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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. Observer

    Surrounded by screaming and smoke and brilliant red flames, they will shriek non-stop for eternity for help and they shall find none.

    November 4, 2013 at 3:22 am |
    • Ouch

      Yeah, and all because they didn't bow to Allah enough and do their pillars.

      November 4, 2013 at 3:29 am |
  2. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Your God Probably Does Not Exist. And There Are Some Who Wish You Would Catch On...

    I know of no eternal consequences associated with believing in a non-existent God, though well-intentioned people will try to set you straight.

    November 4, 2013 at 3:21 am |
    • Observer

      Wow. That's a relief!

      November 4, 2013 at 3:23 am |
      • truthprevails1

        I no that hell is. It is awful, horrible, worse than anything imagineable, eternal and your fate unless u repent and beg Christ for forgiveness

        November 4, 2013 at 3:26 am |

        • You won't get off so easily. You aren't able to repent.

          November 4, 2013 at 3:31 am |
        • Ouch

          No, no, no! You MUST bow to Allah and do your pillars!

          November 4, 2013 at 3:31 am |
        • saggyroy

          And it takes a 'loving' god to create such a place.

          November 4, 2013 at 5:59 am |
  3. Mercury sucks

    I hate the god Mercury and want to see him puke in his helmet. Just thought I'd share.

    November 4, 2013 at 1:45 am |
  4. Opposing View

    God Exists. He Always Have. And There Are Some Who Know That Fact With Certainty…

    It is beyond ignorant for atheists to assume or believe that just because they personally do not know whether God exists or not, that no one knows. Since the beginning of mankind, there alway has been people in the world who knew with absolute certainty that God exists. Maybe not everyone knew or had access to that same information. Nonetheless, there was always someone somewhere on earth who knew with absolute certainty that God exists. And if that is the case and if God truly exists (he does), then what does that say about the coming end for atheists and for unbelievers and whether they're going to hell or not? It says that with the same and equal amount of certainty… they surely will.

    Therefore, when you see atheists ranting and raving and claiming they don't believe in hell or don't believe in God, rest assured, such claims don't mean a thing. A billion other fools once believed the exact same thing, and they are all now in hell, the very place they didn't even believe in. But rest assured, they believe it now, down in hell. Not knowing that hell exists or God exists, only means that you're ignorant, that is all it means. In the same manner that a three year old is also ignorant of many things. But because you're ignorant, that doesn't change the reality of the universe and nor will it change your fate. Back in Noah's time, there were plenty of people in the world who didn't believe either, but that didn't change their fate. God still destroyed them all, except Noah and his family, who were the only ones who believed. Likewise, in the time of Lot, you had a whole city of people who didn't believe. And God destroyed them as well, except Lot and his family, who were the only ones who believed. God is not looking for numbers, numbers mean nothing to God. Instead, he'll save those few who believe, even if it's only a handful. With everybody else continuing right on to hell…

    If you're an atheist, then what would happen in your life if you found out today or tomorrow that God truly exists? What would you do and how would you feel? Would you take any steps to save yourself? Now ask yourself this: If God truly exists, but you were unaware of that fact, would being unaware change your fate? Answer: No, your fate would not be altered. If you have not taken steps to save yourself, then you'll still go to hell whether you're aware of his existence or not. Your ignorance won't change a thing. It didn't change the fate of all those who died in the flood. Nor did it change the fate of those destroyed in Sodom and Gomorrah. God still destroyed them all, for their unbelief and their evil. And he only saved those few who believed. Jesus comes again (the Rapture) the very same thing is going to happen again. He'll save those few who believe. God is not looking for numbers. He's only looking for those who believe, even if it's only a handful. While the rest of the world will continue on to hell, which is where you were going in the first place. With history as our guide, if God didn't spare the unbelievers in the past and he destroyed them all, then what makes you think he'll be any different this time around. Make no mistake about it, he won't…

    2 Peter 2:4 – For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes…making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly;

    1 Peter 4:18 – And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (Answer: In hell)

    November 4, 2013 at 1:42 am |
    • Baby Jesus

      Dad doesn't even like you....neither do I.

      November 4, 2013 at 1:45 am |
    • HotAirAce

      None of that was evidence for your petty god or any god. Just more unsupported ranting by a delusional. Strike one. . .

      November 4, 2013 at 1:47 am |
      • berryrat

        The religion of fear.

