Religious leaders protest Obama drone policy
March 28th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Religious leaders protest Obama drone policy

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

Washington (CNN) – A group of rabbis, reverends and priests has a message for President Barack Obama: stop the drone war.

In a video produced by the Brave New Foundation, a group that uses video and social media to protest against drones, Jewish and Christian leaders describe the practice as "assassination by remote control," which violates religious principles.

“From a New Testament point of view, drones are completely appalling,” the Rev. Paul F. M. Zahl, the retired Episcopal rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland, told CNN. “The whole idea of killing a guy without giving the guy a chance to surrender is preemptive. That for me was completely contrary to the teachings of Christ.”

The video criticizes the Obama administration, stating that the use of war does not follow Just War Theory, which has Roman and Catholic influences.  The theory includes criteria that legitimize war, including ensuring that war is a last resort and that it is being carried out with the right intentions.

According to the religious leaders in the video, titled “Drones and Religion,” the drone program fails to meet several of these criteria.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

“The use of remote-controlled drones to assassinate targeted persons without charge, trial, or even at least the chance to surrender, is about as un-Christian a maneuver as I can imagine,” Zahl said. “I decided to protest this inhuman policy because it goes against the core principles on which I’ve built my life.”

“The Obama administration is playing God,” said Joe Nangle, a Franciscan friar at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Arlington, Virginia, in the video. “Instead of a culture of life, we are dealing death.”

The video, which includes running commentary from the six religious leaders, also includes video from speeches by Obama and his new director of the CIA, John Brennan.

“This is a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists,” Obama said in a  a clip from an online forum he held in January that is included in the religious leaders' video.

The video also uses biblical languages and stories to emphasize its anti-drone point.

“We are Goliath, and David is about the size of a mouse,” Zahl said in the video, alluding to the biblical story of David defeating Goliath in a one-on-one fight. “It is about that evenly matched.”

The Obama administration’s drone policy has drawn a great deal of attention in the last few months.

In February, the Senate Intelligence Committee received a classified document that seeks to justify the administration’s policy of targeting Americans overseas via drone attacks. The document provides the Justice Department's legal rationale for the controversial policy of using lethal force against U.S. citizens fighting on behalf of terrorist groups.

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

After the memo’s release, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky filibustered the nomination of Brennan as CIA director because of the Obama administration’s drone policy. Paul’s filibuster shone a light on drones, leading many Republicans and some Democrats on Capitol Hill to question their use.

The White House has defended such strikes as “legal,” “ethical” and “wise.”

“This president takes his responsibilities very seriously," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said about drones in early February. "And first and foremost that's his responsibility to protect the United States and American citizens. … The U.S. government takes great care in deciding to pursue an al Qaeda terrorist to insure precision and to avoid loss of innocent life.”

- CNN’s Pam Benson contributed to this report.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Foreign policy • Politics

soundoff (363 Responses)
  1. Bill Deacon

    In this regard Just War doctrine gives certain conditions for the legitimate exercise of force, all of which must be met:

    "1. the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;

    2. all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;

    3. there must be serious prospects of success;

    4. the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated. The power of modern means of destruction weighs very heavily in evaluating this condition" [CCC 2309].

    The responsibility for determining whether these conditions are met belongs to "the prudential judgment of those who have responsibility for the common good." The Church's role consists in enunciating clearly the principles, in forming the consciences of men and in insisting on the moral exercise of just war.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Alias

      I wonder if the crusades were considered under these conditions.....

      March 28, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      I am a veteran and at no time would I ever allow any church to do what you say in " enunciating clearly the principles, in forming the consciences of men and in insisting on the moral exercise of just war."

      That is ridiculous. The church should have no part whatsoever in this as it is a government action.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • William Demuth

      The sole role of the "church" is stfu.

