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The Belief Blog's guide to kitschy Christmas gifts
December 21st, 2012
04:11 PM ET

The Belief Blog's guide to kitschy Christmas gifts

By The CNN Belief Blog Editors

(CNN) - As shoppers scour malls and web portals looking for the perfect last-minute Christmas gift, we humbly present a few ideas of faithy kitsch.

The tradition of giving gifts at Christmas can be traced back to the birth of Jesus, who Christians say is the son of God, believed to have taken on full humanity to save the world from sin.

The Christmas narrative found in the Gospel of Matthew tells the story of three wise men from the East, who followed a star to visit Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. When they found them, the men worshiped Jesus and presented gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

In lieu of such hard-to-find items, here are some wonderfully kitschy Christmas gifts:

BibleOpoly

The perfect gift for the budding tycoon who wants to start "In the Beginning." It's like Monopoly, but for church. Instead of going to jail, you go to meditate.

Praise! Aerobics

We've long held that this training video set to Christian praise music should be reissued on Blu-Ray. In the meantime, dust off that VHS player and find a vintage copy of this gem. Also available on DVD is PraiseMoves, which bills itself as the "Christian alternative to yoga."

Kneeling Santa

It's a creative take on the biblical story of Jesus' birth. While there's no direct mention of Santa in the Bible, this kneeling Santa shows what's possible in the name of artistic license.

Jesus is my Coach – Soccer

If someone in your life loves soccer and Jesus, you should probably get this for them.

Bacon Candy Canes

Candy canes have been interpreted as "Js" for Jesus or as shepherd's staffs representing the "Good Shepherd," as Jesus is sometimes known. Now they can be all those things and bacon flavored, too.

Jesus Toasters

It's the lone entrant on both the Belief Blog Hanukkah and Christmas kitsch lists, though the Hanukkah version brands toast with a star of David.

Jesus Adhesive Bandages

The New Testament is chock full of healing miracles. Here's your chance to at least do the healing part.

Happy Birthday Jesus coloring book

A good reminder for children that Christmas isn't your birthday, unless you were born on December 25.

1980s Christmas Sweater

Here's a gift for the aspiring hipster in your life. Sincerely and ironically wrap an old favorite and re-gift away.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Christianity • Christmas • Holidays

soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. apostate

    "It's like Monopoly, but for church."

    Sounds awful, two of the most boring things ever combined.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • lolololololol

      You misspelled "a prostate".....

      December 21, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  2. Brampt

    What Sort of Star Led the Astrologers?
    Clues are provided by what the star actually did. For one thing, it did not lead the men directly to Bethlehem, but to Jerusalem, where their inquiries about Jesus reached the ears of King Herod. Herod then “secretly summoned the astrologers,” who told him about the newborn “king of the Jews.” Herod then said: “Make a careful search for the young child, and when you have found it report back to me.” Herod’s interest in Jesus, however, was anything but noble. Rather, this proud and ruthless ruler was resolved to put Jesus to death!—Matthew 2:1-8, 16.
    Interestingly, the “star” now led the astrologers south to Bethlehem. There “it came to a stop” above the house where Jesus was.—Matthew 2:9, 10.
    Clearly this was no ordinary star! And why would God, who had used angels to inform humble shepherds of Jesus’ birth, now employ a star to guide pagan astrologers—first to Jesus’ enemy and then to the child himself? The only reasonable conclusion is that the star was a sinister device of Satan, who is capable of such manifestations. (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10) Ironically, an ornament called the star of Bethlehem is usually seen at the very top of the Christmas tree.

    December 21, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Bereave

      Maybe it was an alien space craft?

