Mourn on the Fourth of July: Inside the Christian anti-patriot movement
Mark Van Steenwyk leads his Mennonite Worker Community in Minneapolis.
July 5th, 2013
05:40 PM ET

Mourn on the Fourth of July: Inside the Christian anti-patriot movement

By David R. Wheeler, special to CNN

(CNN) - Like many congregations, The Mennonite Worker Community of Minneapolis held a worship service and picnic this Fourth of July - but instead of extolling the virtues of America, they called attention to its faults.

The annual service is “a sort of anti-patriotic holiday,” says Mark Van Steenwyk, whose community focuses on simplicity, prayer and peacemaking. Singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” is out. Reflecting on the contradictions between the gospel and the American Dream are in.

“We thank you, O God, for the good things we enjoy in our lives," reads a prayer the Mennonite community recites each year, "but lament that our abundance has brought destitution to sisters and brothers throughout the Earth.”

Anti-patriots like Van Steenwyk say their movement, which has grown more vocal in recent years, is simply an honest way to read – and live out – Jesus' teachings on nonviolence. But it's hard to look at groups like The Mennonite Community and not see an implicit criticism of God-and-country cheerleading by mainstream Christians and ripples of centuries-old church-state tensions.

Some anti-patriots come from pacifist Anabaptist traditions, such as the Mennonite Church. Others come from evangelical backgrounds but have rejected their counterparts' often unreserved patriotism and embraced liberal-leaning communities like Red Letter Christians and JesusRadicals.com.

They may differ on theological details, but they hold at least one belief in common: You cannot serve both God and country.

A Suspicion of the State

Anabaptists such as Mennonites and the Amish were persecuted by state churches in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, and their descendants bear a lasting suspicion of human authorities.

Many an Amish and Mennonite home keeps a copy of "The Martyr's Mirror," a book thick with testimonies of Anabaptists burned at the stake of orthodoxy. The book's subtitle refers to the martys as "defenseless Christians," a nod to Anabaptists' belief that when Jesus called on Christians to turn the other cheek, he was quite serious.

For that reason, Anabaptists historically do not participate in warfare — or celebrate military victories.

American Anabaptists have been fined or jailed for their pacifist beliefs during wartime. Four Hutterites died from harsh treatment while imprisoned as conscientious objectors during World War I, Bach says. Anabaptists didn’t receive official permission to perform alternative service until World War II.

READ MORE: Bolivia’s isolated Mennonite community

“Some members of Anabaptist groups today are more acculturated and celebrate patriotic holidays just like the rest of the nation,” says Jeff Bach, director of Elizabethtown College's Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. “None of the Anabaptist groups are anti-American. They are typically grateful for the religious freedom permitted in the United States.”

Still, in 2011, Goshen College, a Mennonite school in Indiana, banned the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at sporting events because, according to the college’s president, the lyrics were too violent.

Serving `the King' 

It may be difficult for some Americans to understand why their countrymen would disassociate themselves from patriotism. What’s the harm in celebrating Independence Day, anyway?

But nonpatriotic Christians believe the burden of proof should fall on the other side: Why should peace-loving believers celebrate a bloody revolution? And American history after 1776 isn’t exactly pacifistic either, Van Steenwyk says.

“It is easy to judge Islam for the actions of a relative few militants. Yet when millions of Americans — a vast majority of them claiming the Christian faith — were complicit with slavery, indigenous genocide, and continued economic exploitation, we suddenly see them as separate from our faith,” says Van Steenwyk.

Jesus called his followers to Christian service and humility, which are the opposite of nationalistic rituals performed on the Fourth of July, says David Swartz, author of “Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism.”

“A heightened devotion to the nation can cause a lot of confusion abroad when people see claims of a Christian America alongside a long American history of slavery, economic inequality and overheated Hollywood sexuality and violence,” says Swartz.

Kurt Willems, who runs the progressive Christian blog Pangea, has also joined the rising nonpatriotic chorus. The Anabaptist from Seattle writes an annual post explaining why he no longer celebrates Independence Day.

