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Will religion matter at presidential debate? Should it?
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will meet in Denver on Wednesday night for thier first debate together .
October 3rd, 2012
03:32 PM ET

Will religion matter at presidential debate? Should it?

Follow Wednesday's presidential debate coverage starting at 7 p.m. ET on CNN TV, CNN.com and via CNN's apps for iPhone, iPad and Android. Web users can become video editors with a new clip-and-share feature that allows them to share favorite debate moments on Facebook and Twitter.

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - Will religion factor into the first 2012 presidential debate in Denver on Wednesday night? Maybe, though it's likely to happen in subtle ways.

Both President Barack Obama, a Protestant Christian whose political base is largely secular and whose last presidential campaign was almost brought low by his association with a minister, and Mitt Romney, whose Mormon religion is misunderstood or viewed skeptically by many Americans, have generally avoided talking religion on the campaign trail.

But both men spoke about their faith in recent speeches at the party conventions. And a number of issues at Wednesday's domestic-policy-focused debate could intersect with religion, like questions about abortion, gay marriage and religious liberty.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

We put the question of whether religion would matter to Twitter and got some interesting responses:

@Molecules3
Would you say that the US is a christian country? Would be a good one for the debate as well.

This is a perennial question for candidates, with Obama and Romney touching on it on different occasions, though neither appears to have answered the question directly. Obama has said the U.S. is no longer "just" a Christian country, given its religious diversity, while Romney has accused Obama of saying the U.S. should be a "less Christian nation."

@FranticKL
They need to have a law that protects all places of worship no one should burn or bomb places of worship

This looks like an allusion to the summer shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that left seven dead and perhaps to reports of violence against other houses of worship, particularly mosques. Will moderator Jim Lehrer or either candidate bring up the Wisconsin shooting or other violence?

@Seattleite76
How is it possible to be so gullible in the year 2012?

That tweet suggests it would be silly to invoke religion in a presidential debate. Many among the growing chunk of Americans who claim no religious affiliation feel the same way. Most of those folks line up with the Democratic Party.

@bowmamapeace
Do u believe n separation of church & state?

Another hearty perennial in American politics. Obama has said yes, he does. Romney has said that Obama has taken church/state separation too far.

@PastorRileyF
How will your candidate's beliefs on who God is be seen in how he serves as President?–is what I would ask.

Obama has talked a fair deal about his faith influencing his policy priorities, including at the annual National Prayer Breakfast. Romney, who generally avoids talking about his personal faith, has been less willing to go there.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

What do you think? Will religion play into the debate? Should it? Share your thoughts.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Mitt Romney • Politics • Uncategorized

soundoff (226 Responses)
  1. RoflChurch

    Politics is by definition lying. Politicians tell you what you want to hear in order to get elected and consolidate power and control. What does that have to do with religion? Nothing. It shouldn't. Religion is about faith – not power and getting others to do things your way. Government is a necessary evil – religion should stay as far away as possible. People that blindly follow a pandering liar because he professes faith are forgetting the tenets of their own religion and should go home and look at their own lives.

    October 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • End Religion

      Where politics and religion intersect, unfortunately, is just where you've identified: the lies people want to hear. The scam is all the same to me. The only real difference is politicians do occasionally enact or support legislation aligned with their worldview in this lifetime. So while its all a lie, there are "repercussions" if one's preferred candidate loses.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      there is no faith, trust worthy of faith, trust but truth absolute GOD, foundation of existence for every thing and foundation of American consti tution, religion's are hinduism, violation of truth absolute and have no place in domain of truth absolute GOD, in united states of America. Religions are hindiism, corruption of truth absolute, a hind, crime against truth absolute against truth absolute GOD and his humanity, desire.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • RoflChurch

      End Religion – I agree. What I intended there was that politics and government should worry about those things that are their baliwick – taxes, national services, etc. Religion should not play a part in government. If those in government were putting their religious beliefs in use rather than on their sleeve – maybe things in Washington would be a little more civil and more would get done to help people instead of more power for the politician. As soon as they have to advertise their beliefs and pander to votes, they lose the ability to follow any faith except power or greed.

      October 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • End Religion

      We're on the same page. I think we're talking about "should it matter" when the article asks "will it matter". It shouldn't but it will. I don't think we'll live to see it but hopefully one day it won't matter. Personally I'm thrilled to be alive at this time. I feel like the we're on the cusp of an awakening that could really inject some life into the country. And I'm pretty pessimistic about most things.

