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Conservatives brace for `marriage revolution'
Conservative Christians say their churches have been unprepared for cultural shifts on same-sex marriage.
June 28th, 2013
06:19 PM ET

Conservatives brace for `marriage revolution'

By Daniel Burke, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - With its ivy-covered entrance and Teddy Bear bouquets, Arlene’s Flowers seems an unlikely spot to trigger a culture-war skirmish.

Until recently, the Richland, Washington, shop was better known for its artistic arrangements than its stance on same-sex marriage.

But in March, Barronelle Stutzman, the shop’s 68-year-old proprietress, refused to provide wedding flowers for a longtime customer who was marrying his partner. Washington state legalized same-sex marriage in December.

An ardent evangelical, Stutzman said she agonized over the decision but couldn’t support a wedding that her faith forbids.

“I was not discriminating at all,” she said. “I never told him he couldn’t get married. I gave him recommendations for other flower shops.”

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson disagreed, and filed a consumer protection lawsuit against Arlene’s Flowers. The ACLU also sued on behalf of the customer, Robert Ingersoll, who has said Stutzman’s refusal “really hurt, because it was someone I knew.”

Among conservative Christians, Stutzman has become a byword - part cautionary tale and part cause celebre.

Websites call her a freedom fighter. Tributes fill Arlene’s Facebook page. Donations to her legal defense fund pour in from as far away as Texas and Arkansas.

“For some reason, her case has made a lot of people of faith worry,” said Stutzman’s lawyer, Dale Schowengerdt of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal group.

Those anxieties have only increased, conservative Christians say, since the Supreme Court struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and opened the door to gay marriage in California.

Taking a line from Justice Antonin Scalia's sharp dissent, Southern Baptist scholar Albert Mohler said it’s only a matter of time "before the other shoe drops" – and the high court legalizes same-sex marriage from coast to coast.

“Christians will have to think hard — and fast — about these issues and our proper response,” Mohler wrote on Wednesday.

“We will have to learn an entire new set of missional skills as we seek to remain faithful to Christ in this fast-changing culture.”

His fellow Southern Baptist Russell Moore put the matter more succinctly.

“Same-sex marriage is coming to your community.”

`The debate is over'

Well before the Supreme Court’s rulings, many conservative Christians said they saw the writing - or the poll numbers - on the wall.

Survey after survey shows increasing support for same-sex marriage, especially among young Americans. That includes many religious believers.

Most Catholics and mainline Protestants, not to mention many Jews, support same-sex relationships, according to surveys. The bells of Washington National Cathedral pealed in celebration on Thursday.

Even among those who oppose gay marriage, many think it’s a losing battle.

Seventy percent of white evangelicals believe that legal recognition for gay nuptials is inevitable, according to a June poll by the Pew Research Center, though just 22 percent favor it.

“The gay marriage debate is over,” said Jonathan Merritt, an evangelical writer on faith and culture. “Statistically, all the numbers move in one direction.”

Young Christians have grown up in a far more diverse culture than their forebears, Merritt noted, and many have befriended gays and lesbians.

Pew found that more than 90 percent of Americans overall personally know someone who is gay or lesbian, a 30 percent increase since 1993.

“It’s far easier to wage war against an agenda than it is to battle a friend,” Merritt said.

At the same time, many conservative young Christians say they’re weary of the culture wars, and of seeing their communities labeled “judgmental.”

When Christian researchers at the Barna Group asked Americans aged 16-29 what words best describe Christianity, the top response was “anti-homosexual.” That was true of more than 90 percent of non-Christians and 80 percent of churchgoers, according to Barna.

Tired of being told the country is slouching toward Gomorrah, many young Christians have simply tuned out the angry prophets of earlier generations, evangelical leaders say.

“The shrill angry voices of retrenchment are no longer getting a broad hearing either in the culture at large or in the evangelical community,” Merritt said.

But the battle over same-sex marriage is far from over, said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage.

“I don’t believe most Christians are going to give up the fight,” said Brown, who is Catholic. He said his movement includes many young evangelical and Orthodox Christians.

“And they are more energized than ever.”

Love thy gay neighbors

Energized or not, conservative Christians must prepare for the moral dilemmas posed by the country’s growing acceptance of same-sex marriage, said Moore, the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“Is Your Church Ready for the Marriage Revolution?” Moore asked, while promoting a special session on homosexuality at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting in Houston in June.

Many evangelical pastors have seen homosexuality as a distant culture-war battle that’s fought far from the doors of the churches, Moore said.

