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August 8th, 2010
03:22 PM ET

Opinion: Same-sex marriage will hurt families, society

Editor's note: Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr. is senior pastor of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland, and founder and Chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition (HILC). He shares his thoughts on traditional marriage in "The Black Pulpit," a weekly series of opinion pieces that explores faith in the black community. CNN's "Black in America: Churched" premieres October 14.

By Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr., Special to CNN

The institution of marriage is unique. It is the one institution that binds women and men together to form a family, and this serves broad societal purposes.

In California, a U.S. District Court Judge last week overturned Proposition 8, the California Marriage Protection Act. It was passed in November 2008 by California voters to recognize "only marriage between a man and a woman."

The majority of Californians, including two-thirds of the state's black voters, have just had their core civil right - the right to vote - stripped from them by an openly gay federal judge who has misread history and the Constitution to impose his views on the state's people.

Read the full story

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christian Science • Culture wars • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (233 Responses)
  1. Reality

    No such thing as marriage with the "ssu" ers no matter what "t–oys" are used.

    August 11, 2010 at 12:05 am |
    • peace2all

      @Reality

      I just logged on a bit ago... and am trying to catch up on the different articles and postings.

      I just read yours above..... and I am assuming that you used code to make it past the moderators.... but, I have to ask. What are you saying exactly...?

      Hope that you are well....

      August 11, 2010 at 12:20 am |
  2. Nancy

    Your right to vote has not been revoked ya dingbat. You voted to deny a group of people their civil rights. You cannot do that any more than a group of people can vote to deny YOUR civil rights.

    That's how that works.

    Perhaps you need to stick to preachin' instead of trying to teach us civics. We went to that class. You clearly did not.

    Your right to vote was given to you by people thought you had that right as a human being. Now you vote to deny rights to others.

    Seriously.... you my friend are a fraud.

    August 10, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
    • Toby

      Nancy-If there is one trend I notice with astounding frequency, it is that Catholic Mom never initiates a post on her own-she merely responds to other posts, thus avoiding the "Reply" possibility. Regardless, your comment is the proverbial nail in the coffin of ignorance and intolerance. Thanks!

      August 10, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Toby,
      Don't be afraid to respond to me if you have something to offer. It is not that hard to do. As you see, the 'reply' is not necessary.
      I am not trying to 'push' an agenda as many are. But I will stand up for Truth.

      August 11, 2010 at 9:06 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Toby,

      "Not to oppose error is to approve it; and not to defend truth is to suppress it."
      Pope St. Felix III

      August 11, 2010 at 9:31 am |
  3. andrew

    Let's get serious though, this whole debate is based on one verse in the book of Leviticus. If one wants to adopt the Jewish law, then they should accept them all and promote killing adulterers, revenge killing(an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth), start some witch-hunts, and commit genocides of the "tribes" that follow a false religion (Amalekites, Mideonites, Hitites, etc.) and take all their virgins to rape and defile. Additionally, the New Testament says nothing about homosexuality. It's a good thing that there is no evidence that any of the Bible stories are in fact true. It is a sad irony that there is so much dislike of gay men and women in the African-American communities, many of whom know what it is like to be judged based on things that they cannot control. Gay people have as much "choice" in being gay, as an African-American has in their skin color. Silly nonsense.

    August 10, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  4. andrew

    The pastor seems to have missed the point made by Judge Walker, whom I do not believe is "openly gay" himself as described, about the lack of evidence by the pro-Prop 8 side to show that gay marriage is damaging to hetero sexual marriage. He also seems to think that U.S. law is somehow Christian law, which it is not. We left the bronze age laws behind us long ago and our constitution strictly does not include any mention of God or the Bible in it's precepts. The pastor seems to be confusing how people feel and what is actual fact. In his written response, Judge Walker very eloquently lays out the case for the rights of homosexuals using facts not feelings.

    August 10, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  5. Rick

    The 2/3 figure is dubious, as shown by numerous studies conducted subsequent to the election. Percentages don't really matter though fundamentally, since we live in a constitutional democracy rather than a pure majority-rule system.

    A majority of voters or legislators in a particular state, no matter how high the percentage, cannot vote to take fundamental rights away from a suspect class without a sufficient basis to do so. So we can't pass a law taking the right to keep and bear arms from Jewish people, or taking away First Amendment rights away from African Americans, or taking away from women the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.

    Mr. Jackson is doing a good job slavishly perpetuating the homophobia forcibly imposed on the ancestors of African Americans by the racist European and American white Christians who thought it was okay (indeed, mandated by the Bible) to buy and sell people, and for people to discriminate against each other on a whole host of questionable bases, but fortunately these views are not part of our constitutional democracy.

