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My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?
June 21st, 2011
10:10 AM ET

My Take: Bible condemns a lot, so why focus on homosexuality?

Editor's Note: Jonathan Dudley is the author of Broken Words: The Abuse of Science and Faith in American Politics.

By Jonathan Dudley, Special to CNN

Growing up in the evangelical community, I learned the Bible’s stance on homosexuality is clear-cut. God condemns it, I was taught, and those who disagree just haven’t read their Bibles closely enough.

Having recently graduated from Yale Divinity School, I can say that my childhood community’s approach to gay rights—though well intentioned—is riddled with self-serving double standards.

I don’t doubt that the one New Testament author who wrote on the subject of male-male intercourse thought it a sin. In Romans 1, the only passage in the Bible where a reason is explicitly given for opposing same-sex relations, the Apostle Paul calls them “unnatural.”

Problem is, Paul’s only other moral argument from nature is the following: “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory?” (1 Corinthians 11:14-15).

Few Christians would answer that question with a “yes.”

In short, Paul objects to two things as unnatural: one is male-male sex and the other is long hair on men and short hair on women. The community opposed to gay marriage takes one condemnation as timeless and universal and the other as culturally relative.

I also don’t doubt that those who advocate gay marriage are advocating a revision of the Christian tradition.

But the community opposed to gay marriage has itself revised the Christian tradition in a host of ways. For the first 1500 years of Christianity, for example, marriage was deemed morally inferior to celibacy. When a theologian named Jovinian challenged that hierarchy in 390 A.D. — merely by suggesting that marriage and celibacy might be equally worthwhile endeavors — he was deemed a heretic and excommunicated from the church.

How does that sit with “family values” activism today?

Yale New Testament professor Dale B. Martin has noted that today’s "pro-family" activism, despite its pretense to be representing traditional Christian values, would have been considered “heresy” for most of the church’s history.

The community opposed to gay marriage has also departed from the Christian tradition on another issue at the heart of its social agenda: abortion.

Unbeknownst to most lay Christians, the vast majority of Christian theologians and saints throughout history have not believed life begins at conception.

Although he admitted some uncertainty on the matter, the hugely influential 4th and 5th century Christian thinker Saint Augustine wrote, “it could not be said that there was a living soul in [a] body” if it is “not yet endowed with senses.”

Thomas Aquinas, a Catholic saint and a giant of mediaeval theology, argued: “before the body has organs in any way whatever, it cannot be receptive of the soul.”

American evangelicals, meanwhile, widely opposed the idea that life begins at conception until the 1970s, with some even advocating looser abortion laws based on their reading of the Bible before then.

It won’t do to oppose gay marriage because it’s not traditional while advocating other positions that are not traditional.

And then there’s the topic of divorce. Although there is only one uncontested reference to same-sex relations in the New Testament, divorce is condemned throughout, both by Jesus and Paul. To quote Jesus from the Gospel of Mark: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.”

A possible exception is made only for unfaithfulness.

The community most opposed to gay marriage usually reads these condemnations very leniently. A 2007 issue of Christianity Today, for example, featured a story on its cover about divorce that concluded that Christians should permit divorce for “adultery,” “emotional and physical neglect” and “abandonment and abuse.”

The author emphasizes how impractical it would be to apply a strict interpretation of Jesus on this matter: “It is difficult to believe the Bible can be as impractical as this interpretation implies.”

Indeed it is.

On the other hand, it’s not at all difficult for a community of Christian leaders, who are almost exclusively white, heterosexual men, to advocate interpretations that can be very impractical for a historically oppressed minority to which they do not belong – homosexuals.

Whether the topic is hair length, celibacy, when life begins, or divorce, time and again, the leaders most opposed to gay marriage have demonstrated an incredible willingness to consider nuances and complicating considerations when their own interests are at stake.

Since graduating from seminary, I no longer identify with the evangelical community of my youth. The community gave me many fond memories and sound values but it also taught me to take the very human perspectives of its leaders and attribute them to God.

