the nonsense comments on the CNN post about me and 4 other women in religion


Yesterday I was featured on the CNN website along with 4 other women in a post called “5 Women in Religion to Watch

I am usually not a big comment reader.  I read them here on Sarcastic Lutheran, but when I write for God’s Politics or when an interview with me is published on-line I tend to stay away.  If the comments are of the “Oh I just think you are so great” variety I am tempted to think too highly of myself and if they are of the “you are a heretic and a blasphemer and should remain silent in church like God told you to”  variety then I am tempted to punch someone in the throat.  Neither of these options is terribly healthy.

But yesterday I became fascinated with the bizarre comment threads and wanted to share with you some of the better ones because in the end it all began to sound like the end of a “So…a Biblical literalist and a raving atheist walk into a bar…” joke.


*Perhaps they (the 5 of us women who the story was about) deserve the chains they seem to want to embrace.

*If these women continue to ignore the Lord’s command, he will treat them like he did the daughters of Zion in Isaiah 3:18 and take away all their jewelery,fine clothes, makeup, and mirrors. He’ll make them bald and rotten smelling before killing all of the men they care about.

*All this article tells me is that women can be as self-delusion as men when it comes to matters of religion. Big deal. I suppose it is somewhat noteworthy that women can be so supportive to such an oppression that religion has women. In which case I would be wary of their motives.

*Seriously. A feminist, an emergant church blasphemer, a Tebow fan, and a historian are the best the church has to offer anymore. Christianity will get what is deserves. Come Lord Jesus come.

*Any woman who would raise their daughter under the oppresion of Abrahamic faith is one LOUSY mother

*Five nobodies wasting thier lives in service to a delusion. Why watch that? There are many women with far more interesting lives and contributions to watch

*No wonder religion is dying. Put women in charge of anything and watch it fall apart…


In the end it made me sad a) that this was such clear woman-hating and b) that Atheists and conservative Christians would be represented in such a hateful way by the commenters on the blog.  I know Atheists and conservative Christians who are loving and level-headed and who teach me things I would never learn from my fellow progressive Christians.  I don’t agree with either group, but I yesterday I was offended on their behalf.

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About Nadia Bolz Weber

I am the founding Pastor at House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. We are an urban liturgical community with a progressive yet deeply rooted theological imagination. Learn more at

  • Donna Wright

    I read (skimmed) those same posts; had a similar reaction. I am disappointed when the comment section seemingly gets “hijacked” in this way, because I, too, hope for deeper insights and much less hate.

  • David Webb

    Please, when you’re in NYC, come visit us at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, on W 46th St, just west of 8th Avenue.

  • Jess Felici

    As a senior seminarian, about to be spat out into the world from the safety of these Hogwartish Walls, I thank you for being brave and loving and broken. I thank you for being a leader in a difficult world and for not responding in anger, but responding with an invitation to conversation. This broken, messy Church/world is blessed to know women such as you, who proceed with grace and indignation on others’ behalf.

  • Sara

    I found your site and your blog because of that article on CNN yesterday. I later told my fiance how moved I was by the things I’m reading that I want to move to Denver to attend your church.

    CNN – you would think that more intelligent persons would come forward there but it’s just not the case. I can never read the comments on there because they really do cast some serious doubt on my already grim outlook of the world. But then again you have to remember that these people are faceless and they know it. You however are far from faceless and to that I say thank you. Thank you very much.

  • Daisha

    It’s funny, I don’t usually read comments but I had read the ones on that article. With a few exceptions (maybe the 4th comment listed above), I think most of them were just trolls (under the definition of “being an ass on the internet just because you can” or in other words baiting people for a response ). I don’t think most of them were the true ideas of the people that posted them, and shouldn’t be taken seriously. I write comments even less often than I read them, but wanted to share that perspective with you since they made you sad.

  • Tim Osborn

    Nadia, well this is one athiest who thinks you are pretty freakin’ cool! Interviewed on CNN…WOW…keep up the great work!

