First Communion on the Moon

As we remember the first men on the moon, let’s not forget the first supper on the moon — the … Continued

As we remember the first men on the moon, let’s not forget the first supper on the moon — the Lord’s Supper, served and received by an elder in the Presbyterian Church, Apollo 11 astronaut Eugene ‘Buzz’ Aldrin.

“This is the (lunar module) pilot,” Aldrin said on July 20, 1969. “I’d like to take this opportunity to ask every person listening in, whoever and wherever they may be, to pause for a moment and contemplate the events of the past few hours and to give thanks in his or her own way.” Aldrin’s way was to serve himself communion, using a kit provided by the pastor of Houston’s Webster Presbyterian Church.

Aldrin’s brief and private Christian service never caused a flap, but it could have. Aldrin has said that he planned to broadcast the service, but NASA at the last minute asked him not to because of concerns about a lawsuit filed (later dismissed) by atheist Madelyn Murray O’Hare after Apollo 8 astronauts read from Genesis while orbiting the moon at Christmas.

Did NASA do the right thing by making Aldrin keep his religious beliefs to himself?

As an elder in the Presbyterian church, Aldrin had the authority to conduct what is called an “extended serving” of the Lord’s Supper. But Aldrin was representing the United States of America that day, and in many ways, all of his fellow earthlings. Should he have even conducted a private religious service?

“In the radio blackout,” Aldrin wrote in Guideposts magazine in 1970, “I opened the little plastic packages which contained the bread and the wine. I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me. In the one-sixth gravity of the moon, the wine slowly curled and gracefully came up the side of the cup. Then I read the Scripture, ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whosoever abides in me will bring forth much fruit.’

“I ate the tiny Host and swallowed the wine. I gave thanks for the intelligence and spirit that had brought two young pilots to the Sea of Tranquility. It was interesting for me to think: the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.”

One small sip for man, one giant leap of faith for mankind.

The small chalice Aldrin used for the wine went back to Webster Church. Each year on the Sunday closest to July 20, the congregation celebrates Lunar Communion. “Communion can be celebrated anywhere,” senior pastor Mark Cooper said Sunday. “Even cramped up in a lunar module on the moon.”

Aldrin wasn’t the only person to bring his faith to the moon that day. The astronauts left behind a tiny silicon chip containing a message of peace from four U.S. presidents and 73 other world leaders. Seven of them made references to God — the presidents of Brazil, Ireland, South Vietnam and Malagasy, the king of Belgium, Pope Paul VI — and Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, who wrote:

“On this occasion when Mr. Neil Armstrong and Colonel Edwin Aldrin set foot for the first time on the surface of the Moon from the Earth, we pray the Almighty God to guide mankind towards ever increasing success in the establishment of peace and the progress of culture, knowledge and human civilisation.”

UPDATE: I asked On Faith panelist Richard Mouw about provisions for self-serve communion. Mouw is president of Fuller Theological Seminary. He also is representing the Presbyterian Church-USA as co-chair of the official Reformed-Catholic Dialogue. Mouw’s response:

“For our Reformed theology, communion is something that necessarily takes place in a congregational context, with two requirements. It is tied to–accompanied by– the preaching of the Word and it requires at least one elder assisting the minister. Two exceptions: chaplains in military and other settings are given a blanket approval to conduct a communion rite without an elder. And a minister and elder may bring the elements to a sick or shut-in person–with the understanding that this is an extension of the congregational rite that has recently taken place. There is simply no provision for a solitary self-serving of communion. It is difficult to think of a theological rationale even as an unusual event.”

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  • coloradodog

    Back then, before the intolerant Huckabees, Mormons and O’Reilly Catholics aggressively tried to hijack America for their Nazi political agendas, no one would have minded Aldrin privately and quietly practicing his religion. Only in Utah and in other areas where one religion was so predominate as to cause ethnocentrism, no one worried what religion others were and it was considered rude and inappropriate to ask.Hateful Abrahamic religions in the US have reaped what they have sewn, now automatically being suspect of wanting to jam their beliefs down the rest of our throats or at least forcing us all to comply with their rules taken from cherry-picked or changed scriptures of their liking.Back then, a prayer or blessing was not a political threat.

  • coloradodog

    opps, should have said: Other than Utah…

  • Nan72

    We can always count on you, or someone like you, to twist a sweet story like this with your hostile rhetoric.

  • Niente

    Name spelling correction: it’s “Madalyn Murray O’Hair”, not “Madelyn Murray O’Hare”

  • Unregistered

    While it’s true that communion can be celebrated anywhere in the Presbyterian tradition, the more salient question is whether it can be celebrated alone. The Westminster Confession of Faith, one of the doctrinal standards of the Presbyterian Church, is clear that it should not be celebrated privately. Individual communion really is a contradiction in terms. (29.4)

  • russlv

    I find it offensive to have someone refer to the mormons, catholics, etc, as having a Nazi agenda. You have a right to not like the religion fine, but why do you feel like your justified in attacking it.

  • MillPond2

    I wonder what Neil Armstrong thought about Buzz Aldrin’s “private” communion? Did they discuss it beforehand?Whether he agreed with it or not, it could not have been truly private – unless Armstrong stepped “outside” and performed another “giant leap for mankind”.

  • Sheridan2

    Back in those days, I was a believer. Heck, I was even a Republican! Now that I have matured and know a lot more about how the world works, I am neither.