So let’s stop the charade and be honest.

Opponents of gay marriage aren’t defending the Bible’s values. They’re using the Bible to defend their own.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jonathan Dudley.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Homosexuality • Opinion

soundoff (6,474 Responses)
  1. Michael

    What I see with Jonathan's piece is a young man who is dismissing what he was taught from the Bible growing up, and regurgitating the drivel that passes for theology in most cemetaries...I mean, seminaries today.

    I do agree with the general premise of how the church has disregarded (at best) or ignored (at worst) other explicit statements. The way the Western church seems hell-bent (no pun intended) on building $30 million edifices but ignore the people in the shadow of their steeples who are having a hard time making a living...this is a blatant disregard for the instruction given and the example given in the New Testament.

    With that having been said...you either believe the Bible or you don't; and if you don't, then don't lecture people who do believe, about what it has to say.

    July 24, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
    • asdf

      "regurgitating the drivel that passes for theology"

      or, thinking critically based on his education as opposed to uncritically accepting what he was told growing up, as you seem to have done.

      it's funny how evangelical hate higher education, because it is the enemy of their ignorant beliefs.

      July 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Christine

      Michael,
      You say that you either believe in the Bible or you don't. Are you writing that you follow every word of the Bible? Really? There are many contradictions in the Bible. As Christians and Jews we do have to sift though the Bible to read its intent. Not everything in the Bible is worthy of reverence. As Americans we do have freedom of speech. That may not be in the Bible either but it is the author's right, nonetheless. Why read what he has to say only to demean his age, his education, and his right to comment? Thank God we do not live under the political systems that existed in the Bible. Or as the literalist that you profess to be, should be lose our freedoms as Americans to think and communicate our thoughts to others?

      July 24, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
  2. lili

    I agree with everything in the bible! this doesn't mean I hate gay people ,but please stop trying to make it ok through god eyes because it isn't and when his rapture comes you will see and know why.Read the bible carefully you will not be saved in those days when he comes.Stop trying to make right!

    July 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
    • asdf

      "I agree with everything in the bible!"

      no you don't

      July 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm |
    • abc

      "I agree with everything in the bible!"

      So the next time your children act or you see other Christian children acting up remember to bring them to the elders to be stoned to death. Remember too that when you are in Church women are not allowed to speak and if they do you need to tell them to shut up.

      You are just like what the writer is saying using the bible for your own agenda, nothing more.

      July 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  3. TruthWithinOrWithout

    The Christian Bible makes the claim that it is God's book that he supernaturally directed selected people to write to humans based on His supposedly all-knowing, all-wise, and loving Father attributes; and that without its guidance we are not aware of nor will we live the fullest lives intended for humans.

    It proposes further that it contains true events - good, bad, and ugly stuff, and that it contains the truth. It says that it can be understood and received only with God's guidance - you supposedly can't read it like a novel or other instructional manual and get much out of it. The Book says it is foolishness to some readers. So I guess that means don't be surprised when we find seemingly unbelievable and objectionable stuff in there. It also appears to convey that It is the standard to live by, not how other humans live.

    So what do we do?

    (A) Dismiss it as an old book of other people’s ideas.
    (B) Use our perceived all-knowing attributes that give us full knowledge of the past, the present and the future, things unseen, the ability to read minds and true motives, and fully understand why we do what we do, to solve problems and get us through life.
    (C) Be led to a true understanding of the Christian Bible, but decide to live the way we prefer.
    (D) Honestly and sincerely ask God if he is there; is He a loving Father; did He provide instructions to us on how to live; are they contained in the Christian Bible; and if so, help me understand You personally, and what You have written – I put aside what I think I know.

    Put aside all argument for now and consider the above. Thanks for reading my post. Have a great day!

    July 24, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • noly972

      Or,
      (E) Take the best ideas from all the world's 'religions', including Christianity, Islam and Judaism. But also Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, to name just a few; and develop your own personal philosophy of life. Then, live it. If you feel the need for organized religion, choose one that meshes with your philosophy; or, create your own.