      October 3, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • RoflChurch

      @End Religion – Yes, I too think we are on the cusp of something wonderful. I have faith not in religion – but in people thinking for themselves. As soon as someone "knows the truth" – then their eyes are closed and they can learn no more. I choose to learn, to keep my eyes open and hope for the best. I am a reformed minister – I lost my faith when I learned how to learn from my daughter. The world is a wonderful place that is new every day – I choose to look forward with my eyes open, instead of trying to keep the past alive through dogma and doctrine. My fondest hope is that the politicians of tomorrow will look forward with their eyes open instead of constantly looking at yours and my wallets. The problems are in front of us as a nation – the only problem with my wallet is how empty it is!

      October 3, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      @rofl: congrats on your reformation. It must have been scary to face that immense change and the possibility of loss of a beloved community. While I was a member of a church until 13, I never believed in any sort of god so my atheism didn't really come at a price aside from being in such a minority among family. I often marvel at the strength it takes to shake true belief for agnosticism or atheism. You be good to that daughter!

      October 3, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  2. Abdullo

    Religion should not be a part of debates or elections. What happens if candidate decides to change his religious belief after being elected?

    October 3, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • truth be told

      There is always hope that President Romney can find Christ and become a Christian.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Abdullo

      Depends... If it's a move, say for Obama between different Protestant denominations... maybe not much. If Romney wins and declares himself a Muslim... then, well I think you get the picture.

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • RoflChurch

      What if he was lying in the first place? That is the only thing we can truly depend on politicians for....

      October 3, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      There are no Mithra's ,saviors from punishment for hindu hinduism, criminal denial of truth absolute, but you, your self, One is borne alone and dies alone with a gift of choice, of truth, right or denial of truth absolute, wrong, identified as crime, No one will be judged but a person concerned in court of La. truth absolute and their are no Mithra's, savior's to be able to oppose truth absolute GOD, so much so book of hindu Mithra ism, pagan savior ism bible bares witness to it, person concerned will be a advocate, not a Judge in court of La, truth absolute GOD, nothing more.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
    • Abdullo

      @therealpeace2all

      LOL! Like Obama, Romney decided to use his full name "Mitt Hussein Romney" at swearing in ceremony !

      October 3, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Abdullo

      I want this Hindu to administer the presidential oath at swear in ceremony. It would be fun to see people with jaws dropped!

      October 3, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Abdullo

      LOL ! 😀

      And yes... I concur... we should have -hindufilthyracism, etc... do the swearing in. THAT would be hilarious.

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I'd like to see a modern President swear the oath of office that is actually in the Const'tution.

      Article. II.
      Section. 1.
      Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:–"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

      No "So help me God". No bibles.

      Imagine if Mittens were elected AND he swore the oath with the "Book of Mormon". The fundies would be apoplectic.

      October 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @GOPer

      Yes, I agree... I would like to see it done that way.

      " Imagine if Mittens were elected AND he swore the oath with the "Book of Mormon". The fundies would be apoplectic. "

      Yep... LMAO ! 😀

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Maybe that's something that could begin a Zombie apocalypse? They get so insane with rage their frontal lobes explode and infected with a mutated virus? MITTENS WILL BRING ABOUT Z-DAY IF HE"S ELECTED! BEWARE!

      October 3, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Hawaii

      Z-day... I like it ! 😀

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  3. therealpeace2all

    IMHO... It's too bad that this issue of..."are we a Christian Nation, etc..." is still at play and some still argue that our founders and the consti tution support this fallacy.

    In support of my *opinion* I find nowhere in the U.S. consti tution does it 'ever' mention the following: God, God of the Bible, Hebrew God, Christian God, The Christian God is the Right God, Bible, Bible is 'the' Truth, Christian Bible is the Truth, Christian, Christianity, ***Christian Nation***, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ, Jesus is the One True Savior, Our laws of the Land are based on Jesus and Christianity, Christianity is the one and only 'true' religion, Old Testament, New Testament, Our country is founded on *Christian Principles*, The Christian Religion is the Right one and every other religion is the 'wrong' one, etc... etc...etc...

    You get the point. I could go on ad infinitum with things that it doesn't say nor support that we are a "Christian Nation."

    If... the framers/founders were all or most...Christians, and this was supposed to be a Christian Nation, then... they sure made a huge *ooopsy* by not spelling out clearly and unequivocally... IMHO.