  • gconrads

    coloradodog,you have a very interesting perspective, on the one hand you are lambasting the “intolerant Huckabees, Mormons and O’Reilly Catholics aggressively tried to hijack America for their Nazi political agendas” as being intolerant, but on the other hand you are being intolerant of entire groups of people by labeling them as Nazis or having Nazi political agendas. This type of extreme rhetoric / hyperbole seems counter productive if you intend to argue against demagoguery it seems foolish to use it.Further more the primary point of your post, serves obviously as simply an excuse for you to trot out your own apparently hate filled beliefs. You say: “Back then, before the intolerant Huckabees, Mormons and O’Reilly Catholics aggressively tried to hijack America for their Nazi political agendas, no one would have minded Aldrin privately and quietly practicing his religion.” Well, reading comprehension time, the article discusses that NASA was concerned about an existing lawsuit. And NASA requested that he not broadcast this service.This would seem to be evidence to the contrary for your initial point. Tolerance it seems, is in the eye of the beholder.

  • spidermean2

    Intelligent people believe in God. That’s a fact. Consider what these intelligent astronauts have done and compare it to the life of atheist Madelyn Murray O’Hare who was masacred by his own co-worker and was despised by her own son.Wow, and yet the suffering does not end in her death. The word INFINITY is not a fairy tale. It’s here with us on earth by observing the vastness of the universe and sadly for the atheists, it does not end when they die.Yes there are false religions like Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism ,liberal Protestantism, etc but among all these false religions ATHEISM is the worst. A false belief is a false religion and atheism is the dumbest belief or “non-belief” of all. Some people don’t believe that man has landed on the moon. It’s also a “non-belief” and nobody is dumber than these idiots. For them, a rabbit evolving into a kangaroo or a monkey into human is more believable.You can’t debate with these dummies.

  • Chops2

    “Did NASA do the right thing by making Aldrin keep his religious beliefs to himself?”Yes. This is a secular country. Faith should be a personal matter, he represents all Americans not just Christians.The bigger issue here is how much this country has changed, how in those days it was not a big deal yet now, that type of thing would be fodder for Fox news and ignite the “cuture wars” even further. Religion has to be held at bay in government (and in space when representing the American people), thats what the founding fathers were wise enough to realize 200 odd years ago but is a lesson that the Huckabee’s and religious right have failed to learn from the human experince. Religious government breeds tyranny. U see it all over the Middle East. Wake up.

  • Sisoto3328

    Spidermean2Madalyn Murray O’harris might have been the most despised woman in America but at least she had one Big Time Accomplishment: to make our government uphold our Constitutional right not only to freedom of religion but to freedom from religion! She made history which is more than most people can accomplish in a lifetime. By contrast all you will be remembered by is as a bitter religious bigot who attacks and disdains anyone who chooses a set of beliefs different than yours! Shameful and Pitiful behavior, to say the least.

  • whowhatwhenwerewolf

    I had no idea this had happened until I read this. Looks like the distance between church and state requires more than 252,088 miles.

  • mus81

    Of course NASA did the right thing. They just did it for the wrong reason. Not one dime of our taxes should be spent quoting christian mumbo-jumbo from the moon – despite what is written on the back of our legal tender. If Col Aldrin worshiped the Buddah, Allah, or Satan your readers would surely object. The only fair alternative would be to have all religious and non-religious texts read to us. But who on this blog is in favor of equality? By all means, exercise your superstitions if you want to. Just keep them to yourself.

  • spidermean2

    When the first settlers in America landed at Plymouth Massachussettes, they had a litle service to give thanks to God – the Christian God.The idiots in America has taken over when they let the atheist dictated what should or should not be done at the moon. But God is still in control and a big part of America will pay a heavy price for the stupid things that it’s been doing.

  • jamshark70

    “You know a non christian friend was being treated poorly by his christian neighbors. because of his belief in hinduism. He said to me once. Was Jesus a jerk? I said no why do you think that? He said well all the christians say they they want to be like him and a lot of them are flat out jerks.”Yo… Spidermean… get yourself a mirror and have a look.

  • freeparking

    Reading the other comments…this nation at the time was at war in vietnam and still trying to heal from the murder of Martin Luther King the year prior. Public prayer that decade was outlawed in public schools…

  • spidermean2

    The stage is already set. Atheist countries (including evolutionist countries) are becoming stronger to soon challenge America. A big part in America even propagate the same stupidity.Stupidity is self destructive. Soon the idiots in America will be asking what went wrong. Some signs of stupidity was overlooked when we first landed at the moon. It’s the idea that America is not a Christian nation. That is what will destroy America.

  • spidermean2

    jamshark70 wrote “You know a non christian friend was being treated poorly by his christian neighbors. because of his belief in hinduism.”I think is an incomplete sentence. What particular belief is that? Is it the belief that some people should be called “UNTOUCHABLES”? There is no “untouchable” or “dalit” in Christianity. Something is false in that accusation.

  • mrbradwii

    I would invite Spidey to watch an old Peter Graves flick, the Red Planet Mars, from ’51 or ’52. More aptly titled, perhaps, when World Collide, the politicization of god in the name of the state. A McCarthyist wet-dream of subverting the big bad Red with faith alone. Fortunately, it took reason and economics, not prayer to slay the red beast.That NASA caved in the face of a potential threat of lawsuit is a foreshadowing of our current pussified situation. Fortunately they at least made the right choice, as another said, if for the wrong reason. The LEM is not the bully pulpit for anything other than courage and the spirit of adventure.Indeed, Jesus *was* a jerk, not unlike Frank Zappa, intentionally kicking the dust on his sandals at any pompous established authority. We are fortunate and better off for knowing both.

