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Atheist gets her day at the Supreme Court
November 1st, 2013
04:39 PM ET

Atheist gets her day at the Supreme Court

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

(CNN)– Linda Stephens has lived in her upstate New York community for more than three decades and has long been active in civic affairs.

But as an atheist, those views have put her at the center of a personal, political, and legal fight that has reached the U.S. Supreme Court.

The issue is public prayer at her local town board meetings, another contentious case over the intersection of faith and the civic arena.

The justices on Wednesday will hear arguments over whether Greece, New York, may continue sponsoring what it calls "inclusive" prayers at its open sessions, on government property.

Stephens and co-plaintiff Susan Galloway have challenged the policy, saying virtually all of those invited to offer legislative prayers over the years were Christians.

"It's very divisive when you bring government into religion," Stephens told CNN from her home.

"I don't believe in God, and Susan is Jewish, so to hear these ministers talk about Jesus and even have some of them who personally question our motives, it's just not appropriate."

The town of about 94,000 residents counters that after concerns from the two women and others, it sought diverse voices, including a Wiccan priestess, to offer invocations. Officials say they do not review the content of the remarks, nor censor any language.

"The faith of the prayer giver does not matter at all," said John Auberger, Greece's board supervisor, who began the practice shortly after taking office 1998. "We accept anyone who wants to come in and volunteer to give the prayer to open up our town meetings."

A federal appeals court in New York found the board's policy to be an unconstitutional violation of the Constitution's Establishment Clause, which forbids any government "endorsement" of religion.

Those judges said it had the effect of "affiliating the town with Christianity."

"To the extent that the state cannot make demands regarding the content of legislative prayers," said Judge Guido Calabresi, "municipalities have few means to forestall the prayer-giver who cannot resist the urge to proselytize. These difficulties may well prompt municipalities to pause and think carefully before adopting legislative prayer, but they are not grounds on which to preclude its practice."

Some legal experts say while the high court has allowed public prayers in general, it has not set boundaries on when they might become too sectarian in nature.

"The case involves a test between two different kinds of legal rules," said Thomas Goldstein, SCOTUSblog.com publisher and a leading Washington attorney.

"The Supreme Court has broadly approved legislative prayer without asking too many questions. But in other cases where the government is involved with religion, it has looked at lots of different circumstances. So we just don't know whether this court will be completely approving of legislative prayers in this instance."

The justices are now being asked to offer more firm guidelines over when and if such public prayers are constitutionally acceptable.

Felt marginalized

Galloway and Stephens say the elected board of the community outside Rochester almost always invited Christian clergy to open the meetings, usually with sectarian prayers. And they say they felt "marginalized" by the practice.

"When we tried to speak with the town, we were told basically if we didn't like the prayers, we didn't have to listen," said Stephens, "or could stand out in the hallway while they were going on."

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Washington-based group that is representing the two women, cited records showing that between 1999 and 2010, approximately two-thirds of the invocations contained the words "Jesus Christ," Jesus," Holy Spirit," or "Your Son."

And the lawsuit claims that from 1999 through 2007, every meeting had a Christian-only invocation. Following the complaints from the plaintiffs, four other faiths were invited in 2008, including a Baha'i leader and a Jewish lay person.

The plaintiffs say the Christian-only invocations resumed from January 2009 through June 2010. They claim those invited to the monthly meetings were selected by a city employee from a local guide that had no non-Christian faiths listed.

"Politics and religion simply don't mix, and they certainly don't mix in the local context of the Greece town council," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, AUSCS executive director.

"The town seems to take the position that because once or twice over a decade, it hears from someone of a different religion, that somehow is inclusive. It trivializes what's going here - a local government that should be willing and interested in participation of all its citizens, it wants those citizens to participate in an almost inevitably Christian prayer, in order to begin doing their business."

Different rulings

While the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in New York last year unanimously ruled against Greece's policy, other courts around the country have found such invocations - if inclusive and limited in scope - to be permissible.

Congress regularly opens its sessions with a prayer. Wednesday's invocation by House Chaplain the Rev. Patrick Conroy began: "Eternal God, we give you thanks for giving us another day. Once again, we come to ask wisdom, patience, peace, and understanding for the members of this people's House."

Nearly 120 members of Congress, mostly Republicans, along with several state attorneys general have filed supporting legal briefs backing the city. So has the Obama administration.

"The history of prayers offered in connection with legislative deliberation in this country makes clear that a legislative body need not affirmatively solicit a court-mandated variety of different religious faiths– from inside and outside the borders governed by the legislative body– in order to avoid running afoul of the Establishment Clause," said Justice Department lawyers' in their amicus brief.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal ministry based in Scottsdale, Arizona, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Greece Town Board, saying the Supreme Court has upheld the practice of government bodies "to acknowledge America's religious heritage and invoke divine guidance and blessings upon their work."

"A few people should not be able to extinguish the traditions of our nation merely because they heard something they didn't like," said Brett Harvey, an attorney for the group. "Because the authors of the Constitution invoked God's blessing on public proceedings, this tradition shouldn't suddenly be deemed unconstitutional."

Stephens realizes the stakes are high for her community and for the law as a whole. But on a personal level, this legal fight has been tough.

"I've received something of a backlash, both Susan and me," the retired librarian said. "Threatening letters, some vandalism to my property, things like that. The prayers, and all the controversy, it makes you feel like an outcast, like we don't count in our town."

The case is Town of Greece, N.Y. v. Galloway (12-696). A ruling is expected by early summer.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Atheism • Belief • Christianity • Church and state • Courts

soundoff (6,237 Responses)
  1. MoxRox

    How sad that those tired of being persecuted for their religious beliefs are now the ones persecuting others. This country should be about Christianity, but should be about everyone living in peace, and not caring what their neighbors believe when it comes to religion.

    Christians...it's time to get off your high horse and stop looking down at people with differing beliefs.

    November 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • fmblog

      "This country should NOT be about Christianity, but should be about everyone living in peace, and not caring what their neighbors believe when it comes to religion."

      Fixed that for you...

