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August 29th, 2013
01:24 PM ET

Former staffer: Measles church counseled faith, not shots

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) ­ When Amy Arden joined Eagle Mountain International Church in 1997, her 11­month­old daughter had received all the recommended vaccinations. But in the six years the young, single mother worked and worshipped at the evangelical megachurch, Arden didn’t take her child to get a single shot.

“There was a belief permeating throughout the church that there is only faith and fear,” Arden said. “If you were afraid of the illness enough to get vaccinated, it showed a lack of faith that God would protect and heal you.”

Members of Eagle Mountain International Church also believed that childhood vaccinations could lead to autism, said Arden, who is 35.

Arden said she was taught by a supervisor at the church's nursery how to opt out of a Texas law that requires most children to be immunized. She now regrets passing the same lesson on to other parents.

“I didn’t know a single mother who was vaccinating her children,” she said.

Eagle Mountains teachings on health, including disparaging remarks about vaccinations, have been called into question since an outbreak of measles in Texas – an outbreak that state officials tie to the church.

As a Word of Faith church, Eagle Mountain is part of the booming prosperity gospel movement, which holds that God wants to reward believers with riches, health and happiness, if they will just recite certain Scriptures, pray and trust in divine providence.

The church is part of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, a vast and profitable multimedia ministry led by its namesake, a longtime prosperity preacher and television evangelist.

In the prosperity gospel world, Copeland, 76, and his wife, Gloria, are considered royalty, said Kate Bowler, author of “Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel.”

“He is a major grandfather of the movement, starting to age out but still incredibly influential,”

Bowler said. “They’ve been on the air forever and stayed largely scandal­free. That’s partly why they are so trusted by lots of people.”

According to Kenneth Copeland Ministries, the Copelands' daily program on the Trinity Broadcasting Network reaches millions of viewers, their magazine more than 500,000 readers.

Based in Newark, Texas, a rural community 25 miles north of Fort Worth, Eagle Mountain is co­pastored by Copeland's daughter, Terri Copeland Pearsons, and son­in­law, George Pearsons.

Twenty­one people in Tarrant County and nearby Denton County have contracted measles during this outbreak, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. The victims include nine children and range from 4 to 44 years old..

Tarrant County epidemiologist Russell Jones said the confirmed cases can be traced back to a person who attended Eagle Mountain International Church after visiting Asia, which has higher rates of measles infections than the United States.

Health officials are not releasing the name of that person or the particular country.

Jones said he doesn’t know exactly how many of the infected people are members of Eagle Mountain. At least 11 of the 21 did not have any measles vaccinations, he said. (Doctors usually recommend two shots.)

“Our concern would be that if you have a pocket of people who associate and think alike, if they don’t believe in immunization there’s going to be some other vulnerable people,” Jones said.

Neither Eagle Mountain International Church nor Kenneth Copeland Ministries responded to repeated requests for comment.

Eagle Mountain Pastor Terri Copeland Pearsons has said that “while some people may believe she is against immunizations, that is not true.”

“I believe it is wrong to be against vaccinations,” she said in a statement.

But the pastor hasn’t always preached a pro­immunization message.

In an August 15 statement, Copeland Pearsons drew a link between vaccinations and autism, saying, “The concerns we have had are primarily with very young children who have family history of autism and with bundling too many immunizations at one time.”

Likewise, in 2010, during a broadcast about health, Kenneth Copeland – whose followers consider him a prophet – voiced alarm about the number of shots given to his grandchild.

“All of this stuff they wanted to put into his body,” Copeland said. “Some of it is criminal!”

Copeland was particularly agitated about the Hepatitis B shot.

“In an infant? That’s crazy! That is a shot for sexually transmitted disease!” he said.

“We need to be a whole lot more serious about this and aware, and you don’t take the word of the guy who’s trying to give you the shot about what’s good and what isn’t.”

Dr. Don Colbert, a "divine health" expert who has appeared with Copeland in several broadcasts, then said the autism rate among children has increased with the number of childhood vaccinations.