  • squarf

    Ignorance, fear, superstition, and the inordinate desire to hear someone bellow “Lo and behold!” are earth-people infestations. We should not contaminate the rest of the universe with our psychoses. Science, billions of dollars, engineering, rational thought, the spirit of adventure, and courage and skill got us to the moon. Let us respect what we have accomplished and how we have accomplished it; let us not denigrate our achievement with hocus-pocus. We can get to Mars the same way. If we replace one of the truly essential criteria with a frenzied bellow of “Lo and behold,” re some deity or another, we will crash and burn.

  • spidermean2

    mrbradwii wrote “We are fortunate and better off for knowing both.”Not too fast. You’re speaking too soon. I have a “crystal ball” and it says otherwise.A total jerk is the one who will finally realize that what he calls a jerk is the Judge who has the key to hell.

  • kgustaf

    Mr. Waters – the name of the leader of American Atheists is Madalyn Murray O’Hair. Though she may have been a very disturbed person, she improved America by removing officially sanctioned prayer from public schools.

  • spidermean2

    All the atheists praised what NASA has done. It simply means that something was wrong in that decision. When fools point to a certain direction, go the opposite way. It’s sure that is the safe way.

  • telesonic

    spidermean2:The first *English* settlers in America landed at Roanoke, and they were here to get rich, not to pray. The second English settlers landed at Jamestown, and they were also here to get rich, not to pray.The Spanish came before them, and they were here to get rich AND pray. Well, to force the Indians to pray or die, anyway. So maybe there’s some truth in what you say.But then the Indians, who were here before everyone else, weren’t Christians at all.So what’s your point, anyway?

  • fzdybel

    “The idiots should be scared what that ‘snake’ actually means.”Idiots are scared. As for me, let me clue you in: what your little snake chum didn’t tell you was that after the seven lean years referred to there won’t be any more years at all.

  • JLErwin3

    Even if we limit the definition of first settlers in America to the first English settlers in the present USA, then the first were those who established Roanoke in 1585, or, if you want to further limit to the first permanent settlement, Jamestown in 1607. Plymouth Massachusetts (not Massachussettes) was not established until 1620.

  • spidermean2

    fzdybel wrote “there won’t be any more years at all”.The grass continue to grow for thousands, if not millions, of years. Forever is not that farfetched. It would be a nasty surprise for atheists once they will realize that the “snake” was not a snake.

  • nick7

    Spidermean2 – a self-confessed agent of a foreign power that has threatened to destroy the United States if we don’t do what this power wants.

  • ethanquern

    Yuck. This is one bit of Apollo trivia I wish I had never learned. As a child, I worshipped NASA as the salvation of the human race from the evils of the stupidity of human religious insanity. I guess I was about 13 or 14 and abjectly horrified when Frank Borman (who much later went on to destroy Eastern Airlines)read from the Book of Genesis, polluting scientific space with superstitious nonsense.People shout and rage about the “sanctity” of religion and how important it is for them to be able to believe what they want. And then they turn around and ABUSE that priviledge by making THEIR religious faith inescapable and strewn across the public square are the crosses you have to practically trip over to get any where. When religion respects the “sanctity” of humanity, when it treats ALL people as equals regardless of whether you can say their mumbo jumbo or agree to worship in their way, when religion tries to HELP those who need it OUTSIDE of their faith, and when religion allows others to lead their lives as they so choose without interference. Then religion will be worthy of human respect. Until then, it and every adherent is as guilty as the crusaders who chopped up those who were born different from they or who believed differently than they did.Hatred toward religion? You betcha! And religion has EARNED every bit of that contempt.The crusades, the forced conversions of the Saxons, the Albegensian Crusade, the Spanish Inquisition, the Irish “Troubles”, the Jewish Ghettos and Pogroms, religion does nothing but sanctify the evil in humanity. It doesn’t have a monopoly there, but man o’ man do they try! The more we are rid of religious hatred and intolerance — the better humanity will be!

  • SCKershaw

    There is, I think, such a thing as an indispensable faith in this sense: The rights recognized by the First Amendment can only be fully enjoyed by Americans if we each have enough faith to accord convictions of others with the respect we expect for our own. I don’t know any adult who has altered their religion one the basis of someone else’s ridicule, no matter how many times it is posted. I don’t know of any justification to deny Buzz Aldrin a private moment to exercise his convictions provide it did not compromise safety or their mission. I can see no justification to have allowed that private moment to be reduced to a public spectacle by loading it with the presumption of general representation.

  • Kaelinda1

    When Jesus walked the earth, he established ONE church. It was called the catholic church (small ‘c’) because ‘catholic’ means ‘universal.’ Groups of dissenters began to break away from this one church because the leaders started to make up doctrines and dogmas which were not included in the original church documents. And to this day, groups are moving further and further away from that central church, which has itself moved further and further away from the original doctrine established by Jesus.However: if the Catholic church is wrong, then all the other Christian churches are also wrong, because they sprang from it in the first place. And if the Catholic church is right, then all the other Christian churches are STILL wrong, because they’re no longer following the doctrine of the original church established by Jesus. Sckershaw: you’ve made the most intelligent and insightful comment of all those posted for this article. Thank you.

