My Faith: How I learned to stop 'praying away the gay'
Don Lemon with his grandmother on his third birthday.
May 22nd, 2011
01:00 AM ET

My Faith: How I learned to stop 'praying away the gay'

Editor's Note: Don Lemon is a CNN anchor and author of Transparent, a memoir .

By Don Lemon, CNN

"School day, time to get up, sleepy head. School day."

Although she's been gone since 1998, my grandmother's words ring in my head just about every morning of my life. That's how MaMe, as I called her, got me out of bed and off to my Catholic school when I was growing up and in her care.

But before I shuffled my way to the bathroom to begin my morning routine, I had to hit the floor on my knees to pray, just as I had the night before.

It was usually The Lord's Prayer ("Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name...") followed by asking God to watch and guide me through my day until I returned to the safety of my home that evening.

But MaMe (pronounced MAH-me) didn't know that at a very early age her favorite grandson had begun to pray, silently, that God would change him from being different, from having crushes on boys, from being more curious about boys than girls.

By age four or five, I was too young to sexualize my infatuations but I knew that everyone else, including my family and friends, would think it was wrong.

Perhaps it was the conversations I overheard from adults around my hometown of Port Allen, Louisiana, who'd mimic gay people, calling them "funny" or "sissy" or "fagots."

Perhaps it was Sunday mornings at our Baptist church, where preachers taught that liking someone of the same sex was a direct and swift path to hell. And that if that person would just turn to the Lord and confess his sin, then God would change him back into the person He wanted him to be - a person who only had crushes on the opposite sex.

All of which meant that, from a very early age, I began to think I was dirty and that I was going to hell. Can you imagine what that feels like for a kid who was just learning to read and perform basic arithmetic? It was awful.

And talk about guilt - I was a Baptist attending Catholic school!

I prayed the silent prayer for God to change me every chance I got until I started attending college in New York. That's when common sense began to take hold and I realized that no amount of prayer would change me into something that wasn't natural to me.

With my religious upbringing, I'd had the opportunity to study religious doctrine. But I learned from different perspectives, from Catholic Mass on Fridays to Baptist services on Sundays to vacation Bible school in the summer to Bible study with a Jehovah's Witness as a teenager.

As I got older I began to realize that all these people and institutions interpreted the Bible somewhat differently. I had a sort of epiphany: the Bible was about the lessons you learned, not about the events or words.

When I became old enough, intelligent enough and logical enough to discern the difference between metaphor and reality, everything changed. I realized that Jonah living in the belly of a whale was a parable written in the same vein as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saying that he had "been to the mountaintop."

Neither Jonah nor King had actually been to those places. They were metaphors for lessons for those of us who cared to absorb them.

So many of us, especially in the black community and in churches, tend to think that religious teachings happened word for word as they were written in Scripture. I think that's naïve, even dangerous.

That type of thinking - or non-thinking - keeps many religious people enslaved to beliefs that they haven't truly stepped back from and examined.

That type of thinking causes people who are otherwise good to shun and ostracize young gay people.

It causes people to want to control and change people who aren't like them. And who wants to be like someone else?

Imagine if we had allowed Christian doctrines and teachings that supported slavery, segregation and the subjugation of women to pervade our society all the way up until the current moment. What kind of world would that be?

Instead, we got on our knees, just as I did as a little boy, and prayed that slavery, segregation and the subjugation of women would end. In the United States, at least, those prayers have largely been realized.

I'm no longer the member of any church but I do believe in a higher power.

It's time for us, especially black people, to stop trying to pray the gay away and to get on our knees and start praying that the discrimination of gay people ends.

What we're doing to our young gay people now is child abuse. It's plain old bigotry and hatred. And if African-Americans don't know what that feels like in America, I don't know who does.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Don Lemon.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion

soundoff (4,733 Responses)
  1. Adelina

    Mr. Lemon was wrong in several things. He never prayed to repent his sins. He never admitted God as his Lord. He should not have Bible studies with JWs. He should have learned proper biblical interpretation instead of treating the Bible the way he wants. He should have sticked to the Bible truth. Ho-mo-s-e-x-tuals are the ones who are confused the beautiful brotherly or sisterly friendship with romantic love. No execuse for perversion. They need to be educated on sins as child-abuse, having multiple wives, incest acts and other immoral perversion can never be justified.