      December 21, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
  3. Brampt

    The New Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges: “The date of Christ’s birth is not known. The gospels indicate neither the day nor the month . . . According to the hypothesis suggested by H. Usener . . . and accepted by most scholars today, the birth of Christ was assigned the date of the winter solstice (December 25 in the Julian Calendar, January 6 in the Egyptian), because on this day, as the sun began its return to northern skies, the pagan devotees of Mithra celebrated the dies natalis Solis Invicti (birthday of the invincible sun). On Dec. 25, 274, Aurelian had proclaimed the sun-god principal patron of the empire and dedicated a temple to him in the Campus Martius. Christmas originated at a time when the cult of the sun was particularly strong at Rome.”
    M’Clintock and Strong’s Cyclopœdia says: “The observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of N[ew] T[estament] origin. The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained from the N[ew] T[estament], or, indeed, from any other source.”
    The apostle Paul warned at Colossians 2:8: “Look out: perhaps there may be someone who will carry you off as his prey through the philosophy and empty deception according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary things of the world and not according to Christ.”

    December 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • What?

      If you learned the Jewish course of of abia you will figure out that Jesus was born 6 months after his cousin known as John the Baptist.

      December 22, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  4. Sam Yaza

    humbug .. their no things for us pagans besides the cabana candy can.....mmm Bacon

    so here is the Pagan must haves

    Horus pez dispenser

    The battle of the planes of towers board games (featuring loved characters like Lugh, Brigid, Nauda. and hated foes like Bolar. be the first to shot victory from the mountain) [played like candy land]

    Pin the spear in the Taros (Mithras reference)

    protect your self with Baphomet condoms (im going to get some flack for this one no i am not insulting Muhammad...ok only a little)

    Shin Megami tensei If...http://agtp.romhack.net/project.php?id=smtif - if not out in time get any SMT game,.. the'll love it

    and

    a Bootleg copy of the Hobbit

    December 21, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  5. CNN Belief Blog Official Notice 3

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    OK, Crossan my fingers hoping this prints out correctly...

    December 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • What a mess

      YAY!!!!

      December 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • WthF

      What is this?

      December 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Reality

      Danke Schoen !! And Happy Holidays to one and all!!!

      December 22, 2012 at 8:33 am |
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    Only for new recipients of this award:

    Directions:

    1. Print, cut, and paste or use tape to affix said award to your surface of choice.

    2. Fix any flaws or follies as needed. To ensure maximum Award Energy™, avoid all pews and religious buildings.

    3. Enjoy :D

    (I'll keep trying until it prints out correctly. – ed.)

    December 21, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Must you?

      December 21, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Trollface

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      December 21, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
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    Only for new recipients of this award:

    Directions:

    1. Print, cut, and paste or use tape to affix said award to your surface of choice.

    2. Fix any flaws or follies as needed. To ensure maximum Award Energy™, avoid all pews and religious buildings.

    3. Enjoy :D

    December 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  8. Mohammad A Dar

    I would have definitely bought the soccer playing Jesus, had he wear Barcelona jersey!!!

    December 21, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • Bereav

      hawaiiguest
      + Are you out there protesting and stopping the other christians from legislating their religion and imposing it everywhere?
      No.

      + Are you fighting against denominational, divisive prayers in public schools that all children will be mandated to say?
      No.

      + Are you fighting against anti-gay legislation because "THE BIBLE SAYS IT'S EVIL"?
      I support equal rights for gays. They are welcome to worship at my church. Their sins, like mine, are between me and God. (Except those that interfere with laws)

      + Live and let live is not in the christian doctrine.
      Actually we are asked to take it farther. Turn the other cheek, go the extra mile and love your enemies are some examples of this.

      + What is in there is "believe or else"
      Nowhere.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  9. Reality

    Religion news must be slow these days or maybe this blog's staff needs some downsizing or at least some courses in religion and history after which they can write something meaningful.

    Beyond all the kitsch both Christian and Jewish:

    A 21st century summary:

    Christmas, the embellished story of the birth of a simple, preacher man named Jesus.

    As per most contemporary NT exegetes, his parents were Mary and Joseph although some say Jesus was a mamzer, the result of a pre-marital relationship between Mary and a Roman soldier.

    http:// http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

    Jesus was not born in Bethlehem at least the one we are familiar with and there were no pretty wingie thingies singing/talking from on high, no slaughter of the innocents by Herod, no visiting wise men and no escape to Egypt.

    "Mark's gospel, the most historical of the four gospels, does not even mention the event.

