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October 10th, 2012
12:01 PM ET

Congressman draws fire for calling evolution, Big Bang ‘lies from the pit of hell’

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) – A U.S. congressman is attracting attention and criticism for an online video that shows him blasting evolution and the Big Bang theory as “lies from the pit of hell” in a recent speech at a church event in his home state of Georgia.

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell,” U.S Rep. Paul Broun said in an address last month at a banquet organized by Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Georgia. “And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

Broun, a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Speaking at Liberty Baptist Church’s Sportsman’s Banquet on September 27, he said that “a lot of scientific data that I’ve found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth.”

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“I don’t believe that the Earth’s but about 9,000 years old,” Broun said in the speech, which Liberty Baptist Church posted on its website via YouTube.  “I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That’s what the Bible says."

Scientists say that the Earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old and that the universe dates back 13.7 billion years.

In his speech to the church group, Broun called the Bible the “the manufacturer’s handbook. … It teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in our society.”

“That’s the reason, as your congressman, I hold the holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the congressman, Meredith Griffanti, said that Broun was not available for comment on Wednesday and that the video showed him “speaking off the record to a large church group about his personal beliefs regarding religious issues.”

The congressman’s remarks about science have drawn attention online, with critics taking aim at his role on the science committee.

Bill Nye, the popular science personality, told the Huffington Post in an e-mail that "Since the economic future of the United States depends on our tradition of technological innovation, Representative Broun's views are not in the national interest."

"For example, the Earth is simply not 9,000 years old," said Nye, a mechanical engineer and television personality best known for his program "Bill Nye the Science Guy." Broun "is, by any measure, unqualified to make decisions about science, space, and technology."

Talking Points Memo reported on the church video over the weekend after being tipped off by the Bridge Project, a progressive group that tracks conservative activity.

Most creationists believe in the account of the origins of the world as told in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

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In the creation account, God creates Adam and Eve, the world and everything in it in six days.

For Christians who read the Genesis account literally, or authoritatively as they would say, the six days in the account are literal 24-hour periods and leave no room for evolution.  Young Earth creationists use this construct and biblical genealogies to determine the age of the Earth and typically come up with 6,000 to 10,000 years.

The Gallup Poll has been tracking Americans' views on creation and evolution for 30 years.  In June, it released its latest findings, which showed that 46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution.

– CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Bible • Christianity • Evolution • Politics • Science

soundoff (5,886 Responses)
  1. Ting

    He is a congress from Georgia, so I think this guy is probably just playing to his audience. There are atheist pastors out there too. That being said, he has no business being on the House committee of Science, Space, Technology.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Trollercoaster

      No, he speaks the truth.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  2. Amniculi

    Topher, do you enjoy being ignorant and stupid, or do you just not realize that you are? I hate to call names, but seriously, dude...

    October 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • Amniculi

      And, again, with the wrong spot. Jesus!

      October 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Meatwad

      It's ok Amniculi, I get lost all the time too. I ain't go no legs.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Say hi to Frylocke for me. And let Carl know Bananahand sends his love.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Meatwad

      @Amniculi

      I ain't talking to banana hand, he ain't no boy no more. He is rapin' everyone in here.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Tonight.....you.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  3. westsacvoice

    The Earth is also flat and is the center of the universe. Nice to know America is heading backwards and politicians want it to go back to the dark ages. Up next, the inquisition!

    October 10, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Nobody expects the Baptist Inquisition!
      It's chief weapon is surprise. And fear. And an almost fanatical devotion to ignorance.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  4. Primewonk

    And of course this fundiot nutter, who purposefully chooses to be ignorant about science, also wants wants to prohibit gay folks from having the same civil rights as us straight folks. His contention is that gay marriage destroys the sanctîty of straight marriage. And he should be an expert on straight marriage by now, because he is on wife #4!

    October 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  5. flair4life

    So this man is a sitting congressman in the most powerful nation on earth. He's a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and he thinks that the earth is 6,000 years old. That my friends, is frightening. With minds like this leading the United States, one cant help but think of the fall of Roman Empire.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Actually he's willing to accept that the earth is as much as 9000 years old.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • flair4life

      Thanks Tom, I re-read the article, lol.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  6. ART

    Grendel I see you liked my zinger but alas you are one of those backwark thinking idiots

    October 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  7. Marc

    Thanks for proving that the Republicans in the House are a bunch of morons, liars, and incompetent boobs – putting this slow-minded throw-back on the "technology" committee. Asinine – If you want a theocracy, get the hell out of my country and move to Iran. Mythology is NOT science, nor will it ever be. My 1 year old understands that better than the Republican House. Sheez.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Alan S

      Marc: I don't think you can validly conclude, based on Rep. Broun's strange beliefs, that all Republicans in the House are "liars, morons, and incompetent boobs." Although you can validly draw some unflattering conclusions about Rep. Broun.

