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My Take: The religious roots of our political gridlock
December 5th, 2012
08:04 AM ET

My Take: The religious roots of our political gridlock

Editor's Note: Mark Osler is a professor of law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.

By Mark Osler, Special to CNN

The divide between Democrats and Republicans that has frozen the mechanisms of American politics has many causes, but one of them is tangled up in the faith differences of our legislators. Faith, for many lawmakers on both sides, is the source of their outlook and principles, and faith has in part created the conditions for the current impasse about the fiscal cliff.

For many (though certainly not all) Republicans, the root of knowledge is a bedrock certainty about the inerrancy of a literal reading of the Bible. This provides them with clear, absolute answers - that gay marriage is wrong, that modern science is suspect, and that much of what we see on earth is a struggle between good and evil.

When the 2012 Republican Party platform stated that we should “reaffirm that our rights come from God,” that reflected a sincere and genuine sense of bright-line natural law.

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That kind of certainty in faith, which so often draws good/evil lines on theological issues, very naturally supports a similar outlook on political issues that aren’t directly rooted in the Bible. Faith, after all, if it really is faith, structures the way we view and interact with the world.

It shouldn’t surprise us, then, that some American conservatives tend both to see their opponents as evil and to catastrophize potential political losses.

If the world is locked in a battle between good and evil, and our side is good, that leaves only one possibility for our opponents.

Bending to that other side becomes unthinkable. A loss or even a compromise is something terrible - it is a victory for evil. When Rush Limbaugh tells his audience that Democrats “want to ruin America,” he knows how a significant part of his audience will receive that message, through the lens of a faith that offers certainty and bright lines.

Some Democrats, too, suffer from political disabilities that are formed by faith. Few of them have the absolutist outlook describe above, but their own New Testament-focused view of the Bible leads in a different problematic direction.

There, we see a Jesus who is anything but a capitalist. Instead, he urges others to give away all that they have to the poor, and often disparages the wealthy.

To the rich young ruler who has followed all the commandments, Jesus instructs that he must also sell everything he has and give the money to the poor, without regard to the people he will have to fire and the resulting poverty of his own family.

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

Many Democrats have taken this broad lesson of concern for the poor to heart, as we all do with core messages of faith. That quiet wind is always there.

This gets us to gridlock because it puts Democrats in the position of class warriors - they favor the poor and disfavor the rich.

This is most clear in framing tax policy, which is at the heart of the gridlock we have seen around how to avoid the fiscal cliff. At times, the Democrats' certainty on these issues is the equal of what we see in Republicans.

So we end up in a deadlock. Now, we hear, that gridlock may be breaking up a bit.

On one side, the certainty is less certain as the “no increase in taxes” pledge is abandoned by some. On the other, there is an openness to cutting government spending.

Some will say this is simply political expediency, but I am more hopeful: This opening may be tinged with a blessed uncertainty, the faint hint that the complexity of politics may be as messy and glorious and private as the complexity of our faiths.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Osler.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (1,027 Responses)
  1. James

    Church attendance is falling and most churches would be empty if not for immigrants, just look around you next time you are in church and see. These new immigrants are first generation and their offsprings will also stop going to church. in any case, these new immigrants overwhelmingly vote democrat. The so-called religious right will have less and less influence in future elections.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  2. Cheryl

    Literal inerrant views of the bible do not consider modern science suspect.....I see you opened your mouth and got it wrong....we consider EVOLUTION suspect.....which is not a science but a religion trying to explain the origins of the earth and has very little proof for and certainly doesn't follow the scientific method....at least all but micro evolution doesn't.....which doesn't prove evolution at all.....just it's proponents do ANYTHING to make sure that they can "prove" there is no God.....matter of fact I love physics....I think it's fascinating.....but I believe laws that that are consistent over time do not come from disorder but from order....which evolution provides none of........the people who BELIEVE in evolution get scared they are wrong so they call names, try to discredit their opponents, and fight to brainwash our children with false information to "prove" their religion...now let the name calling and discrediting begin

    December 5, 2012 at 10:45 am |
    • John Jacobson

      Unlike religion, evolution is based on observable FACT, and requires no faith to believe it. Whereas your religious position is untenable unless you have faith, which is not based on observable fact.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Mike the Wonderer

