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October 18th, 2012
11:45 PM ET

Billy Graham buys election ads after Romney meeting

By Eric Marrapodi CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Washington (CNN) - The most famous and revered pastor in America, Billy Graham, is calling on voters to cast a ballot for their faith in full-page ads in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today and other newspapers.

Graham's picture appears prominently in the ads, next to copy that reads, "As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last."

It continues, "I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who protect the sanctity of life and support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God."

The ad hit the prominent papers Wednesday and Thursday, and could hit a dozen more newspapers, a week after the famed evangelist met with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at Graham's Montreat, North Carolina, home and less than a month after his son Franklin Graham issued a full-throated endorsement of Romney in a USA Today opinion piece.

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Shortly after the meeting with the Grahams and Romney, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association scrubbed prior references to Mormonism as a cult from its website because, the association said, "we do not wish to participate in a theological debate about something that has become politicized during this campaign."

Romney is a longtime member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Last week's meeting between Romney and Graham was their first.

After the 30-minute sit-down in Montreat, just outside Asheville, Romney campaign spokesman Rick Gorka told reporters that Billy Graham led a prayer for the Romneys, saying "I'll do all I can to help you. And you can quote me on that."

The evangelist, who has been called America's pastor and has prayed with every American president since Harry Truman, said in a statement following the meeting that "it was a privilege to pray with Gov. Romney, for his family and our country."

Graham met with President Barack Obama in 2010 and with Sen. John McCain when he was the presumptive Republican presidential nominee in 2008.

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The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association said the new ads were paid for by "friends who support the ministry" and that no general ministry funds were used.

"The ads intentionally do not mention any candidate, political party, or contest, urging instead for readers to cast votes for candidates, at all levels, based on their support for biblical values," the group said in a statement.

Billy Graham's long-time personal spokesman, A. Larry Ross, said of the ads, “[Graham] is challenging citizens, particularly the faith community, on how to vote, rather than for whom to vote.”

Ross said the 93-year-old is still active with the ministry, though not necessarily with the day-to-day operations. In this case, he said Graham was consulted about the ad and signed off on it.

"This ad is consistent with both the mission of the BGEA and Billy Graham's personal methodology to diligently and consistently remain politically neutral and nonpartisan throughout his public ministry," Ross said.

"Against the backdrop of moral decline and a cultural shift in our nation that reflects timely issues, Mr. Graham's quotation in the ad is an extension of his faithful preaching of a timeless message and strong stand on biblical values for more than six decades."

The campaign also includes bulletin inserts and posters of the ad for churches to download and distribute.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Leaders • Politics

soundoff (2,816 Responses)
  1. hippypoet

    why is this loser anything? i mean besides a old man and a priest.....this is confusing but as the article says – he paid for his voice to heard – and "askes" that people vote not according to whose best for the job of the highest office but rather who is the most delusional and who favors the agenda of Israel – NOT THAT OF THEIR OWN COUNTRY OR FOR THAT MATTER THE COUNTRY THEY WOULD BE IN CHARGE OF!!!!!!!

    i hope smarter people read this as nothing more then an ad for a death bed 15 minutes of fame and to be remembered for something...of course besides being a follower in a cult whom worships a dead man over 2000 years dead to boot! WHY is this person even taken seriously?

    October 19, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • Bill

      Your name is funny ... because it was the hippies who fueled the Jesus people movement in the 70s.
      And by the way, the saviour we worship, Jesus Christ, is very much alive.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • hippypoet

      bill, you are a moron. delusions are serious and you should seek professional help.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • HM8432

      No, Bill is right. It WAS hippies who helped revive Christianity in the 60's and 70's; look it up. Thanks, hippypoet!

