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. Rummy Pirate Times-Dispatch (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 30, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  2. Rummy Pirate Times-Dispatch (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 30, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  3. Rummy Pirate Times-Dispatch (In Greed We Trust)

    Bain closed GST Steel plant in 2001 laying off 750 workers.

    October 30, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  4. Rummy Pirate Times-Dispatch (In Greed We Trust)


    October 30, 2012 at 11:57 am |
  5. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    Notice his wall is void of anything that refers to any critical thinking.

    October 30, 2012 at 11:54 am |
  6. Honey Badger Dont Care

    The part in this article that I found the most sad was where it said, "Grandview Park Baptist School". It's just so sad that malleable minds have to be force-fed garbage like this just because their parents believe and send them to a "school" like this.

    October 30, 2012 at 11:38 am |
  7. Portland tony

    CNN....Why do a story on a beer bellied retro crazy...who you call a "devout evangelical Christian"?.... If this is an example of what's in the classroom today please suspend me from school!

    October 30, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  8. Ann

    Wow, so the guy starts out as a Columbine-shooter-wannabe, almost shoots himself, and then – (cue angelic voices: "Aaaaah!") – FINDS DA LAWD.

    Well, even though he has a completely insane and irrelevant reason for voting for Obama – we'll take the vote. Thanks.

    October 30, 2012 at 9:15 am |
  9. Sane Person

    He listens to Marylin Manson? WHAT A RENEGADE!

    October 30, 2012 at 8:50 am |
    • pip

      a 90's renegade

      October 30, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  10. doctore0

    At least Romney is real unlike Jesus, but don't vote for him, stick with Obama

    October 30, 2012 at 8:25 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      Or be clever and don't vote for either of them.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:26 am |
  11. Hamm

    That's a nice big wall of propaganda he has pasted in his classroom. He's also got the required metro torn jeans of a youth pastor. Bet he also has some tats. They all have tats.

    October 30, 2012 at 8:24 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      I bet he listens to Christian Metal music.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:25 am |
  12. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    October 30, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      For instance praying lowered by IQ by 32 points. that right there is all the proof i need.

      October 30, 2012 at 9:43 am |
    • TrollAlert

      "Ronald Regonzo" who degenerates to:
      "Salvatore" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Thinker23" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "another repentant sinner" degenerates to:
      "Dodney Rangerfield" degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "Atheist Hunter" degenerates to:
      "Anybody know how to read? " degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "ImLook'nUp" degenerates to:
      "Kindness" degenerates to:
      "Chad" degenerates to
      "Bob" degenerates to
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "2357" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "fred" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert"

      This troll is not a christian.

      October 30, 2012 at 10:18 am |
    • 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 30, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module, the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

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

      October 30, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi Prayerbot.

      October 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
  13. Rational Libertarian

    Tough question for y'all:

    Who would you let your kids with first, this guy or a Catholic priest?

    October 30, 2012 at 6:45 am |
    • cristopher hitchens

      If you put you in the mix I would prefer either of the others hands down.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • == o ==

      The only kind of "trickle-down" that actually works:

      "cristopher hitchens" degenerates to:
      "Douglas" degenerates to:
      "pervert alert" who makes such lovely posts as "que ers the ones who gave aids to america" degenerates to:
      "Taskmaster" degenerates to:
      "Ronald Regonzo" degenerates to:
      "truth be told" degenerates to:
      "Atheism is not healthy ..." degenerates to:
      "tina" degenerates to:
      "captain america" degenerates to:
      "just sayin" degenerates to:
      "nope" degenerates to:
      "WOW" degenerates to:
      "!" degenerates to:
      and many other names, but of course I prefer to refer to this extreme homophobe as
      the disgruntled Evangelical Fortune Cookie Co. writer boot camp flunkie.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Honey Badger Dont Care

      That's a false dichotomy fallacy. There are more choices than just that.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      A priest,

      This guy is like the Camel Cigarette cartoon character for christianity and is a kid magnet. Priests are easier to fend off.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:45 am |
  14. Bootyfunk

    christians, you are in a cult. ALL religions are cults. leave the cult. think for yourself.