      I struggle with the concept of 'pure evolution'. How can anyone who has an understanding of the complexity of cell biology, to say nothing of the entire human body, actually believe it is all just the result a billion happy accidents of Gamma radiation' that lead us to our current state. It's like believing that if I dragged a bunch of metal, rubber, leather, glass, etc. into the desert, that over a huge amount of time it would somehow manage to assemble itself into my '55 Chevy.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:58 am |
    • Pete

      Cheryl, Evolution in no way attempts to describe the origin of Earth. You might want to learn what the Theory of Evolution is before you criticize it.

      December 5, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Pete

      MIke, you might want to learn the difference between animate and inanimate objects, and then try again.

      December 5, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • adh1729

      John Jacobson: "Unlike religion, evolution is based on observable FACT, and requires no faith to believe it." Huh?

      When billions of staggeringly complex biomolecules, synthesized by blind chance from scratch, got together to make the first living cell, was that observed? A printshop explosion creating the Websters dictionary, is more probable. You need to go study biochemistry for years as I did.

      When the first male evolved his male parts the same time the first female evolved hers, and the male evolved testosterone and a patent vas deferens and a descended testicle simultaneously with the first female evolving oxytocin and a uterus that could generate effective uterine contractions and a placenta, and of course platelets and a coagulation cascade so she wouldn't bleed to death postpartum, was this great miracle observed by any scientist? Did the male have erectile dysfunction? Did he even have the mental capacity to know how to impregnate the female? Did the sperm swim? Was the pituitary making FSH and LH? Did the first female get an ectopic pregnancy and bleed to death? How did the great stochastic evolution God work this out? You know, when the first male and female are standing there, you don't have a billion years to work out the problems. They will die in 20-80 years. How are you going to get the next generation?

      Your statement is so ignorant, it makes me want to curse. I know science as well as the PhD's you worship. Sorry, your emperor wears no clothes.

      December 5, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • adh1729

      Pete: "MIke, you might want to learn the difference between animate and inanimate objects, and then try again."

      Pete, you might want to realize that before life begins, everything is inanimate. Your argument is empty.

      Graphite, CO2, nitrogen, water and sunlight aren't suddenly going to produce cytochrome C and hexokinase and phospholipid. It is stupid. Inanimate matter has never been observed to produce something animate.

      December 5, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • gladiatorgrl

      Mike the Wonderer

      If you don't like pure evolution – Chariots of the Gods is a much better explination than an imaginary sky creature doling out souls and punishments living with all your dead loved ones

      December 5, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Which God?

      Cherryl. Outside of you babbling book of bulschitt, do you have any scievtific proof for the crap you spout? Please show how evolution is a relighion, and how is it false?

      December 5, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Pete

      How is Cheryl going to do that, she doesn't even know what Evolution is judging by her post.

      December 5, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • adh1729

      Which God? - "Cherryl. Outside of you babbling book of bulschitt, do you have any scievtific proof for the crap you spout? Please show how evolution is a relighion, and how is it false?"

      The Lord our God is one. Allah, Zeus, Yahweh, are just different names for the same being, to answer your first question (in case you care what a holy book says.)

      Maybe you should prove that the Bible is a "babbling book of BS". I bet you didn't know that several of the New Testament authors died for what they wrote. Why would a man willingly die by torture for what he knew to be a lie? And if Jesus rose from the dead, then YOU have a problem. I would rather believe in Peter and Paul than your lying con-men PhD's and media experts. The American establishment today is built upon fraud to the moon, but you somehow need to be a true believer. Why do you believe the media experts? Don't you know people lie?

      Answer what I wrote above, regarding unobserved evolutionary miracles. I could have gone on about CHF and optic nerves and optic cortices and rods and cones, but hopefully you get the point.

