The Undecided: Radical for Jesus, dubious of Romney
Rob Seyler in the classrom where he teaches the Bible to high school students.
October 29th, 2012
04:52 PM ET

The Undecided: Radical for Jesus, dubious of Romney

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) - With Bible verses painted on the walls of his living room and with an unshakable belief that hell is for real, there's no question that Rob Seyler is a devout evangelical Christian.

He is also a renegade.

Tucked into his well-thumbed Bible, the spine held together with silver duct tape, is a picture of Marilyn Manson in full goth makeup. Seyler, a high school Bible teacher, says the metal singer's writings shed light into the secret world of suffering teens.

Musically, Seyler gravitates more to Johnny Cash, partly because of the musician's intense religiosity. But Seyler will be the first to tell you that Cash's memoir of life as a sinner, "Man in Black," is much better than Cash's Christian novel, "Man in White."

His renegade streak extends to Seyler's classroom at the Grandview Park Baptist School in gritty East Des Moines, where he has painted so many brightly colored quotes and pictures onto the walls that it looks like a pop artist's studio. There are Bible verses and a black and white silhouette of Johnny Cash and an image that Seyler says has "created a little bit of a ruckus."

Read the fully story about undecided Iowa evangelical voter Rob Seyler.
- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Iowa • Politics

soundoff (195 Responses)
  1. Where is your God now?

    Marlita S. Stokes, 23, was at work when her boyfriend Darlanne Toussaint, 24, used his fist to smash the 17-month-old’s chest and back, and a blow dryer to burn the child’s skin. The boy suffered second-degree burns on his genitals, back, chest and head.

    October 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Russ

      “I believe like a child that suffering will be healed and made up for, that all the humiliating absurdity of human contrad.ictions will vanish like a pitiful mirage, like the despi.cable fabrication of the impotent and infinitely small Euclidean mind of man, that in the world's finale, at the moment of eternal harmony, something so precious will come to pass that it will suffice for all hearts, for the comforting of all resentments, for the atonement of all the crimes of humanity, for all the blood that they've shed; that it will make it not only possible to forgive but to justify all that has happened.”
      ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

      "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also – along with him – graciously give us all things?" (Rom.8:32)

      October 29, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
    • Where is your God now?

      Police say 34 year old Angelo Mendoza bit an eyeball out of his four year old son’s face and ate it.

      The boy had numerous bites to his hands and his eyes were swollen shut. Doctors said the boy’s left eye and muscle were missing; his other eye is mutilated beyond repair.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Where is your God now?

      A boy’s stepfather kept him locked in his room for six years, using an alarm and hooks and straps to keep him imprisoned in his bedroom. The step-father with-held food and water and se.xually tortured and physically and emotionally abused the child from the time he was 11 up until he was 17, when he finally told his mother who did not live with them about the abuse.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Where...
      not only did Dostoevsky already answer your response here – but let's flip the coin...

      what can an atheist say in this situation? with whom would he be upset? such is the nature of existence. survival of the fittest. if the next Hitler wins, who can object that racism and genocide are inherently wrong? it might just be the next evolutionary step.

      the bigger problem is not "where is God in this?" but rather: if there is no God, who can object to this? it just is what it is. you can't call it evil – b/c after all, that would presume there was some greater, transcendent good. Good & evil must only be seen in terms of optimization of the gene pool – and in that regard, this is simply evolution in action.

      the bald, harsh reality is that in the absence of any true Objective anchor, there is no basis for moral outrage in any of your examples. and yet, here you are, outraged. sounds like a crisis of faith to me.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • Where is your God now?


      Dostoevsky didn’t even know if he was a deist or a theist.

      You clearly don’t understand what “survival of the fittest” means.

      I am an atheist.

      I am simply posting true stories that happened. I have made no moral judgement.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Russ

      @ Where:
      so you don't believe that everything works in favor of optimization of the gene pool for propagation of the species?

      more pointedly, all of your examples presuppose a dilemma – or at least assume something is wrong. and yet "you have made no moral judgment." so you're ok with all these examples? you are not outraged – nor do you find anything wrong or heinous about such acts?

      October 30, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Where is your God now?


      I believe in Natural Selection.

      I am outraged by these horrible acts.

      You really are not making any sense.

      October 30, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Russ

      @ Where: how can you be outraged if this is simply the reality of existence?

      if there were a greater court of appeals, it might make sense. but since you are an atheist, you believe there is not one. this is simply life as we know it. this is the evolutionary process in action. there is no greater purpose. the universe is simply burping on its way to an eventual heat death.

      within your view of existence, you have no justification for outrage. the universe simply is what it is. even labeling these events as 'horrible' implies a transcendent norm your view of existence does not allow. sure, you can appeal to the current societal norms, but you believe those can & will change – maybe even to justify such acts.

      so here's your problem: you cannot say racism, genocide, or any such acts are intrinsically "horrible." it means somewhere underneath, you have another competing view of the world. so which is it: do you believe racism is just a fact or that it is *always* wrong? what reason would you have to fight it other than optimizing the gene pool for species survival? and wouldn't – by Darwin's own articulation – racism actually be a function of that very process?

