By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor
Washington (CNN) – For many conservative Christian leaders, it was a nightmare scenario: Barack Obama decisively re-elected. Same-sex marriage adopted by voters in some states. Rigorously anti-abortion candidates defeated in conservative red states.
On multiple levels, Tuesday’s election results raised questions about the Christian right’s agenda on American politics, eight years after the movement helped sweep President George W. Bush into a second term and opened the era of state bans on same-sex marriage.
“For the first time tonight, same-sex marriage has been passed by popular vote in Maine and Maryland,” said Robert P. Jones, a Washington-based pollster who specializes in questions about politics and religion.
“The historic nature of these results are hard to overstate,” Jones said. “Given the strong support of younger Americans for same-sex marriage, it is unlikely this issue will reappear as a major national wedge issue.”
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Some conservative evangelical leaders echoed that line. Albert Mohler, who heads the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said on Twitter that votes for same-sex marriage suggested that “we are witnessing a fundamental moral realignment of the country.”
A Tuesday ballot measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state is still pending. In Minnesota, voters rejected a Tuesday measure that would have banned same-sex marriage there.
Thirty-eight states have banned same-sex marriage, mostly via constitutional amendments.
Obama’s victory also raised questions about the Christian right's influence in the electorate.
Though evangelical leaders as diverse as the Southern Baptist Convention’s Richard Land and Christian icon Billy Graham voiced support for Mitt Romney (Graham stopped short of an official endorsement), Obama performed better among white evangelicals than he did in 2008 in some states.
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In swing state Ohio, exit polls showed that Obama got 30% support among white evangelicals. While that’s hardly a victory, it’s better than the 27% support Obama got among those voters four years ago.
Before the election, many evangelical leaders predicted that opposition to Obama over his support for abortion rights, his personal endorsement of same-sex marriage and his vision of government as a force for good would trump reservations evangelicals had about Romney’s past social liberalism and his Mormon faith.
“There is no evidence in voting patterns that President Obama's 'evolution' on same-sex marriage cost him anything,” Mohler said in another tweet Tuesday night.
Obama also narrowly won Catholics, even after the U.S. Catholic bishops waged a rigorous campaign against the Obama administration around the issue of religious liberty. The bishops alleged Obama was forcing Catholics to violate their own teachings by making health insurance companies provide free contraception coverage for virtually all employees.
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John Green, a religion and politics expert at the University of Akron, said Obama’s win among Catholics was partly a testament to the growing Latino demographic.
“Maybe Hispanic Catholics were not as moved by religious liberty-type arguments as by immigration and economics,” he said.
Unlike in 2004, when John Kerry – a former altar boy – lost Catholic voters, the Obama campaign had a robust religious outreach program aimed largely at Catholic and evangelical voters. The effort included videos from Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic, talking about their Christian faith.
Obama's success among some religious demographics also illustrated how economic issues, as opposed to culture war concerns, dominated the election cycle.
The defeat Tuesday of two Republican Senate candidates who made national headlines with anti-abortion remarks also raised questions about the Christian right’s power.
In Missouri, U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, who in August walked back his remark that "if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down," lost his bid to unseat Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat.
Akin’s campaign became a national cause for conservative Christian activists after the Republican Party abandoned the candidate and encouraged him to drop out over his abortion remark.
In Indiana, Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock lost his race against Democrat Joe Donnelly after saying last month that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen.”
Conservative Christians did claim some victories Tuesday night, including helping the GOP retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives and helping elect tea party favorite Ted Cruz as a U.S. senator from Texas.
Ralph Reed, the leader of conservative group the Faith & Freedom Coalition, planned a Wednesday morning press conference to release his data about what he called the enduring influence of “values voters.”
“Preliminary evidence is they turned out and they voted heavily for Romney,” Reed said in an e-mail message Tuesday night.
They can influence politics as much as they want, as long as we tax their churches!
Can't tell you how much I enjoyed sticking it to Chuck Norris and his nutbag sandwich wife... roundhouse kick to your face Chuck!
