Lutheran pastor apologizes for praying in Newtown vigil
People pray at the interfaith vigil in honor of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
February 7th, 2013
01:34 PM ET

Lutheran pastor apologizes for praying in Newtown vigil

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

Washington (CNN) – A Lutheran pastor has apologized after being chastised by his denomination's leader for offering a prayer at an interfaith vigil for the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Pastor Rob Morris, who leads the Christ the King Lutheran Church in Newtown, violated the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's rule against taking part in joint worship services, said the synod's president, Pastor Matthew C. Harrison.

Participation could be seen as endorsing "false teaching" because some among the diverse group of religious leaders at the vigil hold beliefs different from those of synod.

The vigil, which was attended by President Barack Obama, was a high-profile part of the healing process for the families of the 20 children and six adults killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14.

One of the victims of the shooting was a young congregant of Morris' church.

In an open letter posted online, Harrison wrote that because of "the presence of prayers and religious readings" and the fact that "other clergy were vested for their participation," the event was a "joint worship with other religions."

"I could draw no conclusion other than that this was a step beyond the bounds of practice allowed by the Scriptures," Harrison wrote. "There is sometimes a real tension between wanting to bear witness to Christ and at the same time avoiding situations which may give the impression that our differences with respect to who God is, who Jesus is, how he deals with us, and how we get to heaven, really don't matter in the end."

Harrison then "asked Pastor Morris to apologize for taking part in the service" because he "violated the limits set by Scripture regarding joint worship" and "gave offense" to the Lutheran leadership.

A day after Harrison's letter was posted, Morris apologized in another open letter.

"To those who believe that I have endorsed false teaching, I assure you that was not my intent, and I give you my unreserved apologies," Morris wrote in a letter to the Lutheran leadership. "I apologize where I have caused offense by pushing Christian freedom too far, and I request you charitably receive my apology."

In the same letter, however, Morris defends his decision to participate, writing that he believed his participation was "not an act of joint worship, but an act of community chaplaincy."

"Those who have followed the news reports are aware that this event is not quite like anything that has happened before," Morris wrote. "I believe (and I fervently pray) that my ministry will never involve a parallel situation to the one that faced my congregation and community that weekend."

According to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, participating in joint worship events, particularly with religions that "reject Jesus," is forbidden and violated the synod's constitution. In his letter, Harrison cited Romans 16:17 as the justification for this rule.

"I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned," the passage reads. "Keep away from them."

Morris is not the first Lutheran pastor to be reprimanded for participating in an interfaith event. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011, a New York pastor was suspended for participating in a similar interfaith event memorializing those killed in attack on the World Trade Center.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Lutheran • United States

soundoff (980 Responses)
  1. andrew.peter

    Pastor Harrison was absolutely right in his conclusion. If a person believes that their faith is the only way, then you can't be a part of a group of people who have fundamentally big differences. Or else you're saying, "hey, what I believe isn't important, because it's probably not real or right anyway." All people who would say that need to abandon their beliefs, because their faith means nothing. We are to live peaceably with each other, but yet still be fully convinced of our faith and beliefs.
    Romans 14:5 – One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

    February 8, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • snowboarder

      every religious organization has the same mistaken impression that their doctrine is the only correct one.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:38 am |
    • Bemused and enraged

      Yes, andrew , that's the danger that you actually might have to face an inconvenient truth.
      If every monotheistic religion claims to have the one true god, somebody's got to have it wrong! Or all of them have it wrong. Perhaps the one and only god doesn't care about denominations, catholics, baptists, muslims, jews, hindus...
      Or, oh my, there is no god, but for that reason we must proclaim even harder that we have the one and only god. How else can we manage to feel superior to everybody else on the planet or universe. (Imagine what faithful martians would say about the tiny missouri synod? They would laugh their green heinis off of the red planet... trust me, I know. I am one of them)

      February 8, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Momof3

      I'm a soccer Mom. My sons play only soccer because that's the sport Imy husband and I believe in. We hang around with other soccer parents and we all share the belief about soccer being the best sport for our children. Your son plays baseball, you're wrong to let your son play baseball, becasue I think so, but since I'm a peace loving person, I'm going to let you continue to believe that baseball is a valid sport, but I'm not going to have anything to do with you, or let my sons hang out with your sons...

