Overheard on CNN.com: Christian beliefs and politics
Author Alisa Harris, left, and Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann.
August 15th, 2011
06:38 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Christian beliefs and politics

Comments of the Day:

"Congratulations!!! you graduated from 'Christian' to follower of Christ's teachings. The two are nowhere near the same these days!"–Liz the First

"You so-called secular humanist 'Christians' are clearly self-proclaimed Christians in name only. You MAYBE warm a pew seat on Sunday but don't know your Bible from the NYT."–Carol

My Take: I could have become Michele Bachmann

From the way writer Alisa Harris describes it, she and Michele Bachmann could have been sisters. Harris, author of the forthcoming book "Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith From Politics," says they shared similar family upbringing and education. But unlike Bachmann, Harris says, she began to doubt what she had been taught. "I began to think that our Christian duty was not to make our country’s laws conform to our private morality but to heal the broken-hearted and bind up their wounds."

As with many Belief Blogs, CNN.com readers were divided over religion and its place in politics. Damian said, "Great article! Very interesting how you came around. Thank god! Too bad we can't say that for Bachman. Hopefully most of the U.S. will realize how extreme she is and that she isn't focused on the right things."

tallulah13 said, "I find it amazing that so many 'Christians' vilify this woman for turning away from her childhood indoctrination in an attempt to follow the teachings of Christ. It says a great deal about the state of Christianity in this country that so many are more interested in calling the author names than they are in considering the value of her words."

But KJB said, "It appears that what we have here is someone who has embraced the Progressive ideology, attempted to baptize it with the Old Testament prophets, and pretended to be a more faithful Christian than Michele Bachmann. Harris is a writer. Bachmann, by contrast, is a doer. She has fought against injustice in the tax code, labored for economic freedom and against corruption, and fostered dozens of children. Harris could have been Michele Bachmann? If only. ..."

CarrotCakeMan replied, "Oh, really, Bachmann, a 'DOER'? No, the only thing she has done is shoot off her mouth. She hasn't gotten a single bill passed by Congress. When she was in the Minnesota Legislature, her record was similarly nonexistent."

Pastafarian said, "Please explain to me how a country founded on religious freedom by people fleeing religious oppression was founded on a Christian worldview? I live here, pay taxes, and want nothing to do with your twisted myths and fairy tales." jon asked, "Is there any way possible to get these religious people OUT OF POLITICS??"

North Dakota, NCAA spar over mascot

The University of North Dakota was willing to retire its "Fighting Sioux" moniker when the NCAA deemed it hostile toward Native Americans. But state legislators passed a law blocking the school from doing so. Now the University of North Dakota faces a Monday deadline to comply with the NCAA's policy.

Many CNN.com readers seemed more amused than angry. trankwill said, " 'The fighting Palefaces' has a certain ring to it." CaptnCrunch said, "Just a thought: How would you like it if the NFL team was the 'Washington BlackSkins'?"

But pintodw said, "The NCAA is a collective group of idiots. Just because a few Sioux Indians are overly sensitive doesn't mean the NCAA needs to play along with them. This is a perfect example of political correctness to the point of stupidity."

Guest said, "Seems like the name of the state - North Dakota - is also taken from a Native American tribe. Is the NCAA going to require that they rename the entire state also so as not to offend anyone?" QthePower said, "It's funny how a red state like North Dakota says government needs to stop telling people what to do, and then turns around and tells a school what to do."

ReadingLady said, "Incidentally, Sioux is a racial slur imposed upon a proud people by French trappers. It means 'dog people.' It was never meant to speak of a people with pride." HFC13 agreed, "I know the Lakota tribes of South Dakota, specifically, don't like it." But lieometer said, "Tribes in North Dakota and elsewhere refer to themselves as Sioux: Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe."

road08 said, "Other team names are just as politically incorrect. What about my Minnesota Vikings? We have a mascot who wears a helmet with horns, has a long unruly beard and blows a horn as a war chant. The Vikings were a warrior people who pillaged villages, drank heartily and had their way with women. Being half Scandinavian, I resent this depiction. I suggest something more enlightened like a blond-haired blue-eyed slight-built male with his hands extended in friendship. And don't get me started on the Celtics."