"I have had so many patients bring their children in and they say, you know what, the week after I had that immunization, for MMR – measles, mumps and rubella – my child stopped talking, my child stopped giving me eye contact. He was not alert, he was not coherent. he quit speaking, he quit being the child I had," Colbert said on the webcast.

Colbert and the Copeland family are wrong about immunizations, said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University.

“It's painful because these pastors are trusted spiritual leaders who are speaking to people not only in their congregations but also on television," he said. "They are putting people at risk.”

There is no link between vaccinations and autism, and hepatitis can be passed from mother to child, making the shot necessary and effective, Schaffner said.

Schaffner said that doctors call concerns about bundling immunizations the "pin cushion effect." It's a common but unfounded fear, he said.

Most health experts, including the American Pediatric Association and the Tarrant County Public Health Department, agree with Schaffner.

In a joint statement on Wednesday, the church and ministry said that they believe in, and advocate the use of, medical professionals.

"If an individual is faced with a situation that requires medical attention, that person should seek out the appropriate medical professional and follow their instructions using wisdom," the church leaders said.

After the measles outbreak, Kenneth Copeland said that he “inquired of the Lord as to what he would say regarding these vaccinations,” according to a statement posted on the church's website on August 15.

The pastor said that God told him to “pray over it,” and then to “take advantage of what I have provided for you in Jesus’ name.”

Since the measles outbreak, Eagle Mountain has held two free immunization clinics, where about 220 church members received vaccinations, according to Jones, who said the county assisted with the clinics. Jones said that he is working to ascertain how many of the church’s 1,500 members have still not been immunized.

Eagle Mountain and Kenneth Copeland Ministries also disinfected their shared 25­acre campus, including the nursery and day care center, Pearsons said at an August 14 church service titled “Taking Our Stand of Faith Over Measles.” The church runs schools for children through the sixth grade.

When Copeland announces a change in church policy, it's often after he has claimed to receive a new divine revelation, said former members of the church.

"Kenneth would always come up with a new prophecy to match what's going on," said one

former church member, who wished to remain anonymous in order to maintain business ties with the church.

In this case, Copeland’s new revelation – and the church's recent statements –represent a big shift, said the former members.

Amy Arden worshipped and worked at the church, including in its nursery, for six years, first as a volunteer, then as paid staff from 2000 to 2003.

Arden said she now deeply regrets teaching other parents how to access the Texas immunization exemption forms. But she and another former church employee described a closed spiritual world in which doubts are kept quiet and leaders' words are rarely questioned.

“This was Kenneth Copeland’s ministry, and we did nothing that he did not approve of,” Arden said.

“It’s hard to believe that hundreds of his children in his church were not getting vaccinated and he didn’t know about it. If he was pro­vaccination, we would have vaccinated our children."

Arden recalled a 2002 lecture to church employees in which they were told that every part of Eagle Mountain International Church and Kenneth Copeland Ministries must reflect the founder’s vision.

Arden said she was fired from KCM in 2003 for disagreeing with the church’s willingness to take donations from the mentally ill, including institutionalized patients.

She later cooperated with a U.S. Senate investigation into Copeland’s and other prosperity preachers’ finances. The church was not penalized, but Sen. Chuck Grassley's 2011 report raised questions about the pastors' use of church­owned luxury items like private jets. The Copelands and Eagle Mountain called the investigation an attack on Word of Faith pastors.

Another former church member and Kenneth Copeland Ministries employee who volunteered in the nursery corroborated Arden’s account.

“Being vaccinated was like working against your faith,” said the former church member. “You were trusting a disease's power to infect you over God's ability to protect you.”

Neither Arden nor the other former church member recalled hearing the Copelands or Pearsons preach specifically against vaccinations, however. Nor did the Copelands counsel their flock to reject medical treatment for serious ailments, they said.

More often, the prosperity pastors would preach that faith is the best preventive measure and that some ailments can and should be prayed away, the church members recalled.

That’s a common belief among Pentecostals, said Bowler, the historian and Duke Divinity School professor. According to a 2006 Pew Study, 62% of American Pentecostals say they have witnessed divine healings.

