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November 3rd, 2012
09:00 PM ET

My Take: On Election Day, proclaiming my loyalty to Jesus

Editor's Note: Mark Schloneger is pastor of North Goshen Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana.

By Mark Schloneger, Special to CNN

It seems frivolous, even foolish.

On Tuesday, as the world turns its attention to who will occupy the most powerful office of the world’s most powerful nation, hundreds of churches will gather across the United States to worship a servant.

As votes are counted to elect a president, thousands of Christians will take the bread and the cup to remember their crucified Lord.

As winners are projected and the electoral map is updated, Christians of many denominations will sing their praises and proclaim their loyalty to Jesus.

It seems ridiculous, even silly.

After all, America is at a crossroads, and we are in the midst of one of the most critical presidential elections of our lifetimes. We know this because people have recited this same tired mantra before every presidential election.

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Our fears, our hopes, our worries and our struggles are the currency that buys our votes. And how do politicians and their supporters acquire this precious currency? They invest billions of dollars to foment fear, inspire hope, create worry and exploit our struggles.

It’s a power play. Some of us are pawns, and some of us are participants. But some of us are choosing a different part.

I initiated the Election Day Communion Campaign out of a concern that Christians in the United States are being shaped more by the tactics and ideologies of political parties than by our identity and unity in Christ. Out of this concern, a simple vision sparked the imaginations of congregations nationwide: the church being the church on Election Day, gathering at the Lord’s Table to remember, to give thanks for, and to proclaim its loyalty to Jesus.

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Gathering for Communion on Election Day seems fitting, for the practice of Communion is an inherently political act. It is both a pledge of allegiance to Jesus and a declaration of independence from all other powers making claims on our bodies, minds and souls.

Far too often, the church has abandoned its first love for the siren song of political parties promising protection, prosperity and peace. Far too many times, the church has ceded the practice of its faith to the spiritual and the private while leaving others to address matters of justice. And far too frequently, the church has attempted to speak truth to power while seeking and relying on that same power for protection.

The bread and the cup are God’s antidotes to our fickle memories. As we eat and drink together, we remember that all things fall under the lordship of Christ. We remember our sin and need to repent.

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We remember that God has lifted up the humble, filled the hungry with good things, and chosen to reveal God’s strength through our weakness.

We remember that the only Christian nation in this world is the church, the holy nation that transcends all human-made walls, boundaries and borders.

As we gather at the table, we remember that the power to redeem, to save, and to transform comes not from atop the seat of power but from within the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

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We will gather for Election Day Communion not because we think that the issues at stake in this election are unimportant or that our votes don’t really matter. No, we will gather for Communion because we think that the issues at stake in all elections are far too important to be relegated to our votes alone.

The Lord’s Supper reminds followers of Jesus to practice the politics of Jesus. To me, practicing the politics of Jesus means working to protect the sanctity of all human life, whether it is found in the womb, in prison, or in countries at war against us.

It means choosing the way of forgiveness and reconciliation rather than vengeance and violence. It means practicing an economy based on generosity and mutual aid.

It means offering care and compassion to suffering people regardless of their immigration status, economic class or religious practice.

It means being good stewards of God’s good creation. And, most of all, it means allowing God’s kingdom to break into the entirety of our lives, from the privacy of our homes to the politics we practice in public.

The bread and the cup keep calling me back to the table inscribed with memory. There, I remember God’s choice for the transfer of power. There, I remember where to go with my fears, my hopes, my worries and my struggles. At the table, with my sisters and brothers, I am in the presence of the Holy.

Though I’m interested in the outcome of the presidential election, I won’t be watching the projected results as they are announced. I’ve made a prior commitment. I intend to honor it.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Schloneger.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: 2012 Election • Belief • Christianity • Politics

soundoff (3,435 Responses)
  1. Decisions Decisions

    But who to choose this year? The Muslim or the Mormon? By Christian beliefs shown, you have to go with Romney. Obama has supported Abortion, gay rights and hates Israel.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Ted N.

      http://www.voteforjesus.com

      November 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Jim

      I think you would be hard pressed to find practicing Muslims that supports womens or gay rights.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • Decisions Decisions

      And it would be hard to find a Christian that supports gay "rights".

