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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. Harry

    She will get her day in court...in front of Jesus.

    November 3, 2013 at 7:29 am |
    • midwest rail

      The joy you take in your belief that she will be condemned forever will be your downfall.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:31 am |
    • sam stone.

      fvck you and your proxy threats

      November 3, 2013 at 8:11 am |
      • Enough

        I'm wondering Sam when you will decide to post under someone else name again. You're faster than this, usually.

        November 3, 2013 at 8:34 am |
    • Robert

      I'm going to hell to suffer and burn and cry forever. One time I ate a Bologna sandwich on Friday! On purpose!

      November 3, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • hello

      the after death judgement concept came from the early Egyptian myths... it then was included in the Jewish myth .. then the christian myth created by the Roman Flavian family .. with the help of the Jewish traitor .. Josephus.. who was adopted by the Flavian family to create the christian myth from the Jewish myth. The mythic snowball rolls on...
      Like the poem :The Path of the Calf" tells us.

      November 3, 2013 at 9:22 am |
  2. are122

    “You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.” -Abe Lincoln.

    November 3, 2013 at 7:26 am |
    • Enough

      The problem is you never can please gays and atheists.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:28 am |
      • JJ

        Just come out the closet already. Jeez!

        November 3, 2013 at 7:32 am |
      • truthprevails1

        Are you worried that some lesbian is going to take your wife from you? What is your fixation with LGBT??

        November 3, 2013 at 7:40 am |
        • Enough

          I'm not afraid of that, but what i'm afraid of is that you convert every normal kid out there into your deviant disgusting lifestyle.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:42 am |
        • truthprevails1

          First off, I'm a happily married straight woman with children. I just happen to support equal rights for all. I do not judge a person based on who they love, I judge them on how they treat others.
          Second, one does not convert to LGBT. LGBT is as natural as being left-handed or walking or talking is. It is only in your very small brain that you have let yourself fall for the bull that they are not normal.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:52 am |
        • Enough

          No it's not natural, it's a choice, as a matter of fact it's a disgusting one.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:59 am |
        • truthprevails1

          It's pointless debating with you. You will remain bigoted regardless of what is said. I feel for you, what a miserable life to live being such a hateful person. I sincerely hope that one of your children admits to being LGBT, maybe then when you are faced with the reality of it, you'll finally comprehend how wrong you are.

          November 3, 2013 at 8:08 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Enough
          This must be redneck Sunday on the belief blog, go to church already, you are making a fool of yourself.

          November 3, 2013 at 8:07 am |
        • Enough

          Which one is more foolish? My comments or a bunch of men dressed like drag queens and acting like they are women?

          November 3, 2013 at 8:20 am |
        • truthprevails1

          It is their choice, they do not tell you how to live. They pay taxes, they work, they raise children. If you don't like it, don't look but keep your bigotry and hate to yourself, it is far more damaging to society than them being who they are born to be!

          November 3, 2013 at 8:25 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Enough
          I agree with truthpervails1. I think you should come out of the closet the self hatred you exude is destroying you

          November 3, 2013 at 8:20 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Enough
          Your jesus was never reported to get it on with a woman and some of the disciples were jealous of each other because he showed more love for some. Strange behaviour in your world, would you not bully someone with those traits in your redneck bar.
          You really are a hoot.

          November 3, 2013 at 8:27 am |
        • Enough

          If you think i'm a closet case gay person i got news for you. That disgusting lifestyle is something i have no desire for. I'd rather make a hole in a tree and poke it instead of trying to poke another man in his back disgusting hole.

          November 3, 2013 at 8:37 am |
        • truthprevails1

          It's not a lifestyle any more than being left-handed is. You forget that men and women have anal sex...should they be banned from society and hated in the same manner that you hate LGBT (people who have not directly affected your life but yet people you wish to cause great harm to)???
          Give one justified reason based on EVIDENCE from this century and not based off of some theoretical bs site, as to why you are so worried about these people. What you propose is done to them?

          November 3, 2013 at 8:53 am |
        • hello

          ENOUGH... I hope you have a child or grandchild who is gay.. to teach you a personal lesson in humanity.

          November 3, 2013 at 8:54 am |
      • Robert

        You mean you can't please your gay lover?

        November 3, 2013 at 8:22 am |
        • Enough

          You'd wish i would be gay. That's in your dreams only. You can fantasize about men all you want but you won't get me.