      Child buggering ponzi schemers have no place in the public discourse

      March 28, 2013 at 1:15 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You show your ignorance of history if you discount the Church's role in the formation of the philosophy of war. The Crusades were, in fact, informed by the doctrine since governments pettioned to Vatican for redress and aid in the face of Islamist incursions into Christian held territories. Additionally, most wars in the modern era are philosophically founded on the just war doctrine. That is up until George Bush created the "Pre-Emptive doctrine" under which we now live and on which Obama rests his drones strikes.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Jill

      Bill Deacon, phhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhtttttt. Prevaricate your tooth fixtures more often. Therein, the pertinent cat presents fabled necessities in the parking chamfer. Realize your net precedent. Triangulate! Save the best for the alligators. Ever the bastille notches the orchestra but Wendy is not green and horses will capitulate. Filter out the log from the turnstile and cry prevalently.

      So there brown stare. Feed your inner walnut and resolve. Subject your lemon to the ingenious door in the presence of snow and animals. Aisle 7 is for the monetary cheese whiz. Faced with the kitchen, you may wish to prolong the sailboat in the cliff. Otherwise, rabbits may descend on your left nostril. Think about how you can stripe the sea.

      Regale the storm to those who (6) would thump the parrot with the armband. Corner the market on vestiges of the apparent closure but seek not the evidential circumstance. Therein you can find indignant mountains of pigs and apples. Descend eloquently as you debate the ceiling of your warning fulcrum. Vacate the corncob profusely and and don’t dote on the pancreas.

      Next up, control your wood. Have at the cat with your watch on the fore. Aft! Smarties (12)! Rome wasn’t kevetched in an autumn nightie. (42) See yourself for the turntable on the escalator. Really peruse the garage spider definitely again again with brown. Now we have an apparent congestion, so be it here. Just a moment is not a pod of beef for the ink well nor can it be (4) said that Karen was there in the millpond.

      Garbage out just like the candle in the kitty so. Go, go, go until the vacuum meets the upward vacation. Sell the yellow. Then trim the bus before the ten cheese please Louise. Segregate from the koan and stew the ship vigorously.

      And remember, never pass up an opportunity to watch an elephant paint Mozart.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Richard, your comment is the most disturbing since, as a veteran, you show no comprehension that the Geneva conventions, terms of engagement, treatment of POWS, treaties and other acts of war are all formulated within the context of Just War philosophy, again up until the present day. This is why we have disputes over whether our enemies are insurgents, rebels, enemy combatants, soldiers, extremists, terrorists or criminals. The genius of Al Queda and Islamic jihad is that is it not defined by any state, government or nationality. It is an ideology. Therefore there is no country to invade and occupy (unless the enemy is present), there is no one to negotiate terms with and there is no viable solution which is enforceable by a command control center that provides accountable leadership to the enemy.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Jill would be cause for concern except she shows no ability to discuss well established protocols beyond the cutting and pasting of her well worn gibberish.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:56 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      It is your take that is disturbing.

      One can do just things, morally correct or at least morally correct at the time...

      As with all things...no gods required. and the history of your corrupt and evil church shows that those who believe in god are no more moral than anyone else for having" god " on their side.

      Your church is corrupt, your religion is set up for corruption, and the whole basis of allowing another to take your just punishment is immoral to the core.

      My morality comes from my humanity, not a delusion of gods.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      It's not my take Richard it's the doctrine of the Church. While you may reject it's authority, kings and presidents for 2000 years have given at least perfunctory obeiscence to it. The glaring examples I can think of are Hitler's invasion of Poland and Hirohito's attack on Pearl Harbor. I just don't think you understood the philosophy under which you may have, no doubt, courageously served. You don't ge to decide if the Churhc influences society or not. Those choices were made a thousand years ago by the kings and bankers who's minions rule you today.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:49 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Bill, I agree that the use of drones may be appropriate but needs more oversight. I don't recall the RCC taking a stand against the 2003 Iraq invasion which in terms of US lives has been much more expensive.

      March 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Bill Deacon
      You should be more wary about bringing up the Vatican's relationship with the Third Reich.

      March 28, 2013 at 3:25 pm |
  2. Colin

    “From a New Testament point of view, drones are completely appalling,” the Rev. Paul F. M. Zahl, the retired Episcopal rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland, told CNN. “The whole idea of killing a guy without giving the guy a chance to surrender is preemptive. That for me was completely contrary to the teachings of Christ.”

    Hmmm, let’s see. What did Jesus say about people who would not bow down to him? “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.” (Luke 19:27).