      That's my point. You're outraged by these atrocious acts. And I agree that you should be – but your stated view of existence doesn't allow you to be. So either you have another view of existence (which you are not stating) OR you do not realize your inconsistency. So which is it?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What drivel. One need not believe in a god or an afterlife to abhor cruelty. One need not believe in eternal punishment or reward to have morals.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Hamm

      The "greater court of appeals" to the individual is the opinion of society, which is the consensus of individual opinions. That consensus changes over time, however. That's how something like racism can shift from being the norm in our society, and within Christianity, to something that is no longer accepted by most in either. The Bible records the consensus of a certain people thousands of years ago. What makes you think that it still applies today?

      October 30, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • LoLo

      "God's son" was an immortal part of God, right? What kind of sacrifice was that then? About as devastating as sacrificing your World of Warcraft avatar?

      October 30, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  2. Where is your God now?

    You wake up feeling amazing with Marie next to you. She finally spent the night. You can make out the curve of her buttocks beneath the thin sheet. Your groin reacts and you press against her, fitting neatly in the begging crevice. She smells like flowers and honey. You throb with anticipation and she moans in anticipation. You reach for a condom, but realize to your dismay that your dog is busy chewing and has something stuck in his teeth…

    October 29, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
  3. Where is your God now?

    You are at the Museum of Modern Art with a date. You have high hopes for this relationship. She is smart, pretty and a great cook. You just critiqued a group of Kevin Appel paintings when you felt a sudden urge to relieve your bowels. But where is the bathroom? Too late. And it is loose. You drag your smelly self to the elevator; she is behind you but gagging...

    October 29, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Too bad that happened to you.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Where is your God now?

      You are at a friend’s house. It is a party with a few friends and a girl you are interested in getting to know better. You have to go to the restroom, which is visible from the kitchen where everyone is gathered. You go in and do number 2. You have diarrhea. It smells bad and there is no air freshener. You reach for the toilet paper and there is none. There is a knock on the door, you recognize her sweet voice.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Towelie

      If you are taking your date to the Museum of Modern Art, don't forget to bring a towel!

      October 29, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      It appears you have an obsession with your bowels.
      Try an adult diaper.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Where is your God now?


      You don't have to get mad.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
  4. 200 TON HAMMER

    Hebrewism of West Africa great book read it

    October 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
  5. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    word fondu is based on Latin word dippity doo, hot gooey, chips, great, chip dip, to be in greatness, pita chip, to be creamy to both of them, fondu, a noun in yummy, fonduism, way of yumminess.
    Visit dippingisfun.com to learn about fonduism, deliciousnessity of fondu's, deliciousnesss to impose fonduism, veggie dipping on humanity by fonduism, cheese skin of truth absolute by dipper. Be a dipper, not a fondu, lactose intolerant like a fondu, double dipper.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  6. realbuckyball

    Why did Dinosaurs get cancer ? (before the "fall)
    Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons ?

    October 29, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Is it Bullsh!t, or not?

      Using undiscovered evidence, I have proven that it may have happened just that way.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Harvey Rabbit

      If God made man in his own image, then he has a belly button too.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  7. realbuckyball

    Funny an Evangelical believes in hell. The ancient Hebrews did not, and Saint Paul did not. How odd.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
    • Meatwad

      I don't even care about no hell. I just jump in Carl's pool when it gets too warm outside.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  8. Eliminate hinduism, religions corruption of truth absolute by hindu's lairs, for peace, Islam among humanity.

    word hindu is based on Latin word hindered, negative, Hun, great, Han, to be in greatness, hin, to be negative to both of them, hindu, a noun in negativity, hinduism, way of negativity.
    Visit limitisthetruth.com to learn about hinduism, criminality of hindu's, criminals to impose hinduism, racism on humanity by hinduism, corruption of truth absolute by force. Be a human, not a hindu, ignorant like a hindu, out law.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
  9. GOD

    Do you really think i would create a religion that says be fruitful and multiply on a planet with finite resources, and make you hate science which is the only way to get off your rock ?

    October 29, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Meatwad

      But who made me, God? And how come I don't have no damn money?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • Humble Man

      Why did you make me hate science God?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Master Shake


      October 29, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Meatwad

      You didn't make me. I might stick that straw in your eye if you don't share your tacos.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  10. Where is your God now?

    You are at a German “sparkle party”. You are wearing your party pants. You are ready to dancy dance. It is a hard-core German sparkle party and you are wearing your rubber boots. The music is pulsating and it feels good to dance. You notice a familiar face standing at the bar. You dance over to her as fancy as you please in your polished rubber boots. You bend low to smell her perfume and say hello. It is your father.

    October 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Towelie

      If you are going to a German Sparkle Party, don't forget to bring a towel!

      October 29, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  11. DanTheMan

    Religion is nothing more then a plan to dumb down society

    October 29, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Answer

      And it works!

      Proof is in the ignorance of the people spouting their religions.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  12. GOD

    I will only say this once, I DID NOT CREATE RELIGION. I gave you brains use them, religion was created by evil men to control you. You are not suppose to light candles and wear robes. You suppose to learn real things !

