May 31st, 2010
03:19 AM ET

A Muslim voice at ground zero

Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.

By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN

The United States has from its inception seen itself as something new. But populism—the politics of nostalgia—has a long history here. And the nation’s capital is, among other things, a Necropolis—a site for the memorialization of the dead.

How a nation memorializes the dead matters, not least by revealing what it lives for. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial tells us that the dead are to be remembered by name. So does the Oklahoma City National Memorial, whose 168 chairs represent the individuals taken by terror on April 19, 1995.

The memorials we are now building out of the ashes of 9/11 tell us something about the United States, too, as does the Ground Zero site itself, which is why the recent scuffle over whether there is to be a mosque in the vicinity is a matter not just for the Tea Party spokespeople who oppose it or the New York City community board that voted 29-1 to support it. It is a matter for all Americans, and the questions it calls are two.

The first concerns the so-called war on terror. Is the United States at war with Islam? If so, there should be no mosque near Ground Zero, and perhaps no mosque anywhere in Manhattan or for that matter in the United States.

The second is whether we are at war with the First Amendment. The United States may well be the most Christian country on earth (at least three out of every four Americans call themselves Christians) but until the First Amendment is repealed it is also a country that guarantees religious liberty to Christians and non-Christians alike.

So I disagree with Rod Dreher’s claim that a mosque at Ground Zero is “insane.” And I agree with Joe Klein’s call to build that mosque in the name of American freedom.

But building a mosque two blocks from Ground Zero is not enough. If the Ground Zero site, forever hallowed by those who disappeared into death there, is to reflect American values, the religion of Islam should also have a place at the Ground Zero memorial itself.

Like the Vietnam and Oklahoma City memorials, the 9/11 memorial will include a litany of the names of the dead. It should also include the names of Muslims worldwide who denounce the terrors of 9/11 as a crime against humanity and against Islam itself. These people are out there by the millions.  Let’s gather their signatures online and display them in a database at Ground Zero.

For every right-wing talk show host who says the mosque, if built, should be bombed, there are in my view millions of Muslims who know their tradition well enough to denounce terror in the name of Allah. Am I right? Let's find out.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.

- CNN Belief Blog contributor

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Culture wars • Islam • Politics • Religious liberty • Violence

soundoff (883 Responses)
  1. family guy

    islam and western values have nothing in common , nothing any american who supports islam is not a true american but a fave of people who want to change our way of life . time to show isalm the door .
    muslims are killing ours soldies right now , nevermind that our men and woman are dying for arab oil ..

    June 6, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
    • learnyourfacts

      its weird how your saying that our soldiers are being killed by Muslims because last time i checked it was the other way around. Last time i watched the news i saw little children laying in their own blood because soldiers killed them so as far as i know the killing of innocent children is terrorism.

      June 6, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
  2. Umme Omar

    CNN should block Ben Cooper from posting messages here or anywhere.

    June 6, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
    • Ben Cooper

      Ah...the vaunted Islamic tolerance. To hell with the Bill of Rights. Censor or...better yet...kill him! Yeah, that's what we Islamists do! We don't tolerate anything or anyone. Let's just fly an airplance full of people into a building full of people because we're a religious people! Your religion...and i use the word oh-so-loosely, is responsible for more deaths than Hitler could ever dream of. What a disaster Islam has been for the human race. By the way, quick, name the Arabs that have won Nobel Prizes for actually helping humanity. Stuck? I'm sure you are. Now, if they gave out Nobel Prizes for Arab mass killers, I'm sure you could tick off dozen of names. And, you can start with today's inspirational leaders such as bin Laden, so-called Mullah Omar, the entire Saudi "royal" family not to mention every the wonderful people in Pakistan that blew up a U.N food station. No...wait...maybe you start with the wonderful people in Pakistan and Iraq that set off bombs at soccer games. Aren't Muslims great?

      June 6, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
    • learnyourfacts

      I agree because i can recall a few Muslims who did a lot for humanity but people like ben are to ignorant to notice them.Ahmed Zewail, Naguib Mahfouz ,Orhan Pamuk, Muhammad Yunus , Shirin Ebadi( and yes believe it or not shes a WOMEN!!!!) and yes there is plenty more. so just do a little research before you speak so you wont look so ignorant next time you do ben.