Now, it’s as close as their front pews.

“I think it’s not so much that churches haven’t wanted to talk about it,” he said, “but they haven’t recognized how much the culture has changed around them.”

The first step, said Moore, is learning to defend traditional marriage without demonizing gays and lesbians.

Walking through Washington’s Union Station last Thursday, Moore said he saw several lesbian couples kissing in celebration of the Supreme Court rulings.

“If we can’t empathize with what’s going on in their hearts and minds, we’re not going to be able to love and respect them.”

Then come a host of secondary questions: How should conservative pastors minister to same-sex couples? Should Christians attend same-sex weddings? Should florists like Barronelle Stutzman's agree to work with gay couples?

`Don't give in' 

Florist Barronelle Stutzman.

In the 17 years she’s owned Arlene’s Flowers, Stutzman said, she’s worked with a number of gay colleagues.

“It really didn’t matter if they were gay, or blue or green, if they were creative and could do the job,” she said.

Stutzman suspects that some of her eight children privately don’t agree with her on homosexuality, even as they publicly support her decision.

Online, Stutzman has been called a bigot, and worse.

She said she’s lost at least two weddings because of her refusal to provide services for the same-sex marriage.

Conservative activists say her case is the first of what will surely be many more, as gay marriage spreads across the country.

As she gets ready to face a judge, the silver-haired florist offered some advice for fellow evangelicals.

“Don’t give in. If you have to go down for Christ, what better person to go down for?”

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Christianity • Church • Culture wars • Discrimination • Faith • Gay marriage • Gay rights • Homosexuality • Politics • Religious liberty • Same-sex marriage

soundoff (5,210 Responses)
  1. FloydZepp

    When the Evangelical Christian decided that one can indeed serve two masters through the worship of riches and mammon through Prosperity Gospel they rejected the teachings of Jesus

    June 30, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      When the atheist/secularist decided one can ignore the words "nature and nature's God.....and endowed by their Creator...".....

      anyone can play that game.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • FloydZepp

      Elliott, you can always go pray for riches and mammon to your pastor. I sure a rich man can get into heaven as easy as a camel to pass through a needle's eye.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • Observer

      Elliott Carlin,

      The following words DO NOT appear in our Consti-tution, which defines how our nation is to be run and why:

      God, Jesus, Christ, Christianity.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      Elliott: The laws that matter in a secular country are the laws of the land, not the laws that pertain to a specific god. If you don't like living in a secular country where no one set of belief's over rules the next, feel free to move to a theocracy or stop your bigotry and denial of equal rights for all.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      Please define the terms "Nature's God" and "Creator".

      No rabbit trails-I never said anything about Christ or Christianity.

      We're talking about a Creator God–which you don't acknowledge, but the Founders did.

      Your problem to deal with, not ours.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  2. Jim

    Question – why it's it that the golf course where the Master's is played is allowed to not allow African Americans because it is private property but this lady who owns her flower shop cannot refuse service? Not saying either are right, just what is the difference?

    June 30, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • JMEF

      Jim catch up . Augusta National has allowed black players to play in the Masters for many years and have also allowed a few black people to become members and recently also allowed women members. Things change slowly in the south mainly because of the Baptists and the klan.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • lol??

      Wisdomic thinking of pharisees, perchance??

      June 30, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • lol??

      Sen Byrd sayz no pork fer you, jmef.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • Primewonk

      One is a business open to the public. One is not. State law in Washington is that if you hold a business license for pubic accommodation, you must adhere to the state's anti-discrimination law. The law says you cannot discriminate based on se xual orientation. As a business owner, she should have been aware of the state law. She chose to violate the state law.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:53 am |
    • icarus

      And both kinds of discrimination are wrong. Different in many ways historically and socially, but alike in being wrong.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:55 am |
    • JMEF

      Jim. First black member was admitted as a member in 1990 and in 2012 women members were admitted including Condoleezza Rice, for your info.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:58 am |
  3. SokrMom

    Widespread discrimination against gays has been a dilemma for quite some time for the many people who did not agree that was moral.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • AK

      discrimination against people who want two wives, and the 35yr old woman that wants to marry her 16 year old student still exists. What gives???

      June 30, 2013 at 9:53 am |
  4. ProtectAmericanJobs

    Who Cares – GAY, GAY, GAY – Enough is Enough with ALL this GAY Crap Already!

    June 30, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • lol??