      November 4, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
    • 24HCC

      Gay marriages should be legal everywhere because I would watch the shit out of gay divorce court.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Harrison

      If you are a rational voter you should inquire about the special Planet Romney believes in, special undies he and Anne wear, the Polygamy for heaven's sake, the Polygamy! Look it up folks. The Mormon thing is so incredibly ludicrous it will spin you head.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
    • Roger

      If gays are legal bound, then the responsible partner must pay the courts for the irresponsible partner. Be careful for what you ask for, the attorneys and courts will ensure you get it.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:40 pm |
    • sipsen1

      Harrison,

      What Romney believes in is sooo weirder than what Obama believes in. Obama believes in his magic universe he will go to when he dies, a virgin who gave birth, a guy who came back to life after three days. A talking ass. A she-bear who eats children because they mock god's prophet. A flood that kills all of humanity but magically saves every other form of life. Yeah, that is sooo much better than what Romney's religion believes. Religion is only weird if its not your own.

      November 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  2. Greg

    Praise Jebus for he created money so we could give it to the church to further His cause. Because, a god without money is not a real god, even if He does have infinite power. You just gotta remember, He works in "mysterious ways". Once you do that, all is good with the world.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
  3. El Flaco

    Obama is a Christian.

    Romney is not a Christian.

    Mormonism is a different religion with a different theology, different gods, and a non-Christian history.

    Mormons cannot recite the Nicene Creed – the very definition of Christianity – with honesty.
    They do not believe in the Trinity.
    They do not believe that Jesus is a manifestation of God.
    They do not believe that God is a supernatural being; instead he is merely a highly evolved man.
    Mormons believe that Christians will all go to hell, which is why some Mormons have non-Mormon ancestors sworn into the Mormon Church by proxy.

    To Mormons, Jesus was just a very good man, sort of like the Muslims think of Mohammed.

    It is merely a coincidence that many of the Mormon gods have the same names as Christian gods.

    Mormonism is no nuttier than Christianity, but it is not Christianity.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • Decisions Decisions

      Obama follows Islam a lot closer that Christianity.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • El Flaco

      Obama is not a Muslim. That is a stupid lie generated by Conservative Propaganda.
      Remember Death Panels? Remember the Socialist Indoctrination of Children?

      You knew you were lying when you typed it.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Decisions Decisions

      Yeah, because Barack Obama is such a god Christian name. Maybe we should just ask Barry, Oh, I mean Obama...

      November 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
    • ConcernedC

      @Decisions
      Again, one of the most ignorant comments I have read today! In case you Ever choose to get our of your neck of the woods and travel around the world, you will realize that are over 1 BILLION, yes 1 BILLION folks on this planet earth that are Ardent Christians, but do NOT choose to keep a Baptized Christian name, but instead a name that they inherited in their cultural context. Are you saying all these BILLIONS of Asians, Africans and Latin Americans who are great followers of the Lord Jesus Christ NOT true Christians, just cause they choose a (local) cultural name like Kwame Mfusu????

      November 4, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  4. Anton Dubinski

    Who the hell cares about your stupid fantasy in believing in a magic man in the sky who only exists in your head?

    November 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • bluey

      who the hell cares that you don't believe in God!

      November 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • Jenny Porter

      bluey, you are a great example of why people are not big fans of christians anymore...

      November 4, 2012 at 12:33 pm |
  5. Hey

    CNN is getting stupider by the day. This isn't news, its just fluff.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • NoTheism

      You are correct, it isn't news .. it's more like the vignette section in an old-school news paper.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • bluey

      Not as stupid as you! This is not news, it's an 'opinion' article.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
  6. Mark Schloneger, Pastor, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Media Wh0res

    I am here to let a LOT of people know how humble I am, and how I am writing this election article on how I am putting my non-political-really-it-is hey-look-at-me Election Communion Campaign to draw attention to myself, uh, to Jesus, to put Jesus first.

    I included an non-political list of my political agendas, humbly, and I am going to pretend that this Election Day self-service service is actually not about politics. And me.

    Remember to vote my ag . . . uh, Jesus' agenda. I know it sounds like my agenda because Jesus never said any of what I say is his agenda, but trust me, really. Then come to my Look-At-Me, uh Election Commune, and bring money. I will be asking for money. That's Jesus' agenda too, to give me money.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  7. pastmorm

    Is it alright with everybody that Romney, like all Mormons, believes that he will eventually become a GOD, along with his wife, of his own planet with his own spirit children to populate that planet????