      The Bible says nothing about evolution. It says nothing about dinosaurs, the Big Bang, fossils or radioactive dating. Christianity is neutral regarding evolution. It states that God originated life. If speciation or descent by modification occurred at times, then OK. It won't hurt me.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  3. Lee Gibbs

    You need to learn more about who we are and why we are here on Earth, why this country was established and how the laws of supply and demand work. They are not the same. Religion is our base, economics our learning and knowledge. The fiscal cliff is an economic reality, YOU CAN'T SPEND MORE THAN YOU GOT. Take it from a CPA who for years practiced TAX. If you tax the rich more than they think you should – you dry up investing (never mind – they have sufficient to survive) jobs will be lost, the poor will pay. I have seen it happen several times in my life time and have first hand knowledge of the consequences.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Cheryl

      It's good to see someone has some sense here

      December 5, 2012 at 10:47 am |
    • Which God?

      I call bullschitt, Lee. You are talking trickle down economics again. A lot of the rich got rich by paring down, costing workers their jods. They don't invest in the "economy," they invest in what they cam make more money from. If that means shoring a businees, bankrupting one on speculation, they'll do it. They have the power/money to do so. We, don't. Paying their fair shre is only right and balanced. Why should I pay 18% tax aand they do the same, or less? I don't want you doing my taxes, sport.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Steve

      Lee, you gave away the game when you said"if you tax the rich more than THEY want to be taxes...(emphasis added). If we do not play by their rules, they will wreck the economy and show us who is boss. Your phrasing shows you already believe we live in a plutocracy rather than a democratic.

      December 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  4. gladiatorgrl

    2012 Republican Party platform stated that we should “reaffirm that our rights come from God,”

    they feel they're above man's laws – this would be why they used to feed them to the lions.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:41 am |
    • Which God?

      Nice line to post there, gladiatorgr. They said it. In public, for all to hear. Their desire for the rest of us. Don't let religious beliefs like this win.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • Durundal

      remember the good old days when xtians used to be the fanatical cultists?

      December 5, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Where then do our rights come from if not from God? From the state? What if they decide to revoke your rights and put you in a labor camp? From the King? What if he decides that all property is his for the taking? From the Committee of Most Reasonable People? What if they opt for evil?

      December 5, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Huebert

      Bill

      Our rights come from the state. If the state infringes on our rights it is our duty to defend our rights.

      December 5, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • gladiatorgrl

      Bill
      "What would a free man do?" – 300

      there's no imaginary sky creature only the free or sheep – LIVE LIKE LIONS!!!

      December 5, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Which God?

      @ BD. You must be pretty thicjheaded, Deacon. That question, you keep asking has answered many time by others here. You persist on saying that an invisible sky-fairy is resonsible for morals, lwas, etc. Get over your delusions. I'm beginning to think that you are a troll, as you keep posting the same schitt.

      December 5, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Primewonk

      If our rights come your god, he has some explaining to do. Why do I have more rights than a person living in Iran?

      Why do I have more rights than a gay man?

      Why did your god give basic rights to white male landowners only 250 years ago? Why did your god change his mind in the 1850's and give some rights to black men, but not white women? Why did god change his mind yet again and give women some rights in the 1920's? And then he changed his mind and said 18-20 year olds could have some rights back in the 1970's?

      December 5, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  5. sundownr

    Religious viewpoints come in many forms... of which this article is one. The sooner we separate Jesus and Mohammad from politics the better for all of us.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Which God?

      RAmen.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:44 am |
    • Whites need not apply

      Yeap , that will solve all our problems. Back to just good old humanist greed.

      GOD uses gold for asphalt. Precious jewels for walls.

      Don't need HIS help or advise.

      We store our gold and jewerly in lock boxes and vaults.

      And we are bankrupt.

      I'll stick with GOD. You can keep the politicians.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:49 am |
    • Which God?

      OK, Whites. You can stick with your god... stick him up your azz. Jeebus is comming... feel him yet?

      December 5, 2012 at 10:55 am |
  6. mac

    However you'd like to read it, superimposing whatever beliefs etc., upon it, there is one consistency that cannot be overlooked throughout the bibles message – as it relates to you as an individual – being responsible. We are admonished to look at our spouse and take care of them, men to act as caring heads-of-households, to love our neighbors, etc. The rich man sighted to give away all – that's what HE – personally – was supposed to do; not heckle or force his neighbors, but to take it upon himself. Admonishments to the rich weren't that it was evil to be rich, but to guard against what can too easily happen when you are rich – again, be responsible for you, your family, your actions, your faith, etc.

