home
RSS
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. G.C

    I get the feeling that certain people want to tell people what to do, what to think, what to feel.

    November 3, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • lol??

      It's the caring philosophy of socies.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:39 am |
      • Akira

        God is socie?

        November 3, 2013 at 12:55 am |
    • Tia

      Don't worry, the government will never let any God, real or imagined, take over telling people what to think and feel.

      November 3, 2013 at 1:17 am |
  2. lol??

    Junk, you lose. There are no statesmen left because states have no representation. Just like fathers, and the commie killer mommies destroyed fathers' rights. Enjoy DEATH. It rides with the Pale Horse.

    BTW, God chooses to relate to the race as a father.

    November 3, 2013 at 12:32 am |
    • Junk

      Death is absent of knowledge

      November 3, 2013 at 12:40 am |
    • Akira

      Lol??, do you think God considers the United States to be the most important, above any other country?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:50 am |
  3. Observer

    I'm still waiting to hear from ONE CHRISTIAN who supports the prayers to say they are willing for atheists to have equal time at government functions to deliver messages why religion is wrong.

    Skip the HYPOCRISY.

    November 3, 2013 at 12:32 am |
    • Maani

      Well...I would not support equal time for atheists to say why religion is "wrong,," but I would certainly support equal time for atheists to make humanist statements. After all, prayer is not an "attack" on atheism, so whatever atheists may do with their "equal time" should not be an "attack" on religion.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:34 am |
      • Observer

        Maani,

        The bottom subtle line of Christianity is that if you don't do exactly as told, that you are such a lowlife that you deserve to spend eternity burning in hell. Public prayers tie into such thinking.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:37 am |
      • Tia

        Prayers is about trying to prove that you are right and those that believe differently than you are wrong. Would you be open to giving atheists equal time to say why they believe that the "believers" are wrong?

        November 3, 2013 at 1:19 am |
        • aldewacs2

          Of course not.
          Christians want to set the rules of engagement, and we're supposed to play nice with them
          It's part of their centuries-old assumption of deserved privilege.
          They do not 'get' that when they stand up and 'pray', that they are in effect preaching unwanted to others, who may (rightly) think that the prayers are bunk and lies. And we're supposed to swallow the bunk and lies and pretend it's because of 'respect' and 'tolerance'.

          November 3, 2013 at 11:24 am |
    • Name*

      Kiss my as*

      November 3, 2013 at 12:36 am |
    • lol??

      Doesn't matter. You are just killin' time waiting for yer judgment. Per chance you need a different hobby??

      November 3, 2013 at 12:36 am |
  4. R.D.Wood

    Congratulations, The atheist now have their day in Court, to attempt to get the law bent or changed to suit their lack of beliefs. So yours can no longer be practised.
    Oh, by the way, for those who don't believe or have any convictions , other than this is a result of a cosmic accident, lets see you try to create a single living cell.

    November 3, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • Akira

      What law would that be?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:33 am |
    • bootyfunk

      Hate to disappoint you. We could make cells. We don't want to. Why should we? Don't even try to pawn off religion as an explanation for the universe. It has been done to death.

      We don't need to waste our time on such irrelevant topics. Point being, god is a delusion. Only the delusional believe in gods.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:34 am |
    • worldlypatriotusaveteran

      Congratulations to you, too! I'm so impressed with your critical-thinking skills! You contend the ONLY possible explanation of the creation of life is a deity. Not only is this naive, it's a tremendous failure of imagination.

      If your creator is that good, please tell us why your all-powerful, omniscient deity allowed such events as the Black Plague Pandemic that killed one-third of the Earth's population. Why did he allow 70 million people to perish during World War II? Why did he allow the Flu Pandemic of 1916, the AIDS epidemic in Africa (current), smallpox, polio, nuclear weapons, and the Holocaust?

      Today, why does your all-powerful deity allow 876 children (average) to perish, every day, from the terrible effects and suffering of starvation-related illness, in Africa?

      If you deity is powerful enough to create life, then he MUST be powerful enough to end something as simple as human suffering, right? How many billions of people must suffer terrible deaths before your deity has seen enough?

      If your all-powerful, omniscient deity could perform just one single event or act of good, observable and unquestioned, by all, so we would no longer question its existence, don't you think the world would be a much better place to live?

