade. OBAMA 2012 – Si se puede – 4 More years.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • putty

      I don't hate Christians. I know lots of perfectly nice Christians. I just don't want to be ruled on law based on a religion that I don't believe in. Just like I'm sure you don't want to be ruled by sharia law.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "Democrates HATE and bash the main stream christian religions yet flock to the muslim religons defenese anytime it's pointed out it carries the basis of destroying our nation." That's just nasty. Are you representing for Romney with your insane crock of twit? You know every word of that is a lie, and yet you spew it anyway. And this is supposed to get undecided voters on your side? Better let someone else have a go at it.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  12. dpcfoh

    What about those who are not religious? Why should one party claim to be the party of God and say that the other isn't? This is politics, not religion. IMHO, God probably doesn't really like the direction politics is going regardless of party.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  13. Chris

    uhh...you can't keep God out of anything....he's God....so......yeah....I mean good luck and all but uh....yeah...

    September 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      So if a ra pist ra pes your sister, do you call the ra pist "god"?

      September 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Truth

      Obviously she was asking for it, and God answered her prayers...with his p e n i s.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • truth be trolled

      well, uh, he doesn't exist, so may as well save some wear and tear on that shift key for the 'g', the 'c', the 'b' and the 'h'.

      So sorry, but nope to the dope.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  14. Me 3

    I agree. Keep religion out of politics. Keep the GOP far right wingers from spewing their hate for gays, woman, and their racism in the name of God.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • bobInCharlotte

      The TRUTH is that it is the Democrats who are the true racists. Their policies are designed specifically to keep black people specifically, and poor people in general, addicted to the government dole. Just look at today: more people on food stamps than ever. It's the new Democrat Plantation. Exhibit B is also clear, anytime a black American or a gay American comes out as Conservative the people, like you, on the left smear them and denigrate them in appalling ways. The Democrats have proven time and time again, they are the racists. They are the ones waging class warfare against any and everyone who has had the slightest success in life. Democrats are racists, thieves and liars.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Mike

      Yeah! No one should have to listen to their blatant stereotyping of entire swaths of the American public based on some common-but-irrelevant trait! That's just wrong!

      September 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  15. allens

    god should not be debased by bringing him into politics. elections should not need god as part of the platform

    September 6, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • Bob

      Yeah, if I was an all powerful, supreme being, I'd worry a lot about puny mortals debasing me. Right...

      September 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • m123

      Expecially a platform that promotes partial birth abortions, and killing fetuses outside the womb.
      What a crock of B S

      September 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • david esmay

      Political platforms of the 21st century shouldn't be debased by bronze age myths.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bob

      m123, "What a crock of B S" decribes your post perfectly.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • DeeCee1000

      Might as well vote for the GOP. I figure the GOP will bring the country down to a level where the people will eventually be compelled to revolt.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Truth

      m123 obviously has trouble with reallity, but then again, 40% of Americans believe the earth to only be 10,000 years old, so who are you going to believe? The people like m123 who throw out facts, reason and logic and replace it with fear, faith and foolishness will be sidelined by history and looked back on with incredulity by future generations much like we do those poor people who thought they would fall off the edge of the lfat earth if they sailed west from Europe. They will shake their heads and say "What a silly belief, how could anyone believe that garbage."

      September 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Moderate

      Even Jesus said "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's", confirming the separation of Church and State over 2000 years ago.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • putty

      m123 – your Bible directly advocates killing the babies and children of enemies by bashing their heads to the ground and putting them to the sword. God himself killed the firstborn children in Egypt. I'm actually not sure why Christians are frothing at the mouth against abortion, but that reason appears to be separate from Christianity itself judging by the Bible.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  16. K from AZ

    YES! We do want God in EVERY aspect of our lives, for without Him we can do NOTHING! As far as this author and all other so-called religion scholars go, St. Paul's statement still applies: "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools." Romans, Chapter 1!

    September 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Horus

      I don't have "god in my life" yet I earned an undergrad and MBA. I worked my rear off, then started my own business. I have two wonderful children. I have a great life. I earned my 3dan in Shorin Ryu, 1dan in Aikido, and am in excellent health. I did all those things on my own....no god ever required.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Bob

      While you are spouting bible quotes, maybe you should take a look at some of the real horrors that are in that Christian book of nasty:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      September 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Shuksan

      Please quote me the verse where Jesus is running for political power

      September 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • m123

      We must respect the rights of others, too
      This country was founded on religious freedom, not dogma to Christianity
      I am a Christian, also.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Wilf Tarkin

      Allah'u Akbar!