    May 22, 2011 at 7:22 am |
    • Sassan

      The Bible is an irrelevant book to base one's life on. Actually, if someone bases their lives on the literal word of the Bible, they ought to be a very immoral person. After-all, the Old Testament allowed slavery!

      May 22, 2011 at 7:42 am |
    • Adelina

      Sassan, that's not what happen to Bible literal takers. They liberated all the oppressed people by Biblical principles. The Bible-time slavery is much better than the modern-day employer-employee relationship in USA. Abolish this one; why do we still keep it?

      May 22, 2011 at 7:57 am |
    • Gary

      You poor soul

      May 22, 2011 at 8:15 am |
    • Seriously

      Ad. I professed my sins, and believed Christ was my Lord. I, too, tried to pray away the gay. To no avail. Finally I prayed, "take away the gay or give me a boyfriend, and grant me the career I desire." The gay did not go away, and I'm pleased to say that I'm happily partnered and working doing what I love. I am genuinely happier than I've ever been...

      May 25, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  2. A Sour Lemon

    Funny how convenient it is to draw more attention to his confusion about faith & religion than the fact he sleeps with men...this article was not to help anyone with courage issues. The majority of it takes you through his journey of religions as if he were on a scavenger hunt. God, the Father; Jesus, my Savior; and the Holy Spirit loves Don and all of us just as we are. And I hope Don finds peace in knowing only God can and will judge him. That's my story and I'm sticking by it until the day I die!!! Peace People!

    May 22, 2011 at 6:57 am |
    • dalis

      I wonder how you'd like it if someone disregarded all the love you have for your wife, your relationship, the life you had built together and simply referred to you as that man who sleeps with women. Is that how you'd like to be referred to? I seriously doubt it.

      May 22, 2011 at 7:07 am |
  3. Tgonz

    God is love. A true Christian ought to treat others with that same love shown by Christ as he died for sinners. We all are in need of a savior. We are ALL sinners. People who are unkind to others will be lost along with unrepentant murderers and rapists. Let us all turn to the throne of grace and have God search our hearts to reveal even the deepest cherished sin that we may repent and turn from our wicked ways and be saved.

    May 22, 2011 at 6:48 am |
  4. james

    As for me, I was about 13 or 14 when Dr. MLK died, living in the South, a little white boy, and didn't understand who he was. In my mid 30's watching film of his life on PBS, I realized, the film doesn't lie, and the man was just a preacher, being used of God to set his people free, and my thoughts did not align with God's views, and as a Christian, I changed, and to me, I believe what the man said he saw on the mountain top-he saw. I wish he was alive today to teach us, Pastor MLK believed in Jesus, and would have a Godly message about this CNN article.

    May 22, 2011 at 6:46 am |
  5. Corey

    Gosh, your experience mirrors mine so much as it relates to coming up on the church. I knew from a very young age that if you were gay you were going to get a ticket straight to hell. That was the chief sin. I prayed all of my life that God would change me, and He did. Jesus came into my life and permeated every area of my life. From darkness to light! The teachings I have accepted and live out, affirm my unshakeable stance that God made me just that way I am, and delights in me. The part of me that was changed has been my mind and heart accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. My mantra for life, "Do justice, love mercy." I ran into love when I was 25 and he was 19, both young sailors in the Navy. I had never known a love like this before. All consuming, accepting, solid and true. He loved me like God loves me. I miss him all the time. Oh, how I wish he were here to see how the world is changing! From democracy breaking out in the middle east, to minds being changed to in end discrimination for God's gay children. Thank God for you Don Lemon, looking forward to your book release.

    Love suffers long and is kind.