      November 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • PoliticiansRcrooks

      Boowhooooooo this not about Christians it's about miltant Athiests wishing to impose their view on us and costing the Tax Payers thanks them and the ACLU billions, billions the government could use elsewhere in non wasteful idiotic lawsuits.

      November 2, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
      • berryrat

        Freedom of religion (and from religion) is not a waste. It is very important to ensure that one religious group does not crush the others via political leverage. The last time Christians held total power, they killed people for witchcraft. I hope they never wield that kind of power again.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
      • Answer

        Oh boohoo... "these atheists have money and they're using it to crush us "christards."

        So what? It's money well spent trashing you freaks back to where you should be ~insignificant!

        You freaks want to fight.. well here is a fight. Money for money!

        November 2, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
      • Pseudotriton

        How are atheists imposing their view onto you? If anything, they're trying to prevent Christians from imposing their views on everyone else. Gov't functions are for everybody, not just an esoteric group of a particular belief.

        November 2, 2013 at 11:13 pm |
  2. Clausen

    These types of atheists need to get over themselves. It would be one thing if they made decisions by flipping a coin and "letting God decide", but praying for help making the RIGHT DECISION before a meeting isn't hurting anybody. Half of these atheist organizations don't give a damn about separation of Church and State, they just abuse it to meet their own agenda.

    November 2, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • MoxRox

      And NOT praying accomplishes the same thing, btw.

      November 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
    • berryrat

      The world is my country, all mankind are my bretheren, and to do good is my religion. –Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason

      November 2, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
      • PoliticiansRcrooks

        Militant Athiests version of doing good, Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Lennin, murdering billions............more than any relgion in shear numbers all day all the time.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
        • Observer

          PoliticiansRcrooks,

          The Bible says that God torturously drowned EVERY pregnant woman, child, baby and fetus on the face of the earth.

          The Bible, however, never mentions abortion.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          And to put abortion into perspective, there are about 2.5 million deaths per year in the USA and there are about 1.2 million abortions per year, 70+% of which are had by believers. The number of abortions by believers exceeds that of the leading cause of death (heart disease).

          November 2, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
        • berryrat

          Why are you so defensive? God will protect you from the atheists, won't he? Have a little faith.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm |
    • Todd

      Religion has no place in government

      November 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
      • Citizen Caine

        I totally agree.... that's why the atheists, whos belief in God is that He doesn't exist, should stay out.... simple as that...

        November 2, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
        • G to the T

          If that was my understanding of atheism, I guess I could see where you are coming from. Try thinking of it like this – so far, no one has been able to provide enough evidence to convince me any gods exists. Notice it's a conditional belief, it's open to revision pending new data. Is your belief open to new info?

          November 6, 2013 at 10:00 am |
    • Pseudotriton

      Separation of Church and State *is* the agenda here. You don't see any atheists coming to churches to tell them to stop praying in there, do you? The gov't is not a religious agency. It's low to hijack it and make it serve your own beliefs.

      November 2, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
  3. berryrat

    I'm a Wiccan and this is my country too. Christians do not own the US. The White House is not a church. Now before any more Christians jump on here an call me a devil worshiper, get on google and educate yourself. We are a peaceful, nature-based religion. My beef with Christianity is they think that only they know the path to divinity.

    November 2, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Christmas is coming up soon enough. Here is a path to divinity:

      http://southernfood.about.com/od/candyrecipes/r/blbb67.htm

      Works best when it is not too humid in the kitchen.

      November 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
      • berryrat

        It looks pretty good to me...don't mind if I do. Peace be with you.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Clausen

      The last wiccan I met threatened to put a curse on me. Than again he was a schizophrenic homeless man but still.

      November 2, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
      • berryrat

        One of the primary beliefs of many WIccans is the law of three. Basically, what you put out comes back to you times 3. A Wiccan would be fool to attempt a curse, because he/she would get back something much worse. Once again, most WIccans are peaceful, loving people.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  4. Dyslexic doG

    2 + 2 ≠ 5

    It never has, it doesn't now, and it never will. YOU come along and say that 2 + 2 = 5. I say it does not. You say it does, I say it equals 4. You say it doesn't – I say 2 + 2 ≠ 5. You say it does, I say it doesn't. The argument/war goes on for years.

    NOW you come along and say "Let's COMPROMISE!"

    Ya know what? 2 + 2 ≠ 5

    And ya know what else? Your "compromise" of 2 + 2 = 4½ doesn't work, either.

    2 + 2 ≠ 5 It doesn't, and I don't have to RESPECT your belief that it does. You're wrong, I'm SAYING you're wrong, I'm telling you to your FACE you're wrong, and if you teach it to your children, it should be considered child abuse. You're wrong, you should be shamed for believing it, and I'm willing to do it. I'm calling you an idiot and you are if you believe it.

    2 + 2 ≠ 5

    November 2, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • bananas

      Nice copypasta

      November 2, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        But true nonetheless.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
    • jim jimson

      Agree – religion is a sign of mental degeneracy. There is no such thing as 'inclusive prayer' because atheists rightly regard prayer as a sign of mental incompetence and belief in ski fairies.
      There is no god, there never was a god,. there never will be a god...

      November 2, 2013 at 10:04 pm |
      • Truth

        It's been proven that people who are highly religious also have damage to a specific part of the brain (hippocampal atrophy).

        November 2, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
        • Shakira

          Links to scientific journals and such for proof.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
        • Citizen Caine

          FYI... "Hippocampal atrophy is a form of brain damage that impacts both memory and spacial navigation. It is often associated with memory-loss conditions, such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Causes include severe trauma, oxygen deprivation and encephalitis and may also include both long-term stress and neurological disorders, such as multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and schizophrenia. While prescription medications can slow atrophy and therapy can help manage the affects, there is no known cure for hippocampal atrophy.

          The hippocampus is an extension of the cerebral cortex and is located in the medial temporal lobe. Most experts agree that it plays a significant role in both memory and in spacial awareness, though the details of its involvement are widely disputed. It also appears to play a significant role in olfactory memory. Atrophy is a shrinking or lessening; hippocampal atrophy, then, is a shrinking of the hippocampus.