      July 24, 2011 at 12:45 pm |
    • Drew

      @noly,
      Creating your own religion or "spiritual path" is nothing but creating a god of your own making. You are perfectly free to do this, but unless you, personally, have a monopoly on absolute truth, then you're "religion" will not be actual truth. Are you a fan of Joseph Smith?

      July 24, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
  4. David M.

    Few Christians would answer that question with a “yes.”

    It doesn't matter how Christians would answer a question. What's important is what God says about it. If my answer does not line up with His truth, then I'm wrong. Scripture speaks for itself. It does not need a graduate of Yale Divinity to speak for it.

    July 24, 2011 at 11:32 am |
    • Darren

      God does not exist

      July 24, 2011 at 11:56 am |
    • epgomez

      Whoever does not believe in God is a fool. God exists. Rules cannot come from nothing. Everything about the universe and life is full of rules that is followed that was conceived by a Being who we call God.

      July 24, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  5. Dc

    What is unatural is. If that was the natural way no humans would be alive today. Because we would not be able to reproduce . or mutiply. Peace love and understanding .

    July 24, 2011 at 10:59 am |
    • Observer

      "Understanding" is realizing that gays and lesbians can reproduce. It's just basic biology.

      July 24, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  6. Dc

    THe article written be Jonathan Dudley above In not inspired by the holy sprit.. If you need answers Dudley ask the holy sprit or contact a got pastor or me.

    July 24, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • asdf

      You aren't inspired by the Holy Spirit either

      July 24, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  7. claude

    You should study the Bible much more closely. There is quite a bit written on this subject in the scriptures.

    July 24, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  8. Daniel

    Mr. Dudley

    Your lame comments alone about long hair in the bible is riddled with terrible factual and implied flaws. You can't make an argument here. Samson is mentioned in the Old Testament as having long hair. When he cut his locks he lost his power. Jesus, and every other Jewish figure in portrayed as having long hair. What's up with this? You have just placed modern sterotypes and implied that these are also in past history?

    Come on. Give me a break. Your thinking is very flawed.

    Shame on you CNN for publishing this rubbish. It gives you a bad name.

    Did you ever attend classes at your seminary, Mr. Dudley?

    July 24, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • asdf

      lol, did you even attend college?

      July 24, 2011 at 10:56 am |
  9. Alan

    To Belivers and non belivers it appears we have a False Balance because God has no respect of persons but clearly speaks to us telling how we will act if we walk after the works of our flesh the same as he did when he gave commandments to the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Sin. He states in the Old testament the Book of Leviticus on how man /woman should conduct themselves as Gods people in order to make it to the promise land and in the new testament in The BooK of Galatians chapter 5 verse 19 stating "Now the works of the flesh are these Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idoltary, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulation, wrath,strife,seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkeness, revellings and such like I tell you before as I told you in time past that they that do such things shall not inheerit the Kingdom of God . So let us be zealous in fighting all these unrighteous acts then we will be on the right path to just balance and fufilling the word when Jesus states "He who is without sin cast the first stone. So let us not have respect of persons when we speak on the behalf of God

    July 24, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Jon

      This is good. During that time, STD's were all over Egypt, and throughout Canaan. God is all about us being clean, outside and from within. Who could argue with that? "His ways are higher than ours", yet we have the audacity to think we know better. Blessings!!

      July 24, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
  10. Bruce

    Leviticus 20:13

    July 24, 2011 at 9:33 am |
    • Mark

      So Bruce if you are taking that so literally what about the rest.

      Man was put to death for having other gods before Him (Exodus 22:20, Deuteronomy 18:20), or preaching to others to worship other gods (Deuteronomy 13:5-10).

      Man was put to death for serving other gods (Deuteronomy 13:5-10), or communicating with spirits (Leviticus 20:27).

      Man was put to death for taking the Lords' name in vain (Leviticus 24:16), or trespa*ssing on sacred ground (Exodus 19:12).