      What is most interesting to me is the man is a medical doctor. Medical school requires an understanding of science, which strongly implies a belief in the validity of science. His website says he graduated from the Medical College of Georgia, which is now Georgia Health Sciences University - an old and respected school. For a U.S.-trained doctor to believe what Broun does, well, it's astonishing.

      Also interesting is I didn't see where the article identified Rep. Broun as a Republican. He is a Republican, but CNN didn't chose to use the common "Rep. Paul Broun, (R-Ga.)" identification. I wonder why.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  8. Colin Morgan

    So, he believes the earth is about 9000 years old. I'd laugh if it wasn't so utterly bizarre...

    October 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  9. K from AZ

    Just 4 questions re 'evolution' and they are simple. (1) Has the chance occurrence of life been demonstrated in the laboratory? Yes or no. (2) Do we really know, as distinct from guess, hope, or imagine, of what the primeval seas consisted? Yes or no. (3) Do we know, as distinct from guess, pray, wave our arms, and hold our breath and turn blue, what seas would be needed for the chance formation of life? Yes or no. (4) Can we show mathematically, without crafted and unsupportable assumptions, that the formation of life would be probable in any soup whatever? Yes or no.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Do you know the difference between evolution and abiogenesis?
      Yes or no.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • Eric

      Do we have any actual proof that god exists? Other than a book written by man?

      October 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • SAi

      On all accounts, they are yes.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      1, Yes, basic research
      2. Yes, basic chemistry
      3. No, not sure I understand the point of this question
      4. No, not sure I understand this questin at all

      October 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Veritas

      In your attempt to ridicule, you just show your ignorance. You frame the questions as simple yes/no where you believe the answers to all are no and therefore in your mind evolution cannot be correct and therefore there must be a god. You're not really addressing evolution but I'll ignore that for now.
      Do some research outside of what the "Discovery" Institute tells you and you'll see the mountain of evidence for evolution.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Max

      Okay... but it's also entirely possible to believe in God and believe that evolution was the method He used to create the earth & all of us. Believing in evolution does not make a person an atheist.
      (You know that the Pope himself has stated that the theory of evolution is probably true, right?)

      October 10, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Gman10

      Eric: Have you ever gazed at the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset? Have you ever looked at the majesty of the mountaisn or the power of the oceans? Have you ever considered the complexity of the human body or what gives you the abilty to think and feel emotions? Those are just a few evidences of God's existence.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "Gman10: .........Have you ever gazed at the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset? Have you ever looked at the majesty of the mountaisn or the power of the oceans? Have you ever considered the complexity of the human body or what gives you the abilty to think and feel emotions? Those are just a few evidences of God's existence."

      er, actually no, they arent. poor leap of logic to go from sunset to prove of god.
      actually they show how the wavelengths of light operate, the actions of plate tectonics to create mountains, how the pull of the moon affects the tides, etc

      October 10, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Gman10

      cedar rapids: Do you really think all of those things just "happen" without creation by a sovereign God?

      October 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Big Al

      You obviously haven't the slightest notion of how evolution works.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      G-man, I think they happen as a result of natural processes and laws. Not some sky-fairy who's operating the universe like some invisible puppeteer. You're free to believe otherwise. I choose to accept that not knowing does not equal "goddidit."

      October 11, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Gman

      Complexity does not equal design. That's a complete non-sequitur, which is what your Watchmaker Argument is based on.

      October 11, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  10. Steve S

    Can you imagine, that in the 21st century, we have an elected public official THAT dumb???

    October 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • 24 Hour Crisis Center

      Unfortunately yes. Just read the posts from "K from AZ"

      October 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Sadly we don't have to imagine it. The evidence is before us, and it chairs the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight
      on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

      It is democracy in action – when the igorant vote.

      Education is the only think that can save us.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Ooops – "ignorant". Though in Georgia, perhaps my misspelling is appropriate.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  11. NauticalMan

    We are all born ignorant, but it takes a lot of work to remain so, Rep. Broun.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  12. nerdygrrl

    "In June, (Gallup) released its latest findings, which showed that 46% of Americans believed in creationism."

    Seriously, HALF of the American public? There is no hope for the future.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      There is hope but a lot of work to be done.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • The Truth

      This is down from the 80% it was just half a century ago, so heading in the right direction...

      October 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
    • flair4life

      As a Canadian I'd like to know what the numbers are for the rest of the Western world. Other than the U.S., I cant believe its above 25% in any country with a publicly funded education system. Dont get me wrong, I love the U.S., but how the heck did you guys put people on the moon and get them back?

      October 10, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @flair4life,

      indeed – the human ability to compartmentalize thinking is truly a mystery.