          Lack of oxygen is a main cause of brain damage, including hippocampal atrophy. When the oxygen supply to the brain is cut off, brain cells begin dying and portions of the brain begin to atrophy. Head trauma, often caused by a severe blow or impact or to conditions that cause the brain to "slosh" around within the skull, is another cause. Certain diseases, such as encephalitis, are also known to damage the hippocampus. People who experience bilateral hippocampal damage, which is damage to both sides of the hippocampus, may be unable to form new memories."

          November 2, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          My guess would be that this is the paper being referenced:

          http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0017006

          November 3, 2013 at 11:22 am |
      • Citizen Caine

        Jim Jimson... you are absolutely right... don't forget, atheism is a RELIGION by definition... your philoshophy, dogma, belief or doctrine on God: "There is no god, there never was a god,. there never will be a god..."

        November 2, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
        • G to the T

          Again – while I cannot speak for all atheists, mine is not a certainty (I don't positively assert that there are no gods). Instead, I hold the position that no one has provided evidence that convinces me that gods exist. If you have some, I'd be happy to consider it. My beliefs are conditional, it's only when we become dogmatic and certain that problems arise.

          November 6, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Citizen Caine

      And your point is? An atheist is a hipocrite. They want anything religious out of government property due to "separation of church and state", yet, atheism is a religion by definition. A religion is a philosophy, belief or doctrine with regards to a deity.. atheist philosophy, belief or doctrine is that said deity doesn't exist... therefore, being a religion, why is it telling the government what to do? Worse yet, why is the government LISTENING?

      November 2, 2013 at 10:53 pm |
      • G to the T

        " atheism is a religion by definition" – you keep using that phrase. I do not think it means what you think it means...

        November 6, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  5. Apple Bush

    Tilted, unarticulated, frightened, misaligned and beautiful.

    Worship it freedom of the freakish in the fashion fantasy; wrong door.

    Then why the bones? Why the mangled images and wealthy gamblers?

    Time to control and succeed; crayons in a box of pewter.

    November 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
  6. Pseudotriton

    Why does there need to be any prayers at these governmental gatherings at all? The gov't is not a religious agency, so such religious components are just silly. You wouldn't start a town hall meeting with recitals of some philosophy quotes or an excerpt from a science text book, would you?

    November 2, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
    • Maddy

      Perhaps someone should start that. Turn it into a poetry slam.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
  7. Dyslexic doG

    if the bible is the word of god then every single word and punctuation mark must be followed and revered! If even one word is proven incorrect, contradictory, foolish or made up by man, then the whole book is worthless because unless you are god himself, you cannot judge which parts of the bible can be disregarded and which should be followed, which are truth and which are allegories. You must follow it ALL or discount it ALL.

    I have never met a Christian who follows the bible even close to completely. You are all frauds!

    frauds!

    November 2, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Opposing View

      I follow it all. So now you've met one...

      November 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
      • corridorwatcher

        If you follow it, have you stoned or killed by any means, anyone you have met, even a member of your family, who does not believe and has encouraged you to do the same?

        November 2, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
      • Observer

        Opposing View,

        So you support slavery, right?

        November 2, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
      • realist

        Look out Dyslexic! If Opposing View follows it all, you are doomed!

        If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, that is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods,” which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers, of the gods of the peoples that are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth, thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him. Neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him, but thou shalt surely kill him. Thy hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. —Deuteronomy 13:6-9

        November 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
      • Big Willz

        You don't follow the "gentleness and respect" part of 1 Peter 3:15

        November 3, 2013 at 12:08 am |
    • Big Willz

      You are a delightful person

      November 2, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Robert Brown

      Dog,

      You are catching on, as you said, no one can do it, not even Christians. Hence, our need of a savior. Before I was saved I thought I wanted to be a Christian, but I believed that Christians did not sin. So, when God began to convict me of my sin and called me to be saved I resisted. I would pray to God and ask him to give me another week to see if I could keep from sinning. This went on for weeks. I couldn't do it. Thank God I gave up and surrendered to him. I've been a Christian for many years and I still can't do it. I still need his mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
      • Opposing View

        The reason you can't stop sinning is very simple. It's because you haven't followed the scripture Act 2:38 and received the Holy Ghost. If you have the Holy Ghost, then you can indeed stop sinning. The Holy Ghost gives you that power to live right...

        November 2, 2013 at 10:01 pm |
        • Observer

          Opposing View,

          Do you sin by not supporting slavery like the Bible does?

          November 2, 2013 at 10:02 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          OV,

          The bible says, that if you say, you are without sin, you lie. The reason is that Jesus took the law to the nth degree, the sermon on the mount, looking at another with lust equals adultery, being angry equals murder, and so on. No one is righteous.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Robert Brown… Yes the bible does say that. But what does it mean? That is the part you're misunderstanding. The sin the Apostle Paul was referring to is the "flesh" we have on, nothing more. This body of flesh we have on is called a "body of sin" (see Romans 6:6), a body that every saint has on their back, a body that is constantly tempting us to do evil. All of us carry this body of sin around every day wherever we go. We constantly feel temptation from it. So if we say we have sin, we lie. We all have this same body of sin to deal with. But "giving in to" and "committing" sin is a another thing altogether. God forbids us to sin and commands us not to sin. And with the Holy Ghost, we can now do that…

          You also state no one is righteous. I have no clue where you got that from. It's certainly not in the bible. Even worse, there were even people back in the Old Testament who lived righteous. But righteousness won't get you to heaven. To get to heaven, it requires "perfection" and "holiness". The scriptures state:

          Hebrews 12:14 – …Holiness without which no man shall see the Lord…

          1 Peter 1:15 – Be ye holy as I am holy.

          I repeat, you cannot be holy or live holy without the Holy Ghost (see Acts 2:38). And unless you're able to live holy, you won't make it to heaven...

          November 2, 2013 at 10:51 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          Romans 3:10
          As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

          The reason people are called righteous is because of their faith, see Hebrews 11.

          All those who are born again are indwelled with the Holy Spirit.

          When we yield to the flesh we sin, only we are yielded to the spirit can we resist temptation.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:35 am |
        • G to the T

          Awesome. People wonder why christian interpretations of the bible are doubted when no two of them seem to be able to agree on a single theology. Let me know when you all come to a decision and then we'll talk.