          November 3, 2013 at 8:39 am |
      • Bruce McClure

        Well, in Greece they say if you don't like the prayer just don't listen. Same argument for LBGT, I guess. If you don't like what you see, just don't watch.

        November 3, 2013 at 9:21 am |
  3. Realist

    ********************

    ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

    ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

    ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

    ********************

    November 3, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • Realist

      ********************

      ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

      ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

      ********************

      November 3, 2013 at 7:23 am |
      • Realist

        ********************

        ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

        ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

        ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

        ********************

        November 3, 2013 at 7:23 am |
    • Colo001

      You are no different from the Bible thumpers. What purpose would an atheist have to point people to religious conspiracy websites? You are trying to convert them from believing to not believing. That's no different from any pro=religion group trying to push its beliefs on you. I am an atheist and I could care less if people want to pray before a meeting or say "so help me God" .

      November 3, 2013 at 8:01 am |
  4. David

    Prayers have no place in government.

    November 3, 2013 at 7:19 am |
    • nelbert

      Judging by what goes on in government, that would seem to be a place where prayers are especially needed.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:24 am |
      • Jake

        Considering pretty much all of our elected officials claim to be religious, I'd say if you don't like what's happening in politics these days, you should be advocating for LESS prayer / religion in government. But I guess that would be too blatantly logical for a religious person to realize.

        November 3, 2013 at 7:38 am |
        • hello

          religion does not equal morality....or immortality.

          November 3, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • are122

      You're right. This government doesn't have a prayer.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:27 am |
    • Colo001

      I disagree. Taking a moment of silence to allow people to silently say a prayer is more then OK. I wish they would do it more. This way maybe more would take a moment to reflect upon the choices they are making. Tell me what you have against that? By the way I am an atheist. But if they decide to say a prayer no real atheist I have ever met would really give a crap. I also find that you are named "David" ironic

      November 3, 2013 at 8:07 am |
      • centeredpiece

        Thanks for your intelligent and tolerant suggestion. A moment of silence offends no one.

        November 3, 2013 at 3:02 pm |
        • Observer

          centeredpiece,

          The people are there to attend to government business.

          What does a moment of silence accomplish? It's just an excuse for people to pray; as if they couldn't do it any other time.

          November 3, 2013 at 3:04 pm |
    • hello

      or in intelligent human thinking

      November 3, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  5. Kebos

    Wiccan priestess? Looks to me that Greece, NY needs a complete over-haul! Town council have taken leave of their senses!

    November 3, 2013 at 7:13 am |
  6. dgoren1

    I am agnostic and therefore not really sure about God. I hope he exists. I also love Christmas for its "goodwill" aspect and music and I am not the least bit offended by "Merry Christmas" greeting, nativity scenes, or Christmas Trees. That being said, in order to protect the rights of people to worship what they please, or not to worship at all, religion and politics/government, should not mix. What if a Muslim person came and talked about Allah. It would rub a lot of people the wrong way, depending on what part of the country it happened in. I realize that we have God on our currency and in the pledge of Allegiance. I would not join any group to try and remove that. It's just not worth the fight to me. It doesn't offend me, but again, what if a group wanted to change it to "in Allah we trust"? These slogans should not have been put there in the first place. If you keep religion out of politics, then everyone can worship as they see fit, or not at all. That's really the right move, but undoing it takes brave people willing to be outcast by their neighbors.

    November 3, 2013 at 7:13 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      bingo.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:15 am |
      • ?

        Was that O66, I needed O66?

        November 3, 2013 at 7:21 am |
    • Kebos

      Agree with most of what you say. But really hope (and believe) god doesn't exist. Who would want a dictator lording over everything we do? It's an insane proposition. Bottom line, religion and politics should never be mixed. And one day, religion will be gone and practiced by a small minority of quacks.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:24 am |
      • Enough

        And one day, religion will be gone and practiced by a small minority of quacks.

        I'm sorry but that will never happen.

        November 3, 2013 at 7:35 am |
        • corridorwatcher

          You're right. Given the technology today the religious quacks will put us all in oblivion between reason takes over.

          November 3, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • DCKeene

      Agree with you whole-heartedly....except one part of your comment "on what part of the country it happened in"...there are lots of us that believe in separation of church and state that live (or lived) in the wasteland of middle-America or in the staunchest red states. There is a tiny voice screaming for equality in even the most christian parts of this country...."thank the Universe"!

      November 3, 2013 at 7:29 am |
    • Enough

      What would you think of a slogan like " In Atheism We Trust" ?