“Each year I receive comments about how I should leave this country if I ‘hate’ it so much,” he says. “I love Americans, but I’m not willing to compromise my values as a servant of my only King, the nonviolent revolutionary — Jesus.”

Making Toby Keith Proud

Many Christians trace the latest wave of evangelical interest in pacifism to author and activist Shane Claiborne, who worked with Mother Teresa in the slums of Calcutta, ministered to Iraqis during the war in Iraq and now leads a Philadelphia community called The Simple Way.

“My philosophy on patriotic things would be: A love for the people of our country is not a bad thing, but why should love stop at the border?” says Claiborne.

There have been some nonpatriotic gatherings in major cities, such as the Los Angeles Catholic Worker’s “Mourn on the Fourth of July” peace march in 2008.

Still the nonpatriot movement remains small, and finding local communities can be challenging, Van Steenwyk says.

“Everyone knows that other folks think like them, but it isn’t like there are a lot of congregations that self-identify as being nonpatriotic.”

That’s especially true for evangelicals, who lead the country in patriotic fervor.

More than 80% of white evangelicals believe that God has granted the United States a "special role" in history, according to a survey released June 27 by the Public Religion Research Institute.

In a stat that would make Toby Keith proud, more than two-thirds of white evangelicals say they are "very proud" to be an American, outstripping every other religious group polled.

So it's not surprising that some conservative Christians find the nonpatriotic alliance of progressive evangelicals and Anabaptists troubling — even dangerous.

“All Christians everywhere are called to love and serve their nations,” says Mark Tooley, a president of the Institute on Religion & Democracy and a United Methodist.

READ MORE: Celebrating the Fourth of July

“The stance of some evangelical elites influenced by neo-Anabaptist beliefs is often one of ingratitude, and whining, while ignoring the teaching of the universal Church, which has always recognized the God-ordained vocation of the state, and the Christian’s calling to serve as responsible citizens,” he says.

Tooley also disagrees with the nonpatriotic Christians on about military force, which he says is required to maintain order worldwide. Nonpatriot Christians are naïve not to consider the ill effects should the United States abdicate military power, he says

“What would the alternatives be if the USA didn’t exist or withdrew from the world stage? Almost certainly a more dangerous, more anarchic, more repressive, less prosperous world with less opportunity for the poor to escape poverty,” Tooley argues.

No Middle Ground? 

Some patriotic pastors argue for a middle way: honoring America without succumbing to chauvinism or ignoring the country's wrongs.

“Do I agree with every major policy of our government? No way,” says Kyle Vanover, pastor of Cyrus Chapel United Methodist Church in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. “But I’m proud to be an American, and I believe God has truly blessed this land.”

Van Steenwyk, however, says there is no middle ground.

Jesus’ identification with the poor, love of enemies, and refusal to take power are incompatible with the “entire political and economic system” of the United States, he says.

“Let’s face it — the Sermon on the Mount makes for lousy foreign or public policy. We can’t have it both ways.”

David R. Wheeler is a journalism professor and freelance writer living in Lexington, Kentucky. You can follow him on Twitter at: @David_R_Wheeler

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Amish • Belief • Christianity • Church • Church and state • Faith • Foreign policy • Mennonite • Military • Politics

soundoff (1,599 Responses)
  1. Mandor

    Part of me wants to say there's 364 other perfectly good days for healthy self criticism, and that it's no bad thing to have just 1 day in 365 days to just feel good about where we're at.

    Still. Voltaire is still in effect. I don't care for their particular approach, but they have the right to take that approach, and to say whatever they want to say, on whatever day they want to say it. I may also choose to decide they're a bit over self-rightous, but whether or not I like them is a very different question from whether they have the right to say what they want.

    July 8, 2013 at 11:20 am |
  2. cosmicc

    As an atheist, I wish they wouldn't put such a religious bent on their argument. I agree with them on moral grounds. I don't need to invoke a supernatural being to follow the path of peace.

    July 8, 2013 at 11:19 am |
  3. cosmicc

    I love my country, but we should start seeing other people.