      Gay first, everything else second.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • midwest rail

      As usual, lol?? is wrong – what a shock.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:52 am |
  5. lotsahelp

    If she was refusing to do a wedding for white supremacists would any one care? If you think she should be allowed to say no to them but not gays you are a hypocrite.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  6. NC Mom

    Maybe God created Gays as a test of our compassion, tolerance, respect and love for other human beings.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • lol??

      No, just leave em be. Don't make em leader of a mob. That won't work out.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:45 am |
    • MalcomR

      Or... there is no god, and due to natural variation, there is a "gray (gay? :))" area in the mix of genes that control s.e.xual orientation, which occasionally results in same-s.e.x attraction?

      June 30, 2013 at 9:56 am |
    • urszula s.

      or perhaps... to control ovepopulation 😉

      June 30, 2013 at 11:36 am |
  7. Lee

    We could say it's unnatural...but in a different era they would have called it an abomination.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • icarus

      As a gay guy, the idea of the kinds of behavior straight people engage in can sometimes seem pretty unnatural.

      I think we all need to take ownership of what comes naturally for ourselves.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • rick

      how could it be unnatural if it is found in nature?

      June 30, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  8. Julie

    Apparently God loves gays more than Christians now.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • lol??

      The gubmint god is fickle.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:42 am |
    • devin

      Yes, that must be it. Kind of like when the Nazis became the majority in Germany, God must have done it, because, you know, they were the majority. Yes, you must be right.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • Mark

      If you read your Bible you would know the answer to your comment / question. God loves all equally, but I guarantee you He is shaking his head in absolute disgust at the decisions we are making. It's not like He didn't know this was going to happen, it's just now that it's here, I'm sure He does not approve.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • AK

      The term "NOW" is short. You will see some serious things happen soon, and very soon. Yep, the GAYS, LGBT mafia have won this chapter, the debate about how man defines marriage is now over. God has not changed his stance on what marriage is. Just because the Government allows something, doesn't make it right.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:58 am |
    • midwest rail

      " You will see some serious things happen soon, and very soon. "
      Please elaborate on your empty threats.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:59 am |
  9. J R Brown

    The end of reason began when the SCOTUS decided that illegal discrimination was no longer confined to those of immutable traits such as gender and race but also includes discriminating against people because of who they want to f'k.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  10. MalcomR

    I still find it to be one of the most amazing things, after 50+ years of living, that any human who is not in a mental facility sincerely believes this god stuff. I love how most conservatives go on about "personal responsibility" and the "nanny state" but count on a sky daddy to take care of them. Ha! And they'll point to their book of fairy-tales and plat.i.t.udes and say "Yep. So and so said this would happen. Yer all sinners...". What a waste of human potential. How do you measure the various levels of suffering that religion continues to inflict on people?

    And don't try tot tell me about all of the "good" that religion does. Saying religion does good things is like saying that a violent psychopath is justified because he held the door for an old lady once. What a bunch of deluded fools.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • lol??

      Clinging to the Beast because the false prophet let you down is not exactly schmart.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  11. Leah Reis

    There's no point in attending church any more. God is really dead.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • devin

      I'm sure He will be disturbed by your silly, if not foolish sentiment.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • icarus

      If one's faith is so fragile that the idea of gay people marrying is enough to shatter it, maybe gay people weren't ever the real problem there.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:46 am |
  12. icarus

    What drives me nuts is that this is framed as someone valiantly fighting against the forces of society, what with all of its evil socialist political correctness skulking about.

    Standing against gay marriage is not a value. The real values that marriage promotes, like fidelity, commitment, mutual love and respect, etc. are totally worth fighting for. She's not doing any of that.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • devin

      What you fail to grasp is that what she is fighting for is absolute moral truth.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Observer

      devin

      "What you fail to grasp is that what she is fighting for is absolute moral truth."

      Nonsense. It's just your VERSION of morality.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • icarus

      I'm fine if you believe the Bible is absolute moral truth. I am not fine with you then saying that because this is your faith, therefore I am not allowed to marry the person I love or that I can be discriminated against by someone selling services like this woman.

      I think one of the greatest mistakes a person of faith can make is to lose the "don't know" aspect; to assume that they 100% know for certain that they are right. You can't believe if you already know, and not knowing makes us all humble searchers for the greater truth together rather than kids fighting in the sandbox about who has the better god.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Damocles

      Riiggghhttt... morality taught by something whose reaction to everything that displeases it is to kill it.

      Rather one-dimensional for an all powerful deity to just kill. Very boring.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • devin

      Observer

      When you judge a father who has had an incestuous relationship with his daughter, is that also just "your version of morality"?