The "Christian Right" is the enduring evil of Ronald Reagan.
dont be forgetful. everything cycles through and driven by fear..the rise of the christian right was brought on by the anti christian sentiment felt during the reign of bin laden. now that threat is gone, we all put our guard downs as usual and think everything's fine. once the radical islamists make a comeback, so will the christian right.
"Value Voters" is pretty much a nice euphemism for ignorant bigot."
I hope that religions including the religious right stay out of politics. As a Christian I am and was highly offended that people calling themselves Christians morphed into political parties.
The founding fathers kept religion out of the declaration of independence for a reason. I pay my taxes for roads and teachers, not to be told what I can and can't do if it's not hurting anyone. And now I really like Colorado.
But they subordinated consti tuion under truth absolute GOD, any one living by hindu atheism, filthy secular ism, self center ism is a hindu traitor to USA and deserved to be fed to southern baptist at their breakfast.
Colorado, Washington state. How long before more states become recreation pot legal? C'mon Fla. Put it o the ballot one more Tme!
More importantly, the founders kept religion out of the Constitution. That's the law of the land, not the Declaration. Although they were Christian Deists, the key founders knew that the only way to settle the feuding Christian sects during their time was to form a secular government.
There's more to being pro-life than just being against abortion. A minority of religious conservatives feel that all life is precious, not just the unborn. That really being pro-life means being opposed to war and the death penalty. That the poor should not grow hungry or be homeless. You know, the values of Christ.
There's more to being pro-choice than being pro-abortion. Many pro-choicers understand the complexities of pregnancy and feel that choices are best left to those experiencing the hardships and not other people.
Agree, GodFree. I am not "pro-abortion" by any means at all. I rejoice when a woman friend tells me she's pregnant and I love being around babies. I simply think that the decisions regarding pregnancy should be left to those who are actually pregnant, not to the government or the church.
What about the rights of the baby? So far, all I've heard is "ME ME ME ME". No one is speaking up on behalf of the vulnerable that don't have a voice, or a choice on whether they get murdered. Last week there was a 25 year old girl on Dr. Phil (channel surfing), who has had SEVEN abortions. Why isn't she considered a serial killer?
I am very much anti-abortion, but I know I do not have the right to impose my view on this on anyone except me and my spouse.
By the same token, you should not require me to help pay for this. Government money should NEVER be used for the purpose of abortion. My view is that since I am one of we the people who make the government, then money used from the governmental till for abortion makes us all murderers and no one should have the right to make me a murderer, just like I do not have the rght to stop somene from murdering their offspring.
There isn't a "baby" until birth. Until it's born it's a fetus. After that, technically it's an infant. Most abortions occur in the first trimester, long before the fetus is viable outside the uterus.
Figure it out. If it's not your fetus, it's not your decision. If it's not viable outside the uterus, its rights are secondary to those of the woman carrying it. If you think you're better qualified to decide what to do about someone else's pregnancy, then you should step up and offer to pay for all expenses related to the birth, including lost wages for the woman and all medical expenses, no matter how extensive. Otherwise, shut your pie-hole.
And to Who: since when are your taxes used to pay for abortions? They're not. It's forbidden by the Hyde Amendment.
Although it is prohibitted, public funds are being used within the Washington DC area.
Also, money that goes to Planned Parenthood from the government frees up money elsewhere within the organization that is then used for abortions. Just because I take money from one pocket to pay for food and another to pay my insurance does not mean that my various incomes are kept seperate, so it is analogous that government money going to an organization that perfoms abortion is government money being used for abortion. Simple accounting tricks do not change the result.
@ Sandra, To me an my wife, when people decide to bring a deformed child into this world and condemn them to live in an wheelchair while other kids run around and play, it is the ultimate in cruelty and selfishness. That's mine and my wife's opinion. How would you like it if we made our opinion law and decided that for you?
TOM TOM: No need to be rude, but you do need to grow up.
So a woman is carrying around something inside her that is dead until the first trimester (according to your thinking). Life begins at the point of conception, otherwise the body would not support the development. Speaking of qualifications, I guess you will NEVER understand about being able to carry life inside, being a guy, but you feel perfectly at ease dismissing the unborn as having no validity to exist. If you want me to "step up" and cover pregnancy-related expenses, have you offered to pay for anyone's abortion, including lost wages, recuperation, abortionist fees?