    July 8, 2013 at 11:12 am |
  4. Aloha

    "They are typically grateful for the religious freedom permitted in the United States.”"....And just how are you able to do this, by praying to god? Wrong answer, it the brave soldiers that have given you that "privilege," often with their lives.

    July 8, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • cosmicc

      So, tell me what that has to do with our soldiers killing and being killed defending our economic advancement over the freedoms of people in another country? That's wrong, not even taking into account the fact that very few in the US actually benefit from such acts.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:16 am |
    • Aloha

      Did you see me address this as an economic issue? If you're gonna have a pzzzng contest, how about you do it apples to apples? All of YOU PEOPLE can't seem to hijack a conversation...waste of time

      July 8, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • David Marks

      Your post and follow up to cosmic is very good. Jesus asked us to pray for our government leaders, understanding that folowing His teachings, and obeying the TWO commandments, must be done within the confines of a temporal society that includes political boundaries, taxes and armies. Our ability to maintain religious freedom comes at a price. We do not condone interfering, yet so often we as citizens are not afforded a seat every morning in the NSA briefing.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • cosmicc

      Our country has in the past and continues today to use military means to achieve economic objectives abroad. We also use clandestine violence for the same purpose. Are you saying this is the same as defending political and social freedom? We have the power to prevent atrocities in other countries, but rarely do so. On the other hand we don't seem to have a problem committing our soldiers to fight for our multinational companies for the sole benefit of their stockholders.

      July 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm |
  5. Austin

    bottoms of all socialized ladders with no ways in understanding how to climb them.

    July 8, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Austin

      Hey Lionly Lamb, your statements are like little treats.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Filthy Hind I love to Mithrism lick and talk Islam bunk

      More like little ignorant bird droppings.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Sired Austin,

      It moves my heart whenever someone tickles my toes! Thank you Austin for your kind words! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      July 8, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  6. Walter Adams

    Perhaps one of the biggest ironies is that Jesus wasn't even a Christian. Christianity was a much later movement started by people with no first-hand knowledge of Jesus. And the book Christians revere is a book assembled by committees determining what they thought was divinely inspired writing.

    July 8, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • meifumado


      And why do Christians eat pork when Jesus did not!

      July 8, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Will

      "Christianity was a much later movement started by people with no first-hand knowledge of Jesus."

      Respectfully, I have to point out that the New Testament repeatedly claims in numerous places to be written by or under the authority of people with first-hand knowledge. So, in order to claim Christianity was not started by direct followers of Christ means you have to begin your inquiry into Christianity with the presupposition that the Bible is false. But obviously any time you approach any historical writing with an unwillingness to even consider its claims, you are limiting yourself to only one conclusion, "this must be false, just as I presupposed." Now I'm not suggested someone blindly believe the bible is true but I am suggesting that we look at what it claims and see if there is anything to support those claims.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Average life expectancy of that time was about 40 years old. First book in the bible was written approx 90 years after your jesus's suppossed death. First-hand knowledge would have been difficult to acquire.

      July 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Will, it wouldn't be much of an investigation if it doesn't even ask the question "what if?". Do you recommend we approach every text the way you describe? Whatever the book says must be true, so there's no point in investigating the claims? That seems pretty stupid. If we had never questioned the bible, we'd still believe that the moon gave off its own light and the stars are "lesser lights" and that bird blood cures some illnesses.

      July 8, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Will

      Not that difficult.

      According to your numbers (if Jesus died around 30 AD) Jesus disciples would have died around 40 AD (if they were the same age as Jesus) with the first book of the bible written around 120 AD. Which leaves an 80 year gap between the disciples' deaths and the first book of the New Testament – requiring a disciple to be 120 years old to write a book of the New Testament.