    I'm certainly open to any contrasting viewpoints ?

    Peace...

    October 3, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Jess Troline

      Uh...wait! I agree with you! You don't want anyone agreeing with you? And how can you be open to contrasting viewpoints?
      Help! 😯

      October 3, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Jess Troline

      LOL... ! Nice name buddy ! 😯

      Hey... I sent you a couple of emails... did you get them ?

      Also, I was thinking... do you remember when we were bored a few times and me, you and -David Johnson used to play 'fundie wars' ? 😀

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
  4. Sam Yaza

    nope i don't care what sect of Christian the candidate is, what ever political difference that divides the church means nothing to me. i see no difference between evil

    i have already decided my candidate

    http://www.jillstein.org/democracy_now_s_live_debate_talkback_with_jill_stein

    October 3, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  5. Thomas Tankengine

    While the religion card will probably be played by both sides, the fact is it doesn't matter: Romney is collapsing, and barring something massive happening, Obama has won already. The debates won't matter, especially since Romney does not speak particularly well, tends to slip in something stupid, and has been trying to sway voter that are already with him (like religious people) instead of moderates and undecideds.

    Should it matter? No. Government is a secular affair even if you believe in God, and overtly religious politicians and theocracies have a really poor record of doing what's best for the whole populace instead of just their particular agenda. That is putting it politely – theocracies have a hideous record.

    And, of course, there is the Constitution, which essentially forbids it. Oh that pesky Constitution!

    But both sides will play their electioneering games and kiss Jesusbutt, because there are way too many morons in this country who don't understand the purpose of government, and who REALLY don't understand the things government is NOT supposed to do.

    October 3, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • Garrett

      Right on. Thomas, may your engine run well and for a long, long time.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Abdullo

      Romney still can beat Obama in the debate(s), like Obama screen reads, Romney should find a lip-speaker.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Veritas

      The Republican vote suppression activities could still have an impact. Changing the voting hours to make it harder to vote; voter id laws to solve the non-existant problem of in-person voter fraud (10 cases in over 12 years!!). One Republican state official is on record as saying it was done to get a Republican president elected and the draft laws came from ALEC.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Afghanistan Bananastan

      Romney indeed still might win the elections in the debates . . . and he also might sprout wings and fly around the auditorium backwards. Both are equally likely.

      Romney is done.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Veritas

      " One Republican state official is on record as saying it was done to get a Republican president elected and the draft laws came from ALEC. "

      Do you have a direct link or a name I could check it out ?... and so I can forward to many a Republican !

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Veritas

      @peace. Pennsylvania House Leader Republican Mike Turzai. There's a clip on YouTube (from June)

      October 3, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • End Religion

      http://youtu.be/EuOT1bRYdK8

      October 3, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @veritas & @End Religion

      Thanks !

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  6. Morgenstern

    Did Romney really say “Obama has taken church/state separation too far”?

    They’re either separate, or they aren’t. Or are we talking about “legitimate” separation?

    October 3, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Church dungeon of hinduism, illegality based not on truth absolute but hindu Mithra ism, racist savior ism under the shadow of sign of hinduism, racism has nothing to do with truth absolute GOD, foundation of American consti tution and it must be kept out of domain of truth absolute like a hindu pig, filthy self centered , secular to follow truth absolute, way of foundation of American independence.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • sam

      If it's legitimate separation, the body of the Constitution should be able to shut that whole thing down.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

      Truth absolute is identified as GOD foundation of American consti tution , not religion's, corruption of truth absolute by hindu Jew's, criminal self centered, deniers of truth absolute, as a tool be Pharisee hypocrite. visit limitisthetruth.com and learn what founding father's of America knew and was deleted by hindu's, crooks.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • End Religion

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/21/mitt-romney-separation-church-state_n_1817764.html

      October 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
  7. Honey Badger Dont Care

    Will it? Sadly yes. Should it? Fvck no!

    October 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • nope

      @hon...
      nope

      October 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • snopes says

      nope to nope

      October 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      Proving conclusively and once again that snopes is always wrong.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  8. hinduism by Judaism self center ,secularism source of hindu filthy hinduism, racism.

    Religion is a universal tool invented by hindu Jew's, criminal self centered secular's to hide hinduism, denial of truth absolute under a blanket of hindu fabricated holiness by corruption of truth absolute, both of them have hinduism religion of Pharisee's ism, on path of hypocrisy to hind, fool Americans with hinduism, lies, Masters of hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, secular ism, denial of truth absolute in following of hindu Lucifer, filthy self centered devil as their god. for more visit limitisthetruth.com.