      November 3, 2013 at 7:30 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        That's funny! No, we don't need a government slogan.

        November 3, 2013 at 7:42 am |
        • Terik Ororke

          That is your opinion.....then we do not need football teams, actors, musicians etc. to bolster existence? So, America is not the beautiful? It is no longer "My Country Tis of thee.." It is true that the clothes do not make the man nor does the slogan make the country...people have to realize that these are passing things, but the problem with that is that time may not be as fluid as we first thought, so just let the slogans go their harmless way into infinity.

          November 3, 2013 at 8:08 am |
      • corridorwatcher

        I think no slogan would be better. Why have a slogan?

        November 3, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      dgoren1, I think when people bother to consider another point of view, as you have with the "In Allah we trust," it helps us consider things we otherwise would not. Good post.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:44 am |
    • DaBudaMasta

      But Christians wanted exclusively christians for they claim America was founded on Christian values. However they are incorrect. America was founded by Freemasons. That revolted against a monarchy supported by a Christian religion. They founders were very much aware of the dangers of a state religion adopted by the government. As in all Islamic Republics and Islamic Monarchy.

      November 3, 2013 at 9:07 am |
  7. BigBankTheory

    ...and in other news:John F. Kennedy's brain missing! So, that's news? It's been known since the day he became a president!

    November 3, 2013 at 7:10 am |
  8. BigBankTheory

    Religiosity is a self-induced mental sickness, just like drug addiction. Not much can be done until the affected people die off. Let's just make sure that our kids don't get the disease.

    November 3, 2013 at 7:08 am |
    • Enough

      Don't worry, your kids and your generation will die off too because of aids. So what difference does it makes.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:13 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        You should never wish harm upon another person – it says a great deal about your lack of belief.

        November 3, 2013 at 7:45 am |
      • Charm Quark

        Enough
        Keep up your posts, you are a fine example of how a belief system can twist a mind into bigotry and hypocrisy. Although you would probably be an ignorant redneck without help from jesus.

        November 3, 2013 at 7:49 am |
        • Enough

          Bigotry along with intolerance should be applied to you as well. You are calling bigot or intolerant anyone who's not along with your views and lifestyle.

          November 3, 2013 at 8:05 am |
      • corridorwatcher

        You are a bigoted fool.

        November 3, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • T. Lee

      There is NO difference in the DEMANDED devotion to the teaching of evolutionry THEORY found in every school's text books so your rant an complaint is pure double-standad @BigBankTheory!

      Oh – and perhaps you can expound on life developing from a meteor strike – or sub-sea vents – or a steaming muddy pond – or random elecrical discharges in early earth atmosphere (the disparity between which is WHY what you believe is called a "theory" – in which you have "faith" just as a "believer" has "faith" in a religious explanation of life).

      November 3, 2013 at 7:22 am |
      • T. Lee

        (Sorry about the 'typos' – tiny laptop with severl troublesome keys)

        November 3, 2013 at 7:24 am |
        • yup

          no

          November 4, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
      • G to the T

        Common mistake – The Theory of Evolution (btw – "Gravity" is a Theory too, look up what theory means in science) does NOT speak to the origin of life. What you are referring to is ambiogenisis. If you want to speak out against something, I would at least ask that you speak out against the right theories...

        November 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
      • AtheistSteve

        T.Lee
        Well here is where you miss the point. We have evidence that life exists in the universe even if only for certain on this planet. And we have evidence that chemistry spontaneously forms organic molecules. How we get from there to the emergence of the first living cell still has some unknowns but given an energetic Earth-sized petri dish stirred for millions of years reduces even an extremely improbable physical outcome to one of near certainty.
        Here is the rub. If we ever discover even the simplest cell or microbe beyond Earth then the question of whether or not the chemistry and amenable conditions for life can lead to the emergence of life will be solved.
        What we DON'T have evidence for are actions or intents of some deity to form or guide these processes. There is nothing in biochemistry that indicates that a supernatural higher power is at work. Nothing that can be pointed to where the only possible explanation is "this here is the work of God". In fact any and all such indications are conspicuously absent.

        November 4, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • DaBudaMasta

      Your wisdom is indeed very truth full. Thank you for sharing this with us.

      November 3, 2013 at 9:11 am |
  9. DCKeene

    Sadly apparent here....the right-wingers scream and yell about their second amendment right to guns, but completely ignore the separation of church and state. I just don't get their intrusive ways.