      But, the earliest piece we have of the New Testament is called Papyrus 52, is from the Gospel of John, and is dated to about 130 AD. Because of the theology of the Gospel of John, it is believed that it wasn't one of the first books written plus because it was written on papyrus (which isn't easily preserved) we can rightly assume that P52 wasn't the very first copy of the book of John. Which means John, a later book, was easily written before the date you gave for the first book of the New Testament being written in 120 AD. In fact, the book of Mark is reliably dated as early as the mid to late 60's AD (many of the books can be dated by well known events such as the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD or the great fire of Rome in 64 AD). So there may be as few as 30 years between the death of Jesus and the writing down of the first New Testament book. So if Jesus' disciples were the same age as Jesus, they would only have to be 60 years old to write part of the Christian New Testament. Yes, you claim the average age was 40 but even if that was true that is still only an average age and not the actual known age of any particular person such as the disciple John who refers to himself as being old in 2 John 1:1. Bottom line is, its still not that easy to disregard the claims of the New Testament and so any fair treatment of who Jesus claims to be must include thoughtful consideration.

      July 8, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • cosmicc

      I don't see how that is ironic. These people follow a text they consider sacred. They believe that the use of military power by our government is wrong. I don't share their belief in a mythical being, but I do share their belief in peace and non-violence. I agree that there are times that the use of military power is a necessary evil, but there are so many examples in my life that it has been used unnecessarily, or not used when necessary, that I do not believe that I can trust our government to wield it correctly.

      July 8, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Will

      In response to Cpt. Obvious, "Now I'm not suggested someone blindly believe the bible is true but I am suggesting that we look at what it claims and see if there is anything to support those claims."

      As for your other examples, "If we had never questioned the bible, we'd still believe that the moon gave off its own light and the stars are "lesser lights" and that bird blood cures some illnesses" I would say, first – some of your examples are flat out incorrect and second – we have to be careful how we use language. Even though police may find themselves in pursuit of a criminal, no one would read the Declaration of Independence which guarantees the rights of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness" as saying you have the right to get in a car chase with "Happiness" just as no reasonable person reads the Bible and believes it is claiming that the moon is the original source of its own light.

      July 8, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Will

      PS, I'm not an Anabaptist, Mennonite, or Pacifist and I did celebrate the 4th of July with my family, a beach, and even fireworks

      July 8, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
  7. lazarus00000

    Religious hate does not equal liberty.

    July 8, 2013 at 11:03 am |
  8. Shauna

    Jesus didn't identify with the poor. He said the poor would always be with us. But that we have an obligation to help. The poor deserve respect, but so do the rich and powerful. Everyone is important to God.

    History is far more violent than today. If anything guns are a cowardly violence compared to hand to hand combat. The intimacy of war in history was very very brutal and violent. Maybe not as loud. But loud is not more violent.

    If America is so bad, where is better? Is there a place where the poor are treated with more respect than America? Is there a place where race or class is less of indicative of success in life.

    I wish America was better, a verse in America the Beautiful is a prayer for God to mend every flaw. I agree with that, we are not perfect. But we are the best example of true Christlike living in history.

    People are violent. People are deeply flawed. Don't blame America, blame human nature.

    But people are also capable of overcoming the natural impulses of violence and wrong doing.

    That is what Jesus Christ was all about, overcoming the bad in human nature, and when we fail, repenting, and trying to do better next time. Making up for our lapses and learning to be truly good. Our country, often, very often, tries it's best to do the same.

    July 8, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • Alverant

      No history is less violent today than when christianity was in charge. It's just becoming less acceptable and the excuse "God said so" isn't permitted.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Filthy Hind I love to Mithrism lick and talk Islam bunk

      You are deluded. You have never seen a Northern European country. Everyone there is educated and gets free health care.

      Jebus was one of many apocalyptic preachers, who all thought the end was nigh. They were all wrong. All the rest is cultural overlay, that Christians make up and tell themselves about him.

      He (if he even existed) said "SELL all your goods, give the money to the oor, and come follow me". Have you done that ?
      If not, you are no Christian. You just tell yourself you are.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      What a ridiculous rant... borderline zealot crazy

      July 8, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  9. Catholic4ever

    CNN is the #1 persecutor of Christians in modern history! WE ARE NOT AFRAID CNN!

    July 8, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • midwest rail

      Disagreement is not persecution.

      July 8, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      Please provide examples of christians persecuted in the USA (presumably other than by a different christian sect).