      There is a good wikipedia page on global views on evolution:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution

      22% of Canadians don't believe in evolution.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • LinCA

      @flair4life

      You said, "how the heck did you guys put people on the moon and get them back?"
      The 46% was probably not involved with that effort. I doubt very many of them even believe we went to the moon at all.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Here are the results from the wikipedia page in the following order:

      Young-earth creationists / Thesistic Evolution (God Guided) / Scientific (no God) evolution

      US .................. 46% ... 32% ... 15%
      Australia ........ 25% ... 32% ... 42%
      Brazil .............. 25% ... 59% ... 08%
      Canada ........... 22% ............... 59% (59% is any evolution)
      Great Britain ... 22% ... 17% ... 48% (17% is ID, no "theistic evolution choice was offered)

      This is a die-hard tradition and appears stronger in English-speaking countries.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Trollercoaster

      @flair4life we used German scientist. Simple answer to how we got to the moon, country sucks it is literally a joke when it comes to leadership.

      October 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  13. MrHighMighty

    Another example of two rigid extremes digging in with their short-sighted positions, at the expense of their own credibility, rather than seeking sensible interpretations of God's Word in Scripture and in creation.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
    • Amniculi

      "Sensible" and "Scripture" do not belong in the same sentence.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Carl

      @MrHighMighty

      What IS a sensible interpretation of God's Word in Scripture and in creation?

      October 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      By "sensible" you must mean "rationalizations to wish away the absurdities".
      When scripture is blatantly false, call it a metaphor.
      When in doubt, fall back on blind faith. "God works in mysterious ways".

      October 10, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
    • Primewonk

      This is the creation story of the Ekoi – In the beginning there were two gods, Obassi Osaw and Obassi Nsi. The two gods created everything together. Then Obassi Osaw decided to live in the sky and Obassi Nsi decided to live on the earth. The god in the sky gives light and moisture, but also brings drought and storms. The god of the earth nurtures, and takes the people back to him when they die. One day long ago Obassi Osaw made a man and a woman, and placed them upon the earth. They knew nothing so Obassi Nsi taught them about planting and hunting to get food.

      Please explain, in detail, why this myth is false, and yours is correct. Please give actual scientific evidence to support your position.

      When you finish with this one, we'll move on the the thousand other myths.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • MrHighMighty

      Carl, thank you for the question. God reveals Himself in Scripture and in creation, and gave man a curious and creative mind to explore and discover truth from both.
      For example, regarding the debate about creation vs. evolution, one of the most common issues is whether the word "day" as used in Genesis is actually the same meaning as a 24-hour day, and whether the terms "evening and morning" mean the same in the time of man as they did when the earth was first formed. Another point is that Genesis does not say the six days of creation were consecutive. The fossil record shows periodic explosions of new life forms, which would be consistent with a model of several days of creation each separated by eons. When "Christians" cling to the idea of a week-long creation period to the exclusion of any other idea, they miss on opportunities to engage in rational conversations about God.
      One mistake among scientists is to use the term "evolution" as a cause, rather than an effect. And of course, science has never been able to explain how something could come from nothing. When scientists cling to an idea that all we see is nothing more than a random collection of self-generating particles, they deny the very laws of logic that they use in all their other theories, wiping out their own credibility.
      To an eternal God, the passage of earth years means nothing, so if He spent billions of years to make earth ready for man, it is no sign of Him being less powerful. If He wanted to do it in a week, He could, but instead he designed a universe that took billions of years to form the perfect mix of chemicals and processes on earth to allow man to gradually develop today's civilization. To God, a week or billions of years is all the same.
      If you are interested in learning more about how Scripture supports science, and vice-versa, a good starting resource would be reasons. org.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "When scientists cling to an idea that all we see is nothing more than a random collection of self-generating particles, they deny the very laws of logic that they use in all their other theories, wiping out their own credibility."

      That statement alone shows your own 'rigid extremes digging in with their short-sighted positions, at the expense of their own credibility'

      "so if He spent billions of years to make earth ready for man, it is no sign of Him being less powerful. If He wanted to do it in a week, He could, but instead he designed a universe that took billions of years to form the perfect mix of chemicals and processes on earth to allow man to gradually develop today's civilization. To God, a week or billions of years is all the same."

      actually if he was a god then he would be able to create everything perfectly, instantly. He wouldnt need any time to do anything.

      October 10, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      One of the fallacies of the cable news age is that when there are two extremes, the truth lies somewhere in the middle. That's simply not always the case. One of those extremes may be quite near the truth, and the other absurdly wrong.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  14. realitybites

    GOP – taking us back to the 19th century one step at a time.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Carl

      Hey who's your dead friend? He's dead. You leavin'? You haven't even urinated on all of my house yet.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @realitybites,

      the 19th century? Surely you jest? Forsooth it is no later than the 17th century to which the GOP aspires.

      October 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
  15. Where is your God now?

