By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
(CNN) - With former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s announcement this weekend that he won’t seek the presidency, one of the largest voting blocs in the Republican Party is now officially up for grabs: evangelical Christians.
As a presidential candidate in 2008, Huckabee - a Baptist minister who focused on faith-related issues like opposition to abortion - rode evangelical support to victory in Iowa and seven other states during the primaries and caucuses. John McCain eventually won the GOP nomination.
With Huckabee on the sidelines, other Republican White House hopefuls will have a better chance of picking up evangelical votes, which accounted for more than half the GOP electorate in Iowa and South Carolina in 2008, according to polling.
“Mike Huckabee had virtually unprecedented appeal among evangelicals in the Republican Party,” says Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition. "[His] announcement leaves a huge void among one of the most potent constituencies in the GOP at a time when the race is highly fluid and arguably wide open.
Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
All presidential candidates have flaws. But American voters want their presidents to seem presidential. What that means is that they want their presidents to look like them. Or, to be more precise, to look like they imagine themselves to be.
On this score, at least, the emerging GOP presidential field has three strikes against it.
Likely contender Mitt Romney may be tall, dark and handsome, but he didn’t do himself any favors by equivocating last week about the Massachusetts health care plan he signed into law as governor—a plan some are now referring to as Romneycare. Moreover, he is vulnerable for his resume as a moderate Republican.
But the real challenge for Romney, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, continues to be his religion.
By Padmananda Rama, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Father Patrick Desbois does not consider the stories confessions. Instead, he considers the collection of stories he's gathered over nine years the truth.
The Catholic priest and his teams have traveled to some 600 villages across Eastern Europe, seeking elderly villagers, farmers, pensioners, anyone old enough to remember and recount the atrocities committed by Nazi soldiers during the Holocaust.
"I'm not looking for the guilt. I'm looking for the facts and where are the corpses," Desbois told CNN following a presentation at the State Department Thursday.
By Richard Allen Greene and Hada Messia
New Vatican guidelines aimed at fighting child abuse by priests tell Catholic bishops they should cooperate with police, but do not order them to report allegations to the authorities.
"Sexual abuse of minors is not just a canonical delict but also a crime prosecuted by civil law," says the letter to bishops around the world, using the Vatican term for a violation of church law.
Abuse crisis fuels debate over John Paul II’s legacy
Local laws on reporting suspected crimes to the authorities "should always be followed," the guidelines say.
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.