      You see, it sounds ridiculous no matter how you say it...

      February 8, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
  2. james

    Looks like a non issue. the man apologized and asked forgiveness. for all Christians and claimed believers it should end there. A few verses to look up to help those who believe the Bible matters, Matthew.5:23,24 ; Matthew.18:15; Luke 17:3 Ephesians.4:32 and so many others to indicate forgiveness asked, forgiveness given.

    February 8, 2013 at 10:14 am |
  3. Patrick

    Missouri Synod is the insane branch of Lutheranism, along with the tiny Wisconsin Synod. They are NOT in the true tradition of Lutheranism. They are Americanized fundamentalist "christians". Don't confuse them with the ELCA, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America which does not hold their intolerant views and would be happy to join with Christians of other denominations to pray. How very sad for those who follow the Missouri Synod thinking that they are Lutherans.

    February 8, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • andrew.peter

      It was largely more an issue of non-Christians being part of the INTERfaith worship service.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:20 am |
  4. God does not mind

    The non existent God does not mind participation by the pastor with other clergy in offering prayer to his non existent self.

    February 8, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Dawn

      I'd much rather live believing in God and die to find out there isn't, then to live not believing in God only to die and find out there is!

      February 8, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • mk

      @Dawn, so basically you're living your life in fear.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:25 am |
  5. grist

    How tolerant of the church!

    February 8, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  6. P

    Religious intolerance is alive and well....and Satan laughs!

    February 8, 2013 at 10:07 am |
    • james

      how right you are.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  7. mk

    Religious people are publicly horrified that any denomination would do this, but secretly they believe that their religion is the one, true religion in which god loves them best and that all others are ridiculous.

    February 8, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • heliocracy

      Yes God loves us, but only if we choose correctly from hundreds of denominations whose differences are largely semantic. He won't tell us which one is correct, and he delights in sending all people who choose wrongly into eternal torture. Sounds like a deity I would like to party with!

      February 8, 2013 at 10:18 am |
  8. rita

    I think this is just awful. I know the God I serve is a total denomination God. When I get to Heaven I really don't see a divider between denominations. I commend this minister for stepping out of the comfort zone for the right of the people and the right of God. Brother in Christ you will not fail as long as you serve the true God.

    February 8, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • rabidatheist

      When you go to heaven? How do you know this, and how do you know you picked the right god?

      February 8, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • heliocracy

      There won't be a divider between denominations in heaven, because only one denomination is correct and will get in. God, in his infinite love and wisdom, will condemn billions of good, upright, honest, and reverent people to eternal damnation because they were raised Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, or Buddhist or any of the other mistaken religions and denominations. Gandhi is in he11 right now, as we speak. Now do you see why atheists deny the reality of God? Could a God that really loves mankind and created the entire universe really be so unjust and petty?

      February 8, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Floretta

      rabidatheist: "many paths, one truth"

      February 8, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • rabidatheist

      Floretta, that's not an answer to the question. You have to answer, how do you know it's the truth? Do you have some superpower that I don't have that allows you to peek into the afterlife? Mearly insisting something is the truth, doesn't make it true.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:29 am |
  9. Luke

    Just so everybody knows, the Missouri and Wisconsin Synod denominations are much different from the ELCA. I have been a member of a couple different ELCA churches and both of them taught tolerance and love for everybody. We do interfaith services all the time, such as at Thanksgiving.

    February 8, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • my2sense

      Helpful comment, but at the same time illustrates the arbitrary nature of belief and its precepts. Different truths from one state to the next? Isn't that like having Alabama Geometry and New Hampshire Geometry. Ok, that's not fair. There's more than one way to arrive a truth sometimes, but this article just illustrates how the religious can still shock us with their 'particular' kind of logic. Anyway, too bad the writer of the article didn't make your point, would have softened the blow...
      All the best.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:19 am |
    • Paul

      Being brought up in an ELCA church it was a bit strange when visiting a MS church and seeing them not allow people communion.

      Obfuscating (a gesture I first saw V:tM larpers use for the invisibility powers) myself at Catholic services, mostly funerals, made me appreciate the tolerance of the church I lucked into even if I'm no longer an active member.