      October 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • hippypoet

      wow – hippies yes, hippy, NO... i am 26...this is a t.itle given to me, i am not claiming to be a hippie, hence the spelling of hippy...and i am a poet so it just fits....i don't give a fuk what those that called themselves hippies did for the christians, i really could care less...i was calling bill a moron for being one -if jesus was ever alive, he is now most certaintly dead! now i am wondering the same for you mr numbers. but after reading a few posts by you, i have come to a final decision – you sir come to the support of morons and like them haven't much to say to the point of the post but rather just spew your own twist on reality as fact....you at least seem well read....i think you are a usless person who trys to put himself in the middle of things for no reason but to make yourself look good. – hint – its not working.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • Sid1980

      Well, hippypoet – sorry to hear you think Christ is dead or didn't exist. One day you will stand before him and every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. If you don't accept that fact now then on that day you bow and confess it will be too late for you eternity wise and into the lake of fire you will go. You are a spiritual being and will never die. We are simply in this temporal body awaiting his return. You can blame the world troubles on Bush, or storms on global warming. The point is these were foretold thousands of years ago. This is a world without end contrary to Hollywood movies and Aztecs or Inca's calendar. Although change is coming and like the birth pains of a women in labor earth in pain wait for her creator's return. It is only a matter of time. Wake up and believe.

      November 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  2. Ken

    Jonseen, take the blindfold off and actually read the news and use the Google. You'll find that your hero Billy is quite the tax cheat, and bigot.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Bill

      Ken, the only bigoted thing Billy Graham has said was over 40 years ago and he has apologized profusely for it.
      But I suppose you have NEVER said anything offensive Ken?
      Maybe you think Billy is a hypocrite?
      Wrong.
      He described himself as a "sinner, no better than anyone else."
      He is a true Christian, who knows that the only things we have going for us are grace and forgivenes.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Bill,

      Dr. Graham is in his dotage. After living a full life, he is probably senile. Everything that is happening here is Franklin Graham's work.

      What do you think of Franklin Graham? I think he is destroying everthing his father built.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Damocles

      @Bill

      The whole 'I'm just a sinner' thing is a copout. Get caught cheating on your wife? No problem, just throw your hands in the air and say 'hey, I'm just a sinner'. Murder someone? Psht, just smile and say 'I'm a sinner, sorry folks'.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Sid1980

      @Damocles – You are right to think that people will use "I'm a sinner" to excuse their actions of lust, adultery or even murder. Christ is not tricked. He judges men's hearts. A lie is the same as murder. Lusting the same as adultery. Where grace comes in is that people accept they are sinners, but do their best to fight against the temptations of this world in which we are surrounded each day. We fall, but get back up. As Paul said you don't sin more so that grace may abound more, but it is there for when you do. We don't get to heaven by good works as we all know that is subjective. It is like getting a performance increase at work. Subjective as to the score even is two people do the exact same effort or "extra" work. We falter. We try to live right. We sometimes do and sometimes don't. We rely on Christ to help us and clean up our act. It may take years for some, days for others – seek his strenght. But yes, to just sin and go "I'm a sinner no biggie" is not a person who has accepted or understood what Christ did on the cross for us.

      November 1, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
  3. *frank*

    I hope Mr. Graham dies slowly and in tremendous pain.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • Bill

      My, how loving and caring of you Frank. What exactly have YOU done to make the world a better place? And you look to curse this man because you disagree with his politics? A little shallow dont you think?

      October 19, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Ted Ward

      You just amply demonstrated why we need preachers like Rev. Graham. Thank you. God bless you, too.

      October 25, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  4. dezep

    Make up your own mind about the hidden reality of Mormon Temple worship, recorded on video at a real Temple Endowment Session in a very real Mormon Temple. These ritualistic ceremonies go on relentlessly, day in day out, in all Mormon Temples throughout the USA.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6udew9axmdM&w=640&h=390]

    Well, Mr. Graham, it certainly looks as if you have just been suckered into selling your very soul to a very cunning but highly dangerous wolf in sheep's clothing.

    October 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Billy Graham

      Thanks dep zep! I have seen this video before.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Sid1980

      Don't care. Just like I don't care that Obama is a Muslin. I just wish he would admit. When I know how people think and act and are honest about who they are then I know how to deal with them even if I don't agree with their policies or philosophy. The problem I have with Obama is that he'll tell you what you want to hear versus telling us what he really is thinking. I know where Romney stands and know that his philosophy isn't going to change what the media claims. The Supreme Court has been primarily filled by Republican appointees and we still have abortion. Roe v Wade will not go away. It may be limited to having parental engagement and stopping the partial birth unless in extreme cases, but the media scared the so called women who can't think for themselves by saying – you're rights to your body will be taken away. That is so far from the truth. As to contraceptives – indulged yourself just don't ask me to pay for it. Romney isn't taking that away either. Grow up and focus on the real issue – Jobs and the economy. A business man versus a community organizer? Should be obvious.