  • Chip_M

    The moon missions were one of those rare events that united the world in awe, wonder, and inspiration at what mankind can achieve. Interjecting one person’s religious faith into it in a public way would have been very contrary to that spirit. Imagine if the first words uttered upon setting foot on the moon had been “one small step for man, one giant leap for the United States of America and Jesus Christ.” How differently it would have been remembered around the world, and not in a good way. NASA did the right thing.

  • ccnl1

    And we see captn_ahab has joined the discussion. She/he has been away for awhile or has she/he??? A friend maybe of James10 or whistling ???

  • ccnl1

    Considering that everyone’s communion/eucharist is nothing more than a low-cal wafer, NASA missed a great opportunity to address obesity.

  • tomguy1

    Spidermean2: You expend a lot of effort calling others dummies, idiots and fools. You also seem to take glee in the idea of the impending downfall of those whom you judge. Do you enjoy being called an idiot or a fool? “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12. I guess if you enjoy being insulted and demeaned, then you are following at least one of Jesus’ instructions.But Jesus also said, “Do not judge, lest you too be judged.” Matthew 7:1. Hurling insults as those who disagree with you seems pretty judgmental and, therefore, un-Christain. Not to mention counter-productive, if you are trying to convince others to agree with you.Finally, I would point out that Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless those that curse you, do good to those that hate you . . .” Matthew 5:44. I’m guessing name-calling, antagonistic vitriol and a gloating sense of superiority over those who disagree with you are not what the good Lord had in mind.If you want to convince others that Christianity teaches the way to live, it might help to try and live like a Christian.

  • chefra

    “Yes there are false religions like Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism ,liberal Protestantism,”I find this to be perhaps the most offensive statement I have read in a long time. Especially since “Intelligent people believe in God”…which is a statement I agree with. There is no such thing as a false religion…unless you perceive it to be. I think this statement is hateful and goes against God’s teaching and the basic philosophy of any religion. BTW…I know quite a few ordained ministers who also practice Bhuddism…given that it is about practicing one’s spirituality not utilizing false idols.

  • rosiebuck

    “one nation under GOD”

  • rumple1

    Spidermean – your venimous, self rightous comments exemplify why separation of church and state is necessary. Thanks for making the case so clear.

  • CellBioProf

    Thanks, NASA, for making the correct decision to not foist Aldrin’s religious observance on the world. I just wish I hadn’t learned of it at all – it sours the anniversary a bit, for me.

  • kneumann7

    Both NASA and Aldrin were right. NASA was right not to allow his public expression of his faith as a US government representative and it was good that they permitted him the full expression of his faith at least on a private level. It is unfortunate that religionists, aetheists, and agnostics all have done things in the name of their belief systems that they can’t really be proud of. It is also sad that this day and age of supposed “tolerance” that such a simple act like Aldrin’s forty years ago on the moon results in the types of vitriol that I have had to read through in this comment section. Here’s a vote for peace and amity.

  • Garak

    65apr wrote: “Now, you are libtarded id*ot. One small step mankind, one giant leap for stupidity!”Surprising that conservaturds dumb enough to believe in fairy tales can type. Typical moronic idiot.

  • wpguest1

    Nan72 wrote: Hey, they don’t call this column “[Attack] On Faith” for nothing…

  • hill_marty

    Huff and puff, liberal secularists, but the first food and drink consumed on man’s first landing anywhere off Earth was in Holy communion. You can’t change that, any more than you can change God’s other truths. Maybe it was one of the miracles you don’t believe in.Thank you, Lord, for this reminder of your Glory. Forgive your noisy children, trying to fill their need for you with self-worship.

  • Momsarev

    Kaelinda 1: sorry to burst your bubble, but the Roman Catholic church is itself a schismatic (means, broke off from the original) denomination. Just became powerful and imperialistic, and so insular in its teachings that it never chose authentic dialogue with those who disagreed with it.FZDYBEL: the amount of time and energy that ATHEISTS spend arguing about issues that most monotheists don’t waste their energy on suggests the insecurity is on your side. And check out “South Park”‘s evolution episode (in 2 parts) for the last word on atheism as a religion.UNREGISTERED: you are correct, private communion does not exist in the Presbyterian denomination. Whatever Mr Aldrin indulged in, it was not the Lord’s Supper as Presbyterians understand it. That being said, there would never be a penalty to him for it–Presbyterians respect his right to private religious observance as well.

  • edallan

    Buzz Aldrin was certainly within his rights to celebrate HIS Lord in private. And NASA was most definitely within OUR rights in not broadcasting his private worship.But there’s no occasion for people, even those who agree with me, to be gratuitously abusive and offensive. In terms of those who insist on making everyone aware of their purported love for Jesus, in blatant contempt of Jesus’ own teachings on public displays of worship, well, read the Bible yourselves and leave the rest of us alone.Matthew 6 5″And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.

  • coloradodog

    you guys are right – you can always count on me to be vocal about your Abrahamic tendencies to take over and boss the rest of us, whether it’s Obama bashing at Notre Dame, killing doctors in Kansas or bashing gays in Temple Square. These are, in fact, are Nazi tactics. Hitler knew that if he rallied the weary, poor masses against a common enemy, he could take political power. The bully leaders your churches are trying to do no differently and this is what I hate.My point was that, back then, most Americans would not have been upset about Aldrin practicing his religion. Back the, even though there was the same hateful intolerance of others that is the trademark of Abraham’s followers, people, out of manners and mutual respect were more civil about it. Now, you have reaped what you have sewn with vitriolic backlash against anything you do or say out of fear of your theocratic tendencies. It’s like racism in Mexico. It’s there and everyone knows it but people don’t go around shoving it into each others faces like Catholics, Mormons and evangelicals do with their intolerance in the US. Their society, albeit equally hypocritical, is more civil and life is more tolerant and less threatening. (Before you tell me in your inevitable “Christian love” to move there, I already have)I admit I’m a hater of your political agendas. But I don’t do it running around claiming to be a “Christian.” Can you HONESTLY say you’re not one in the name of poor old Jesus?

