September 9th, 2013
03:29 PM ET

Fox News host: Atheists 'don't have to live here'

By Daniel BurkeCNN Belief Blog Co-Editor
[twitter-follow screen_name='BurkeCNN']

(CNN) - Fox News pundit Dana Perino said she's "tired" of atheists attempting to remove the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance, adding, "if these people really don't like it, they don't have to live here."

The co-host of Fox's "The Five" was referring to a suit brought by the American Humanist Association in Massachusetts, where the state's Supreme Judicial Court heard a challenge to the pledge on Wednesday.

The group's executive director, Roy Speckhardt, called the suit "the first challenge of its kind," but Perino begged to differ.

Perino, who was White House press secretary for George W. Bush from 2007-2009, said she recalled working at the Justice Department in 2001 "and a lawsuit like this came through."

The former Bush spokeswoman added that "before the day had finished the United States Senate and the House of Representatives had both passed resolutions saying that they were for keeping ‘under God’ in the pledge."

"If these people don't like it, they don't have to live here," Perino added.

David Silverman, president of the American Atheists, called Perino's comments "bigotry."

"I, for one, am tired of those Christians, like Ms. Perino, who think that equality is somehow un-American," Silverman said. "If Ms. Perino doesn't like being only equal, it is she who will have to leave America to some other country that doesn't value religious liberty."

READ MORE: Famous Atheists and Their Beliefs 

In 2002, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with atheist Michael Newdow who argued that the words "under God" in the pledge amounted to an unconstitutional government endorsement of religion. The Supreme Court overturned that ruling.

Congress added the words "under God" in 1954 amid the red scare over the Soviet Union. In November 2002, after the Newdow ruling, Congress passed a law reaffirming "under God" in the pledge.

Greg Gutfeld, another co-host on "The Five," continued the discussion after Perino, saying the Pledge of Allegiance "is not a prayer, it's a patriotic exercise. In a sense, it's basically saying: Thanks for giving us the freedom to be an atheist."

The Massachusetts case, which was brought by an unidentified family of a student at a school in suburban Boston, will be argued on the premise that the pledge violates the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution.

READ MORE: Behold, the Six Types of Atheists

It is the first such case to be tried on the state level: All previous attempts have been argued in federal court on the grounds that "under God" was an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state.

CNN's Kevin Conlon contributed to this report.

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Church and state • Courts • Culture wars • News media • Schools • TV

soundoff (7,255 Responses)
  1. Al

    I'm ok with leaving "One nation under God" in the pledge, as long as the word "indivisible" is replaced with "delusional".

    September 12, 2013 at 8:45 am |
    • Brother Maynard

      I remeber as a kid saying the pledge every morning in school. I was too young to really understand the word 'indivisible' and always thought that it was 'invisible'. The reason I thought that was BECAUSE God was invisible.
      I thought it was describing God not the (non)division of the nation.

      September 12, 2013 at 10:42 am |
  2. mannitt

    The "you don't have to say it" people I think are the least thinking people. It's that idea that adults seem to forget what it was like to be a child. This is not as much of a debate as the pledge in general but mostly its use in public schools. So tell a child to not do something that most others are doing. We all agree doing something because everyone else is doing it, is not the proper outlook on life. For a child that is mostly the only way to fit in. So to take a line from the right mostly Christian side. "Think of the children!" Also as a little negative. Saying you believe and I don't, makes my opinion null and void is as communist as the Soviet Union was. So congratulations. You have something in common with the social system that encouraged the addition of 'Under God' in the first place.

    September 12, 2013 at 5:16 am |
    • Ken

      Yup. It's like whites back in the 50s telling blacks that, if they didn't like the segregation, then don't ride the bus. Everyone should be able to say the whole pledge without having to make allowances for the elite.

      September 12, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

      lol?? Pithiest, YES!!
      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      The socie evolutionists know all about peer pressure. That's why they want your kids on a platter.

