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My Take: Town prayers need less Jesus, more Krishna
May 21st, 2013
11:35 AM ET

My Take: Town prayers need less Jesus, more Krishna

Editor's note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "The American Bible: How Our Words Unite, Divide, and Define a Nation," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

(CNN) — At first glance, it would seem that the town of Greece, New York, has been brazenly violating the First Amendment. For roughly a decade, it invited local Christians — and only Christians — to offer prayers opening its Town Board meetings.

Two non-Christian town residents — Susan Galloway (who is Jewish) and Linda Stephens (who is an atheist) — objected, arguing that this practice violated the First Amendment's Establishment Clause, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.”

The Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, finding that the town’s practice of repeatedly inviting Christians to offer demonstrably Christian prayers amounted to an unconstitutional endorsement of Christianity. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up the case.

As Town of Greece v. Galloway made its way through the courts, the town, represented by the Arizona-based (and faith-based) nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, argued that the founders prayed in public, and members of the U.S. Congress continue to do so today. To side with Galloway and Stephens, therefore, is to determine that members of the House and Senate have been violating the constitution for over two centuries.

Ayesha Khan, legal director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which represents Galloway and Stephens in the lawsuit, said in a statement that “legislative bodies should focus on serving the community and stay out of the business of promoting religion.”

That is unlikely to happen, since there is, as Alliance Defending Freedom has argued, an “unambiguous and unbroken history” of prayer in government bodies in the United States. But there is an equally long history of ensuring that these prayers are, as Americans United has observed, “inclusive and non-sectarian.” And those in Greece were neither.

According to the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision, “Christian clergy delivered each and every one of the prayers for the first nine years of the town’s prayer practice, and nearly all of the prayers thereafter.” Moreover, “a substantial majority of the prayers in the record contained uniquely Christian language,” including references to “Jesus Christ” as “our Savior.”

This “steady drumbeat of often specifically sectarian Christian prayers,” the appeals court concluded, left an indelible “impression” that the town was “associated ... with the Christian religion.”

Town of Greece v. Galloway is a vexing case. What makes it vexing is that, when it comes to church/state questions, Americans have traditionally opted for a middle path between a theocratic marriage and Great-Wall-of-China-style separation. As a result, U.S. Supreme Court justices are left in many cases to intuit whether a particular practice leans too far toward either extreme to be acceptable.

Nonetheless, there seems to be a clear path forward here.

As I see it, the U.S. Supreme Court is not going to outlaw prayer in the U.S. Congress or in town board meetings. It made that clear in Marsh v. Chambers (1983), where it upheld a tradition of opening prayers in the Nebraska state legislature.

But neither is the Supreme Court going to permit in these venues a “steady drumbeat of often specifically sectarian Christian prayers."

In other words, the question the Supreme Court decided on Monday to take up is not whether town boards can pray but what sorts of prayer practices are constitutional in governmental settings.

When the founders listened to prayers in the early republic, they never would have allowed any one Christian denomination to enjoy a monopoly over the others. But neither would they have insisted that some be delivered by a Muslim or a Hindu, as is the practice in the U.S. Congress today. Nonetheless, the key principle was established — that such prayers should reflect the religious diversity of the nation at the time.

That diversity is much broader today, of course. At the interfaith prayer services after 9/11 and after the Boston marathon bombings, it was not enough to have a Presbyterian and a Quaker rubbing shoulders with a Congregationalist. Such services are not truly interfaith nowadays unless they include Catholics and Jews, Muslims and Sikhs, and perhaps a secular humanist, too.

In a “friend of the court” brief signed by 49 members of Congress, the Family Research Council argued that 97% of the prayers offered in the U.S. Congress are offered by Christians and the “majority of these prayers include identifiably Christian content.”

If that is true, then that needs to change, lest Americans be given the impression that the U.S. Congress is a Christian missionary organization. Still, it should be noted that the prayer practice in Greece was even more egregiously exclusive and sectarian, with all the prayers over a nine year period being given by Christians.

After Greece’s town board was called out by Galloway and Stephens, it caught a brief whiff of pluralism (and constitutionality) in 2008, when it allowed prayers to be offered by a Wiccan, a Baha’i, and a Jew. Thereafter, however, it returned to the unconstitutional practice of inviting only Christian clergy.