      February 8, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  10. Charles

    It is amazing to see so many people the world over who buy into this religious non sense, all religion is man made which is put in place to control the masses. There is no one who has died, that have returned to tell us about the afterlife and if someone tells you the story of someone that has, and you believe them, then you are the fool.

    February 8, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • rabidatheist

      Even more astonishing is in the Bible several people die, and come back to life. This includes the hordes that rose from their graves, and wandered around Jerusalem after the CRUCI-FICTION, and "appeared to many", and all without a single person asking, "Hey, where were you while you were dead all this time?".

      February 8, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  11. Jenny

    mb54, excellent logic. Finally, a sane voice in the chaos.

    February 8, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  12. Jeff Hughes

    He did nothing wrong, why would you be ashamed of praying to God the almighty and all powerful. He has nothing to be ashamed of. I would have not apologized!

    February 8, 2013 at 10:01 am |
  13. Chad

    "I could draw no conclusion other than that this was a step beyond the bounds of practice allowed by the Scriptures," Harrison wrote. "There is sometimes a real tension between wanting to bear witness to Christ and at the same time avoiding situations which may give the impression that our differences with respect to who God is, who Jesus is, how he deals with us, and how we get to heaven, really don't matter in the end."

    As long as what you say bears witness to Jesus Christ and you dont water it down for the target audience or the other people on the dais, I dont see it as much of a problem to participate in that kind of service.

    February 8, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "As a Christian, I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice."

      "In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. ...Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed his blood upon the Cross."

      Words from a man not afraid to prech The True Gospel as he saw it.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • rabidatheist

      I guess Hitler fits your definition, and therefore a Christian.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Chad

      well, you got one thing right at least "as he saw it."
      world is full of lunatics

      how about: "You know, they are fooling us, there is no God...all this talk about God is sheer nonsense"
      sound familiar?

      February 8, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Chad

      You figure that Hitler believed this:

      Christianity is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion[2] based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings.[3] It also considers the Hebrew Bible, which is known as the Old Testament, to be canonical. Adherents of the Christian faith are known as Christians.[1]
      The mainstream Christian belief is that Jesus is the Son of God, fully divine and fully human and the savior of humanity. Because of this, Christians commonly refer to Jesus as Christ or Messiah.[4] Jesus' ministry, sacrificial death, and subsequent resurrection are often referred to as the Gospel, meaning "Good News" . In short, the Gospel is news of God the Father's eternal victory over evil,[5] and the promise of salvation and eternal life for all people, through divine grace

      Adolph worshiped a Jewish Messiah?


      anyway, sorry to interrupt you train of "thought", please proceed with your nonsense.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Chad You should probably read his speeches before asking such silly questions. Hitler was a practicing Catholic until the day he died.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • Chad

      good choice, I think ignoring the reality that Adolph Hitler worshiped a Jewish Messiah is an absurd idea and instead just focusing on his use of the text "lord" or "god" or "jesus" was the only real option you had..

      given that reality isnt an option for you that is..

      I know you would never actually do any real investigation, just pulling your chain 🙂

      February 8, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • rabidatheist

      Chad, I prefer to use his ACTUAL words before I use other people's interpretations, and spin of what they think his words say, especially when the agenda has been to paint him as an atheist.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Chad

      Oh, believe me, I dont blame you..

      Focusing on those text strings instead of actually doing investigation was about the only option available to you.


      there is one small oddity.

      you are admitting that holding your view is more important to you than the reality of it. Which is why you dont do any investigation.

      but, if you can somehow be comfortable with that, your're all set!!

      February 8, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Logic Fail

      Why are people so obsessed with Hitler's religious affiliation?! NEWS FLASH: There are bad apples in every bunch. Claiming one side is better by arguing Hitler plays for the other team is we tod ed.

      February 8, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • rabidatheist

      @ Chad I am not sure why I do this but here goes. Are you completely insane? If the man's own words indicate he is a believer in god, and jesus christ, AND that his actions are done in accordance with scripture, because remember the Bible states that the blood of jesus will be on all genreations of Jews, and he is "doing the lord's work in defending himself from the Jews", how is he not just like every other Christian soldier that has taken up the "struggle" for Christ? All the evidence you have, actual evidence, not hearsay, actual evidence, the man was a Christian whether you like it or not.