      For example, if your deity could cure all diseases, just one time, or even two or three major diseases, just once, we would have no reason not to believe.

      As it stands, I will stick with my own critical analysis of religious faith, shared by hundreds of millions of non-believers:

      Religious faith, and your deity, are based on lies, delusions, and false promises.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:55 am |
      • aldewacs2

        Cue the 'He works in wondrous ways' crowd.
        Apparently we're not smart enough to understand.
        Groan.

        November 3, 2013 at 11:27 am |
    • Answer

      Don't forget also that your "god" GAVE you "free will" and that you had to accept it in order to HAVE "free will".

      So logical it makes you hurt doesn't it?

      November 3, 2013 at 1:00 am |
    • Tia

      You would still be able to practice your religion. No one is asking for the churches to be torn down and the bibles to be burned. Or are you only capable of practicing your religion in public buildings? What is the point of all the church buildings if they aren't for you to worship in?

      November 3, 2013 at 1:21 am |
  5. Divdar

    This is suppose to be a government "of the people" and the people are religious. You can't separate people from their religion. Practicing your religion in public is not forcing any one to accept it. Most of the time, people use "separation of church and state" to suppress the moral views, not religious views, of those they don't agree with.

    November 3, 2013 at 12:27 am |
    • Another Voice

      A – the government may NOT favor any one religion over another

      B – officially sponsored prayer (as an agenda item) at a government meeting is not an individual practicing his or her religion, it is a government body officially recognizing a particular religion to lead the prayer in a specific faith and/or denomination (whichever is chosen for that meeting)

      C – Not all "of the people" are religious and those that are do not all share the same faith

      D – The business of the government is to deal with civic issues that are part of their purview. The practice of any religion is not part of that and should not be on the official agenda

      Nobody is preventing you standing in public and praying before or after the meeting (inside the meeting you would probably get removed for disrupting the meeting itself). There is no separation of you from your faith, just a separation of the government from endorsing any particular faith or denomination by giving voice to it on the official meeting agenda.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:38 am |
    • Akira

      The US was never meant to be a theocracy.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:39 am |
    • reasoning skills

      there are a lot of folks here who would fail a citizenship test. Here in the USA It's called "separation of church and state". That means no prayer, no talk of supernatural beings, no cosmic imaginary land when your trying to create REAL LAWS, for REAL PEOPLE. A town hall meeting is still community government. If you want to pray, go to a church, but don't try to turn a place of government into a church. If you want religion in government, go to the MIDDLE EAST. They specialize in this. It's worked real well for them apparently. They are only constantly fighting political wars over religion, but never mind, that's what the "people" want.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:40 am |
  6. Tom

    HOW MANY TIMES WERE ATHEISTS INVITED TO SPEAK THEIR WORDS AT THE OPENING OF MEETINGS?

    November 3, 2013 at 12:24 am |
    • Apple Bush

      HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BEEN SHOWN HOW TO TURN OFF THE CAPS LOCK KEY?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:27 am |
  7. Apple Bush

    You will try to take it away from me;
    You will change the way it feels and smells;

    You will change its size to confuse me;
    You will change its color.

    I will keep it.
    I will not be deceived or cheated.
    I will not lose my sense and be a victim.

    November 3, 2013 at 12:21 am |
  8. Barnabus

    For in as much as it is appointed to men to die and after that the judgment. Hebrews

    November 3, 2013 at 12:20 am |

    • 15 out of 16 people have died. And for every one of themafter death there was

      November 3, 2013 at 12:24 am |
  9. Christians

    Please include all atheists in your prayers.

    November 3, 2013 at 12:18 am |
    • Answer

      We atheists will think for you while you do nothing.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:21 am |
      • Christians

        Answer

        I would surely appreciate that, thank you! My prayers for you.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:37 am |
        • Answer

          I'll continue to do the thinking for you. Braindead freaks.

          November 3, 2013 at 12:51 am |
        • Christians

          And I'll continue praying for you, brother.

          November 3, 2013 at 1:32 am |
    • HotAirAce

      Christians, if you must pray for us atheists, please do it silently and don't bother us with it. If you don't, you will receive a vehement "Fuck Off!" without a please and regardless of age or gender, at least from this atheist.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:25 am |
      • Christians

        Are you trying to take away my right to pray the way I pleases because it doesn't please you, HAA? So atheists of you.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:32 am |
        • Answer

          Look at the reply. Comprehend it.