      November 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  5. Ruth

    . This article stated that Minister Billy Graham prayed with all of the Presidents that came after Truman. Does anyone know if he actually prayed with President Obama? It mentioned that he met with him and John McCain in 2008. If someone can do a fact check, I would love to see the posted findings.

    October 19, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • Ken

      Ruth, it wouldn't matter. As another poster here pointed out, all prayer ever can accomplish, at best, is make you hoard cats. How many do you have yourself?

      October 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  6. Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

    Oompa Loompa Doompadee Dah
    If you're not muslim you will go far
    You will live in happiness too
    Like the Oompa
    Oompa Loompa doompadee do

    October 19, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      hinduism, stupidity.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  7. Honey Badger Dont Care

    When is that old fart going to kick the bucket?

    October 19, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      Just few more day's to hind, lie, than the big day to face, truth absolute, his hindu filthy hind is in big trouble,

      October 19, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • Missy

      In the words of the greater Billy, Billy Joel, "Only the GOOD die young." :-)

      October 19, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
    • Jt

      Missy
      Good one!

      October 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  8. Jt

    Hey Billy, did you find Mitt to be somebody who shares your opinions about Jews, like Nixon?

    October 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      Romany is a hindu gentile, ignorant slave but seek's to be upgraded to a hindu Jew's, filthy secular, hindu's filthy man god and billy is too busy liking hindu Jew's filthy secular's hind, call them what ever you like to, such as a label, Christian.

      October 19, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • Jt

      In the words of the greater Billy, Billy Joel, "Only the GOOD die young." :-)

      October 19, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • Jt

      Oops, was going to respond to Missy above.

      October 19, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
    • HM8432

      You mean the drug addicted singer Billy Joel, who idlely sat by and watched as his daughter almost fatally OD'ed on cocaine in front on him? Great role model. I'll stick with Billy Graham, he was probably right about the Jews anyway, though he atoned for those remarks a long time ago, and is now one of Israel's biggest supporters.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • Jt

      HM8432
      Like all evangelicals Billy only tolerates Israel and Jews for their part in Jesus' second coming. When that supposedly happens they'd all better convert, or else. That's how much Billy loves the Jews.

      October 20, 2012 at 1:09 am |
  9. Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

    hindu Mithra ism, pagan savoir ism, Christianity it self is hinduism denial of truth absolute GOD, professing to God, truth absolute, but denying "HIM, in bigamy, committing infidelity to truth absolute GOD. denying moral, limit of truth absolute in following of hindu Judaism, criminal secularism, preaching on name of person, opposed hindu Judaism, criminal secular ism all his life. Shame on hindu Magi's, criminal tricksters fooling people to believe in hinduism, racism. Visit limitisthetruth.com to learn about hinduism, denial of truth absolute GOD, Christianity.

    October 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Huebert

      I see someone had a big bowl of crazy for lunch.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
    • AvdBergism source of filthyRainerBraendleinism©

      Audacity to have name most longer. not original. Pig dog pagan. NO DOGS!

      October 19, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      No Hue bert, goon, I did not have a filthy bowl of crazy, my hook'er mother had it, before she laid down in a bed with Satan Mullah, corruption of ALLAH.

      October 19, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  10. Mormons are too weird - it makes me want to go poopy!

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3BqLZ8UoZk&w=640&h=390]

    October 19, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  11. Sam Yaza

    so does any one have any Ideas were we should put billy Graham,.. maybe we should make a new realm and put his their.

    October 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      in hind, hell, every hindu, denier of truth absolute GOD, belong to.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  12. Brampt

    Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will.22Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’23And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew ​YOU! Get away from me, ​YOU​ workers of lawlessness. Matt 7:21-23

    October 19, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Jt

      Since that applies only people who profess to being Christians, albeit hypocritical ones, I'm assuming you meant this as a dig against either Billy, Mitt or both, right?