      September 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • david esmay

      No "We" don't.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • MJD313

      The term god has no business in a political platform. I am very disappointed they relentd and put it back i there. Keep religion out of politics and keep politics out of the church! The problem is - religious leaders can't stay out of politics.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Keith

      I agree, if people treated each other the way Jesus would have treated his fellow man and acted the way he would have us act, we would have politians that we could trust that they would not sleep around, cheat and steal from us and work for us as if they were working for God, instead we have a bunch of people who think they are above the law, and think that their high degrees meant squat to God.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • sam

      No thanks. I ordered my Jesus on the side.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • The Real Tom Paine

      Well, did he type this reply for me:

      You are an idiot.

      Sincerely,

      Your Lord and Savior

      PS: remember to wash the car later

      September 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • 1+1=2

      @K from AZ. Careful boy, you're going off the deep end. I take it your god helps you with your meds?

      September 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  17. rbockman

    Right Pat a wonderful country founded by Christians without a central religion

    September 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • Charlotte

      Who cares if some of them had a 'central religion?' They were smart enough to explicitly make sure that NO religion was to be imposed, sanctioned, supported, preferred, demonized, persecuted, upheld, influenced nor was it to have influence. If you want to live in a theocracy, move to Saudi. Their magic invisible sky monster is no more ludicrous than anyone else's, including the "Christian" one.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  18. TC

    People who value social justice, i.e "liebrals", and either godless or satan worshippers?
    You are losing your grip on reality, my Friend.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  19. nick

    People also misunderstand the context of the First Amendment in regards to the no "establishment of religion in government". The point of this was to prevent the government from running both bureaucracy AND theocracy as it was in England before the Pilgrims came. It's not saying there should be an absolute separation, just that government shouldn't run religion.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • TC

      Freedom from the imposition of ONE religion on all Americans a vital comonant of the American way of life.

      Or it should be.

      Regardless of what many conservatives might believe.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • nick

      Well, I'm conservative in my political views only. I think social/religion issues need to be clearly separated from the scope of government, thus making me more Libertarian than anything.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • iThink

      Nick, It means separation of church and state. No blurry lines here. It means that religion shouldn't run government.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Wilf Tarkin

      Exactly how would government be religious in its actions without running religion?
      Government would take orders from religion, but not give orders to religion? Is that the general idea?

      September 6, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • david esmay

      It's saying religion shouldn't run government and government shouldn't sponsor religion. It's freedom of religion and thankfully, freedom from it.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Vic

      No, Nick, the purpose was to keep government from claiming it's legitimacy from religion. As in:
      I am King because if Devine Decree. Therefore, I speak with the will and authority of God. Therefore,
      if you disagree with me, then you disagree with God. Therefore – Off With Your Head, You Heretic.
      P.S.: After 28 years of military service and being stationed through-out the globe, I can "testify" that the
      laws of our land, which we claim are based on Judo-Christian ethics, are VERY MUCH is accord with countries
      that are primarily Buddist, or primarily Muslim, or primarily (fill in the blank).

      September 6, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Paul

      I'll take Thomas Jefferson's view, actually.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • nick

      IThink and Will: The separation doesn't provide for the influence of certain values from religion in rule making. Thus it's a little blurry. It speaks to the control of government by religion and vice versa.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • nick

      Vic you're saying it one and I'm saying it another and it's same thing.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • old ben

      Nick: "The separation doesn't provide for the influence of certain values from religion . ."

      What kind of values are you speaking of?

      I'm willing to bet that regardless of your answer that one can't say that said value is not attainable outside of religion, or even without religion. Therefore, it wouldn't make sense to even consider said value as an issue with separation of church and state.

      September 6, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  20. PAT

    We're not the country of God, we're the country of believe as you wish.

    September 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Charlotte

      like

      September 6, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Christina

      Right Pat. We are supposed to be a country of those who believe as you choose with an amendment that guarantees seperation of church and state. So why does the Republican party feel the need to make every decision based around their religious beliefs? I don't can what religion my president practices, I care that he does everything in his power to get the job done. I do believe in God, But I DO NOT believe that I country should be run based on religious beliefs

      September 6, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
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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.