By the way, have you heard of adoption?
When life begins is not, has not, and never will be the issue. I wonder how long it will take people like Sandra to move past this complete Red Herring.
If you were able to ask the life you are ending if they would rather die than live a less thasn normal life, I think you would change your mind. Your opinion seems much more selfish, that you woulld pity the child and yourself for that which has befallen you. If you were suddenly disfigured and needed to be in a wheelchair or worse, Im pretty sure you would change your mind.
Even if not, your post shows a level of ignorance that most would find offensive.
Can you say for sure that the child in question would not have a fulfilling life, such as it is...Are you willing to bet your childs life on it?
The only one who needs to grow up is you, Sandy, baby. Learn to read, dear, and get back to me when you know how. I never said a fetus wasn't alive, sh!twit. It is. It doesn't have the same, equal, or special rights under the law that supersede those of the woman carrying it. Those are facts. If you can't deal, then I don't have time to educate you.
Oh, and Sandy, you stupid cow, I'm not a guy. I'm female, straight, married and over 50. I have grown children, and I never sought or needed an abortion. Stick that in your craw.
Guess what, Who? I don't really care whether you believe public monies are prohibited from being used for abortion. They are, and your ignorance doesn't change the facts. Quite frankly, I don't really give a rat's patootie about your feelings regarding the issue.
To Sandy: Have you heard that no one is required to incubate a fetus just so someone can MAYBE adopt the baby once born? Of course, someone will adopt it–that is, if it's white and perfect. Otherwise that baby may very well languish in foster care indefinitely. How many kids have YOU adopted?
You can look it up for yourself, which I'm surprised you haven't considering you normally are pretty well educated.
You often will lambast some of those you argue with for the "I don't care what you say" arguement, and I'm surprised you went there.
You used to be more interesting, but since you've decided to lower your stndards to that level and show your true colors all I can say is good luck with that.
Do noy bother to respond as I am outta here.
Sandra, as a woman who has carried life inside of her, I hope you find me capable of speaking on behalf of the unborn since apparently only a mother, and not a father, can do so. I am appalled to see that you only hear me, me, me out of pro- choice proponents. The thing you seem to be missing about the whole argument is that none of us are pro-abortion, but pro- mind your own damn business. For me personally, I have never been put into the situation where abortion even registered to me as a choice I would make , but I see no reason that I should have any hand in making that decision for someone else. If I did take away another woman or family's choice because I didn't agree then I would only be thinking about me me me and my personal choices. Government does not fund abortion, there is legislation that prevents that. You can call it an accounting trick if you would like, but if we declare any money that Planned Parenthood has subject to be considered a government contribution because it all comes from the same "pot" then let's be sure to apply those same rules and treat any money an individual has the same whether it be inheritance, dividends, capital gain, income or a gift... It is all in the same pot right? When we start fighting for the rights of those that ARE born and are alive by anyone's definition of the word and I believe the world we are bringing children into allows them the best future and chance for survival, then I may revisit my position. For now I'll stick to worrying about my family, my unborn children, and my health instead of inserting me me me into a situation I'm not intimately familiar with. And just so you know I 100% believe adoption is a phenomenal choice, but we aren't just talking about abortions performed as a terrible form of after the fact birth control... We are talking about the abortions performed due to health risks that could cause a severely low quality of life as well. If you don't think their arevworse things than "death", then please ake a stroll through a high level NICU sometime. With all of the healthy children in foster care as we speak, do you honestly believe that children with these kinds of issues really have a air shot at adoption? To require them to suffer because I don't believe their aren't could make n educated decision is pretty selfish and all about me me me.
To Who: Good. Don't let the door hit you in your ignorant azz.
Oh, one more thing to Who: you can yammer all you wish, but I notice you've provided no cite and not a shred of proof, you azzhole. The burden of proof is on you; provide neutral sources that support your claim. Otherwise, blow it out your hole.
Tom you ignorant s l u t
Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrw
Please excuse my auto corrections and lack of line breaks as I am on my phone typing, most notably that should be parent rather than aren't.