    October 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • nope

      @hind...
      nope

      October 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • snopes says

      nope to nope

      October 3, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  9. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Oh look the prayer-bot is back. I wonder if we can collectively manage NOT to feed the troll. It might be an interesting experiment.

    (That means you too HAL9001.)

    October 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      And once again @TBT posts within two minutes of the prayer-bot. So transparent, so sad.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      What a sorry little troll (and Poe) @TBT really is.

      He should get back under his bridge.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • nope

      @i'm not et al
      nope

      October 3, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Sorry, I should have said @TBT is a sad little troll, Poe and sock puppet – the comment board trash trifecta.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      Pot meet kettle

      October 3, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
    • sam

      '...comment board trash trifecta'. Haha, I love that.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @GOPer

      " the comment board trash trifecta. " LOL ! 😀

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      Pot meets another kettle

      October 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @GOPer

      Although... gotta' say, I do love -HeavenSent and her "lady parts"

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Jess Troline

      I don't think there's anyone else who is willing to publicly state that they "love -HeavenSent and her "lady parts""!!!!!!
      So I think the realpeace2all is ready for an oxygen mask now if he isn't already dead from lack of oxygen...! OMG! 😯

      October 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Jess Troline

      Ahem... If I pledge my love to -HeavenSent and her 'lady parts', that's nonya' bizness ! 😀

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
  10. WilliamTells

    "Taking out the brain and playing with it" is how one would be obliged to describe the Candidate failing to intelligently address that 67 percent of the Nation laying claim to significant religious persuasion and who undoubtedly comprise some significant sub-set of that 47 % of the Nation eschewed by Romney a majority of whom are identified in the biblical passage found in Matthew 25:31 – 45

    October 3, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @William,

      To what 67% do you refer?

      October 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • End Religion

      william tells us nothing worth knowing

      October 3, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    October 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Fuck you. Ahhh shit sorry, couldnt help it guys.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • WilliamTells

      . . . AND aeheists are rarely to be found at either one of two places: In a foxhole and on the deathbed. Say, what?

      October 3, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer does not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      October 3, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • truth be told

      @i'm not a gop...
      You indeed cannot help it. Filth comes from the dead soul of every wanna be atheist, proving once again how disgusting and useless atheism is.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • truth be told

      I once owned a Bible made of cheese

      October 3, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • End Religion

      again, WilliamTells us nothing. Might want to change your name...

      October 3, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • End Religion

      @tbt: "Filth comes from the dead soul of every wanna be atheist, proving once again how disgusting and useless atheism is."

      Your own statement is a logical argument against itself. If one is a "wanna be" atheist, then one is not yet an atheist, therefore filth from a "wanna be" proves nothing about a true atheist.

      I see it isn't enough that you have more than your own fair share of stupidity and so have trouble putting together a decent argument, but further you're even arguing AGAINST yourself. Thanks for all your hilarious entertainment value!

      October 3, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • truth be told

      There are self deceived who think themselves atheist, Truth be told it is impossible to be an atheist.

      October 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Jess Troline

      Impossible to be an atheist? What?

      ಠ_ಠ ????

      October 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • End Religion

      i keep forgetting we call ed Poe on TBT long ago...
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

      October 3, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Yes, he's an obsessive compulsive handle 'borrower'.

      October 3, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      tbt is smellier than a pig's anus.

      October 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Just in case anyone missed it, the first response to prayer-bot above was not written by me.

      October 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • TR6

      @WilliamTells: ". . . AND aeheists are rarely to be found at either one of two places: In a foxhole and on the deathbed. Say, what?"

      And any Christian that goes to the doctor when he is sick, instead of going to the church and praying proves that he really doesn't believe that prayer works or that god is watching over him

      October 3, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
  12. krussell

    This is actually a very similar question to another article asking if religious organizations should help in our schools.
    I have the opinion that if the school volunteers are going to help the school do a better job of teaching without trying to change what is being taught, extra help would be a blessing. If either candidate would work to strengthen their own religion at the expense of the country or other religions, we need to vote against them.

    October 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • truth be told

      Poor leadership is Gods curse on a nation. America has strayed from its Godly foundation, the sooner we as a nation can repent and return wholeheartedly to God the better.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • truth be told

      Poor leadership is Gods curse on a nation. America has strayed from its Godly foundation, the sooner we as a nation can repent and return wholeheartedly to God the better .