But many Christian traditions teach that God can heal believers. What separates preachers like the Copelands is that they believe Jesus died not only to save humanity from sin but also from sickness.

“When Jesus bore away our sins, he also bore away our diseases,” Gloria Copeland has said in sermons about spiritual healing.

The Copelands also teach that they have unlocked the formula – a combination of words and Scriptures – to guide believers from optimistic faith to tangible results.

“The places they look for those results are their bodies and their wallets,” Bowler said.

In many ways, the Copelands are the spiritual successors to last century's revival preachers, Bowler said, trading traveling tent meetings for lucrative television ministries.

Kenneth Copeland learned at the feet of prosperity gospel founders Kenneth Hagin and Oral Roberts. Copeland calls Roberts, who believed that God had anointed his right hand with healing power, his "spiritual father."

The Copelands have since created their own unique brand of theology, emphasizing that the

spoken word – a Word of Faith – can turn prayers into reality. Kenneth Copeland teaches that simply uttering the words “I’m sick” can lead to illness, and that proclaiming yourself well can likewise lead to health.

“Our health, our wealth and our place in eternity is in our mouths. Everything about us has been, and will be, determined by the words we speak,” Copeland has said.

Arden said that church members were taught to repeat certain Bible passages, almost like a magic spell, to ward off disease.

“There were healing Scriptures we had to recite over and over again, and eventually, whatever you say will come to pass.”

The Copelands don’t claim to be healers, though they teach that believers who sow “seeds of faith” – sometimes through donations – can see miraculous results.

One account on the ministry’s website says that a Dutch boy was cured of autism after his mother attended Gloria Copeland’s healing school and watched Eagle Mountain church services online.

Arden recalled donating $400 – all she had in her savings account at the time – to the church when her daughter had a serious ear malady.

“I was a broke, single mother earning $7.50 an hour, so that was a fortune to me.” Her daughter required four surgeries before she was healed, Arden said.

Now a financial analyst in New York City, Arden said she keeps her distance from organized religion, but understands what draws certain kinds of Christians to churches like Eagle Mountain.

“About 90% of the people were just like me,” she said. “They needed hope, and they needed to believe that there was something bigger than themselves that would guide and protect them and keep the whole crush of life from pressing down on them.”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Bioethics • Church and state • Culture & Science • evangelicals • Faith • Faith & Health • Money & Faith • Pentecostal

soundoff (1,318 Responses)
  1. bostontola

    Faith healing, pure bunk. Why don't we see faith athletes? They wouldn't have to train, they just pray for ability. The problem is athletics is measurable. Lots of faith stuff is harder to flush out. How about faith singers. Never practice, just show up for performances and pray in between. Doesn't happen. Faith education, pray for knowledge.

    August 29, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      It kinda annoys me when athletes give all the credit to their deity of preference? Fair enough if you're religious, I could see why you'd give your deity a mention, but full credit? I didn't see Vishnu out there training with you seven nights a week.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
  2. Steve

    God heals. I have experienced it and have seen it. It's about faith, and prayer without faith is useless because God is moved by faith not need. God has healed amputees, lame, blind and illnesses of all types. All is possible in Jesus name, but it is impossible to please God without faith. Very few of us have the faith needed to heal an amputee. perhaps this is why God has given man the ability to heal through medicine.

    August 29, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
    • aldewacs2

      Rationalize much?

      August 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • Observer

      Steve,

      Tell us about some amputees who have had limbs grow back.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
      • aldewacs2

        Yea, this ought to be good, Steve... enlighten us.

        August 29, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      That seriously disrespects all the great scientists and medical pract.itioners who save and discover ways to cure disease and heal injury.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
    • bostontola

      Apparently salamanders have deeper faith than humans, their amputees are healed.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • Howie

      I have some nice oceanfront property in Nebraska to sell you too. Maybe if you really really believe it will be true...

      August 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
      • Thinker...

        In 100 years you might actually have some to sell unfortunatly.

        August 30, 2013 at 11:39 am |
    • snowboarder

      steve, your comment is simply a lie.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  3. Big Ben

    People against childhood vacinations are playing with dynamite. They don't know how deadly those old childhood diseases were. They can wipe out their whole family in the matter of a weekend.