    November 3, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • saggyroy

      right-wingers: spelled h y p o c r i t e

      November 3, 2013 at 7:07 am |
    • BigBankTheory

      They are used to "pick and choose", just like the bible.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:12 am |
  10. Kenrick Benjamin

    Enough- Keep the faith, like i have stated JEHOVAH God lives in Jesus name. the bible foretold all of this and it has to come to pass, because God is no liar.

    November 3, 2013 at 7:04 am |
    • saggyroy

      It's been 2000 years. Get over it. Ain't happening.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • DCKeene

      Not everyone believes in YOUR god...so why should those people be forced to listen to YOUR prayers?

      November 3, 2013 at 7:06 am |
    • Realist

      ********************

      ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

      ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

      ********************

      November 3, 2013 at 7:10 am |
    • Kebos

      Christians cling to their bible. It's written down so it must be true. Their logic. In a thousand years from now, Harry potter really did exist. T'is true, the books prove it to be so!

      November 3, 2013 at 7:18 am |
    • sam stone.

      by definition, non existent beings cannot lie

      November 3, 2013 at 7:20 am |
    • corridorwatcher

      You can't lie unless you have a mouth, and imaginary friends in the sky do have one.

      November 3, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • corridorwatcher

      don't have one

      November 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
  11. Roger Mike

    oddly enough, the same people who make fun of this probably voted for OBAMA.

    who has stated he has the same powers of a vampire. (eternal life)

    believes a zombie saved him from his sins.

    asks people to pray to sky fairys after theater shootings.

    took his oath of office on a 2000 year old fairy tale book which he believes in.

    the democratic national convention voted not to mention god.

    he overruled it and they were spouting bible verses right and left at the DNC like it was a convention of ancient goat herders.

    In an interview with the evangelical periodical Christianity Today, Obama stated: "I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life.

    HOW MANY OF YOU MAKING FUN OF THE BELIEFS OF THE CHRISTIANS ARE DEMOCRATS AND VOTED FOR OBAMA?

    November 3, 2013 at 7:00 am |
    • Realist

      ********************

      ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

      ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

      ********************

      November 3, 2013 at 7:08 am |
    • DCKeene

      I'm not a christian and yes, I voted for Obama. What's your point? Not all Americans are christian. And most of us have a brain to use.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:11 am |
    • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

      How many believers voted for McCain, and the Queen of Cuckoos, Sara Palin?

      November 3, 2013 at 7:55 am |
  12. Roger Mike

    Obama supports the prayer and the town, he is a born again christian.

    In an interview with the evangelical periodical Christianity Today, Obama stated: "I am a Christian, and I am a devout Christian. I believe in the redemptive death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that that faith gives me a path to be cleansed of sin and have eternal life.

    if you voted for obama and are a liberal you should be agreeing with obama that the town is doing nothing wrong

    November 3, 2013 at 6:57 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      you have all the logic of a 5 year old.
      because you vote for someone doesn't mean you agree with every single thing the person says or does.
      in fact, sometimes you disagree with much of what the person says but still think he/she was a better choice than the other guy/girl.
      any other dumb comments?

      November 3, 2013 at 6:59 am |
      • Roger Mike

        what do you think of obama's intelligence since he believes in magical beings and talks to them?

        people called george bush insane when he said god told him to invade iraq.

        is not talking to this super being just as insane?

        November 3, 2013 at 7:02 am |
        • Science Works

          Ask Bachman read somewhere she does .

          November 3, 2013 at 7:09 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          obama is very intelligent. sadly, it only goes to show that intelligence doesn't make one immune to religious brainwashing. thoughh he could be saying all that to avoid controversy..

          November 3, 2013 at 7:11 am |
    • truthprevails1

      That doesn't say he supports public prayer. He states his personal stance, nothing more. I think he's a closet Atheist :-).

      November 3, 2013 at 7:01 am |
      • Roger Mike

        obama has gone to church for 23 years.

        thats a lot of dedication if hes putting on a ruse

        November 3, 2013 at 7:03 am |
        • truthprevails1

          So what??? Many people go to church for that many years and more as non-believers because sometimes the risk of what can be lost (ie; family, friends) is too great.
          Look up the Clergy Project, you'll find plenty of stories of people like that.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:05 am |
    • dogon

      If 75% of the electorate was not religious then Obama (and most other politicians) would be atheists. They just pander.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:39 am |
      • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

        If 75% of the electorate was non-religious, I don't think we'd be having this conversation because this would not be happening.

