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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. bostontola

    Atheists are a small minority of the people that think the bible is a mythological text, just like the Greek or Norse myths. Many of the founding fathers of the US were deists and they considered the bible a book of myths.

    November 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • heywaitaminit

      Small but rapidly growing.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:58 pm |
  2. just wondering

    If the existence of a god cannot be proven one way orthe other....why give presidence to the aatheist view?

    November 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      So little time... Which god would you give precedence to, or would all get equal time along with non-believers?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
      • Hey, hey hey hey! Hey Stupid!

        You aren't making any sense.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
      • donkey punch

        Tom, how many times do u have to be told?

        Bernie. Or Shirley, maybe

        November 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
        • donkey punch

          Maybe fast Eddie on thursdays

          November 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Andy_Anderson

      Because "a certain deity exists" is a positive claim?

      That's like arguing that when no particular breed of unicorn is mentioned, the aunicornist view is being 'preferred'.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • ME II

      What 'precedence'? Skipping the prayer simply removes any preference. It isn't preferring Atheism. Unless they replace the prayer with something like, "Let us all concentrate on the issues at hand because there likely is no god to help us out."

      November 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • deep blue

      Is not opening a meeting with prayer giving precedence to any view?
      It is my personal view that opening with a moment of silence is respectful to all groups.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
      • G to the T

        Perhaps, but at that point it's extraneous. Also – a moment of silence is usually reserved for remembering those that have died. Would that really make sense as the opening to a civic meeting?

        November 4, 2013 at 3:41 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Because to do otherwise means we would base decisions and lives based on unproven bullsh!t.

      Name another domain where the standard is not to withhold sanction or action without significant actual (factual, independent, objective, verifiable, repeatable, etc.) evidence? Why do we change the normal standard when it comes to religion? In other words, why does religion get a free pass on evidence and enjoy an unwarranted special place in modern society?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
    • heywaitaminit

      If the city wants to give equal time to all beliefs/Gods, then it should have the balls to follow through on that. With the over-3,000 gods humans have believed in, this means the prayer will get back around to Jesus about once every 10-11 years, if they do it daily.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:57 pm |
    • Owl

      just wondering
      "If the existence of a god cannot be proven one way orthe other....why give presidence to the aatheist view?"

      In cases where the hypothesis is neither proven nor disproven, the default / fall-back stance is to WITHHOLD belief.

      November 3, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  3. BudW

    Why is it when post are overwhelmingly against Obama comments are shut off hummmm

    November 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Webby

      What?

      (also, the word for more than one post is posts - just like 'comments')

      November 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • Hey, hey hey hey! Hey Stupid!

      They aren't. You are a liar.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • lydia

      God works in mysterious ways

      November 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
  4. JJ

    Ah yes, prayer - the most effective way to convince yourself you're doing something positive by doing exactly squat. LOL!

    November 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Meredith S.

      That's right. Prayer is a joke. I have proof.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • Exactly

      Praying people aren't doing squat. It's like making it illegal to sit around with your thumb in your bum

      November 3, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • deep blue

      prayer, like meditation, is an extremely calming exercise.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  5. Bobbie Jo Justice

    HELL- because a rave with satan sounds so much more fun than kissing the christian gods fat lazy rear end for all eternity

    November 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  6. gods do not exist!

    Therefore they should be illegal.

    November 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  7. mklsgl

    Why do you need to pray if G-d already knows what you're thinking?

    November 3, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Eat This

      Because if they can't cram it down your throat, what fun is it?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • GuessThis

      Seeing your statement it's clear no one ever taught you what prayer is about. It's not about some one/thing/God reading your mind. It's about you getting quiet in your head and seeking guidance on how to handle a situation, or to send loving thoughts to people you love. It's about taking your energy to a higher quality, and when done on a regular basis you become more peaceful and you become more clear about the choices in your life.

      Prayer is no surveillance ... its communion.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
      • Tom, Tom, the Other One

        There are effective meditation techniques without all the associated mythology and other religious baggage.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
      • You are incorrect.

        Prayer is a completely worthless waste of time. Anyone who prays should be committed to a psychiatric hospital.

        Furthermore, the bible explicitly states that anything you ask for, you will receive with faith. Ever see someone's limb grow back?

        The bible contradicts itself in that it claims that god knows all things. If this god knows everything that is going to happen in the future, then it means there is no free will. Thus, prayer has no point and you still won't get what you ask for.