      February 8, 2013 at 11:15 am |
    • Chuckles

      Here's what I don't get. Who the eff cares if Hitler was christian or not? Regardless of what Hitler actually believed vs. what he said, he still did some pretty horrible things and ordered even worse things. He also used christian imagery and symbolism for the nazi troops. It also didn't help that during WWII the pope tacitly condoned what Hitler was doing because the Vatican's stance for a while had been that jews were "christ-killers".

      I don't think all christians are evil like Hitler, that would be silly, but I do recognize the only way to get people to follow his orders was to rationalize them by using christianity, not fascism.

      Get it?

      February 8, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Chad kens whae's a true Scotsman and he disnae like the cut o' Adolf's kilt.
      And yes, all Christians technically worship "the Jewish messiah" – including groups like The Aryan Brotherhood who hate Jewish people.
      Of course, , there were MANY claimaints to the Messiah role like Simon of Peraea, Athronges, Menahem ben Judah, Vespasian, Simon bar Kokhba, etc. ad nauseum.

      February 8, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • Chad

      i get it, you cant really look at what Hitler actually believed because that opens you up to understanding reality..

      best to stick with the "anyone that uses Jesus in a sentence is a Christian" approach, not matter how patently absurd it is..

      Personally, I never argue that Hitler was an atheist.. he was just in the insane category as far as I am concerned.

      February 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Chad

      if you think that Hitler was appealing to Christianity, your just plain ignorant of history.

      Do some reading on German nationalism after WWI

      or not.. and just keep hammering the nonsense theme 🙂

      February 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • rabidatheist

      No Chad, you just don't seem to get it, and this goes back to the "religious violence" conversation from before. You keep posting these sections that define what a Christian is, and many of the most vile mass murders, and dark times in human history have been the result of people that deeply believe everything you have posted to define a Christian. All of the major religions, and even in their own books tell stories of mass murders committed by the follows under the strict direction of their god. The defining moment of the Abrahamic monotheistic religions is when a man heard the voice of god tell him to kill his child. That very same god has no trouble slaughtering innocent babies because a pharaoh did exactly what god commanded him to do so he could demonstrate his power. So don't say that followers of the religions that go on to commit mass slaughters to strengthen their religions role in the world have somehow "missed the message". They got the message just fine, and followed that message enough to kill their way to the top of the religious pyramid in the world.

      February 8, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Chad

      Mao Ze-Dong (China, 1958-61 and 1966-69, Tibet 1949-50) 60,000,000
      Jozef Stalin (USSR, 1932-39) 6,000,000
      Pol Pot (Cambodia, 1975-79) 1,700,000
      Kim Il Sung (North Korea, 1948-94) 1,600,000
      Leonid Brezhnev (Afghanistan, 1979-1982) 900,000

      atheist democide total: 70,700,000

      Adolf Hitler (Germany, 1939-1945) 12,000,000
      Leopold II of Belgium (Congo, 1886-1908) 8,000,000
      Hideki Tojo (Ja pan -50% atheist), 1941-44) 5,000,000
      Ismail Enver (Islam Turkey, 1915-20) 1,200,000
      Menghistu (Ethiopia, 1975-78) 1,500,000
      Yakubu Gowon (Biafra, 1967-1970) 1,000,000
      Jean Kambanda (Rwanda, 1994) 800,000
      Saddam Hussein (Islam Iran 1980-1990 and Kurdistan 1987-88) 600,000
      T ito (Yugoslavia, 1945-1987) 570,000
      Fumimaro Konoe (50% atheist Ja pan, 1937-39) 500,000
      Jonas Savimbi (Angola, 1975-2002) 400,000
      Mullah Omar – Taliban (Islam Afghanistan, 1986-2001) 400,000
      Suharto (Islam Communists 1965-66) 500,000

      Non-atheist democide total 31,970,000

      note, over half of the "non-atheists" arent Christians

      i'm sorry.. what was your point again?

      February 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • Chuckles


      You are posting numbers but you aren't accounting for the time period and the amount of people in the world at those given time periods. Christians couldn't kill more people because there were less people in the world. Also, I know you're still harping on All Atheists = Communists, but you know that's untrue so why do you keep believing in it?

      February 8, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Sue

      Chad, Christianity is intrinsically socialist, economically. In other realms, it is merely self-contradictory and inconsistent.