    Don't believe it? Look it up.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The current president believes in talking snakes and donkeys and zombies–all part of being a christian. Look it up.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • John

      I've been wondering about this since the primaries. The story of Joseph Smith, the Mormon story of creation (like any story of creation), and Mormon American history are the craziest stories out there. Seriously, any non-Mormons voting from Romney ever read the book where his beliefs come from?

      November 4, 2012 at 12:22 pm |
    • Harrison

      Moby, Do your parents know your using the internet without permission?

      November 4, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    • pastmorm

      @ John, I think the media has worked (or been paid by the billionaire Romney) so hard to keep the mormon religion out of this election because if people REALLY knew what mormons believed, Romney would be NOWHERE near the White House...EVER. On the other hand, it's sad that people don't seem to think for themselves anymore. Very few people look things up and if they do, they're told to go to a pro-mormon site that works hard to hide the truth.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Jenny Porter

      moby, you obviously can't say anything intelligent, why be on here at all? You're obviously a bully with some personality and mental issues. Nobody is going to give you and credence or respect for comments like that.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Harrison, do you know how to say something sensible or is ad hominem the best you've got?

      November 4, 2012 at 12:29 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Christians believe in talking snakes and donkeys, and zombies. It's biblical 'fact.' If you need the scripture references I'll provide them to you. It's not bullying to say what someone else believes. Christians want to disrespect Mitt's "wacky" beliefs and magic underwear, while there's are just as wacky.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  8. Mb

    There is no Jesus, better voting for Simeon real

    November 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
    • Jesus is truly good

      There is too a Jesus! He has dark complection, as you would expect from a native of the Middle East. He speaks in a language I don't understand. He travels around in simple, humble clothes. And I really have to say that the almighty Son of God does a really nice job mowing my lawn. And his prices are quite reasonalble.

      Praise Jesus.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  9. mike

    Jesus is not on the ballot. Jesus is a religious symbol elections or not. This article is so ridiculous.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  10. Rainer Braendlein

    Benjamin Franklin:

    Tho' I seldom attended any public worship, I had still an opinion of its propriety, and of its utility when rightly conducted, and I regularly paid my annual subscription for the support of the only Presbyterian minister or meeting we had in Philadelphia. He us'd to visit me sometimes as a friend, and admonish me to attend his administrations, and I was now and then prevail'd on to do so, once for five Sundays successively. Had he been in my opinion a good preacher, perhaps I might have continued, notwithstanding the occasion I had for the Sunday's leisure in my course of study; but his discourses were chiefly either polemic arguments, or explications of the peculiar doctrines of our sect, and were all to me very dry, uninteresting, and unedifying, since not a single moral principle was inculcated or enforc'd, their aim seeming to be rather to make us Presbyterians than good citizens.

    At length he took for his text that verse of the fourth chapter of Philippians, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of good report, if there be any virtue, or any praise, think on these things." And I imagin'd, in a sermon on such a text, we could not miss of having some morality. But he confin'd himself to five points only, as meant by the apostle, viz.: 1. Keeping holy the Sabbath day. 2. Being diligent in reading the holy Scriptures. 3. Attending duly the publick worship. 4. Partaking of the Sacrament. 5. Paying a due respect to God's ministers. These might be all good things; but, as they were not the kind of good things that I expected from that text, I despaired of ever meeting with them from any other, was disgusted, and attended his preaching no more. I had some years before compos'd a little Liturgy, or form of prayer, for my own private use (viz., in 1728), enti-tled,

    Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion. I return'd to the use of this, and went no more to the public assemblies. My conduct might be blameable, but I leave it, without attempting further to excuse it; my present purpose being to relate facts, and not to make apologies for them.

    It was about this time I conceiv'd the bold and arduous project of arriving at moral perfection. I wish'd to live without committing any fault at any time; I would conquer all that either natural inclination, custom, or company might lead me into. As I knew, or thought I knew, what was right and wrong, I did not see why I might not always do the one and avoid the other. But I soon found I had undertaken a task of more difficulty than I bad imagined. While my care was employ'd in guarding against one fault, I was often surprised by another; habit took the advantage of inattention; inclination was sometimes too strong for reason. I concluded, at length, that the mere speculative conviction that it was our interest to be completely virtuous, was not sufficient to prevent our slipping; and that the contrary habits must be broken, and good ones acquired and established, before we can have any dependence on a steady, uniform recti-tude of conduct. For this purpose I therefore contrived the following method.