      October 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  13. Brampt

    3Do not put ​YOUR​ trust in nobles,
    Nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.
    4His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground;
    In that day his thoughts do perish. Psalm 146:3,4.

    October 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
    • OTOH

      Nor should you put your trust in the words of delusional lunatics and ethnocentric charlatans, with their tales of fabulous "visions" and "revelations" from the primitive Middle East (nor from anywhere else, including Arabia and Palmyra, New York and Salt Lake City, Utah).

      October 19, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • Jt

      Of Obama and Romney, which better falls under the label of "Nobleman"?

      October 19, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  14. dezep

    I should also mention that to qualify for entry into these highly secretive Temples, obedient Mormons must pay their dollars (10% of their gross annual income) to their Church. Only then can Mormons gain entrance into these luxurious buildings, partake of these bizarre temple rituals and where they can then receive their exaltation as Gods in heaven. All part of Mormon temple doctrine that Mitt Romney has sworn with an oath to obey totally, and that Mr. Billy Graham has now given his approval to.

    October 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • Missy

      Sounds like Scientology. Must be the shared belief in aliens and life on other planets, I suppose?

      October 19, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  15. Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

    Human I am looking for my half-retarded brother, previously, he was posting under "STOP MURDER OF CHILDREN , Human be aware of blah blah blah" . E.T. Come Home.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  16. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Just so we're all caught up here. Some observations below are quotes from:

    http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/01/can-mitt-romneys-evangelical-ambassador-seal-the-deal-before-election-day/

    -----------------------------

    A 33 year old score has been settled. Jerry Falwell has his revenge from beyond the grave.

    Let’s look at a time line:

    ..................1979
    Jerry Falwell founds Moral Majority:
    Billy Graham refused to join Jerry Falwell's Moral Majority, saying: "I'm for morality, but morality goes beyond sex to human freedom and social justice. We as clergy know so very little to speak with authority on the Panama Canal or superiority of armaments. Evangelists cannot be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle in order to preach to all people, right and left. I haven't been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will be in the future."

    ..................1980
    Mark DeMoss enrolled at Liberty University, Falwell’s school, in 1980, the year after his father died of a heart attack. Falwell, a fundamentalist preacher, would become like a second father.

    DeMoss’s dad had been friends with Falwell – DeMoss says it’s unclear if the insurance marketing company his father founded, National Liberty Corp., helped give Liberty University its name – and Mark found work in Falwell’s office after graduation.

    ..................1980s
    By the time he was 23, DeMoss was serving as Falwell’s chief of staff and spokesman, helping his boss run a growing evangelical empire that included the Lynchburg, Virginia, university and a new organization Falwell had helped found: the Moral Majority.

    The organization aimed to bring evangelicals back into the political fold, after millions of them had spent decades sitting out elections, convinced that politics were a dirty, ungodly business.

    Falwell taught him how political organizing works, from the grassroots to the very top. He took him to meetings with President Ronald Reagan, whom the Moral Majority had helped elect, and President George H.W. Bush.

    ..................1991
    Jerry Falwell disbands the Moral Majority

    ..................1991
    DeMoss founds the DeMoss Group, a Christian PR firm in Atlanta.

    The firm, took Falwell as its first client and quickly added business from big Christian groups like Chuck Colson’s Prison Ministries, Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse and Christian Crusade for Christ.

    More than 20 years later, those groups are still with DeMoss.

    ..................2006
    Mark DeMoss approaches Mitt Romney about running for President.

    ..................2007
    Jerry Falwell dies.

    ..................2008
    Mitt Romney runs in the Republican Primaries, losing to John McCain

    ..................2011
    DeMoss is a Senior Advisor to the Romney Campaign (and his evangelical ambassador)

    ..................2012
    May, 2012 – Romney delivers the commencement speech to graduates at Liberty U.

    September, 2012 – Romney delivers “I will not take God out of my heart, I will not take God out of the public square, and I will not take it out of the platform of my party,” stump speech at Liberty U.