Can scary labels, scary taxes end smoking?

The package covers are repulsive: brownish, gnarly lungs; a chest scar like Frankenstein's; mouth lesions. But CNN contributor Bob Greene doesn't think the campaign to horrify smokers will work. He points out that while the percentage of smokers in the U.S. has dropped, their numbers - due to an increasing population - have not. And if cigarette packages that cost $18.30 don't deter smokers, he doubts that disgusting photos will.

The column had CNN.com readers sharing how hard it is to quit. pinksock019 asked, "Do smokers (those who do not care about quitting), think the medical evidence is wrong? I think most smokers I know would like to quit but find it too hard. But there are smokers with no intention of quitting."

B5556 replied, "I'm not a smoker but I think the answer to your question is that smokers do not believe every one of them will suffer any ill effects; certainly there are serious conditions related to smoking, but then every one of us probably knows the two-pack-a-day smoker who lived to well over 90 with no ill effects. My grandmother was one."

Red2012 said, "I've tried hundreds of times to quit. I can stop for one day, but then my mind decides it must have the cigarettes. I get dizzy and have an urge to go buy cigarettes. Patches don't help because they are putting nicotine in the system. If my health insurance would pay for me to be locked up in a padded room for about a month I might be able to shake the habit. I also happen to like smoking. It helps me to concentrate and gives me something to do."

Maventi said, "Dennis Leary was prophetic: 'You could make the entire package the warning, and call the product Tumors, and people would still line up to buy them.' "

magmay88 disagreed, "The labels and prices made me quit smoking." AndrewFriet said, "I'll tell ya, I quit smoking not so much because of the health effects but because of the cost. I knew for the 25 years of my smoking career what the health risks were, but when they were getting taxed like crazy I quit."

radiovision said, "I am not a smoker myself but I remember seeing smokers' lungs from cadavers as part of a high school anti-smoking campaign, and just thinking how gross they looked. It really had an effect on me, knowing that if I smoked my lungs would turn into what looked like charred steak."

Do you feel your views align with these commenters' thoughts? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Ben

    I would just like to voice my opinion on cutting taxes and the like. If the government wants to help us Americans, here is one solution...Payroll Tax cut, It should be, the government cannot tax us over 40 hours in a work week. What we make in overtime should be ours to keep. After all they are not the ones that took time out of their personal life to work it spend another grueling hour or hours at the old sweatshop just to make ends meet. If the Government needs to cut spending, then why don't all those high paid yahoos in government take a pay cut. If I can survive on 30,000 or less a year why can't they? For no more time than they put in sitting on their behinds are they really getting paid for the job at it's worth?
    I pay close to 43% or better of my income in taxes and that Yahoo who only pays 17% and make 40 times the money I do is not right, why isn't he paying 75%? It still wouldn't hurt his income. Also, Why doesn't the government pay for our health care? Wouldn't you be more apt to go to the doctor if you knew it wasn't going to cost you. Seems to me the government would want a healthy country so that in the time of need for war or securing our borders there are able and healthy bodies to do it. Just my thoughts and I could probably come up with more later.

    August 15, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lyndsie Graham

      A very good idea, Ben but even an even better is to get out of all these useless wars that we're currently engaged in and use that money to pay for our national health care. The problem here is that the right-wing blowhards in Washington won't have any of it! They deem a useless "military victory" to be more important than the health of the people here!

      August 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. s kel

    damn good idea ben.

    August 15, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Gonzo

    I'm not too impressed with Christianity. Most of the selfish, mean and self righteous people I've ever met wore a cross around their necks. If Jesus is real (and I believe he is), then he either condones the behavior or is ineffective against the phonies that have infiltrated his following. My real hypothesis is that religions and governments hurt in order to heal, so the helpless need their saviors. It all seems like a plan the Devil would implement. We don't need divisive extremists hiding behind the flag or God, instead we need centrists who can figure out how to achieve what everyone wants, but this is not possible, since the two party candidates are chosen by the far right/left voters in the primary.