        November 3, 2013 at 7:59 am |
    • corridorwatcher

      Obama is wrong on this one. That's all there is to it.

      November 3, 2013 at 9:43 am |
  13. Bootyfunk

    any level headed christian that supports the const.itution should agree that there be no prayers of any kind in a gov't building.

    November 3, 2013 at 6:52 am |
    • Roger Mike

      obama disagrees with you

      November 3, 2013 at 6:57 am |
      • Bootyfunk

        unfortunately.
        or he says he disagrees because that's the popular answer.
        either way, it's unfortunate.

        November 3, 2013 at 6:59 am |
  14. The Lord's Prayer

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bSj31u3urvs&feature=player_detailpage

    November 3, 2013 at 6:42 am |
    • The Lord's Prayer

      Our Father, which art in heaven,
      Hallowed be thy Name.
      Thy Kingdom come.
      Thy will be done in earth,
      As it is in heaven.
      Give us this day our daily bread.
      And forgive us our trespasses,
      As we forgive them that trespass against us.
      And lead us not into temptation,
      But deliver us from evil.
      For thine is the kingdom,

      The power, and the glory,

      For ever and ever.

      Amen.

      November 3, 2013 at 6:46 am |
      • Realist

        ********************

        ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

        ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

        ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

        ********************

        November 3, 2013 at 7:13 am |
      • DaBudaMasta

        The performance is indeed superlative. Thank you for sharing the video with us.

        November 3, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      sad example of christian cult brainwashing at work. they've actually made her believe in sky fairies. derp!

      November 3, 2013 at 6:46 am |
      • Enough

        And gays showing their b u t t s to small kids in public during their gay pride parades any better?

        November 3, 2013 at 6:53 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          so you brought your kid to a g.ay pride parade? go to a lot of g.ay pride parades, do you?
          i doubt they were flashing their butts at kids. that's in your demented mind.
          and what about straight people flashing b00bs and butts at mardi gras? do you just condemn g.ays for getting naked?

          November 3, 2013 at 6:57 am |
        • DCKeene

          What do gays have to do with the lords prayer? You can't turn on the tv without seeing Mylie Cyrus and her tongue lashing at the VMA's. Leave the gays out of this.

          November 3, 2013 at 6:58 am |
        • Paul

          Yes, it is actually.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:02 am |
        • truthprevails1

          What is your fixation with LGBT? Did you get turned down at the barn dance last night by Betsy-Soo-Bob? Or perhaps you're worried that some lesbian will come along and treat your wife better than you do?
          What is your reason for the hate and bigotry of people who have not directly affected your life?

          November 3, 2013 at 7:09 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          truthprevails
          10+
          nail on the head.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:12 am |
        • Enough

          Go and cover up yourselves, you gays are disgusting. There are kids out there and your disgusting gay pride parades with men dressed up as drag queens is disgusting. Your parades are on TV and in the public view. Covers up yourselves and have more decencies if you can.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:18 am |
        • Charm Quark

          Enough
          I love the way Christians throw the "hate" word out about anyone that dares disagree with their delusion, yet feel quite justified in spewing out hatred against the LBGT community, bigotry and hypocrisy at its finest. You are a fine Christian, as Ghandi would say, so unlike your Christ.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:43 am |
        • Enough

          My hatred? It has nothing to do with hatred, that's your hypocrisy trying to twist my words. It's all about your lifestyle with no morality and the lack of morality that you have by showing your genitals to small kids in broad day light in public at your gay pride parades that bothers me.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:46 am |
        • Youtube - Neil DeGrasse Tyson - The Perimeter of Ignorance

          There are many histories of people who protest discrimination against them publicly. Have you ever thought about that?

          November 3, 2013 at 8:02 am |
      • Jebbb

        I demand they consult bird entrails for guidance before meetings, and make a burnt offering unto the Lord. Gimme that old time religion, it's good enough for me!

        Or, we could just drop these ancient, ignorant practices. Maybe start each meeting with something scientific, like, topic for the day, do you citizens of Xburg know where your drinking water comes from, what's in it, and how it gets to you? Here's Professor Sonso to explain. Next week, the air you breathe, or electricity.

        November 3, 2013 at 7:00 am |
  15. Cloudy with no chance of meat balls

    My worst fear is that the atheists will get mad at the Pastafarians one day and will outlaw spaghetti in government buildings. Leave my lunch alone.