    October, 2012 – Billy and Franklin Graham meet with Mitt Romney (no doubt organized by DeMoss) then ...

    – BGEA erases references to cults (like Mormonism) on Billy Graham’s website.

    – BGEA runs 'vote Christian' advertising that was funded by "friends who support the ministry" (I'm thinking these 'friends' are a Koch Brothers funded Super PAC for Mittens)

    – Franklin Graham openly endorses Mitt Romney (perhaps a clear violation of IRS Section 501(c)(3)?)

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2012/09/25/graham-evangelicals-mormons-romney/1592037/

    In this editorial piece, Franklin Graham makes it clear:

    It's been 23 years since the late Jerry Falwell formally disbanded the Moral Majority. What many do not realize is that this organization was a coalition of evangelicals, Catholics, Jews and Mormons who shared a commitment to Judeo-Christian principles and values that made our nation what it is. Once again, we need a "moral majority" of people of many faiths to join together to take a stand for our religious freedoms and rights."

    Billy Graham did not want to politicize the BGEA. Franklin does. The worm has now turned.

    Like 'deep throat' said: FOLLOW THE MONEY.

    Jerry Falwell – connects to- Mark DeMoss -connects to- Franklin Graham -connects to- Billy Graham and Mark DeMoss -connects to- Mitt Romney

    Following the connections, Falwell gets his revenge and Billy in his dotage backs a Mormon.

    Politics, as usual.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      hindu Mithra ism, pagan savoir ism, Christianity it self is hinduism denial of truth absolute GOD, professing to God, truth absolute, but denying "HIM, in bigamy, committing infidelity to truth absolute GOD. denying moral, limit of truth absolute in following of hindu Judaism, criminal secularism, preaching on name of person, opposed hindu Judaism, criminal secular ism all his life. Shame on hindu Magi's, criminal tricksters fooling people to believe in hinduism, racism.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Bill

      unfortunately i fear you are right.
      The problem here is not Billy .... it's Franklin. He has sold out because he thinks waging a "cultural war" is more important than following the simple, true faith.
      It's sad and I hope he gets his head on straight.
      Billy Graham never played politics.

      October 19, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • SeasideSister1968

      Excellent comment. Thank you for the research! !

      October 20, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  17. dezep

    If you would like absolute proof that the mega-rich Mormon Church is indeed a dangerous cult and an anti-Christian organisation, then google:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VrsFEiTpsQ&w=640&h=390]

    Here, in every detail, you can now watch and witness for yourself an actual and full Mormon Temple Endowment Ceremony inside a real Mormon Temple, captured recently on video.

    Here, Mormon Temple Oaths and Covenants, include kneeling with raised hands at an Altar, swearing that you will "Give your time, your talents and everything that you possess, even sacrificing your own life if necessary, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints for the building up of the kingdom and for the establishment of Zion". i.e the Mormon Church and its empire.

    As with all obedient Mormons, Mitt Romney has attended and taken these Temple Oaths and Covenants on numerous occasions along with his wife, and they will come first and foremost before any allegience he has to the office of US President.

    This should leave you in no doubt that the Mormon church is an abomination and a very real enemy of Christ, all true believers and indeed even to American freedom itself.

    Billy Graham cannot surely have known any of this, when he signed away his inheritance to this fanatical cult.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
    • Eliminate hindu Judaism, Atheism, secularism, 'SELF CENTER ISM' for peace among humanity.

      hinduism, pagan ism of hind dark ages.

      October 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • niknak

      I see you still are off your meds creepy hindu fundie.
      If you would at least write coherent sentences, in English, maybe we could at least respond to you.
      Because what you write now is just unintelligible gibberish.
      I am sure you even creep out other fundies......

      October 19, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  18. Cyp

    Billy Graham is now a Mormon too. A bunch or moronic hypocrites.

    October 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  19. Sane person

    Separation of church and state doesn't exist in USA.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  20. WASP

    does anyone else think billy graham in this picture looks like the bad guy from "storm of the century".
    i can hear billy saying in Andre Linoge voice: "Give me what I want, AND I'LL GO AWAY."

    ROFLMFAO!

    October 19, 2012 at 1:41 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.