    In the various enumerations of the moral virtues I had met with in my reading, I found the catalogue more or less numerous, as different writers included more or fewer ideas under the same name. Temperance, for example, was by some confined to eating and drinking, while by others it was extended to mean the moderating every other pleasure, appeti-te, inclination, or passion, bodily or mental, even to our avarice and ambition. I propos'd to myself, for the sake of clearness, to use rather more names, with fewer ideas annex'd to each, than a few names with more ideas; and I included under thirteen names of virtues all that at that time occurr'd to me as necessary or desirable, and annexed to each a short precept, which fully express'd the extent I gave to its meaning.

    These names of virtues, with their precepts, were:

    November 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      You're quite the liar for your religion, aren't you. Ever think about being honest and admitting that Franklin claimed to be a "THOROUGH DEIST?" Nah, honesty just isn't in you.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      I only wanted to add on that the basis of improvement is the releasing power of Jesus Christ which we get through faith and baptism.

      Aspire after virtue, yes, but before eat the "Breat of Life".

      November 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Moby Schtick

      Maybe Franklin was not theologically educated like a pastor but at least he drew one right conclusion:

      Faith must lead to true love (love God and your neighbour).

      November 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • NoTheism

      "I only wanted to add on that the basis of improvement is the releasing power of Jesus Christ which we get through faith and baptism." and how could you say that such a claim is true? Based on what can you make such assertions??

      November 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Rainer, you think that Jesus not judging you for your lies about what Franklin believed means he's okay with it, and I think it's just more proof that he doesn't exist. Anybody can lie, Rainer, it's not that special. You should find it disturbing that you, the christian, is lying, and me, the atheist is telling the truth.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Rainer Braendlein

      @Moby Schtick

      It is true that churches got and get always infiltrated by wolves in sheap's clothing (heretics, false prophets and preachers).

      Nobody should blame Jesus Christ for the works of the wolves which have destroyed his beloved church up to today.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Rainer, how many times are you going to back-pedal and attempt to lie your way out of admitting you were wrong?

      That German hubris never comes to any good.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      @Rainer

      Let me make it perfectly clear who I'm baming: YOU, liar. I'm not blaming anybody of anything except you. You're lying, and if it's moving my religious position at all, it's moving further and further away from the belief you hold to–christianity. I accuse YOU, nobody else.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm |
  11. wrightpict

    doing good for all means growth for all, the usa has changed the world with capitalist growth and feed the poor, it will do so again, no more people on foodstamps, full growth ahead, vote romney

    November 4, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
  12. TrayvonObama.com

    The truth is found here: http://www.TrayvonObama.com

    .

    November 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  13. dock your dong with dudes

    Lol. Jesus like all gods is a fvcking myth passed on through written fable, the bible. Its mind blowing that people take it for truth. Religion is built on lies.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:04 pm |
    • bluey

      Gee, think you could come up with something original instead of your 2nd grade comment?

      November 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Todd

      How did you arrive at that false assertion? So what grounds your post other than mere, subjective opinion? "I read it on an atheist blog" is not a good answer, btw. Just sayin'.

      Okay - 3, 2, 1 . . . go. Let the personal ad homs fly. That's your traditional next move in exchange, right? Saying something like the Bible being written by a bunch of illiterate goat herders? Serious scholarship just doesn't seem to be your thing, so I'm just asking.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • limbictides

      @Todd How then, about a pack of power hungry, bloodthirsty misogynists that needed a good base for controlling an ignorant populace? I think you'll find that scenario more accurate.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  14. Fred

    Jesus lived over 2000 years ago. A 6th-grade girl has more important things to tell us about the election and our world at this point, and that's only because girls are more mature than boys. Maybe you should wait for the 8th-grade to start talking to boys.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  15. Rob McDonald

    It seems wrong to me that an American citizen, born into a Jewish, Muslim or Hindu family in Indiana, would have a terribly hard time running for the highest office.

    Christianity, like all religions, is very divisive, polarizing. It has no place in how you govern a nation. Anybody who wears their religion on their sleeve, as Mr. Romney does, has dangerously flawed logic.

    We are all born with hearts and dreams. And we all want what's best for one another. So let's believe in one another above all else.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • God's Oldest Dreamer

      Answer me this,,,, "Where does life end and living begin?"