    And from Professor Gerd Ludemann in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, pp. 269-272, "The historical yield of the Lukan infancy narrative in respect to the birth of Jesus is virtually nil.

    Matt 1:18-25: , pp. 123-124, "The fathering of Jesus from the Holy Spirit and his birth from the virgin Mary are unhistorical". Ludemann gives a very detailed analysis to support his conclusions. One part being the lack of attestations to these events and the late time strata of said story.

    "Lüdemann [pp. 261-63) discounts Luke's account as a legend deriving from Jewish Hellenistic circles that were concerned to hold together the procreation of the Spirit, the authentic sonship of the Messiah and the virginal conception. "

    Then there are these additional conclusions:

    Professor Bruce Chilton

    "In [Rabbi Jesus: An Intimate Biography] (2000), Chilton develops the idea of Jesus as a mamzer; someone whose irregular birth circu-mstances result in their exclusion from full participation in the life of the community. He argues for the natural pa-ternity of Joseph and finds no need for a miraculous conception. In his subsequent reconstruction of Jesus' life, Chilton suggests that this sustained personal experience of exclusion played a major role in Jesus' self-ident-ity, his concept of God and his spiritual quest.

    Professor John Dominic Crossan

    "In [Historical Jesus] (p. 371) Crossan treats this cluster, like 007 Of Davids Lineage, as an example of the interplay of prophecy and history in the development of the Jesus traditions.

    "In [Birth of Christianity] (pp. 26-29) Crossan uses Luke's account of Jesus' conception and birth to explore ethical issues concerning the public interpretation of the past. He notes the tendency of Christian scholars to disregard "pagan" birth legends while investing great effort in the defence of biblical birth narratives. He concludes:

    I do not accept the divine conception of either Jesus or Augustus as factual history, but I believe that God is incarnate in the Jewish peasant poverty of Jesus and not in the Roman imperial power of Augustus. "

    "The following ancient parallels to Jesus' miraculous conception should be noted:

    Birth of Moses (Exod 2:1-10)
    Birth of Plato (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, 3.45) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 507]
    Birth of Alexander the Great (Plutarch, Parallel Lives, 2.1-3.5) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 502f]
    Birth of Apollonius (Philostratus, Life of Apollonius, I.4) [see Acts of Jesus, p. 505]"

    And some final words from Thomas Jefferson, not a contemporary NT scholar, but indeed a very learned man:

    "And the day will come,
    when the mystical generation of Jesus,
    by the Supreme Being as His Father,
    in the womb of a virgin,
    will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva”

    Letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823.

    Conclusion: Christmas is historically a non-event. Ditto for the Feast of the Magi and the solemnity of Mary aka New Years day.

    December 21, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Bereave

      The testimonies about Jesus Christ are true and important to my people. We know some people will not accept or like them. That is ok, and it is actually part of God's plan. We live and let live.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Athy

      God has a plan? Why doesn't he let us in on it?

      December 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
    • Bereave

      Google it!

      December 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I thought it was just the Pope who had a twitter feed.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
    • Kelly

      Athy, he did. You need to read the letter he wrote to all of us. He allows humans to rule the world and tells us it is better to believe and practice his commandments. If not, he comes back to earth and wipes out evil.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bereave

      Live and let live? Bullshit! Are you out there protesting and stopping the other christians from legislating their religion and imposing it everywhere? Are you fighting against denominational, divisive prayers in public schools that all children will be mandated to say? Are you fighting against anti-gay legislation because "THE BIBLE SAYS IT'S EVIL"? Live and let live is not in the christian doctrine. What is in there is "believe or else".

      December 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Bereav

      hawaiiguest
      + Are you out there protesting and stopping the other christians from legislating their religion and imposing it everywhere?
      No.

      + Are you fighting against denominational, divisive prayers in public schools that all children will be mandated to say?
      No.

      + Are you fighting against anti-gay legislation because "THE BIBLE SAYS IT'S EVIL"?
      I support equal rights for gays. They are welcome to worship at my church. Their sins, like mine, are between me and God. (Except those that interfere with laws)

      + Live and let live is not in the christian doctrine.
      Actually we are asked to take it farther. Turn the other cheek, go the extra mile and love your enemies are some examples of this.