      Man was put to death for working on the sabbath (Exodus 31:14-15; 35:2, Numbers 15:35).

      Man was put to death for not honoring his father and mother (Exodus 21:15,17, Leviticus 20:9).

      Man was put to death for murder (Exodus 21:12, Leviticus 24:17,21, Numbers 35:16-31), even if owner's animal kills someone (Exodus 21:29).

      Man was put to death for adultery (Leviticus 20:10), ra*pe (Deuteronomy 22:25), sleeping with animals (Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 20:15-16).

      Man had to sacrifice an animal for stealing physical property (Leviticus 5:6,19; 6:2,5), or he was put to death for stealing another man for the purpose of selling him (Exodus 21:16, Deuteronomy 24:7).

      Man had to sacrifice an animal for lying (Leviticus 6:1-6), or he was put to death for bearing false witness in certain situations (Deuteronomy 19:16-21, Proverbs 19:9; 21:28).

      July 24, 2011 at 10:04 am |
  11. ART

    You look like a sodomite. Maybe they are born like that. But actually the Bible speaks for itself.
    The gaes have twisted the TRUTH.

    The Bible is plain on this subject, that a child can understand it. Any rational thinking reveals it is not the natural use of the human body.

    July 24, 2011 at 7:06 am |
    • LOL

      That's why there are so many denominations of Christianity and the bible is still disputed today. Yeah...a child can understand it if they take literally like you. Reading comprehension means you put it also into historical context, that is not something a child can do but a person who is too lazy to make the effort to understand the true meaning of what is being written. Now if only a child can understand that prejudice and hatred is built on the foundation of ignorance.

      July 24, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • jed

      The bible also says something about eating lobster, shrimp... Well the last time I was in Red Lobster I am almost positive a few haters were eating endless crab legs. The bible says a lot and that includes the story about casting the first stones. It does seem to me that these folks need to take care and clean their own houses and closets out before worrying about mine and all the other tax paying law abiding gay couples in this country.
      In other words mind your own God ___ business!

      July 24, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • reality check

      The bible also calls eating shellfish "an abomination" yet when was the last time you picketed The Red Lobster?

      July 24, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  12. Dan

    Observer: Yes and many pick and choose to leave out the fact that David said he loved Jonathan as a brother.

    July 24, 2011 at 1:58 am |
    • Observer

      The Bible's I've looked at don't say the phrase "loved as a brother". Poetic license for you?

      July 24, 2011 at 2:03 am |
  13. Clyde the Crawdad

    Excuse me, have you seen my tail? I can't locomote without it! What?–Advberg ate it?!? ONOEZ I'm crippled!!!

    July 23, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  14. Mrs. Clam

    ADVBERG U BASTARD!!! YOU ATE MY BABIES!!!!

    July 23, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
  15. Louie, Head Waiter at Gino's Fish Shack

    Adverg loves our cioppino. He orders it every time he comes in!

    July 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
  16. A Dungeness Crab

    Help I cant walk!! Advberg ate my legs!!!

    July 23, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
  17. A Baby Lobster

    AvdBerg ate my mommy and daddy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 23, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  18. Observer

    PRISM 1234,

    No one should ever trust anyone who can't even be honest with themself. When people refuse to answer even the simplest, most straight-forward questions and yet claim they have all the answers, you know they are just kidding themself.

    July 23, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  19. no surprise

    It should come as no surprise that the vaticane is teaching the newer clergy to embrace the sin of this world.
    Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

    Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

    July 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  20. Tina

    CAN A PERSON'S S*EXUAL ORIENTATION BE CHANGED?