      February 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • ryan

      What kind of moron would try to draw such ridiculous conclusions this way? As if he knew the minds of each and every person in each society that he claims to have facts on. I've seen some BS before, but this might take the cake.

      February 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Cosette

      Chad, Re: Your post @ February 8, 2013 at 10:17 am

      Point very well made!!!

      February 8, 2013 at 1:55 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      "if you think that Hitler was appealing to Christianity, your just plain ignorant of history."

      Fliip that around, bud.
      Hitler made MANY appeals to Christians during his rise to power, and they responded.
      While Mao, Stalin and Pol Pot put themselves into the Godhead position, Hitler publically professed his Christianity until his dying day and used Christian arguments to whip his people into a frenzy. This is why Nazi uniform belt buckles were emblazoned with the slogan “Gott mit uns” (God is with us).

      February 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm |
    • Chad

      @Chuckles "Christians couldn't kill more people because there were less people in the world. "
      @Sue "Christianity is intrinsically socialist, economically. In other realms, it is merely self-contradictory and inconsistent."

      =>I have to admit, words escape me.
      to contenders for "The most non-nonsensical statements made on this blog", and within mere minutes of each other..

      February 8, 2013 at 3:21 pm |
    • Chad

      Hitler promoted "positive Christianity", a movement which purged Christianity of its Jewish elements and instilled it with Nazi philosophy.

      Positive Christianity grew out of the Higher Criticism of the nineteenth century, with its emphasis on the distinction between the historical Jesus, and the divine Jesus of theology.[3] According to some schools of thought, the saviour-figure of orthodox Christianity was very different from the historical Galilean preacher. While many such scholars sought to place Jesus in the context of ancient Judaism, some writers reconstructed a historical Jesus who corresponded to racialist and anti-semitic ideology. In the writings of such anti-semites as Emile Burnouf, Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Paul de Lagarde, Jesus was redefined as an Aryan hero who struggled against Jews and Judaism. Consistent with their origins in Higher Criticism, such writers often either rejected or minimized the miraculous aspects of Gospel narratives, reducing the crucifixion to a tragic coda to Jesus's life rather than its prefigured culmination. Both Burnouf and Chamberlain argued that the population of Galilee was racially distinct from that of Judea. Lagarde insisted that German Christianity must become "national" in character.

      so, sorry..
      We dont get to define our own "christianity"

      February 8, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
    • G to the T

      @Chad – "so, sorry..We dont get to define our own "christianity"

      ROFLMAO! Thanks Chad you may have destroyed my irony meter but you sure did brighten up my day. 🙂

      February 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Cosette

      The only thing missing Chad is that you've never admitted before God that you're an @sswipe.

      February 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Cosette

      The only thing missing Chad is that you've never admitted before God that you're an @ss wipe.

      February 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
    • Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

      Chad – "so, sorry..We dont get to define our own "christianity". LMAO as well.

      Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3:

      Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

      John Adams, POTUS #2:

      I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

      James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights:

      During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

      Thomas Paine:

      All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

      February 8, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Asswipe is correct, Cosette.

      Chad- "We dont get to define our own 'christianity' "

      Indeed, Hitler was as Christian as you are, Chad.

      February 8, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Really-O?

      I see Chad is the honored guest at another blanket party.

      February 8, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Chad


      hey, if we each get to define what the characteristics of the group that we oppose are, and who we feel belong to it.
      I define atheism as "those people who say the God of Israel doesnt exist"
      and, I say that Marx, Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot were all atheists.


      I think that actually IS your definition, right?


      February 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad is boring, Really-O? He is all about his bible, I think it's an NIV, fairly mainstream conservatism, and the idea of the God of Israel. Not the actual God of Israel that people sometimes believe in, he admits to no personal relationship with that. Basically he sets himself up as an opponent of atheism and that's about it. Bring on an actual believer, a would-be Thomas Merton or Alvin Plantinga.

      February 8, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Chad

      you need better bait

      February 8, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
  14. Walt Cesaretti

    OMG...I don't believe what I just read about the Lutheran church's reasoning with the Newtown situation.

    February 8, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  15. h2ojames

    MS Lutheran – We're right, all other religions offer false teachings
    Catholic – We're right, all other religions offer false teachings
    Muslim – We're right, all other religions offer false teachings

    Hmmm... I see a pattern here.