  • llama lady

    at least you have a good role model. Carry on!

  • Katie Justice

    The comments that you posted just break my heart and of course make me angry. It’s hard to believe that some people (regardless of how they believe) still have that type of mind set. I just pray for God’s grace upon them and that their mind’s would open up.

  • Sally L. Wilke

    You are one classy woman!

  • Fr. Simon

    Comments on … well just about anything, but especially news items just usually end up depressing me or making me really angry. There is a lot of bile washing around the internet and sometimes it just washes around us. Don’t let it stick. You do good stuff.

  • Jeremy

    I’m sorry, but your mistake was reading the comments section. The internet is full of cruel and petty coward/trolls, sitting nude in front of their computer, cloaked in the safety of anonymity, with their flaccid member in one hand and a fist full of shame and defeat in the other.

  • Lisa

    ” I know Atheists and conservative Christians who are loving and level-headed and who teach me things I would never learn from my fellow progressive Christians.”
    This – just this! This is exactly why we need to listen to each other, and learn from each other. I can ignore the comment section (and have learned to do so!), as long as i remember this. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Ian

    I’m glad you posted this. Thanks for acknowledging and naming the bigotry that so many seem to perpetuate online (and in person, for that matter).

    Keep up the fantastic work– you’re an inspiration to me in a big way. Don’t let that get to your head, though, haha.

  • Janice

    Jesus didn’t receive rave reviews from many so-called religious folk. Our call is to be faithful to the truth. Thank you for being who are you and who you are called to be in a hurting world.

  • Scott

    Progressive Christianity is just atheism with training wheels. Take the training wheels off. You’ll find it very freeing. I know I did. Trying to squeeze a fictitious God into our narrow view of things just causes more problems than it solves. If there is a god (which there probably isn’t), I promise he doesn’t fit into any of our religions.

  • Dixie Richardson

    I suppose in the long run, it’s better for us to ignore the nasty, petty, and hateful comments made by shriveled souls and give attention to those that are uplifting and insightful.

  • Maureen

    You know, I was very inspired both by the CNN article and by visiting your blog as a direct result. I am deeply inspired by your commitment to staying within the church and working from within to make it better. Frankly, I think that’s extremely brave and much harder than simply walking away.

    I do find it deeply distressing that Christianity, a religion of love, has become so hijacked by those who spew hate, and particularly spewing hatred toward 50% of the species, i.e., women. How can they consider themselves followers of Jesus? It makes me very sad.

  • Stephen Bradley

    Nadia- you have to take internet comments with a grain of salt. EVERYONE is an expert about EVERYTHING when they are behind a keyboard. Never forget the old saying that there is no such thing as bad press. In this instance I think it would do more to pique a reader’s curiosity about you than damage what you are trying to do. So forget the jackasses. Giving them print here just advertises their ridiculous message.

  • Michael V. Hannigan

    If it helps, I’m not going to praise or mock you …. yesterday’s CNN report was just an introduction for us – which is a good thing.

    The story did cause me to search you out a little bit … and to subscribe to this blog so I can see what you’re about. I did like the sermon on the Transfiguration post.

    Anyway, not everyone fell automatically in love or hate with you from a paragraph and a photo – and again, that’s a good thing. There is probably a whole new (quiet) audience standing in a circle around you this week, listening.

    But I do have to say …. LOVE the tatts.

  • Heather Kopp

    Nadia, your reply was so good here. You met my husband last week, David Kopp (he was so impressed by you. But I Found you first). I thought I might introduce myself today because I could so relate to this post. Last week on my blog soberboots there was a bunch of controversy about the sin/sickness issue regarding addiction and Christians. I learned that I am “foolishly leading people astray” and “need to get saved.” I blog to Christians and often touch on recovery (I’m a grateful recovering Christian drunk) and not every one agrees with my positions. I think I further scared off some readers by recommending people check out your site. Ha! I hope you take this as a compliment, because it’s meant to be. You inspire me to keep speaking my truth and be gracious when people who call themselves Christians are judgmental and ugly. Thank you. I feel such resonance with you, your church, and what you are saying. It took Dave and I three years to finally find a church in the Springs that is “open and affirming” and filled with love and tolerance for everyone. Keep up the great work!