    November 3, 2013 at 6:42 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      you kidding? we get along great with the pastafarians!
      we'd never outlaw spaghetti - but you can't eat it during business hours.
      eat all you want before you get to work, at lunch and after work.

      ramen!

      November 3, 2013 at 6:45 am |
    • Cloudy with no chance of meat balls

      For now thank goodness. But if a bowl of pasta can become a religion, it can also be outlawed as one too. Think about it.

      November 3, 2013 at 6:51 am |
      • Bootyfunk

        you're not thinking it through.
        you can have your spaghetti - you just can't force others to eat it.
        don't you agree?

        November 3, 2013 at 6:53 am |
      • Enough

        Soon everything will be banned, except being gay. Isn't it sad.

        November 3, 2013 at 6:55 am |
        • midwest rail

          Trolling should never be this boring.

          November 3, 2013 at 6:58 am |
      • Cloudy with no chance of meat balls

        Yes I agree with that, but can I eat it in front of people or do I have to take my lunch out to my car?

        November 3, 2013 at 6:56 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          you can eat in front of anyone you want as long as it's not in a gov't building.
          eat before you come to work.
          eat at home, eat at a park.
          just don't during a gov't meeting.
          and don't force others to eat your spaghetti.
          see? no problems.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:02 am |
      • Cloudy with no chance of meat balls

        My response is for Bootyfunk

        November 3, 2013 at 6:58 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          good enough reply for you, cloudy?

          November 3, 2013 at 7:08 am |
        • Cloudy with no chance of meat balls

          Yeah, mostly. I just wanted to leave some food for thought.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:23 am |
    • DCKeene

      HA. Love it.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:02 am |
  16. Bootyfunk

    ready to start the gov't meeting?
    well, first we have to confirm that we all believe in magic.
    everyone say 'gawd is real' or you can't stay.
    amen.

    November 3, 2013 at 6:36 am |
  17. Reality # 2

    Only for the newbies:

    Free Will and Future are inherent to all the thinking beings in the Universe. This being the case, it is not possible to alter life with prayers or creeds. Statistically, your request might come true but it is simply the result of the variability/randomness of Nature..

    So put down your rosaries and prayer beads and stop worshiping/revering cows or bowing to Mecca five times a day. Instead work hard at your job, take care of aging parents, volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate to charities and the poor and continue to follow the proper rules of living as gracious and good human beings.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    ===================================================================================
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    November 3, 2013 at 6:31 am |
    • Enough

      So put down your rosaries and prayer beads and stop worshiping/revering cows or bowing to Mecca ?

      And serving soup only wearing a jockstrap any better?

      November 3, 2013 at 6:37 am |
      • Bootyfunk

        "And serving soup only wearing a jockstrap any better?"
        +++ yes, definitely. especially if it's chicken noodle.

        November 3, 2013 at 6:38 am |
        • Enough

          Disgusting. And you think you have moral values?

          November 3, 2013 at 6:47 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          i have ethics. ethics are far superior to morals. and yes, considering your blatant h.omophobia, i can say i am a better person than you appear to be.

          modern ethics > biblical morals

          November 3, 2013 at 6:49 am |
        • Enough

          Bootyfunk i have read your comments on these blogs for many months now, you have no more morals than anyone else. As a matter of fact, your level of moral values is very low.

          November 3, 2013 at 6:57 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          what did i say to make you believe that? since you've been an avid reader of my posts, i'm sure you can quote me and show what i said to color your opinion of me so negatively.

          i'm waiting.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:03 am |
        • Enough

          Bootyfunk you are either gay or supportive of them. Surely you don't realize what you're saying. Because either ways you're all for gay rights and their deviant lifestyle anyway.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:21 am |
  18. Just me

    I hope everybody who wants to pray in a public building remembers how it feels when you are told not to pray in government buildings the next time you go hunting down your least favorite book and gem shop and try and zone it out of existence.

    November 3, 2013 at 6:20 am |
  19. StormySyndrome

    It isn't believing in God that has be confused... I do believe in God. It's everything man decided to make up and throw in a book that has me a bit worried. The bible says, Man is not perfect." The bible is a book made completely by man and therefore is likewise, not perfect in any way. The bible makes a good guide to live by and spreads decent morals by giving examples....other than that, it's worthless.

    November 3, 2013 at 6:03 am |
    • Science Works

      StormySyndrome

      Morals did not come from the bible and prayer is a BIG CON !

      November 3, 2013 at 6:13 am |
      • Enough

        Morals surely never came from gays either.