    Faith isn't forced upon others, it's shared. You have to function in the "real" world; render to Caesar what is Caesar's is the response to paying taxes, etc. So, if our author's observations are correct, then they all need to go back to bible school and take another stab at it. Gov't is neither the answer nor the problem; nor should our faith – or by extension, faith-inspired ideas and principles – be forced on others, but shared and act as a guide to how each of us individually acts. So, in position of governance, you act with principle, not manipulate the situation to your world-view.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:37 am |
    • henry jones

      I agree. If there were a majority of literal Christians in congress, poverty would not exist (Luke 14:13-14), we would have no need of a military (Luke 6:27–31), and everyone would happily pay their taxes (Luke 20:20-26).

      Of course the rich would be furious, but they're going to hell anyway (Luke 16:19–26), so who cares?

      December 5, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Primewonk

      " Faith isn't forced upon others, it's shared"

      Seriously? The fundiot nutters forced their god onto money and into my pledge. The fundiot nutters have forced their faith into the laws and constîtutions of 31 states forcing gays to be second class citizens. The fundiot nutters keep trying to force their faith into my public school science classes. The fundiot nutters keep forcing their faith onto courthouse walls and into public squares.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
    • adh1729

      "The fundiot nutters forced their god onto money and into my pledge. The fundiot nutters have forced their faith into the laws and constîtutions of 31 states forcing gays to be second class citizens. The fundiot nutters keep trying to force their faith into my public school science classes. The fundiot nutters keep forcing their faith onto courthouse walls and into public squares."

      The government took my tax dollars to promote atheism in the educational system. Somehow you don't see a problem with that.

      Duh, just get the goverment out of education completely and then we won't have to fight over what religion is taught to kids or whether atheism is taught. Let them all go to private schools of one kind or another, and let the parents choose. That will never happen, because the purpose of school is not learning, but it is rather social control. Choice is a joke; there is no liberty in the USA; it is a mirage. Long live the bloated, worthless, tyrannical government. (We got along fine in 1800 with a trifle of the government that we have now. We didn't have public schools then either and didn't need them.)

      December 5, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  7. Whites need not apply

    GOP, Just bend over and take the DEM prostate exam like a man. You are going to give away our future anyway, so you should enjoy some of the pain and embarrassment too. Like the rest of us who pay your salary. You Work for us. Remember!

    December 5, 2012 at 10:36 am |
    • Mark of CT

      you sound like a complete moron.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  8. QuestionEverything

    Open up your nearest history book, christianity is almost always on the wrong side of history.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:34 am |
    • Whites need not apply

      Really, are you sure?

      Examples please. Proof, not just your POV.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:40 am |
    • adh1729

      If you think the Pope equals Jesus, then you would be right. Sorry to tell you that that equation is false.

      Question for you - did Jesus ever talk about evolution? Did he lock up Galileo? Did he preach that women should be paid 60 cents for every dollar a man got paid? Did he advocate the lynching of blacks?

      You don't have a clue.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • Alip

      I just don't understand all the negativity about religion. Just because there are people out there who distort and misuse religion, doesn't mean the original and underlying principles are incorrect. We should object to specific people who do perpetuate violence and hate...not religion as a whole.

      December 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  9. Mark

    Sure blame it on religion instead of the real problem power hunger/greed. It seems the thing to do is bash religion yet how many dollars are and how much help is provided by religion versus how much is provided by the govt.? Religion is a base for moral guidelines and an individual experience with out it you have the risk of survival of the fittest, tribal if you will which is what we have in the middle east and that arab spring is really working out well there. No it's not perfect but what or who is? To much giving does nothing to motivate. even the government knows that as evidenced by the fact that the dept. of agriculture runs food stamps and the national parks. If you wander in the wilderness of our national parks you see signs saying do not feed the bears as they may become dependent upon humans. A little help is one thing but creating dependance only makes you weak. How many people are on disability that aren't disabled? Even 2% is millions.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:33 am |
    • Saraswati

      In a lot of countries the government provides much more for its people. Here many of the Christian groups have worked through the GOP to prevent that from happening so they can continue to buy votes through their charities rather than letting people have the self-respect of universal access to healthcare and affordable education.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:39 am |
    • Primewonk

      Exactly Saraswati.