    August 29, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • aldewacs2

      Again, It's just nature's way of weeding out the stupid people.
      6 billion to go.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        I've never been vaccinated and if I had kids, I wouldn't get them vaccinated. Does that alone make me stupid?

        August 29, 2013 at 9:52 pm |
        • snowboarder

          that is unlikely, as vaccinations are required in all 1st world countries for admittance into public schools.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
        • Howie

          Not true snowboarder. You can claim a religious exemption, or even just a philosophical exemption. I agree with most vaccinations, but the bundling and the vaccination against certain things that you are supposed to get in childhood (chickenpox for example) I disagree with. No problem getting my kids into school. Right here in America.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Vaccinations aren't compulsory snow.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @Howie, his comment suggests that he has "never" been vaccinated. that is very unlikely.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Never.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @dave, interesting, but hardly indicative of anything.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
        • Sara

          Either stupid or a selfish freeloader.

          August 29, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
  4. aldewacs2

    I's just nature's way of weeding out the stupid people.

    August 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
  5. SV

    False prophets. They'll wind up in hell, hopefully tortured by endless waves of measles.

    August 29, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      You hope people undergo eternal torture?

      August 29, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • snowboarder

      hell? lol!

      August 29, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
  6. Lionly Lamb

    One need not have religious moralism and Godly civilities within any nation or country... As long as people believe in righteous moralism and lawful civilities being the cornerstone of any nation's nationalistic governances then who are the religious to find discontinuity within any nation that religions are found being within..?

    August 29, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • snowboarder

      you comments are just not worth trying to decipher.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
  7. Dennis

    They should have prayed harder

    August 29, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
    • peridot2

      God answers every prayer. He says Yes, No and Wait.

      In addition, we have to take actions rather than sitting around waiting to be rescued. That means taking our children to the doctor when they're ill and getting them vaccinated against preventable diseases. It also means taking advantage of other scientific advances to protect our health and our lives.

      This fundamental 'test of faith' challenge demanding God to heal us is ridiculous, petty and unnecessarily juvenile. Is the faith of those people so weak that they must continually be reinforcing it by those demands? One wonders if they're trying to outdo one another in a show of faith for some reason of arrogance or pride. It's not what God has asked of us.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • Observer

        Random answers to every prayer: Yes, No, or Wait.

        August 29, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I imagine it's more like a Magic 8-Ball.

          "God, will you please save my child from cancer?"
          "Don't count on it".

          "God, please let me bang the hot secretary".
          "It is decidedly so".

          August 29, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
      • In Santa we trust

        What would be the purpose of prayer then – leaving aside the question of why an omnipresent, omniscient, and omnipotent god would need to be asked to heal the sick, etc.

        August 29, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          You don't have because you don't ask.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          That answer didn't make sense Bob.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Dave,

          That is Gods answer to Santas question. God knows what we need, he still wants us to ask.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          So you're God, are you? Please Bob/God, let the Falcons win the Super-Bowl.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:48 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Robert, So you think that an amputee has never prayed for the limb(s) to regrow? Or god just doesn't feel like it? Not a good advert for your god either way – it knows but needs to be asked or it knows and was asked but can't be bothered.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Santa,

          He wants us to ask because when he answers, it builds our faith.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @bob, that is just plain stupid.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Snow,

          It is actually completely logical. For example, we have just met & I ask you a question or make a request, you reply or perform in a way that helps me. This builds my confidence in you.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
        • In Santa we trust

          Robert, But no one has seen a god, and often the request is not granted and so is indistinguishable from pure chance.

          August 30, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
      • Robert Brown

        Correct, don't tempt God.