That practice might have been permissible in 1787 or 1812, but it does not pass constitutional muster in 2013, when the United States is, as President Barack Obama acknowledged in his first inaugural address, “a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus, and non-believers.”

In discussions about this case, defenders of the town have expressed nostalgia for a time when Christian prayers — and only Christian prayers — would pass constitutional muster. Defenders of Galloway and Stephens have hoped for a future when no prayers would be allowed at such gatherings. The Supreme Court is likely to please neither side, nor should it.

Our tradition is to allow public prayer at public gatherings of this sort, but to insist that such prayers (in the aggregate) be inclusive and non-sectarian. So if the citizens of Greece, New York, want to continue to hear before their town board meetings that Jesus Christ is "our savior," they are going to have to line up some Hindu priests willing to tell them that Krishna is "our Lord." Anything less than that just won't pass constitutional muster, at least not in 2013.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: Baha'i • Church and state • Interfaith issues • United States

soundoff (369 Responses)
  1. floyd schrodinger

    We are not an entirely Christian country any more. Get over it and realize that not everyone here worships (or even believes in) Jesus. If you were forced to listen to verses from the Koran before every town hall meeting or had to pour milk over a stature before football games, you (Christians) would be screaming bloody murder. We all have the freedom to practice our beliefs as we see fit. We absolutely must have the freedom to not be forced to practice other peoples beliefs.

    May 22, 2013 at 7:30 am |
    • johno54

      This is the only proper outcome of a nation whose most abiding philosophy is about making sausage. This must be understood as sausage is never made from prime cuts. But as a Christian, Christ would welcome the challenge as he came to save that which was lost, as in none prime meats.
      We as Christians need to stop being bullies, ramming our sanctimony down the throats of every unbeliever.

      May 22, 2013 at 8:41 am |
  2. Sane Person

    How about just less prayer, and more focus on things that actually do something.

    May 22, 2013 at 5:57 am |
    • Sam

      Ha!! I like that one.

      May 22, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  3. Mike

    I'm a Pagan and I would take offense to that as well if I lived there and attended!

    May 22, 2013 at 3:28 am |
    • Fed Up

      So why was there NO FUNDING for safe room????
      I really do not care if
      they are white, black or pink! They are there to represent us! Most are
      following their own agenda.
      We pay them from this
      money through taxes!
      I am feed up with both "parties"
      taking all for themselves while we ALL tighten our belts to GIVE THEM more!
      "The fact is the deficit is still too high,
      and we're still investing too little in the things that we need for the economy
      to grow as fast as it should...."
      Cut (GOP, Pres all the way down!) their wages to
      lower tax Burden! Cut Life pay as well they should have saved their own money
      already.
      If their Wages were cut
      they could feel what a majority of us feel NOW. We are paying their wages from
      our income!

      May 22, 2013 at 5:14 am |
    • The real Tom

      Fed, what in the world are you babbling about?

      May 22, 2013 at 6:16 am |
    • Epidi

      I'm Pagan too. A moment of silence so everyone can pray quietly for guidance, if they choose to pray at all, is what is called for.

      May 22, 2013 at 7:47 am |
  4. Observer

    If a person can't find time to pray without it being out loud at a public event, then they obviously don't have enough time to attend the rest of the event.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:14 am |
    • fred

      How about a moment of silence so the atheist can privately mock God while the believers ask God for His blessings. The founders of this very nation (56 out of 56) did that in the Declaration of Independence:
      "We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, APPEALING TO THE SUPREME JUDGE OF THE WORLD for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States

      May 22, 2013 at 1:29 am |
    • Observer

      If a person can't find time for a moment of silence TO THEMSELVES to pray at a public event, then they obviously don't have enough time to attend the rest of the event.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:34 am |
    • faith

      so, u censor her?