          DO IT SILENTLY.

          You freaks are annoying when you can't comprehend the written words. Your god is so idiotic that it can "listen" in to every word even in the human mind and yet you HAVE to make your prayers out LOAD by voice.

          You freaks are as bat shit stupid.

          November 3, 2013 at 12:35 am |
        • Answer

          *LOUD*

          November 3, 2013 at 12:36 am |
        • Christians

          I hear you, Answer. "loud" and clear. And though you did it "loudly", reassured that I will never tell you to lower a lil bit coz I acknowledge your God-given, sorry I mean, your consti.tunal right to say 'THE WAY' it pleases you. And though this board requires civility in conversation, I will neither say nor demand you to be civil and quit the name calling coz again, God gives, I mean the consti.tution grants you the right to freely express your thoughts 'THE WAY' you want it to. And it doesn't make any sense to expect it from people like you.

          November 3, 2013 at 1:47 am |
        • hawaiiguest

          @Christians

          Are you just trying to be the most passive aggressive, backhanded little douche that you can be?

          November 3, 2013 at 1:51 am |
        • Response

          Answer

          Keep projecting, dude! Long way to go..LOL!

          November 3, 2013 at 1:53 am |
        • Response

          HG

          You can find the answer deep in your heart.

          November 3, 2013 at 1:59 am |
        • hawaiiguest

          My heart pumps blood. There's nothing deep in there, just as there is nothing deep in anyone's heart.

          November 3, 2013 at 1:11 am |
        • HotAirAce

          I am not trying to take away any of your rights. I asked you politely, with a please, to not annoy me with your silliness. And then I indicated how I would respond if you did not comply with my request as an aid to helping you decide how to behave. Merely giving you the information you need to behave responsibly.

          November 3, 2013 at 1:51 am |
        • Christians

          @HG

          We tend to say things the way we see them and we have the right to our own opinion;hence I see no sense to directly answer your question.

          You are free to opine but be sure not to pass n a mirror.

          November 4, 2013 at 4:39 am |
      • Christians

        HAA

        Oh, I see..Okay sure, I won't bother you but still..I would choose to enjoy my consti.tutional right to do it freely 'THE WAY' I want it to. If you feel annoyed and/or bothered by it, then, that's your call.

        November 4, 2013 at 4:24 am |
        • HotAirAce

          You have your rights and I have mine. If you annoyingly infringe on mine, don't be surprised if you receive a vocal, vehement but non-violent, response and to have your silliness challenged. No more free passes. . .

          November 4, 2013 at 5:22 am |
        • Christians

          Please tell me what right you have would be infringed by my loud prayers before 10pm?

          I know my limits, I hope you're aware of yours.

          November 5, 2013 at 3:30 am |
  10. polycarp pio

    Dr Donnel Johnson, your so full of crap your stinking up this site. Go forth and peddle your humanistic balogna somewhere else. I have a verse for you,"Ever learning and never comming to the truth". PP

    November 3, 2013 at 12:18 am |
  11. lol??

    Junk
    It was not written down for at least 150 years, after it supposedly happened.

    The Romans made it all up, to control the Jews

    So what happened in AD70?? Alwayz bully yer dogs??

    November 3, 2013 at 12:17 am |
    • Junk

      Are you from what southern state?

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

        Where did you go to school? Reread your sentence.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:21 am |
        • Junk

          I am not prissy with language

          November 3, 2013 at 12:25 am |
  12. Mopery

    Now we must all bow our heads, and pretend to be serious.

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

      LOL! I really did LOL!

      November 3, 2013 at 12:18 am |
  13. Junk

    The Romans made the Jesus story up with a wink...

    November 3, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • Rett

      Wow....evidence?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:20 am |
  14. Dennis

    I can't wait to hear Scalia's explanation how prayer isn't religious.