    PS: Evolution is real do you think i would be so dumb as to have Adam and Eves kids do the nasty ? I guarantee you I am smart enough to create an evolutionary system !

    October 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Humble Man

      Why did you create religion?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • GOD

      Sorry Humble man when we made you we where short on brains.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • End Religion

      Why did you create slugs? Nipples for men? 350 species of parrots?

      October 29, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Humble Man

      @End religion

      That is stupid. Santa Cruz would have no mascot without slugs and men wouldn't be able to pierce their nipples if they didn't have any. Get real.

      October 29, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  13. mama k

    No one believe in Religion, the goal of life according to bible is to get to heaven right ?

    then why do religious people freek-out when a loved one wins the prize of life and heads on to heaven ?

    id bet money they would be happier seeing them win a trip to hawaii.

    Think about it ask a religious person if they would rather a loved one went to Hawaii or die/heaven.

    its like a drug user that makes up reasons why the drug is good for him\her .. same thing here religion is a crutch to keep you from thinking the real possibilities.

    October 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
  14. Hutterite

    Mormons claim they're christians. Many nonmormons claim they're not. They both make this claim as if it's irrefutable but with no proof whatsoever one more than the other. Religion is a poison in american politics.

    October 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • cristopher hitchens

      Mormonism was founded as an alternate to Christianity and about 50 years ago decided to try to appear as a more main stream "christian" denomination to make possible an event like having one of their own in the White House. Prior to that the LDS were violently anti Christ and FLDS still are opposed to Christianity in all forms.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
    • No Religion

      If you are a Mormon or a Christian, you are really dumb.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • Mennoknight

      Hi Hutterite! It's me, Mennonite, your cousin who is to cheap to buy the uniform. 🙂

      October 29, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  15. mama k


    During his presidency, James Madison vetoed two bills that he believed would violate the separation of church and state. He also came to oppose the long-established practice of employing chaplains at public expense in the House of Representatives and Senate on the grounds that it violated the separation of church and state and the principles of religious freedom**. Starting from his anger over feuding Christian sects in his home state, until the end of his life, he was a fervent promoter of separation of church and state.

    Who is James Madison? He was the 4th President of the United States and the chief architect of the U.S. Constitution.

    ** Library of Congress – James Madison Papers – Detached memorandum, ca. 1823.

    October 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Humble Man

      Get a life !!

      October 29, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • IR

      When people use quotations from source outside article they are usually trying to propagate some agenda. I think this one is some jesus camp nut

      October 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
    • No Religion

      Excellent post mama k.

      October 29, 2012 at 8:38 pm |
    • No Religion

      yeah a good post how many times today did you post that same thing ? 100, 200 ? totally sane behavior in my book

      October 29, 2012 at 8:40 pm |
    • GOD

      Moma K if you don't stop posting garbage, i will have to smite you !

      October 29, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  16. Rummy Pirate Times (In Greed We Trust)


    October 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
  17. Rummy Pirate Times (In Greed We Trust)

    Marc Wolpow, a former Bain partner who worked with Romney on many deals, said the discussion at buyout companies typically does not focus on whether jobs will be created. “It’s the opposite—what jobs we can cut,” Wolpow said. “Because you had to document how you were going to create value. Eliminating redundancy, or the elimination of people, is a very valid way."

    October 29, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      And this is news how ? Everyone knows this. Plus they bought the companies, and dumped the pension plans, then resold them without, It's a crime, what they did. All those worker's pensions ruined.

      Romney is a "cliche" spouter. Never a detail. Just hot air.

      October 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  18. Rummy Pirate Times (In Greed We Trust)

    For 15 years, Romney had been in the business of creative destruction and wealth creation. But what about his claims of job creation? Though Bain Capital surely helped expand some companies that had created jobs, the layoffs and closures at other firms would lead Romney’s political opponents to say that he had amassed a fortune in part by putting people out of work. The lucrative deals that made Romney wealthy could exact a cost. Maximizing financial return to investors could mean slashing jobs, closing plants, and moving production overseas. It could also mean clashing with union workers, serving on the board of a company that ran afoul of federal laws, and loading up already struggling companies with debt.

    October 29, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  19. Rummy Pirate Times (In Greed We Trust)

    In 1994, Bain invested $27 million as part of a deal with other firms to acquire Dade International, a medical-diagnostics-equipment firm, from its parent company, Baxter International. Bain ultimately made nearly 10 times its money, getting back $230 million. But Dade wound up laying off more than 1,600 people and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002, amid crushing debt and rising interest rates. The company, with Bain in charge, had borrowed heavily to do acquisitions, accumulating $1.6 billion in debt by 2000. The company cut benefits for some workers at the acquired firms and laid off others. When it merged with Behring Diagnostics, a German company, Dade shut down three U.S. plants. At the same time, Dade paid out $421 million to Bain Capital’s investors and investing partners.

    October 29, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  20. Rummy Pirate Times (In Greed We Trust)

    Southern Illinois:

    Controlling share owner Bain Capital closes BRP plant so the 340 jobs there could be outsourced to Mexico.

    October 29, 2012 at 7:32 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.