    May 22, 2011 at 6:46 am |
  6. EricZ

    Wow... This article really blows me away. I did the same thing as he did when I was a teenager and never told anyone until the moment I'm typing this comment. I used to pray everyday, hoping that when I get up in the morning, my interest in men would forever disappear magically. I even went to see a psychiatrist secretly and asked him to "fix" me while I was still in the closet. But I stopped doing all that when I was in my senior year in college. I guess I got smarter after being so dumb. This article speaks my mind in so many ways.

    May 22, 2011 at 6:40 am |
    • Bryan

      So u don't wanna be gay, but u are... That must really suck

      May 22, 2011 at 6:46 am |
    • EricZ

      Well, I DID not want to be gay back then. But now it doesn't matter whether I am or I am not. It's not an important issue to me anymore. There are so much more interesting things in life.

      May 22, 2011 at 7:01 am |
    • John Richardson

      Eric, thanks for posting. I am glad you have found peace.

      Bryan, maybe you'll find peace some day, too. Not sure what is motivating your anger and hate and bigotry, but all I know is that those are the emotions/att=itudes of people with deep inner turmoil.

      May 22, 2011 at 8:17 am |
  7. 46Boomer

    Thank you Don Lemon! You are a well-spoken, very polished, intelligent role model for gay kids. One of the problems encountered by gay youth is there are very few gay role models. I am sorry for all the hate mail you will be receiving from the uneducated religious kooks who believe the non-sense peddled by churches to keep the cash rolling in. If anyone were in the belly of a whale wouldn"t they be disolved by the gastric juices?

    May 22, 2011 at 6:38 am |
    • Carol

      I agree with you. People need to stop making people miserable because they are biologically different. Accept them and move on.

      May 22, 2011 at 6:49 am |
  8. Bryan

    Yes my friends, the "clean white christian" era has ended... So sad. I'm glad my time on earth will be gone before we are a minority

    May 22, 2011 at 6:37 am |
    • Sassan

      As long as we are to grow as a society and become more advanced and educated like our European brethren; atheism will naturally increase. It is no surprise that the more scientifically and mathematically educated populace of nations have a higher % of non-believers. For example, in the U.K., 25% are atheist (full-blown atheist not agnostic). Science is replacing any need for religion and only the most clingy of us will cling on. Hopefully rationality and logic will win the day; otherwise, we may not survive and advance as a species.

      May 22, 2011 at 6:40 am |
  9. Sassan

    IT is the year 2011 people!!! Put away your children's fairy tale book in which you call your holy book (whether the bible, quran, or torah). INSTEAD, go pick up a science math and use your neurons and develop a little bit of intelligence; any science book from the likes of Stephen Hawking, Dr. Michio Kaku, or even Richard Dawkins' would do! Lots of good science from people who know more about the universe and life than any priest, rabbi, or mullah could ever imagine!!! Those of us who live in rationality and demand logic and evidence in our life feel sorry for you. Instead of opening up your brains you still espouse your false sense of virtue instead of understanding the beauties of the universe!! Imagine, in our own Milky Way Galaxy alone there are a minimum of 200 billion stars with hundreds of millions of planets and millions of Earth-like planets (see Kepler); there are more stars than grains of sand on Earth! On top of it all, there are billions and billions of galaxies!!! The problem is that the distances are so vast but in the grand scheme of things, we are still a primitive species with no guarantee to survive due to religion and religious fanaticism; particularly if a religious regime (i.e. Islamic Republic) acquires nukes and have end-of-the-world prophecies they very much would love to implement. PUT AWAY YOUR FAIRY TALES and start learning science!!!! Your fairy books mean NOTHING to those whose brains tend to function properly.