        November 4, 2013 at 1:59 am |
    • HotAirAce

      OV must be working on one helluva response, or his brain exploded.

      Good Night All!

      November 4, 2013 at 2:17 am |
    • Susan StoHelit

      So, believe the religion with the scariest threats? That's no reason to believe anything.

      November 4, 2013 at 2:59 am |
    • sam stone.

      it is ignorant to equate faith with knowlege

      November 4, 2013 at 5:44 am |
    • Realist

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

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

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

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

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

      November 4, 2013 at 7:08 am |
  5. Observer

    Lol. Boy, u almost had me fooled, dodo.

    What an idiot

    November 4, 2013 at 1:21 am |
    • Observer

      fake Observer,

      No honesty. No integrity. No morals. You should be really proud of yourself, liar.

      November 4, 2013 at 1:24 am |
      • Observer

        Donkey punch

        November 4, 2013 at 1:25 am |
    • The Virgin Mary

      Stop Donkey Punching Me!

      November 4, 2013 at 1:31 am |
    • Baby Jesus

      Stop Donkey Punching my mom!

      November 4, 2013 at 1:32 am |
  6. Opposing View

    Atheists Should Thank God I'm Not God…

    Atheists are fools and they have no idea how foolish they are. Even worse, they should be thanking their lucky stars that I'm not God, and that there really is a God who is far more merciful and far more tolerant than I am…

    For example, there are some atheists on this forum who won't hesitate to speak evil of God and to say evil and nasty things about him. Yet, they say God is evil and is a bad fellow. If I personally was God, and if I was the one they was talking about, in a flash, I'd send a lightening bolt down there and would strike you down dead for even getting such a thought, let alone actually saying it. And when your relatives arrived to your house, all they'd find in the place where you'd been standing is just a pair of shoes with smoke rising out of them. That's all they'd find. Because believe you me, I wouldn't tolerate that nonsense from atheists, if I was God…

    So atheists should thank their lucky stars that I'm not God, and that a far more tolerant and patient God exits. But understand this, even though God is far more tolerant and far more patient than I am, that doesn't mean his memory is short, or that he is weak and unable to do anything, or that he'll continue being tolerant forever. Trust me, he won't. And your time is limited. God is merely giving you a space of time to repent and to come to the acknowledgement of the truth. And if you fail to do that within the allotted time, then it's sayonara for you, and he'll drop your soul into hell. Where you'll await final judgment on Judgment Day…

    November 4, 2013 at 1:11 am |
    • Observer

      Opposing View,

      You are the one making a FOOL of YOURSELF.

      No atheist EVER hates God since they don't believe God exists.

      So do you hate Darth Vader?

      Wake up!

      November 4, 2013 at 1:17 am |
      • Observer

        Dodo gives new meaning to donkey punching dumb

        November 4, 2013 at 1:23 am |
        • Observer

          fake Observer,

          No honesty. No integrity. No morals. You should be really proud of yourself, liar. Good Christian.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:28 am |
    • HotAirAce

      OV, please provide actual (factual, objective, independent, repeatable, verifiable) evidence for your petty god, or admit that you are a mentally ill delusional believer or a liar. I'm betting you cannot and are both a liar and mentally ill. Go ahead – we're waiting – please don't disappoint us.

      November 4, 2013 at 1:23 am |
      • Observer

        So, r u seriously demanding proof for something that is everwhere?

        November 4, 2013 at 1:27 am |
        • Observer

          IGNORE the fake Observer.

          She is just proving she is a Christian LIAR.

          November 4, 2013 at 1:33 am |
      • HotAirAce

        I don't agree that it is everywhere. In fact, I believe there is absolutely no evidence for any god. None. Zero. Nothing. But do go ahead and educate me.

        November 4, 2013 at 1:31 am |
        • Observer

          Boy. That's a surprise. A Sam stone supporter can find no evidence of god anywhere. Well, shiver me timbers!

          November 4, 2013 at 3:19 am |
    • The Virgin Mary

      Stop lying and making my baby cry....it makes his Father angry....you wouldn't like to see him angry.

      November 4, 2013 at 1:26 am |
      • HotAirAce

        Please explain how you manage to remain a virgin.

        November 4, 2013 at 1:44 am |
        • The Virgin Mary

          psst....I only use the back door...