        You're more likely to get results by doing something for yourself. If you pray about it, you will come up empty 100% of the time, guaranteed. There are no deities. This is a fact.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
        • thought police?

          It drops blood pressure and increases brain waves. That is also a fact.

          November 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
  8. Bobbie Jo Justice

    fairy tale religious nonsense does not belong in government.

    I wonder how many of these "true christians" would obey Exodus 35:2

    most "christians" cherry pick the phrase out of the babble, er, bible, that "justifies" their particular prejudice against various people.

    November 3, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Elena

      because Exodus 35:2 applies to hews only not to Christians, as Jesus clearly stated " The law ends with me: and Exodus is Judaic law, not christian!

      November 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
      • Yay

        Elena,

        Oh good - no more Sabbath Day, then. That's OT. Excellent!

        November 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  9. Elena

    Lets see, can I say that I am christian but i don't believe in "God, I think that is not possible! If I don't believe in God how can I be christian? like wise Susan cant be Jewish and not believe in "God" as Judaism is a religion. Susan is simply an atheist, although she may have Ashkenazim background. She may be a Semite like many middle eastern peoples!

    November 3, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • justageek

      Jewish is also (maybe incorrectly) used to define a group of people as if it were race.

      November 3, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • It's all the same really

      Quick stick a label on that person so we can categorize him or her. Just pick one.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • germgaz

      Jews don't believe Jesus was the Messiah. You have misinterpreted the message.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • Mark

      There are two plaintiffs in the case; Linda Stephens, who is an atheist, and Susan Galloway, who is Jewish. All of that information is contained in the first 7 sentences.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
      • Elena

        thanks for the correction, that proves my point that it isn't about the prayer it is about destroying Christianity!!

        November 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
        • G to the T

          No – it's about civil equality. Its about the government being neutral in all matters religious. It just happens that Christians have had their way for so long that now that it is being challenged, they want to cry persecution.

          Let me ask you this – which is safer for everyone? A neurtral Governement or one that is subject to the whims of the majority? What happens when/if the muslims out number the christians in america? Isn't it better to keep it neutral so that no matter which group is the majority, everyone is protected equally?

          November 4, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      You missed the point. . .

      The point, or question is, should anything be said or done of a religious nature while conducting government business? That two people of opposite religious views have come together to say "no" indicates broader support for that answer than just those mean old atheists trying to in appropriately limit religious expression.

      But being a christian, you have to impose your built-in persecution complex.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:38 pm |
  10. bostontola

    In its time, the bible was a tour de force. As a work of man, it was quite a leap forward for mankind on many fronts. Thousands of years later, I am more struck by how puny it now is.

    The perspective is extraordinarily narrow. It is not only geo- centric, it is regional. No mention of other continents, the different biota in other places. No mention of other star systems, other galaxies. There are billions of stars in most galaxies, and there are billions of galaxies. We are but one planet in one of those. No mention.

    There is a vast universe inwards as well. Most species are too small to see. The biome population within our own body dwarfs the number of our own cells (the ones with our DNA in them). We can't live without them, they perform basic functions required for us to live, but no mention.

    A God that created the universe would know these things. The word of God curiously contains only knowledge available to the humans at that time. No mention or hint of knowledge beyond that accessible to humans at that time. Outright errors that humans had at that time are in the word of God.

    Humans who believe the bible is the word of God have made fools of themselves through history defending this word of God. From the arrest of Galileo, to today's Intelligent Design, believers make fools of themselves. Why would God allow his word to be so distorted such that his most fervent followers are fools?

    No, this is not explainable. The bible is not the word of God, and the God in it does not exist.

    November 3, 2013 at 11:54 am |
  11. fire.camp

    ...hope she notices all the religious references as she walks through the door and into the courtroom!...................................

    November 3, 2013 at 11:48 am |
    • Real Deal

      Yes, along with Zeus and Minerva, right?

      All of those images are purely artistic.

      November 3, 2013 at 11:55 am |
      • Real Deal

        p.s. and, you know, this case will open on Woden's Day (Wednesday). I wonder what Odin (Woden) will have to say?

        November 3, 2013 at 11:58 am |
        • The anti-Odin

          How dare you talk about Odin in front of me. I feel ill. I feel a law suit coming on.