    But, he was probably just having a bad day, right? Didn’t he come to spread peace? Let’s ask him.

    “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.” (Matthew 10: 34-35).

    Probably just another bad day. I’m sure he wouldn’t want to hurt anybody who did nothing more than not want their children to subscribe to Jesus’ religious view."If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea” (Mark 9:42).

    Oh well, I guess Jesus would be ok with drones.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Alias

      Jusus would only approve if they were killing people who worshipped a different god.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • .

      are you that dense that you cannot understand the parable of money usage?
      Picking random verses and quoting them out of context
      is just idiotic

      March 28, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
    • meifumado

      Hey from those quotes that jesus dude sounds a lot like that mohamed guy.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • clarity

      Exactly, meif. The literalists are attaching their bayonets as we speak; lol.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  3. meifumado

    If these religinuts think this way how about they go and ask these terrorists to surrender and they put their lives on the line.

    March 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Nope

      Those drones kill innocent babies. Babies.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • meifumado

      so send in your priests and rabbis to save them, or how about these chickenshlt terrorists stop hiding amongst civilians.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
  4. BRC

    "Religious leaders protest war". That would make sense to me. All religions that I am aware of "value the preservation of life", some go so far to say in all of its forms. So object to war, protest violence in its whole, speak otu against nationalist conflicts, go to town. Those things all make sense.

    But if you're not going to do that? If you're not going to commit to stopping the root cause, then protesting drones is stupid, because drones preserve life. they reduce the number of soldiers at risk, and they are far more targeted and precise than say, carpet bombing, or even small scall but still convetional/even smart bombing. Yes, there is colateral damage, and there are civilian casualties, but fewer than with other methods, and those hazards exists in all forms of war (hence why I would understand religion protesting war in general). The basic math is this, soldier to soldier = 2 lives at risk, drone to soldier= one life at risk. If your goal is the preservation of life drones win.

    The theory of Just War is absurd, there is no such thing. It's an attempt at rationalization, from times when everyone said they had faith adn were men of "God", but still had the need to fight wars and kill people. There is no Just War. There is necessary War, and there are rules we can impose and measures we can take to try and preserve as much of our humanity as possible, but the widescale risk and loss of human life that is garaunteed with war is not and CAN NOT be just. If you're getting into the war business you just have to acept that; or you're being dishonest.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:40 am |
  5. William Demuth

    Soon enough what we sent around will come back around

    They already have taken steps to jamm certain frequencies near the Proesident's motorcade

    It is only a matter of time until Bloods are robbing bodegas with drones

    Technology trickles down far faster than wealth does!!

    I am QUITE confident I could build some SERIOUSLY dangerous stuff with off the shelf components right now

    GPS for guidance, small warhead, not much challenge at all.

    Imagine if you will a small drone sprinkling white powder over a Yankees game, and a few leaflets mentioning Anthrax.

    500 dead and 3000 injured in the stampede.

    Or a few simple remote contol choppers with Steel rotors being flown into the flightpath of a 787 taking off from a major airport?

    When you open Pandoras Box, the ONLY thing you can expect is the unexpected.

    March 28, 2013 at 11:10 am |
    • meifumado

      Thanks for giving the bad guys some ideas, and I hope it's Fenway park not Yankee stadium =)

      March 28, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • ME II

      What's your point? The things you're talking about have been possible for decades.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Demuth continues down his path of sociopathology

      March 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • William Demuth

      The point is, do onto others.

      You know what the towel heads wallowing in their own filth think EVERYTIME they get straffed?

      They think, "I need to get me one of those!"

      Soon enough they will.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
    • clarity

      Or the cartel people who are using these remote-controlled "toy" cars to blow up or spy on people. I guess there is no turning back, but I do hate seeing innocents involved.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  6. TVizion

    I've been saying this for year, I guess the point is hitting home. Stop the electronic killing, leave that for Xbox

    March 28, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  7. SAAB

    Rev. Paul F. M. Zahl, told CNN. “The whole idea of killing a guy without giving the guy a chance to surrender is preemptive. That for me was completely contrary to the teachings of Christ.”

    Yes it is primitive, if killing of Jesus was on your mind, but these guys are criminals not your Jesus. Go back to sleep.