          November 4, 2013 at 1:54 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Ok, that makes a certain amount of sense, but I'm still puzzled. How did you get pregnant multiple times?

          November 4, 2013 at 1:57 am |
        • The Virgin Mary

          Ummmm.....Artificial Insemination....? Yeah, that's the ticket!

          November 4, 2013 at 2:04 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Ok, we're making progress. Where did the sperm come from?

          November 4, 2013 at 2:05 am |
        • The Virgin Mary

          Bethleham Sperm Bank...duh!

          November 4, 2013 at 2:08 am |
        • HotAirAce

          Of course, silly me.

          Did you ever learn who the sperm donor was that uses the alias "God"?

          November 4, 2013 at 2:13 am |
        • The Virgin Mary

          No, they are pretty protective of that info...nurse said he was a bit full of himself though.

          November 4, 2013 at 2:21 am |
    • sam stone.

      vindictive petty pr1cks find comfort in vindictive, petty pr1ck god. OV here is yet another example of that

      November 4, 2013 at 5:49 am |
    • Realist

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

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

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

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

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

      November 4, 2013 at 7:12 am |
  7. Denis

    "Right now, there are atheists on this forum who hate Jesus and hate God. "

    NEWSFLASH ! Atheists DONT BELIEVE IN GOD !! Hard to hate something you dont believe exists !

    November 4, 2013 at 1:03 am |
    • Opposing View

      Denis… I stated: ..."Jesus Christ was more than just a word. He was also a way of life. Therefore, if you hate his teachings and hate his ways – meaning, if you hate and disagree with what the bible says, which are his words – then you hate God, plain and simple. For example, the bible says, gays are an abomination before God. That is how Jesus feels about it. Do you agree with that? If the answer is no, then you hate God."…

      So what part of that do you not understand? Or do you lack the brain cells to comprehend it?…

      November 4, 2013 at 1:16 am |
      • Observer

        God will utterly destroy his enemies. There shall be no memory of them.

        Bye bye ov

        November 4, 2013 at 1:24 am |
      • G to the T

        I disagree with several of your premises. I don't believe the bible is the accurate attestment you seem to think it is. If I don't believe that, I don't have to believe that the historical Jesus said much of what was in there and I certainly don't have to conflate the words of Jesus with OT like they were being said by the same person. So no, I don't hate El/Yahweh any more than I hate Zeus, Athena or the Great Spirit. Do you hate the Great Spirit?

        November 5, 2013 at 8:27 am |
      • Sara

        Opposing, two questions:

        1) Do you hate everything with which you disagree?
        2) Do you hate the parents in Hansel and Gretel? The giant in Jack and the Beanstalk? Dragons?

        November 5, 2013 at 8:33 am |
  8. Opposing View

    The Great Love of Jesus Christ is Unparalleled…

    You can find people everyday who are willing to die for their friends or for someone they love. What you cannot find is someone willing to die for their enemies and for those who hate them. Yet, that is precisely what Jesus Christ did. He died so even those who hate him would still have a chance to be saved. Imagine that. If you're reading this, then believe it or not, Jesus Christ died even for you. He died so you'd have a chance to be saved. The only question is, what will you do that opportunity. What will you do with the sacrifice he made for you. Will you appreciate it and take advantage of it and follow the plan of salvation to get saved? Or will you spit in his face and reject his sacrifice, and reject his teachings and reject his ways? If so, then you'll continue right on to hell, and not one person will ever feel sorry for you. Because if you hate him, then you're an enemy of God. And what person in their right mind would feel sorry for the destruction of an enemy…

    Right now, there are atheists on this forum who hate Jesus and hate God. And their hatred is clearly evident. Most will then say, "I don't hate Jesus, I just don't believe in him." Bottom line, Jesus Christ was more than just a word. He was also a way of life. Therefore, if you hate his teachings and hate his ways – meaning, if you hate and disagree with what the bible says, which are his words – then you hate God, plain and simple. For example, the bible says, gays are an abomination before God. That is how Jesus feels about it. Do you agree with that? If the answer is no, then you hate God. And all haters of God shall be cast into the lake…

    When God first created the earth, he also set up a system whereby "something must die for something else to live." That system is pervasive everywhere. If you eat a hamburger, a cow had to die to provide the meat. If you eat a piece of chicken, a chicken had to die. If you're a vegetarian, those vegetables had to die. In the ocean, one species dies to feed another. In the jungle, animals hunt each other, and something must die to provide nourishment for another. You cannot escape it, something must always die for something else to live. It's not possible to have life unless something dies. Long story short, Jesus Christ died so that your spiritual soul might have spiritual life. If he had not died, then you'd have no chance of ever being saved.