      September 12, 2013 at 10:58 am |
    • Bible Clown©

      The same people who tell you "peer pressure forces kids to do drugs" are here to say "peer pressure won't force kids to pretend to believe in God." If it weren't for "peer pressure," nobody would even go to church.

      September 12, 2013 at 11:12 am |
      • lol?? Pithiest, YES!!

        You dismissed the patriarch like a gud little matriot??

        September 12, 2013 at 11:19 am |
        • Jericho

          Make some sense once in a while. Nobody understands your ghetto holler talk.

          September 12, 2013 at 2:41 pm |
  3. Steve

    You atheists just made Jesus cry because Jesus loves me.

    September 12, 2013 at 4:54 am |
    • Charles

      Jesus should man up, and learn how to get along with others.

      September 12, 2013 at 8:08 am |
    • Honey Badger Don't Care

      Your local priest loves you too. You should go to him for comfort, but you may be too old for the bonus package.

      September 12, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • BU2B

      1. The Jesus you are referring to is dead.
      2. Dead people can't cry.

      Sorry to break this to you.

      September 12, 2013 at 8:31 am |
  4. Reality # 2

    Well this thread is running out of gas, so summarizing for the new folk:

    The Apostles'/Agnostics’/Atheists' Creed 2013: (updated by yours truly and based on the studies of 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

    Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized" by
    many semi-fiction writers. A descent into Hell, 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.

    (references used are available upon request)

    September 11, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • karie


      September 12, 2013 at 1:25 am |
  5. omar magna

    Change it to "under God, as you understand Him". That way, the atheists can keep worshipping the great abyss, or the wonders of the lone blade of grass a la dawkins and be on their first step in the 12 steps to recovering from being the unbelieving alcoholics that they are.

    September 11, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • Observer

      "Under God or no god at all" would be more accurate.

      September 11, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
    • Bible Clown©

      "the atheists can keep worshipping the great abyss" SO important to you to pretend unbelief is a rival religion instead of just a realistic look at the world. Honey-boo-boo-chile, we don't "worship" stuff. If we did, it wouldn't be a blade of grass or some philosophical concept of an abyss. Worshiping stuff is what religion does. You deify the moon or a stone or a plant or an old book, and you bow down and ask it to give you stuff. Atheists don't ask the moon for presents. Really, what I'm getting here is that you are just not very bright, so let's try it again: unbelief is not belief.

      September 12, 2013 at 8:10 am |
    • Charles

      Wouldn't it be you believers who have a dependance problem? A lot of you say that you can't live without Jesus in your lives, that he brings you happiness than your families and friends do, and that you'd do anything for him. This is exactly how alcoholics talk about how booze rules their lives. That's what you sound like to us.

      September 12, 2013 at 8:14 am |
    • tallulah13

      How about we remove the 'under god' until such time as christians prove that their god actually exists? With real, irrefutable evidence, not stories about your special feelings or memorized verses from your obviously human-created bible.

      September 12, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • My Dog is a jealous Dog

      A 12 step program for deprogramming atheists – how absolutely hilarious. You do know that all 12 step programs want you to trust in a "higher power"?

      September 12, 2013 at 10:38 am |
  6. R.M. Goodswell

    The usual Faux News BS. Every one of those clowns are as atheistic as I am. They probably all have tacks in their shoes to keep from bursting into laughter as they read the teleprompter.

    September 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Roger that

      I have to agree with you, and I would not be surprised if the vast majority of politicians are atheist.

      September 11, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
      • Charles

        Man, you REALLY must have a low opinion of us! 🙂

        I can't say that they believe everything that they spew, at least to the degree that they spew it, but they know what sells in the sticks, and they're willing to lay it on thick if it makes Viagra and their other sponsors happy.

        September 12, 2013 at 8:20 am |
    • karie

      That is so observer

      September 12, 2013 at 7:28 am |
  7. Ancient Pollyanna

    First the article made me laugh because, well, yeah, atheists do have to live here and why does this "anchor" (LOL!) get to decide where anybody lives - but then I come to the responses. I cannot believe I live on the same planet as y'all. And, yeah, I have to live here!