          Hitler was into the Norse myths you know.

          http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_did_Norse_mythology_have_to_do_with_the_Nazis#slide1

          November 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
  12. Grumpster

    Prayer has no business whatsoever at public meetings, especially when held on public grounds or in public meetings. If they insist, I would want to go on giving citations of Darwin's, Einstein's and other scientists' theories as a counter to the garbage that is spewed forth in prayer.

    November 3, 2013 at 11:47 am |
  13. marelan

    She said "I don't believe in God" but she is Jewish. Oxymoron?

    November 3, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • clepto

      no

      November 3, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • Paddy O'Furniture

      I don't believe in leprechauns, and I'm of Celtic extraction.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • Elena

      May be her intention is to attack Christianity, it is very typical of Jews to do so eve since the birth of Jesus!

      November 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
      • A Frayed Knot

        Elena,

        This Jesus was pretty ineffective if he couldn't even convince his own people who were living in that area at the time.

        Paul of Tarsus changed the "chosen people" to the Gentiles, who it seems were more gullible.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • germgaz

      Please learn to read! She said, "I don't believe in God AND Susan is Jewish - which simple means she doesn't want to hear prayers that focus on Jesus as he was not accepted as the Messiah by the Jewish people. (Yet, most prayers focus on Jesus as the article explains.)

      November 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  14. Prof cal

    I have a question to the white bearded guy above the clouds:
    What was he doing on the day of Sandy Brooke tragedy, 9/11 tragedy, Aurora movie theatre tragedy, Sandy disaster, Catrina disaster.............. I can go on and on. Isn't he supposed to protect his children and punish the criminals?

    November 3, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Severe PTSD as a result of ra-pe by clergy

      stop now!!! he is perfect. After all, the only reason he didn't clean up after his creation of the universe (asteroids and such now a danger to all) was because he was tired after all that work. He did it in 6 days.

      November 3, 2013 at 11:39 am |
      • justageek

        And the leading scientific theory says everything came from nothing instantly in one big bang...now that is no less incredibly hard to believe in.

        November 3, 2013 at 11:46 am |
        • Prof cal

          I wonder why chimp and human chromosomes' euchormatic and heterochromatic regions match band by band? Na...... Who cares, that is lie by Nobel laureates.

          November 3, 2013 at 11:49 am |
        • justageek

          Honestly...I really don't care about us here on this little rock. Where everything came from is way more exciting.

          November 3, 2013 at 11:54 am |
        • G to the T

          And if you can find one quote from an astrophysist saying that the universe came from nothing, I'll give you 10 dollars american. (here's a hint – you won't, only Christians claim the universe came from nothing).

          November 4, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
      • Jared

        was it six earth days, six jupiter days, or 144 hours?, and why couldn't he do it instantly?

        November 3, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • justageek

      I don't know anyone can answer what he was doing...but you really weren't looking for one anyway. But in order to be a criminal don't they have to actually do something? So the acts had to happen for any kind of punishment to happen...no?

      November 3, 2013 at 11:40 am |
    • GuessThis

      Using the 'guy in the clouds' reference places you in the same old thinking as that you question. Why don't you non-believers offer something other than resistance and out-dated arguments against an out-dated philosophy?

      November 3, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      This might help answer the question.

      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnZqdmDzyaM&w=640&h=360]

      November 3, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • GuessThis

      You ask ". I can go on and on. Isn't he supposed to protect his children and punish the criminals?"

      We are supposed to protect our children and punish criminals ... Are you saying that all the problems in the world are related to an absent God? I'd offer all the problems in the world are related to uncaring and dysfunctional human race.

      You keep placing the responsibility for issues elsewhere and nothing on earth will change.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • christian fai

      "I have a question to the white bearded guy above the clouds:"