    Consider this, 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ hung on the cross dying, he saw you, yes you. Even if you're an atheist, he saw you. He saw all the atheists and the unbelievers in the world, with their arrogance and their sins. Yet, he was still willing to hang out there and to die, that you might have a chance to be saved. Yes, it may be true that many of you would reject his sacrifice and would continue on to hell and the lake. Nonetheless, Jesus was still willing to die for you, just so you'd have the same chance as everyone else to be saved, even if you rejected it. Now that is love. Dying for your enemies and for someone you already know is going to reject you and hate you, that is love. And is the greatest love you have ever been shown. I personally would not have done that for you. None of your friends would not have done that for you. Yet, Jesus Christ did exactly that. He gave his life on your behalf. The only question is, what will you do with his sacrifice. Will you accept it? Or will you spit in is face and reject it? If you reject it, then you now know why on Judgment Day he'll have no mercy on you. But will cast you into the lake…

    November 4, 2013 at 12:25 am |
    • Jeff Rome

      WTL;DR.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:31 am |
    • Observer

      Opposing View,

      "Right now, there are atheists on this forum who hate Jesus and hate God."

      You are totally CLUELESS. NO ATHEIST ever hated God.

      Do you hate Darth Vader? Get real.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:32 am |
    • per se

      Almost all of which you have written is a lie. Prove that any of it is true.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:32 am |
    • Bruce McClure

      Pretty sure Jesus did not see me from his cross. I wasn't there, and to see requires a line of sight between the observer's eye and the subject.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:35 am |
    • Denis

      Whether or not a person called Jesus existed is irrelevant. This is a GOVERNMENNT function NOT a religious function.

      There is already a place for religion – called a church (paid for in part by forcing atheists to contribute in tax concessions one might add) .

      If you want to hear your religious services – GO TO YOUR CHURCH. That is what it is there for.

      Why not demand that government services start with recipes, or a fashion show, or a weather forecast or a reading of the latest train spotting magazine ? GET YOUR religion out of the government !!

      November 4, 2013 at 1:02 am |
      • Nodack

        Yes.

        November 4, 2013 at 1:09 am |
    • Nodack

      Sorry, but you will never get me to believe in a cult.

      Jesus died for our sins? Hundreds of thousands of people die every year. We are all going to die. When I die you can say I died for everybody else's sins for the next thousand years. If I get sick and live you can say it was Jesus that saved me. If I die you can say God had different plans for me and works in mysterious ways.

      November 4, 2013 at 1:08 am |
    • Realist

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

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

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

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

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

      November 4, 2013 at 7:17 am |
  9. Blessed are the Cheesemakers

    "per se
    From exploding stars. Same place we all came from."

    from where did exploding stars come?

    November 4, 2013 at 12:08 am |
    • Aviarist

      From a giant invisible seagull.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:11 am |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        from where did the seagull come from?

        November 4, 2013 at 12:21 am |
        • Aviarist

          From nowhere. He's e*tern*al.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:23 am |
        • Jeff Rome

          Obviously God shit it out.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:24 am |
        • Jeff Rome

          Duh. From an egg.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:28 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          And where did the name stealer come from?

          November 4, 2013 at 12:51 am |
        • o momma

          From me

          November 4, 2013 at 12:59 am |
        • Baby Jesus

          When you lie and steal names you make me cry....

          November 4, 2013 at 1:14 am |
    • IslandAtheist

      Gravity

      November 4, 2013 at 5:34 am |
  10. 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 11:57 pm |
    • BlackGretsch

      I have it from a good source that God does not want anybody to say prayers. After all, what kind of personality do you think he has. What he wants is for you to master your environment and eventually the universe. They should say prayers when all agree that all hope is lost, but simply saying prayers for no reason is annoying to God. He wants you to do useful things with that time.

      November 4, 2013 at 12:32 am |
      • Reality # 2

        How did you reach your god? Home, email, Facebook, Twitter..... addresses?