    November 3, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      Sadly, I think he truly believes this is the devil's work. I wonder what he would have thought about the original separation clause if he had lived back then – more of the devil's work?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:15 am |
    • Barnabus

      Men supress tge truth in unrighteousness because their deeds are evil.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:18 am |
      • Answer

        Just like suppressing that Thor is the only true god is evil.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:28 am |
    • Akira

      No kidding, Dennis. That man is batshit crazy.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:31 am |
  15. Dr. Donnel Johnson

    The Gnostic gospels were indeed "scripture" far more so than the present form of the so called "Holy Bible". In fact, these scriptures tell the tale of Jesus the man. Married, a Buddhist, a nudist, a true renaissance man of his time.

    The Greek Phase: ανοιχ τή ο δο ιτ, simply means, "what time did you get in last night?” Loosely translated into today’s vernacular.

    We know that the so called "missionary position" was so named after Jesus walked in on Mary Magdalene and Joseph having relations. He condemned their activities saying, "...you have soiled my sheets, you have confused my mission and compromised my position."

    November 3, 2013 at 12:10 am |
  16. Apple Bush

    Hi Akira, I had a strange feeling if Dr. D. Johnson made an appearance maybe you would too!

    November 3, 2013 at 12:09 am |
    • Answer

      We've all seen this "Dr." from the past.. a nut job.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:10 am |
      • Dr. Donnel Johnson

        I beg your pardon.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:17 am |
        • Answer

          Yes do beg. On your knees.

          November 3, 2013 at 12:22 am |
        • Apple Bush

          Well I never!

          November 3, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • Akira

      Hi, Apple. The Doctor, as always, amuses me...

      November 3, 2013 at 12:22 am |
      • Apple Bush

        I get in the mood for him once in a while, just to watch the fallout.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  17. Dr. Donnel Johnson

    In my research I have found that Mary Magdalene was in fact both consort and wife. A consort was simply a companion. If you read the scriptures, you will find that in the late BE and early CE, it was actually possible to both be married and single simultaneously.

    How you ask?

    You must refer to the Gnostic versus attributed to Phillip who said, "Be it spouse or alone, we are only that which our threshold allows on the Sabbath."

    Loosely translated it means a woman can be beholden to a man one day, and quite free the next. This makes polygamy possible without breaking God's law against Adultery.

    November 2, 2013 at 11:59 pm |
    • Junk

      What physical proof is there that Jesus ever existed?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:03 am |
      • Dr. Donnel Johnson

        If you read both Timothy and Phillip, there are passages which describe in detail that Jesus was cremated.
        We know this because his friends were asked to take his ashes to the Sea of Galilee and deposit them over, "...the lapping waves of His Father's own sink basin".

        Furthermore we read in a passage from Timothy that, “…the ashes were as grains of sand. I have tasted his body.” This passage is thought to have been incorrectly translated into the last supper myth.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:05 am |
        • Observer

          Please give exact verses so your comments can be researched.

          November 3, 2013 at 12:07 am |
        • Junk

          It was not written down for at least 150 years, after it supposedly happened.

          The Romans made it all up, to control the Jews

          November 3, 2013 at 12:09 am |
        • Answer

          The freaks have justifications for their myths. Funny.

          November 3, 2013 at 12:09 am |
        • Big Willz

          If you think the Bible is crazy, read the Gnostic gospels

          November 3, 2013 at 12:53 am |
        • Big Willz

          I don't think there is a prohibition for Jewish people to be cremated in the Bible or Talmud, but I find it hard to believe that a Jewish man of that time period would be cremated. This probably answers your question as to why the gnostic gospels didn't make it into the Bible. They seem about of place culturally and theologically

          November 3, 2013 at 1:09 am |
      • Rett

        I think the historian Josephus mentions him....and he was born about the time Jesus was crucified so no doubt had contact with those who had seen or knew Jesus. I think it is a very small group that denies that Jesus ever existed....denying his divinity, miracles, resurrection etc...yes....but his very existence?

        November 3, 2013 at 12:29 am |
      • Big Willz

        Google it. Most scholars accept his existence. Josephus and Tacitus are generally looked at as sources proving he existed

        November 3, 2013 at 1:18 am |
        • Commenter

          Josephus and Tacitus mentioned what the new sect of Christian followers claimed about their hero.

          Josephus and Tacitus also mentioned Hercules. Does that mean that he existed, and really did all of those amazing feats?