          See? even it was all christians praying before meetings, it could still cause offense if you expressed a theology different from another group.

          November 6, 2013 at 10:09 am |
      • Pseudotriton

        Robert, you can't do it all, or just won't do it? 'cuz some of the guidelines in the bible are quite easy to follow. For example, to marry the virgin you have just r@ped by giving her father some silver coins. Or not to wear clothes with two different kinds of fabrics. Or owning slaves as an acceptable practice. Many of these are fairly easily accomplished if you believe they're what god wanted you to do.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm |
        • Robert Brown

          The Jews couldn't keep the law either. The bible is a mirror, it shows you your need of a savior.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
        • Pseudotriton

          Robert, that not what I asked about at all.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
        • G to the T

          Robert – Why not? Paul could – as I recall he was "blameless in the eyes of the law".

          November 6, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  8. Josh Duhamel

    If I ever meet god he better beg for forgiveness.

    November 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Opposing View

      It's going to be quite interesting on Judgment Day to see how fools like you explain to the eternal God why you made such a dumb statement…

      Matthew 12:26 – But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        posting words from a book written by someone in the same cult as you, who is just as deluded as you, to prove your point is hilarious!

        hilarious!

        November 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
        • Opposing View

          You're following the Atheist Rule #3, I see: Mock or speak evil of that you cannot understand. You atheists are so predictable…

          November 2, 2013 at 9:46 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Based on the evidence presented, or more correctly the complete lack thereof, I completely understand all religions. They are a steaming pile of crap.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
      • Big Willz

        Why so much contempt for them? If they are facing judgment shouldn't you have more compassion?

        November 2, 2013 at 9:49 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          It has long been a belief among some Christians sects that part of the fun of heaven will be for them to watch the infidels suffer in hell....no I am not kidding.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
        • Dorian3333

          Blessed.....give it a rest. I love all the butt hurt out here that know the hearts of every man, woman and child. Your mass statement is similar to what the Nazi's would say about the Jews. All of these know it alls on here....everyone on here apparently knows the answer to eternity. They either came from an explosion space or were created. Those are your choices. Something from nothing either way so why is one more absurd than the other? I think everyone on here should grow up a little and show some respect both ways. You all seem very small when you condemn something you cannot truly comprehend. Anyone that tells you they know how we got here is saying so on faith....period, so none of you hold the high ground here!

          November 2, 2013 at 10:37 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Dorian,

          My "mass statement" that SOME Christians do look forward to the day that they can watch the eternal suffering of others? That is a fact. Notice I did not say ALL Christians. Also notice that Opposing View, the specific person I was refering to, did not jump on to say I was wrong and he doesn't look forward to watching others suffer. You know why, because in all likelyhood if your read his posts he agrees with my statement.

          But way to infer that when I say "some" I actually mean "all". Reading comprehension is not your strong point is it.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
      • Observer

        Opposing View,

        Speaking of fools, as you frequently do, do you believe and support EVERY word of the Bible or are you just another Christian HYPOCRITE who picks and chooses what he likes and IGNORES the rest?

        November 2, 2013 at 9:51 pm |
        • Big Willz

          The way he seems to enjoy the thought of people suffering in eternal judgment, I would guess he is a hypocrite. I have been a Christian for awhile and I have not met anyone personally who has publicly said that. I would be more likely to have friendship with an atheist than a self righteous person who enjoys the thought of people suffering judgement

          November 2, 2013 at 11:17 pm |
        • Observer

          Big Willz,

          Kudos.

          November 2, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          I agree BW,

          But unfortunately we have people like this on both sides of the fence. Though it does not bother me when my beliefs are belittled, beliefs should be scrutinized.

          November 2, 2013 at 11:26 pm |
      • realist

        I will not resort to name calling or anything like that, but that is a good point Dyslexic made.

        If you make an argument that the Belief is correct – because the Book about the Belief says it's correct – and that the Belief cannot be wrong, because that is contradictory to what the Book says... That's a circular argument.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:57 pm |
        • Opposing View

          That's not saying anything. What atheists call a "circular argument" is nothing more than the truth they cannot defeat. And truth can never be defeated. You may disagree with it, but you can never defeat it...

          November 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
        • Observer

          Opposing View

          Why are you SCARED STIFF to answer questions?

          November 2, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
        • Pseudotriton

          shhh, don't point out the obvious logical fallacy. Circular argument is about all the arguments that religion has. Take that away and they'll fall apart in no time.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
        • realist

          OV. What truth? Is it in this same Book? The Book that says it's correct and everything else is wrong? The Book that tells believers to kill non-believers (wow...that's preaching tolerance!). The Book that says you need a Holy Ghost in order to stop sinning? That's awful! Why don't people just believe in each other. Preach the human spirituality of compassion, love, and acceptance...realize that we need to work together and learn important stuff! Why believe in a Book that rewards herd-like behavior and spurns knowledge [DON'T LEARN STUFF OR LISTEN TO THAT SMART GUY IN THE LAB COAT! Believe this supernatural story instead! You'll be loved in heaven for it and sleep better at night.]

          November 2, 2013 at 10:24 pm |
        • Opposing View

          realist… What is truth? Obviously, something you don't have. I don't have time for your nonsense. Learn some real truth and then get back to me….

          November 2, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
        • realist

          My "nonsense" has lots of cross-examined, published papers that that validated its truth. You gave up because your truth is a Book [I even capitalized the word "Book" for you to give it more credibility] written by some men a long time ago to keep the plebeians in line. The promise of a heaven when folks die is such a cathartic idea, that the Book is still read and believed today by lots of folks who don't want to believe that this world can be a cruel place. It's easier to say, "This ice cream is tasty – because God made it!"... or "That serial rapist is bad – because he is possessed by the Devil!" It absolves people of their own personal responsibility. Believing in a God allows people to be bad, because the blame can be shifted. It allows people to be lazy, because folks can just say that they are waiting for God's will. It allows people to be everything except for independent. Being an independent, free-thinking, responsible person is what the Book what written to prevent in order for those in power to maintain control. You stopped arguing because you know I am right.