      I don't know what makes you imagine a "white bearded guy above the clouds"
      But God is Spirit. He was in the minds of hearts of those who don't belittle His existence and felt compassion and love for the victims of those disasters. He is in the source of love and compassion of those who helped those victims. He is the INTELLIGENCE moving into action people of good will in order assist those who suffer. Of course that He has enemies and that is how people who would kill Christians just based on their faith in Jesus gave us September 11, 2001. Remember, it was President Jimmy Carter, an American president who was supposed to know better that sent American personnel to train Al Qaeda to kill Russian soldiers in order to "liberate" Afghanistan from the Russian military might. He did against the teachings of Jesus stating that we need first to be liberated from the power of sin and evil. Our duty as a nation was to pray for those in Afghanistan send them Bibles so they could learn to pray for themselves and finally get liberated from evil and sin. When Al Qaeda saw no more Russians soldiers in their land then it turned against the Americans that help liberate them by using the same methods of suicide bombing against the Russians; this was made September 11, 2001 possible. September 11, 2001 is just a reminder of the truthfulness mentioned by the Apostle Paul when he wrote: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap." Regarding where was God when those disasters took place. Remember God was in the same place before we were born and God will be in the same place after our lives are gone. If God is nowhere, then we go nowhere but at least let us obey Him by loving all people as we love ourselves and not mocking them or marginalizing them because they believe something that we are not willing or able to believe. Let us not be so insensible asking where is God when we take Him out of our lives and end up killing our fellow humans because they think and believe in a different way that causes us displeasure.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm |
      • G to the T

        "Don't know where you get that image..." Really? How about EVERY painting ever done that included an image of what El/Yahweh was supposed to look like? Sistine Chapel ring any bells?

        November 4, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
  15. Sven Bengalie

    The separation of church and state..................Hmmm. We still have that, right? Or do we? Churches need to be taxed. Join the club of humanity. Should be, separation from fact and fiction.

    November 3, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Severe PTSD as a result of ra-pe by clergy

      yes.. you are correct.. They use our roads, police, fire departments.. They should start acting as responsible citizens and pay taxes and quit leaching off us.

      Not far from this story is a catholic seminarian. It sits on the highest hill and has acres of the most prime land of all the city..

      ALL TAX FREE.

      Everyone else has to pay their share.

      November 3, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • GuessThis

        Everyone else? Last IRS data showed about 48% of Americans paid no income tax. And before you leftist cry about payroll taxes ... that's usually offset by EITC and other freebies to the masses.

        We have $17,000,000,000,000 in debt ... more than the churches have been getting free rides.... Take you basis and shove it!

        November 3, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
        • Almost

          The income to churches comes from donated net income...it has already been taxed.

          November 3, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          Payment for services. Taxable.

          November 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
        • Miffy

          Nope – donations, not payment. Not taxable. Try visiting a church once in a while – they do not demand "payment".

          November 3, 2013 at 12:46 pm |
    • justageek

      "We still have that, right?" – Yes. But...there is the Internet version of separation and then there is the real written separation which are completely different.

      November 3, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • Jared

      churches get free fire protection and resources, free police protection and resources, free public lighting and so many more freebies. tax them

      November 3, 2013 at 11:56 am |
      • justageek

        Not exactly free. The members most likely paid individual taxes. So only the clubhouse is not taxed.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
        • G to the T

          And your point is? Everyone in a corporation pays their own taxes, but the corporation is still expected to pay taxes for these civil services as well.

          The point being made is that the exemption clause is dependant on the religion remaining polictically nuetral, that's isn't happening in many places (certainly not all churches) and those places should be asked to change or be taxed like any other social group.

          November 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • GuessThis

      They are not taxed so the state can't crush them via the tax code ... you know, the way the tax code has trashed everything else. Maybe we should bring back the poll tax. Look it up if you under the age of 40. I'm sure you didn't learn it in public school.

      November 3, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  16. Severe PTSD as a result of ra-pe by clergy

    to atheists.. christians and muslims are afraid.. they live by fear taught from childhood.

    Imagine a child told they are a sinner (yes, reduce your victims before you begin the brainwashing). They they tell their children of a place where they will get eternal PAINFUL third degree burns and there are scary monsters there.

    Then you need to have signing and chanting,, create happy experiences as the group acts as zombie followers.

    That is why they comment here. They don't really believe in a god.. they believe in FEAR. After all, they have zero proof of a god.. but are threatened with fears and that is real to them. yes, that should be illegal,, but there are still too many of them.

    November 3, 2013 at 11:34 am |
    • Severe PTSD as a result of ra-pe by clergy

      "singing and chanting'

      November 3, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • Bobbie Jo Justice

      christianity should be labeled as child abuse, because that is what it is

      ditto for all religions

      November 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
      • Awesome

        I'm going to get carded at my next tarot card reading

        November 3, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
      • GuessThis

        If you want to outlaw philosophies are dangerous please add secular humanism and reductionist materialism that teach human life is nothing but a happenstance of chemistry and physics.