    February 8, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • JJ

      True Christian® – Everyone else has it wrong but me. Enjoy hell!

      February 8, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • FactsRBad

      Very well said.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Charles

      You are correct h2ojames, too bad people can't see the forest for the trees. All religions are false.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  16. sbuler

    A the Lutherans formed in opposition to the ridiculous laws the catholic church had at the time. Gotta love it.

    February 8, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  17. Zeb

    Wow! Wow! And Jesus preached brotherly love? Obviously I misread the New Testament, and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod knows best.

    This, along with a lot of other reasons, is why I emphatically reject religions!

    February 8, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Christian

      Totally get where you are coming from, "religion" becomes very political the minute we lose sight of Christ. The issue is complex, but the truth is that menand women do a terrible job of representing Christ. The pastor is clearly a compassionate man, standing the families loving and supporting them would have been the best thing for him to have done. Scripture is vey clear that Jesus is The Way The Truh and The Life. By acting in such and official and public capacity in the Interfaith Service the pastor was saying "our differences don't matter". Truth is they do matter. Think of t this way. It is good to have religious freedom, it is better to have the truth and it is best to know the Truth personally. And that Truth is Christ Jesus came into this world to seek and to save the lost. The entire human race is the lost. Open scripture and read it with the desire to know the Truth...he will set you free to understand everything that matters. Don't be put off by how badly man reflects then glory of God. Go to the source, go to the word of God and see for yourself.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Jennie

      Yes Zeb, Jesus taught about brotherly love. He actually talked about you Zeb, that's right. When he told his disciples to go into all the world and teach the gospel message of salvation to the lost sheep. That's you Zeb and it was me as well. Maybe you are angry at God or focusing too much on the acts of man instead of God. Maybe it would behoove you to try to imagine a world void of light, void of visual beauty and creation, void of goodness, void of kindness, void of hope, void of love. In other words; a place where God is well remembered but unreachable. Really, go into a pitch black room and try spending an hour there by yourself and try imagining never escaping that place, and nothing but your thoughts and the memories of how you stubbornly said no to God and his promise of eternal life. A life eternal where there is no darkness only goodness and light that emanates from Almighty God; and that is just the beginning. He loves you and is offering his life eternal promise to you through His Beloved Son:Jesus...Cry out to Him. He already knows your heart and mind. He's waiting for you to take hold of His outstretched hand and receive His amazing love and gift of salvation. These are not just words. But amazing truths that are still yours for the taking.

      February 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm |
  18. SMH

    How neighborly, open, and understanding... real Christian. Ugh.

    February 8, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • my2sense

      Really incredible article, but coming from the religious, not surprising. That people who think there's a god that cares about them, and believe praying works, also think they can't do it together. An incendiary idea. A clear indication of tribal divisiveness that modern society must shun like the plague. How absolutely petty, and insulting to the memory of the situation, which all reasonable people should be able to condemn unreservedly together. Another example of religion needing to get some morals from the secular world...in this case...team sports perhaps? Please, if you're religious, hold your leaders to higher account.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:10 am |
  19. Kate

    Wow! Publicity like this is most certainly going to attract people in droves to the Lutheran church - NOT! Is there any common sense there or is the hierarchy as stupid as they appear to be?? This is a perfect example of form taking dominance over substance. Anyone who follows these knuckleheads needs their head examined!

    February 8, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • yuri pelham

      Yes! Lucifer trumped Jesus.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  20. TG

    The fact that there are over 41,000 different denomination and sects that profess Christianity should cause a person to reevaluate their religious standing. And since the Bible never speaks of "faiths"(plural) but only of "faith"(singular), then those who are serious about their religious profession should see the critical value of examining their "faith" as to it being "the truth".(John 8:44)

    The apostle Paul wrote that there is "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" at Ephesians 4:5. Thus, is it not vital that anyone who wants to worship our Creator, Jehovah God "with spirit and truth" (John 4:24) should give serious thought as to whether their religion measures up to the one established by Jesus, who said: "Why, then, do you call me ' Lord ! Lord ! but do not do the things I say ? "(Luke 6:46) What then are the marks of true Christianity ?

    February 8, 2013 at 9:49 am |
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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.