      June 6, 2010 at 8:00 pm |
  3. jeff

    People should read the bible before critcizing Islam for their stupid beliefs.

    June 6, 2010 at 1:10 pm |
    • Ben Cooper

      Uh...Jeff? This may come as a big surprise to you, but whatever Jesus said that touched on biblical writings OVERRULED those writings. Period, end of story. So, if by your limited one-sided thinking you're referring to numerous biblical admonitions/punishments to, for example, stone others to their deaths for various sins and other murderous acts you find comparable to that "peace-loving" goat-herder, Mohammed, please keep in mind that that Jesus FORBID the very things that this lying thug told people to do that they ARE doing, even today. Why, just look at 9/11 or Muslims blowing up girls' schools. Aren't these people great? Wouldn't you want them as neighbors? Here we have Jesus' words, 'Let he who is free of sin cast the first stone.' Mohammed says, go out and kill someone for the cause! Isn't Mohammed wonderful? What a humanitarian. Believe what I say, he says, or I'll run you through with a sword! And I have God's permission to do it! So, if you're having a problem with an infidel who actually believes in Christ, just let me know so I can show them my kind of mercy at the tip of a knife. Can't bring yourself to kill him? I accept cash, checks and, of course, VISA.

      June 6, 2010 at 2:18 pm |
    • Jim

      Actually Bible and koran sound exactly the same. Ben you are so wrong. I think you have some issues to get resolved. Why are you dumping them here?

      June 6, 2010 at 11:06 pm |
  4. Silhouette

    I ask yet again. All the killing, looting, raping the white man has done before and since 'segragating' religion from state, can anyone here tell in whose name has all that been done? Once it was in the name of religion. Apparently they are trying to cover it by proclaiming the current massacres are in the name of economical prosperity or some other really dumb excuse. The fact of the matter is that no one has been as brutal as the white man, so much so it seems like a genetic disorder. On top of that, the mental slavery at the hand of jews doesn't really help. Actually it circles back to the fact that things haven't changed one bit. You can come up with as many excuses as you want, but it was religion and personal insecurities at the time of the first crusade, and it is the same to this day.
    Remember, you started it so you have to step back and admit your mistakes and apologize. Give the innocents their land back, stop supporting the forced illegitimate occupation of Palaestine as that is the core issue and it will be the first positive step toward peace. Besides, if you really wanted to give the jews some land, go to Germany, they were the ones who supposedly were killing the jews, not palestinians? Based on what ground (other than the distorted and changed biblical account of some chosen people crap) were the jews brought to Palestine? As for muslims denouncing perpretators of 9/11, first present real proof, don't back it with lies. Secondly, I'd like to hear a lot of condemnation of innocent Palestinians and Iraqis that you have murdered, and no bickering about 4000 of 'your boys' who died in the 'line of duty'. The massacres that those 'boys' have done are far massive compared to the exremley low casualties they experienced during that time. Where is the voice of US on this? Never heard any condolences on these decades of persecutions and you want muslims to start apologizing about a single loss of just 3000 people? We are talking about losses millions against 3000 here! Where is your voice for reasoning and condolence?

    June 6, 2010 at 1:05 pm |
    • Umme Omar

      hey everybody, why r u so quiet now?

      June 6, 2010 at 3:34 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      Silhouette....I don't know where to start or even if I should bother. I've read several of your posts, and if people think I am hateful, then you are downright psycho. You absolutely spew hatred and racism. I'm thinking your head probably turns 360 degrees when you start slamming Americans or any other group you hate so much.

      There have been horrible things done by all religions. Christians and the inquisitions; Jews and there trek out of Egypt; Muslims and the spread of Islam. But, as far as I know, Islam is the only one that pushes it's religion onto others. it is the only one whose main "holy" book is so full of hate, intolerance, and calls to violence.

      Muslims deny any wrongdoing in their history even as other groups as mentioned acknowledge and have apologized for their transgressions. In fact, Muslims actually believe that Islam spread quitely and bloodlessly because that is what their history teaches them. However, when you read the history of the vanquished it is a completely different story. From Spain to India, Islam was spread through terror and warfare. That is the real history.