    May 22, 2011 at 6:29 am |
    • Bryan

      I'm sorry but which of these millions of planets and billions of galaxies have life as we know it? Oh nevermind u can't prove it, neither can "scientists"

      May 22, 2011 at 6:44 am |
    • Sassan

      Bryan, I am sure that you know that when we peer out into the night sky we are looking into the past. The distances are so vast that interstellar space travel is not possible with our current technologies. Saying this, to make the claim that "we are the only life" is extremely naive, ignorant, and religious of you. For what we don't know, we don't just settle and equate our ignorant or lack of knowledge to a celestial dictator; we go investigate, experiment, and explore. This is why we have the wonderful Kepler telescope peering the night sky looking for Earth-like planets and we think we have already found nearly 90 Earth-like planets with thousands more in the next year or two (planets in their habitable zone or "Goldi-lock zone"; looking at the numbers, only a fool can make the claim we are alone in the vast expanse of the universe. Remember, traveling to the closest star system takes LIGHT YEARS; we are talking about relativity (read Einstein).

      May 22, 2011 at 6:52 am |
    • Bryan

      Do we "know" we are looking at the past? Or is that what science has made us believe? If these "earth-like" planets are LIGHT YEARS away, who in the f%*k is gonna prove anything? Exactly. We ARE the only life and until u or Einstein proves anything different, u don't have anything to support your theory

      May 22, 2011 at 7:05 am |
    • Bryan

      Our technologies? Please, we can't even build things as good as the Mayans did

      May 22, 2011 at 7:10 am |
    • Sassan

      Bryan: YES, we know we are looking into the past. It is the basic rule of physics in relation to electromagnetism and relativity. Time travels at 300,000 km/s and we can measure the distances so when we look out at the stars, we are looking into the past. In fact, if the Sun burned out we wouldn't know it for 8-minutes. You should pick up a book and read; being so ignorant on the basic fundamental laws of physics is quite sad.

      May 22, 2011 at 7:12 am |
    • Sassan

      I meant *light travels at 300,000 km/s

      May 22, 2011 at 7:13 am |
    • Bryan

      Common sense > book smarts

      May 22, 2011 at 7:19 am |
    • Sassan

      Not knowing the most trivial facts = no common sense; basing one's life on primitive text = no common sense

      May 22, 2011 at 7:30 am |
    • Frogist

      @Bryan: I think the question is if we did find sentient, humanoid life on other planets, would that actually change your perspective? Or would you persist in declaring that science is still useless and irrelevant? With all the technological advances we have today, for anyone to take the stance that you're taking, seems hard-headed and a little bit ignorant.

      May 25, 2011 at 11:45 am |
  10. phil

    Science teaches us to put men on the moon. Religion teaches us to fly planes into buildings. Now you were saying?

    May 22, 2011 at 6:29 am |
    • dalis

      Science was used as the excuse to feed human beings into ovens. Religion enabled whole nations to heal afterwards.

      May 22, 2011 at 6:33 am |
    • Sassan

      Dalis, my ignorant friend. But Adolf Hitler was a Roman Catholic and this is fact that no historian disputes. I have a beautiful quote for you by the great Nobel Prize winning American Physicist Steven Weinberg: “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have good people doing good things and evil people doing bad things, but for good people to do bad things, it takes religion.”

      May 22, 2011 at 6:37 am |
    • dalis

      No, I'm not ignorant of these things. Don't presume. Explain why Hitler killed 35,000 Catholic priests at Dachau – a death camp where Christians outnumbered Jews until 1944. Usually, when I bring this up I get silence or approval.

      I have as much use for arrogant anti-theists as I do for arrogant anti-gays.

      May 22, 2011 at 6:42 am |
    • Sassan

      Dalis, where are your sources?? Provide them. You can make claims but not back it up; just like your irrational belief system is based on. All you have to do is read Mein Kamf or google up his quotes in which he consistently evoked the name of Jesus Christ, "the Lord", the Catholic Church etc. and in fact had religious symbols and motto inscribed on every belt and gear of Nazi officers. To claim or try to infer that Hitler was "an atheist" or the sort is just a sad way of making up history by denying the historical facts that no reputable historian has ever doubted.

      May 22, 2011 at 6:45 am |
    • Sassan

      "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."

      "My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people.