    August 10, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  6. AM

    As a christian, Yes I would disagree with the concept of gay marraige, I beleive it is morally wrong and a life choice someone makes. But like it or not, I cannot argue that gay marraige is not constitutional. Every should have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness within the law. IF asked by a gay person if I beleive its is wrong, I would tell them my honest opinion, but I would not go around with a billboard telling them it is wrong, I do not beleive it is my place when I myself am not perfect. As long as they respect my beleifs, I will respect theirs. If a gay couple wanted to get married in my church, not to sound like a jerk, I would take that as a slap in the face to my beleifs.

    August 10, 2010 at 3:17 pm |
  7. His Own

    Catholic Mom:
    Please let me clarify. When I said God said come as you are,I was referring to Salvation. When we come to Jesus as Sinners and ask forgiveness, we are with sin. Doesn't matter what sin, he just wants us to come to him and accept him in our hearts and his death on the cross as payment for our sins. Then , by the blood of Jesus Christ we are cleansed, and of course we are to not live in sin.
    Because we are born again, we are to live as the Lord commands us to. I hope that clarifys it.
    I NEVER met to give the impression that you can live in sin...thats absrd!
    CatholicMom...You said there is no mention of what Jesus said to the woman cuaght in Adultery
    Please read the scripture and NOTE the last line:
    A Woman Caught in Adultery
    7:53 1 [[And each one departed to his own house. 8:1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 8:2 Early in the morning he came to the temple courts again. All the people came to him, and he sat down and began to teach 3 them. 8:3 The experts in the law 4 and the Pharisees 5 brought a woman who had been caught committing adultery. They made her stand in front of them 8:4 and said to Jesus, 6 “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. 8:5 In the law Moses commanded us to stone to death 7 such women. 8 What then do you say?” 8:6 (Now they were asking this in an attempt to trap him, so that they could bring charges against 9 him.) 10 Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger. 11 8:7 When they persisted in asking him, he stood up straight 12 and replied, 13 “Whoever among you is guiltless 14 may be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8:8 Then 15 he bent over again and wrote on the ground.

    8:9 Now when they heard this, they began to drift away one at a time, starting with the older ones, 16 until Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 8:10 Jesus stood up straight 17 and said to her, “Woman, 18 where are they? Did no one condemn you?” 8:11 She replied, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”]] 19
    Thanks my Christian sister, for your concern for me. I have been Saved by the Blood of Christ for along time, and am doing my best to live as he instructs. In my older years now, and Loving the Lord and Spreading his word has always been from my heart. Just as I am sure you are doing here.
    I agree your decisions and choices will decide whether your name will be found in the Book of Life, Thats what I am saying, and hope that it is taken as just that. By your pointing these issues out, I am now sure if any doubt was there as to what I was trying to relAY, IT HAS SURELY been made clear. Peace and Love to you!

    August 10, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • keopke42

      if god loves us all, including gays, atheists, and the like. Then why do "christian nazis" feel it is their duty to persecute them and take away their civil rights. When i say "christian nazis" i'm not talking about all christians, just the ones who feel it is their god given right to decide what is best for everyone. they quote scripture and threaten you with hellfire and damnation if you don't agree. I'll be honest i would consider myself christian, but i do not condone the behavior of a great deal of christians, because i don't believe it is our duty to persecute sinners, that duty belongs to god and god alone. It seems that these "christian nazis" feel that they are completely without sin and therefore able to cast stones at everyone who doesn't agree with them. even jesus did not cast a single stone, and as far as i know, he was the only human to ever live without sin.
      I think its funny your choice of quote from the bible, because that is the very same quote that i frequently use to make "christian nazis" shut up. besides, there is one quote that covers all the bases in the bible. Jesus said "love thy brother as you would love thyself". If all christians followed that advice we wouldn't even be having this conversation, and they would never break any of the tenets in the bible. Not one section of the bible would be violated, and everyone would be happier. Sadly, that would require "christian nazis" to mind their own business, which we all know is impossible.

      August 10, 2010 at 5:49 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      His Own,
      Thank you for responding. I think I understand what you are saying. Yes, the Commandments are still essential but so many people are excluding them in their way of living.

      I wasn’t certain what you meant about sin because there are those who say that once saved they cannot lose their salvation by sinning...and so sin on!.... or just try to be good, but if you do sin, no matter what the sin, you will still go to Heaven because you are saved. Our name can be struck from the Book of Life as you say.