  • DWinFC

    If we could just practice our individual faith without implying that other faiths are wrong, we would all be better off. All religions have an open-minded group that doesn’t offend others. However, all religions also have a group of fanatics that thinks their religion is the only true religion. Ironically, the latter group is usually armed and filled with hate for most other human beings.


    C C N L: C O L O R A D O D O G: On deliberate Usurpation of “Church & State” warnings. Nice.

  • iamweaver

    So many of your posts on various forums are well-reasoned, Coloradodog – but here, the depth if your naivete astounds me.It’s that typical human habit of clumping disparate groups of people into one big ball that we can roll around and subject to our messages of hate.There are hundreds of Christian denominations, and churches that lie anywhere from arch-conservative to true liberalism (as in, European liberalism, not the middle-of-the road thing that is Liberalism in the US). Yet you pick and choose whichever outliers supports your agenda, and seem to truly believe that these outliers somehow represent “the Christian”. You can do better than that, Coloradodog.The fact that faiths give folks an easy (though completely invalid) “handle” on all those that differ from themselves says much more about the human condition than about the ills of the religion itself. After all, we have examples from recent history (when religion wasn’t the driving factor) that show that any ideology can be used for these ends – see Hitler and the Soviet Union, the KKK, etc.I absolutely am boggled when people point their fingers at a faith, label it “bad” – but do so without discussing what part of the faith’s philosophy makes it bad. Without doing that, you are are merely typing empty rhetoric. It doesn’t surprise me when many resort to Ad Hominems (thats probably the most common logic errors), but I am always puzzled by folks who don’t bother with any logical argument at all that’s actually related to the underpinnings of the faith they rail against.

  • sux123

    I have to ask. Is SPIDERMEAN for real or just somebody doing a really good parody of a typical ignorant fundamentalist. Can anyone really be that narrow-minded and intolerant and think he/she is a Christian. I can help but laugh at the ridiculous posts, but it’s scary to think that he may be serious.

  • keaner

    The issue is one mostly of culture. America is a Christian nation, not in the sense that Christianity is the law of the land, or that our founding documents are somehow Christian, but merely because the vast majority of Americans are either practicing Christians, self-identify as Christians, or come from a Christian family and cultural background. As a result, most of these astronauts are going to want to give voice to their wonderment and awe at seeing the moon for the first time, or being in space, in a fairly Christian context. So I don’t think we need to get ourselves all worked up over this fact. So Buzz Aldrin, a Christian, served himself the lord’s supper? So what? NASA didn’t broadcast it, and even if they had, it would not necessarily have been a state endorsement of Aldrin’s religious beliefs. A few posters have taken a very disturbingly dictatorial idea to heart- that our constitution provides freedom FROM things and not freedom OF things. Not so. Freedom FROM is tyranny, it is the state preventing the free exercise of speech or religion lest they give someone offense, and that is unamerican in the extreme. Freedom OF speech and religious practice, which we tend to believe in, is exactly what happened that day. If he had celebrated the seder, or had performed a rite from the Islamic or Buddhist or any other faith, he would have been just as free to do so, and as long as he doesn’t violate Armstrong’s rights- and Armstrong does NOT have the right to be free from observign someone else have a religious ceremony- we’re fine.

  • Judy-in-TX

    Well, I’m rather touched that Aldrin would have this service while risking his life in space.

  • iamerican

    Under G-d is Truth and Justice. There is only One Creator G-d and the American Creed fully encompasses It: Annuit Coeptis – Novus Ordo Seclorem – E Pluribus Unum.Alien creeds, magnanimously and necessarily permitted by the First Amendment, represent and promote nothing but sectarian division, the bane of Liberty. There is no Higher Truth than That with Whom Our Founders made Covenant. Those who suggest otherwise commit treason against G-d and against the American People.The images, outside the sprocket-holes, of soundstage and set equipment, divulged unintentionally by NASA through the inadvertent release of the film in which was contained the official “moon-landing” photographs, and the recent “news” that all original film was “degaussed,” “lost,” and re-obtained from recorded images from Australian television, “remastered,” and “digitally enhanced,” tells any with a “mind to know” just how desperate “Babylon” is to get and keep us stupid.The same “Fifth Column” making the money on the “space program,” funds constant attempts to obscure the legal judgment of a Jury of the People, in “Hunt v. Marchetti/Liberty Lobby” to insist that Oswald killed President Kennedy to restore Rome’s bankers of the Fed to control of our money supply and keep us dying in Vietnam, and not the Roman Catholic Knight of Malta-led CIA, Nixon and Bush1; and that OBL committed 9/11 (and can’t be found) rather that Bush2 and Nixon’s heir, Cheney, as is sedulously proven by PhD and Emeritus Professor David Ray Griffin, a scholar of tested and proven integrity.Where is Truth and Justice in all this? G-d knows, and any willing intellect/Patriot can too.