      -Adolf Hitler, in a speech on 12 April 1922 (Norman H. Baynes, ed. The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922-August 1939, Vol. 1 of 2, pp. 19-20, Oxford University Press, 1942)

      May 22, 2011 at 6:48 am |
    • dalis

      I never claimed Hitler was an Atheist. Again, you put words in the mouths of your opponents, and I won't abide straw man arguments. Neither would I characterize Hitler as a Roman Catholic. He renounced his baptism in Vienna in 1920 only to reclaim the ti-tle when he signed the Concordat which he promptly violated at every turn. His "Christianity" is his own per-verse invention that envisions Jesus Christ as an Aryan and a militant. If you think he's a Christian, you don't know Christianity. Hitler's religion was Nazism. Read Mit Brennender Sorge.

      The prisoner rolls of Dachau are public knowledge. I could also refer you to the proverbial historians that you refer to so often. Have you toured any concentration camps? I have. The chapels at Dachau honor all these victims – Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox, and Jew.

      May 22, 2011 at 6:56 am |
  11. Chad Billington

    Can't wait to read your book! I admire the courage you have for yourself and the younger generation! Wish you many successes with this book!

    May 22, 2011 at 6:28 am |
  12. phil

    So now we all have to read post's telling us what the bible says. It supports both sides of the argument just as it does in every case. zzzz

    May 22, 2011 at 6:27 am |
  13. MEY

    It's sinful and just wrong! Believers pray silently as well, that the spirit will not give into the desires of the flesh and immorality will not dominate our society.

    I love the sinner...just hate the sin

    May 22, 2011 at 6:26 am |
  14. Darrell Simon

    read Leviticus 18:22...how can people sit up here n say oh u my hero wen they kno he aint livn rite.i have notn against DON or watever his name is but my advice to u is u might wanna keep on praying and for your prayers to get answered u gonna have to want to change yourself.b/c if u really wanted to change your lifestyle trust n believe that it would have happened for u and its still can. u jus have to believe in ur heart that u wanna change.god is real and it can happen

    May 22, 2011 at 6:19 am |
    • Dave

      Remember you will have to justify your own bigotry. Keep praying. YOU are the one destined for hell.

      May 22, 2011 at 6:22 am |
    • Sassan

      It is the year 2011!!!! Read a SCIENCE book and put away your children fairy tales. We are in the world of science; your primitive children book mean nothing to people who have a mind of their own and value the scientific progress of western civilization.

      May 22, 2011 at 6:23 am |
    • paintpaintpaint

      Darrell, did you not READ this article? In him... from childhood....

      May 22, 2011 at 6:59 am |
  15. True

    well i do not have any problem with gay people, i respect their positions, and what they believe in. however if we contextualize the issue on a biblical perspective, we will find how God didnt appreciate that. lets to romans 1 vs 27(kjv), it says:"and likewise also the men, leaving the NATURAL use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; Men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet". so if the bible clearly condemns that, it should be respected. don i respect you as an individual but trust me it does not please God. plus the jonah story in the bible is definitely a true story if its not God would be a liar and all the other stories would also be fairy tales.

    May 22, 2011 at 6:16 am |
    • dalis

      Romans 2:1-2..."Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things."

      May 22, 2011 at 6:23 am |
    • paintpaintpaint

      No, you don't 'respect' the author's 'positions'. He's not talking about his 'positions'. He's talking about people reading the Bible like it is a recipe book. It was written by MEN, human people, not even necessarily holy people (as in Saints). It was further edited, re-edited, re-translated and distributed. It was bent one way for the Catholics, another for the Protestents, and we won't even TALK about the Jews. I was raised Catholic, with a healthy distance from relying on the Bible per se. Lessons of goodness, sure, I'll take them when I can, but I was warned, by the nuns, that "The Devil can quote Scripture" and twist it as he wants. Listen to your own generous heart. How can a child be punished like this. Makes me very sad.