      I have hope in my salvation for it is in hope that we are saved. Rom 8:24, and as I attain the goal of my faith, salvation 1Pet 1:9, I will persevere to the end Mt 24:13.

      May the grace of God be with you always....

      August 10, 2010 at 8:49 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @CatholicMom

      You are putting the cart before the horse.

      You obviously have a software package that lets you select a subject and then spits out all the bible verses that relate to that subject. You then cut and paste for your comment.

      This would be great if we all agree that the bible is the inerrant word of god. But I assure you, that is not the case. First, please convince us that the bible is indeed the word of god. Convince us, that the author of this sacred text actually exists. Then, I will take the time to actually read all of your cut and pastings. Cheers!

      August 11, 2010 at 12:13 am |
  8. Gary

    earth is billions of years old. proof in erosion escarpments,pangia puzzle,plate techtonics,animal fossils,fossil fuels ect ..bats are rodents, religious texts written 2200 yrs ago no proof of a God. written by men. All religion is based on faith and faith alone.

    August 10, 2010 at 11:54 am |
    • David Johnson

      So, how do you figure the fundies can say the King James is the inerrant word of god? Hmm... billions of year old you say...

      August 10, 2010 at 12:50 pm |
  9. Gary

    opposite sex divorce rate dosnt help families or communities...

    August 10, 2010 at 11:51 am |
  10. David Johnson

    @Moderators

    You flag comments for moderation, and then never moderate them. It would be better that you just delete them, rather than flagging them. When I first started posting, the comments were moderated in a timely fashion. What has changed?

    August 10, 2010 at 11:36 am |
    • Gary

      David , C.N.N. employees are typical socialist goverment workers ...very slow and inefficient.

      August 10, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Gary

      Hold thy tongue, lest we anger the moderator gods! Do you wish a tornado or boils to befall us? LOL!

      August 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • TammyB

      I was wondering this same thing as there are 4 to 5 of my comments still "awaiting moderation". Maybe you are correct and we should pay some homage to those Moderator Gods and/or Goddesses so that our comments will have a speedy delivery....!

      August 10, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
  11. Selfish Gene

    http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s2i80248

    August 10, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  12. leah

    I live in a country where gay marriage has been legal for some time now. Our mayor is openly gay. The foreign minister is openly gay. My next-door neighbors are a married gay couple. And guess what? The sky hasn't fallen. Families are not falling apart – at least, not any more than they were before gay marriage became legal. In fact, nothing at all has happened except that some people are happier.

    August 10, 2010 at 3:47 am |
    • David Johnson

      Yep, but your country probably doesn't have all the religious fanatics that the U.S. does. The religious people in your country worships in their churches and homes and don't feel the need to force everyone into the kneeling position.

      We love to call our country "the land of the free", but our religious right would make this a Christian Nation. Like the Taliban, the religious right would decide what god wants. They have their book of fables and a feeling in their hearts to guide them.

      The Religious Right would put prayer back in the schools, but only the Evangelical god would be prayed to. Only Christian holidays would be celebrated. The Quran and religious texts of other faiths, would be burned in bonfires, while the children dance and cackle around the flames.

      The Religious Right would teach our children only the Creation Story myth. While your nation and the rest of the world is teaching evolution. The rest of the world's children will talk of the wonders of scientific discovery. Our nation's children will marvel that a snake could talk.

      August 10, 2010 at 11:45 am |
    • leah

      I agree, David. I spent the first 21 years of my life in the US and know all too well how strong the agenda of the religious right is.

      You reminded me of something I overheard recently in the parking lot of an American school here: one mother had a Darwin sticker on her car. Another mother pointed to it, saying, "I can't support that! I'm a CHRISTIAN!"

      The woman answered coolly, "Oh yeah? Well, so was Darwin, so you should have a lot in common!"

      August 10, 2010 at 12:32 pm |
  13. CatholicMom

    Just Me,
    Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation [confession] John 20:21-24 when He said to the Apostle’s…..
    (Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
    22
    And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit.
    23
    Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

    Jesus also said to the scribes and Pharisee because they were unbelievers : John 8

    23
    He said to them, "You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world.
    24
    That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins."

    Take up your cross and follow Him. You decide.
    Now that you know, you cannot say you have never heard anything about it…..your ever-lasting life depends on your decisions…use your freewill and make the right decisions; let your conscience wake up!

    August 9, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  14. Eric G

    Bigotry and hatred is learned. Teaching your children bigotry and hatred is wrong. Using your religion to justify your bigotry and hatred to your children is abusive.