I would also like to add that advanced medicine is in fact able to tell us about many abnormalities that are incapatible with sustaining life. I'm not willing to bet my children on that, but I also have no right betting or folding on anyone else's behalf.
It is as simple as this, if you are anti- abortion don't get one.
Somebody please put TOM TOM back in her cage, she needs a tranquilizer because someone dared to disagree with her. And Dear Jodi, I am a mother, so I do know what it's like to carry life inside of me. If you or anyone else feels the need to throw an unborn life into the garbage, I have no right to stop you. And as far as labels go, Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice certainly sound better than what really happens: Pro Abortion. But those points were made by another person's post, but you seem to have attributed them to me.
Who, you and Sandy have a nice night together.
No, Sweet Sandy, I was not attributing all of those points to you. I was merely making sure you knew I as well had carried life inside of me and was therefore qualified to reply to a long let of folks with my personal views.
I also would like to congratulate you on seeing things our way and making your first pro-choice statement. I agree that I will not be "throwing any unborn in the garbage", but who am I tell others they can't have it? Just another pro- choice gal who chose not to.
I guess you missed the part about accounting tricks. Your kid asks you for more money to spend on Candy, say... you know he/she eats too much candy already so you say no... Then the kid who was supposed to cover her school science project out of pocket money that she saved says she will spend the pocket money on candy and you pay for the science project. Does that satisfy you?
If it did, I have a bridge in brooklyn to sell you....
Bottom line : PP is spending federal money on a b0rt1ons.
@Who invited me?, The point is that we can't ask fetuses in the womb and get a response. That's because fetuses are incapable of knowing what living with the consequences of their disfigurement is because they have no experience yet with life. As an adult, I can make decisions for myself that I can take full responsibility for as I have had "my day in the sun" and understand things that fetuses cannot comprehend. To claim you know the mind of a fetus is absolutely absurd.
Who, the citation you provided doesn't say what you seem to think it does.
I don't give a sh!t if you oppose abortion or not, and tough t!ttie if PP provides abortions and gets federal funding. Guess what?
Our tax dollars fund many programs that individual people oppose. For example, those who oppose war on moral or religious grounds pay taxes that are applied to military programs. The congressional bans on abortion funding impose a particular religious or moral viewpoint on those women who rely on government-funded health care. Providing funding for abortion does not encourage or compel women to have abortions, but denying funding compels many women to carry their pregnancies to term. Nondiscriminatory funding would simply place the profoundly personal decision about how to treat a pregnancy back where it belongs - in the hands of the woman who must live with the consequences of that decision.
This election isn't about the Christian Right if the candidate misleads people by calling mormonism Christian. Obviously, Mormonism wouldn't stand on its own without hiding under an umbrella labeled Christianity. If you are a Mormon, fine with me, but DO NOT call yourself Christian, because it isn't the truth. A Mormon is a Mormon and a Christian is a Christian. Candidates from other religions do not try to disguise their beliefs as Christian, why should Mormons?
We can all hope that this is. hopefully, the beginning of the end for the Righteous Right.
Now, if we could just have a similar event for the Lunatic Left, then everything would be just peachy around here....
It is time for the authorities to take away the tax exemption of churches that have had their clergy tell their congregations how to vote in the elections. This is starting to get ram-pit. If you preach politics from the pulpit, then pay taxes just like any other business does.
Mind of a hindu, fascist.
Yes, the Christian right is still ruling the South. It's more of the same.... negative talk, blaming and damning the other guy while preaching they are always right and better than anyone else.
Masters and gentiles, slaves, way of hindu's, criminals by their faith in hinduism, racism.
I am a born- again Christians, but I believe in separation of church and state .Jesus said give to Cesar what belong to him and God His.You can't legislate moralit purity, come from inside not force down people throat. I am a pro-lifer who believe on economic empowerment. Who am I to judge when I know I am a sinner just trying to be a better man.
You're not a "sinner," Nate, you're just a mammal with faults trying to be a better man. There's no such thing as "sin," but there are better ways to behave.You don't have to believe in invisible magical diseases in invisible body parts (soul) to try to be better.
Time to grow up, you were borne long time ago, hindu, ignorant.