    September 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Vic

      I said this before, we can not cease to be humans. We all say things like that when frustrated but we don't really mean it, especially when constantly being bombarded with the "unconstitutional" loophole over the very thing we believe in!

      September 11, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
      • skytag

        Vic, they mean it. My views tend to fall pretty much in moderate land, and I've been an independent since I left the Republican party. That said, I find on a personal level I like liberals better than I like what passes for a "conservative" in America today.

        At the moment I'm thinking of the fact that whenever I hear someone say, "If you don't like __ you don't have to live here" it's always someone on the right. I never hear liberals talk that way (except in response to a similar comment). Atheists, liberals, people who support universal health care, people who support gay marriage, even blacks, they can all leave the country so folks on the fight can finally love America.

        They're always professing their love for America, but they really don't love America. They love some sanitized version of America that doesn't exist. I don't know exactly what the America they love is like. Obviously it doesn't have liberals in it. Maybe it's like 1950s America. Maybe it doesn't have blacks or Muslims or poor people or gays in it. Maybe everyone in it pays income tax and no one is on food stamps. Maybe everyone has an above average IQ, they're all Christians and they all have "good jobs." Maybe in the America they love Democrats have made all the mistakes, Republicans have never made a mistake, and Republicans win all the elections.

        Whatever characterizes the America they love, the point is that it's not this America, the America where we have people of all political persuasions, where we have smart people and dumb people, lazy people and industrious people, liberals and conservatives, straight people and gay people, atheists and Muslims. This America, the real America, an America where businesses need to be regulated, we need to pay taxes to fund government and liberals, gay people, and atheists aren't going anywhere, is not all to their liking. The sad thing is that in the end they're just dooming themselves to a life of frustration because they'll never be able to get the real America to be like the one they need to be happy.

        September 11, 2013 at 11:06 pm |
        • karie

          What a horse's rear end

          September 12, 2013 at 1:22 am |
        • Observer


          "What a horse's rear end"

          You didn't supply even ONE FACT to back up your insult. Try again.

          September 12, 2013 at 1:30 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Income/corporate tax is sanctioned theft.

          September 12, 2013 at 1:34 am |
        • Observer

          I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          "Income/corporate tax is sanctioned theft"

          It is those and other taxes that give you roads to drive on, inspections to keep you safe, police and fire protection, education, and safety. Do you want everything just handed to you?

          September 12, 2013 at 1:37 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Increased privatization and a flat consumption tax.

          September 12, 2013 at 1:40 am |
        • Observer

          I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that,

          Still waiting to hear what you don't want to pay for and should be cut out.

          Consumption tax hurts the poor. The rich are doing progressively far better and getting farther ahead all the time.

          September 12, 2013 at 1:47 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          Apart from policing, I'm not opposed to the privatization of anything, although there should be support for poorer children in education.

          Anyway, with a flat consumption tax at about ten percent, there could still be a fairly robust system of public services. As for it being tough on the poor, so what? And I don't believe that's true anyway. Poor people consume far less than the wealthy, so they'll be taxed a lot less. Also, there'll be no more legal loopholes for rich people to pay 1% tax. It also widens the tax base to include illegally gained wealth. Drug dealers consume a lot but pay no tax. That would change with the consumption tax.

          September 12, 2013 at 1:57 am |
        • Observer

          I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that,

          So do you prefer to pay much much higher taxes on everything you buy or should we just cut out services?

          Are stocks and other financial transactions considered consumption?

          What's in "policing"? It's likely a huge amount of government jobs.

          September 12, 2013 at 2:09 am |
        • I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that

          So do you prefer to pay much much higher taxes on everything you buy or should we just cut out services?

          A little from column A, a little from column B.

          Are stocks and other financial transactions considered consumption?


          What's in "policing"? It's likely a huge amount of government jobs.

          The police force and all its tributaries. Fire departments. Certain departments involved in national security, such as the NSA. There's probably other aspects that I can't think of off the top of my head.