    October 30, 2012 at 4:46 am |
    • cristopher hitchens

      If you think you represent free thought you are sadly mistaken . You are the greatest argument against atheism on these blogs. Glad you're on the wrong side.

      October 30, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      You can't even spell the name of the (mostly) great man who's name you've commandeered.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:04 am |
    • cristopher hitchens

      Are you referring to the blasphemous drunk whose throat rotted out of him at a relatively early age, and spewed his graffiti in some third rate rag?

      October 30, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Rational Libertarian

      That's the fellow.

      October 30, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You refer to "basphemous drunk" as if it were a bad thing......

      October 30, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  15. Harvey Rabbit

    Yeah, I really want to put my high school aged kids in a closed room with the crazy-eyed believer in magic invisible superbuddies so he can brainwash them with his psychotic delusions. That sounds like a good choice . . . NOT!

    October 30, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  16. Where is your God now?

    Police arrested the mother of a 16-month-old toddler girl after they found her living inside a trailer in Cleveland, Texas, about a hour northeast of Houston, with co.ckroaches crawling all over her.

    When police entered the home smelled what they believed to be rotting, decaying flesh and found a toddler with rashes and bug bites sitting among squalid conditions. Police removed the toddler from the house and placed her in the custody of child protective services.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      He was in the hearts and minds of the police officers who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving others.

      Why do you even post this crap?

      October 30, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How do you know that, Bill? Do you think all police, firefighters and doctors believe in your version of god? Got any evidence to back up this opinion? Do you even have a clue as to who the officers were or what they believed?

      October 30, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      And let me ask you this, Billy: Do you really think that someone who is an atheist or agnostic would have stood by and done nothing to help that child?

      Really, you're such a dumbazz.

      October 30, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  17. Where is your God now?

    Carlnelus Delaney Simmons, age 37, reportedly took his girl-friends 16 month old son, Jabraylon Bables, and dipped him into a pot of boiling water. According to The Dallas Morning News, the baby suffered for 36 days before succ.umbing to his grotesque and brutal injuries. He was presumably in agonizing pain, as his burns covered most of his lower body and melted the skin off his body and of which subsequently became infected.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  18. Reality

    Bringing Mr. Seyler into the 21st century:

    Only for the new members of this blog:

    1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482

    “New Torah For Modern Minds

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

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

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

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

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


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

    Current RCC problems:

    Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!

    2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).

    Current problems:
    Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,

    October 29, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  19. Where is your God now?

    A Edinburgh, Indiana man is behind bars today after he seriously injured his newborn daughter by allegedly throwing the infant across the room.

    Bradley Kyle Eddleman, 23-years-old, fractured his infant daughter’s skull after he allegedly threw her across the room. The infant was rushed to the hospital where medical personnel noted finger impressions and bruising all over the baby’s body. According to the Daily Journal, the police report said doctors found bruising along the baby’s back, knee and lower leg.

    The infant was treated at Riley Hospital for Children where she admitted for a few days and then released. Doctors are unsure if the infant will suffer permanent disabilities from her injuries since more time is needed to fully assess if the baby will suffer permanent damage.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Innerspace is God's place while outerspace is for the human race.

      1Cr 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.

      Lettuce Love

      October 29, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
    • Where is your God now?

      A 10 day old infant newborn was killed when her mother, who was reportedly high on drugs, threw the baby into the washing machine where the baby died after going through an entire washing machine cleansing cycle.

      The infant, Maggie May Trammel, was found by her great aunt, who was inside the Oklahoma home and went looking for the infant after she found her mother passed out on the sofa. According to The NY Daily News, the great-aunt heard a clunking noise coming from the washer machine. When she opened it, she found the newborn dead.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  20. Namesake

    This seemed like a good article but it was so short. What happened.

    October 29, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • 24HCC

      This seemed like a bad article but it was so long. What happened.

      October 29, 2012 at 11:43 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.