    March 28, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • Big Shiz

      So is ok to kill thousands of civilians to get hundreds of terrorists?

      March 28, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • .

      Although I hate drones, I hate having our soldiers killed even more. Bring 'em home and let them run their own countries.

      March 28, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • SAAB

      @Big, drones are used on high value targets, not on some petty cash thieves. If you invite them into your houses or wedding parties, knowing them who they are, you are guilty by association.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
  8. SAAB

    Yo "religious leaders" you're barking up the wrong tree.

    March 28, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  9. Phi Gamma

    Nerds have been using drones for years to spy on the cheerleaders it their dorm. All good tech come from boobies.

    March 28, 2013 at 9:33 am |
  10. Peace Lover

    Drones are outstanding. The drawing board come to life. Keep our sons and daughtes ot of harms way and kill the bad guys. What could be better?

    March 28, 2013 at 9:30 am |
  11. Bob1god

    Gotta luv Christians, they break every 1 of their top 10 list of commandments, such SINcere worshipers!

    March 28, 2013 at 9:28 am |
    • Topher

      Yep, I'm GUILTY! I've broken all 10.

      How many have you broken?

      March 28, 2013 at 10:52 am |
    • Akira

      Topher, I've seen you post this before and have been meaning to ask you: who did you kill/murder?

      March 28, 2013 at 11:19 am |
    • Topher

      Hi, Akira, how are you?

      The question is, who haven't I killed? Bear with me for a moment. 1 John 3:15 says "Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." What this is getting at is how God even knows your thoughts and will judge you accordingly. So no, you don't have to actually shoot someone, all you have to do is think it. It's a matter of the heart. So any time you've been cut off in traffic and muttered bad things about the driver ... any time you've flipped someone the bird, you've committed murder in the heart. And before I was a Christian I had such a bad att.itude that I did this continually. I was "smarter" and "wiser" than ... everyone. My boss. My parents. My teachers. My friends. It was a disgusting atti.tude. And while I am far from perfect in this area, it is one way I see the evidence of how God has changed me (which is what we call being 'born again.')

      March 28, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • meifumado

      ya that's not murder Topher.

      March 28, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Topher


      Biblically it is. God will judge you, not only on physical deeds, but also on your heart/thought-life.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Kee

      I agree with Topher. You don't have to actually murder – having the heart of a murderer is just as bad for a human being.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • ME II

      Regardless of a god's existence, I would say there is a difference between the heart of a murderer, i.e. thinking about murder, and hate.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Kee

      Legally there is a difference. Yes. And for very good reasons.

      But if you are trying to be spiritually fit – or to be a part of the kingdom of God – you have to let go of the hate.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Akira

      Topher: I'm fine, thanks for asking. And you?
      Ah, I see. You were speaking metaphorically, not literally.
      Thanks for the honest answer, but one question: do you think God meant that to be metaphorical or literal? Because I feel that, in the OT setting, it was meant literally...

      March 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • meifumado

      It's human nature to have violent and even murderous thoughts, Acting out on them is something completely different.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • Topher

      ME II

      By degrees? Yes. And I'm sure a murderer will get a more-severe punishment than someone who only thinks it, but that doesn't change the fact God will judge hatred as murder. Just as He says He will judge lustful thoughts as adultery.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Akira

      Which leads me to this: is the killing in our wars murder, and are the soldiers guilty of breaking one of the Ten?

      March 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • meifumado

      Also there is(are) no god(s) to judge me.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • meifumado

      Woot! I'm drinking at work today!!!

      March 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Topher


      I'm good. Hoping the rest of this snow melts.

      I take the Bible literally.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • Topher


      "Which leads me to this: is the killing in our wars murder, and are the soldiers guilty of breaking one of the Ten?"

      I think it CAN be murder, but not necessarily. I think we need to take into account whether the war is just.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • ME II

      "And I'm sure a murderer will get a more-severe punishment than someone who only thinks it, ..."
      In the Biblical view aren't both punishments the same, i.e. eternal torture?

      March 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
    • Topher

      ME II

      "In the Biblical view aren't both punishments the same, i.e. eternal torture?"