    One of the key points in the cultural debate around human s*exuality hinges on whether s*exual orientation can be changed - specifically whether gay people can become straight. On this question, all major U.S. health and mental health a*ssociations, representing nearly half a million professionals, have consensus. They warn that attempts to change one's s*exual orientation are ineffectual, and in some cases, even psychologically damaging. Here are statements from some of the major a*ssociations:

    American Psychiatric A*ssociation
    "The American Psychiatric A*ssociation opposes any psychiatric treatment, such as 'reparative' or conversion therapy, which is based upon the a*ssumption that ho*mos*exuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori a*ssumption that a patient should change his/her s*exual ho*mos*exual orientation. In doing so, the APA joins many other professional organizations that either oppose or are critical of 'reparative' therapies, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical A*ssociation, the American Psychological A*ssociation, the American Counseling A*ssociation, and the National A*ssociation of Social Workers.

    "The potential risks of 'reparative therapy' are great, including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior, since therapist alignment with societal prejudices against ho*mos*exuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient. Many patients who have undergone 'reparative therapy' report that they were inaccurately told that ho*mos*exuals are lonely, unhappy individuals who never achieve acceptance or satisfaction. The possibility that the person might achieve happiness and satisfying interpersonal relationships as a gay man or lesbian is not presented, nor are alternative approaches to dealing with the effects of societal stigmatization discussed."

    American Academy of Pediatrics
    "Therapy directed specifically at changing s*exual orientation is contraindicated, since it can provoke guilt and anxiety while having little or no potential for achieving changes in orientation."

    American Psychological A*ssociation
    "Research findings suggest that efforts to repair ho*mos*exuals are nothing more than social prejudice garbed in psychological accouterments."

    Despite these warnings, reparative therapy and s*exual orientation conversion (or "ex-gay") programs have become increasingly widespread across the United States and exist worldwide. Most of this growth is sparked not by actual program effectiveness, but by political climate. These groups are supported and financed almost exclusively by religious groups who strongly oppose granting lesbian and gay people civil and religious equality.

    Most of these programs claim to alter or reverse s*exual desire. The largest such group is Exodus International, which operates 135 programs in 17 nations. Its motto is "Change is Possible." Focus on the Family, founded by James Dobson, a*sserts that "ho*mos*exuality is preventable and treatable" and sponsors "Love Won Out" conferences in multiple cities each year. These well-attended conferences preach that one's faith can change one's s*exual orientation; that ho*mos*exuals can be healed.

    These programs offer false hope to vulnerable lesbian and gay people and desperate family members, using scientifically questionable and outdated understandings of s*exual and gender identi*ty combined with deeply moving testimonials from those who claim to have been cured and "saved from the ho*mos*exual lifestyle." Those raised in religious homes, especially fundamentalist religious environments, often turn to these ministries after being rejected by families and churches. They have usually spent years praying, talking to ministers, reading their Bibles, and making repeated promises to God.

    S*exual reorientation programs use unconventional and sometimes bizarre therapies to change behavior. Men are taught not to cross their legs and to talk like "real" men; to throw a football and change the motor oil in their cars; and, whenever they experience same-s*ex attractions or fantasies, to hit a pillow with a tennis racket or snap a rubber-band on their wrists. Women are made to grow their hair longer, and taught how to apply makeup or wear a dress.

    Furthermore, in the last decade, the testimonies of reparative therapy groups have become central to campaigns seeking to deny gays and lesbians their civil and religious rights. Paid spokespersons from these ministries testify in courtrooms, school-board meetings, and directly to legislators in Congress. Their goal is to convince political leaders and the U.S. public that because gays and lesbians can change their s*exual orientation, ho*mos*exuality is a disorder - not a descriptive of a population needing equal rights and protections.

    There is no question that among white Christian groups, religious perspectives determine the public perception and political positions on ho*mos*exuality.
    Ex-gay advocates spend millions of dollars advertising testimonies of change in pamphlets, books, full-page newspaper ads, and billboards. Often such testimonials are short-lived. In many cases, founders or leaders of organizations that claim to change gays and make them straight have themselves abandoned the work and their organizations, admitting that their s*exual orientation has not been changed and that they are and have always been gay. In June of 2007, three such former leaders of ex-gay ministries held a press conference in Los Angeles and issued the following apology:

    "As former leaders of ex-gay ministries, we apologize to those individuals and families who believed our message that there is something inherently wrong with being gay, lesbian, bis*exual, or transgender. Some who heard our message were compelled to try to change an integral part of themselves, bringing harm to themselves and their families. Although we acted in good faith, we have since witnessed the isolation, shame, fear, and loss of faith that this message creates. We apologize for our part in the message of broken truth we spoke on behalf of Exodus and other organizations."