      Observer
      If a person can't find time to pray without it being out loud at a public event, then they obviously don't have enough time to attend the rest of the event.

      dodo, i love u. u r such an idiot and a jerk and a hypocrite and funny u r so stupid. bless u honey

      May 22, 2013 at 1:39 am |
    • tallulah13

      APPEALING TO THE SUPREME JUDGE OF THE WORLD

      Hmm. Not a single god mentioned. Fred just assumed that it means god. It could mean Simon Cowell, or the 1700s equivalent. There was certainly deliberate ambiguity.

      May 22, 2013 at 2:01 am |
    • Observer

      tallulah13,

      Yes, it's the same as when our forefathers never mentioned God by name in the Declaration of Independence and the Consti-tution. Obviously, they wanted religion left as an individual freedom and not affected by the government.

      May 22, 2013 at 2:06 am |
    • Sane Person

      god is not mentioned in the const.itution at all.

      May 22, 2013 at 5:59 am |
    • Daniel

      " in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies"

      Who's authority again? Oh, that's right, the peoples authority, not Gods.

      May 22, 2013 at 6:27 am |
    • sam stone

      "How about a moment of silence so the atheist can privately mock God while the believers ask God for His blessings."

      we are not mocking god, we are mocking fvcks like you

      May 22, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • johno54

      Such out bursts come from the fact that we are all so busy enjoying God's creation that we don't even have time to say, "Thank you God" this is the day that you have made, I shall rejoice and be glad in it.
      Those who don't believe that they should ever stop to survey the creation or evolution that they are a part of are most likely to not even care about their own humanity much less the humanity of others. Does the word psychopath and sociopath come to mind? Yes we share even the very same air that they breath and yet even they are afraid of the unknown even though they don't show it and seem so brave and lucidly erudite about life.
      They too will be subject to the day of judgment but where as they will fiend ignorance it is us as Christians who will bear the greater burden because we knew and said we knew that God is God creator of heaven and earth.

      May 22, 2013 at 8:52 am |
    • fred

      Sam Stone
      "we are not mocking god, we are mocking fvcks like you"

      =>Do you not find it Divine how the Word of God addresses that which is common among men? What is interesting is how the atheist continually fails to notice that their own words, thoughts and actions validate verse after verse in the Bible:
      "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. – John 15:18-19 (NIV)"

      May 22, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      "Do you not find it Divine how the Word of God addresses that which is common among men?"

      No, I find the Word of Man addresses that which is common among men

      May 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • sam stone

      "sometime in the future, someone will see that our bullsh1t is just bullsh1t" does not validate the bullsh1t

      May 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm |
    • fred

      sam stone
      Your hope that someday God will be seen as bullshit by the vast majority is biblical and as before you again prove or hope the Bible is true. See the Bible also states that a time will come before the End of Days where it is no longer possible for another soul to come to Christ as all follow the anti Christ.

      May 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm |
  5. lol??

    Don't the PUblic Servants know they don't have a prayer?? The Masters are worse than broke.

    May 22, 2013 at 1:01 am |
  6. faith

    G to the T
    Faith – you are welcome to listen to him anytime you want. The governement however, is not allowed to take sides (i.e. promote one religion over another) so the only reasonable option I can think of is to eliminate it from the sphere of politics completely.

    allowing a person to pray out loud is the government taking sides?

    May 22, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • The real Tom

      No, a person who is praying out loud for the purpose of leading a group prayer is taking sides, dumbbell.

      May 22, 2013 at 6:34 am |
  7. Veritae

    Krishna is dead; Jesus is alive. Who would you care to pray to?

    May 22, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Master Po

      Krishna does not exist and neither does Jesus.
      How sad that you do not have any magic.
      You have no power. Your Jesus is dead.
      Where is your magic? It never existed, did it? No.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:04 am |
    • moas786

      their is Only One God and muhammed is His final messenger, along with adam, noah,abrahim,moses and jesus peace be upon all them. forget about the rest and worship God the merciful.

      May 22, 2013 at 1:10 am |
    • Holier than thou

      Wow! So much Hatred and Ignorance in the name of Jesus! He would be trying to turn over on the cross, but for that Roman nail! Jesus Great Man but not a good carpenter!

      May 22, 2013 at 1:35 am |
    • tallulah13

      Krishna was flying around in his Vimana long before the judeo-christian god was a twinkle in a middle-eastern sheepherder's eye. It just goes to show that humans have been creating gods for a very long time, and that every god reflects the social values of the culture that created him/her. There isn't a shred of evidence to show that any god is real.