      It would be eternal, yes. But the Bible does say that there are different degrees to the punishment you will get.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      Topher sez:
      "I take the Bible literally"
      so is stoning an adulter murder ?

      March 28, 2013 at 1:04 pm |
    • ME II

      "It would be eternal, yes. But the Bible does say that there are different degrees to the punishment you will get."

      Unless it extends to 'tickled with feathers', the "degree" of punishment seems dwarfed to insignificance by the length of the sentence.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Topher

      Brother Maynard


      March 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm |
    • Topher

      ME II

      "Unless it extends to 'tickled with feathers', the "degree" of punishment seems dwarfed to insignificance by the length of the sentence."

      Good thing God provided a way for us to not have to go through it then, huh? He took the punishment we deserve by His torture and death on the cross then defeated death so that with repentance and faith, we will be forgiven. Our fine paid, we get to leave the courtroom a free man or woman.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • meifumado

      @ Topher

      you say you take the bible literally, So what's your take on all the cannibalism in the bible?

      March 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm |
    • ME II

      "Good thing God provided a way for us to not have to go through it then, huh?"

      My point was that as the time approaches infinity the relative difference between degrees approaches zero and consequently all punishments are effectively the same in light of the length.
      The appearance of equitable punishment seems to be an illusion.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Topher


      "you say you take the bible literally, So what's your take on all the cannibalism in the bible?"

      I guess I don't understand what you are asking. What about the cannibalism?

      March 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • meifumado

      It seems to me your god says its ok, so whats your take on this and why don't you practice it?

      March 28, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
    • Topher


      Can you give me the verse where He says it's OK? I'll read the passage then comment.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:06 pm |
    • meifumado

      Deuteronomy 28:53-57
      Because of the suffering that your enemy will inflict on you during the siege, you will eat the fruit of the womb, the flesh of the sons and daughters the Lord your God has given you. Even the most gentle and sensitive man among you will have no compassion on his own brother or the wife he loves or his surviving children, and he will not give to one of them any of the flesh of his children that he is eating. It will be all he has left because of the suffering your enemy will inflict on you during the siege of all your cities. The most gentle and sensitive woman among you – so sensitive and gentle that she would not venture to touch the ground with the sole of her foot – will begrudge the husband she loves and her own son or daughter the afterbirth from her womb and the children she bears. For she intends to eat them secretly during the siege and in the distress that your enemy will inflict on you in your cities.

      I know they are taking about a war here, but still.

      I saw a few more gotta find them.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
    • Topher


      I see God saying this will happen to them, but I don't see Him saying this is a good thing or that they should do it.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:30 pm |
    • meifumado

      And it does not say its bad.

      There are a few more, but it got a little busy here at work and I have been drinking!

      March 28, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
    • WASP

      @topher: "i take the bible literally."

      ok here is a direct order from your bible/god to you..............i hope you don't have children.
      Proverbs 23:13-15 ESV
      Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol. My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.

      so i guess you had better breakout the old rod and starts to striking.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:39 pm |
    • Topher


      "And it does not say its bad."

      Do you really need to be told eating other people or eating afterbirth are vile, disgusting things?

      March 28, 2013 at 2:46 pm |
    • Topher


      No, I don't have children.

      So I guess you are not for spa.nkings. So what?

      March 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      Actually not eating the placenta is quite wasteful. Many animals eat their own afterbirth because it is very nutricious.

      March 28, 2013 at 3:08 pm |
    • meifumado

      Now I'm hungry.

      March 28, 2013 at 5:18 pm |
  12. Library 3

    Based on undiscovered evidence, drone attacks are important to the survival of democracy.

    March 28, 2013 at 9:23 am |
  13. SAAB

    okay, you religious people are putting words in my mouth, DRONE UP YOUR ASS.

    March 28, 2013 at 9:22 am |
    • Bob

      and now you're putting drones up my ass. how considerate.

      March 28, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  14. Jim

    Joseph Mastropaolo, Creationist, Offers $10,000 To Anyone Who Can Disprove Bible
    The Huffington Post | By Meredith Bennett-Smith
    Posted: 03/27/2013 4:38 pm EDT | Updated: 03/27/2013 10:06 pm ED

    Here's an announcement sure to get some scientists talking: An outspoken creationist is offering thousands of dollars to anyone who can scientifically disprove the Biblical creation story.

    Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo, who has a degree in kinesiology, is putting $10,000 on the line for his "Literal Genesis Trial," a "minitrial" in California that would involve a bailiff, court reporter and a judge. Only scientific evidence that is "objective, valid, reliable and calibrated" will be allowed, according to the Creation Hall of Fame website, which is collaborating with Mastrapaolo on the project.

    A "non-literal Genesis advocate" would also be expected to put up $10,000. The winner of the "trial" would take home everything.

    Mastropaolo said he's confident he will be keeping his money.

    "[Evolutionists] are not stupid people, they are bright, but they are bright enough to know there is no scientific evidence they can give in a minitrial," Mastropaolo told the Guardian.

    Mastropaolo belongs to the subset of creationists known as Young Earth creationists, who believe that Earth and its inhabitants were created by God some several thousand years ago - an account of which is laid out in the book of Genesis, in the Bible's Old Testament.

    A representative for Answers in Genesis, a high-profile organization that advocates for creationism, told The Huffington Post that though the group is not involved with Mastropaolo's Literal Genesis Trial, it is "generally supportive of attempts by people to expose the bankruptcy of molecules-to-man evolution."

    “We are not sanguine about efforts that claim creation can be proven today," Dr. Georgia Purdom, molecular genetics researcher and Answers in Genesis spokesperson, wrote in a boilerplate email to HuffPost. "Both creation and evolution are outside the domain of ‘observational science’ and thus neither is provable. Instead, the creation vs. evolution question involves ‘historical science,’ which is used to interpret the evidence we see today. The evidence does not speak for itself; in fact, it is subject to interpretive bias.”

    Scientists, however, have dismissed the Literal Genesis Trial as a publicity stunt.

    Michael Zimmerman, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost at Evergreen State College in Washington state, said Mastropaolo has done this sort of thing before, calling it The Life Science Prize.

    In an blog for The Huffington Post, Zimmerman said he participated in The Life Science Prize in 2004 and was "berated" and "abused." He also said his academic competence was questioned.

    "Joseph Mastropaolo is back generating publicity, promoting ignorance and spewing misinformation," Zimmerman wrote. "Nothing of significance has changed over the last nine years in Mastropaolo's rhetoric or in his understanding of science."

    Dave Muscato, public relations director for American Atheists, was also derisive about the trial.

    "Genesis has been thoroughly disproven many, many times as a historical source," Muscato told HuffPost during a phone interview. "I don't doubt that [creationists] sincerely believe that Genesis is true. But the problem is they start with a conclusion and look for ways to prove it, as opposed to the opposite, which is how science works."

    March 28, 2013 at 9:04 am |
    • Science

      Hey Jim according to court records it has been already .

      Goofy creationists maybe ?

      Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

      Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.


      March 28, 2013 at 9:23 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      "Both creation and evolution are outside the domain of ‘observational science’ and thus neither is provable. Instead, the creation vs. evolution question involves ‘historical science,’ which is used to interpret the evidence we see today. The evidence does not speak for itself; in fact, it is subject to interpretive bias.”
      Ah yes the ever popular Xtian arguement that if it isn't observable it cannot be proof.
      So as soon as the the last WWII vet dies ... WWII never happened.

      March 28, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • meifumado


      March 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  15. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I guess these religious leaders aren't informed on or aware of the doctrine of snipers or even of individual soldiers on the battlefield. Generally, you acquire a target, often a hundred meters or more away, and you take it out. It's usually not even possible to offer the fellow a chance to surrender, and stupid to try since while you're talking his mates will we be working toward their objective which probably involves taking you out along with a bunch of other people. Confusion arises in the minds of the religious regarding what is good. Fair play seems good until you count up the number of dead – particularly dead non-combatants. Assassination is right and good when, afterward, the world is a safer place for more of the sort of people who just want the world to be a better place where everyone will actually enjoy living.

    March 28, 2013 at 8:26 am |
    • William Demuth

      Tom, your a bright guy so I expect you already know this, but what you are saying is why snipers know NEVER EVER EVER get caught.

      If you do, you will be tortured till you beg for death.