        Or the lefts zero-tolerance policies that kick students doing the right thing out of school (Erin Cox). The left and their zero-tolerance policies hurt our child too.

        zero-tolerance = sharia tolerance

        November 3, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          That is bascially wht human life is. But why ignore the obvious fact that human life is important to humans?

          November 3, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
  17.  

    (it's not bootyfunk – the name-stealing Xtian poe troll is at it again)

    November 3, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    •   

      the giveaway is the incessant use of "u" and "no" (instead of "know"), etc.

      November 3, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • Observer

        Lol!

        November 3, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        •    

          it also steals Observers name frequently...

          November 3, 2013 at 11:42 am |
        • Aesop

          “An Ass put on a Lion's skin and went
          About the forest with much merriment,
          Scaring the foolish beasts by brooks and rocks,
          Till at last he tried to scare the Fox.
          But Reynard, hearing from beneath the mane
          That Raucous voice so petulant and vain,
          Remarked. O' Ass, I too would run away,
          But that I know your old familiar bray'.
          That's just the way with asses, just the way.”
          ― Aesop(620-560 BC)

          November 3, 2013 at 12:03 pm |
    • bootyfunk

      Prove it

      November 3, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • Severe PTSD as a result of ra-pe by clergy

        christians know lying quite well. They are good at it. But it's OK for them to lie while accusing others.

        November 3, 2013 at 11:30 am |
        • Observer

          U r a christian. Never new that!

          November 3, 2013 at 11:40 am |
        • Severe PTSD as a result of ra-pe by clergy

          actually,, NO.

          My path in life is to expose the truth. Quite a bit different than christian.

          November 3, 2013 at 11:41 am |
    • bootyfunk

      Prove it!

      November 3, 2013 at 11:29 am |
      •     

        what's to prove – it's OBVI

        November 3, 2013 at 11:43 am |
      • G to the T

        Actually there's an extremely easy way to tell apart from your atrocious spelling but if I told you, it would be harder to spot you in the future...

        November 4, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
  18. Wootings

    ""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.""

    And therein lies the problem. Only people stupid enough to believe in a religion – any religion – are welcome. Shutting the door on society's intelligent, rational thinkers does nothing but accelerate the decay of your society.

    November 3, 2013 at 11:26 am |
    • Severe PTSD as a result of ra-pe by clergy

      yeah,, and the religious voodoo and witchcraft continue.

      Many christians believe they never evolved. I'd have to agree. Though I wish they would one day and join civilized humans.

      November 3, 2013 at 11:28 am |
      • Hexefa

        And why shouldn't voodoo and witchcraft continue? Do you want to outlaw my entertainment? Maybe you'll tackle interpretive dance next.

        November 3, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • christian fai

      "Only people stupid enough to believe in a religion – any religion – are welcome. Shutting the door on society's intelligent, rational thinkers does nothing but accelerate the decay of your society."
      Sir Isaac Newton PRS MP was an English physicist and mathematician who is widely regarded as one of the most influential scientists of all time and as a key figure in the scientific revolution and he believed in Bible study and prayer. Also in South Florida a dead man was brought back to life after a simple prayer by his cardiologist. Those two individuals have not accelerated the decay of society. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRoAcfzytCA

      November 3, 2013 at 7:13 pm |
      • G to the T

        There is no correlation between belief and intelligence (as much as both sides would like to wish there was). Intelligent people are actually better at believing some times simply because they are much better at rationalizing their belief. That's why peer review is such a critical part of scienitific studies. Someone needs to "check our math" because to us, the math will always seem correct.

        November 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm |
  19. bootyfunk

    If u fail to knock the crap out of your rotten kids regularly, god says u should be stoned.

    Xtards own slaves. They hit them as god commands. They starve and torture them because god says they should. Jesus owned dozens of slaves. He married a slave and they had an even dozen kids. Xtards hide that verse but u can find it in Seth chapter two verses 9-18

    November 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
  20. Severe PTSD as a result of ra-pe by clergy

    according to a survey taken with the help of an internet p-o–rn company.. USING ZIPCODES; christian states have the largest purchase volume per population of buyers.

    More interesting.. Sunday mornings experience an enormous drop in the purchase of p–o-r–n. Your christians doing god's work.

    November 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
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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.