      May 22, 2013 at 2:05 am |
    • Sane Person

      Tell you what, have jesus stop by a town meeting (any one will do) and answer, any, prayer, and we'll talk. Until then, your "living" jesus remains just a figment of your delusion.

      May 22, 2013 at 6:04 am |
  8. Eric

    "And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly." Matthew 6:5-6

    Those words are (supposedly) straight from Jesus, yet Christians always seem to conveniently overlook them.

    May 21, 2013 at 11:52 pm |
    • Humblepie

      There are Christians who follow this. A very small minority in the US, but they are there. I wish that I were surprised at the total lack of interest (by Christians) in the good teachings of the Bible, but I am not. Most people seem to either be obsessed with Hell, or making sure everyone else knows how "blessed" they are. It's to bad, Christianity used to be the religion of philosophy, art, and natural sciences.

      May 22, 2013 at 7:26 am |
    • johno54

      Thank You Eric,
      As a Christian, I might not like the candor of your statement but it your quote truly is apropos. This is truly what this is all about sanctimonious zealotry.

      May 22, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  9. montyross

    those that pray in Jesus' name live in societies that are more desirable than those other societies were krishna is named

    May 21, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • @montyross u r an idioT

      Montyross.. do you realize that there are christians in pakistan too? in the worst of Arab countries too? That India and other countries had christians even before western society knew Jesus? That apostle thomas came to India just after the resurection of Jesus and do you still say that only (your)christians live in desirable places? you are as bad as the madmullas

      May 22, 2013 at 8:09 am |
    • johno54

      Yet we persist in socio political sausagery.

      May 22, 2013 at 9:01 am |
  10. Chet Huntley

    “Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” Sorry, no. The correct wording is: “Congress shall make no law respecting AN establishment of religion.” An establishment in this context is a "going concern". Meaning, of course, that Congress should make no law respecting Methodists, Catholics, Baptists, Muslims, etc.

    May 21, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • Mark

      No, your interpretation is novel, but does not jive with case law. Governments at any level may not establish a state religion.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • Chet Huntley

      "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" If the amendment pertains only to the creation of a state sponsored religion then 'or prohibiting the free exercise thereof' is contradictory to 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion'. Congress shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of a state sponsored religion?

      May 21, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Daniel

      It's obvious Chet has some problems with reading comprehension. I don't think there is much wiggle room when it comes to what the founders intended and that is a separation of Church and State unlike the governmental system they had just left which intertwined the State with a sanctioned religion.

      May 22, 2013 at 6:36 am |
    • Hey! You!

      Sorry Daniel but Chet is correct. If you think that the first amendment is solely about a state sanctioned religion then you are wrong. Yes the founding fathers wanted abandon the notion of a 'Church of England' in the United States, they also did not want the Government to regulate religion. Churches have received tax exempt status in the US because of the 1st Amendment. Churches like Westboro are not legislated out of existence because of the 1st Amendment.

      May 22, 2013 at 7:46 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Is "going concern" a legal term? lol

      As long as congress makes no laws that imply one religion is more suited to the people or better than other religions, it's fine. If Congress says that all religion must now pay taxes, they are not respecting any religion over any other noe.

      May 22, 2013 at 7:56 am |
    • Hey! You!

      Cpt Obvious: Yes it is, see legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Going+Concern+Value‎.

      May 22, 2013 at 8:11 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      @Hey You and Chet

      So how does the interpretation of the law change from what we perceive it to mean, now? What does the "going concern" issue or "an establishment of religion" do to our understanding that Congress shouldn't promote one religious idea over another? (not that I agree with the interpretation you two are claiming)

      May 22, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Hey! You!

      Cpt. Obvious: I am arguing against Mark and Daniels assertion that the sole intent of the first amendment is to prohibit the Government from creating a state religion. I agree that this is a valid interpretation but it is not the only one. Reread the passage, both parts, the government will not pass laws with respect to the various established religions (or the denominations) and will not infringe on the rights of citizens to practice in them.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  11. ISLAM FOUNDATION OF AMERICAN CONSTI TUTION

    Eric EKstrom

    Hat of Pope is called Mitri, consisting of two triangles, merging in to on circle. borrowed from hinduism denial of truth absolute of hindu dark ages.