      Snipers are the most loathed combatants in the field, and their "art" is considered evil by ALL other combatants.

      March 28, 2013 at 8:32 am |
  16. William Demuth

    So I guess their imaginary Sky Fairy never kills from above?

    Murder is murder.

    When it comes down to kill or be killed, better to be the killer than the killie.

    Frankly, we should be using biological weapons to clear out the infestation that is Afghanistan.

    March 28, 2013 at 8:12 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Ummm. . . Not that you will care but perhaps you've gone a step too far. Pulling out of Afghanistan and leaving them to themselves would probably have the same effect though.

      March 28, 2013 at 8:15 am |
    • William Demuth

      Ah, genocide by half measures?

      Your theory is why we lost

      Compassion for a cancer?

      Poison the opium crop (Something that lingers, and kills anyone using the heroin made from it) and tell the world EXACTLY what we are doing

      Less junkies, less zealots, and less expensive.

      A Win Win Win!

      March 28, 2013 at 8:28 am |
  17. Reality


    What instigated the attack on the Twin Towers, Flight 93 and the Pentagon?

    And what drives today's 24/7 mosque/imam-planned acts of terror and horror?

    The koran, mohammed's book of death for all infidels and muslim domination of the world by any means.

    Muslims must clean up this book removing said passages admitting that they are based on the gabriel myth and therefore obviously the hallucinations and/or lies of Mohammed.

    Then we can talk about the safety and location of mosques and what is taught therein.

    Until then, no muslim can be trusted anytime or anywhere .......................................................

    March 28, 2013 at 7:46 am |
  18. HotAirAce

    And where were the religious charlatans and shamans when this The Shrub's policy?

    March 28, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • .

      Ah, but since Bush "spoke with God", it would be labeled "divine justice and mercy." I label it "hypocrisy".

      March 28, 2013 at 9:27 am |
    • Dirk the Daring

      Probably the same place as Code Pink and all the liberal war protesters are now. Magically as soon as Obama was elected, they didn't care about the war anymore.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:51 pm |
  19. Brother Maynard

    From the article:
    “The whole idea of killing a guy without giving the guy a chance to surrender is preemptive. That for me was completely contrary to the teachings of Christ.”

    Now ...Hmmm ...Uh where is that verse ? ... [ flip a page, flip a page flip a pag ]
    Ah Here it is:
    And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying,
    'O Lord, bless this Thy hand grenade that, with it, Thou mayest blow
    Thine enemies to tiny bits in Thy mercy.' And the Lord did grin, and
    the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies
    and orangutans and breakfast cereals and fruit bats "

    March 28, 2013 at 7:41 am |
  20. HotAirAce

    The terrorists brought this upon themselves. They didn't follow the rules of war when they repeatedly attacked the USA, and the USA is using all means to take out those that have attacked, and are likely to attack, the USA. Drone attacks and targeted strikes such as the one that finally got Bin Laden, are far superior to invading entire countries. That being said, it would be best if the USA published the list and gave countries and religious whiners the opportunity to turn in (to a neutral country or organization?) those on the list. And it would help if EVERY religious shaman and political leader, especially those leading the muslim cults and countries, banned their members and citizens from waging terror, and took action to stop them.

    March 28, 2013 at 7:12 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      it would help if EVERY religious shaman and political leader, ..., and took action to stop them.

      So now you like Bush?

      March 28, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Akira

      Is Bush a religious shaman, too?

      I jest.

      March 28, 2013 at 12:45 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Before any middle easter extremists carried out terrorist attack on the US, the US was intervening in the middle east.
      A brief chronology:
      1944 – The Anglo-American Petroleum Agreement is signed by the US and Britain, dividing all the oil in the middle east between the two nations. President Roosevelt sketched out a map of the Middle East and told the British Ambassador, "Persian oil is yours. We share the oil of Iraq and Kuwait. As for Saudi Arabian oil, it's ours."

      1949 – The US helps overthrow the democratically elected government in Syria and replaces it with a military dictatorship

      1953 – Iran tries to nationalize their own oil. America overthrows their government and puts the Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi in power for a 25 year rule of terror.