          November 2, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
      • corridorwatcher

        If god exists and is omnipotent why doesn't he create a better communication device than the bible? Or at least hire an publicity agent? I mean that bible sure makes him look like a sadomasochist, not to mention the thing is X-rated and nothing a child under the age of 80, with a good sense of humor, should read.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:03 pm |
        • Dorian3333

          Really? Again, you either have faith you came from an explosion in space...that everyday we are finding more holes in...it is a theory you know.....or you believe in a higher being that constructed a world with life. Which is harder to believe? I have faith. You don't have to know in what but if others want to come together and form a country that protects their right to believe in God they should expect that system to stay in place. Which group is being oppressed here anyway? Doesn't seem like the religious groups are doing much except sending relief packages all over the country to supplement the other groups inability to do much of anything. Is that the type of helpfulness you were asking for here?

          November 2, 2013 at 10:47 pm |
        • realist

          Magnetism and Gravity are theories also. Yes, the Big Bang Theory is observable – as is Evolution.

          November 2, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
        • Dorian3333

          Realist....observable? Again, tricks of the trade. Evolutionary theory is a nice jab at trying to explain how things adjust to their surroundings but you cannot make the leap from soup to man. DNA similarities between species are nothing more than science showing they have an understanding of how we are programmed. This does not kill the idea of intelligent design. Your comment that the Big Bang is observable is funny because I bet in the next 50 years we will have another theory making the rounds. By the way...what is causing the galaxies to speed up vs. slowing down? Doesn't make sense does it? Oh, but they will keep looking and guessing. Now, don't get me wrong....I do think that the scientists of the world have found out a lot about our universe and we are better off for it and support their work. The Big Bang does not shake my faith at all....nor will the next theory, etc, etc. a creator that could create all that we see, touch, feel and taste is much bigger than anything we can understand. We are p,aging in his fish bowl so to speak and acting as if our little patch of heaven is the beginning and the end....only humans could think so small.

          November 2, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          "that everyday we are finding more holes in..."

          Who is "we"? Other religious fundies like yourself? Not impressed.

          November 2, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
        • realist

          Yes...observable. Just not with the naked eye or within short time periods. The expansion of the universe is, admittedly, one of the most complex phenomena we will ever try to comprehend. There are lots of forces at play that are measurable, but there are probably many more that we do not have the ability to observe. So, while the Big Bang theory is measurable, there are other theories that play more off other types of cosmic radiation/dark matter that folks are just beginning to understand.
          I can certainly buy the idea of "primordial ooze to man" given our abilities to synthesize life in its most basic forms in a lab setting. We (man), with our basic knowledge, can accomplish this within a span of weeks...days...less. Now, expand that to a few billion years and add a heckuva lot more energy and resources. All you need is a biotic soup – once cells start dividing, interaction with the environment, and all sorts of other stimuli will take over. We, and everything around us, are a product of continual evolution in a state of flux. Our lives are just a small fleck of time.

          Of course... this is my opinion. I enjoy the forum and the ability to discuss this stuff, and I do realize that, as much as I think the Bible sounds like Dr. Seuss meets Aesop's Fables, much of the stuff I said above sounds like a bunch of Star Trek nonsense to others. I've lived on both sides of this coin – Catholic school / studied the Bible and many other world religions vs. science degree / career. My choice was science. It makes more sense to me.

          November 3, 2013 at 12:02 am |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    what is it with this insecure, narcissistic need the christian god has to be praised all the time?

    November 2, 2013 at 9:36 pm |
    • corridorwatcher

      He wasn't breastfeed. He hadn't made one yet.

      November 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  10. Dyslexic doG

    what is it with this infantile need Christians have to be judged?

    November 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
    • Opposing View

      It won't seem so infantile on Judgment Day...

      Psalms 37:30 – The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. 31 The law of his God is in his heart. 32 The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him…

      November 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        posting words from a book written by someone in the same cult as you, who is just as deluded as you, to prove your point is hilarious!

        hilarious!

        November 2, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
        • Opposing View

          And informing us all of your own personal opinion, that is not supported by truth and don't mean a thing – is even more hilarious…

          Proverbs 24:7 – Wisdom is too high for a fool:

          November 2, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
        • realist

          Dyslexic's opinion is supported my a world full of scientists, whose job is to understand the natural world. Science extremists are usually PhD theoretical physicists, math savants, and evolutionary geneticists. Religious extremists speak in tongues, bring rattlesnakes to church gatherings [if you get bit and survive, guess what? God loves you!], and contribute poorly to the understanding that if society is to grow, we need to rely on each others' compassion and help rather than wait for God's divine hand of magic.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Realist… Yes, those same scientists you spoke of are either in hell or on their way. So what is that saying?…

          There is no truth higher than the Word of God. All else shall fade away. But the Word of God shall abide forever….

          Luke 21:33 – (Jesus speaking) Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away...

          November 2, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
        • realist

          No. They aren't in Hell. They are in universities and hospitals. They saved your life by vaccinating you against awful diseases. God didn't do it. Be a nice person and give your fellow man some credit. Treat this Earth like the heaven you look forward to, and it might open your eyes a bit. People are good. When you don't given them credit you trivialize your own existence.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm |
        • Dorian3333

          Well....what else should a Christian quote from here? The book of the big bang? Where everything just happened just perfectly enough that your consciousness had a chance? Out of the entire universe, matter had to come together in the right amounts ofnthenright elements on a planet that was just the right distance from the sun...the right sized sun and at the right time in its' lifetime. Now....all that matter had to gel just right so that a magical, once in a universe spark of life happens and then...that goop gave formation to you. What a lottery win there....whew, really lucky....or was it luck? Was your consciousness out there all the time in a form that we cannot see or hear or smell.....something that the physical world just cannot explain? Would you have existed on some other planet if the elements here didn't just come together right or were the atoms in this space here on earthe YOUR ATOMS! Are you following me here? Do you understand that you are not smart enough to tell others their belief is phony? I have a feeling that most on this planet are going to experience something after we die....don't know exactly what but I do know that our creation is more complex than an explosion, gravity and a nice, soupy mixture.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:59 pm |
        • realist