  • coloradodog

    Look, I’m not saying faiths are “bad”. Neither are all individuals who belong to them.My gripe is with religious leaders who hide behind their faith for political goals. Maybe I should preface my targets with “rabid-right-wing Catholics” or “rabid-right-wing Mormons” (which, by the way, includes almost all of them), or by “rabid-right-wing evangelicals” (which, by the way includes the majority of them). These people are a threat to democracy in the US as much as the Taliban is a threat to religious freedom in Afghanistan. I have no problem with Aldrin practicing his religion quietly and privately as Jesus taught us how to pray. I have no problem with anyone practicing their religion as provided by the Constitution. My problem comes when they try to jam it down my throat by threatening, murdering and harassing others to scare the rest of us to fall in line with their theocratic dictates.Like cherry-picking your scriptures, you point out my ignorance by choosing to ignore the part of my argument that many of us are now afraid and threatened by the new trend for “faiths” to be more bullying and political.

  • spidermean2

    Doomsday is coming. Why? Because of false religions and that includes atheism. Why these religions (Atheism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, Hindusim, Judaism, liberal Protestantism) are false should be discussed publicly to avoid stupidity and in a way avoid its end product which is DOOMSDAY.The idiotic world is punishing Honduras for what? For removing a leftist dictator? This world under the leadership of an idiotic president in the White House is going down the drain. The same president is starting trade protectionism in the name of climate change. I’ll not be surprised if these idiots will go to war arguing about climate change.Poor liberal idiots, they will soon eat their stupidity vomit. It should be aptly called the Doomsday of the idiots.

  • willemkraal


  • spidermean2

    willemkraal wrote ” A TOTAL FRAUD!!”As if atheism is not the dumbest of them all.

  • jaxas

    I respect the First Amendment right guaranteeing any citizen’s freedom to practice their religion. But the Moon landing was a public event, funded by public dollars. To allow any one particular religion to worm its way into such an event is an affront to those who have a differing religious point of view or to those who hold no religious point of view at all.I cannot understand why it is that certain fundamentalist true believers cannot bring themselves to this simple principle of separation of Church and State. No one would deny any of the astronauts their freedom to take such a solemn opportunity to thank their respective God for making their journey safe. But, they don’t need television cameras making a spectacle of what should be a private prayer to thank their God.

  • obrier2

    Now, you are libtarded id*ot. One small step mankind, one giant leap for stupidity!

  • Dermitt

    Everything I want to do is illegal. When the next wave of terrorist killings comes, the no prayer in school law will be broken. As long as there are math tests, there will be prayer in school. Lock up all the math teachers. The GM people can fill in and teach new math.

  • spidermean2

    “For without me (Jesus) you can do nothing”This is the main reason why Aldrin and Armstrong (both Christians) were able to land on the moon first. After 40 years no atheist has still landed over there.A thanksgiving to the Almighty seen by the heathen world would have been appropriate. One reason why the Islamic world hates America is because of its ungodliness. America is at war in Afghanistan and Iraq because of the ungodly liberal idiots in America. The Christians are left defending their stupidity.

  • jaxas

    Spidermean, Madelyn Murray O’Hare would be highly amused at you calling her a “Satanist” since she does not believe in Satan any more than she believes in some amorphous, incomprehensible Supreme Being who one day–out of boredom and lonliness I suppose–up and created all that has been created.Look. This is silly and childish. We can forgive our ancient forebearers for their innocent bel;ief in such fairy tales. But in this enlightened age when we can actuall see Heavenly bodies in various stages of creation and destruction through the well understood processes of physics and celestial mechanics, anyone who clings to this foolishness deserves the lack of respect they so well have earned.To just plain ignorance and gullibility in your case, add anger and hatred. Those qualities are certain to keep you in the undeveloped state you are in and on the fringes of human thought and opinion.

  • JLErwin3

    “Doomsday is coming. Why? Because of false religions and that includes atheism. Why these religions (Atheism, Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, Hindusim, Judaism, liberal Protestantism) are false should be discussed publicly to avoid stupidity and in a way avoid its end product which is DOOMSDAY.”

  • spidermean2

    Now the liberal idiots are in it again. They had just made a law connecting trade with climate change. A form of trade protectionism under the guise of some idiotic whether change.The poor conservative Christians will be left defending the leftist liberal’s stupidity once again if ever this grows into an all out trade war.Liberal idiots should understand that Doomsday is one of their own making.These guys are idiots. Left alone they will marry their own sex.

  • jaxas

    The trek of human silliness is astonishly easy to describe. Our first civilizations believed in Polytheism–the notion that for every natural phenomenon we observe there is a God with authority over it–storms, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes all were caused by some particular Deity unhappy with some conduct on the part of man.The ancient hebrews on command of their God Yahweh contrived an amazing set of laws to govern or control various human behaviour deemed as “sin” and were merciless in their punishment of same.Even up until the Great Enlightenment, man clinged to childish fanciful notions about Creation We once foolishly believed that the earth was the center of our Universe and that all things moved around it including our sun and moon. We even once fancifully thought that the earth was flat.All of these silly, childish notion have one by one been cast aside as man’s knowledge of his environment has increased through the growth of science and empirics. And that is an irreversible process. I suppose that if our Moon landers had found beings on the moon sufficiently advanced to mimic our own ancient ancestors here on earth, they would have been worshipped as “Gods” and legends would have been developed to explain their existence in more or less the same childish way we once understood the cosmos.