    May 21, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
  12. faith

    i miss al qaeda akira

    May 21, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
  13. Eric EKstrom

    The defense group, won't mention their name, is saying that they are God and that God does not want other opinions in our land, which is a falseness. Man cannot make laws that curtail the rights of others. To do so is to act like God, which is forbidden in almost all religious texts that I know of. Tell that to the nutbag religious creeps that they are!

    May 21, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
  14. K from AZ

    Would hate to be in YOUR (article's author) shoes on Judgement Day!

    May 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • Mark

      And Santa is going to put you on his naughty list. Really, invoking the mumbo-jumbo of your religion to a non-believer is foolish. There is not going to be a judgement day. Jesus died about 2000 years ago, didn't come back to life, and isn't coming back again.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
    • Hypatia

      Now there is a true Christian sentiment: hoping for someone else's damnation. A bleached bone with a bad case of wind.

      May 22, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • Duh

      Not to worry, Krishna will swoop in on his unicorn and take (article's author) to the candy cane forest because it's immune to judgmental egomaniacs like jeebus.

      May 22, 2013 at 10:46 am |
  15. Ghostriver Studios

    Reblogged this on Ghost River Studios Blog.

    May 21, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Who cares

      ...

      May 22, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  16. LWR

    Typical ANTICHRIST CNN garbage.

    May 21, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • Michael Lee

      Typical Oppressive Christian Crusader angry he cant shove his religion down everyones throat....you make me sick

      May 21, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
  17. HH

    Mr. Prothero,
    Your lack of legal expertise is showing.
    You attempt to cover the illegality of having any religious activity at all in a government setting by saying "let's include everyone in violating the law so then it will be okay!"
    That is all you are doing here.
    If you can't see this, I can only hope you will consider consulting with an actual legal expert before explaining what you do not understand and refuse to research beforehand.
    Or go back to that beach. Have fun in the sand. Have some fresh-grilled seafood and get drunk.
    Pretending greater numbers and diversity makes violating the law okay, is not okay.

    May 21, 2013 at 8:54 pm |
    • HeroesAre Rare

      HH – Well said. Prothero is supposed to be educated? I can't stand his poorly veiled bigotry.

      May 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm |
    • Mike

      Obviously you are the one lacking legal knowledge. As Prothero correctly pointed out the SCOTUS has already ruled that prayers are legal at government meetings. So no matter how much you want it not to be true the fact is you are dead wrong. Congress has had prayers since its creation so that kind of debunks you founding fathers didn't like religion nonsense

      May 21, 2013 at 9:28 pm |
    • Eric EKstrom

      It is ridiculous to assume that prayer, which some men take part in during times of stress and then of admiration for the concept of God... (ahem) ... has anything to do with the town who would not allow anything but Christian voices to take part in town meetings. To say that prayer was given way back when to all governments is to beguile the reader. The definition of prayer takes many shades. How dare he put the log in the eye of all viewers by in essence saying prayer is a one idea concept, and by virtue of his wrongness he states that prayer is the norm for our government. Prayer is religious! And religion involves God, not the men and women around us. Prayer is personal. Get government out of Religion!

      May 21, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
  18. Anon

    Welcome to 'MURICA the land of the christards.

    May 21, 2013 at 6:48 pm |
    • Anon^2

      If they only knew how foolish they looked to the rest of the civilized world. How can a country so advanced be so woefully ignorant when it comes to jesus?

      May 22, 2013 at 11:01 am |
  19. fintastic

    Jesus = pure mythology. Heaven = pure mythology, heII = pure mythology.

    Mythology has no place in our secular government.

    May 21, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
  20. HeavenSent

    Susan Galloway, as a Jew, time to stop listening to the traditions of men and start your education on His truth written in Psalms 22:1- 31, Matthew 4:23, His gospel must be about the kingdom of God. "John 1:17 … the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." His gospel is mentioned as "grace and truth" in the above verse. "The truth" is the will of the Father and "the grace" is his power imparted to the humble and obedient believer to do the will of the Father. Those who received the true gospel will do the will of the Father by the power of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. The true gospel is not only a verbal message, but it includes impartation of the power of Jesus Christ. 2 Corrinthians 11:14-15, John 8:31-32. Then, we may know the truth and the truth, which is the true gospel, will make us free.