          Dorian, you make some decent arguments. My point is such that there is a lot of credible science that studies these things – life, our existence, matter that composes everything... Scientists try to disprove each other. When they are successful, our knowledge base grows. If you argue against the Bible, the automatic punishment is that you go straight to Hell. Do not question authority or try to outsmart the Book. Why can God be eternal, but matter and energy cannot. The universe has always existed [according to the reciprocating theory]. Energy transforms things... heat turns water to vapor. In a much more complex setting elements like Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorous, and Sulfur create amino acids (they have been synthesized in labs), and amino acids are basic building blocks of life. Our lives are so finite, that it is difficult for people to realize that energy + elements + lots of time = lots of complex stuff – yes, even life. We do not have all the answers, but we see possibilities that are MUCH more plausible than the supernatural. "Life" possibly exists in many forms with different combinations of elements in vastly different scales (large and small) across the universe. Our limited senses only cover a small scope of the physical world – so it is conceivable that some of this life may not be perceived by us as life. However, for us to say that a creator made us in His image because a Book says so – that seems very trite and myopic.

          November 2, 2013 at 11:37 pm |
      • Pseudotriton

        zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

        November 2, 2013 at 9:41 pm |
  11. Apple Bush

    When I converted from Atheism to Solipsism, the ceremony was a blast, I had all of my friends and family over and un-validated their existence. Then it will just a free-for-all. I got a tattoo of my own face on my ass.

    November 2, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • a reasonable atheist

      Wait, I'm trying to sort this out. Was it a tattoo of your face on your ass [on another part of your body] or a tattoo of your face actually on your ass?

      November 2, 2013 at 10:06 pm |
  12. Opposing View

    The Supreme Court (because it is controlled by Lucifer) may be too weak and ineffectual to put the atheists and the ungodly believers in their place and to take a stand for God (at no time has God ever given "equal rights" to the devil). But I thank God there is an almighty and eternal God who will someday do just that. Such a day is called Judgment Day. When not only will the atheists and the ungodly unbelievers have to give an account of themselves before God, but even those Supreme Court justices themselves shall also be judged. For example, in that day, they will be asked, "Why didn't you stand up for God?" It's going to be quite interesting to see what answer they provide. And it is in that day, that the belief we believers now have in God shall be vindicated. We look forward to that day…

    November 2, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      as an Atheist who likes to convert people, I want to thank you for what you just wrote.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Agnostic

      hahahahahahaha!

      November 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • veritas

      Why can't god stand up for him self? That totally baffles me...

      November 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
      • a reasonable atheist

        No cialis in heaven, I guess.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
      • corridorwatcher

        He's the sky god. He's got nothing to stand on...

        November 2, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Big Willz

      I suspect this was sarcasm?

      That's not a winning argument in the arena of ideas

      November 2, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        Its not, this person routinely posts this type of screed and is an example of why any religious belief espoused by the gov't is a bad idea.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
      • Pseudotriton

        I know it's unbelievable but you'd be amazed how many people out there can actually talk about this stuff with a total straight face. The world is full of weirdos.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
        • Spotter

          This one might be a Poe - O Poe Sing!

          (but yeah, there are lots of real ones like this out there too)

          November 2, 2013 at 9:56 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Satan! LOL

      November 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
    • Pseudotriton

      a god that needs its simple-minded creations like humans to stand up for him. How insecure he must be.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
      • Opposing View

        And let's see just how insecure you will feel when you have to stand before that God and answer for the statement you just made. Try not to pee in your pants. LOL...

        Matthew 12:26 – But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
        • corridorwatcher

          You are the best example of an unchristian christian I have come across. Oh, I forgot Hitler.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
        • Pseudotriton

          do people actually need to pee when they're in heaven or hell? lol

          November 2, 2013 at 10:12 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          I was curious about the physiological needs/functions of the spirit state as well. Oh well, it's not like the people who came up with this stuff bothered sweating the details in the first place...

          November 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • Pseudotriton

          I highly doubt those who came up with this stuff originally even understood what physiology is.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
        • Sean Lynch not bananas

          I though we got to wear white robes not pants. Was there a fashion change?

          November 2, 2013 at 10:22 pm |
        • Opposing View

          Pseudotriton… Believe it not, if people like you spent more time focusing on those things which are important (that you'll have to answer to God for the statement you made), rather than on those things which are not, then even someone like you might could be saved…

          November 2, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          I can't speak for Pseudo, but I do focus on much more important things, such as helping people in the here and now. I spend the majority of my time developing medical technology to help prevent people from becoming prisoners in their own bodies due to disease or injury. I also volunteer in my free time to help others learn about the world around us. I received a lot of support to get to where I am today, and I endeavor to give the same sort of support that I received to others. The more people who are educated and focused on improving the lives of others, the better.

          Your fear-based superstition is the opposite of important or worthwhile. It is literally ridiculous.

          November 3, 2013 at 12:07 am |
      • a reasonable atheist

        Opposing has to be evangelical atheist.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          be an* oops

          November 2, 2013 at 10:10 pm |
        • corridorwatcher

          You don't believe that they all think like that, do you? That's a real scary thought. Enough to cause any reasonable person to become an atheist.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm |
        • a reasonable atheist

          My experiences in my pre-atheist days attending church led me to believe the majority of people I encountered were just going through the motions to not rock the boat. Being that far divorced from reality requires a serious mental defect and/or ingestion of mind-altering substances.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
        • Pseudotriton

          yeah, I'm guessing O.V. is just trolling for fun here tonight.

          November 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
  13. Apple Bush

    I think the general pattern with Christians is they don't want to feel as stupid as they are, so they proselytize EVERY chance they get and pretend to be offended when intelligent people object. Sorry Christian, you ARE stupid and no matter how many Christians there are on this Earth, that is not going to change.

    November 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • Almost there

      None of us exist my fellow solipsist, remember? Now to wake up from this dreadful dream you are having...but how?

      November 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
    • Opposing View

      Anybody who is too ignorant to know that God exists has got to be the most ignorant person in all the universe...