      October 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Snow

      sigh.. do you know when the first amendment was written? what other foundation was america founded on other than the very first? and you want to rewrite that? do you hate america that much TBT?

      October 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • truth be told

      @snow : The purpose of the 1st amendment has been altered from its original intent. It was truly intended to keep government out of the churches not churches out of the government. Given right thinking Supreme Court Justices can easily put things aright.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Snow

      judges thinking right have already the power, which is why it is held up as it should. You can not change the original intent of a law just to argue your stance dude.. It was to keep the church out of government as much as to keep the gov out of the church..

      I would suggest you look up this other book called dictionary and look up the meaning of the word "separation". it goes something like "to keep apart" or "away from one another". At no time did separation ever mean keep A away from B, but B can still be connected to A.

      if you know any history, you would know that the church had always been part of ruling empires.. The founding fathers wanted to remove that influence when they passed the first..

      October 3, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Snow

      Well said.

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • End Religion

      poor leadership is what god offers christians

      October 3, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • nope

      @end...
      nope

      October 3, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      What one atheist lies to (snow) another will loose bladder control over (the real piece to all )

      October 3, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      "loose bladder control" he he. I think Mr. anything-but-a-real-fan-of-Christopher Hitchens means "lose".

      October 3, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • TR6

      @truth be told: "Given right thinking Supreme Court Justices can easily put things aright."

      Weren't the Nazis big on "right thinking"? Doesn't the Taliban slaughter people who are not "right thinking"?

      October 3, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Chick-a-dee

      @ Truth be Told:

      The reason for the separation of church and state was to assure that protestants could continue apostasy in the new world without the government confirming the Catholic Church as the true faith and putting an e nd to sola and solo scriptura heresies.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  13. 0G-No gods, ghosts, goblins or ghouls

    Religion should not matter but given the intelligence of the average American voter (as demonstrated by the high number of idiots clinging to delusional beliefs in supernatural beings and The Babble), it probably will because the candidates have to pander to the delusional.

    October 3, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  14. Fred

    It will be a great day for America when religion and religious myths and supersti-tions such as Christianity are nothing more than sordid aspects of an otherwise mostly proud history from a distant past.

    October 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • truth be told

      If you remove Christianity you remove America.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Garrett

      Fortunately that is false. America existed before it was dominated by Christian wackos. Our nation was founded primarily by deists, not Christians. Separation of church and state is becoming more of a visibly stated priority, and eventually the church will die off, hopefully long before America does.

      Long live America. The Christian wackos will hopefully fade out pretty soon.

      October 3, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • truth be told

      America is a Christian nation, discovered,populated and founded by Christians for Christians.

      October 3, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      TBT: You're delusional...time to get a change in the meds!

      October 3, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Truth be Told Correctly

      The first ammendment absolutely was not written to keep Government out of Church. It was written to prevent the same religious domination that people suffered in England under the Church of England. America has and always should be founded on the idea that Religion is an individuals right, and should never be infringed upon by the Government, and that Religion never be the driving force in Government.

      October 3, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • End Religion

      @fred: agreed! End religion now!

      @tbt: removing religion puts america can only help. Religion is dying. Enjoy your club while you can. Don't forget to pay your dues or you can't get into the VIP section after closing hours. How does it feel to be part of a cult of delusion that is slipping into obscurity? Are you frightened?

      October 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  15. German Sparkle Party

    If it matters then we cannot elect a president because they are both mentally incompetent. Unless they are lying.

    I think they are lying.

    We cannot elect a president because they are both liars.

    October 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Huebert

      America has a long tradition of electing liars for president. Why should we stop now?

      October 3, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Towelie

      I don't even know what's goin' on.

      October 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      Will you wear your fancy pants? Are you going to dancy dance?

      October 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • End Religion

      towelie, don't Bogart. Ship it!

      October 3, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Jess Troline

      *puff*
      Ere
      .........
      .........
      ........
      ........
      whoooo!
      😀

      October 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • End Religion

      What's a pot smoker's favorite part of the body?

      .... ear...

      October 3, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
  16. myweightinwords

    It matters in at least as much as the candidates understanding of the constitution and where the line is drawn between their personal faith and their duty to protect the citizens of this country.