        August 29, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Not even with KFC? If somebody wanted to tempt me, KFC would do it.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Yum, fried chicken is good, but I was refering to what Jesus told satan when satan told Jesus to jump off a cliff. Satan said the angels will catch you. Jesus said dont tempt God. In other words, God gave you a brain, use it.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @bob, considering that no one that wrote that account was actually present, I would likely consider it fiction.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Robert,

          Please explain how Satan could possibly tempt the creator of the unviverse with anything? Don't give me the 'he was human' tripe either...still doesn't make sense.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
        • snowboarder

          @cheese, all stories obviously made up by men.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Blessed,

          Explain, whew that is more typing than I think I can do right now. I'll try an extremely brief summary, satan tried his best to prevent Jesus from ever being born. When he failed at that he took a stab at winning him over or tricking him. I think you're on the right track though, he never stood a chance.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          I'm assuming your god isn't omnipotent then.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Robert,

          Satan would have known he didn't stand a chance, that is part of the absurdity. The fact that it is not easily explainable is a huge part of the problem. With every attempt it just hets worse, not better.

          Smowboarder,

          I know it is a man made story, that is not the point. It is not even a cohesive story.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
        • Johnny

          I'm Sorry Dave, Always remember to check and make sure that your KFC gravy isn't being cut with Boston Market gravy.

          August 30, 2013 at 1:35 pm |
      • Sara

        peridot2,

        "One wonders if they're trying to outdo one another in a show of faith for some reason of arrogance or pride. It's not what God has asked of us."

        I think in many situtations it is exactly that. Here, too, though, they were suckered by the same irrational sheep mentality that also took in gullible secular parents who followed the pseudoscience on vaccines and refused to turn and looks when contrary evidence was presented.

        August 29, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
  8. Bootyfunk

    actions cause change; prayer wastes valuable time.

    August 29, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
  9. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    August 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • UncleM

      Clearly it doesn't. Read the story praybot.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • Observer

      Speaking of not being healthy for children, the Bible says you can't be a good parent unless you beat your children.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
      • peridot2

        The Old Testament contains the Hebrew Books of the Torah. It was written by Neolithic (Stone Age) people. Those of us who are educated and enlightened don't take every word of the Bible as the factual word of God. Only fundamentalists cling to that foolishness.

        August 29, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Do you believe in Adam and Eve?

          August 29, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
        • Observer

          peridot2,

          Do you think that "those of us who are educated and enlightened" tend to be more supportive of gay marriage and not so vocally opposed to abortion?

          August 29, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
        • snowboarder

          when determining that any part of the bible is not factual, when do you stop?

          August 29, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Except measles and everything else.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Howie

      Name one. One actual verifiable event in all the history of mankind that was in any way influenced by prayer. Didn't think so.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
    • snowboarder

      when faced with a problem it is far better to have one man with a sharp mind and a strong back than one thousand men kneeling in prayer.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        That sounds like something a dictator would say.

        August 29, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
        • snowboarder

          I am not sure how you come up with that illogical conclusion.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        I think it's self-evident. Or perhaps it's just me?

        August 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
    • NavinJay

      I prayed for religion to go away. Its still here. Prayer did nothing.

      August 30, 2013 at 5:11 am |
  10. Lionly Lamb

    Most of the monetarily religious rich folks are spiritually impaired and emotionally poor... Or are they spiritually poor and emotionally impaired..? Flip of the coin... Heads I win and tails you lose....

    August 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      only a fundie could think of things in such black and white terms.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
    • Colin

      You mention loser and battyfink pops up...amazing!

      August 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        christians sure hate facts.

        August 29, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
        • peridot2

          Many Christians are open minded. Some of us comprehend evolution and science. Some of us hold science degrees. We're even against teaching intelligent design in schools and we strongly believe in separation of church and state.

          You've lumped an entire group of people together and judged them all the same, Bootyfunk. What does that make you?

          August 29, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
      • Colin

        You mention fundie and I pops up...amazing!

        August 29, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          mention 'ignorance' and you're pic pops up, too! gold star for you, tiger.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
        • Lionly Lamb

          your not you're..?

          August 29, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  11. Bootyfunk

    how come god never heals amputees?

    god supposedly heals the blind and lame - but then you can fake not being able to see or walk... weird how with something you can't fake, like not having an arm, prayer and faith healing never work. wonder why that is...?

    there is no invisible sky fairy.