      July 8, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Red47

      Sorry. Not quantifiable.
      More harm has been done in the name of "good" than anything else. Following facts is more important than following emotion.

      July 8, 2013 at 10:59 am |
    • ReligionIsBS

      Declairing your nonsense as nonsense isnt persecution. If you want a good example of persecution, look back in history as to what christians did to nonbelievers during the dark ages. And guess what, we arent scared of your hate club anymore.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:00 am |
    • Catholic4ever

      @midwest rail – Does CNN ever publish anything positve about Christianity? Just look at last week.. A catholic priest was beheaded in Syria and how did CNN publish it?? Every other outlet explicitly called it as it was.. CNN only put a hidden headline stating "3 beheaded in Syria" They know Christianity speaks the truth, Jesus speaks the truth! and CNN can't accept it. Neither can the devil.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • midwest rail

      Even if your perspective of CNN reporting were true, it still does not equal persecution. Your complex is showing.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      Catholic4ever stop trolling and get a life.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Alverant

      How exactly are you being persecuted?

      July 8, 2013 at 11:06 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      C4ever, That's not persecution. Also there's a lot going on in the world, while the beheading is a tragedy for the man and his relatives – there's a lot of tragedy in this world (if ony there were an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent being who could solve all of the world's problems).

      July 8, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • tallulah13

      Funny. I read an article about that priest, I think on this very blog. He wasn't beheaded. That was just propaganda. But he was killed. I fail to see how that would be positive, though.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Austin

      they killed him with his head on this time?


      July 8, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • Catholic4ever

      @In Santa we trust – Well, that is where your problem lies. You believe you can USE God whenever and however you want. You want him to stop all these tragedies yet you choose to live a life away from him. How does that work?? better yet.. how is that working for you?? You have no ideas who God is yet you want to trash him. How's your relationship with Santa?

      July 8, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      You have no idea what or who any of the thousands of gods are, or if any actually exist, and yet you worship it/he/she.
      How's your relatiuonship with your imagination...fulfilling?

      July 8, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • In Santa we trust

      "Well, that is where your problem lies. You believe you can USE God whenever and however you want. You want him to stop all these tragedies ..."
      No I don't believe there is a god and if there were I'm sure it won't be the one in your bible. I therefore do not expect a god to do anything – I was commenting on the believers who praise god for the good things in life but do not hold it accountable for the bad things in life; who claim a god can do anything except when it is needed and verifiable.

      "You have no ideas who God is yet you want to trash him."

      You have no idea who god is yet you want to worship it.

      "How's your relationship with Santa?""
      Great, he brings me demonstrably real gifts every year in exchange for a few cookies and a glass of milk. He doesn't make me get on my knees each week or threaten me with eternal damnation if I don't follow his rules.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Catholic4ever

      @Richard Cranium – My God is an awesome God! He is the one who created me, gives me life, gives me everything I have. My life does not make sense unless he is involved. He is the one who took me from a miserable life to the life I have today. My life without YHWH is nothing. With him I have everything. He gives life and he takes it. Everything belongs to him and with him everything is possible. Sorry – I know, difficult to comprehend.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:45 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Oh wow, aren't you brave. Unafraid of little black squiggly marks on a white background?!? Whoah! Where do you get the courage?

      July 8, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Saraswati

      Wow...talk about lack pf historical perspective.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Zeus

      CNN is the #1 persecutor of Christians

      Says the non-christian catholic sheep.

      July 8, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Oldster

      Funny, Zeus - when I was growing up in the 1950s Catholics were the only Christians... all the rest were just called Protestants (then of course there were the Jews, and the remainder were called heathens (Hindus, Buddhists, Mohammedans, etc.)).

      July 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "Does CNN ever publish anything positve(sic) about Christianity?" Is there anything positive about christianity? Other than it is on the down-swing in the U.S.?

      July 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      So in other words, your relationship with your imagination is a wonderful delusion. Good for you.

      By the way, it is YHVH....the double u was not invented until long after your particular god was. The closest pronounciation would be yeavah. No W.