      + What is in there is "believe or else"
      Nowhere.!

      December 21, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Apocalypse Dude

      Have a nice holiday season, Reality! I'd copy and paste you a present, but technology hasn't quite made it there yet.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bereav

      2 Corinthians 6:14 ESV / 124 helpful votes
      Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?

      2 John 1:9-11 ESV / 78 helpful votes
      Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

      2 Chronicles 15:12-13 ESV / 44 helpful votes
      And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and with all their soul, but that whoever would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, should be put to death, whether young or old, man or woman.

      John 3:16 ESV / 32 helpful votes
      For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

      Non-believers are treated like crap in the bible. And even in John 3:16, while most people just think "oh how nice how lovely how loving god is", when the obvious follow-up is, guess what.
      Believe or else.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bereav

      Do you want more? There's a lot.

      December 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm |
    • Bereav

      Some of these letters were written to people who were being influenced by false apostles. People through bad intention or bad education were doing things that lead people astray from the gospel. I have to look at the audience, intention and author of each letter to understand the verse.

      As far as being "unequally yoked ", we can't have 2 masters. I can't live for Jesus, but put my faith in things of this world at the same time. For instance, I can't make my finances a priority of my life. It has to be God.

      We believe this is how God wants us to treat "unbelievers": Don't condemn them, pray for and love them. Share the gospel with them.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • Bereav

      > Non-believers are treated like crap in the bible.

      Jesus was falsely accused, beaten and crucified. Everyone seems to suffer.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bereav

      How fun that you completely ignore the believe or else aspect of this. Or the fact that the bible paints unbelievers as evil people because they don't believe.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:20 pm |
    • Bereav

      Disciple: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

      Jesus: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

      My neighbor is the unbeliever, too.

      December 21, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bereav

      You're still ignoring it. Is it because it's too uncomfortable to actually face the doctrine in christianity that says believe or else?

      December 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Bereave

      Peter Gomes:

      "If God is the God of all, and not just a tribal deity, then God has made a provision, not necessarily known to us, for the healing and care for all his creation, and not simply our little part of it.

      If there is any good news, that is truly good news for everybody and not just a few somebodies, it is this: God is greater and more generous than the best of those who profess to know and serve him.

      When devout Christians believe that only Christians of a particular doctrinal stripe have access to God, that, for example, God hears their prayers only, they stand in cosmic immodesty."

      It does not say "believe... or else" to me. What kind of love is that?

      December 21, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bereav

      It's not love, and that's the point. The bible says one of god's characteristics is all love. But that doesn't change the cold hard fact that doctrinally, it is a believe or else situation.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Bereav

      Not if you have a God full of grace and mercy.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Yeah, your god is so merciful that if you doubt he exists, you're doomed to the lake of fire.

      Great.

      He doesn't show up for....well, ever, and expects people to believe in him because some people 2000 years ago think they saw something.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bereav

      I can't help but think you're completely missing my point.

      December 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • Bereave

      I don't have a vengeful God.

      I believe I chose to go to hell. Hell is a consequence of my decisions.

      God is good, and cannot dwell with sin. Jesus Christ covers that sin so I may dwell closer to God.

      Yes, He gets jealous and sends floods to destroy his creation. But, he loves His creation so he shows mercy and gives a way out.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @bereav

      And you're still not getting it. You're still completely ignoring the believe or else aspect.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Bereave

      We don't really preach the "believe, or else" at my church.

      But probably 90% or more of us are believers. We focus on living our lives within God's will.

      And also trying to understand some of the difficult things Jesus preached. Like, you have to give up your life to save your life.

      So, basically we try to live by example. We share the love God has granted us with.

      We are Lutheran. We are different from other denominations.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:43 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Only if you're ELCA, Those Missouri Synod nuts are blood-thirsty ass waffles.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Bereave

      Really. Your church doesn't teach that no matter how good you are unless you believe and accept Jesus you're still going to go to hell? Talk about non-biblical.