      Muslims take great pride in the fact that the Qu'ran has not been altered in any way since Muhammed because this cutthroat bandit, who claimed he flew in on a winged horse to the temple mount and that he was in direct contact with God, said these were the actual words of God. And since Muslims believe this, they refuse to alter it in any way. Hence, you have a 4th century mindset while using 21st century weaponry. You are behind the times.

      I thought you said in a post that you were living in the U.S. My question is simply, WHY? How can you stand to be around infidels who are not going to change for you? Are you here because you can enjoy a better life than the country of your origin? If so, then why do you want to change it to become like the litterbox from which you came??

      You write, "Give the innocents their land back, stop supporting the forced illegitimate occupation of Palaestine...." Actually, I agree with this. The treaty that allowed the Palaestininans to be displaced was wrong. However, what about Muslims returning the temple mount to Israeli control? Is that going to happen? It was their site long before ol' Muhammed landed there on his winged horse...

      Non of this really relates to the article by Protheo, although it reinforces the fact that religions have been the causes of discord for as long as man has been able to communicate. And the building of a mosque anywhere near ground zero is just creating another chapter of insensitivity, provocation, and the pushing of a religious agenda on people, the majority of whom are totally against it.

      June 6, 2010 at 9:19 pm |
    • Jim

      I thought you said you did not bother to answer this person but how come your message is so long. How long would your message be if you actually bothered to answer?

      June 6, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
    • Silhouette

      All I am sayingis that there is always a flip side to a coin. You can't say one is better than the other. The thing to do is to have patience towards each other. I understand your opinion about a mosque being built on ground zero. Personally I don't agree with the idea becasue if the same thing had happened in a muslim country, people would have had same resentment towards it. But that doesn't change the fact that there is a lot of injustice that needs to be addressed with honest hearts. US is by far the most influential country in the world. Her actions have a magnified effect on other countries and cultures. We need to act more responsible an rational that we currently are.

      June 6, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
    • rar

      silhouette everyone slaughters everyone if you look all through history. mohams like to hide behind and amongst the civilian population because they cannot face their enemies man to man. this is why there is so much collateral damage they use their civilians as human shields don't say that whites are the most brutal everyone involved in war is brutal. everyone does it to try to survive. if the mohams stop trying to populate other countries where their relgion is not dominant then wars will end. where israel is, its like a period in a sentence on your computer screen it is a very small piece of land why do you care so much if they are there if they would give it back the mohams must give back the lands where they rule to the former inhabitants fair is fair

      June 6, 2010 at 11:17 pm |
    • stephen douglas

      TO JIM....You wrote, "I thought you said you did not bother to answer this person but how come your message is so long. How long would your message be if you actually bothered to answer?"

      My answer: Much longer.

      June 6, 2010 at 11:42 pm |
  5. James White

    I believe it is an insult to everyone who died at Ground Zero to build a Mosque there. A Mosque can be a breeding ground for terrorists as we all know. I hope there is enough protest in New York to stop this blasphemy.

    June 6, 2010 at 12:56 pm |
  6. stephen douglas

    UMME OMAR...You never responded to this. You wanted to know where I saw in the Qu'ran about Muhammed's access to women as allowed by God...

    I have an English version of the Qu'ran first printed around 1934, translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, 2002 version. A book first printed in 1934 and reprinted numerous times since should have all the translation bugs worked out of it, so I believe it is fairly accurate.

    Sura 33, "Al Ahzab (The Confederates)", verse 50 pertains to Muhammad and his women.

    However, if you have to explain everything as opposed to someone just being able to read it at face value, then what was the sense of writing it to begin with? Furthermore, who are you or any other human to interpret the "true words of God"? Your interpretation and someone else's interpretation may be RADICALLY different. As in EXTREME.

    Hence the problem with the Qu'ran and Islam. There are obviously too many members of this so called religion who interpret it's teachings to mean go out and kill anyone who is a nonbeliver. It says so in the Qu'ran. But, I guess you would have an explanation...