      One other thing to consider is the relative cost of things the religious right (oxymoron) want charity to pay for – i think this was on CNn a few days ago. A guy found the hospital bill for his birth from 1947. It was $70 and that included a week long stay for his mother. Even with inflation, that would only amount to about $750 today. Instead, the actual cost for an uncomplicated delivery today is well over $15,000.

      2 months ago my wife fell down our stairs and broke the crap out of her leg. The bill so far is $130,000. She won't be back to work until February. Should one of our local churches paid her bill? Should another church be paying us what short-term disability is now paying?

      December 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @Prime, that's a ridiculous bill to expect any individual to pay, and to imagine that those working in minimum wage jobs would have a hope of doing so is absurd. Cost of an illness is the #1 reason small businesses in the US close down, and we wonder why we no longer top lists of compet'itiveness.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
  10. trahart

    What the writer of the article does not understand is that our behavior determines our religion, rather than our religion determining our behavior. If we are born as people who care about other people then we interpret scripture and religion to support our behavioral inclinations. If we are born as people who care only about "me and mine" then we interpret scripture and religion to support those inclinations. We select religion, churches, political affilations, our God's character and practically everything else accordingly. Mentally we construct the world in a manner that is confortable and supports our natural behaviors. This is also why we do not often see ourselves as "hypocrites" when others see our behaviors as exactly that way. We fool ourselves because we are fools ourselves.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:30 am |
    • Saraswati

      Although I suspect there's some movement in both directions, I agree that the choice of religion (where a choice is possible) is usually as much to support one's sense of self worth and financial and social status as anything else. For some, there is a moderate role of the need for intellectual consistency, and I do think people care for their families and often greater society. But selecting religious and political beliefs that bolster your ego is the first priority. I'm not calling anyone evil here...just normal human behaviour.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  11. SphinxRB

    Need to resolve this. The People can't take this anymore, either financially, or emotionally. Come to an agreement, PLEASE!

    December 5, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  12. Whites need not apply

    2016 Presidential race for GOP nominee

    White males need not apply. GOP will compromise themselves to the point where it will only allow minorities to run for office.

    Democrats have made everything about race. So let's join the party.

    Old white conservative or moderate males are no longer welcome to lead, run or participate in the GOP.Z

    Now both the Democratic and liberal media can't voice anymore complaints.

    HAPPY NOW?

    December 5, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • Der Fenstergucker

      Dumbest thing to say: you forgot that there was a tight race for the nomination 2008, Clinton vs Obama. Clinton doesn't strike me as a racial minority...

      December 5, 2012 at 10:35 am |
    • Whites need not apply

      Tight race, are you kidding!

      Pres. Clinton was the first black president. Hillary is female. Minority you fool.

      Get it now?

      Idiots abound

      December 5, 2012 at 10:53 am |
    • fintastic

      Yea, Idiots that use terms like "liberal media"

      December 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  13. ray

    The Repugnicans believe it is their RIGHT and DUTY to insult their religeous dogmas and tenants on everybody while they whistle past the graveyard. They need to understand that their beliefs STOP AT THE END OF THEIR NOSES!!!

    December 5, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • adh1729

      Sorry, the Republicans aren't religious at all. They have both you and the Southern Baptists all suckered. While Dick Cheney is torturing and George Bushes are waging unnecessary wars and the bringing down buildings on hapless New Yorkers - you call that religion? Maybe it is religion that worships money and power (which may well be your religion).

      December 5, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • ray

      Why are you inferring I have anything to do with religion. You over played your hand.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm |
    • adh1729

      I qualified my last comment. I obviously don't know you. No, I didn't think you were a churchgoer for a moment.

      December 5, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  14. revbates

    Sorry Mr. Osler but I think your article is nonsense.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:23 am |
    • kt

      I think he hit the nail on the head. Can't take the heat, much?

      December 5, 2012 at 10:29 am |
    • adh1729

      kt: What does the Bible have to do with balancing the budget? And what is with your fervent jihad against the Bible?