I'm sorry to say this but it may well shake your senses to rationalize. Although I am yes a Christian Theologist, I will not believe in Christ coming again. You see nate, this world is not His Kingdom. John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world" If you truly believe what Christ said as a Truth, you would not be pandering to Christian Pharisees who only want your money to feed their own convoluted needs. Sorry nate if you sense an offensiveness but I am not wanting to be offensive but show you the light.
Let Us Love,
maybe christians are losing power because people are realizing they follow a book that has unicorns, dragons, satyrs and c.ockatrice in it, also a talking snake and a talking donkey (like in shrek), a man spends 3 days in the belly of a whale (like pinnochio), men have wings on their back and fly..
maybe people are realizing christianity is just a cult, like ALL religions. cults have crazy ideas. read the bible - it's awful.
Ideological Christians are the American Taliban. They've proved themselves to be the most immoral people in the nation and their reign of terror is over because of that.
don't go away mad, christian right - just go away.
Yesterday the US voters said yes to the immoral slaughter of the unborn, and the immoral redefinition of the family. They revealed an addiction to big government fixing their problems, and a jealousy over those who succeed. They chose a position of dishonor towards Israel. These choices carry consequences. I pray for mercy.
Can God heal our nation? Yes. Does He need godliness in the White House to accomplish it? No. It is time for us to pray? More than ever.
No, you have to end up like your hindu sanatan filthy man god Jew's, secular, for disobeying truth absolute GOD and taking a human as your god.
Consider, you had the two word childish reply...
Look at it this way instead. Yesterday some voters said no to the immoral notion that women shouldn't have rights to their own bodies. Some voters also said no to the immoral attempt to systematically ban a human right to a whole demographic (whether you think that demographic is immoral or not is irrelevant). As for Israel, I tend to bring up the USS Liberty when someone argues that we're taking a dishonorable position towards them...
I really don't see why we should give a crap about Israel specifically. I'd much rather hel[ out the U.K. more, and places that actually contribute to the worldwide economy.
wait a second. Didn't Pat Robertson pray for God's will to be done? I guess it was God's will to put a Christian man in the White House and keep out the cultist.
Just trying to help those "who succeed" ... worry about that camel passing through the eye of a needle.
Bondservant...where the hell did you pick up ridiculous dribble like that which you posted?
Good lord, take a tranquilizer.
Bondservant, If you really think that the republican party is serious about reversing Roe v Wade, then I have a bridge to sell you. You are being played by the republican party in order to get your vote.
Weren't all you fundies praying for Mittens to win? Guess your god isn't so omnipotent after all.
What does he mean, the Poor will become Middle Class? What does that make the Middle Class? Oh, right... poor.
All evil thing eventually lose the influence!
Phew, it was beginning to look like the Democrats might be in power for a while.
We have freedom of religion, freedom to worship, not obligation. We do not live in a Theocracy and we dont want to. For those who wish to live in one, see how thats working out in the middle east. We dont want to live by your religions rules, and we arent going to, see how thats working out in the middleeast. Until American religious radicals understand your dogma is no different, your insistance that everyone believe like you, vote like you and fake it like you, you will be rejected. Freedom to not do as you do is our right in America. You on the other hand do not have the freedom to force you onto me. dems want more freedom, so go llve in your bunkers and caves and pray that God shows everyone how right you are. You will have an incredibily long wait.
What young liberals don't get is that they are taking away the values and practices that were once common place in the us. That is why we see a war on religion. Liberals are changing this country. When I was young, Poor and middle class evangelical Christians were in the Democratic Party. But the Democrats have taken immoral stances against Biblical teachings and are becoming the party of atheists and purely nominal, non-practicing Christians. I guess that's why they call us conservative. We want the country to remain as it was and for liberals to stop warring against our Christian heritage and taking away what once was.
1. John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world"
C'mon Christian sympathetics reason this!
2. Luke 17:21, The kingdoms of God are INSIDE you.
Literally? I think so,,,,
3. 1Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building.
a. Labouring together with God does in no accords credit God to be more powerful than us.
b. God being one's husbandry seems to reflect He supervises one's body being built in the womb.
c. Our being His buildings means He may or not on occasion inhabit or take up residence once in a while.