    Bottom line: You may not think the murdering cowards of 9/11 were not Muslims. But the reality is that they were, they jus interpreted the teachings of the Qu'ran differently than you. And that means the building of a mosque at ground zero is wrong. Many will interpret it to be a shrine for the Muslim cowards who murdered so many innnocent people one morning and it is an intentional deliberate provocation by your leaders.

    June 6, 2010 at 11:25 am |
    • Umme Omar

      dear stephen ...I was with my family because its weekend in this part of the world. I looked at the text and here is my researched answer...
      What is wrong with this verse? It is simple allowance from Allah for His Prophet (PBUH) that he can consume his marriage (after giving them alimony)with his wives, the women that were captured during battles, with those of his relative women who migrated with him and any other Muslims women who give their consent to marry him and he also wished to marry them. This allowance is only for the Prophet (PBUH). What is the problem with that? When a Muslim man marries a woman, he not only gives her alimony but also gives protection to her. During warfare Muslim men cannot commit war crimes against women, like what Nazis did to the Jewish or Christian Serbs did to Bosnian Muslim women and children and other non combating civilians. They cannot kill them or hurt them, but they can capture them and treat them with respect and protect them and escort them to non war zone. When the war is over, they are given full protection of the Islamic state. Muslim men can marry whoever they like after taking consent from them and consume their marriage only after paying them alimony. This also means that Islam spread through diplomatic efforts and not by force. When Muslims married these women captured in war fare, their families would accept them as their son-in-laws and these marriages would draw two families, communities or even races closer. Our Prophet married a Jewish princess Safia (PBUH, daughter of a Jewish tribe chief) Many Jews accepted Islam after this marriage. Our Prophet (SAW) always treated her nicely and called her daughter of a Prophet (Moses) and niece of another (Aaron) out of his respect for her faith. She also converted to Islam after seeing so much goodness in Islam.

      June 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
    • Umme Omar

      i dont think 9/11 attackers ever read Quran, much less implement its beautiful teachings in their lives. What is in the name anyway? What Nazis did, was it Christian faith that made them do it or what Serbian Christians did, was it Jesus Christ (PBUH) who commanded them to do that?

      June 6, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • Jim

      hey this is very impressive. You know any website where I can get answers to my questions? I have been reading Kuran for sometime now and I want to really work this out.

      June 6, 2010 at 11:26 pm |
  7. Ken

    Stephen can stick his head in the ground and ignore the facts. But the truth is this is a war against Islam, despite what others may say. I can agree that only a small majority are following the most violent or radicalized versions of this religon. So it's not a war in the conventional sense. It's a cultural ware. You see, many followers of this faith do believe that Western culture and beliefs are wrong. While all of the worlds other religons have becmome more liberal in their faiths over the preceding 200 years, Islam has for the most part stuck to it's roots (mostly do to the lack of economic and technological progress in the areas the religon is practiced). So while Western cultures see women as equals who can work and vote, polls have shown followers of the faith would have no problem with pushing women back into the background where the faith dictates they should be. They also believe strongly in the implementation of Sharia law (screw due process, reasonable doubt, trial by a jury of peers, cruel and unusual punishment). They also do not believe in the basics of democracy and support rule reporting to religious authorities and a Caliphate. Yes, there is a war going on, one pitting Western culture versus an ancient religon that refuses to change and adjust for the modern world. And building a Mosque near ground zero, espeically a 40+ story one, would be akin to capitulation in this war of cultures.

    June 6, 2010 at 10:02 am |
    • stephen douglas

      Dead on correct, Ken. I just do not how the idiots on the board that voted in favor of this could possibly have done so. They voted 29 for, 1 against, and 9 abstaining. The 9 who abstained were the biggest cowards, and as for the 29 who were in favor of it...I would be curious how much their bank accounts increased around the time of the vote. I would like to know who voted against it – he/she is my hero. This is such a travesty it is incredible. It is a deliberate, calculated, provocation by the Islamic leadership. They are two faced liars when they claim it will be a memorial of sorts to victims and an attempt to show Islam in a different light.

      If I lived in New York I would get some guys with trucks together, go buy a bunch of live pigs, take them to the site of the new mosque, and cut them loose.

