August 4th, 2008
06:52 PM ET

Erica’s News Note: A few answers

Erica Hill
AC360° Correspondent

I can’t read enough about the kidnapping out of Boston and the man who may – or more likely, may NOT – be a Rockefeller. The most fascinating part of this story is still to come.

Who is this father with at least four aliases and enough cash to buy a house?
If he isn’t Clark Rockefeller, who is he?
Why doesn’t he have a social security card or a birth certificate?
Did his ex-wife of 12 years know about any of his aliases?
What did he tell his daughter?
What did she ask him?

Oh, the questions! I’ll have a few answers for you tonight, so be sure to join us for that.

Race is probably the most difficult topic of conversation in this country. Yes, more than politics, religion or money. Barack Obama’s bid for the White House is making race a more common discussion, but that doesn’t mean it’s any more comfortable for most Americans. One of the reasons it’s so tough to have an honest talk: no one wants to be called a racist.

But you would think that the one place you shouldn’t have to worry about race is in church. After all, doesn’t Christianity teach that Jesus loved everyone, no matter what they looked like? Maybe… but that doesn’t mean people want to worship with just anybody. It turns out, many Americans prefer to get their religion with folks who look like them.

An ironic twist… a man who works at a funeral home confirms he’s very much alive, despite reports he died in a flood more than 30 years ago.

Filed under: Erica Hill • Erica's News Note
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Paul

    Hello Erica,

    It's true that most small churches are homogenous and that is why they stay small. Most churches that are flourishing and with vibrant growth are multicultural. The understanding that Christians have regarding complete obedience to Jesus' commands is I believe well described in Romans 7:23 there is described a triune essence of our existence.

    The law of my mind, the law of my members and me. The law of my mind is the spirit of a man, the law of my members is the carnal nature of man and the me is the essence of a man's soul. The text describes well the internal civil war which is a universal condition of all mankind.

    Christians want to be 100% obedient but fall short. Part of being a Christian is the journey from a zero to full 100% or being perfected in Christ or in other words, the process of sanctification.

    Therefore the more we grow spiritually and the deeper we grow in love for people (all people), the closer we become to fulfilling the Great Commission. Many churches consist of various individuals at varying stages of development in this sanctification process.

    This however is not unique to Christianity, every religion of man acknowledges on some way the same internal civil war and offer some sort of escape from it as "it:" is a condition of mankind.

    August 5, 2008 at 3:00 am |
  2. Victor in Saanich, B.C. Canada

    Erica, at least you got it right about the SS card!! I read Gabe's piece about Rockefeller not having an SS 'guard'!!

    August 5, 2008 at 12:39 am |
  3. ericacnn

    thanks, renee and annie kate. never underestimate the power of great makeup artists and coffee! 😉

    August 4, 2008 at 9:07 pm |
  4. Mike in NYC

    This "Rockefeller" story is boring, boring, boring. Another custody-related abduction ... yawn.

    "... many Americans prefer to get their religion with folks who look like them."

    Or sound like them. Whites and blacks have different, um, "styles" of worship, if you get my drift.

    August 4, 2008 at 8:45 pm |
  5. Heather,CA,US

    How could his daughter get a social security card if he didnt have one? How could he file tax returns without one? Or get anything?

    August 4, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  6. Annie Kate

    Where was this man who was suppose to be dead for 30 years? Was he paying his taxes during that time? IF he was then I guess the IRS doesn't care if you are dead or alive as long as they get money from you....although after 30 years you would think someone would flag it. Maybe he didn't pay his taxes for those 30 years – if he didn't the IRS may make him wish his death had not been misreported.

    They say that Sunday mornings are some of the most segregated hours consistently in America. I wonder if they will continue to be and if they do is it necessarily a bad thing?

    Saw you Saturday on CBS – you were great! I don't see how you did it and looked so great on 3 hours of sleep.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 4, 2008 at 8:23 pm |
  7. Ruby Coria, LA. CA.

    Hello Erica, wow that Rocker-guy sure is rocked in the mind..
    just like those who don't like to be called racist.. when they are., we all are racist in one form or another.. like "Cindy in Ga." writes..if you truly go by the Bible then race shouldn't be a factor in anything..and she writes some where else how.. the country as a whole are against gay marriage. Is that a form of racist? Who ever! and What ever! made humans was NOT racist.. there a little bit of everything..
    see u tonight. (said what? Erica you're on CBS?)

    August 4, 2008 at 8:16 pm |
  8. Heather,CA,US

    Hi Erica,

    Are you saying he's been using the Rockefeller name for 12 years?! My first question is have they always lived in the states,or the UK? My next question is,if they mostly lived here in the US did she ever get to meet her in-laws? I think anyone thinking of spending the rest of their forseeable future with someone would want to know their spouse's family. Unless he used different identities with different people so no one would know each other and he could keep the deception going. I'm sure without a doubt that whatever wealth he has is not his. Im sure it all belongs to various people. I bet he has spent so much of his life lying that he doesnt remember the truth. He seemed pretty resourceful. Of course,I love mysteries and puzzles.I cant wait to see what you found out.

    August 4, 2008 at 8:01 pm |
  9. Renee Whitney

    I would like you to correct your statements. I am a white woman living in north carolina and I'm 73 years old and I will be voting for Barack Obama. I have four friends, two of whom, did vote for Hillary, but will also be voting for Obama. Just so you know they never has problem with him, they just wanted a competent woman president before they died. So from the FIVE of us just stop the nonsense! White women over 65 will vote for Barack!

    August 4, 2008 at 7:53 pm |
  10. Renee


    This Rockefeller NOT! seems quite shady. Wow! Someone must know this man.

    Congratulations on your work on CBS Morning. We look forward to seeing you more often in your own limelight and wish you to the best!

    August 4, 2008 at 7:35 pm |
  11. GF, Los Angeles

    I don't think the ex-wife knew of his aliases in the beginning because she more than likely only cared about the amount of money he had. I highly doubt she would truly question how he earned it because she benefitted from it.

    I think it's hypocritical for any race or religion to only prefer one race to worship in an establishment. How can they say they believe in their God by segregating themselves from the other people God had made? I'm glad I'm Aethist and don't have to bother with church.

    August 4, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  12. Lilibeth

    On the issue of Americans preferring to get their religion with folks who look like them…I know in my church (which is multi-racial), after mass, people would go out for coffee or brunch, and they tend to socialize with people their own race, but that doesn’t mean they’re racist. For whatever reason, they’re just more comfortable mingling with people their own race. Or perhaps we have a long way to go before we get to be like Jesus. Sometimes, He’s a tough act to follow.

    Well, I’m glad Mr. Johnson is alive and well, and not dead as previously thought. What an amazing story, though!

    See you later,
    Edmonds, Washington

    August 4, 2008 at 7:30 pm |
  13. Cindy

    I've been reading everything about the Rockefeller case too! I can't believe his wife was married to him for 12 years and didn't know anything about him really. That doesn't seem right to me!

    I have to say that I go to a non-denominational church that preaches a pentecostal southern baptist mix and we have just as many black members as we do white. There is no bias or prejudice there. So I don't buy that most people want to worship with people that are of their own color. I have no problem with any one in my church. They are all great people. And BTW...it is a big church. If you truly go by the Bible then race shouldn't be a factor in anything. If it is then you need to be really looking at yourself !


    August 4, 2008 at 7:03 pm |