  • kjohnson3

    Gconrads,”Reading comprehension time”?How do you expect anyone to comprehend what you’ve written here when you haven’t bothered to include basic punctuation in your message? The absence of periods and commas in places where they belong — and the insertion of commas where they don’t — makes your message completely incomprehensible.

  • jaxas

    Spidermean, look around you. Those “poor conservative Christians” you refer to are dwindling in their numbers. There is a tide in human affairs the old saying goes. At present, old cultures are dying off. At the time of our founding, the tide favored white Christian males. Now, the tide is beginning to favor a more multi-cultural world. The dominance of white conservative Christian males is fading. The signs are all around.Like the first Americans–those we call “Indians”–there will be a fierce resistance to this cultural change. But it will be useless. The political reverberations of this larger cultural change affecting the entire world, are only recently being felt in our own provincial culture here in America. And in our political system it is starkly demonstratd by the election of Barack Obama.Three hundred years ago, the West was turning whiter because of the advance of white European Christian males. Now, the West is taking on a darker hue. That doesn’t meant the death of Christianity but it does signal the end of white, fundamentalist Christianity as a political force.

  • genevieve2000

    for the one who wrote: “Yes there are false religions like Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism ,liberal Protestantism, etc but among all these false religions ATHEISM is the worst. A false belief is a false religion and atheism is the dumbest belief or “non-belief” of all.”

  • SherryLP3

    Very well said, KNEUMANN7! Buzz Aldrin and NASA both practiced the American Constitutional right to freedom of religion–freedom to practice religion by one’s choice, and freedom not to have particular religious practices made “official.”

  • Rationalista

    I would like to point something out: atheism is not a religion. The “a” prefix means “not,” so an atheist is one who does not believe (in a god). Calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color.And as for Coloradodog’s comments–he’s on target. I don’t think anyone minds a private religious ceremony–it’s the “Huckabeeization” of religion (cram it down others’ throats, say that America is a “Christian nation,” etc.) for political gain that is so offensive. Didn’t the Nazis use religion for political gain also? Wasn’t the Catholic Church, via its Pope, right on board with the Nazi plan? Religion has always been used this way–to shore up political power by stirring up the zealotry of the people. It was ever thus.

  • bestotimes

    “…have reaped what they have sewn..”Unless the writer is having a little play on words that escaped me, I believe he should have said “sowed.” To sew refers generally to what you do with a needle and thread, while to sow refers to scattering seeds. The past tense of sow is sowed or sown.

  • spidermean2

    Jaxas,There’s is something you forgot. The Bible is also a book of prophecies. I know what is in store for Christians and unbelievers in the near and far future. I know which countries will be involved in WW3 and which countries will turn into powder and who will emerge victorious.

  • khote14

    If the guy wants to play with his religious toys, who cares? On one of the lunar landings they brought a golf club and ball and hit it. This had an equal meaning and value as this astronaut playing with himself on the moon, we didn’t complain about that.

  • spidermean2

    genevieve2000 wrote “Are you God to tell us which one is true or false? “The Bible is like a “crystal ball” if you only know how to read it and understand it.It’s full of prophecies and so far they are all hitting their targets accurately.It is in the prophecy that America will be fighting more than 15 countries in WW3. Now check that out how accurate that prophecy will be.

  • khote14

    How any people here want to bet that spidey will one day turn up on America’s Most Wanted as a suspected serial killer?Why, it’s a prophecy, stated in Josephus 34:33

  • djmolter

    Can’t help but wonder: if Aldrin had been Muslim, would there have been a stink if he’d dedicated a service to Muhammed?God may have made the moon, but whose version of god?

  • JLErwin3

    Spidermean2 still hasn’t the courage to proclaim his or her faith, although the specific condemnation of liberal Protestants suggests a Protestant faith that claims only to be conservative, such as Assemblies of God, Pentacostalists or a branch of Baptist. I am sure there are others but I do not keep a catalog of faiths. And while the Orthodox Christian Churches were not singled out for condemnation as well, the Orthodox are not Protestants, so Spidermean is not practicing any sort of Orthodoxy. Besides, as a Catholic I have already been condemned by this person, and I will not stoop to the same level to debate whose faith is the one true faith. These apocalyptic rantings are most reminiscient of the tenets held by white supremacists. Utter garbage. If tolerance of other faiths and freedom of religion are liberal ‘failings’ then let me be liberal, and Spidermean2 can póg mo thóin.

  • ccnl1

    Considering that everyone’s communion/eucharist is nothing more than a low-cal wafer, NASA missed a great opportunity to address obesity. And NASA missed an excellent marketing/money opportunity as they could have sold the copyright names to “Heavenly Low-Cal Wafers”, “Moon-Waning Bisquits”, “Lunar Dust Crackers”??? Any others???

  • captn_ahab

    Suppose that we made contact with intelligent beings on another world in this or another galaxy.Then suppose that those intelligent beings had never heard of the kosher rules, Jesus, or the Kabbah.Suppose they had a civilization, but they had never heard of any of these revelations from the God who resides outside of the universe.What would that tell us mortals about God?

  • tcamb505

    What a great story. I am proud that Buzz attempted to make a statement for our country and our world up there 40 years ago. However, I noticed something that reflects what I believe NASA (Never A Straight Answer)is inclined to do on many occasions. They black out anything they think that is not conducive to what they want the world to perceive about their mission’s in space. Our tax dollars fund NASA and I wish they would be held accountable to what they report that they find out there. Case point for starters…can you believe they lost the original moon landing tapes? I don’t think so…NASA=Never A Straight Answer

  • spidermean2

    Now don’t expect to win the war coz Barrack is doing everything to make America weaker everyday. That’s what leftists usually do, don’t they?