      May 22, 2011 at 6:24 am |
    • che-3

      Hey buddy; get your facts straight. Most of these "Romans" you refer to are ALL GAYS or closet GAYS. Get that?

      May 22, 2011 at 6:25 am |
  16. omar Gonzalez

    I find very interesting that people still belive scriptures in a book that was written thousands of years ago and by the way the bibble didn't condemn slavery. Doesn't that say something!! The bibble was written by men to conrol other men and keep women down.

    May 22, 2011 at 6:15 am |
    • Darrell Simon

      wow brother i cant believe u feel that way dis all imma say is wen that time comes i hope u have set ur priorities in order god bless

      May 22, 2011 at 6:22 am |
    • Bryan

      I hope Darrel can speak his Ebonics to the Lord

      May 22, 2011 at 6:27 am |
    • che-3

      With respect to Slavery"; that is the part no Catholic Priest, Nun or Pope has not been able to answer. How can the Same GOD be this mean? BTW, the Bible was written by a group of white folks thousands of years after the fact. I don’t even remember what exactly I did just last week much more 1-yr. ago. If you look at pictures of Jesus, his disciples, the Virgin Mary etc. including others images in the Bible or some Biblical books, these folks looks more like they just stepped out of a shower even those we all know they didn’t have toothpaste at the time including other toiletries to be this hygienically clean. That’s when I notice something doesn’t jive to be believed.
      Now we have a crazy, deranged, dysfunctional, mentally disturbed white dude claiming the World is coming to an end. The last time I checked; he has over 30% of the American population who are mentally challenged as his Christian followers with $270M in the bank.

      May 22, 2011 at 6:41 am |
  17. VancouverCanucks

    If the Christian right believes that being gay is a defect, doesnt that make their God, the creator of man defective as well... ?
    Religion is just another business like any of the corporations out there, they'll say whatever they think would work on loyal, honest, but gullible public... how else would they get their money

    May 22, 2011 at 6:14 am |
  18. Vidura B

    There is no place for hate and bigotry in this modern age. We can't let our children suffer because of this. Any religion that promotes divisiveness and hate will never have my support and people who support those churches should think a little.
    God is all about love and religion should be about loving each other. Period. Anything else above that is just pure ignorance.

    May 22, 2011 at 6:14 am |
    • behonest

      This modern age, you mean post-modern age. Sin is still sin.

      May 22, 2011 at 6:43 am |
    • che-3

      Oh really? Tell that to Racist white folks party aka, GOP Party and their Racist deranged, dysfunctional, mentally disturbed toothless trailer park trash folks. BTW, 99.999999% claim they are Christians. Does Sarah palin and her deranged Racist white folks party aka, GOP Party attack dogs ring a bell? You didn’t have tea for breakfast, did ya? And didn’t read or see anything about racist tea party starring you right at from your cup? Boye, you need to a psychic to read your tea leafs for ya! Feel me?

      May 22, 2011 at 6:53 am |
    • Scott

      Che, you can't call yourself tolerant if you can't tolerate the intolerable

      June 3, 2011 at 8:07 am |
  19. MikeInMaine

    So nice to hear a sane voice in an opinion piece. Hope you don't suffer too much for it.

    May 22, 2011 at 6:13 am |
  20. Dan

    Does this coming out have anything to do with selling copies of your new book? How well timed this news is. Funny everyone always comes out when they need to sell something. We get it. Gays are the poor lost souls of this new world. Funny....how being the straight, religious white family man just became the minority in the USA.

    May 22, 2011 at 6:13 am |
    • MikeInMaine

      Aw comon! I'm sure if you look hard enough you can find something in yourself that let's you be an individual and not just a label, or a minority, or a stereotype. This fellow here is reporting about being hurt and he was hurt by people who loved him. What's your pain? Who hurt you? What injustice have you suffered? Yup, there's lots of injustice in the world. Does that mean we should ignore it?

      May 22, 2011 at 6:18 am |
    • Bryan

      Amen brother, amen

      May 22, 2011 at 6:25 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63
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.