          Anyway, I'm tired. Even us evil capitalist pigs need sleep. Good night.

          September 12, 2013 at 2:17 am |
        • Observer

          I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that,

          Good night.

          September 12, 2013 at 2:21 am |
        • Bud

          I thought that was easily the best detailed and worded reply to this question. Thanks Sky!

          September 12, 2013 at 2:58 am |
    • nah

      beat it punk

      September 11, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
    • nah

      Faux News BS

      perfect observe
      so, agreed. point being

      September 11, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
    • nah

      That's f cking appalling.

      September 11, 2013 at 11:32 pm |
    • nah

      That's f king appalling.

      September 11, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  8. Vic

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

    September 11, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply


    September 11, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Charles

      You're praising yourself now? Figures!

      September 12, 2013 at 8:24 am |
  9. Extra Medium

    I betcha Dana Perino won't have any problem with 'In Allah We Trust'

    September 11, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
  10. Lionly Lamb

    Again I shall say...

    We live within a big bang universe and in understanding this then: How many big bang universes does it take to fill up the void of absolute nothingness..? If nothingness is infinite then should the numbers of big bang universes be infinite as well..?

    September 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm |

      Godless Vagabond
      I told you before, already. The answer is 17.

      September 11, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        What are the reasons behind your 17,,?

        September 11, 2013 at 8:03 pm |

          Godless Vagabond
          2x2x2x2 + 1 = 17
          3×6 – 1 = 17
          3×5 + 2 = 17
          4×5 – 3 = 17
          Are these coincidences? I think not. The answer must be 17.

          September 12, 2013 at 2:47 am |
        • Thinker...

          I always thought it was 42, but NO! 17 is really the answer! How could I have been so blind!?

          September 12, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • ME II

      @Lionly Lamb,
      How can nothingness be infinite? By definition it is nothing, ergo the opposite of infinite.

      September 12, 2013 at 10:56 am |
  11. Lionly Lamb

    I can see the pains and angered souls... My bitter words, that anger myself and even some others... I cannot change the things that were... In hopes passionate ways one can pass along the trying days... I love the richness of living a Life... Passing the days drifting along longing no strife... I love even the poorest of spirits, the challenged and benign... One day I will take drink of the cup's wine... Though the seekers will search and the lookers do perch, I straddle the fence upon the hill ever awaiting never wanting to still... Life will itself continue ever to pass on with nary a missed beat... stay you your course while keeping your seat... Real eyes realize real lies as ever they should... I've sat once where you did and even where you once stood... Believe in your life and the remainders of one's days and if possible do take in some of the strays

    September 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm |

      Too many periods.

      September 11, 2013 at 7:26 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Just my stylization...

        September 11, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
      • Thinker...

        Too much word salad.

        September 12, 2013 at 10:42 am |
    • LivinginVA

      Many people do believe in their lives and take in strays (of the human variety) without believing in God. It's not an either/or thing.

      September 11, 2013 at 7:29 pm |
      • Lionly Lamb

        Sired VA...

        Why do some people always want to put God into Life's dumpster..? Shouldn't people show some positive apprehension within one's diminutive contemplations no matter their picturesque subliminal reasoning..?

        September 11, 2013 at 7:47 pm |
        • .

          What part of people doing good deeds without believing in God escapes you? Most atheists are the nicest, happiest people I know.

          September 11, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
  12. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    "It ain't those parts of the Bible that I can't understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand." – Mark Twain

    September 11, 2013 at 6:02 pm |
  13. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    "The Pew Forum on Religious Religion and Public Life released a survey on religious knowledge today. Atheists and Agnostics scored higher on it than anyone else, closely followed by Jews and Mormons, all Christians, Protestants and Catholics, were far behind." – npr.org

    "A person who won't read has no advantage over one who can't read." – Mark Twain

    September 11, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      You need a date for that quote (since it references "today"). The quote is from some years ago – the survey was completed in June 2010.

      It's still true but out of context is confusing.