    An Alaskan toddler, 3-years-old, is dead after her mother’s boyfriend left her in a frigid room with the window wide open. Air temperatures in the remote Alaskan town of Barrow reached 30 below zero the day the toddler and her sister were air-lifted to an Anchorage hospital. The toddler’s sister, 1-year-old, suffered extreme hypothermia. The children’s mother, Esther Edwards-Gust, 28-years-old, is an Elementary school teacher.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      It is an act of her hindu criminal mother, not of God, the truth absolute, take your own responsibility hindu, ignorant, always laying your hinduism, illegality on other's. Way of hindu atheist, filthy self centered to avoid responsibility for their hinduism, illegality borne out of hindu atheism, filthy self center ism LEARN TO TAKE YOUR OWN ACCOUNTABILITY AS HUMAN.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • K from AZ

      Did God leave the window open? What's your point?

      October 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Where is your God now?

      @K from AZ

      God has you in his book. He has a plan for each of us. He knows when you will be born and when you will die. He is therefore responsible for all death, murder and destruction for all of history including every abortion ever performed, every r.a.p.e, every murder, every miscarriage, every atrocity. He is perfect. He is omniscient. He is omnipotent. So how could this not be so? It is God’s will.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  16. thedoctor

    Three cheers for Bill Nye! Sic'em, Bill.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Carl

      Hey, now you're speakin' my language here. I knew you wasn't gay.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  17. Steve, New York City

    Another "mental midget" from the far right, broadcasting his views.

    Maybe this guy would be competent to be a stand-in on Hee Haw, but a little scary that such stupidity seems to frequently find its way into our federal legislature. No wonder Washington is getting nothing done.

    October 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      Truth is hinduism, stupidity for hindu' atheist, criminal self centered, had hindu atheist criminal self centered have their way, they will kill every truth abiding like their hindu, beast cousin animals.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  18. israel

    Broun called the Bible the “the manufacturer’s handbook. … It teaches us how to run all of public policy and everything in our society.”

    “That’s the reason, as your congressman, I hold the holy Bible as being the major directions to me of how I vote in Washington, D.C., and I’ll continue to do that,” he said.

    this man should not be in politics at all based on these statements alone

    October 10, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • WASP

      @isreal: agreed fire him.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  19. Cristiabella

    How in the world did this guy get on the House Committee on SCIENCE, Space and Technology?? Belief in talking snakes should be a hint that just mayyyyybe it's not the committee for him...

    October 10, 2012 at 1:15 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      Voted in by human caring about human limit's, but opposed by hindu atheist, criminal self centered without any limit, truth, like hindu filthy animals.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      Word Puke is based on Latin absurd word Puki, Pe or Pa, Te, or Ta, meaning from stomach ism 180 and throat base word for Sick in English, Upchuck, blowing chunks or spewing ism, meaning, worshiping at the porcelain throne or a sweaty, infection of puke absolute ism, such as flu, or Food poisoning, in disregard diarrhea or Montezuma’s revenge ism , One who takes a s.h.i.t to be in violation of his body without his consent, considering himself to be dying, the truth you drank too much tequila ism 180, same as in barfing, denier it doesn’t work, word projectile abused vomiting is based on Latin word vomi, icky, smelly, horrible, icky, to be in a pool of sick and HeavenSent, to be dumber than the fluids leaking from your absurd ravished body ism to both of them, watery eyes, a noun in missing work, puke in your nose, way of making absurd filthy you even sicker, as in word “ralph”, a self-violating or a ja.panese p.o.r.n.o, otherwise known as a freak, a sadist. Puking is not an accident but a way to clear the crud ism 180 from your mutilated digestive system, defiance to the Lysol and filthy towels you will use ism absurd 180 filthy ism.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Cristiabella

      Well, that clears it right up. Cheers!

      October 10, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • realitybites

      Easy, the GOP controls the house right now. Doesn't show well on them, but they're too ignorant to realize it or care.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Amniculi

      Lol. Well played.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • UrAVerageJoe

      Nice to have that kind of clarity isn't it? lolol

      October 10, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      hinduism, absurdity of a hindu ignorant from hindered gutter of hinduism illegality called india.

      October 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  20. felix_in_Mass

    I wouldn't care so much if this guy wasn't on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. But I do kind of like how the elected leaders of the south make sure to keep their own populations a bit dumber and poorer than the rest of the country. They get what they vote for, and yet keeping voting for them! Yee-yah!

    October 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Human be aware of hindu filthy dog's of hindu Atheism, self center ism , DENIAL OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD.

      Better to be in limit, truth absolute than to be in hindu atheism, filthy self center ism, criminality like hindu ignorant animals.

      October 10, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • UrAVerageJoe

      Human, you're a disgrace to religious faith. In case you haven't heard, there isn't a God on the planet that preaches hate the way you do . . .

      October 10, 2012 at 2:04 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.