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. the prophet

    Big Brother where is my post? cono

    August 16, 2011 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. Satan

    Hahahahaha.. I disguised myself as all these false prophets.. I made them up so I could control you and look how naively you all did. Something so sinister shouldn't be so easy.

    August 16, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  3. George Patton

    I only wish that Alissa Harris, Michele Bachmann or any other right-wing Christian would explain to me just what on God's green earth is so holy about needlessly slaughtering people in the Middle East even if they are Muslims. After all, they worship the same God as we do! These obscene wars need to cease as soon as possible!!!

    August 16, 2011 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. mdmooser

    I went to take a look at Bachmann dodging some gay question or something from somebody to watch her response and WOW! Amazing, video not available. Hmmmmmmmm, whose zoomin who here. Since that pray away the gay thing came through I knew it would come back up, but CNN doesn't show video? Is truth or what candidates say "slanting against them"? I don't think so, her words on any policy need to be shown no matter how much I agree or don't agree. I expect this video to return.

    August 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. tokencode

    Bachmann is a bigot without enough spine to stand by her own convictions.

    August 16, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sissy

    I have seen people's lives transformed by their belief in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The love of God and support of caring Christians made the
    difference. To see what I'm talking about, visit a Celebrate Recovery group.

    August 23, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
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