      1958: The merger of Syria and Egypt into the "United Arab Republic," the overthrow of the pro-U.S. King Feisal II in Iraq by nationalist military officers, and the outbreak of anti-government/anti-U.S. rioting in Lebanon, where the CIA had helped install President Camille Caiman and keep him in power, leads the U.S. to dispatch 70 naval vessels, hundreds of aircraft and 14,000 Marines to Lebanon to preserve "stability." The U.S. threatens to use nuclear weapons if the Lebanese army resists

      1960 – The US tries to as.sas.sinate Iraq's leader, Abdul Karim Qassim

      1973-1975: U.S. supports Kurdish rebels in Iraq in order to strengthen Iran and weaken the then pro-Soviet Iraqi regime. When Iran and Iraq cut a deal, the U.S. withdraws support, denies the Kurds refuge in Iran, and stands by while the Iraqi government kills many Kurdish people.

      1979-84: U.S. supports paramilitary forces to undermine the government of South Yemen

      1979: U.S. President Jimmy Carter designates the Persian Gulf a vital U.S. interest and declares the U.S. will go to war to ensure the flow of oil.

      1979 – America begins a decade long campaign, providing $3 Billion worth of arms to the fundamentalist Islamic Muhajideen terrorist group.

      1980 – Iraq invades Iran with tacit U.S. support, starting a bloody eight-year war. The U.S. supports both sides in the war providing arms to Iran and money, intelligence and political support to Iraq

      1985 – The U.S. secretly ships weapons to Iran, including 1,000 TOW anti-tank missiles, Hawk missile parts, and Hawk radars.

      1985: U.S. attempts to as.sas.sinate Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a Lebanese Shi.ite leader. 80 people are killed in the unsuccessful attempt

      1998 – President Clinton sends 75 cruise missiles pounding into rural Afghanistan The U.S. also destroys a factory producing half of Sudan's pharmaceutical supply, claiming the factory is involved in chemical warfare. The U.S. later acknowledges there is no evidence for the chemical warfare charge.

      1987- The U.S. Navy is dispatched to the Persian Gulf to prevent Iran from cutting off Iraq's oil shipments.

      1988- The Iraqi regime launches mass poison-gas attacks on Kurds, killing thousands. The U.S. responds by increasing its support for the Iraqi regime.

      Don't go thinking that Middle Eastern extremists are just randomly attacking the United States, totally unprovoked.
      America has been playing the politics of empire in the middle east since the Second World War.
      You can only kick a dog so many times before it bites you.

      March 28, 2013 at 2:50 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Doc, let me assure you I in no way condone the actions of the USA, but 9/11 took terrorism to an entirely new level, and if nothing else, really woke up the USA. The terrorists should have known that the USA's response was going to be severe.

      March 28, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      the only difference with 9/11 was that time the plan worked. Al Queda already bombed the World Trade Center in NY in 1993 but it did not cause the catastrophic collapse of the buildings they had planned.

      In 1998 Al Queda attacked US embassies in Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi.

      The 1998 Clinton raids on Afghanistan and Sudan were directed against Al Queda. It was known that the Al Queda training camps were in Afghanstan. It was claimed that Sudan pharmaceuticals factory made chemical weapons for Al Queda but there were "intelligence failures" there.

      Clinton was accused of using cruise missiles to distract the American public from the on-going impeachment process. His detractors did not see Al Queda as a credible threat.

      Al Queda would next bomb the USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.

      March 28, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      western involvement over oil in the middle east goes back at least to Churchill's decision in 1913 (as First Lord of the Admiralty) to modernize the Royal Navy by converting ships from coal to oil burners. A contract was made with the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later BP) to supply the Royal Navy with oil. The APOC had secured oil rights across the middle east.

      The Iraq Petroleum Company (formerly the Turkish Petroleum Company) was formed in 1929 in London. This company had mostly American oil companies as backers – hence the Persia/BP Iraq/American oil division by Roosevelt.

      As a curious footnote, the British invaded Basra (in Iraq) in 1914 (against the Ottomans), again in 1941 to relieve the RAF base there (during the Anglo-Iraqi war against a pro-Nazi coup that had seized power in Bagdad) and again in 2003 (second Gulf War).

      What was the common denominator? Oil interests.

      March 28, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
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.