      November 2, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
      • Dyslexic doG

        god exists in your infantile slave mind ... outside that, he doesn't exist

        November 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Exactly what you said only completely opposite.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
      • corridorwatcher

        Well there are obviously more than one, so how can the all be the most ignorant person in the universe?

        November 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm |
    • Big Willz

      only a bitter person belittles other's beliefs. I feel sorry for you

      November 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        When elected officials say that we as a country don't need to worry about the envronment because his god would not allow the earth to be destroyed again, I would contend that some beliefs are worthy of belittlement.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
        • Big Willz

          I think a politician who says what you wrote should be ridiculed. I was responding to one person in general. I can appreciate where most atheists are coming from, but sometimes it is hard for me to understand some of the vitriol towards people who are not atheist. Then again I have been reading Opposing View's comments and maybe I am starting to understand why 🙂

          November 3, 2013 at 12:16 am |
      • Pseudotriton

        Beliefs are not like race or ethnicity. The former is subject to criticism and ridicule, just like political ideas.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
  14. jeff

    Religion is an idea made by humans. We will never truly know until we die, so lets just deal with the reality we now of now.

    November 2, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • jeff

      Know of now.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      jeff, that did not make any sense to me.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
      • jeff

        Why not?

        November 2, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
        • Apple Bush

          If it is made by humans, how can you then leap to "we will find out". You have no idea if we will or won't find out anything at all.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:37 pm |
    • Pseudotriton

      After you die, you will not know anything, at all, as your brain cells will cease functioning.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:55 pm |
  15. Aydon

    Jefferson writes: "Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."

    November 2, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • Dan

      Interestingly, Jefferson was writing to people who were worried that their religious rights were not inherent, but were 'granted' by the legislature – and could potentially be taken away. Jefferson was reassuring them that the government couldn't take their rights away.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
  16. Big Willz

    It is a shame she feels like she needs people to validate her. I don't care if people say things I don't agree with. I don't feel a need to make them recognize they are hurting my feelings. Some people just won't be satisfied until there is no mention of God.

    There are bigger fish to fry

    November 2, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
    • Exactly

      A world full of hunger, disease, economic break down and you're going to spend time going after something like this? There are definitely bigger fish.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
      • corridorwatcher

        A lot of those thing are caused by religion, or haven't you noticed?

        November 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "Some people just won't be satisfied until there is no mention of God at gov't functions on behalf of the gov't".

      **fixed**

      November 2, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • disc

      Sure, there are "bigger fish to fry", but this happens to be a matter that is important to many people. Should we prioritize all matters of the courts? If so, then based on what criteria?

      November 2, 2013 at 10:08 pm |
  17. Apple Bush

    mike is nearing maximum stupidity on the blog and might make it to the finals! Congrats!

    November 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    I am now esoteric in my feelings towards believers that are agnostic; however I do believe that they are, each one, atheist. However since I am a solipsist I know they are what I want them to be, and that is comforting. I still find Christians disturbing and dangerous, but their stupidity will undermine their agenda in time.

    November 2, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • Skarphace

      As we continue to spend more and more of our time in the virtual world rather than the real world (as we are, in effect, doing right now), solipsism will become more and more relevant. For example, do the people "Apple Bush" and "Skarphace" really exist? Maybe, but then again maybe we are both merely bots. Who knows, except ourselves?

      November 2, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Big Willz

      What do you call a atheist who trolls the religion section of CNN only to blast religion?

      November 2, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        I call him or her "an" atheist. Not "a" atheist.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
      • Skarphace

        A solipsist is not an athiest. That is, if Apple is indeed a solipsist. I doubt it as a solipsist would have no business commenting on a blog where nobody else actually exists except them.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:25 pm |
      • Observer

        Big Willz,

        So tell us that if there was an Atheist Blog that believers wouldn't be trolling on it.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
        • Big Willz

          I have no problem with Atheists being on a religious blog and making comments. I just have trouble understanding why people would hang out on a religion blog to belittle people who believe in God or a "higher power" or some other spiritual thing.

          If there are trolls on Atheist sites, does it explain angry atheists making fun of people here? I have no idea about trolling atheist sites. That shouldn't happen either.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:31 pm |
      • Jeff Campbell

        Intelligent and giving his/her time in attempts to educate the rubes?

        November 2, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
      • realist

        It isn't the "Religion" section of CNN... The section is called "Belief", so an Atheist has an equal amount of relevance on this forum.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
        • Big Willz

          Oh ok. so I can post political beliefs here?

          November 2, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
        • realist

          If you read the article, you know well enough that this is not about political beliefs.

          It's funny that the folks who are preaching about Atheists trampling free speech rights are the same ones who think Atheists shouldn't be speaking their opinions on the appropriate discussion board.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:47 pm |
        • Big Willz

          re-read my post above. I have no problems with atheists speaking their mind or posting here. I was originally commenting on one person who seems to be particularly nasty. I think most atheists here are not trolling as most comments are thoughtful.

          November 3, 2013 at 12:20 am |
      • Agnostic

        This story is about an Atheist being disenfranchised at city forums. A link was put on the front page. So nobody is trolling, just exercising free speech. Funny how nobody thinks atheists should have free speech.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:13 pm |
      • Pseudotriton

        oh, Big Willz, there are tons of theists trolling atheist and science forums regularly. The selective criticism of atheists on this matter shows one's bias.

        November 2, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
        • Big Willz

          following the thread my original comment about trolling was directed to a person who wrote

          "I still find Christians disturbing and dangerous, but their stupidity will undermine their agenda in time."

          I accused that person of being a troll. I wasn't trying to say atheists should not speak their mind here. I was too clumsy with my words. It is my first night on this board or any religious board for that matter. No disrespect intended

          November 3, 2013 at 12:23 am |
    • Almost there

      If you are truly a solipsist you will realize they do not exist at all but are only a product of your mind.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
      • Apple Bush

        Almost there, I have un-validated you so your words are but a buzzing in my ear now and I am not sure if I am imagining it.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
  19. mike

    This is really a simple matter of free speech. If in of all such places as a legislative body you decide there are certain utterances that cannot be uttered, you violate the 1st amendments speech clause.