    August 9, 2010 at 8:52 pm |
  15. Just Me

    1. There IS a God, and he loves you all, even if you don't believe in him or what he says,
    2. He died on the cross for YOU, because of that love, and so that you could have eternal life....wether you believe in it or not.
    3. He says "come as you are....Gay, Athiest, Adultress, Adulterer, Thief, or whatever your sin may be, because we are ALL sinners! But he loves you just the same.
    4. He does not like anyone, any better then the other, as we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.
    5. He created you and gave you free choice, to accept or not accept his love, and the sacriifice of his own son, who died in your place, so you could have eternal life in Heaven someday, wether you believe it or not.
    6. He is not going to turn away from you, as its his desire that none persih, (and some will), believe it or not.
    7. It is your own freewill and choice in this life, that will decide where you spend the next one, your spiritual one, believe it or not.
    8.This is not about religion, or politics, or race. Its about YOU and your choices. He will never leave you, he is there for you always.
    9. He commands us to Love one another...that is the greatest command...LOVE. Not to judge one another.
    10. He has set certain commands in place and rules for us to live by.....we either will or will not...He will not be the one to "getcha" as one post here said. You will determine that yourself, by your free choices.

    So, friends, take it easy on this God, that some don't believe in, but yet seem to hurl hurtful words about. He Loves You...regardless of WHAT you believe or what your lifestyle is. He is not a threat to anyone, everyone will decide whats best for themselves. In the end, YOU will also decide your fate.
    If you are comfortable with your choices, then do the thing that makes it so..live and let live. Ignore his love..and his salvation..which some say is a Fairytale, or accept that your a sinner and ask Jesus Christ to forgive you and come into your heart,
    I hope truly on the judgement day,( that some believe will happen, and some don't) your name WILL be found written in the Book of Life. For the wages of our sins is eternal death, and we will be cast into the lake of fire with Satan, and yes, he does exist , as does Hell.
    Just remember as your friend, I told you this. I am a saved Christian, and I come in peace and with the Love Of Jesus Christ.

    August 9, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Carl Sagan once said, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence".

      It is easy to write about the existence of things. Watch:

      Fairies exist, whether you believe in them or not.

      Accept that you are a jet plane, and your name will be written in the book of flight plans.

      At least for me, you must supply proof. I really can't just take your word for it. You might be telling me a story. The Muslims and the Hindus have their stories. Mohammed was said to have ascended into heaven on a winged horse. I bet you don't believe that. You would want proof. Yet, you want me to believe Jesus died and then came back to life. See my point? Good!

      So, supply proof and I will believe. Otherwise, talk is cheap. Right?

      August 9, 2010 at 9:17 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Just Me,
      Yes, God loves everyone, Gays, Straights, Atheists, Adulters, thieves, and other sinners but He has shown how you are to live and love .

      I am worried that you may have given the impression that living in sin is to be expected of sinners so Jesus says ‘come as you are’…..
      There is no mention of what Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery…. ‘Go [and] from now on do not sin any more.’ John Chapter 8:11
      Yes, Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we might have life everlasting but this does not mean that we can go on sinning.

      So if you are living in a sinful relationship, thieving, NOT believing, [as Just Me suggested], you must turn away from those things. Those are things that drive Jesus away from you.

      August 9, 2010 at 11:02 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Just Me,
      Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation [confession] John 20:21-24 when He said to the Apostle’s…..
      (Jesus) said to them again, "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you."
      22
      And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the holy Spirit.
      23
      Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."

      August 9, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Just Me,
      Jesus also said to the scribes and Pharisee because they were unbelievers : John 8
      23
      He said to them, "You belong to what is below, I belong to what is above. You belong to this world, but I do not belong to this world.
      24
      That is why I told you that you will die in your sins. For if you do not believe that I AM, you will die in your sins."

      Take up your cross and follow Him. You decide if you want to.

      Now that you know, you cannot say you have never heard anything about it…..your ever-lasting life depends on your decisions…

      August 9, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
    • Bob

      CatholicMom, do you honestly think the bible is sufficient evidence in a discussion? Let me give you a clue, it isn't.

      Why? Because it's shown to be wrong.

      Age of the earth? Wrong.
      Bats are birds? Wrong.
      Noah's Ark? Wrong.

      And that's just off the top of my head. So, given that you know parts of the bible are wrong, don't you intelligently have to say to yourself "what else is wrong that we haven't caught yet?" or better yet "If parts of the bible are wrong, I shouldn't blindly accept things without evidence."