    August 29, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
    • Colin

      Never is an inaccurate statement.Rethink your error and try again. You have no knowledge of all the amputees in history nor their relationship or lack of one with God. Besides which it is a desperately lacking person that would use the misfortunes of others to try to bolster its ugly ego.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:06 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        wrong. never is an exactly accurate statement. do you have proof that a single amputee has ever been healed? do you have proof magic is real? god is real? no, you have zero proof for all of that.

        saying god healed someone has as much merit as saying my magic sombrero can heal people - just not true and no proof to back up such a statement.

        so, where's your proof? evidence of any kind?

        August 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        Lizards regrow limbs. Perhaps this 'God' character is a lizard.

        August 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          cold-blooded, that would explain most of his actions in the bible...

          August 29, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
    • The Really for Real Scotsman

      No one ever said they believe in a invisible sky fairy.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        saying you believe in god is akin to saying you believe in an invisible sky fairy - same difference.

        August 29, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
        • Bootyfunk is lame

          sky fairy, ugh, troll is getting lazy.

          August 29, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Lionly Lamb

      sky fairy..? How gay is that..?

      August 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Colin

      Since God has revealed Himself there is no invisible and I fear the only fairy here might be you

      August 29, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
      • Bootyfunk

        hahaha, god revealed himself? to you while you were dropping a loaf? he help you pinch it off?

        August 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
      • Colin

        I fear the only fairy here might be me

        August 29, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • peridot2

      Both my brother's stumps healed beautifully. He's never asked God to regrow his limbs. Why would he do so? No more would he ask God to give him gills to breathe underwater or wings with which to fly. Will's a Vietnam veteran. His faith saved him through three years of being a POW. One wonders what on earth would possibly help you through such an hell of torture and misery...we never knew if he was alive or dead.

      You must be either a lackwit or a troll. We have freedom of religion in the US. Do you feel that it's appropriate to abuse others for their religious beliefs? It's persecution. Grow up and find another hobby.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
      • Howie

        In this modern world everyone should know better than to believe in mystical fairy tales. Would you not ridicule a person who insisted the world was flat? Or at least try to educate them on the error of their beliefs? No different with any form of religion. Man is the only intentional creative force in the universe. You want to see god? Look in the mirror.

        August 29, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  12. Dave

    I can't wait for the day that imposing one's religious beliefs onto children is considered child abuse.

    August 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
    • The Really for Real Scotsman

      And then they can force these people from passing along any moral codes to their children too. I mean, who are these people that think they are...parents?

      August 29, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
      • carboncow

        Religion has no lock on morality...religion just parrots morality that already existed in humanity long before christianity ever existed...

        August 29, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
        • The Really for Real Scotsman

          Never said religion did. But to some, religion is key to their morals. If you start forcing people not to be allowed to pass on their faith, you do open up the possibility of forcing them not to be able to pass on their culture, heritage and yes..even morals.
          Who should be telling parents what they should teach their kids? Big Brother?

          August 29, 2013 at 9:02 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Religion doesn't teach morality....they teach obedience.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
        • Sara

          @Really, Everyone's culture changes. Your ancestors will live a very different life no matter what you do.

          Happy Thor"s Day, by the way.

          August 29, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
      • Roger that

        Being a parent doesn't give you the right to abuse.

        August 29, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
        • The Really for Real Scotsman

          No..it doesn't give them the right to abuse. But there are those on here that think any and all religion is abuse. Frankly, those people are idiots.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:04 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Sometimes it is, I would argue telling children they will burn in hell for offending some deity is mental abuse.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          since all religion teaches false information, it is a form of abuse. you're teaching a kid the earth is flat when it's round. fundie morons like you think that's fine and rail anyone against the cult. all religions are cults. all religions teach people to turn their brains off. it's sad when children are taught religion because it takes them away from reality and facts, something with which you are obviously unfamiliar.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Technically, it's an oblate spheroid.

          August 29, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        I agree with you Scotsman that it is a fine line, but at some point failing to provide proper healthcare for children crosses the line over to neglect, even abuse.