    November 2, 2013 at 9:08 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Not according to the US Supreme Court.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
      • mike

        First of all, to which case are you referring, and second of all – so what? Is your point that the Supreme Court is right by its own right?

        November 2, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          The Supreme Court does get the final say.

          There are several cases where the Supreme Court has upheld restrictions on the practice of religious beliefs. See: http://harvardpolitics.com/covers/religion-and-politics/limits-of-religious-freedom/

          Again, you can believe anything you like but you cannot practice those beliefs whenever, however, wherever you like.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
        • mike

          Right, except when my actions are limited to speech, and a prayer is only exactly that. And I didn't ask for a list, I asked to which case you referred.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          I didn't have a specific case in mind. I'm aware of the courts's general position, so I provided an article that covers that. An article that actually looks at both sides should you bother to read it. But you could look up Reynolds v. United States.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
        • mike

          Oh I remember that case. You ruined a mormon's life because he accidentally married two women. However that happened, he was excercing religion because marrying is part of that (yes even if it is gay marriage, they can fall under the religious protection too. see the nature of marriage in Loving Vs Maryland). Disgraceful case

          November 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          I/we didn't ruin anything! If you are going to blame anyone, blame those that negotiated Utah's entry into the USA – most if not all of them were probably god-fearing christians. Or blame the legislators that passed the laws – most if not all of them were probably god-fearing christians. Or blame the Supreme Court that upheld the law and lower correct rulings – ALL of them so far have been believers.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Incorrect. This is a matter of Christians being the bullies they love to be. Atheist must and will fight them, along with other religions.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
      • mike

        you're the only ones "fighting"

        November 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          Nope! The Town of Greece is carrying the fight – they're the ones that appealed a lore court ruling.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
        • mike

          give it up chap. you started a fight

          November 2, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          I/we didn't start anything. Two citizens, fully within their rights, asked a local government to follow the law of the land. Why do you have a problem with that?

          November 2, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
        • mike

          and the defense declined to accept their theory of justice, nor did they accept the general morality of their request. So the response by the athiest was to call the feds and tell them to send in the hounds if the religious folk didn't do as they wished

          November 2, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
        • HotAirAce

          You clearly have a problem with reading for comprehension:

          "Nearly 120 members of Congress, mostly Republicans, along with several state attorneys general have filed supporting legal briefs backing the city. So has the Obama administration."

          November 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
        • DaVide

          Greece lost. Why are they pursuing it, mike?

          November 2, 2013 at 9:39 pm |
    • Skarphace

      It is only a violation of the 1st Amendment if it hinders one religion but not others. If, for example, the goal was to make it so that Christian prayer was not allowed, but Muslim prayer was, then it would be a violation.

      To treat all religions as equal does not run contrary to the 1st Amendment. In fact, it was the purpose of the 1st Amendment.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
      • mike

        i am talking about the arguably more important part of the 1st ammendment, which concerns freedom of speech

        November 2, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
        • Skarphace

          Freedom of speech only applies in certain situations. It does not apply to private spaces, for example. You cannot expect to say anything you want in a movie theater and not expect to be escorted out. Is a government meeting a place for free speech, or a place to discuss only certian topics, such as the topic of the meeting itself? That is for the SCOTUS to decide, and guess what? They are going to do just that.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
        • mike

          I do have little faith in the Scotus any more. Morally speaking however, disrupting a movie with noises is not the same as talking in a meeting, and it is not up to anyone except the people in the meeting to decide what is discussed.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Sara

      It's not a matter of whether a citizen can randomly stand up and say they want their road paved, and with the grace of god, they'll get it. It's a matter of whether you can take up town meeting time having groups play their favorite songs, advertise their pizza parlor or sell their gods.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
      • mike

        Ted Cruz can read Dr Seuss. Whatever floats boats. Freedom of speech is so fundamental and so undeniable in this country, that you cannot swipe it without serious consideration toward a loss of life or limb

        November 2, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
        • Sara

          If all of our elected officials spent that much time reading Dr. Seuss, no real work would get done. Same if your doctor used your 15 minute appointment to discuss his or her opinion on the latest sporting event.

          November 2, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • ME II

      @mike,
      "If in of all such places as a legislative body you decide there are certain utterances that cannot be uttered, you violate the 1st amendments speech clause."

      The individuals are free to utter what they like, within the law, but the government is prohibited from uttering certain things. I would thnk that those who are religious would be the first people to want this, so the government doesn't start endorsing concepts contrary to their beliefs.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • cjacja

      Mike, the classic counter example is to yell "Fire" in a crowned theater. No right is absolute and when two rights are in conflict you are forced to draw a line. The is BOTH a right to free speech and a specific prohibition against the government selecting a religion. It seem this town has selected a religion that is called "monotheism".

      It has been long held that the 1st amendment is not an absolute right. It has always had limits.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:50 pm |
  20. Skarphace

    When fully 40% of the population of the US believes that the Earth was created less than 10,000 years ago, you will never fully realize the goal of "separation of church and state". Sad, but true.

    November 2, 2013 at 9:07 pm |
    • Sara

      That has as much to do with poor math and science and religion. Half those folks just don't know the difference between 10,000 and 100,000.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • zampaz

      Sad but true. Americans are scientifically illiterate. The establishment clause sounds as hard to understand as evolution which is almost as hard as learning the times tables. Save us from the cashiers that can't calculate percentages and discounts in their heads and later run for public office.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:53 pm |
      • Sara

        If it makes you feel any better, most of the masses of evolution believes in countries like Italy don't really understand evolution any better. In general people just go along with the dominant believe...we've just got some dumb beliefs floating around over here. On the other hand Europeans swallow homeopathy hook , line and sinker and had all their filling pulled out in a mad panic...people are basically just pretty dumb.

        November 2, 2013 at 9:59 pm |
    • cjacja

      I doubt that large of a percent of the population is that ignorant. Even among Christians, most of them belong to mainstream Christian sects who teach that the scientific view may be correct. It is only the very few but vocal minority of fundamentalists who have such an extreme and ignorant view.

      November 2, 2013 at 9:54 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.