      August 10, 2010 at 7:58 am |
    • GButterfly

      @Bob actually many parts of the Bible have been proven through archeology. A ship could have been an ark but not exactly as the Bible states it did exist. The big bang has been determined to be the beginning of the Universe by many astrologers, just the time line is off in the Bible. The thing to remember and this is where many Christians stumble in their interpretations of the bible is to put it into historical perspective. It also helps to realize the New Testament was written long after Jesus had died. It's like playing that telephone game some things get lost in translation. Take Romans for example it was about prostitution, pagan rituals and idolatry, but Christians keep taking snippets of that text to try and say homosexuality is wrong. Even the priests who interpreted the bible in the beginning never used it against homosexuality it wasn't till the 1400 that people started changing the interpretations. Some went so far as to add homosexuals to Corinthians. Do some research look at the bible as a historical reference and you will see it co-insides with what happen during historical time periods. The parting of the sea for mosses actually happened, but became glorified when written down, it was low tide when mosses crossed and became high tide when it engulfed the Egyptian army. The sea turning to blood was the tectonic plates shifted causing a release of iron that would have made the sea look like blood.

      The point I am trying to make is God and those that wrote the bible never condemned the loving saved Christian homosexual relationship. God has shown repeatedly in the animal kingdom with some 1500 species homosexual relationships. If we were to believe to trust in the Holy Spirit for our interpretation of the Bible, I would say it is not a sin, especially when you put the bible into historical perspective. Christians who are passing judgment and saying it is a sin need to be careful there are many Churches, priests and nuns going on the record saying based on the new evidence presented regarding homosexuality it is not a sin.

      August 10, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
    • Toby

      Just Me- What caused you to think that you needed "saving"? Did you recognize on your own that you were implicated in the doctrine of Original Sin? Or, more likely, were you indoctrinated into these ideas from a young age-unable to reason or think critically about the nonsense that was being taught to you? If you "discovered" these ideas as a thinking adult, it's more likely that you suffer from a guilt complex, fear of the unknown, and fear of death. Regardless, did you (in your quest to discover the ultimate truth) investigate and verify the truth claims of Islam, Judaism, and Mormonism? If not, why not?

      August 10, 2010 at 10:38 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Toby, I am responding even though your question was directed to Just Me about the truth claims of Islam, Judaism, and Mormonism….
      I am not speaking for ‘Just Me’ but for myself…..

      If 2 +2=4 and that is what my Faith tells me, why would I have to investigate others who say…2+2=3 or something else? I am happy to have the Truth.

      August 11, 2010 at 4:08 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Bob,
      I use the Bible, the Magisterium, and the Church for my Truth and it is all-sufficient for me. It is better than NOTHING which appears to be what you rely on.

      August 11, 2010 at 4:13 pm |
    • One Whose Name Means Beloved of God

      So–religion is just better-than-nothing?

      Really?

      August 12, 2010 at 1:20 am |
  16. David Johnson

    @MODERATORS

    Several of my comments have been flagged with "Your comment is awaiting moderation." They have been for the last 2 days. Will a decision be made soon? It would be nice to know what they are being flagged for. I wouldn't be committing the same sin over and over.

    August 9, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      David Johnson,

      If you are recognizing your sins and refraining for such activity that means your conscience is waking up!!

      August 9, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @CatholicMom

      Yep, I am paying homage to the Moderator gods.

      August 9, 2010 at 9:40 pm |
  17. junknira

    Folks like Cindy and catholicmom are afraid to do the research and find out that their precious bible stories came from other stories that begat even more stories, myths and gods, all used to oppress and make obedient

    August 9, 2010 at 7:22 pm |
    • Eric G

      Research will provide facts. Facts and faith are mutualy exclusive concepts.

      August 9, 2010 at 8:45 pm |
    • David Johnson

      The funny part is, that even if you do the research for them, they still won't accept it and correct what they tell people.

      I was watching this documentary on HBO this morning. It is about a Catholic abortion rescue mission. This mission "sets up" across the street from abortion clinics. They use deception and outright lies to try and keep women from having an abortion. They give their missions deceptive names, so women enter thinking it is the abortion clinic.

      Catch it if you can. Cheers!

      August 9, 2010 at 9:28 pm |
  18. David Johnson

    @Guest & Cindy

    You said, "There is only one choice: to live for self or to live for God.

    Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen (Divine Intimacy)"

    "Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." – Thomas Jefferson

    August 9, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  19. carlos

    I am confused.. is this guy serious or just making this up? Maybe this was written in a diiferent century..

    August 9, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  20. Been There

    Oh rational ones, you cannot convince the blinded puppets that they are misguided by their religion. Why do you waste your time? Reason is not their thing.

    August 9, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.