  • pgibson1

    lest you forget, Galileo was a pioneer in this arena, upsetting the Catholics, and winning an all expense paid trip to Exile until he died.Compassion is a natural counterpart to the church’s nastier side, oppression.Oh, yes, it’s a nasty thing to do – siding with the church despite evidence in your face that everything the founders of the religious cults originally “thought”, (spelled, “Made-up”)was eventually proven quite incorrect by people by Galileo.the heavens are NOTHING like the space that early theologians claimed it was like.Oh, but they inSISTED that it was thier way, or you were just plain wrong.All this mumbo-jumbo god talk is just another chapter of mumbo-jumbo B.S.why do I even care? Well, I don’t really – except to come in here and expose your church’s incessant hypocrisy- a main root of evil.Yes, the Church.Duuuhhh.Think “Galileo”, and wonder how blessed he was for his “talents”. let it go – I’m pretty sure God’s thinking you’re all mental by now.

  • onestring

    Government MUST NEVER BRING ANY RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE INTO ANY GOVERNMENT ACTIVITY.IF THE GOVERNMENT IS INVOLVED IT IS ILLEGAL TO ADD RELIGION OF ANY KIND.Fundamentalists of every religion always want to shove their opinions and superstitions down our throats …and have it paid for by our tax dollars.

  • ThomasBaum

    Unregistered You wrote, “Individual communion really is a contradiction in terms.”The “communion” is between God and man, mankind.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • DupontJay

    Should Aldrin have been allowed to hijack a US Government scientific program and use it to broadcast a denominational religious service to the world? Tough call.Religion as a personal matter is a uniquely American invention. For most of mankind’s recorded history, in most countries, religion was a matter of state. Our Constitution has safeguards in place to ensure that America remains a place where religion is a matter of personal, not state, choice. Those who would trifle with those safeguards betray America’s ideals of religious freedom.So yeah, that means no government representatives broadcasting their religious service from the Moon. Still unconvinced? Just imagine if Aldrin were a Satanist, and see if you’re OK with him using this government event for a religious speech.

  • spidermean2

    kgustaf wrote “Though she may have been a very disturbed person, she improved America by removing officially sanctioned prayer from public schools”Improvement to the idiots means anything but good.

  • fzdybel

    “Yes there are false religions like Islam, Buddhism, Catholicism ,liberal Protestantism, etc but among all these false religions ATHEISM is the worst.”Scratch a zealot and find someone who is insecure in their own faith. That must be why you find ATHEISM so troubling, eh? That and your fear of death. Get ready for personal extinction. All religions are false religions. They’re man-made items. That’s why there are so many different ones. Each starts with a prophet, and most of them promise eternal life.Gee, in the Christian creation myth, wasn’t eternal life what the snake promised? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice …

  • ThomasBaum

    spidermean2You wrote, “When the first settlers in America landed at Plymouth Massachussettes, they had a litle service to give thanks to God – the Christian God.”God is either the God of All or is not God at all.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • spidermean2

    DupontJay wrote “Just imagine if Aldrin were a Satanist, and see if you’re OK with him using this government event for a religious speech.”What happened was a Satanist by the name of Madelyn Murray O’Hare whose belief triumphed by stopping what should have been just a simple thanksgiving. You can’t debate with fools.

  • davem3

    I applaud NASA for not transmitting the Aldrin communion. It is totally inappropriate (and illegal) for a government project to include anything biased toward a religion. Let’s leave outer space out of the superstitions of prehistoric man, which at most should stay on this planet.Also kudos to the WP for the Secularists corner. I wish all news media could be so open minded.

  • MissMay

    How about Moon Pies (made in Chattanooga) and a cup of coffee and some good ole shape note song! Holy Moly! Free speech is just grand.

  • B2O2

    Wow, I never realized that our Constitution was nearly tossed out the window during this most memorable of events. NASA made the right decision. If Aldrin had monopolized the moment to hold his cannibal-fetish Catholic ritual while the tax money of all Americans was ticking away, what a slap in the face it would have been to every non-Catholic watching.Kudos to NASA for upholding an American value.

  • telesonic

    Whatever his qualifications as a pilot, Aldrin was definitely a showman. Celebrating the first communion on the moon was probably his way of making up for being the second man to walk on the moon.Well, it’s good to know the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ retain their soul-saving properties at 0.17G. I’m sure this bit of information will prove will be very useful someday.

  • spidermean2

    fzdybel wrote “wasn’t eternal life what the snake promised?”Imagine, these people call themselves smart when they can’t even discern what is a figure of speech called personification.”And the seven thin and ill favored kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.” (Gen. 41:27)The idiots should be scared what that “snake” actually means.

  • spidermean2

    In time, some parts of the earth will look like the moon which Aldrin described as desolate.In due time Aldrin may reenact the Lord’s Supper in such a desolate place (formerly a liberal or atheist state) to emphasize the stupidity of mankind.The idiots won’t be able to see nor oppose it coz they are all gone. Their stupidity has taken them away coz they had nuked each other. God always has the last say.

  • Rationalista

    Can’t let you have the last say, Spidey. Your ad hominem attacks are tiresome and small.