      November 4, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
    • pastmorm

      * gods oldest, you cannot answer your own question anymore than a non-believer can. You cannot PROVE where life begins or end either, so don't think that you're being superior and clever.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Goober the Oldest Doofus is still suffering from a hangover...

      November 4, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      my personal belief, not based on some scientific research data or some religious books claims, life begins at the very first heartbeat, and ends at the last. Common sense.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  16. ug

    Vote Romney.

    November 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • pastmorm

      When pigs fly.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm |
  17. God's Oldest Dreamer

    I believe in the infinitesimally finite values and accords while others believe in the grandest of hugeness being the better of the two. We, as it now is, are caught between such an envisioning resoluteness of relational differences. I live for the smallest while others live for the huge. Inner-Space or Outer-Space can only maintain divisional accords thru gravimetric variations of quantum physicalities.

    "Life" seems to be on a convoluted trajectory declaring (in either one's cases) random essentialisms upon becoming the other's differing relativism. The swinging of the pit's pendulum needs only a leveraging undulation to be a mimicry. It is therefore best for mankind to simmer in their juvenile pottages never rationalizingly 'assaying' one's diffuse detriments, the very smallest of life's grains. As smitten breeds, our splendors reveal one's undulating characters to be traitorous to one's analogous folds. Where then does Life end and living begin?

    November 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
  18. aaron

    i like how they use a picture of jesus with the pagan halo behind him. that halo represents the sun. there is no jesus. the story of jesus was taken from countless other countries and religions before christianity. they all share the same story...born of a virgin sometime around or on the 25th of december, have 12 "apostles" or other symbols (representing the 12 signs of the zodiac), crucified and rising from the dead 2-4 days after...there are even many religions (all before christianity) that have some guy with "god's law" written on stone tablets. the story is not authentic. christianity is a joke like most other religions. it is used by people who are not smart enough to figure out, or dont want to be bothered with, the truth. and the truth is that we are bound by the earth and stars, just as the pagans figured. right now, it is the ONLY thing that makes sense. we are bound by the earth...as it goes, so we go.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • KHMZ

      This is so true. That law of nature was explained by Gautama.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • bluey

      ...and you know why they all share the same story, boofhead? Because it's true. Why so so many religions tell the same story and have the same characters??? Not because they all sat down and agreed to write the same thing! Only one claims Christ is the only way to God. The rest claim him as a mere prophet. You seem to forget that the Old Testament was written before Christ, yet talk of His arrival. Watch CNN and Fox and you'll get different stories about the same thing that happened today, yet many religions tell a very similar story all written at different time...no coincidence.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  19. Come to Jesus

    Jesus Christ (Yeshua Ha'Mashiach in Hebrew) warns first there will be false Prophets and messiahs who will rise. However, Jesus says when He returns there will be no question it is Him. When He again steps forth from Eternity every eye will see Him "coming in the clouds" with millions from Heaven, in power and great glory . . .

    November 4, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Attack of the 50 Foot Magical Underwear

      "Gozer the Traveler. He will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!"

      It's all just words, written by people, for people, and to control and manipulate people. All scripture, all holy books – regardless of the religion, they are all the same – man made.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • abnguy

      If President Obama is the false prophet how long do we have to wait.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:06 pm |
    • barbarianofgor

      And it is said "By their FRUIT shall ye know them" or some such...

      And that doesn't just mean Ted Fa... er Ted Haggard:-)

      Let's see: Romney's a pioneer of outsourcing jobs to China, often supplemented by Tax money. He's a "Corporate Raider" who buys controlling interest in companies, saddles them with debt and runs with the debt money and pension money.

      Obama's a real Christian also, not a follower of a fake religion that most "Good Christians" have only paused from denouncing to sleep, eat and such...

      But this election isn't for J.C. He's already Lord. And in the hearts and minds of men. (and women too!)

      November 4, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • WHO?

      Anybody who believes in God, HAY sus or what ever are freaks and should be locked up in a mental hospital for being crazy. Earth was here before we became smart enough to know, that there is a universe??? How can a man create something out of thin air? Someone had some really good smoke to think up something so crazy. What blows my mind... is that people actually believe the crap.

      November 4, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
  20. Rev. J.T.

    This somewhat myopic writer conveniently forgets something from Jesus's words: Render unto Caesar... as well as unto God.

    November 4, 2012 at 11:53 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.