      July 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  10. coco

    If Jesus were to return to our world today, He would be very disappointed with the actions of the so called "Christians" in our country. I am a believer who is ashamed of the way most of them act. What happened to practicing what you preach?

    July 8, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Catholic4ever

      You're ashamed of being a Christian.. you have believed the lies of the devil. Do you live your faith? or are you a 1hr a week service attendee?? Defend your faith, don't be afraid. Christianity is not about sitting down on a chair 45 minutes once a week.. Christianity is a way of life. You either live it or you don't.

      July 8, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Morning coco,

      You asked, "Whatever happened to practicing what you preach?"

      Maybe all of our practicing ways have become worn out and we all fail to practice much of anything nowadays with the exceptions of those willing to stick to it in anything that needs constant practicing. I for one picked up the guitar and practiced until I learned to play Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway to Heaven" then abruptly stopped practicing. Go Figure !

      July 8, 2013 at 10:57 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Coco didn't say they're ashamed of being a Christian, rather they're ashamed of the way some Christians act – you know, the ones that are quick to dole out vitriolic condemnation, like you.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • Catholic4ever

      @Doc Vestibule – who's condeming who?? He is ashamed of christians, what does that mean? I only asked if he lived his faith.. I see nothing wrong with what these Christians are doing.. I too chose to go to Washington DC on the 4th of July and attend mass to support Religious Freedom. I pledge allegiance to God and God only..

      July 8, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • Bruno Cruz

      Catholic4ever, do you have reading comprehension issues? Coco didn't say anything about being ashamed of BEING a Christian. Coco wrote that he/she is ashamed of the way most Christians behave.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Catholic4ever

      @Bruno Cruz- Most Christians??? according to who?? Most Christians are trying to have a relationship with their God. CNN does nothing but trash Christians. A lot of people believe they are Christians because they attend mass 1 hour a week yet they are atheists in the way they live their life. Why is coco ashamed that these Christians choose to pray and follow God on the 4th of July??

      July 8, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      "yet they are atheists in the way they live their life" I doubt if they attend church once a week that they are smart enough to live as an atheist the rest of the week...

      July 8, 2013 at 11:44 am |
    • devin

      Christians have always behaved this way. We're a conglomeration of sinful people, just like everyone else. I doubt Jesus would be very surprised, He is a realist and knows the human condition.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  11. palintwit

    The Fourth of July is to most Americans the day we observe our nations birthday and our independence. For Sarah Palin and her teabillies it's an excuse to fire semi-automatic assault weapons into the air while yelling 'yeeehaawww'.

    July 8, 2013 at 10:25 am |
    • midwest rail

      For someone who claims to despise Palin, you certainly expend a lot of effort keeping her name in the public realm.

      July 8, 2013 at 10:27 am |
    • palintwit

      midwest rail... she must be ridiculed at every opportunity so that history does not repeat itself.

      July 8, 2013 at 10:30 am |
    • midwest rail

      She does a fine job of that all by herself. No assistance required.

      July 8, 2013 at 10:31 am |
    • NotIcky

      Responsible gun owners know that shooting guns into the air is stupid because what goes up must come down.

      July 8, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Alverant

      Ever hear of "no true Scotsman"? I bet if you were to ask those gun owners who were shooting their guns in the air if they were responsible, most would say that they were.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:08 am |
    • Shauna

      Wow, bigotry is seldom so in your face today. This my friends is the example of Christian presecution you were asking about. Read it. Is one word even true? Nope. But that is the stereo type. Because you want it to be true.

      And I am no fan of Sarah Palin, she drives me nuts. But she is who she is. I certainly don't hate her.

      I do question why CNN is so tolerant of bigots. You could never say this kind of stuff about one of CNN's protected people.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • cringa2006

      You definitely have the twit part right as it clearly extolls who you are.

      So answer me this...what the heck has Ms.Palin ever done to you and more importantly, please explain, concretely,why you hate her so much?

      July 8, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  12. Non-religious guy

    Do what you want to do...Just keep your church out of our state.