        November 3, 2013 at 6:14 am |
        • StormySyndrome

          I don't understand how one can deem another gay for not believing in God. I know many gay folks who are indeed Christians including Catholic Priest pedophiles. I'd be very careful about slinging stones, lest you be judged yourself little Christian hypocrite.

          November 3, 2013 at 6:18 am |
        • Enough

          Watch out about calling someone to be the first to cast a stone. Gay who are xtians are there for reasons you might not be aware of.

          November 3, 2013 at 6:25 am |
        • Science Works

          Enough

          If that is your only reply to the morals issue you have to ask yourself who taught you yours ?

          November 3, 2013 at 6:26 am |
        • Enough

          How about we all hear about your moral values?

          November 3, 2013 at 6:27 am |
        • Reality # 2

          o "Abrahamics" believe that their god created all of us and of course that includes the g-ay members of the human race. Also, those who have studied ho-mo-se-xuality have determined that there is no choice involved therefore ga-ys are ga-y because god made them that way.

          To wit:

          1. The Royal College of Psy-chiatrists stated in 2007:

          “ Despite almost a century of psy-choanalytic and psy-chological speculation, there is no substantive evidence to support the suggestion that the nature of parenting or early childhood experiences play any role in the formation of a person’s fundamental heteros-exual or hom-ose-xual orientation. It would appear that s-exual orientation is biological in nature, determined by a complex interplay of ge-netic factors and the early ut-erine environment. Se-xual orientation is therefore not a choice.[60] "

          2. "Garcia-Falgueras and Swaab state in the abstract of their 2010 study, "The fe-tal brain develops during the intraut-erine period in the male direction through a direct action of tes-tosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hor-mone surge. In this way, our gender identi-ty (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and s-exual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender ident–ity or s-exual orientation."[8

          3. See also the From the Philadelphia Inquirer review “Gay Gene, Deconstructed”, 12/12/2011. Said review addresses the following “How do genes associated with ho-mose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?”
          "Most scientists who study human se-xuality agree that gay people are born that way. But that consensus raises an evolutionary puzzle: How do genes associated with h-omose-xuality avoid being weeded out by Darwinian evolution?"
          http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/evolution/Gay-gene-deconstructed.html

          November 3, 2013 at 6:34 am |
        • Science Works

          Enough

          There was an article posted on CNN GPS World that you should read might help you.

          But in the mean time be EXCELLENT to one another!

          November 3, 2013 at 6:38 am |
        • Enough

          The definition of h o m o s e x u a l i t y has been changed from being what it was to what it is today. Those changes were made by scientists who were gays themselves.

          November 3, 2013 at 6:40 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          morals came from humans. like the general population, most were straight and some were g.ay. get over it.

          your h.omophobia is likely self-loathing.

          November 3, 2013 at 6:41 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          definitions are modified as more and better information comes in. that's why being g.ay is no longer considered abnormal. but i'm sure you know more than the APA.

          November 3, 2013 at 6:43 am |
        • Enough

          H o m o s e x u a l i t y was never a normal thing, only in your head. It is of course natural for some species but there is a reason for that. But it was not meant for humans. Get over it.

          November 3, 2013 at 6:49 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          "not meant for humans" lol!
          but it's meant for other species?
          your understanding of s.exuality in general is pre-pubescent.

          November 3, 2013 at 6:51 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Enough: What evidence do you have to support your absurd claims? Did you choose to be straight? LGBT have not made a choice regardless of what you think.

          November 3, 2013 at 6:58 am |
        • Enough

          Bootyfunk if you want to copy what every animal behaviors out there do for your own s e x u a l pleasure, it's your choices. But don't expect every one of us to do the same.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:00 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          are you a vegetable or mineral? if not, you're an animal, silly. and don't compare being g.ay to some lower behavior - it just shows your lack of education on the subject.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:05 am |
        • Enough

          @ Truthrevails

          My claim is this. There are species that can be both s e x. If there is more males and females they can change their s e x, but that is part of their nature. There is a reason for that, and the reason is to procreates. That was never designed to be applied to humans. People like you who are using this argument just to give yourselves a moral support from others to justify your deviant lifestyle.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:05 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          your first mistake is imagining that species are designed. they aren't. read a science book. you'll be amazed, and likely frightened.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:07 am |
        • Enough

          Bootyfunk make up your mind, one minute you're saying that being gay is natural and that animals do it and the next minute your saying that its not natural to human. Make up your mind and stop trying to run in circle around the subject.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:07 am |
        • Bootyfunk

          " the next minute your saying that its not natural to human"
          +++ nope. never said that. since i was in my early 20s i've had the stance that being g.ay is normal for humans.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:14 am |
        • Enough

          Honestly Bootyfunk, are you gay?