      September 11, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Also, Pew updated their website and the links to the full report are broken.

      September 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      This is a fascinating Pew factoid:

      Percentage of US Christians who say that Jesus will return to earth in the next 40 years:
      Definitely will return ...... 28%
      Probably will return ....... 20%
      Probably won't return .... 28%
      Definitely won't return ... 10%
      Don't know ...................... 14%

      Almost half think it's likely. Almost 2000 years and they're still waiting but no, trust us, he'll be back in the next 40 years! That's pretty staggering.

      September 11, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
      • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

        Ooops "definitely will" should be 27%.

        September 11, 2013 at 6:19 pm |

          Godless Vagabond
          That's fucking appalling. Can't our citizens think at all?

          September 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm |
      • Ken

        The fact that they've been sitting on the edge of their seats for almost 2000 years goes a long way towards explaining all that uptightness, wouldn't you say?

        September 11, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
      • skytag

        I have a CD titled, "1000: A Mass For The End of Time." It's a collection of Gregorian style chants composed in the late 10th century in honor of the coming of end of world in the year 1000.

        September 11, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
        • fintastic

          Now there's some light music to enjoy.......

          September 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
  14. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    Flood theory contradicts the scientific consensus in geology and paleontology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, cosmology, biology, geophysics and stratigraphy, and the scientific community considers it to be pseudoscience.

    September 11, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Ken

      You forgot engineering. The actual experts say that a wooden boat that size would have failed even when empty.

      September 11, 2013 at 6:29 pm |
      • skytag

        These kinds of arguments are futile. Christians always respond by positing that "God could have" something. He could have done this or that. Never mind that the Bible makes no mention of their theory, it's good enough for them.

        September 11, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  15. Just the Facts Ma'am...

    "A miniscule bit of DNA from an African American man now living in South Carolina has been traced back 338,000 years, according to a new study. "The study has even further implications. It strengthens the belief that there is no “mitochondrial Eve” or “Y chromosome Adam.”

    All of humankind, as a result, did not descend from exactly one pair of humans that lived at a certain point in human evolution." – http://news.discovery.com/human/genetics/african-american-earliest-man-130307.htm

    September 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • skytag

      God put that there to test people's faith. Or something like that. 😉

      September 11, 2013 at 11:24 pm |
    • lol??

      "..........................“Our analysis indicates this lineage diverged from previously known Y chromosomes about 338,000 ago, a time when anatomically modern humans had not yet evolved,” Michael Hammer, who worked on the study, said in a press release................................."
      "......... had not yet evolved............". How do they know this??

      How' bout givin' the reader a layman's version of their narrative since you brought it up??

      September 17, 2013 at 7:59 am |
  16. Bill & Ted

    Be excellent to each other.

    September 11, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  17. Observer

    (2 Kings 6:28-29) “And the king said to her, “What is the matter with you?” And she answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ So we boiled my son and ate him; and I said to her on the next day, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him’; but she has hidden her son.”

    September 11, 2013 at 5:02 pm |
    • karie

      You condone this like Rambo stoner's comments? Is that why u r posting it?

      September 12, 2013 at 1:29 am |
    • Hope this helps

      The story of the Aramean siege serves three basic purposes that I can see with respect to the overall argument of the book. First, it continues to drive home that most important of points, that we live by the word of God. Secondly, it makes the audacious claim that a relationship with God defined by the same sort of miraculous salvation we have seen repeatedly in the Elijah/Elisha narratives is possible even for a people who are under the worst of the covenant curses. Thirdly, it pushes forward the nascent sense of evangelistic purpose through the most accessible of characters, as the lepers reason to themselves, "What we're doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let's go at once and report this..."

      The opening sub-narrative about the two women's cannibalism is so gut-wrenching, you almost wonder if the author isn't stooping to sensationalism. There are two allusions that we must recognize as readers in order to see why this particular incident needed to be included in the narrative. First, this is a dark parallel to the opening chapters of Kings, when Solomon was also confronted by two mothers disputing over the fate of their children. Whether the remaining child in this story was still living or not is unclear; what is clear is how appalling Israel's fall has been. The days of a wise king, blessed with wisdom and able to bring justice and prosperity for his people, are long past. This story of cannibalism establishes that Israel has become an abomination among the nations.