      December 21, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
    • Akira

      "“If God is the God of all, and not just a tribal deity...."
      What makes a tribal deity any less valid that the God of all?
      I'm curious.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Bereave

      Well, kind of. We can't buy our way into heaven by being good. We all have failed. Except Jesus. He won and made it to heaven. And he can share that gift with us.

      We can accept it or refuse it. Our choice.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I have to say that Bereave's posts are kind of refreshing. I was raised in the Lutheran church, though, so I'm biased.

      They have better music than any other denomination, hands down.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Bereave

      > What makes a tribal deity any less valid that the God of all?

      In the new covenant, God has a plan to save his whole creation.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • Bereave

      > Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Thanks I am ELCA. The Missouri Synod church down the road hates us, haha.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Bereave, I'll bet they do. Those people are fundies.

      I do respect your answers to the questions asked of you, and your manner of addressing the issues. I wish more people of faith were like you.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Bereave

      Thanks. 2 years ago I found myself in a Lutheran pastor's office after my life had gone to poop. It took me awhile to grasp what Jesus did.

      December 21, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
  10. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    Bibleopoly

    The perfect gift for the budding tyco0n who wants to start "In the Beginning." It's like Monopoly, but for church. Instead of going to jail, you go to meditate.

    So ... meditation is 'punishment' for Christians?

    Praise! Aerobics

    "Also available on DVD is PraiseMoves, which bills itself as the "Christian alternative to yoga."

    Yeah, ya'll need that, cos yoga is like, devil worship for heathens.

    December 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • Akira

      I find the 'Praise Aerobics' rather funny, as there are some Christians sueing a school district in California for wanting to teach yoga to kids...NOT the philosophy or anything, just the re-named moves...

      December 21, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  11. The Truth

    "It's like Monopoly, but for church." Soooo, it's like the Church?

    "Instead of going to jail, you go to meditate." So that's why the pervert priests didn't have to serve any time... :(

    December 21, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @The Truth,

      no, meditation is punishment for Protestants. They are taught NOT to think about their beliefs.

      December 21, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  12. The Truth

    "While there's no direct mention of Santa in the Bible, this kneeling Santa shows what's possible in the name of artistic license." Just like most Christian doctrine... interpretation? see "artistic license"...

    December 21, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  13. The Truth

    "A good reminder for children that Christmas isn't your birthday (or Christ's for that matter) , unless you were born on December 25."

    December 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  14. The Truth

    If you're mouth starts watering when someone says "Bacon Candy" you might be a rednose...

    December 21, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  15. The Truth

    I'm sure there will be a few Christian trophy wives showing off their new sweater candles this year... :)

    December 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Huebert

      That made me LOL

      December 21, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  16. Bob the Destroyer™

    None of that stuff will stand up to my Ronco™ Kitsch-Destroying Automatic SledgeHammer™!
    Got anything else?

    December 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  17. Huebert

    Would that toaster all one to make a grilled Cheesus?

    December 21, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Akira

      Lmao! Boooooooooooo!

      December 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  18. The Truth

    I love the Jesus bandaids, if he won't heal you he can eat least keep the dirt out of your wound!

    December 21, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • PMike

      He covers up the sins of the world and allows God's healing ways to renew us.

      December 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  19. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    I *love* the kneeling Santa and Soccer Jesus.

    Too funny!

    Thanks for the Christmas present / Yule gift / Solstice blessings / whatever to the Belief Blog editors.

    December 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  20. I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

    AWESOME!

    December 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      My later post was supposed to go here.

      Thank you to the belief blog editors for the timely gift of this nonsense gift guide. I congratulate you on your choices – and the thankless task of presenting opinions on religion to the vocal and opinionated unwashed.

      Seasons greetings!

      December 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      I wonder if there's a computer back-up system or a bank 'Christmas club' with the slogan:

      "Jesus saves, so should you!"

      This was the advice I once received from an unsympathetic supervisor after my hard-disk crashed, destroying all my data.

      December 21, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
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About this blog

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.