      June 6, 2010 at 11:36 am |
    • sanethinker

      The greatest thing can happen to mankind was liberating 1/6th of human being from certain grip by Islamic rulers in sub-continent. Thanks to GB, it is democratic secular nation and liberated women, men and minorities alike from being stuck to 7th century practice. In my opinion Chin@ went the other way of communism to liberate their population, which might be a shortcut but good overall.
      Now US seems to be tasting the certain viscous attack from that quarter. A little notice of what is happening at Egypt and Turkey, they flip rule and thrust upon others their political view mostly on Isr@el for now.

      June 6, 2010 at 3:12 pm |
  8. Gary

    I remember the Atlanta child Murder going on in 1981 and blacks in disbelief that Wayne Williams was guilty. So many were convinced it was a white man. Reminds me a little of the O.J. Simpson trial.

    June 6, 2010 at 9:42 am |
  9. bob

    Thank you Suzonne for that poorly mediated interview. I was under the impression that CNN was to interview in an unbiased manner. You enabled the portrayal the activist as an off balance radical yet allowed the unfettered lengthy speech of the moslem lawyer. He at no point answered your questions. He was on a mission to make his speech heard. VERY poor journalism!

    June 6, 2010 at 8:13 am |
  10. Progress

    Religion = Murder, seperatism, intollerance, greed, power.
    As soon as people stop following myths there will be alot less sorrow in this world.

    June 6, 2010 at 4:23 am |
    • Gary

      Sadly Progress I agree with you. I still think as an intelligent person as you are you can still be spiritual,meditate and appreciate nature and the possibilty of a higher power and you Progress and go through life.

      June 6, 2010 at 9:40 am |
  11. Gerald

    Ohh great, a discussion about religion, we'll get somewhere now! NOT. Until we all realize that religions do more harm than good, we'll keep fighting the mine is better bullcrap. Religions will be obsolete in the next 200 years: they make us ignorant and brainwash us all. Take a step back and think! they were written by people to control you people.

    June 6, 2010 at 2:24 am |
    • lee1947

      I will pray for you.

      June 6, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  12. Ben Cooper

    Gee...I guess the liberal Massachusetts flake that wrote this crap didn't lose anyone on 9/11. Say, pal, how about building a mosque right next to the Pentagon? Would that make you happy, too? Maybe we should have an imam as Director of Homeland Security! Yeah, hired some black-robed bearded MF to oversee security for the United States while handing out boarding passes to al Qaeda. You know, let's just build mosques everywhere as a testament to this stinking religion.

    June 6, 2010 at 12:44 am |
    • Total non sense

      Saddly you are close to reality. That is why everything must be done to fight islam on all front and step one is expulsion from north america.

      June 6, 2010 at 1:17 am |
    • learnyourfacts

      Ben you really are starting to annoy me with all your racist comments as a matter of fact am a Muslim who lost more than one person in 9-11. You act like your the only one who lost someone dear to them. FYI i lost my mom and i am sure more Muslims out there lost people to so stop being so self centered and think that your the only one who lost someone take sometime to think before you speak and realize that everyone was effected by 9-11 not just non-Muslims.

      June 6, 2010 at 8:08 pm |
  13. Ben Cooper

    Too bad there weren't drones at the time of Mohammed. We wouldn't have this problem today.

    June 6, 2010 at 12:39 am |
  14. Ben Cooper

    Putting a mosque in the shadow of the Towers is an utter disgrace. This "religion" is a disgrace...nothing more than a murderous cult of mindless primitives whose only desire is to destroy those that don't agree with their blood-thirsty mentality. Jesus preached love of neighbor. Mohammed tells you to go out and kill your neighbor. And we're supposed to put faith or even respect someone like this? Screw him and screw all those that follow this monster.

    June 6, 2010 at 12:35 am |
    • learnyourfacts

      You really are ignorant aren't you one of the main rules in Islam is to respect your neighbors. There are dozens of stories that shows how the prophet respected his neighbors even though they weren't showing him respect.

      June 6, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  15. Gary

    Anyone who has to read a Bilble ,Qu'ran or any other religious texts to learn that killing,stealing,coventing with neib wife is wrong is not only a religious idiot but also dumb.