      Secondly, there is a theological dimension to this sub-plot. This is one of the covenant curses that Moses described in the book of Deuteronomy:
      They shall besiege you in all your towns throughout all your land, which the Lord your God has given you. And you shall eat the fruit of your womb, the flesh of your sons and daughters, whom the Lord your God has given you, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemies shall distress you. The man who is the most tender and refined among you will begrudge food to his brother, to the wife he embraces, and to the last of the children whom he has left, so that he will not give to any of them any of the flesh of his children whom he is eating, because he has nothing else left, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in all your towns. The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces, to her son and to her daughter, her afterbirth that comes out from between her feet and her children whom she bears, because lacking everything she will eat them secretly, in the siege and in the distress with which your enemy shall distress you in your towns.
      We have seen this pattern before, in the famine that opened Elijah's ministry, and in the attacks by wild animals that opened Elisha's ministry. Each of those incidents were specific fulfillments of covenant curses that God had threatened should the people harden their hearts against him. The pattern of curses in Deuteronomy escalates from futility to famine to forced labor to siege to cannibalism to exile to slavery. So in this passage, we find ourselves very late in that awful sequence. The first readers of this book, the generation who lived in the Babylonian exile and had written the book of Lamentations, knew these horrors all too well; it was this specific memory (1, 2) that seems to have most vividly convinced them that God had abandoned them.

      It is from this very horror that the poignancy of this passage comes out: the stories of salvation are not restricted to the innocent widows and prophets. Even here, in the midst of divine wrath and unspeakable atrocities, God was still acting to save his people. There is absolutely no one who should ever say that they are beyond the reach of God's grace.

      For whom is this salvation realized? The destitute mothers, the lepers, the masses and the soldiers are all saved together. There is only one who will not enjoy the day of salvation, the loftily titled, "Third servant on whose arm the King leaned". He who would not live by the word of God did not live at all. This is not some petty vindictiveness on God's part; it is not even a necessary evil or harsh reality. God is continually reminding his people that the true salvation is not from famine or hardship or danger or sword. There is a far greater salvation to be had, one of which the experience of relief from famine and sword only begins to evoke. This salvation is into the fullness of life through relating to God, who creates all good things by his word.

      How are we to respond to this? We are the ones who bear the good news – it cannot be kept to ourselves. This is of course about evangelism, but it is more than that. The story ends on the rather mundane note of reporting to us the price of groceries: life would go on. Every way in which we manifest the freedom and joy of life the way it is supposed to be proclaims to a world overcome by the power of death that our God lives.

      September 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm |
    • Hope this helps

      in parts

      The story of the Aramean siege serves three basic purposes that I can see with respect to the overall argument of the book. First, it continues to drive home that most important of points, that we live by the word of God. Secondly, it makes the audacious claim that a relationship with God defined by the same sort of miraculous salvation we have seen repeatedly in the Elijah/Elisha narratives is possible even for a people who are under the worst of the covenant curses. Thirdly, it pushes forward the nascent sense of evangelistic purpose through the most accessible of characters, as the lepers reason to themselves, "What we're doing is not right. This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves. If we wait until daylight, punishment will overtake us. Let's go at once and report this..."

      September 12, 2013 at 1:06 pm |
  18. Sea Otter (Leader of Allied Atheist Allegiance)

    "When a Christian reaches for their book to reference a quote... you know they are about to lie their ass off..." ~LET

    September 11, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
  19. Observer

    (Ezekiel 5:10) " Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers.”

    (Jer. 19:9) “And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend"

    See? Anyone can post irrelevent Bible verses. Cannibalism is recurring theme in the Bible.

    September 11, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • sam stone

      as long as it is you eating your flesh and blood

      September 11, 2013 at 9:48 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.