      June 30, 2013 at 9:46 am |
    • Richard Cranium

      devin
      "absolute moral truth"
      There are no absolute morals...and that is the truth.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • devin

      Icarus

      This is ultimately about presuppositions. I'm guessing yours is that moral truth is determined by your own sense of rationalism and reasoning, that is, what "seems right" to you. My presupposition is that there is a creator God who has both caused us into being and has revealed to us information about His character. This has absolutely nothing to do with being a "know it all"

      June 30, 2013 at 10:00 am |
  13. grama

    So all love is equal. I love my dog, my car, my lovely trees, my sweet husband. So, it's my right to "marry" all of them. Marriage is no big deal anymore, is it? Yes, so you noticed, I'm an old-fashioned, traditional "grama".

    June 30, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • An American

      This is about dating another human.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      Hey grama learn the difference between consensual and non-consensual. You think your car or dog can give you consent to marry or make love to them? No.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • icarus

      Consent. Neither dogs, nor cars, nor children (below the age of consent) can consent.

      Marriage promotes real values that include love but go well beyond it, like commitment and fidelity. That only makes sense if both parties can consent to that kind of bond. Gay marriage strengthens those values precisely by upholding the primacy of consent over tradition, which allowed all sorts of arrangements that would be considered abusive by today's standards.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • MalcomR

      Unfortunately, age places no limits on idiocy, "grama".

      June 30, 2013 at 9:41 am |
    • Damocles

      What the....? I've never heard so many brain cells scream out their death rattle at once.

      Well done.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:43 am |
    • D.Flinn

      Hi, Grama

      The difference is that only only one of the things you 'love' is capable of entering into a legal contract.

      Peace!
      DF

      June 30, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • AK

      I love women and want to marry three of them. They love me back. I have a right to love who I want. If you disagree you're a bigot!

      June 30, 2013 at 10:01 am |
    • Damocles

      @ak

      If you are all consenting adults, go for it.

      June 30, 2013 at 10:05 am |
  14. mjbrin

    I am curious. Does an auto dealer have the right to ask each possible patron to prove they are straight before they purchase a car?

    June 30, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Elliott Carlin

      he should have the right to sell to anyone he wants to....and there will eventually be other enterprising individuals who will sell to those the first dealer didn't want to sell to.

      See how things get done w/the federal government isn't meddling?

      There's a big difference in greed and self-preservation.

      June 30, 2013 at 10:07 am |
  15. chris

    "christians", it's not YOUR place to govern morality. no one is holding you responsible for others "so-called" sins so butt out of others lives and you might live a better one for yourself. you are all really just a hate-filled group who don't even see that god might have delivered a win for gays against you... the supreme court IS stacked with conservatives after all, so why so bitter? if you are not trying to become the american-taliban they shut it and get on with your whack-a-doodle lives, you lost and love won!

    June 30, 2013 at 9:36 am |
  16. FloydZepp

    The Christian has already killed "traditional" marriage with their propensity for multpile divorces. Jesus was clear on that matter, NO.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • mjbrin

      i agree with you there

      June 30, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Merlin Excalibur

      Also about the killing of nonvirgin wives.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:41 am |
  17. LakeRat1

    The Christian conservatives are painting themselves into a corner with their bass-ackwards religious views. These may have been OK 500 years ago before science, but religion in general, is going to have to make some major changes, if it is going to be viable in the future.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • FloydZepp

      Rabs, you sound frightened that your religion will die if everyone won't believe the way you want them to believe. How sad.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • What is going on? FREEDOM

      Rabs god isn't above science do to one specific reason. With science we can actually prove something, with god no one can prove something. You hateful right wing christians need to move to the Vatican or something if you don't like it here. Equality comes first before your religion does. Actually this country comes first before your religion as well (and I mean that by saying that your religion is not in control of this country the people are)

      June 30, 2013 at 9:38 am |
    • Damocles

      @rabies oops I mean rabs

      Yeah, man! Stick to your guns! next time you get sick, pray it away! Next time you need to go somewhere, pray yourself there!

      Pesky ol' science and its new-fangled inventions. Boo, hiss, grrr!

      June 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • lordshipmayhem

      No, Rab, religious faith is NOT above science.

      As Tim Minchin put it in Storm:
      "Science adjusts it's beliefs based on what's observed / Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."