    Peterson Toscano of beyondexgay offers an alternative experience. Toscano spent seventeen years and thousands of dollars in multiple reparative ministries in a futile effort to change his s*exual orientation. In a newspaper interview, Peterson spoke about his process of reaching self-acceptance:

    "One day I woke up exhausted from it all. It was like I woke up out of a coma, and for the first time in years, I was thinking with my own mind. I asked myself the critical question, 'What the he-ll are you doing? This is crazy. You're destroying yourself. It's not working.' I realized I was in a coma all those years - a Biblically induced, culturally Christian coma."

    Proponents of reparative therapy hailed a 2001 study by Robert Spitzer, MD, of Columbia University. The study reported on two hundred individuals who claimed to have changed their orientation from ho*mos*exual to heteros*exual. The story was widely covered by the national media, in part, because Spitzer had played a key role in getting ho*mos*exuality removed from the list of mental disorders in 1973. Religious groups promoting reparative therapy, however, completely ignored Spitzer's summary conclusion. Spitzer concluded: "The vast majority of gay people would be unable to alter by much a firmly established ho*mos*exual orientation."

    Ex-gay ministries and reparative therapists often claim that thousands of gay men and lesbian women have changed their orientation to become heteros*exual, although they offer no official research statistics to support those claims. Opponents of this therapy, including individuals who have spent many years in reparative therapy before abandoning it, a*ssert that reparative therapy is nothing more than repression therapy which teaches vulnerable gays and lesbians in psychological distress to deny, suppress, distract, lie, and pretend to be someone they are not.

    In August, 2006, the American Psychological A*ssociation issued yet another warning about such therapies:

    "For over three decades, the consensus of the mental health community has been that ho*mos*exuality is not an illness and therefore not in need of a cure. The APA's concern about the positions espoused by NARTH (National A*ssociation for Research and Therapy of Ho*mos*exuality) and so-called conversion therapies is that they are not supported by the science. There is simply no sufficiently scientifically sound evidence that s*exual orientation can be changed. Our further concern is that the positions espoused by NARTH and Focus on the Family create an environment in which prejudice and discrimination can flourish."

    In May of 2007, the American Academy of Physician's A*ssistants (AAPA) voted to oppose attempts to cure ho*mos*exuality and issued the following resolution at their annual conference:

    "The American Academy of Physician A*ssistants opposes any psychiatric treatment directed specifically at changing s*exual orientation, such as 'conversion' or 'reparative' therapy which is based upon the a*ssumption that ho*mos*exuality per se is a mental disorder or based upon the a priori a*ssumption that the patient should change his/her s*exual orientation."

    July 23, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • AvdBerg

      Ho*mos*exuality is a personal choice based on a person’s free will. Things like Reparative Therapy are an abomination and are according to man’s wisdom (1 Cor. 2:4-13). However, there is another choice and all a person requires to do is turn to the right source (spirit) and belief in the Only Physician that is able to provide a Cure (Matthew 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31).

      To repent means to turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan (spirit of man) unto God (Acts 26:18) and through the Baptism of Repentance (Mark 1:4) God will bring about the conversion and transformation of spirits and bring healing to all those that belief.

      July 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
    • LOL

      Avdberg the experts in their fields have proven that being gay is not a choice. Since you can't accept that you have to say it is in order to justify your hatred and prejudice toward this minority group. God is showing you the truth today about this subject yet you are to deaf and blind to see it. Your prejudice has no place in a Christian heart. You are the abomination because of your hate and your support to spread that hate. Christians like you are a menace to our society.

      July 24, 2011 at 8:37 am |
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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.