    July 8, 2013 at 10:23 am |
    • Dave

      As long as you promise to keep the state out of religion. That's something Obama hasn't been able to do.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • Alverant

      Just as long as religious people don't demand special treatment and claim persecution when they don't get it. Being part of a given church doesn't make you exempt from secular law.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:09 am |
    • Shauna

      Keep your state out of my religion. Call the relationship between gays something other than the religious term you want. Keep the totalitarians out of religion. You are offensive.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • Alverant

      If you're talking about the word "marriage" then it is NOT a religious term. Marriage existed long before christianity was invented. If you took totalitarians out of religion, then you wouldn't have a religion.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • cosmicc

      @ Dave, where has the state intruded in your religion? If it has prevented you from imposing your beliefs on me, that's the role of the state. If it prevents religion from intruding in secular domains, that's a good thing.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Shootmyownfood

      These are not the people who want to include their church in your state – these are the people who say the two are not compatable. It's the current legislators who want to embody their beliefs in federal law. I find that most abhorrent.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Zeus

      11:09 Wow, bigotry is seldom so in your face today

      11:11 Call the relationship between gays something other than the religious term you want. Keep the totalitarians out of religion

      Careful, your hypocrisy is showing.

      July 8, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Dave, please explain how the state, through Obama, has affected your religion unconst.itutionally.

      July 8, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Diraphe


      July 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
  13. Leigh

    Seems like these Mennonites might be the REAL Christians, the ones who follow Jesus Christ's teachings to the letter.

    There is no law saying that a person born and raised (or naturalized) in America MUST be patriotic. This flag-waving and anthem-singing and military-worshipping not only on July 4th but year-round always struck me as uncomfortable, anyway. Virulent nationalism was the first symptom in the Nazi Plague, if anyone cares to remember.

    July 8, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Hello Leigh,

      When the Big III comes along it will put wrinkles upon anyone's clothes not to mention the neighborhood going to hell in a hand basket which will make our ongoing

      July 8, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Lionly Lamb

      naturalized destructions seem like a cakewalk or just a walk in the park. (sorry I pushed the wrong button)

      July 8, 2013 at 10:37 am |
  14. shem

    "In a stat that would make Toby Keith proud, more than two-thirds of white evangelicals say they are "very proud" to be an American, outstripping every other religious group polled."

    A rather misleading headline from CNN attacking 'Christians' yet again. Where do you find these lunatic fringe groups and then paint everything that calls itself Christian with the same brush?

    Do you know what Christian really is or mean? Have you ever actually met one? Of course not- modern journalism is sitting behind a computer screen surfing the internet for nonsense. Just what I am doing now...

    July 8, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Shootmyownfood

      This is the first time I have seen Mennonites characterized as "fringe groups."

      July 8, 2013 at 11:32 am |
  15. Emmett O'Riley

    I like to ask christians this question.

    How do you know that the man on the corner with a cardboard sign isn't jesus come back to test us?

    July 8, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Lionly Lamb

      A good morning still Emmett O'Riley,

      People are truly tested daily in their Livelihoods. Many though are likened to walking zombies; never having the wherewithal to consider any of Life's hidden meanings. I test myself by a continual motion to seek guidance from my conscience which ebbs and flows with an irregular rhythm and in catching glimpses of my faults do I then begin to change them. It's not as easy as one may think. The true test of one's character arises from their finding issues in their daily affairs and forthrightly making amends.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • Filthy Hind I love to Mithrism lick and talk Islam bunk

      Because no human, or any living creature in the history of the universe, has ever once come back to life.
      Not one.
      You can safely assume this one didn't either.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  16. Mark Texas

    First of all, anti patriotic Christians are a very very small percentage of the Christian community. Second of all, Most Christian Churches celebrate the 4th of July with Patriotic Songs and fellowship. I mean think about it, the Church is one of the few Places we can still recite the Pledge of Allegiance due to the non-Christian laws of the land.