    Amen.

    May 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
    • fintastic

      @Heavenstench.......... Time to stop listening to your book of make believe and get a grip on reality. Your posts are nothing more than fairytales and mythology. They certainly have no place in our secular government.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:03 pm |
    • Reality

      With respect to John's Gospel and John' epistles, from Professor/Father Raymond Brown in his book, An Introduction to the New Testament, (The book has both a Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur from the Catholic Church),

      John's Gospel, Date- 80-110 CE, Traditional Attribution, (2nd Century), St. John, one of the Twelve,
      Author Detectable from the Contents, One who regards himself in the tradition of the disciple.
      First Epistle of John, Authenticity- Certainly by a writer in the Johannine tradition, probably NOT by the one responsible for most of the Gospel.

      From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

      "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

      From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

      "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

      "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

      And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

      "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

      See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/1john.html

      May 21, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • meifumado

      And where are the camel-toes?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
    • meifumado

      The truth is Jesus did not intend for a new religion, He wanted to fix the Jewish religion and was hijacked.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Romans 11

      Amen.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:27 pm |
    • fintastic

      Exodus 32:27 ". . . Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour."

      Such a loving god you have there.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Reality,

      Mark 7:9  

      And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

      Amen.

      May 21, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      fintastic, you're complaining that the Jews defending themselves and fought their enemies? Now I've heard everything. I can tell you don't care about our soldiers fighting for your freedom!

      May 21, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Phony heavensent, I do not pollute my speech. Besides, instead of stalking me, don't you want to write your babble on other articles today?

      May 21, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • HeroesAre Rare

      God Bless you friend. Great post.

      May 21, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
    • Eric EKstrom

      You, do not do the will of the 'father'. The 'father' wills you to do what you can, and when you cannot go any further you are relieved of the responsibility to help bring us all back to the Garden of Eden. I do not 'will' any of what I learn or instruct/teach at the BUEC. I happen to fall into the will of God, and from there I produce what 'I' can. If I were so perfect in these moments, or had the resources and the perfect state of grace ... I would be leading you by hand by hand by hand to the Gates of Eden, so that you could see for yourselves what is required of you, rather than my trying to explain ... that lovely idea I'd like to see Earth transform into. Interesting, though, that what we think wrongly can bring about such a defined ending.

      May 21, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • Mark

      As a Christian, it's time to start believing the truth. I found a book written by Jesus at amends the bible. It is called the Book of Jesus' Talking Taco. I think Jesus was stoned when he wrote it. It says that Jesus and his taco want you to stop blithering on about some crap in an old book written by men and quit using it as an excuse to oppress people. This is the word of Jesus and his taco.

      May 21, 2013 at 11:31 pm |
    • Reality

      As with all NT passages, Mark 7: 5-23 has been thoroughly analyzed for historic authenticity by many contemporary NT scholars. Only Mark 7: 14-15 passes muster via a rigorous review. See for example, Professor Gerd Ludemann's analysis in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 47-49. See also :

      ttp://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb056.html Mark 7: 6-7,

      http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb235.html Mark 7: 8-13,

      http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb236.html Mark 7: 17-23:

      May 21, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Reality, like you, those folks you quote have no eyes to see nor ears to hear His truth. You all decided to be spiritually dead. True Christians hear, see, and comprehend what Jesus' teaches. The rest of you that don't, are lost.

      Proverbs 14:12

      There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.

      Amen.

      May 22, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Reality

      Only for those who are stuck in the Christian bible-trap:

      The Apostles' / Agnostics’ Creed 2013 (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)

      Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
      and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
      human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????

      I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
      preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
      named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
      girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)

      Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
      the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,

      He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
      a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
      Jerusalem.

      Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
      many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
      ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
      Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
      grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
      and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
      called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.

      Amen
      (References used are available upon request.)

      May 22, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
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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.