Religion should ever be a personal choice and not be made a public spectacle as many so do including the Christian Pharisees who incite their folds to make public policymakers shudder with mono-phobiatic fear. I love my imaginative yearnings about God and His Godly others, yet I will not make you believe in them. Yes, keep those Pharisees of religious dominations apart and away from public policymakers! Keep also away from governing bodies all those who acclimate disseminations of moralisms that fall upon a persons rights to choose be it any drug use or choice of gambling or paying for s3x! We are all moral people no matter our choices we make!
Demoralizing the ebbs and flows of societal propogandist leverages seems to be all that politics can muster up nowadays. Just exactly how free is one when regarding personal freedoms to choose one's 'recreational' drugs of choice or for that matter how to gamble or where one can pay for s3x? Is Big brother always going to mother its' citizens creating in the folds many phobias due the illegalities of what I deem to be personal choices? Moral choices are personal choices and governments should not make personal choices in all manner of moralities.
Sick: What war on religion are you referring to? I mean really, we allow you to practice your religion freely, we don't even tax your churches. Just shut up about it and go to church. I am so sick of you shoving your religion down our throats. Agg
Sick, "We want the country to remain as it was and for liberals to stop warring against our Christian heritage and taking away what once was."
So you want to remain stagnant and unchanging? Liberals aren't 'warring' Sick. They have taken the limb out of their eye and now you ought take out the logs in both of your eyes.
Sick, there was a time in this country when interracial marriage was illegal. There was a time when we had slavery. There was a time when women weren't allowed to vote. There was a time when Jim Crow laws were common. Guess what? Religion was used as an argument to support all of those things. The church once thought the world was flat, and I'm sure they used the Bible to support that view as well. Practice your religion, but don't be so proud as to assume you have all the answers. If history has taught us anything it is that our beliefs, even when they are based in our understanding of the Bible, are not always right.
@Sick: you want this country to "remain as it was"? Well, that's just too bad for you. This country IS changing, and in many ways. It's more diverse than it was. It's more inclusive than it was. It's less religious than it was.
Guess what, dearie? Nothing is constant but change.
"I don't want change because I'm comfortable with the old."
->This phrase summarizes all the backward comments on changes. And the att-it-ude of 'Sick'.
Getting too old and getting too stupid.
People like Sick pine for the days when all school children were compelled to stand and mouth the Lord's Prayer in unison, participate in Christmas Pageants, and the like. Too bad for Sick that the world has changed; our schools aren't overwhelmingly Christian and white.
Sick, I'm probably way older than you. I'm older than dirt. I'm white, upper middle class and LIBERAL. I remember when the evangelical goofiness started taking over in the 70s. Most of us reasonable people thought it was a flash in the pan and would go away. We never figured on the guilt of our peers–the ones who "found" religion because they wouldn't admit that they had one heck of a good time when they were young, and they wanted to make sure their kids didn't have the same. Young folks, you're pretty narcissistic and stupid, but you'll grow up and learn. Just don't follow our boomer lead and become hypocrites. Despite what your 60-something parents tell you, we had a great time when we were young and some of us still remember what it was like. We wish peace and light and love on all of you–white, black and purple; straight or LBGT. Some of us. And we voted Obama yesterday.
Sick, I am an educated, young, married, white, Southern, practicing Christian voter. There is probably very little about my religious upbringing and teachings that are different from yours, with the exception that I listen. I listened when learning about our founding fathers and that their push for independence was correlated to the British government forcing the King's church and it's beliefs on folks, and I realized the need for separation of church and state. I also listened when taught that we are all children of Christ, even though some don't agree I still believe they are a child of Christ, and that we are to judge not. I'll hold strong in my faith always and stick to my convictions always, but I'll never project my on beliefs on someone else who doesn't seek it and I'll never judge them for not seeking it.
I am highly offended that you haven chosen to classify liberal and Democrat voters as atheist or non practicing Christans, therefore lumping me into that category. Please continue to pray for Democrats as I am one and I know the power of prayer is profound and I will always welcome more prayers, but keep in mind that if your prayers reap blessings that only our Lord can choose the blessing he bestows.
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.