    July 8, 2013 at 10:16 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      The ORIGINAL pledge was written by a pastor and did not have the reference to a deity.
      It was changed uncont!tutionally in the 1950's, taking the pledge away from WE THE PEOPLE and giving it to the people that believed in a deity. It should be changed back to the original. Your pledge is the fake, modified one.

      July 8, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Lionly Lamb

      A fool proudly proclaims, "There is no God" but a wise fool pretends to follow along while the wisest of fools steals all that they can and gets away with it!

      July 8, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      Fake Lamb
      Is there a point to your drivel? I mean other than calling everyone fools?

      July 8, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • Lionly Lamb

      And a good morning to you too Richard Cranium,

      I'm the real lionlylamb Sire Richard and it wasn't me who dared to call "Everyone a fool"

      July 8, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • Shootmyownfood

      I much prefer the pre-McCarthism pledge of allegiance. The "under God" language was added to, in some obscure way, thwart communism. It was as if those who "couldn't" say that phrase would self-identify as communists. I say the pledge, but as I find "under God" exclusionary, I never say that part. After all, we have fine American citizens of all religions, including Hindu (pantheistic) and Buddhist (non-theistic). Therefore, by including that phrase, you are evidencing bigotry against those who are not monotheists.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:37 am |
    • Saraswati

      I can believe that in Texas people might recite the Pledge in church, but I can tell you that in most churches in the rest of the country this is not a normal part of a service.

      July 8, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Saraswati


      It does surprise me a bit that these folks have no problems messing with the Pledge as it was historically written and intended. Most of the new Pledge proponents are the same people who scream loudly if you edit legal docu.ments to remove racist or se.xist language.

      July 8, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  17. lvsingleton


    July 8, 2013 at 10:16 am |
  18. Lionly Lamb

    Austin wrote, "Lionly Lamb, radical islaam is now another point of comparison and excuse for people to shrug off the cross. also the topic at hand, the emotional domesticated church. How can we deliver the seed, we rely and hope in the Holy Spirit."

    The threading of religious bureaucracies upon the aristocracies of political orientations wash each other's hands while many nations' highly uneducated ranks smolder away with nary an inch of intellectual foresights to lead them along.

    July 8, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • cosmicc

      I'm fairly certain that you meant "treading" rather than "threading" and may have really wanted to use "molder" rather than "smolder", but even those changes just move your post from completely unintelligible to highly obtuse.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  19. conoclast

    They do have a point: what resemblance to Christ's actual teachings do modern right-wing "christians" bear? Not much.

    July 8, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • midwest rail

      " Not much " is probably too generous.

      July 8, 2013 at 10:13 am |
    • Lionly Lamb

      Good morning conoclast,

      In my sometimes faltering way, I view Christians as either being emotionally dumfounded are aristocratically sullen. The more emotionally centered the better there are to be feebleminded while the other side being aristocratically dismayed looking at all their monetary profits start to dwindle whenever their weather vanes blow with an ill wind. Still, Life carries us all into a future where each nations up and coming generations will be given the rotting wastes of their forefathers' ill done deeds.

      July 8, 2013 at 10:26 am |
  20. notraitors

    Don't like America? Then LEAVE. Problem solved

    July 8, 2013 at 9:59 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Thank you Merle Haggard.

      July 8, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • DB

      Oh, grow up.

      July 8, 2013 at 10:12 am |
    • Shootmyownfood

      I would prefer to stay and work towards a country matching my personal vision of democracy. However, your tired admonition to "leave" just means you are prejudiced against those who don't think exactly as you do. That is the basis for theocracy, not democracy.

      July 8, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • Saraswati


      This is one of the sillier comments I hear people on all parts of the political spectrum saying. I assume it is based on both a gross ignorance of immigration laws world wide and a lack of understanding of the vital support role many people play for family members. Unless you are a physician, have a graduate computer science degree or are in one of a tiny handful of other professions you aren't going to get permanent residence in any country. On top of this, if you are over 35 or have any kind of illness you can pretty much forget gaining entry anywhere. Even for those who can move, almost all have parents who can't, who if not now, will soon enough need their children's assistance. Very few people are in any sort of position to change nations.

      July 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.