    June 5, 2010 at 11:45 pm |
  16. stephen douglas

    Silhouette...Does not matter what language is used, it is flat wrong to build a mosque anywhere near ground zero. You sound just like the type of extremist who will hail the mosque as a shrine. I think you would cheer it's completion and see it as a victory for Islam, not a memorial to the victims. You are bitter and angry towards the U.S. I don't understand why you are here. It is amazing to me that people like you want to leave your countries of origin for a better life so you come to the U.S. and then start trying to make it like the litter box you just left. What is up with that. We have a great country here. Why do you and others want to make it like the rundown, backwards, ignorant place you came from???

    June 5, 2010 at 11:43 pm |
  17. stephen douglas

    Silhouette...Regarding your blast at me "....but I can see that you aren't very smart with any other language other than the one you were born listening to hicks around you...",

    Senora, Buenos noches, como esta usted. Tu estas bien? Bueno! Mi habla un poco espanol, e tu? No importante. Tu estas mucho enfermo con enojado. Nessicita tome una respiración profunda. Senora, me gusta leer libros: Qu'ran, Bible, Haddith, internet, history... e tu? Pero, entiendo un poco de español – una palabra aquí, una palabra allí – no mucha conversación así que voy a hablar Inglés para usted

    June 5, 2010 at 11:34 pm |
  18. rar

    hey silhouette wherefore art thou. vietnam- we protected the south from the north because they were communists and would take away their freedoms . we defeated sadam in just a few weeks afghanistan is not really worth doing anything with. hey silhouette why is afghanistan growing poppies and poisoning the world with cocaine the good moham wouldn't do that would he? russia had missles in cuba in 1963. we told them to take them out and they did. the iron cutain came down about 1989 or so and we won the cold war also. china? ask taiwan about it. if china thought they could take us they would have taken taiwan by now. we run with our tails between our legs? silhoette YOU ARE WRONG AGAIN AS USUAL! You are the coward. this very country you are speaking so badly about is actually protecting you also. Learn to appreciate it instead of speaking bad about it OR GET THE HELL OUT.

    June 5, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
  19. khan

    I do not subscribe to any religion nor I am an American, so perhaps I can give an objective "3rd party" opinion on this matter. While it may be true that most American Muslims and elsewhere do not condone the acts of 9/11, the fact remains that the perpetrators of 9/11 identified themselves as muslims. So much so that the word muslim has been tarnished beyond repair. If there is any muslim leadership/voice in US they should not proceed with this mosque project and widen the schism further. Instead they should offer community service to help build the monument for the deceased at ground zero. They should also start a signature campaign stating that the terrorists of 9/11 will burn perpetually in hell (if such a thing exists). That i think will be more constructive.

    June 5, 2010 at 10:45 pm |
    • Umme Omar

      khan i agree with you on the Mosque. Yes if indeed building a Mosque can increase anger, they should not build it. They should ask for opinions from everybody from the victims' families and the downtown residents. But that the image of Muslims is beyond repair is not really true. I know people from work and neighborhood who come up to me and tell me that until they met me or other Muslims, they did not like Muslims. But now they really like Muslims. Everything is possible. It is time that America get togther and fight extremism and hatred from its society. United we stand and ununited we fall.

      June 5, 2010 at 11:01 pm |
    • Jack

      kahn... It's good to hear an outside voice on this. I like your response and it makes good sense.

      June 7, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  20. rar

    hey umme arabs and indians are teaching their kids to be biased against whites and to refer to any white person as a christian/crusader goes both ways you know.

    June 5, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • Gary

      all public schools our President many of our congressman the press teach their kids to hate white people. They teach us to bow down to other nations. They teach us that white males are the worst for of human life...

      June 5, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
    • Umme Omar

      Actually the interracical marriages in USA are all time high. In other words more non whites are marrying more Whites. it is happening only because people from various cultures, races and countries of origin are putting their differences behind and integrating into American Society. So this is what USA is about. A universal devine society. May Allah, God, Bhagwan, khuda bless America. united we stand and un united we fall.

      June 5, 2010 at 11:06 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.