        August 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      That depends entirely on what one means by imposing. Denying a child vita medical care (like those Christian Scientist weirdos) should be and is a crime. Vaccinations (generally) aren't vital medical care and it should be decided by the parents whether a child is vaccinated or not.

      August 29, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
      • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

        That should be vital, not vita.

        August 29, 2013 at 8:58 pm |
      • carboncow

        filling their head with the fear and torment of hell is akin to abuse too. "do what we say or you will burn in hell, forever!"...sounds like fine stuff for a kid to hear.

        nobody says our children are democrats, marxists or libertarians...why should we say they are muslim or christian. if one believes their faith is the one true word they should have the belief that all (including their children) would find that one truth plausible...but those of the religious ilk know that if brainwashing doesn't start young then the seeds of doubt and knowledge will seep into the cracks. keep them confused and in fear and the dogma will continue!

        August 29, 2013 at 9:05 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Everybody brainwashes their kids to be like them, be it with religion, politics, social issues. As Homer Simpson once said, "Kids are the best. You can teach them to hate the things you hate."

          August 29, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
      • Sara

        The flu is one of the major killers of the elderly in our society, and vaccinating the elderly is fairly ineffective due to the poor immune response. If you refuse to vaccinate yourself or your kid and pass on the virus you are as good as committing murder in my book. I've seen lives lost of folks who could have lived another 10 happy years. It's heartbreaking that people would let the elderly die and risk the lives of your infants and the immune compromised rather than take on a minuscule risk with a vaccine that may help them and others.

        August 29, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
  13. Coleen

    Nobody has measles at my church. We must be doing something right!

    August 29, 2013 at 8:41 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      If you mean you all got vaccinated....than yes you are.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
      • Sara

        The truly selfish know that the best thing you can do is skip the vaccinations and then surround yourself with people who took the responsibility to vaccinate themselves and their kids. The longer we support the freeloaders, the worse things will get.

        August 29, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
  14. Elf Odin

    Saying magic words will not protect you from harm. Not in this reality, anyway.

    August 29, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
    • peridot2

      The irony of your comment juxtaposed against your handle is delicious, Elf Odin. 😉 Added to that is that you seem completely oblivious.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
  15. Ted Testerson

    Stupid christians.

    August 29, 2013 at 8:33 pm |
    • Rett

      Profound

      August 29, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
      • UncleM

        And correct.

        August 29, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  16. BadDog

    Adults talking about religion is the same thing as two six year-olds arguing over whose invisible friend is best. This is what happens when religious crazies are allowed to run amok. Their blind faith puts us at risk.

    August 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  17. Roger that

    Here you go folks. The real Copelands.

    youtube.com/watch?v=iRG1ObQJLK4&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DiRG1ObQJLK4

    August 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • Roger that

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRG1ObQJLK4&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DiRG1ObQJLK4

      August 29, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • Roger that

      This video is about the $20 million jet Ken Copepland owns.

      August 29, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
      • hrdwrknjoe

        Yeah, I watched it. What a shame.

        Bet my Mom bought at least tire or two for it.

        Hope their is a hell so they can burn in it!

        August 29, 2013 at 8:31 pm |
        • Dippy

          There, not their.

          August 29, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Glad to see somebody is keeping Karl Kraus's message alive. Kudos Dippy.

          August 29, 2013 at 8:48 pm |
  18. hrdwrknjoe

    We Pastafarians believe in immunization vaccinations and have the full backing of his holiness The Great Spaghetti Monster in the Sky in all his wisdom. Please join us every Friday is a holiday.

    KEEP CALM AND VACCINATE ON

    Shame on Syrian's from using Chemical Weapons on those children.

    August 29, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

      Ah, but which Syrians?

      August 29, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
    • peridot2

      Remember to wear your colander on your head on High Holy Days.

      August 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
      • peridot2

        ;p

        August 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
      • peridot2

        😉

        August 29, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
  19. mike

    62% of Pentecostals are st up id.

    August 29, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Howie

      Much much higher percentage than that.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
  20. Redoran

    These delusional people are mentally ill and do not even realize it. That is scarey.

    August 29, 2013 at 8:13 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.