    Should it? In an ideal world? No. In an ideal world, it is given that an individual's belief system is not meant to be used to oppress and suppress others and we wouldn't be fighting over religion on the national stage.

    October 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  17. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    From the article:

    "@FranticKL: They need to have a law that protects all places of worship no one should burn or bomb places of worship

    This looks like an allusion to the summer shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin that left seven dead and perhaps to reports of violence against other houses of worship, particularly mosques"

    @Dan Gilgoff,

    really Mr. Gilgoff? That has nothing to do with the Sikhs and everything to do with burning mosques. You're being a tad disingenuous there to connect this question to the Sikhs.

    October 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  18. Reality

    Should religion matter in this election? YES!!! The reasons why:

    ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS OF THIS BLOG:-–>>>>>

    Romney is Mormon because he was born Mormon. Should we hold this against him? Actually in the 21st century we should since he has this severe affliction, the Three B Syndrome i.e. Bred, Born and Brainwashed in Mormonism with no obvious change in his mental state which he could easily cure with some rational thinking.

    Obama also suffers from the same affliction as he believes in "pretty/ugly wingie thingies, bodily resurrections, atonement mumbo jumbo, et al. And there has been no change or desire to cure his version of the Three B Syndrome.

    We should be voting for leaders who can think rationally. Believing in angels, satans, bodily resurrections, atonement, and heavens of all kinds is irrational.

    Bottom line: BO and MR have been severely brainwashed in their theologically and historically flawed Christianity and they are too weak to escape its felonious grip. And we will be stuck with one of them for another four years of "god bless America" HOPING THAT THIS GOD IS ABLE TO ELIMINATE OUR $16 TRILLION DEBT.

    And the irony is that a good start in reducing this $16 trillion debt is to voluntarily eliminate religion i.e. god in our lives with the added incentive of saving 3.5 billion "souls":

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror like 9/11 and the 24/7 other acts of Islamic-sponsored insanity.

    – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    – The Mormon ti-the empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

    – the faith-based federal projects supported by both Bush and Obama will be eliminated saving $385 million/yr and another $2 billion/yr in grants.

    – Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

    Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    October 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Reality

      Hey buddy... do you also post as "Helpful Hints" ?

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Truth be Told Correctly

      A bit long winded and excentric, but correct.

      October 3, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Jess Troline

      Reality uses a different format. Helpful Hints is usually done by someone else, I think.
      I use "CNN Tips" when I print my copy of the list. Reality uses his own name. Helpful Hints is someone like Colin or Bucky I think.
      Today I am Jess Troline, but you may remember me as Troy McClure from such movies as "Trollsville Massacre", "Day of the Living Trolls", and "Operation Random Opinion"... 🙂

      October 3, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Jess

      Yeah... I sent you an email giving you props on the morning read page 1 oct 3. I thought you came up with the list, that others then added too. I thought Reality posted as Helpful.

      I'm pretty sure it's not Bucky or Colin. Don't know who it is though.

      Peace...

      October 3, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • End Religion

      http://youtu.be/oC7TVRU5nho

      October 3, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
    • Reality

      Only for those who are reading challenged:

      SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
      THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11.

      SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
      THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY.

      SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
      ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.

      AND THE MONEY CURRENTLY BEING WASTED SUPPORTING OR KEEPING RELIGION IN CHECK WOULD GO A LONG WAY IN REDUCING THE FEDERAL BUDGET.

      Added details upon request.

      October 3, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  19. Rational Libertarian

    It will and it should. People who believe in magic carpenters are not mentally competent.

    October 3, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Huebert

      But the real question is do you believe in magic in a young girl's heart?

      October 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @RL,

      😉 You are of course being deliberately absurd. In a nation where 78% profess Christianity, we cannot avoid the magic carpenter crowd.

      I recommend this approach instead:

      Article. VI.

      ... no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

      This should be as true for the candidates as it is for the process – including the debates.

      "No religious test SHALL EVER be required".

      How can this question "Should religion matter at presidential debate? be answered more clearly.

      October 3, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • End Religion

      http://youtu.be/mDYNuD4CwlI

      October 3, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Truth be Told Correctly

      ^ Well quoted ^

      October 3, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  20. 24 Hour Crisis Center

    Yes.
    No.

    October 3, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      Or:

      No.
      Yes.

      Or Yes to both or No to both.

      That's politics.

      October 3, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @24HCC,

      sadly your first answer was the most accurate one.

      October 3, 2012 at 3:56 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.