      You radical athiests and pagans are the real problem. I never shoved the Bible in your face. You were born in a country that used to be Christian - get over it. It is rapidly becoming irreligious - I don't understand your hysterical fear - your worthless gay marriage certificates will be mailed soon from your bloated bankrupt guberment, and you should feel real good about them.

      And no, I am not a republican. I hate both parties. They both stink to high heaven. They have mortally wounded the USA.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:43 am |
    • Primewonk

      "I never shoved the Bible in your face. You were born in a country that used to be Christian"

      The Treaty of Tripoli (1797) states, " As the government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian Religion". If the founding fathers 216 years ago said we are not a Christian nation, who are you to argue with them?

      And sorry, but the fundiot nutters do shove their bible and religion down everyone's throats. Who do think is pushing all these laws discriminating against gay folks? Who do you think it is trying to force their myths to be taught as science?

      December 5, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • adh1729

      Primewonk: By numbers, the US was overwhelmingly Christian in 1797 and I don't know how you could try to argue that point.
      "And sorry, but the fundiot nutters do shove their bible and religion down everyone's throats. Who do think is pushing all these laws discriminating against g*y folks? Who do you think it is trying to force their myths to be taught as science?"

      Atheism has myths too, and they get plenty of tax funding, which you don't seem to care about.

      Regarding the marriage wars: don't blame the fundiots: the solution is not for government to recognize traditional marriage, nor g*y marriage, but rather to get out of the whole arena (before group marriage and polygamy and self-marriage and everything else comes into play as well). Just get the government out of the social wars and let people do whatever they want. Let them answer to their creator.

      December 5, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  15. John

    The refusal to compromise comes from the rights refusal to admit that their policies just failed us on a massive scale. THe foundations they beleive in, just blew up in everyones faces. Faced with this reality, they turned to, well it just was not conservative enough, there was to much compromise. Sure rat posion killed this sick man but if he had only taken more of it, it would have cured his headache and he would be fine. This is all they have left to lie to themselves with.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:22 am |
  16. Jon

    As a white, theologically somewhat conservative, Christian American male my conclusion re the article may be a surprise. I think this article is in danger of striking a false balance that unduly favors the political right. And as we know from Bible school, "a false balance is an abomination." Yes, I'm being a little wry. But seriously, it is false to strike a "balance" midway between the current crop of ultra-right manglers of Scripture calling themselves moral warriors and the current crop of timid Democrats who are barely in the political center, leaning a bit right themselves. Some of us theologically "orthodox" Christians abhor the Christian Right - in fact, we have nightmares about its effect upon the faith that guides and informs our lives. And no, the Old Testament, for all its problem passages re violence and blood, is also filled with the same vibrations as found in the New Testament. Read Amos. Read just *why* God judged Sodom and Gomorrah (for their neglect of the poor!). The Christian Right does not actually do theology; they take their preconcieved culture-war ideals and superimpose them upon the Bible's richness, robbing the latter of meaning and depth and turning it into spiritual poison. So no, the Democrats are not "too" oriented toward the message of the New Testament. It is not enough so. "Oh you rich man weep and howl," James writes. "The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil," Paul writes. Those words are not negotiable. And of course there is a class war... it has existed from the beginning of time, and the Scriptures themselves offer abundant and in-context evidence to that regard. History underscores that revelation.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:17 am |
    • BobFromPA

      Very well said and I respect your right to believe in what you believe in and your seeming desire to keep it more personal.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:26 am |
    • dave

      The answer, as it always has been, is love. Love God, love others–even the ones who disagree with you.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  17. Mike Texoma

    Good point well made.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:16 am |
  18. Nope

    Not only is religion the root of political gridlock, it is also the root of most that is bad in the world.

    December 5, 2012 at 10:15 am |
    • lol??

      You're blaming everything on the false prophet? You never heard of the beast? There is no honor among thieves.

      December 5, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  19. Adam

    "It is time we realized that to presume knowledge where one has only pious hope is a species of evil."

    Sam Harris

    December 5, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  20. lol??

    Well, the automobile has been around for over a hundred years. Which party is responsible for the automakers making defective power window switches?

    December 5, 2012 at 10:12 am |
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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.