        November 4, 2013 at 6:48 am |
  11. kenny

    the golden rule is the basis for all laws of god and men. it is instinct. it is survival. you help me and i want to help you. you hurt me and i want to hurt you. It effects every decision we make whether we believe it or not. religion has simply capitalized on it and added specifics along with a reward of eternal life. The ignoorant and fearful can't help but follow religion. It's hard to accept the end of our survival. But fear like any emotion is a choice. The religious and ignoorant will always choose fear. When you choose knowledge and understanding... you will have nothing to fear.

    November 3, 2013 at 11:35 pm |
  12. Danita Daly

    An impressive reveal, I plainly supplied this onto a colleague who was carrying out slightly examination on this. And he the reality is bought me breakfast like a results of I discovered it for him.. smile. So allow me reword that: Thnx to the deal with! Having said that yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I definitely sense strongly about it and appreciate studying further on this subject. If attainable, as you turn into expertise, would you thoughts updating your weblog with further info? It is really highly helpful for me. Huge thumb up for this webpage publish!

    November 3, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
  13. Rodboy

    I believe in the power of prayer, but the Bible tells us not to cast our pearls before swine – I love atheists but it never ceases to amaze me of how little they know about physics and the world they live in – they place a lot faith in people that don't have a clue of wher matter came from and only guess.

    November 3, 2013 at 7:35 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      And because you think you have an answer we should just accept it is the right one....correct?

      November 3, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Rodboy,

      The problem is - you don't have pearls. You have those sweet-scented round bath beads that dissolve in water.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
      • A Frayed Knot

        And non-believers are not swine. How dare you (or the guy who wrote it first) say that.

        November 3, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • Calgon

      Rodboy,

      The problem is - you don't have pearls. You have those sweet-scented bath beads that dissolve in water.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:38 pm |
      • Calgon

        sorry for double post - was trying to type more and it posted ahead of time...

        November 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I was about to head out to dinner, but I'll make some popcorn and stay for the complete theory of everything as revealed by God to his chosen people.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
      • HotAirAce

        They're already complete.

        Enjoy your dinner.

        November 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
      • lol??

        Hanging out with midnight madness midwest rail??

        November 3, 2013 at 7:48 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Yep, you're mad.

          November 3, 2013 at 8:02 pm |
    • lol??

      They are socie scientific bullies. A drove of pigs will drive one crazy.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:55 pm |
      • Alien Abductee

        Is that what happened to the socie Jesus?

        November 3, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      I'd bet everything I own that I know more about physics than you do. Nothing about physics implies that there is a god, but much about physics implies that the universe has much more to it than we can observe. If anyone could prove god by using physics, we'd all know about it and that person would be the most famous person in the world with the Nobel and countless other prizes.

      November 3, 2013 at 9:00 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        u don't own nothin. some bet. physics proves god is.

        November 4, 2013 at 12:00 am |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          You should sue god for being unoriginal and ignorant.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:55 am |
  14. Just Call Me Lucifer

    Your all powerful god enjoys letting 9 million children under the age of five die every year. All knowing and all powerful?
    Thats a load of crap. All he (it) has to do is show up to prove his existence, but NEVER does. The reason.. there is no christian god, or any other.

    November 3, 2013 at 7:22 pm |
    • Rodboy

      People do that, it is always a joy to see people blame G o d for their own choice , then say why did you allow that , plus we big hearted americans spend 40 billion a year feeding idiot dogs and cats , did G O D that or did please choose dogs over kids – answer that.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
      • Cpt. Obvious

        Many children are born with horrible genetic diseases and live a life of suffering and hell and never know any other experience. There are no "choices' involved. God is a d!ck.

        November 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
        • Mike

          Good look with that statement. When you pass you enter into the unknown and if God your creator is there you are dust in his hand.

          November 3, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
        • tallulah13

          There isn't a shred of verifiable evidence that any god exists. There isn't a shred of verifiable evidence that death is anything more than the ultimate cessation of life. I'm not going to waste much time worrying about what happens after I die, except of course planning for cremation expenses and finding a suitable place for the urn. I wouldn't want to leave that unpleasantness to my loved ones.

          November 3, 2013 at 10:34 pm |
        • Alien Abductee

          Watch out Cpt.! Mike's god is going to beat you up!

          November 3, 2013 at 10:45 pm |
        • corridorwatcher

          Maybe his parents didn't pray hard enough and were one off on the god they prayed to.