    August 15, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lyndsie Graham

      Quite right, Gonzo. Jesus was indeed a very good man and Christianity a good religion but in this country it was hijacked by a bunch of self-serving, right-wing blowhards who now use it to further their right-wing agenda and stir up support for all these obscene wars overseas and that's quite disgusting!!!

      August 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pink Pather

    come over to the Bart thread ya all.... want to hear your comments pls

    August 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. John Coffey

    I wonder how much coffee dem two white ladies can gurgle down?.. Mmm There's nothing hotter den smeared lipstick on a hot cup of Coffey..

    August 15, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John Coffey

    Tom Hanks boss man didn't know I was da one who gave his misses da clap.. I was just tryin ta help.. Den he can't potty with our razor blades cominz outs so Iz helped em.. You'll notice myz initials is JC too... just like da baby Jesus

    August 15, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LOL!

    Christians are so silly, hehe.

    August 15, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. the prophet

    Weil said my fellows bloggers....religious people hold on a little more...because America is converting towards socialism structure, thanks to our politicians.
    The Clintons took a course in Russia before heading on to rule a few years!!!

    August 15, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Come on the prophet, you know better than that!!! In fact, the exact opposite is true. Anyone with half a brain knows just how much the MIC has taken control in Washington, D.C. as it now has both the White House and Congress in it's palms!

      August 15, 2011 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sandi

    The entire country will be either socialist or just another part of the European Union if folks don't wake up and NOT RE-ELECT A MUSLIM bk into the White House! If U don't believe he is, then why during Ramadah did his jewelry disappear? One of the customs require no jewelrx, make-up, etc. But what was his excuse when asked where his wedding ring was? IT IS IN FOR ? REPAIRS! Does he think we R all idiots?

    August 15, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. justathought

    I'll diito Lindsie's 7:48 post

    August 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. the prophet

    Like in England people have had enough of being policed controlled and manipulated by their governments. America is next because people have been impoverished by the Government actions. The considerate army !!! Ho yeah America can not survive when citizens become poor, thanks to Washington selfish politics. Governments need to go and replaced by? ( )

    August 15, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • CT Yankee

      Very well said, the prophet and quite true.

      August 15, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. the prophet

    Guess who said we got to sand a message to Washington....! I say who wants to join me to take over Washington I get things done for Americans with just a high school diploma.

    August 15, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  13. sylviaaiello

    This special program was launched in 2010 and was originally expected to run out of money before it could cover everyone who needed it. But the opposite happened. People with pre-existing conditions either didn't know about this plan or didn't care to take part. Less than 20,000 people have signed up across the country. learn at "Penny Health" for your self

    August 16, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. fernace

    I read Alisa Harris article on the Belief Blog yesterday, & what is scary about the Evangelicals is that they are right & the rest of the world is wrong! That's what makes them scary as politicians, too, because since they are right, they will only be following Gods plan when they demand that all Americans shal henceforth believe in the Evangelical Doctrine! So much for separation of church & state or freedom of religion! I have read about the recent questioning of the wording of the 1st amendment by Evangies, many of whom insist that our founders didn't really mean that Christianity should not be mixed with a political agenda! I think that's excactly what they meant, but some Evangies want to rewrite history, as Alisa Harris points out! It behooves us to beware of the hidden messages behind politicians pushing the Christian-card, & many of them are in this presidential race!!

    August 16, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  15. Cult of Personality

    The Christian community to include all denominations (i.e. – Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, Evangelical, etc.) is nothing more than ONE BIG CULT, teaching and brainwashing people with their FALSE beliefs and false messiah !! Jesus Christ, who was a very intelligent HUMAN-BEING is NO MESSIAH !! Think whatever you want, but to me, the Christian community is NO BETTER than the followers of Reverend Sun Myung Moon (The Moonies), Reverend Jim Jones (and his People's Temple), Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), David Koresh, Warren Jeffs, etc. – JUST ONE ENORMOUS CULT !!!!

    August 16, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
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