  • Stephanie Ivy

    Those comments, sadly, sounded a lot like things I’ve heard in my life, particularly the atheist portion. (And I use that term very loosely and in no way consider that view to be representative of all.) Sometimes it feels like you just can’t win.

  • Rbin Gilbert Luftig

    Times never change. Just Monday I put a post-it on my computer screen, “Who is YOUR Sanballat or Tobiah today?” (referring to Nehemiah’s ney-sayers when he wanted to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem in Nehemiah 2). People will always try to take you out when you’re doing something bigger than their vision. I applaud you for your sense of self regarding these posts.

  • Lock

    “I was featured on the CNN…”
    “I am usually not a big comment reader…”
    ["I am tempted to punch someone in the throat" (ha, ha, ha, yeah right)]

    BUT, you read CNN’s comments anyways and turned it into a blog post. NO WAY are you full of yourself.

  • gracebeliever

    I found your ministry thru this article, and am so heartened by it. I have been a pastor’s wife for a very long time, and am becoming more and more discouraged with issues in the church. I glance at comments on CNN from time to time, and it does not matter what the article was about, someone will say : “Proud to be an atheist; there is no God!” even if the article was about cupcakes or the price of grain. Lots of strangeness out here. Just know that a whole new crowd of faithful people is praying for you/

  • Mark

    There are a lot of sickos in this world, most likely I should count myself among them. Just remember, Nadia, opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one.

  • Kristie

    Nadia, keep doing what you’re doing; don’t mind the haters. When I read about your church, my thoughts were “Wow! These people GET IT!” I would SO like to visit your church, ideally with some of my sisters in Christ. You and your church are a source of inspiration for me. Be brave and follow the path our Lord Jesus Christ has set for you. God bless :)

  • Rita Bell

    Ugh, I’m sorry about those commenters and their comments :P I can read so few article comments anymore; it amazes me how people use their precious time.
    I am always enriched when I spend my precious time reading your words; you never fail to make me think deeper. I love that!!

  • Eric

    Unfortunately I wasted a lot of time during college “discussing” on such comment threads. It wasn’t until the middle of my MA that I realized that the those threads on CNN and the like are not places for discussion, but simple where people go to blow off steam and feel good about themselves – and it’s safe for them there because they can be anonymous. I suppose one could be anonymous here as well, but it at least appears to be genuine, especially when compared with comment threads on news websites. I am glad CNN does the belief section though and that they post articles from you and others who are facing the challenges that come from the diversity found in human thought.

  • Suzanne in FL

    I just “discovered” you (a friend on our church facebook page posted a link) and think you’re pretty cool :-)

  • AM

    I’m coming to this discussion a bit late. I just read the CNN article (and the affiliated comments), and if some of the commenters are bright, they’re going to great lengths to disguise it. My mom in all her bluntness (God love her) gave me some of the best advice I’ve ever received. She said (I’m paraphrasing, of course), “____, you are a weird kid. That’s just who you are. People aren’t always going to like that, but if you’re ever going to have any peace, you need to accept who you are and face the consequences.” We, as people, don’t like what we don’t understand, we all think that our views are the correct ones, and unless we daily go to great lengths to cultivate acceptance and openness within ourselves, we find subtle (and not so subtle) ways to punish those who deviate from our perceived norms.

  • Mich

    No worries–no one reads/watches CNN/CBS/FOX, etc. They are yesterday’s news. Too corporate to be trusted.


  • Mark b. Hether

    Well said. I enjoyed that very much.