          November 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
    • Sara

      Lucifer, He can still be all knowing and all powerful as long as he isn't imagined to be all good.

      November 4, 2013 at 7:08 am |
  15. dwaineI

    Its people thinking like these 2 women that is the reason were in the financial and political mess were in.I would like to ask them if they believed in air since you cant see it,but we cant live without it, GOD is no different.

    November 3, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
    • Colin

      It's a bit like punctuation and grammar, isn't it?

      November 3, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
    • Observer

      dwainel,

      Do you also believe in unicorns, talking non-humans, and dragons like in the Bible?

      November 3, 2013 at 7:07 pm |
      • lol??

        Evolutionists do believe in unicorns, dude.
        wiki,
        "...................Unicorns are not found in Greek mythology, but rather in accounts of natural history, for Greek writers of natural history were convinced of the reality of the unicorn, which they located in India, ................."

        November 3, 2013 at 7:16 pm |
        • midwest rail

          Greek writers of natural history are Evolutionists ? You truly are insane.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
        • lol??

          You truly are a railing know it all, rail. Evolutionary theory is 25 centuries old. Get crackin' with yer proof, cracked.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:33 pm |
        • lol??

          Insane rail,
          wiki,
          "........................Naturalism is "the idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world; (occas.) the idea or belief that nothing exists beyond the natural world."[1]................."

          You truly are cracked.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:36 pm |
        • midwest rail

          You mad, bro ?

          November 3, 2013 at 7:37 pm |
        • lol??

          Madness is YOUR schtick.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:46 pm |
      • Billy

        and evidently he has a video too

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

        November 3, 2013 at 7:25 pm |
        • Billy

          lol – oops this goes for connor larkin below

          November 3, 2013 at 7:27 pm |
      • Rodboy

        Obs, let cut to the chase how did matter get created under the laws of physics????????????? Bet you don't know, but someone or something higher than us created the c r a p we call energy and matter – we our laws say that neither is possible funny HUH>

        November 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          But Rodboy, you know. Why don't you tell us in sufficient detail that we can know it for truth.

          November 3, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
    • wth

      we can prove that air exists through means other than sight. you'll have to pick a better analogy.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • ME II

      @dwainel,
      Oh please. step outside on a windy day or turn on a fan and air is obvious; not so with your supposed God.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:20 pm |
    • Just Call Me Lucifer

      Air can be proven to exist... how about that god of yours?

      November 3, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
      • Rodboy

        Good try, but creation of something from nothing was good enough for me. How about you???

        November 3, 2013 at 7:41 pm |
        • Sean Lynch not bananas

          We observe "something from nothing" in nature. It's called vacuum energy, zero point energy...the Casmir experiment effect...
          It's not mysterious, it's quantum physics. Because you don't understand something is no reason to attribute lack of understanding to gods.

          November 3, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
        • tallulah13

          How did god come from nothing, Rodboy? No silly excuses like "god exists outside of time and space". That is not credible unless you can actually prove it.

          November 3, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
        • sean lynch not bananas

          where did u find a vacuum?

          November 4, 2013 at 12:22 am |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      I can blow up a balloon with air....can I do that with you god?

      November 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
      • o momma

        where did u get the air?

        November 3, 2013 at 11:27 pm |
        • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

          Tide goes in....tide goes out.....never a miscommunication!

          November 3, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
        • per se

          From exploding stars. Same place we all came from.

          November 3, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • One one

      Go fly a kite or blow up a ballon.

      November 4, 2013 at 6:16 am |
  16. conor larkin

    dear lord,

    thank you for provoking them-so easily-into this hysterical display of their true colors. how infantile! such hypocrites.
    crush them. have fun doing so, even as it seemed good in thy site

    November 3, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • Observer

      Conor,

      "even as it seemed good in thy site"

      So God has a website?

      November 3, 2013 at 7:01 pm |
    • Just Call Me Lucifer

      You're welcome conor.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:24 pm |
    • Big Willz

      "thy site" apparently God is an old English man.

      crush them? Have fun doing so? You do not resemble the faith you claim to be a part of. Where is your compassion?

      November 3, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
      • o momma

        donkey punch

        November 3, 2013 at 11:25 pm |
  17. dajowi

    I'm not a Christian but it doesn't bother me if someone wants to prey during some meeting or whatever. They have their life and I have mine. I don't feel it's necessary to interfere with what they believe. I don't feel what they do interferes with mine.