          November 3, 2013 at 1:53 am |
  18. Karma

    Obviously she's right, and she's going to win. It's critical to get mythology out of public affairs!

    November 2, 2013 at 11:58 pm |
    • Dr. Donnel Johnson

      There is much that does not get told in popular biblical academia.

      For example, Jesus tells us that his father and mother "have not spaketh a single word in two years plus three. This sounds like a man scorned to me.

      How can we prove marital troubles in the home of Jesus? Reading from Mary (Magdalene), she says, "when Joseph's gaze met mine I felt a burning deep within...." She goes on to discuss Jesus' jealousy and rage.

      Is it possible Joseph never forgave Mother Mary for her affair, and Joseph and Jesus were competing for Mary Magdalene’s affection?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:02 am |
      • Akira

        Ah, the good Doctor is in. Always a pleasure to read his extensive research findings.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:10 am |
      • Dr. Donnel Johnson

        Indeed!

        November 3, 2013 at 12:15 am |
      • Big Willz

        Few people in biblical academia take your gnostic gospels seriously. Other than that I am sure your other points are all fantastic

        November 3, 2013 at 12:54 am |
    • Guest

      Absolutely!

      November 3, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • Outsider

      I don't even live in your country and even I recall your forefathers stating, one nation under god, in your pledge of alligence. And more so in your Declaration of of Independance. And god was never in your government? In honesty, from the outside looking in, most of your citizens whine and cry about their rights over nothing, so insignificant that its pathic. Ever wonder why the rest of the world does not like you? Don't think so? Ask anyone not in the US and they won't have a problem saying, spoiled, capitalist whiners who have EVERYTHING who complain about nothing. Even your poorest is richer than two thirds of the nations in this world. And you whine about a prayer? When I have visited a nation, Muslim or Christian I've been blessed by someone and with it, I accept it as a gift from someone who took the time to do it, not as a violation of a right. I d ont even believe in god! Not whine about it! Petty people!

      November 3, 2013 at 12:27 am |
      • Rett

        I agree that a bunch of us Americans are whiners......we strain at a gnat and swallow a camel sometimes.....

        November 3, 2013 at 12:34 am |
  19. The World

    What a chump. Violate the rights of every other citizen for the religious rights of an Atheist.

    November 2, 2013 at 11:56 pm |
    • It's more about

      sacrificing some rights a bit here and there so that everyone can interact in peace; and not have their time wasted. They just need to get down to business and deal with the issues they joined together to solve.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:00 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        It is not sacrificing a right, it is maintaing a const-itutional separation.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:05 am |
        • Opposing View

          That's just an excuse atheists use to try and get their way. In reality, all they want is their way and no other way. That's precisely what has been prophesied to happen in the Great Tribulation period leading up to Judgment Day. The atheists and unbelievers of the world will seek to rid the world of all believers. They don't just want equal rights, they want all such people gone entirely...

          November 3, 2013 at 12:25 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Wrong! Without meaning to speak for anyone but myself, in general, atheists support everyone's right to believe whatever silliness they like. We just ask that you keep it to yourself and that you practice your version of voodoo within your private property or cult clubhouses. Pretty simple really.

          November 3, 2013 at 12:30 am |
    • corridorwatcher

      You spell that with a small "a"-atheist. Except at the beginning of a sentence, or if you are a paranoid ignorant Christian.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:03 am |
    • Akira

      Religion does not belong in the government. Period.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:04 am |
    • Junk

      How about we allow the rights of the Muslims to rule?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:07 am |
    • mjbrin

      what religious rights? you mean the right to practice his or her own religion, or no religion at all? so if my religion says that i have stand up in the theater and start saying the Our Father the police can't stop me?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:13 am |
    • kbomb106

      "What a chump. Violate the rights of every other citizen for the religious rights of an Atheist."

      "What a chump. Violate the rights of every other citizen for the religious rights of a Catholic." There. I fixed it for you.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  20. aldewacs2

    The high percentage of believers in the US is one of the reasons much of the world looks at us as a bunch of dimwits.
    Especially, dimwits with a finger on the nuclear button, who have proven they will actually use it.
    Now all we need to do is to be found spying on our partners. Oh wait...

    November 2, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • Rett

      Really? The world views us as dimwits because we are largely religious?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:37 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43
Advertisement
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.