      What "science" is, is a method – a technique to find reality. It's been tried, repeatedly, and works. Using science, we've sent rockets to the Moon and Mars, we've eliminated smallpox in a generation, we've harnessed nuclear power, we've been able to feed 7 billion people. Science doesn't care what you believe, or what you WANT to believe, or what your religion tells you to believe, any more than the star Polaris cares. Science shows you what is real, just as Polaris shows you where North is. What you do with that knowledge, of how the world really is or where North really is, that's up to you.

      If we were to suffer a collective case of amnesia, forgetting all of our scientific discoveries and all of our religions, and all of our writings are evidence for our present belief systems would vanish, sooner or later we'd rediscover all those scientific discoveries just exactly as we have them now – gravity, the periodic table, and so on. The religion that would replace the world's existing religions would be quite different, though – for they are NOT based on reality.

      June 30, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • AK

      SCIENCE that you speak of disproves gay relationships. You people would extinguish yourselves out, thank you Darwin!!!

      June 30, 2013 at 10:03 am |
  18. MomentofClarity

    "The first step, said Moore, is learning to defend traditional marriage without demonizing gays and lesbians."

    There's great news! Traditional marriage isn't going anywhere. A man and a woman can still get married. Now, if you want to defend traditional marriage, I'd recommend focusing on divorce, spouses that split after babies are born, poor finances, and domestic violence. Those two things are more harmful to traditional marriage than any gay marriage could ever be.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:33 am |
    • mjbrin

      you forgot to mention infidelity

      June 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |
  19. FloydZepp

    Jesus never commented on Gays.

    June 30, 2013 at 9:32 am |
    • devin

      And he never commented on p edo philia, necr oph ilia or serial killers either. What is your point?

      June 30, 2013 at 9:34 am |
    • FloydZepp

      That Christians invent things Jesus is against for their own prejudices, hatred and politics.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:35 am |
    • Damocles

      @devin

      I would think that those might have been important topics for him to cover, wouldn't you?

      June 30, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Observer

      devin,

      The point is HYPOCRISY. Christians make a big issue out of something Jesus didn't.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • LakeRat1

      You hit on something important with that short comment. One of the big reasons why religion is losing credibility, is that these "religious" people are taking their knee-jerk ideas, and promoting their importance by marketing them as Christian beliefs. I've said it before, but it seems similar to what the extremists are doing with the Muslim religion in the mideast. The people that haven't seen through this yet, will figure this out as time goes on.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • Chris

      The whole bible is about Jesus...The bible clearly calls sodomy a sin....Jesus forgives the sin when repented of,but it is still sin

      June 30, 2013 at 9:47 am |
    • devin

      Damocles

      Perhaps you should read the rest of the book.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:48 am |
    • Observer

      devin
      "
      Perhaps you should read the rest of the book."

      Do you mean the parts like where God says you can use a rod to break the bones of a female slave and if she doesn't die in a day or two, there should be NO PUNISHMENT?

      June 30, 2013 at 9:51 am |
    • Damocles

      @devin

      You just said he didn't mention those topics, are you now asking me to read the book to fill you in on the parts that you skipped because they don't jive with what you believe?

      June 30, 2013 at 9:52 am |
    • devin

      Damocles

      Huh?

      June 30, 2013 at 10:05 am |
    • AK

      WRONG! Jesus Christ referenced Sodom right here: Matthew 11:20-24 BTW – He seemed pretty serious here.

      June 30, 2013 at 10:11 am |
  20. Julie

    Now that we've made some headway in gay marriage, can we start working on legislation that will ban Christians from knocking on my door?

    June 30, 2013 at 9:31 am |
    • rabs

      accept the lord in your life and save yourself before it is too late. else you are going to hell along with these gays too

      June 30, 2013 at 9:37 am |
    • Observer

      rabs,

      Skip the HYPOCRISY. You don't support all of God's warped idea of marriage so don't pick on others who don't either.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:39 am |
    • Andres

      Keep in mind that for this Baptists the only ones saved are them and only a few other handful of Christians. Not even other Christians get to be saved, specially Catholics who pray to "idols" they say. So for them, the devil gets to keep more souls than God. Ridiculous but truth.

      Jesus salvation will be a success to the point everyone will be given a chance to turn to him, even after dead, and be saved. He will save even the ones condemned for his love for Man is that of a GOD, we cant understand.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • noone

      I like when they come to my door. It's fun to debate them. I usually just point out the logical problems with their religion, to which they have no real rebuttals. Then I wish them a good day and tell them to come back once they have some hard facts to support their position.

      June 30, 2013 at 9:48 am |
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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.