    People who are atheists that make a stink about prayer must be afraid of something. All this talk about how religion is being pushed on the masses by the government because they allow prayers in meetings, or the taking of oaths at military academies or what not is so silly. You don't want to hear the prayers at meetings cover your ears. If you don't want to say the prayers at meeting cover your mouth. And if you don't want to see the word God on national monuments cover your eyes. You're just being stupid and wasting taxpayers money and people's time in your ridiculous conversations.

    November 3, 2013 at 6:37 pm |
    • ME II

      Interesting.
      Wouldn't the "Christian" thing to do be to accommodate as many people as possible by skipping the prayer?

      November 3, 2013 at 6:57 pm |
    • wth

      shut up and get over it is not an appropriate response to someone presenting a legitimate complaint.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:12 pm |
    • Billy

      "it doesn't bother me if someone wants to prey during some meeting or whatever."

      would that be like stalking the blue-eyed scallop while the scout master is trying to dish out some rules?

      November 3, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Can you explain how no prayer at a gov't meeting is interfering with what they believe?

      November 3, 2013 at 7:49 pm |
      • Sara

        Exactly, that's where the big lie is. There is nothing in these religions that requires prayer at government meetings. The one and only reason for doing it is to assert power and dominance.

        November 3, 2013 at 9:15 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      You are somewhat correct. I am very afraid that I will not be treated fairly if/when it is discovered that my religious beliefs are not the same as the decision makers'.

      What's wrong with "no religion in government ever"?

      November 3, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Prayer during government-sanctioned events is unConstitutional. It's basically discrimination. Banning prayer at government-sanctioned events is upholding the law. It's not depriving anyone of their rights; it's merely preventing a group from getting special privileges.

      November 3, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        our father
        in heaven
        u r 2 cool

        have no mercy on donkey punchers

        November 4, 2013 at 12:11 am |
    • Sara

      If you do'n't understand why this matters you need to do a good bit of reading on the often violent history of religious oppression. It always starts small and seemingly insignificantly, and if you don't watch it it ends in bloodshed.

      November 3, 2013 at 9:12 pm |
      • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

        god

        shut her mouth

        November 4, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • One one

      You said "prey" during a meeting. I think you meant "pray"...or maybe not.

      November 4, 2013 at 6:21 am |
  18. Bootyfunk

    keep prayer out of the courtroom, out of the classroom
    pray at home, pray at church, pray at a park
    pray before you get to work
    don't make others participate in or sit through your religious rituals

    November 3, 2013 at 6:27 pm |
    • dry toast

      sounds like fun

      November 3, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • bootylicous

      dear lord, as they burn, make sure they r piped in at millions of decibels all the prayers ur saints have prayed through the millennium. throw in plenty of gregorian chants and gospel music, 2.

      November 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
  19. ham bone

    The incredible danger of these books. Not the bible, this parenting book supposedly based on the bible. I hope their fellow inmates make life the same living hell that they put that little girl through. Somebody please explain for me how using plumbing equipment on a 1 year old child to punish and discipline them makes any sense? I'm glad these parents were sentenced and are going to be punished for this but what about all the others who are following this book? Or the even more psychotic text it claims to represent?

    November 3, 2013 at 6:21 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      What the fuck?

      November 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm |
  20. Vin

    Anyone who thinks prayer should be allowed in public is a sinner according to the words of Christ. Anyone who disagrees with me has no idea what the teachings of Christ say. Anyone who thinks it isn't really a problem contributes to a culture of sin. Prayer is banned in public by Christ Himself.

    November 3, 2013 at 6:19 pm |
    • Science Works

      Remember boy and girls morals do not come from the bible.

      November 3, 2013 at 6:22 pm |
      • Vin

        Those that believe they do shouldn't be the hypocrites that Christ speaks of in Matthew 6. You do not pray in public. If you pray in public, you will never get into heaven.

        November 3, 2013 at 6:26 pm |
        • Bootyfunk

          but if i don't go to hell, i'll miss all my friends...

          November 3, 2013 at 6:28 pm |
        • Science Works

          Vin where are those pearly gates to get into heaven, North, South, East or West of the United States ?

          November 3, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
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About this blog

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