          November 3, 2013 at 7:22 am |
    • AvdBerg

      Stormy Syndrome

      The Word of God is God (John 1:1), the problem is that in your natural state you are unable to understand it (1 Cor. 2:14).

      http://WWW.AWORLDDECEIVED.CA

      November 3, 2013 at 6:16 am |
      • StormySyndrome

        Or might it be that some humans relish having power over other humans and tell them they wouldn't understand the word of god if they heard it? If my body is my temple, and i am to keep it clean, why must i even think of going to a church. God and i have our conversations and God is not happy with what he sees in the churches today. While they relish running about pretending to control the world and it's people, they seem to have forgotten it is not theirs to control.....it is theirs to save or move on.

        November 3, 2013 at 6:29 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      the bible, with it's commands to kill, is disgusting and worthless.
      any belief in god, including yours, is worthless.

      have faith in your fellow human beings. be good to your brothers and sisters. you don't need belief in a deity to do that.

      November 3, 2013 at 6:40 am |
    • Realist

      ********************

      ... http://www.GODisIMAGINARY.com ...

      ... and thank goodness because he emanates from the ...

      ... http://www.EVILbible.com ...

      ********************

      November 3, 2013 at 7:16 am |
  20. Me

    1 Corinthians 1:18

    18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    November 3, 2013 at 6:00 am |
    • Reality # 2

      Saving Christians from the Infamous Resurrection Con/

      From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15: 14, Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

      Even now Catholic/Christian professors (e.g.Notre Dame, Catholic U, Georgetown) of theology are questioning the bodily resurrection of the simple, preacher man aka Jesus.

      To wit;

      From a major Catholic university's theology professor’s grad school white-board notes:

      "Heaven is a Spirit state or spiritual reality of union with God in love, without earthly – earth bound distractions.
      Jesus and Mary's bodies are therefore not in Heaven.

      Most believe that it to mean that the personal spiritual self that survives death is in continuity with the self we were while living on earth as an embodied person.

      Again, the physical Resurrection (meaning a resuscitated corpse returning to life), Ascension (of Jesus' crucified corpse), and Assumption (Mary's corpse) into heaven did not take place.

      The Ascension symbolizes the end of Jesus' earthly ministry and the beginning of the Church.

      Only Luke records it. (Luke mentions it in his gospel and Acts, i.e. a single attestation and therefore historically untenable). The Ascension ties Jesus' mission to Pentecost and missionary activity of Jesus' followers.

      The Assumption has multiple layers of symbolism, some are related to Mary's special role as "Christ bearer" (theotokos). It does not seem fitting that Mary, the body of Jesus' Virgin-Mother (another biblically based symbol found in Luke 1) would be derived by worms upon her death. Mary's assumption also shows God's positive regard, not only for Christ's male body, but also for female bodies." "

      "In three controversial Wednesday Audiences, Pope John Paul II pointed out that the essential characteristic of heaven, hell or purgatory is that they are states of being of a spirit (angel/demon) or human soul, rather than places, as commonly perceived and represented in human language. This language of place is, according to the Pope, inadequate to describe the realities involved, since it is tied to the temporal order in which this world and we exist. In this he is applying the philosophical categories used by the Church in her theology and saying what St. Thomas Aquinas said long before him."
      http://eternal-word.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2HEAVN.HTM

      The Vatican quickly embellished this story with a lot CYAP.

      With respect to rising from the dead, we also have this account:

      An added note: As per R.B. Stewart in his introduction to the recent book, The Resurrection of Jesus, Crossan and Wright in Dialogue,

      p.4

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      p.168. by Ted Peters:

      Even so, asking historical questions is our responsibility. Did Jesus really rise from the tomb? Is it necessary to have been raised from the tomb and to appear to his disciples in order to explain the rise of early church and the transcription of the bible? Crossan answers no, Wright answers, yes. "

      So where are the bones"? As per Professor Crossan's analyses in his many books, the body of Jesus would have ended up in the mass graves of the crucified, eaten by wild dogs, covered with lime in a shallow grave, or under a pile of stones.

      November 3, 2013 at 6:35 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.